Silmarils was a very interesting development company. Many of their games escaped the traditional genre boundaries, many had a unique audiovisual style and many of their plots had a fascinating quirkiness to them. At the height of their most productive period, they made Storm Master which, unfortunately, got only little attention when the spotlight went to the much more traditional (but also much more successful) Ishar series.
A council of ministers supports the player in her tasks. Probably the most important duty concerns the country's economy: Wheat has to be grown and processed to feed the population, a special kind of honey can increase the general intelligence and special kind of wool is needed to produce sails (needed for the flying ships). And last, but not least, military action requires money to pull off. Another important aspect, and this is where the game's title comes from, is control of the winds. Through religious ceremonies (which are, interestingly enough, played as a small interactive action scene), the winds can be either predicted or even influenced. Since wind is the sole source of power in these countries, this is essential.
Of course, running the country involves even more aspects, like providing the common crowd with entertainment and trading goods. The military aspects are mostly carried out through the described raids on enemy territory (there is no concept of actually conquering your neighbour in the game – just destruction), but covert operations like spying (with the help of trained birds) and assassinations (of the enemy's ministers, forcing the respective area to be inactive for a time) can be conducted as well.
The gameplay, although not quite in the top league, is complex and logical enough to fill this world with life sufficiently to provide for an overall highly entertaining experience. Sure, stripped off its setting, Storm Master would not hold up nearly as well. After some time, it becomes noticeable that especially the action scenes are quite limited: The religious one, in particular, repeats itself exactly each time. And why is there no action scene for raiding cities and infrastructure? Maybe one which could even be played from both sides (i.e. in defensive mode when the enemy attacks your own country)? Likewise, the best strategic option in most of the scenarios (which basically only define the initial power of each of the countries, but again, this is nicely wrapped into a pseudo historic development) turns out to be rushing the enemy which might not be considered all that interesting to carry out.
But it is the overall package which counts in the end. And on that scale, Storm Master scores highly. Who cares if there are shortcuts to success which are not much fun? Nobody forces you to take them if you'd rather enjoy the game on a larger, more epic scale!