"Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria is a turn-based strategy video game developed by Infinite Interactive and published by Ubisoft Entertainment. It is the fourth in the Warlords series.
This title deviates from prior entries in the series by offering a more streamlined interface and approach to gameplay. Diplomacy plays virtually no role in the game, and micromanagement of units is scaled-down to a great extent. In addition, there are only two resources in the game; gold and mana, as opposed to the many varied resources found in most strategy games of this type, which is needed to produce certain units. Perhaps the most notable instance of streamlining is the combat system. Rather than having multiple units battling it out at once, combat is one-on-one, similar to a collectible card game. A player will choose which unit they wish to send into battle, and so will the computer (or the other player in multiplayer games). The units will then battle to the death, with no retreating. Once a unit is killed, the player or computer sends in another, and so on, until one side is victorious. Surrender is not an option during or between battles. Spells can be cast before or between battles that will help to increase the chance of success. Groups or "stacks" of units can number up to eight for traveling parties or up to sixteen units for cities.
The basic flow of the game consists of producing units in cities, based on the amount of resources currently available to the player, and then sending those units out to conquer other cities and/or explore ruins, while learning spells along the way. The amount of time it takes to produce a unit, move a unit to a place on the map, and learn a spell is determined by a specified number of turns. For example, a weak unit or a common spell make take one or two turns to produce or learn; while a powerful unit may take as much as four turns to produce and a rare or "arcane" spell may take as much as sixteen turns to learn. While the player is performing these steps, the opposing player(s) are as well. As many as eight players can play a game at a time. These can be any mixture of human or AI players. The game ends once all but one warlord (player) is defeated. The object of the game is to capture enemy cities, which will result in more resources and units. Cities come in four levels and can be upgraded at the cost of gold. A higher-level city can produce more powerful units and is more-resistant to enemy sieges. The player can also explore different ruins which dot the map, which can yield great amounts of experience points, magical items which can be used by hero units (discussed below), additional resources, or additional combat units. Depending on the surrounding buildings a player's capital city has, quests may become available which consist of the player clearing out four random ruins on the map as steps towards a great reward. These can help increase the power of a player's army."
Source: Wikipedia, "Warlords_IV:_Heroes_of_Etheria," available under the CC-BY-SA License.