Well, graphics and controls needing a bit of getting used to aside, the game is awesome. On current DOSBox 0.74 it works like charm, but maybe that's something of a Warlords version issue. (I have three versions laying around here, 1.01, 2.00 and 2.10, and I don't mean Warlords 2 by that, but Warlords 1 in versions 1.01, 2.00 and 2.10.) I don't think the game mechanics are too complex, that's true. But choosing your options sometimes can be quite complicated, as the combination of units in a group can lead to significant advantages, giving you opportunities to conquer even castles where you are outnumbered 2:1 by medium strength units with only one group attacking.
Annoying parts: The sometimes not really properly triggering controls. If you want to know what I mean, just try and move a group not as a group but unit by unit (like to remove some weaker units from the group). It's intended to be used like that, but very often the game doesn't recognize all clicks, especially the right ones... And when the AI gets a dragon rather early in the game. So frustrating, as there is little against that in early game.
Nice parts: Easy to learn, moderate to master. Feels best when played in coop against the AI. Just invite two friends, take 4-6 hours and have a lot of fun. And: Getting a dragon yourself early on. =)
For a game this old, it withstands the test of time.
It's not exactly complex and the graphics show their age, but for the time-period it was released it looks impressive.
Some people have mentioned having problems with DOSBOX and other emulators, but that's just as likely an issue with the emulator. It won't work on the NT 6.0 Kernal, so this may be a problem, especially in the future.
The AI is, well, artificial. I've seen it make decent moves, and I've seen it make bad moves. I've seen it play defensive when it should and I've seen it send a random stack of two light infantry to attempt to take a city fortified by a hero, a dragon, two demons, a stack of cavalry, and a bunch of heavy infantry for the chance to kill just one guy. It's still much better than most time period AI.
There's not much to the story because it plays out differently each time. Go figure - that's a staple of strategy games, especially from 1989.
The game interface is annoying to a first timer, but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature.
Overall I give it a 8 out of 10.
In highschool or shortly thereafter, I used to play this game at a friends house on the weekends.I bought my own computer primarily, so that I could play this and Warlords II more often.I then played it until I burnt myself out.I give it five stars *****.