Gold in Warlords

Contributions from Gary Best, Max Fulton, Elam Birnbaum, Ivan Baird, and Bob Heeter
Last revised June 28, 1998, by Bob Heeter

This page was created because the economic system in Warlords II / Deluxe is poorly documented in the manual, occasionally buggy, but worth understanding - particularly for League and Tournament games.

  1. Terms and Concepts
  2. Gold (G):
    Gold is the fundamental financial unit in Warlords. Gold can be gained from city income, taking enemy cities (looting), destroying build capabilities in newly-taken cities (sacking and pillaging), and searching (both in gold ruins and strongholds, and directly from sages). Gold can be lost from purchasing heroes, army maintenance, navy maintenance, loss of cities, and retooling city production capabilities.

    Contrary to the Warlords manual you are not charged gold for actually building new units each turn, but only for maintaining existing units once they survive for a turn. So units which die on the turn they are built are free!

    Treasury (T):
    The Treasury is the total gold your country has available to spend. Warlords shows the state of your treasury in the Info window next to a treasure chest. (The Info window defaults to the bottom left of most screens.)

    Total Income (I):
    Total Income is the sum total of the incomes of each of your cities. The income of a city is shown when you get information for that city. Cities do not actually earn income unless you control them at the start of your turn. The Total Income is shown in the Info window next to a pile of coins. (The Info window defaults to the bottom left of most screens.)

    Total Expenses (E):
    Expenses are the total of your units' Maintenance costs. Most versions of Warlords are not very good at keeping your Expenses up-to-date, except (for some reason) after you capture a city, or save-and-reload the game file. At the start of your turn your expenses are deducted from your Treasury. You are only charged for those units already on the map at the start of your turn, before new production and vectored units arrive. Vectored units which have not yet arrived do not cost you anything. Units newly built on a particular turn are not paid for until the next turn. Thus, when properly updated, the expense value during your turn tells you how much you can expect to pay at the start of your next turn, assuming you do not lose any units in the meantime. To get the expenses to update, save the game during your turn and reload it. Your Total Expenses is shown (with caveats above) in the Info window next to an icon of a hand with gold falling out of it. (The Info window defaults to the bottom left of most screens.)

    Known Bugs:

    • The PC-Classic (1.x), PC-Deluxe (2.x), and Mac-Classic versions (1.0.x) show the previous turn's expenses at the start of your turn. They do not properly update the expense report to include newly-built units until you capture a city or save the gamefile and reload it. If you lose any units (in battle or by disbanding), they adjust the non-updated expenses instead. Usually the best way to get the Expenses to update is to save and reload during your turn.
    • The Mac-CD version (2.0) seems to correctly update the expenses at the start of the turn, but makes mistakes later. Save and reload to get correctly-updated information.

    Retool Cost (R):
    The Retool Cost is the cost of adding a given production capability to a city using the "Build Production" feature. When a new type of production is installed the retool cost is deducted from your treasury, T -> T - R.

    Maintenance Cost:
    The maintenance cost for each unit is half the build cost (shown in the city production screen or the army statistics), rounded down. However, if the unit is a navy, the minimum maintenance cost is 4. This means that allies, heroes, and all units whose build cost is 9 or less have maintenance costs of 4 when converted to navies. The total maintenance cost, M, is the sum of the maintenance costs of all units. Note that if you have 2 units whose build cost is 3, the total maintenance cost is 2, because the individual maintenance cost for each unit is 3/2, which rounds down to 1. (A unit whose build cost is 1 is therefore free.)

    Looting (L):
    Whenever you capture an enemy (not neutral) city, you "loot" a certain amount of gold. If your enemy has G gold and C cities, then when the city is taken you loot L = G/(2C), rounded down. The enemy then loses 2L. (Note that, because of the rounding, 2L is not always exactly the same as G/C.) The amount looted, L, is declared in the city-capture screen that appears after the battle. The amount looted (G/(2C)) is added to your Treasury, and double that amount is subtracted from the treasury of your opponent. It is easy to think of it this way: a country has its wealth spread equally in each of its cities (except for the possible rounding error above). When one of these cities is taken, half of the money in the city is stolen by the invading country. The other half is either lost in the fight, or goes into the soldiers' pockets, and is lost forever to both countries.

    Known Bugs: If there is no gold in the city to loot, Warlords will simply forget to mention looting. Also, in the Mac-Classic version (1.0.x), the amount looted is NOT shown if the city had no defenders. If the city had no defenders you still get the gold, but Warlords doesn't announce it. To determine how much was actually looted you must check your Treasury before and after the battle.

    Sacking and Pillaging (S):
    Whenever you capture a neutral or enemy city which has some production, you are given the chance to either sack it (destroying all but the lowest build) or pillage it (destroying the highest build only). In both cases you gain half of the retool cost of the unit(s) destroyed. (S = R/2; T -> T + S) The rest of the money invested in the production is lost forever.

  3. A Gold Accounting Flowchart
    1. At the start of each turn:
      1. Recalculate Total Expenses for units which survived previous turn.
      2. Recalculate Total Income = sum of incomes of all cities currently owned.
      3. Update Treasury: add Total Income, subtract Total Expenses ( T -> T + I - E)
      4. If Treasury is less than zero, set treasury to zero.
      5. If Treasury is zero, any units scheduled to be produced vanish, and the production in those cities is halted. Vectored units still arrive, and partially-completed multi-turn production is not affected. Existing units are not affected.
      6. If a new hero is accepted, the cost is deducted from the treasury.
      7. New units are produced if T > 0.
      8. Vectored units arrive.
      9. Total Expenses increases for the next turn, though it may not be properly updated on the screen.
    2. As you take your turn:
      1. Add to treasury gold discovered in each ruin or received from each sage. (T -> T + G)
      2. Add to treasury loot taken from enemy cities captured. (T -> T + L). Subtract twice as much from enemy's treasury.
      3. Add to treasury any gold from sacking/pillaging captured cities. (T -> T + S)
      4. Subtract from treasury any gold spent on retooling city production capability. (T -> T - R)
    3. As the other sides take their turns:
      1. If you lose 1 of your C cities, the enemy loots L = T/(2C) from your Treasury T (rounded down). Your treasury diminishes by 2L. Repeat for each city lost.

  4. Clarifications, Examples, and Tactical Tricks

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