Rules Of Engagement

Warlords II
(A player's addendum to the manuals!)

This hodge-podge of observations and deductions has been compiled by several enthusiastic Warlords players as a handy reference guide to better conquest. We think it contains useful information which we obtained through experimentation, experience, and questions posed to SSG. We have verified the statements herewithin to the best of our ability before publication. Please send comments to:

David Prucha 71021,3423@CompuServe.Com
Randy Skold

(Some editorial work done by Bob Heeter.)

A few stray words on Army Strengths

Note by Bob Heeter: Some of this is actually wrong. Normal combat uses a 20-sided die, intense combat a 24-sided die. (Yes, the IBM Warlords II Manual is wrong; we confirmed this with SSG.) The odds table is therefore incorrect; refer to the one I've provided ("Battle Probability Analysis") instead. We now return to the actual text, which is still very useful. I have italicized both incorrect text and my own comments below.

A given army's strength at the time of combat depends on many things. A Warlord will want the strongest possible armies. We think the best way to think of an army's strength is as a total of individual strength + stack bonuses. Individual strength can reach a maximum of 9, stack bonuses can reach a total of 5, and the total can then reach 14 (which is conveniently just short of the 16 sided die that is rolled to determine battle outcomes to provide for the occasional all-powerful army defeat.) Please see table included for combat odds for any given TWO armies of strengths between 1 and 14. Note that this does not provide for intense combat (a 32 sided die) which will allow stronger armies to be at more even odds. Our odds table is based on the examples from the Warlords (I) manual. To calculate the odds of winning a conflict involving more than two armies, one must take into account that hits carry over, i.e. that an army may survive to battle the next of an enemy stack with one hit inflicted by the first enemy he encounters. This probability calculation gets increasingly ugly as more armies are involved in the fray. We have coded a method for doing these calculations but the run times at 8 vs. 8 are prohibitively long. So we have included in this release of ROE a c-program which will run a particular conflict as many times as you'd like, to act as does the military advisor. This should provide a fairly acurate idea of who is likely to survive (something the military advisor doesn't do) and one's chances of ultimate victory.

Note by Bob Heeter - actual probability analyzers are now available which take negligible run time; see the battle probability analyisis page.

General Rules

Below are listed some general rules we have gleaned.

1. The maximum individual strength without stack bonuses of any army is 9. The maximum number of stack bonuses is 5. Therefore the maximum modified Strength of any army is 14; 9 individual str + 5 stack bonuses from elsewhere.

2. The minimum army strength is 1 even when a strength 1 army is confronted by an enemy stack with a -3 to the enemy stack bonus.

3. Positive Stack Bonuses will max out at 5 no matter how many are available. Stack Bonuses are comprised of Hero Stack Bonuses plus the single highest Non-Hero Stack Bonus. (A Non-Hero Stack Bonus may come from either a single special character or a single non- special character. If both occur in the same stack, the one with the highest positive bonus is used.)

4. Negative Stack Bonuses (e.g. -3 to the enemy stack ) seem to be independent of positive stack bonuses. And when two armies with negative stack bonuses exist in the same stack, only one (the maximum one) negative stack bonus is active!

5. Terrain Modifiers for BOTH stacks are evaluated in the square that is being attacked. Therefor, stacks good at defending cities will also be good at attacking cities. (E.g. a character that has a +2 to the stack in the city will be good both to defend or attack a city, but less so in the open.)

6. When under attack, all armies in a city are considered to be in one stack and enjoy the bonuses of armies in that stack.

The Ideal Stack

Let me point out that it is impossible to build an ideal stack for all purposes. Different talents are needed for attacking a city, attacking an enemy stack in the field, defending in the field, attacking hero groups, etc. Below are listed some general observations about how to build better assault stacks and some general observations about stronger stack building. It should be noted that building ideal stacks may be impractical due to slow moving or expensive or just plain unavailable armies. The character sets provided by SSG are fairly well balanced with adequate trade offs to make for interesting games. For example, stronger, faster armies are usually more expensive than slower ones; stronger are more expensive than weaker ones.

