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Rating: 4.5/5 (209 votes)
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joyeWarlightSeeing some numbers attack some other numbers may not seem the height of amusement. But there's just something so satisfying when those numbers are labeling a world map. Mwahahaha! My ten units in British Columbia have just wiped out Alberta! Take that, oil and cows! Warlight, a strategy game with both single player and play-by-email multiplayer modes, provides the satisfying experience of conquering Europe, the world, Middle Earth, or even Mr. T, all in the comfort of your browser. Fans of Risk, Galcon, or Dice Wars will feel right at home here!

You'll want to learn the ropes in the single player levels first. There are hotkeys you can use, but the game recommends learning how to play with the cursor first, so once you think you have the game down, check out the "help" tab at the top of the screen to learn the shortcuts. You can play the single player mode without registering, but registration is free and allows you to associate your best scores with your profile. The single player mode contains an excellent tutorial, but I'll go over the basics here as well.

You'll start out every level with at least one territory under your control and gain at least five armies at the start of every turn. The first phase is deployment where you can place new armies on any territory you control by clicking on it. One click increases the number of armies in the territory by one. The second step is attack and transfer. In this phase, you can order the armies in a territory to attack an enemy or uncontrolled territory, or to transfer between two territories that you control. Click on the territory you wish to send armies from and then click on the one you wish to attack. Confirm all your actions, then either commit to or clear your moves and watch what happens!

Analysis: The game introduces many features as you progress through the single player to keep things interesting. Bonus areas are probably the most important strategy-wise. Certain groupings of territories, such as Europe and Asia on the first map, Britain and Bulgaria on the "Europe Challenge" map, and the so-called "Fist of Power" on the "Mr. T" map, give a bonus to the number of armies you gain per turn when you control all the territories in the area. Some areas are more valuable than others, and some are easier to defend than others. Britain in the Europe Challenge map is both valuable and easy to defend. Bulgaria, on the other hand, is both almost worthless and difficult to defend. Obviously, getting and keeping control of Britain will be a high priority, whereas capturing or keeping Bulgaria will be low.

WarlightThe other two aspects worth mentioning are cards and the fog. In later single player levels you'll be introduced to cards, and in the multiplayer there are nine different possible cards as options when setting up a game. You gain pieces of cards every turn that you capture a territory, and once you have a complete card you can play it at the start of the turn. The reinforcement card, as an example, gives you a one time bonus of extra armies. Fog, as you might have guessed, covers territories for a completely new level of strategy.

The first screenshot was taken from a multiplayer game between myself and everyone's favorite neighborhood Chiktionary. Although we look fairly evenly matched in the picture, because I had been careful to take and control bonus areas and she hadn't, I was earning 55 armies a turn at this point and she was earning 10. I don't need to tell you who ended up winning. (Thanks for being a good sport, Chiktionary!)

ChiktionaryIf there's one thing I've learned from playing joye, and being sorely trounced in a multiplayer game of Warlight, it's that strategy counts as soon as you begin. For a good game, players have to be strong right from the start, weakness becomes evident very quickly. Thankfully there's no messing around with dice or quibbling with your opponent in this Risk-style game. You simply make your moves, submit them and then watch the ensuing carnage. I think I became over-confident by playing the single player games, because I blitzed the games against an AI opponent.

It seems that time is a major factor in multiplayer games, simply in terms of waiting for your team-mates and/or opponents to take their turns. The game between Joye and myself took a few days to play, and averaged about two to three turns per day. Fortunately, you don't have to sit staring at the screen for hours waiting for your turn, as you'll be notified by e-mail when other players have completed theirs.

The only reservations I have about Warlight include the lack of ease in exiting a multiplayer game when you wish to quit; you can surrender but you need the approval of other players to do so. Also, there is a chat feature in multiplayer games which apparently can't be disabled, so there is the potential for unpleasant encounters online. But so far in the games I've played and am currently playing, people seem less interested in chatting and more interested in world domination.

What I really like about Warlight is the swift introduction of challenge, the interesting playing fields, the variety of maps, and the ability to create your own boards. Overall, Warlight is a fabulous gaming experience for fans of the traditional game of Risk and for those who are yet to experience strategic gameplay and the thrill of world domination.

