The first time I played Warlords was at California Extreme, back in like 2010, and I was immediately hooked. As far as 80’s classics go, this is the ultimate party game. It allows up to four simultaneous players to compete against each other (or the computer for any remaining players less than four) in the ultimate battle royale. It’s fun if you put some money on each round, and even more fun if you’re consuming alcohol (but what game isn’t?).

Warlords is essentially a hybrid of Pong and Breakout, but with a castle and dragon theme. The game starts with a dragon spewing out a fireball that bounces around, destroying the walls of each player’s castle, one brick at a time. Each player defends their castle with a knob that controls a moveable shield. You also have a button that allows you to catch a moving fireball, but the longer you hold it, the more damage you’ll inflict upon your own castle. You can release the fireball and fling it in the direction of an opponent by aiming with the knob and letting go of the button. More dragons and fireballs appear the longer the game lasts, which leads to frenetic game play, and blood-curdling screams from anyone who’s still in the game. There’s nothing more fun than watching a person with a single brick left frantically flailing about, trying to deflect three fireballs coming at them insanely fast and from multiple directions and players.

I think my first Warlords cocktail was a casualty of my Monster Bash buy, and selling it was a very tough decision. Every Halloween after I sold it, party attendees would ask, “where’s that four-player sit-down game with the fireballs?” Getting Warlords back in the collection became a must. The coolness of my Halloween parties depended on it.

In May of 2015, I scored a completely restored Warlords machine from a fellow collector in Idaho, and in early June, it was delivered to my door. I initially put this game in Room 237 upstairs, but as time went on, it became painfully obvious that Warlords belonged in my bar. It needed to be in the thick of the action during parties. That’s where it sat until March of 2017, when I was presented with a cash offer that I can only describe as “an offer I couldn’t refuse.”