With all that said, let's build the strongest abstract stack possible.

The ideal stack has 8 strength 14 armies, one to four of which are enemy detrimental. The highest individual strength a single army may have without stack bonuses is 9. Therefore, it is optimal to provide 5 further stack bonuses from other sources.

Individual Bonuses = 9
In order to get 8 strength 14 armies, you must start with 8 strength 9 armies and add 5 Stack Bonuses. The best non-special armies are usually born as 6s or occasionally 7s. Even among specials there is usually only one born as a 9. To increase any armys un-stack-modified strength you may, (1) bless it, (2) win medals in combat (a rare and unpredictable method), or (3) take advantage of its usually terrain-based individual bonuses.

Note on specials : Specials do not have individual bonuses, only stack bonuses, and therefore may only be individually strengthened by blessing or winning battle medals (very rare). Also note that total blessings attainable are limited by the number of temples available and the distances involved in reaching the temples.

Stack Bonuses = 5
Stack bonuses are totaled from (a) Hero Stack Bonuses, and (b) Highest Non-Hero Stack Bonus. But note that 5 is the most that can be used no matter how high the total. It is therefore advantageous to pass excess command items from a maxed-out hero to a less well-endowed one. Here we'd like to make an impassioned plea to any Warlords III writers who may read this, for an expendable army (other than the heroes) with high movement rate that is capable of carrying special items -ed. Also, since the highest Non-Hero Stack bonus allowable is +3, a stack must have a hero with sufficient stack bonuses to bring the total to +5.
Hero stack bonuses are gained through (1) level advancement: +1/level, or (2) flag and special item retrieval. Note that command bonuses from items translate directly to stack bonuses; however, battle items add to the strength of a hero and therefore to the hero's stack bonus in the following way (as per the manual):

If (strength <= 6) then command = +1
If (strength = 7,8) then command = +2
If (strength <= 9) then command = +3

Note that a weak hero with just +3 command/stack bonuses is just fine when with a non-hero with a +2 stack bonus.

A special note on terrain modifiers:

1. The rule that terrain oriented bonuses are determined by the defenders' location makes the city bonus armies very valuable as these will be useful for both defense and attack. (e.g. +2 str in the city or +2 stk in the city ). (Probably the most valuable since these are done very, very often.)

2. Probably the next most useful terrain oriented bonus is the in the open type which would be most useful in stacks of marauding armies looking to catch enemies out in the open.

3. Generally speaking, terrain bonuses in the woods and hills are very rarely useful as most battles occur in the open or in a city because, generally speaking, travel is easier in the open and the goal of the game is to take and hold cities. There are exceptions when certain scenarios have cities unavailable except by woods or hills. Also there will be times when a marauding Warlord insists on assault through these difficult terrains and must be preemptively attacked.

Note by Bob Heeter - many army sets allow warlords to easily build scout units which confer both woods and hills movement bonuses on a whole stack; thus movement through these terrains is generally no more difficult than through plains. I disagree with the authors of the ROE docs that hills/woods bonuses are rarely useful. In fact, one can often achieve a large degree of surprise in attacking through woods/hills, making it a very useful strategy at times.

Note further that all roads are not created equal! Roads have the terrain characteristics of the terrain through which they pass, i.e. if a road passes directly through woods, then the road provides a woods terrain bonus. A particularly tricky scenario that demonstrates this sometimes suble point is the Elemental Crux, where all roads appear to be through open terrain at first glance but upon closer inspection are lined with small hills and do not provide open terrain bonuses.