Play Warlight (single player)

NOTE: For multiplayer and play-by-email modes, you must play at Warlight.net


The ability to create your own boards? I don't remember KDice or anything having that. That's a pretty cool feature.


Just from looking at the picture and the description, this sounds almost exactly like risk. Time to play and find out.


Not Alberta!!!!!! Curse you Joye!!!!!


Except you can't play risk on Mr.T.


So it's Risk then?


The geographical inaccuracies were perhaps more amusing than the game itself.


Anyone else having any trouble with the server, or is it just me?


What ever happened to roling the dice?


Why do we use dice in the first place... to simulate probability... this game has a good analysis tool... better than risk! The challenge modes are hard!! They will suck up hours of time. This is a good one.

One thing that's bad is that the game needs to have scalable cards... not just a perpetual 6 troop bonus, which is almost useless later on.


My strategy is to concentrate your armies at the places where you are vulnerable to attack. Once you get a continent, block all enemy entrances with troops. I had 158 troops on Siberia just to protect me from the AI... Always have at least more than double the troops the enemy territory has if you are attacking. Focus on capturing CONTINENTS not single territories.


I love dicewars and been looking for something close to it for a while now. This is perfect but sadly I been getting back into MMOs. I may have to bookmark the site and play it later.

I find the cards a nice added touch though compare to dicewars.

fuzzyface October 7, 2010 8:24 AM

any strategy tips for the challenges?

Anonymous October 7, 2010 1:29 PM

What I found most effective for the challenges is to concede immediately and save yourself the time spent losing.


Why does this game have a bad content rating? There is nothing wrong with the content ... and I've been playing it for several days.

Shouldn't this game qualify for rating-g?

[Due to the multiplayer chat component. Otherwise, yes, it would receive a green rating. -Jay]


You can also play the game in "real-time" with 5 minute turns.


Can't save a single player game? The third game is too long to play in a straight session.


I beat the "Crazy" challenge. It's all about where you start; if they put you in the middle of Asia, just restart. Ideally, take a continent, fortify, and move in one direction. You need to get a little lucky and be able to expand for 3-4 turns before meeting an opponent.

General tips: 1. Focus heavily on regions first, as they give you army bonuses. 2. Take over continents second and focus on building up "choke point" with tons of armies. 3. Expand in one direction only, with an eye to #1 and #2. 4. Leave Asia 'til last. 5. Try to keep the opposing factions at each others' throats-when all three of one side are eliminated, the others will team up and make your life hell.

I've made serious headway into Europe, then the enemy will start popping up 200+ armies on your border repeatedly, which you just can't defend. The third map seems equally crazy: I don't think you can expand hard and fast enough to withstand the bad guys when they arrive from all angles.

Anonymous October 8, 2010 1:49 PM

Yep, just as some commenters have said, the only winning strategy is not to play at all.

As Basseq said, if you start anywhere near Europe or Asia, your initial position is totally indefensible and you are de-facto doomed.

What he left un-said was that, in the 20+ games I've begun (at L3), only ONCE was I able to even take a single region to get one measly bonus before finding an aggressive neighbor (who has, of course, in the same amount of time, conveniently hidden by Fog, amassed three or four bonuses, somehow). Not coincidentally, that was the only game I won, because it was the only one where I had even a snowball's chance.

Come on, guys, there are 7 continents on that map. Why does one of the 3 opponents always have to be literally right next door, EVERY FREAKIN' TIME!

That's just cheap. If you can't even get a viable starting position 1/2 to 1/3 of the time, what's the point?


The odds aren't as bad as @JIGuest suggests, IMO, though it might take a couple tries. When you do see an enemy, hit him hard. Best defense is a good offense, and all that. Worst cast, just churn and burn. It takes them a turn to take a country, so use that time to expand elsewhere and complete a needed region.

I did just beat the Europe map, here's how:

1. Fortify everything on N Scotland. Take NW France, and fortify SE England from the Midlands and use your Wales forces to follow your invading force. And then be a complete backstabber and take W Norway from your ally. Sure, it's a dick move, but the enemy is going to make short work of them anyway, and in the meantime you might as well make the best of it.

