The game is set in England in 1149 during the Middle Ages where, following the death of the king, different factions are fighting for territorial control.
The player assumes the role of a Saxon (Wilfred of Ivanhoe, Cedric of Rotherwood, Geoffrey Longsword, or Wolfric the Wild) and tries to fight off the Norman hordes and wrestle for control of England. Eventually, the player must fight for control of all territories, and potentially those controlled by other Saxons, if they have become antagonistic.
The player must amass armies and fight for control of opponents’ castles. The player may engage enemy armies in battle and loot or lay siege to opposing castles. Territories can also be won in periodic jousting contests. From time to time the player may attempt to rescue a damsel in distress and can appeal for help from the legendary bandit Robin Hood.
The game’s strategy boils down to a war of attrition as the player tries to amass larger armies than his opponents and manages to attack their territories at the right time.
Due to financial strains, Cinemaware decided to release the initial version without all the features originally planned for because of their need for revenue. Some features were partially implemented but were removed so the game could be shipped. Some additional features completed but never seen in the shipped game include flaming fireballs (launched via the catapult), more locations (more varied castles to attack), and more in-depth strategy. Some of these features were implemented in the ports of the game.