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Subject: An Empire In Crisis As The Europeans Arrive rss

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Pete Belli
United States
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Protector of the Empire is a strategy game of conquest, treachery, diplomacy, and civilization building. It portrays historical events in Japan, Korea, and China from the collapse of the Han Dynasty until about 1600. It is designed for 3 to 5 players. Powers like the Mongol empire, the Three Kingdoms of Korea, Japan, Annam, and several Chinese dynasties can be depicted in the game.

The title is from a quotation attributed to Sun Tzu:

"The general is the protector of the empire. When his protection is thorough, the country will be strong. When his leadership is defective, the country will be weak."

Protector of the Empire can last around 10 turns. Posting a lengthy Session Report covering an entire game would be an injustice to the BGG members who might be interested in the prototype. Instead of a massive and unreadable narrative a series of short reports will be used to record the progress of one empire as the game unfolds. This is the fourth installment.



This large image of the entire board portrays the situation near the end of the game. The green player has concentrated on imperial expansion in the area around Korea, leaving his other homeland region of Annam with few resources. Pirates have challenged the green empire fleet in the Gulf of Tonkin and the orange empire has pushed the green armies back to the borders of Annam. The green general launches an attack on the feudal kingdom of Baekje. This campaign results in a bloody repulse when two green army units are destroyed. The green player decides to end his turn after this disaster. The green empire had scored a number of victory points earlier in the game so the green general thinks he can afford to wait one more turn before making a major push.


The blue empire begins the turn by using cards to build new cavalry armies in Kerulen while negotiating a secret treaty with the orange empire. Some of the orange empire forces north of the Great Wall will retreat in the face of the blue empire's advance as the blue general moves into position to attack the high-scoring green emperor.


After the orange army units in Xianbei withdraw the advancing blue forces easily crush the feudal army left to defend the region.


The blue empire is now in position to attack the green empire forces holding Jurchen. Since the rough terrain in this region provides a defensive advantage the green general decides to stand and fight. The fortunes of war turn against the green player and the blue armies capture the province.


The blue army is now at the gates of Koguryo, a vital population center containing an imperial capital, a monument, and two temple complexes. Blue announces an attack and the green player prepares to defend the region. This campaign results in losses for both sides but the blue empire still has a large force capable of offensive operations.


The green player offers the blue emperor a treaty in Koguryo. This would allow the green forces to withdraw while the blue player installs a puppet kingdom in this province. This feudal lord would become a vassal of the blue empire and all tribute points from Koguryo will flow into the blue empire's treasury. The blue emperor accepts the treaty and the green army vacates the area, destroying the monument erected earlier in the game to enhance the glory of the empire.


Thirsting for revenge, the green general plans to combine the army units already in Liaotung with some newly created armies in a hammer blow against the vassal kingdom of Koguryo. As the excited green player begins (a bit prematurely) gathering tribute points to build new armies, a fleet, and a monument during the following turn the next event card is revealed. The card is the "Europeans Arrive" event which ends the game immediately. The green empire will not be able to launch the planned attack and gather those last few victory points. When the final score is tallied green finishes in second place.


A session of Protector of the Empire can end in several ways.

For a shorter game the players can agree to stop when a certain victory point total has been reached.

A typical game ends when the "Europeans Arrive" event card is drawn. This usually happens after eight or more turns have been played.

A player might win a relatively quick Political Victory by dominating a set number of tribute point areas. The exact amount of tribute points required varies with the number of players. Competent play by constantly shifting combinations of empires can make this "sudden death" option a rare event.

Like most multiple player strategy games the contest can also end when it becomes obvious to all of the players that one empire has taken an insurmountable lead, but this seldom occurs.
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