2. Fortify your backstabbing forces. Continue expanding South into France: those six armies are needed. Note that you want to be in SW France, C France, and the Rhone Alps at the same time with massive forces, as ~150 baddies are going to show up in S France. You should be able to make short work of them, but watch your Eastern border: pockets of 70-100 baddies will show up in the next few turns. Fortify and airlift as you get the card and it shouldn't be an issue.

3. At the same time, burn through the entire Norway region. You'll meet serious resistance in the form of ~300 troops in the NE part of that area. Your job now is just to RUN. Scatter your forces and start working through Russia and Eastern Europe. There will be only one army in each country, so 3 armies attacking will easily take everything. Ignore any losses in the region and go for land grab. This cripples the enemies ability to produce and gives you tons of extra armies. You might want to do an airlift up here just to make a dent in that 300 and aid in the rush. The enemy's main forces will probably continue down Norway towards the UK (uh oh!), but follow in its wake with little guerrilla forces just to regain land. Hopefully he'll chase you around up there, avoid the UK, and generally ignore the fact that you're slaughtering him in Central Europe.

3. It seems counter-intuitive, but don't rush to take Spain. Start making little exploratory strikes, and when you take it, go fairly hard. The enemy will reinforce at some point, so just fortify and head him off.

4. Once you have Western Europe and and burning through Eastern Europe, while making inroads through Italy and Turkey, and playing Hide-n-go-Seek in Norway, you've basically got it made. Eventually you'll start reinforcing up to Norway, and using airlift cards to move troops from one part of the map (e.g., Spain) up to that area to make more of a stand.

Hope this helps!

fattywads October 10, 2010 5:31 AM

had an all jig game today! and I won!


I've finally beaten the first two challenge levels, but it wasn't easy. For Europe,

The trick is move as fast as possible to take away as many bonus regions from the enemy as possible. Don't worry too much about holding onto them yourself at first. I sent a big army all the way across central Europe and then a second one over Scandinavia after the enemy had taken it. The trick is to do a whole lot of little attacks so that you can take a lot of ground, even if you can't hold it. The other key is to avoid the enemy's giant troop movements for as long as possible. Just keep running away and splitting up.

for the "crazy" challenge:

the most important thing might be where everyone starts. Both times I won I started on Africa and the enemies started where they had to fight each other. Its important to secure some valuable, defensible territory fast and then try to keep the enemy from doing the same. Try to get your foot in the door on nearby territories (like taking Brazil or Spain) just to keep everyone else from getting the bonus. Whenever you get a chance, try to send a force to run around behind enemy lines, just to break up their troop supply. As long as you move this force first every turn, the enemy will usually not catch up to it. As a general rule, try to attack where the enemy leaves weak defenses and defend where the enemy build up troops

Hope this helps. As for the "insane" challenge, I don't have a clue what to do. I've tried it twice and both times I got blown off the map immediately.

potatoface October 13, 2010 1:38 PM

I can't even beat Level 3 in Single Player Levels. Any strategy tips?

Anonymous October 13, 2010 9:38 PM

You don't need to rampage through continents and brute force things- have goals, take territory that combined with what you have gives you a border that's easier to defend.
e.g. Africa is a mess but when you own it all there are only 4 points of entry.

Deny bonuses- deny your neighbour a bonus, either fortify the territory you've taken if that makes more strategic sense or split your force into small roving bands that attack new territory- making it very tough for your neighbour to predict which territory he has to fortify to eradicate your force.
e.g. you take africa so grab brazil, antartica, spain and saudi arabia. You're getting +17 armies per turn, denying another 18 bonuses per turn- there are only +102 bonuses on the whole map so when there are 4 or more people in game in that situation you'd be massively in the lead.

Work out which territory to take: factor in the region bonus, number of exposed borders, usefulness of nearby territory in creating a more easily defensible position.
e.g. Where do you expand from antartica? Australia gives a nice bonus and taking it leaves just +1 places to be attacked - good to take early on but poor strategic position so not so useful later.
South africa has more exposed borders but leads on to the riches of the whole continent being incredibly easy to defend- after a tough struggle to take it.

