Lords of the Realm II is the sequel to the game Lords of the Realm. It is a turn based strategy game with real time combat. When playing against the computer, combat can be paused using the space button.
The game takes place in medieval times. The king is dead, and has no heir; it's up to you to defeat all the others vying for the throne to take it for yourself.
At the game set up, players can choose their shield (color), enter a name for themselves, and select a preset map. They can also control the quality of the starting counties, the size of any starting castles and armies, and the starting money. Players can also turn foraging armies on or off, which causes armies passing through lands to eat food there, or not. This allows players to set up a quick game, or to set out for an epic.
The game uses a variety of resources. Your armies are drafted from peasants, which also do all your work for you. They collect iron, stone, and wood, which are used for defense. They also work the fields of grain and cattle, which provide food, and reclaim any land that has been destroyed by flooding, scorched by drought, or destroyed by invading armies. Happiness affects the rate of growth in your county.
Crowns are the unit of currency, which is used to purchase goods and supplies from wandering merchants and pay wages to your army and any mercenaries in it.
The wood and iron are used to make weapons, which are then equipped to the peasants you draft for your armies. Players can build bows, maces, swords, pikes, crossbows, and knights, each with a different cost and benefit. For example, macemen are cheap and lightly armored, but fast. Crossbowmen are more accurate than bowmen, and better suited to killing heavily armored targets like knights. The player can simply draft peasants and not equip them with any weapons; they appear on the combat map with pitchforks and no armor. This can be an effective shield for your more important units that you spent time and resources equipping, because arrows are absorbed by the first unit they encounter.
Wood and stone are used to build castles, which act as the primary defense for a county. To conquer a county, if a castle is present, the castle must be sieged and captured. The castle can be conquered by either killing all the units, or capturing a flag located within the castle. If there is no castle present, or if the castle is not occupied, then the county is captured by marching to the town and killing the peasants that meet you on the field of battle. The number of peasants that meet you in combat is directly related to the size of the county.
Large counties have small villages pop up around them. These villages contain some of the population for the county. They can be burned to reduce the population in a county, which can ease conquest or serve as direct population control for your peasants.
Armies can be raised from the peasant population, and travel on the world map. If possible, they will follow roads, which allow travel three times faster than through the grass. Traveling through the grass is necessary to burn crops and destroy cattle.
Combat takes place on a separate map. When two armies meet on the field, they fight on a randomly selected stock map. These maps have some strategic obstructions like rivers, trees, and occasionally stones. When an enemy army reaches a castle, a siege commences, which allows the army to build siege equipment. Siege towers (which allow units to walk up walls), catapults (which break down walls), and battering rams (which break down gates) can be built. When all the siege equipment qued by the player is built, or immediately if none was built, the armies fight.
A player wins when they have eliminated all their adversaries. There are four stock computer opponents the player encounters each game, each with slightly different AI.
The Knight - The knight tends to keep his people unhappy, and aims to win through military might.
The Baron - The baron is described as calculating, and usually runs a good economy.
The Bishop - The Bishop usually has moderately well equipped armies.
The Countess - The countess uses the rudimentry diplomacy in the game, but will stab her allies in the back quite overtly.
The diplomacy was very rudimentry. It allowed sending insults to anger the computer, and compliments to appease them. You could also make "alliances", which carried little weight and would inevitably be broken because there can be only one king. You could also send gifts of money, although small gifts would be belittled by your ungrateful adversaries. Diplomacy had little function within the game, but did allow for character to show, as the knight would make threats as you burned his lands, and the countess would dismiss you when she was through with the alliance.
The fairly large number of maps allowed for quite some replay value, as did the variety of strategic options available to players, although longbows were often quite good and cheap. A solid economy was the ultimate key to success in this game.