Four races of wizards, adepts of four magical schools, collide in a brutal fight for world domination. Etherlords, an iconic strategy created by Nival, became a bestseller in the world and earned highest grades from critics. Etherlords is an exciting mix of turn-based strategy and fantasy trading card game.
User reviews: Mixed (66 reviews) - 42% of the 66 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 12, 2001

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Buy Etherlords Bundle

Includes 2 items: Etherlords, Etherlords II



“This is the best game ever released in the turn-based fantasy genre.”
87/100 – GameSpy

“Having missions that take hours upon hours to finish is a difficult feature to sell to gamers that may have limited time to spare.”
81/100 – IGN

“Although the grand strategy is a bit misguided, the tactical combat is a splendid twist on the concept of collectible card games.”
81/100 – GameSpot

About This Game

Four races of wizards, adepts of four magical schools, collide in a brutal fight for world domination. Etherlords, an iconic strategy created by Nival, became a bestseller in the world and earned highest grades from critics.

Etherlords is an exciting mix of turn-based strategy and fantasy trading card game. Innovative game mechanics that first appeared in this game formed the basics of most modern games of this genre.

Key Features

  • 4 races of magical creatures, each with their own unique lands, architecture, spells and strategy;
  • 2 battle campaigns for each two allied races;
  • More than 300 spells, including sorcery, battle magic, summoning and rituals;
  • More than 10 game levels, all connected by one storyline;
  • 64 heroes of all races; their parameters, special abilities and selected skills progress with each level gained.
  • Individual battle style for each hero with the help of their unique sets of spells;
  • A combination of magical battle system based on table games and strategic use of resources;
  • Full 3D turn-based battles with unlimited variety of tactical decisions;

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows
    • Processor: Pentium II 266 MHz
    • Memory: 64 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • OS: Windows
    • Processor: Pentium II 450 MHz
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
5 of 10 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
A card battling RPG is a great idea for a game, but Etherlords doesn't fulfill that potential. Play Etherlords II instead as it's much more streamlined and enjoyable.

Whilst the card dueling portion of Etherlords is robust and enjoyable enough, the strategy/world map portion is simply not fit for purpose.

Producing hero units and casting global spells like a Heroes of Might & Magic game holds no weight when the ideal tactic is to simply eliminate the AI’s strongest hero and make a beeline for their temple.

As the game goes on you get the feeling that Nival lost faith in the strategy side of Etherlords and quietly downplayed its importance in favour of the superior card battle system.

The final battle of the campaign though is problematic as it pitches you in a duel against the sinister White Lord with a totally different hero and every spell in the game unlocked for deck preparation.

All of your hard work in building your own personal deck disappears at this point and it becomes a troubleshooting exercise instead of a grand finale to an epic adventure.

Read the full retrospective at my blog »
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38 of 42 people (90%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 5, 2014
Basically, if you don't mind doing a little workaround to get it to run and you like strategy games where you summon monsters and cast spells and it doesn't bother you if it is from 2001, then you may well like this game.

Using Win7 64-bit initially the game kept crashing every 2 minutes so I checked the Community and learned to get it to run you need to run the game directly from the exe (default: Steam\Steamapps\common\Etherlords\Etherlords.exe) rather than hitting Play on Steam. You will also need to use the following compatibility settings on the exe: Disable visual themes, Disable desktop composition, Disable display scaling on high DPI settings, and Run this program as an administrator. Fortunately if you do all that you can then make a shortcut and not have to go through all that trouble more than once.

Anyway the game itself is complex but fun, it is like combination Turn-Based Strategy and Magic the Gathering. You have a base to defend and you can summon heroes who go out on the map to explore, fight, and capture to increase the variety of resources you have (the strategy part). The heroes in turn engage in battles with monsters or other heroes they come across, and the heroes do so by summoning their own creatures and casting spells from the spellbook you have them set with (the MTG part). They also get XP and levels from the fights in order to gain new skills.

Things get more complicated there since beyond the basics, you will need to purchase higher level spells from shops you find on the map but to do so you will need certain resources, of the specified varieties for the spell. Not only that but you will also need resources purchased at a different shop in order to even cast the spell in battle. That can make it a little frustrating since you might get a really cool new spell but not have the resources to cast it, or you may run out after using it a couple times. The battles are fun and fast-paced enough to keep it interesting and there is even an option to auto-battle if you feel impatient and the AI is decent enough to win unless you are at a disadvantage, and of course you can resume control at any time.

Some things you may not like, tooltips don't appear by hovering but instead by right-clicking so get used to doing that a lot. The tutorials consist of just blocks of text that appear the first time you click on something new and you will probably learn more by doing, or through the right-click tooltips. The camera is not always where you want it to be in battles and the default view has the minimap upside down so that was strange. Resource management gets in the way of enjoying new spells sometimes. The enemies are unfairly advantaged in that they do not seem to be as limited as you in their spells/resources. Also it's an older game so don't expect super graphics, but I will say the number of different monsters is cool and they look decent.
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15 of 15 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 1, 2014
One of the old school classics.
Since the game was developed by Nival (Russian based), western market might not be familiar with the game.

However there are few points why you might be interested to play this game even though it has been 13 years since it was released:

- Game is Hard. No kidding, even normal difficulty will have you thinking over on what kind of strategy and builds you must use to win every campaing map.
- Game is played out on a strategic map (similar to HOMM) & tactical battles (collectible card game).

Some points to think before trying it out:
- Game is Hard. It is a double edged sword...when playing campaign, think of it like a puzzle game (remember HOMM campaigns with impossible odds, but when you knew a particular trick it became easy).
- Game runs on a locked 4:3 resolution.
- Game pace is rather slow (you can improve it by choosing various game options, but still)

However, I would recommend it to anyone born in 20th century. There is also a sequel which is nearly the same but improved (oh the times when sequels were actually good).
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13 of 22 people (59%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
In it's current state the game constantly crashes. Many users complain about this issue in the forums. It's plain and simpy not playable.
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14 of 24 people (58%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
Several attempts to play Etherlords only ended in computer lockup. I use a Pavillion g7 with windows 8.1 and have only had one other (solved) issued with about 70 different games played thru Steam. The game just freezes and you can hear the sound sticking. Only Ctl/Alt/Del will get you out.

With that being said I bought the game bundled with Etherlords 2, which works fine and seems like a significantly better game than the original, which I was only able to play in tiny segments.

In summary, don't bother with Etherlords, but Etherlords 2 has so far been enjoyable for a follow the path and battle monsters with trading card deck, turn based battles. The battles are interesting due to strategic card play depending on luck of the draw cards.

I think I will get bored with this long before it ends, but Etherlords 2 is a well thought out game, despite it's predicessor.
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