Lordlings of Yore: The Game of Knights, Knaves and Necromancers was a turn-based fantasy strategy game, written and designed by Jon F. Baxley and programmed by Trey C. Johnson. It was published in 1983 by Baxley’s company Softlore Corporation. Lordlings of Lore was a medieval fantasy strategy game, with both tactic and diplomatic game elements. It featured hot seat play, in which each player carried out a turn of commands, each turn had six phases: Necromancer-, Treasury-, Deployment-, Movement-, Combat and an Option phase.
All commands would be played out when everybody had completed their own turn. The game allowed up to four human players battling it out against each other. On days when you didn’t have any friends over, you could play it against the computer with up to three AI opponents.
You and your opponents begin the game with an equal number of troops and wealth, but with a different geographic situation in each respective shire.
Your goal, to conquer your enemies’ lands and destroy their center of power. To fund troops and spells for your necromancer you’ll be taxing the poor peasants in your realm.
The Necromancer can be summoned by the player to cast powerful spells to destroy your enemy forces.
You’ll be victorious when all your opponents have been eradicated.
At the beginning of each game you were able to request changes in the computer generated setup making variation to the generated maps (grids).
Lordlings of Yore was controlled by text commands and almost entirely text-based, though the shires were shown as hi-res graphics when commands were played out. And as your armies begin travelling to other shires, you’ll start catching glimpses of those, but you will only be shown parts that would be visible to your troops at ground level (fog of war).
You could even have a map of your shire(s) printed along with a roster of your armies.
The graphics were drawn notoriously slow and the waiting times for the AI to complete its action were frustratingly long, but still the game was enjoyable and got fairly good reviews (the few I was able to dig out of magazines from the time).
The beautiful cover art was done by comic writer and artist, the late Aaron P. “Pat” Boyette.
The original 1983 Apple II, zip-lock release.
I’m not sure how many of these were sold, but in my 20 years of collecting I have only seen three or four copies. Lordlings of Yore was only released on the Apple II platform.
The cover features Pat Boyette’s beautiful artwork
In 1985 an “enhanced” version of Lordlings of Lore was published, also for the Apple II, by Phoenix Enterprises. This release swapped out the zip-lock bag for a boxed format, still using Boyette’s original artwork.
All floppies, both on the original release and the rerelease, has unique serial numbers written on the label, a pretty cool thing for collectors today.
It seems that the same floppies from the original release were used in the rerelease, I’m guessing surplus stock of originals, that wasn’t sold, was repacked for the boxed version – Maybe Phoenix Enterprises bought out the inventory from Softlore and rereleased it that way – any way this is all speculating. I’m gonna try and reach out to Baxley and see if I can get a bit more information on the subject.
A sealed 1985 rerelease, also for the Apple II, published by Phoenix Enterprises.
The box mentions this was an enhanced version, I’m not quite sure what this refers to – it seems that the game is completely identical to the original and in fact are using the exact same floppies as well.
Lordlings of Lore was the only title to be published by Softlore, it wasn’t commercially successful by any means, and finding information about the game and the developer seems nearly impossible. Nonetheless, it seems that the game has somewhat of a following today.
An open 1985 rerelease, with content very much identical to the original release (minus a few missing sheets of paper)
In 2018, Apple Pugetsound Program Library Exchange (A.P.P.L.E.), together with Baxley announced a newly designed 56-page manual, including remastered art for the cover and interior. Baxley also wrote a new preface and historical perspective for this A.P.P.L.E. release.
A limited edition box was also announced, hopefully this will materialize.
-A.P.P.L.E. is a global Apple user group established back in 1978, and which still to this day publish Apple related books and software.