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Empire of the Sun» Forums » General

Subject: General questions before buying/playing EMPIRE OF THE SUN rss

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Maik L.
Germany
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Hello everyone,

normally I would not hesitate to just buy a game I really want to play but since most comments on the game underline that is quite hard to learn I thought it would be good to just ask in the forums for more specific opinions.

So I have been playing games like WAR OF THE RING, TWILIGHT STRUGGLE, ARKHAM HORROR, GAME OF THRONES, TERRA MYSTICA etc. and I have some experience when it comes to long roleplaying manuals. The one thing I gave up on years ago was the rules to ADVANCED THIRD REICH. Based on these bits of info how would you rank the difficulty of EMPIRE OF THE SUN for me? Of course I am willing to learn a game and how to play it (including continuing try-outs, re-checking rules, adjustments of strategy etc. - the normal stuff) yet I would not go as far as "studying" a game.

Since I would play EMPIRE OF THE SUN as a two-player-game the other questions I have concern its downtime. Do individual playerturns/actions take a long time or are they quite fast like in some of the above mentioned games? And while I am on the 2 player topic: Is the game teachable in a good way?

It would be great to hear something about these questions from the users!

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POUM
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First, I've only played it solo.

In my opinion, this is not a easy game. It takes some reading and rereading of the rules. The many videos online helps a lot. Same with forums and manuals here on BGG. I say you have to assort to "studying the game". Then again, it's a great game. I enjoyed it a lot.

Weight: 4.13 / 5 (Complexity Rating) here on BGG.
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Gerrit Hellfaier
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Berlin
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Send you an PN (in german)
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David E
United States
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I've played it half a dozen times now. I still make basic errors and have to frequently refer to the rules, though I am becoming better. I still have not become a "good" player. It definitely rewards study - it's not a "one and done" game. If you buy it planning to just play it once you will not get much out of it. It is becoming one of my very favorite wargames, however.
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Bryan McNeely
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Indiana
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The best thing I could tell you is to find the living rules somewhere and take a look at what you are getting into. I own the game, for the sake of solo play, but even after multiple set-ups and attempts at walking through just a couple operations, I was still leafing through the rulebook and watching instructional videos to wrap my brain around it all.

I wanted a challenge and I have it. My rulebook looks like a torn mess, filled with highlighted tidbits of info, but I know in time, once I grasp the 'point' of the game, it will be an incredible gaming experience for me.

For perhaps you as well as I, Empire is a game to have faith in for the long haul.
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Damian DiLuzio
United States
Andover
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I dedicated 4 months last year to learning the game and I felt as if i was just getting a good handle on the rules. This is my #1 game, but it takes some dedication to get into it.

I had it P500 and I tried it three times and put it away for over a year. Watch John Steidl's YouTube videos and spend some serious time with the rulebook. It will be a tough journey, but one you won't regret.

There's not to much down time when playing and works well in Vassal. Your opponent will play a card and move. You react (if able) and then resolve combats and return your units to bases if needed. The overall game time is lengthy though.
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Jeff K
United States
Garner
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Really the best thing that you can do is to just find a partner to play with and stumble through the first couple of games. Yes, this is a procedurally complicated game, but it is merely a complex one (as opposed to impossibly dense). I would say it is actually less complex than A3R which you mentioned by a decent margin.

Do your best on the rules (Both of you! First off, it is not easily teachable, and also you will complement one another's knowledge), and set the game up and play. It PBeMs very well, too, so that may be the easiest way to get into it. You will surely make mistakes. In fact, you may not make it past the first turn or two for your first couple of games. Don't worry about that. It will still be immensely enjoyable. It will all click after a while of doing this and once it does, the play flows very smoothly and quickly.

Since "downtime" is your opponent playing a single card, there is barely any. Also, you will get to react most of the time to the move. So both players are usually fully engaged at all times for every move. So I would say downtime is basically almost none.

Finally, if this type of thing makes it easier for you, there is a thriving community of players who are here to help. Here are a couple of threads that can get you started, and can go quite a long ways to getting you over the hump.:

Empire of the Sun tutorial complete
Who wants to learn Empire of the Sun?

Also, there is a play by forum with experts (including the designer) where you can get ideas on how to play, and what actually to do (which is the next hump to get over after you get a handle on the rules). And other resources, which can be found here:

http://social.consimworld.com/group/empireofthesun

Best of luck and enjoy! Do yourself a favor and do not miss out on this masterpiece of a game!
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Ernie Blofeld
United States
Gainesville
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My advice if you are on the fence is to buy Plan Orange in C3I Magazine.



Plan Orange is a variant of Empire of the Sun that postulates a war between the USA and Japan in the 1930's. It uses the same movement, combat, and card systems as Empire (which are brilliant), but without the political overhead of China, Burma, etc. which really makes what to do easier to grasp. I have a much harder time figuring out why I should be doing things in Empire of the Sun rather than how.

