The object of the game is simple - gain control of the entire world by using your armies to crush your opponents. You'll start off with a city, which must then produce armies, that are used to conquer more cities. The array of unit types is limited to eight, including various ships, fighter planes, ground units and a submarine. This is more than made up for by the significantly different abilities each of the units possess, and the game will mostly likely appeal to the Chess and Risk player's of the world.
Empire - Wargame of the Century is a very old turn-based strategy game which came out when graphics in games and mouse support were the next big things. Its defining features that got people to buy the game were mouse support, a map editor, and simplicity of gameplay.
In Empire, you are put in command of a random city capable of building military units, and have only one goal: to conquer all your rivals. You select from pre-made maps to use or let the game select one randomly. Sounds simple: "defeat all your opponents". The challenge is you have to conquer neutral cities, build units, and explore the map before all your cities are conquered by your enemy. But don't worry; everyone starts out the same: one city and no units. That gives you a fighting chance.
The graphics are simple: green area is land, blue is water, units and cities each have a symbol to represent them, which are color-coded to each side. You can tell what everything is just by looking at the symbol that represents it, and who it belongs to based on the color it is. The graphics are similar to what you would find with a cardboard chip board game.
There are a number of units that your cities can produce, each taking a number of turns to complete. Although there are a number of choices, Armies and Transports will be the backbone of your entire military. Armies are the only unit that can capture cities, and Transports are the only unit capable of carrying Armies across water. Everything else gives you some advantage,: Fighters for scouting and harassment, Submarines for exploration, and Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers to keep Transports away from your shores and to protect your own Transports. Ships can take damage and still function, but to repair the damage you must move them into one of your cities.
Sounds are simple PC speaker beeps and blips and sounds that resemble engine noises. It's nothing worth listening to for long periods of time. Aside from synthesized intro music, which is more annoying sounds than music, there is no background music. The game starts with the in-game sounds off, which makes you question whether the creators wanted to listen to the sound for extended periods of time or not, themselves.
You are limited to 3 players in the game, either computers or hotseat play.
There is a map editor within the game, allowing you to create your own maps to challenge yourself and your friends. It takes a little practice to figure out how it works, but is simple enough to use effectively after learning how to use it. Reading the manual helps as well.
The main downside to this game is that it takes a VERY LONG time to play as units barely move 1 or 2 squares a turn, and it takes many turns to produce anything from your cities. Even very small maps can take hours to play, with the largest maps taking several days of saved games to complete.
Overall, Empire was the basis for creating turn-based strategy games, but required dedication and patience to play for extended periods of time. The map editor allows for infinite replayability, if you are willing to spend days trying to build and conquer the worlds you make. Expand quickly, explore everything, protect your cities, and conquer the world!
People who downloaded Empire: Wargame of the Century have also downloaded:
Empire Deluxe, Empire II: The Art of War, Enemy Nations, Enemy Infestation, Europa Universalis, Empire Earth, Fields of Battle, Gary Grigsby's Pacific War (2000)
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