Basic attack numbers: 5 invading armies will always capture from 2- if you need to take a neutral terriotry that has 2 armies then you need 6 in your own territory- one to stay behind, 5 as an expeditionary force.
Attack 1 army with 2 and you'll always take it.
Attacking 2 armies with 3 can work at times. If you're about to get a bonus play safe and just send the extra army to ensure capture.

potatoface October 14, 2010 9:29 AM

Thanks for the tips, but I just can't beat it. in 10+ games played, just when I think I've got momentum.... WHAM! How does the AI accrue so many armies in under 10 turns?

chickenwiccan October 17, 2010 12:34 AM

Hey guys, I'm trying to play a custom game under Single Player, but the maps won't load on any browser I try. Any tips on how to fix this?



Ok, I've finally managed to beat Crazy a couple times

I've come to the conclusion that there's probably no more than 5% of starting positions that are winnable. You have to start in a defendable area that you can get a couple bonuses without hitting heavy opposition, and then you have to have the two factions fighting over the big bonus areas you can't reach while extending your influence.

First time I won was on a complete fluke board, I controlled all of Africa, and Antarctica, and started on South America before I ran into an enemy, then mopped up the world. Still took 36 turns.

Second time was more of a challenge, I started in Singapore, captured that bonus in two turns then attacked Australia from two directions and put a stake in right-most Antarctica. While making sure that stack was big enough to deter the two other factions fighting over Antarctica, I was able to spread N and W into Asia, eventually sending bothering forces into California, Alaska, and/or Baja to keep that enemy from getting the bonuses...eventually went all the way to Europe and took the world.

But a second time I tried the same strategy from the same starting position...but this time it was two allies that joined me in Antarctica, they worked together and I couldn't keep a big enough stack there. So it really is a lot of luck.


For the Europe challenge: stay the hell away from Portugal.

Anonymous October 27, 2010 4:57 PM

Is it me, or does the warlight server tend to be somewhat unstable every now and then?


Thanks to the ideas from will and basseq, I was able to beat the Crazy Challenge in 24 turns.

I restarted until I was placed in Africa, took all of that continent, and then got footholds in all of the surrounding continents. I encountered two enemies early on (in Europe and Asia), but luckily, they were on opposing teams. I took S.America next, while playing spoiler in Europe and Asia (slowly gaining ground to deny bonuses in both). After taking S.America, I worked into N.America and met heavy resistance. Though, because of my plentiful bonuses, I was able to gain ground, picking slowly at the two enemies there (well, I lost ground from time to time, but made sure to protect my bonuses, primarily). To pick up more bonuses, I then took Antartica. At this point, I pushed hard in N.America, while just defending in Europe and Asia (such as building to 7 a territory with a 10 level enemy on the border, just to defend). Once I took all of N.America, there was no stopping me.


Warlight is a nice game (basically a RISK-clone) all though few players and few maps. The members have made all the different maps for free, but now the founder of the site wants 30$

Anonymous October 18, 2011 4:39 PM

I can't understand why on level 3 the enemy can claim a territory I've captured in the middle of territories I control, without taking out one of my surrounding territories! It's so frustrating.


I know this is an old review, but I see that people still post to it, and it came up on another site again recently (Armor Games?), so I played with it a little again.

If anything, the odds are now WORSE. I literally just spawned 37 straight games (L3). Not one single game was even remotely salvageable within the first 4 turns (more than half the time on the very 1st one) due to aggressive too-near neighbors or, in several cases, ridiculous abuse of the Luck function.

Luck says that you won't always kill 0.6 armies per attacking army. Normally, 2x the defending force is sufficient, but not always. For neutral territories, 5 is what they recommend sending. 6 gives a 98% chance of success according to the little "Analyze" button.

So why the expletive do almost HALF of my starting moves, using 5 (95%) or 6 (98%) attackers constantly fail to take the territory? It is consistently between 20% and 50% failure rate, every single stinking game. Maybe they dropped a decimal? This literallly happened so often you started to fall behind the AI players, and could never regain that lost ground -- ground lost through no fault of your own, within 3 turns of starting, with nothing you can do about it. Right, this is supposed to be fun?

Either way, the single player is basically unplayable because it is unwinnable, even before you get to the wacky, deliberately unfair challenge maps. At least they're marked as such. L3 can be won maybe once in 100 starting positions, give or take? Thanks but no thanks. Even Solitaire has better odds than that -- and it doesn't cheat.


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