My post last Friday about Dragonmaster elicited some commentary that reminded me of another fantasy-themed game I used to enjoy as a younger man: Shadowlord! Shadowlord! was a Parker Brothers boardgame published in 1983 intended for 2-4 players. It was took place in a weird fantasy/sci-fi amalgam setting once ruled over by the benevolent Starmaster, whose power to move planets and create starships from dust was contained within a mystical Power Stone. The Starmaster hoped, upon his death, that one of his four children, the Masters of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, would take up his mantle and use the Power Stone to continue to rule the universe wisely. Unfortunately, when the Starmaster finally did die, it was not one of his children but the evil Shadowlord who seized the Power Stone, which he used to rule as a nigh-omnipotent tyrant.
It's an interesting set-up for a game, in which each of the players takes the role of one of the four Element Masters and attempts to wrest the Power Stone from the Shadowlord and hold it long enough to win the game. As they attempt to do so, players recruit followers -- warriors, merchants, diplomats -- each of which has not only a special ability based on their class but also a card with a name and illustration. Again, it's easy to see why I had such a fondness for this game: it had a lot of great components, including the first use of non-standard dice outside of an RPG that I can recall. Shadowlord! used d8s for its resolution mechanics.
Ultimately, though, what I remember most about Shadowlord! is the way that it unabashedly mixed wizards and spaceships with reckless abandon. Back in 1983, this was a novel concept to me. Back then, people often used the term "science fantasy" or "space fantasy," but that was usually in reference to something like Star Wars, which was for all intents and purposes science fiction, merely of a very non-rigorous sort. Seeing characters dressed like wizards or elves and flying around in spaceships was something else entirely. Or at least it was to me, but then it was long ago established that I have a limited imagination.
It's been years since I looked at Shadowlord! let alone played it. I played it a lot back when I first got my copy and enjoyed it. It'd be interesting to play it again someday and see if it still holds up after all these years.