Warlock: Master of the Arcane

Good
  • Fantastic fantasy world with distinct race designs to ensure each has their own alternative strategy
  • Religion system adds an interesting additional layer to the standard grand strategy gameplay core
Bad
  • Heavy combat focus that makes alternative victory pathways generally not worth exploring
  • AI decisions sometimes lack logical reasoning that hurts your immersion and challenge
8

Warlock: Master of the Arcane is a turn based game with some core similarities to the popular Civilization series albeit with a fantasy theme instead. Released in early 2012 by Paradox Interactive the game has since been expanded with a number of downloadable content pieces that build on the race and unit foundations of the core game to add additional strategy variety.

warlock-master-of-the-arcane-gameplay-world

Set in the same universe as the Majesty series of games from Paradox Interactive known as Ardania which features all manner of fantasy across both an evil and good spectrum. Equally diverse is the locations of this world with arctic areas, dense woodlands and bare deserts that are separated by seas and rivers that bring life the surrounding regions and have supported the growth of many prosperous races. This is just the surface of Ardania though with neutral portals scattered across the land which give access to underworld dimensions that are different to the overworld.

In Warlock: Master of the Arcane your core goal has players take control of one of the great mages and attempt to create their own powerful empire which spreads across the game map. In order to do this you will need to research spells, manage your city and engage in large scale battles against your enemies as you try to turn the world to your favour. Achieving this ultimate objective players can mix and match their strategy against a familiar three pillar structure of military, diplomacy and magical themed religion that ties closely to 8 different game gods.

warlock-master-of-the-arcane-gameplay-great-mages

With 12 base great mage options across the available races and 16 with DLC your choice of avatar is just the first of hundreds of decisions you’ll make on path to conquering the world of Ardania. As one would expect each of these great mages has their own unique designs, default perks, default spells, colour and general biographic information. From the human Miralbus who starts with mana vault, summon imps and lesser fireball to the undead King Lich V that starts with shadow bolt and weakness they each serve as a pillar to your strategy.

With your great mage selected (and in turn your race) your attention will turn to the hexagonal game board before you where you’ll find familiar 4X game mechanics. Using one of the tree races (four with the elven DLC) which includes humans, undead and monsters you’ll leverage their own approach to the game, playstyle and units to take control of every last Warlock: Master of the Arcane hex.

warlock-master-of-the-arcane-gameplay-hex-buildings

The game world of Ardania is split up into a hexagonal grid which players of other turn based strategy games will instantly recognise. Each grid can be occupied by buildings provided they are within your current area of influence which are central to generating the income of resources you need across gold, food, mana and research points.

These buildings also enable a range of units with battles breaking out if two sets of opposing units try to occupy the same grid which is where your choice of unit composition and their power play an important factor. Humans for example are the most flexible race with units across the archetypes of fighter, archer, caster, healer, siege and naval while monsters do not have casters and the undead lack healing units. Supporting units with powerful lords and your choice of religion it’s a war of both attribution and grand strategy.

Summary:

  • Based in the Majesty universe take over the fantasy world of Ardania with your own great mage leader.
  • 3 different races to play (4 with DLC) that each bring their own strategy and unit archetypes.
  • Explore a range of different win conditions which provide multiple approaches to the grand strategy gameplay.
  • Deep religion system with 8 different gods to please with their own rewards for worship.
  • Conquer a traditional hexagonal strategy world one hex at a time as you construct an unstoppable magical civilisation.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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