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Wednesday Night Gaming: Rise of Empires

Bradley Keen
United States
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It's a horse. On a chair.
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[Hi! Despite my absence from audio podcasting, I'm not gone. I was excited to see the start of the Dice Tower blog and simply hope that these short posts are entertaining to some.]

Martin Wallace has released a number of Civilization/Empire Building games. The list includes Sixteen Thirty Something, Struggle of Empires, Empires of the Ancient World, Tempus, and Conquest of the Empire. I have played most of his games (with the exception of Conquest of the Empire), and it is interesting to see where he takes the genre with each new game. Bits and pieces of the games are carried over, while other chunks are forgotten.

Rise of Empires is Martin's latest game in this category, and I would say that it is his best and most approachable games. The rules are easy to grasp and they thankfully lack the caveats and holes that bothered me in his early offerings. Have a go at the Empires of the Ancient World rules sometime. I can only fairly state that I had a terrible time understanding the adjacency rules and the rules concerning water areas.

I've played Rise of Empires 3 times now, once with two and twice with three. Our latest game took about 2 hours to complete. I was joined by Mike and Dan.

Mike started off the game strong, and amassed an army of farms that he later drilled for oil. He had an amazing number of black resource disks that he could later trade for victory points, gold, and cities (which bring additional victory points). Dan and I moved slower, but concentrated on gaining territories on the board. In our first game as a group, I owned the board, and came out with a large lead in the end. Dan wasn't about to let that happen again. So we fought over the board, but reaped the rewards. Most of the locations on the board grant money, resource disks, or player cubes....as well as victory points.

The game was tight. I spent most of it in third place, but closed the gap between each round. In the end, Dan won and Mike fell into last place. Had he had some board territories, it would have been a much closer game.

Anyhow, it's a really fun game and I honestly think of it as a welcome addition to Martin Wallace's progression of War/Euro games. Yeah, I know. It's not a war game, but there is direct player conflict. You don't get to roll dice (a plus), but cubes are fighting and many get eliminated. That's a war game in my book.

Next week we will hopefully play Rolling Freight, a game that is currently available on Kickstarter as a "pre order". I can't wait to write about it and to discuss it on the podcast.
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