In Plan Orange there are fewer balls in the air, essentially there's the enemy, kill'em. And it has the advantage of being less expensive.

If you are the patient sort, perhaps even better will be the upcoming South Pacific which is a direct slice of Empire of the Sun. I know I'm looking forward to it eagerly. I still get a little lost sometimes in Empire, so the idea of being able to concentrate on just one sub-theater has me excited. Hopefully it will be out in the next month or so.




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Mark Yang
Canada
Woodbridge
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To quickly answer your questions (that I'm able to):

1. You may have a more difficult time learning this game if you've never played any hex-and-counter wargames, especially those of the strategic scale.

2. Your opponent should endeavor to learn the game in the same manner as you (by reading the rulebook and playing around with the bits) because this game is probably too complex to teach at the table.


Empire Of The Sun (EotS) was one of the first war games I tried to learn when I first forayed into this side of the gaming world. As a newbie wargamer, it was tough learning! I read through the rulebook, twice, and even had an experienced friend walk me through a turn or two, and yet I still had a very difficult time grasping the rules. I was never able to play an actual game. Still haven't to this day.

I realized that the difficulty lies in not having much previous experience in hex-and-counter wargames in general. I've played Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, but it's nothing like EotS.

I think a good approach is to first play some beginner-friendly wargames and make second-nature the typical wargame concepts and mechanisms (such as Enemy Zone Of Control, Supply Lines, HQ's, Terrain Effects Chart, Combat Results Table, etc). This should help learning EotS as some of the rules you'll have already encountered some variation of from other games. At least this is what I'm hoping, because this is the route I've taken since.

Having said that, I've also heard that EotS does things differently than most wargames and that experienced wargamers find they have to "unlearn" old habits, and that it *may be* easier for a new wargamer to learn EotS with a clean experience slate. For me, this was not the case. The game is just a beast.

Lastly, if the subject matter of the game interests you then it will serve as motivation for you to learn and eventually play a game. Don't let our comments dissuade you.

Good luck and all the best!
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Petri P
Finland
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The card system is no more difficult than Twilight Struggle. A bit easier. However, the actual game part outside of the cards is a medium weight wargame.

I have learned and played more than a hundred wargames, and compared to your example of Advanced Third Reich - this is easier. (I never could force myself through the clutter of the rules of A3R, even after playing the original 3R (simple), and playing ASL (very complex) for more than a decade.

You not having played any war games (none in your list) might be an advantage too here. EotS is not a typical wargame. So, no preconceived and false assumptions about how it should work.

However, EotS rules are one of the worst - not the worst, but one of them - to learn from by just reading them. You absolutely need to see the Youtube tutorials. The ones by jsteidl are excellent. https://boardgamegeek.com/video/72640/empire-sun/empire-sun-...

Maybe you could watch through those first.
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Maik L.
Germany
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Thank you so much for the extensive and very informative answers to my questions! It's great to get such a concentrated and differentiated feedback! After reading all of them I have the following thoughts/impressions:

1. Forum/Youtube
Even though I had already noticed the broad range of instruction-videos (even by Herman himself) and the extensive number of forum-topics for EMPIRE OF THE SUN I am glad that so many of you explicitly pointed out their usefulness. I have begun reading the online-rules and will keep an eye on the forums/channels while I go through them and while playing my first games.

2. Online gaming
While I have never did it before I might take a look at it in the future. Thank you for the hints and links!

3. Learning the rules vs. learning how to play
One of my major impressions was that while it might be a bit hard to learn the rules of the game it will definitely be harder and more challenging to learn how to play it well. This is totally fine for me. If I can grasp the basic concepts I will be interested in exploring the different ways of playing. I guess this will be accompanied by re-readings of rules etc. too - but that's ok for me.

4. Downtime
It's great that a complex game like this does not seem to be crushed by its internal organization and keeps an enjoyable speed/tempo of play. I actually enjoy playing games and not so much bookkeeping etc. them - so this is good news!

As I mentioned above I have already started to read the online rules on Hermans website and I am looking forward to my first plays of the game. It will be interesting to explore a game you all or at least most of you enjoy and love so much.
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Barry Miller
United States
Saint Charles
Missouri
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I second Ernie's advice, presented above! That's how I'm working my way into Empire of the Sun!

Again, try these Empire of the Sun family games first:

South Pacific: Breaking the Bismarck Barrier 1942-1943
Go here for more info: http://www.c3iopscenter.com/currentops/

and,

Plan Orange: Pacific War 1930 – 1935
Go here for mor einfo: http://www.c3iopscenter.com/currentops/2016/10/09/c3i-magazi...
and, U.S. Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0186QBE0E?tag=article-boardgamege...



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