4. A note on encamping a stack (i.e. pressing the Defend button when a stack is not in a city.) This is a useful tactic for defending a stack in general as it will give a city bonus of +1 (according to SSG) without the city. This bonus, however, does not take effect until the stack appears to be a tower which is not until the player's next turn. It seems that similar benefits can be derived from an army with the fortified bonus in the stack. Therefore, encamping armies with city bonuses will maintain their advantage if placed in an assailant's path

The Five Enemy Detrimental Bonuses
1. Negative enemy stack bonus Armies.
2. Cancel Non-Hero Bonus Armies.
3. Cancel city bonus Armies.
4. Cancel Hero Bonus Armies.
5. Fortified Bonus Armies

These are listed above in possible order of usefulness. The first is always useful. The second will usually be useful (provided the stack you are fighting has non-hero stack bonuses; individual bonuses are NOT cancelled.) The third will be useful whenever you are attacking a city, fortified, or encamped stack. The fourth will be useful only when going up against a nother warlord.

Make them 9s and add a hero and non-hero with stack bonuses totaling +5 and you have an almost unbeatable combination!

Sounds simple doesn't it?

A NOTE ON RUIN PRIZES: Give the ruin prizes of a stack movement doubler and stack flying capabilities to your hero and you will have a really powerful stack. Which brings up a little known fact about movement doubling items; when two heroes, both holding a movement doubling item reside in the same stack, the stack magically gets triple the movement rate of the slowest army. This does not occur if the same hero holds both items.

A Note on Stack Combat ReOrdering

The strategy one takes to stack order during combat is a philosophical one at best. We generally prefer to keep our best stack bonus contributors, rare creatures, and expensive armies more protected and toward the last of the stack to die. This presumes that survivors are likely. In general, stack order doesn't matter to final victory, however, it will determine who is left if you happen to win. To this end a possible strategy is presented below. Another good reason to reorder your stack's fighting order becomes apparent in multiple human games. The computer will sort your stacks automatically for you and show only the highest army in the fight order as the representative for the whole stack, when viewed on the large expanded view window. By placing an otherwise weak and innocuous army high on the combat order, your human opponents will be fooled and confused into believing a city is held by weaklings or a stack of inconsequential armies is approaching their cities. You can see your stacks, but may deny them that privilege.

1. Hero (not optional unless over the water with a flying army.)
2. Cancel Hero (potentially negates up to 5 enemy stack bonuses)
3. Cancel Non-Hero (potentially negates up to 3 enemy stack bonuses)
4. -3 to the enemy stack
5. +3 to the stack
6. -2 to the enemy stack
7. +2 to the stack
8. Cancel City (-1 or -2 to the enemy stack in the city)
9. Fortified (+1 or +2 to the stack: we re not sure)
10. -1 to the enemy stack
11. +1 to the stack
12. then by strength (taking individual strength bonuses into account)

Hero Advancement

Heroes are born with:
1. a base movement rate = depends on character set (usually 14,15, or 16 per turn)
2. a base strength = depends on character set (usually 5 or 6)
3. battle points (individual str bonus) = 0
4. command value (equates to stack bonus points) = 1
5. and experience points = 0

Heroes gain experience points by:
1. Winning a city = 2
2. Winning a battle = 1
3. Exploring a ruin = 3
4. Being blessed at a temple = 1
5. Completing a quest (the biggest) = 10

At each level advancement, rewards are given to the advancing hero. +2 movement per advancement, +1 command bonus (equates to +1 stack bonus!), base movement rate and strength differ slightly by scenario. Strength is also affected by blessings.

Level  Experience Points  Command  Movement  Strength  Male Name   Female Name
  1           0-14          +1        14         5        Hero       Heroine
  2          15-29          +2        16         6      Cavalier     Amazon
  3          30-59          +3        18         7      Champion     Champion
  4             60          +4        20         8       Paladin     Valkyrie  


The types of quests available are:
1. Occupy or Raze a particular city
2. Sack & Pillage for gp
3. Locate & Slay a particular hero or a random kind of special army.
4. Kill a random number between 10 and 25 armies belonging to some other player.

NOTE: Being attacked by enemy armies/heroes/specials does NOT credit you towards your quest! You must be the agressor in all types of quest.

