Warlords resembles a combination of Breakout and Quadrapong (an early Atari arcade game); up to four players play the game at the same time, and the “castles” in the four corners of the screen are brick walls that can be broken with a flaming ball.
Warlords is a battle between four warlords, 1-4 of which can be controlled by the player(s). The objective is to destroy the three other castles while protecting one’s own castle with a moving shield. Each castle is an L-shaped wall distinguished by a different color, each containing and protecting a Warlord icon (a crown for player-controlled Kings, a dark lord helmet for computer-controlled Black Knights).
The weapons for accomplishing this are spinning fireballs which bounce off anything they touch and destroy chunks of a castle wall on contact. Fireballs can be caught, held, and thrown by shields for greater hitting force, via a “Power stone” button, but at the cost of slowly deteriorating the player’s own walls. When an icon is destroyed it releases another fireball onto the playfield, traveling in the opposite direction of the killing shot. The first fireball is launched by a dragon, always at a human player. Subsequent fireballs, up to a maximum of four at once, appear after timeouts or when a warlord icon is destroyed.
The last player with their icon intact is awarded a point bonus. A game ends when all human players are eliminated.