Another NOTE: Fulfilling any of these quests often involves making one unpopular and angering the computer warlords.

Quest Rewards and Ruin Searches

1. Money
2. Special Items
3. Temple Allies (a subset of specials) if questing or Specials if ruin plundering.
4. Location of a stronghold containing one of the above
NOTE: Take the money if you need a hero, but usually the special items are of the most help (in our opinion.)


1. Armies cost an additional 1 gp per army when in the water.

2. Navies move 20 spaces of open sea per turn. Open sea costs one movement point . Shore spaces cost two movement points .

3. When attacking from the water to the water, both stacks are evaluated as comprised of strength 4 armies and no stack or individual bonuses apply. Note that flying armies, although they appear to be in the boat with the stack and get 20 movement points, are evaluated as separate flying armies during combat and keep their unboated strength. The guy from SSG does not think that negative stack bonuses apply either, if attacking a sea stack with a wraith (-3), for instance.

4. When attacking from the water to shore or city, both stacks are evaluated as land units and land or city terrain modifiers apply.

5. When attacking Navies from the shore, the attacker is evaluated as a navy as well with strength 4 armies and no stack or individual bonuses apply.

6. When attacked by flying armies, Navies are still strength 4 armies, but the flying armies are evaluated normally, at full strength, as if they were ashore.

7. Killing an enemy hero in or over water will result in the loss of any special items he/she may be carrying!

8. Heroes cannot deboat with a flying army (as a flying army) from an aquatic location. Flying armies can.

Standard Planting

1. Each Player may only plant his own standard.

2. A standard CANNOT be planted in Water, Ruins, Temples, Mountains, or Cities.

3. A standard CAN be planted in the Open, Road, Woods, or Hills.


1. All accounting transactions occur at the beginning of each turn based on what armies and cities are available (visible on the movement map) at that moment.

2. Troops in transit via vectoring are NOT considered costs until they appear at their destination city.

Scenarios & Mapping & Miscellany

Ruins are lain down semi-randomly for most SSG scenarios. Temples and cities are fixed.

On fighting monsters in ruins: The Hero doesn't fight the monster in the ruins, in the standard sense. Instead, he simply has a very high chance of victory on a single die roll. Any other armies present with the Hero, regardless of their strength, increase his chance of victory. Monsters are considered different strengths and they do affect the level of the Hero's chance to win.

Observations when Dealing With Computer Warlords AI

1. Under most circumstances, Do not attack a computer player within the first 5 moves. This generally angers the rest of the computer warlords and they may all come after you.

2. Do not heart (our term for attacking an enemy when at peace with them) other players if possible as this will anger the rest of the computer warlords.

3. Do not expand too rapidly, too early in the game as this will threaten the computer warlords and they may all come after you.

4. When a warlord holds 2/5 of total cities on the map, all computer warlords will drop what they are doing and attack that human to attempt to prevent the human from conquering 50%+1 of total cities. It is at this point that the computer warlords will su e for peace and the game will end in a single human game.

Note by Bob Heeter - I strongly disagree with much of this. Particularly in "I am the Greatest" games (where they're all going to come after you starting on Turn 8 or 9 anyway), it's crucial to expand as rapidly as possible. The AI often leaves its cities completely undefended in the first few turns, and if you can take advantage of this and cripple (or even wipe out) your nearest neighbors before they can get established, you're a long way towards winning the game.

This is especially true if you can grab one or two lightly-defended enemy capital cities, which either allow you to build another powerful unit, or give you enough of a reward in sacking to allow you to get a second hero much earlier. I have won several "I am the greatest games" on visible maps against "Enhanced" computer opponents with this sort of "go for the throat" tactic. ("Enhancing" opponents gives their new units a +2 increase in as-built strength, but it doesn't matter if you win the game by taking undefended or neutral cities!) So my advice would be to let your tactics depend on your strategy; i.e., if you have a rapid-conquest strategy, then don't be worried about pissing off the AIs early!

This file was partly converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.