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Empires of the Middle Ages» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Eam's mini-review #19, from when the game was new rss

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Eamon Bloomfield
Germany
23569 Lübeck
Schleswig Holstein
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Once More Unto the Breach!

Unfortunately, the American Games' manufacturers have left us somewhat lacking in games on the Medieval period. Only one major company has made any commitment. The games presently in print at SPI include Empires of the Middle Ages, Acre, Crusades and Great Medieval Quad, all of which show a lot of promise.

Empires of the Middle Ages is a multi-player grand strategic game covering all the great political and military events in Europe, between 750 and 1450 A.D.. The map is divided into areas which are coded for language, religion, population and social level, all of which are significant as the players rule, diplome, pillage and conquer their way across the map. Each turn equals fifty years and two packs of cards are used to give random events and to resolve players' activities. The game is well worth playing but suffers from being very luck dependent, many players having found the fate of the cards to be more important than any decisions the player may make.

Acre is only one game in the excellent Art of Siege Quad, which also includes Lille, Sevastopal and Tyre. Acre is the only one covering a Medieval siege, but all four games are of a very high standard. The game covers the siege of Acre during the Third Crusade, where Richard the Lionheart's army was besieging the city whilst he, in turn, was being besieged in his camp by Saladin's Great Army. Each turn Richard has to decide whether to assault Acre or bombard the walls with the employment of siege engines, and Saladin chooses how much of his army will attack the Crusader's camp. The game is quite long if played to a full conclusion but is exciting to play as, to win, Saladin has to capture the Crusader camp before Acre falls.

The Crusades is a strategic game of the First and Third Crusades. The first is treated as a large seven player game involving all of the maps from Iconium in Central Anatolia to Cairo in Egypt. Four Crusader players compete for control of the cities in the Holy Land as they try to carve out their own personal kingdom. Three Moslem players fight the christians and themselves in an attempt to preserve their Emirates and Caliphates. The Third Crusade is a much more simple game for two, as Richard and Saladin maneouvre for control of Jerusalem. The game makes great use of Leaders, rating them for military ability, ranking and guile, and these are used for various purposes including capturing cities by treachery. The game has great character due to a large number of simple Events that can be triggered, such as Assassinations, Religious Visions and military intervention by the Byzantine Emperor.

I am unfortunately unable to comment on the Great Medievel Quad with any confidence as, though I have seen the game, I have yet to play it, so I will reserve judgement. Other than these four games and Constantinople, which is similar to Acre, I can think of no other Medieval period games still in print by the major companies, with the sole exception of Kingmaker.
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Brian Sielski
United States
Pequannock
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You forget Onward Christian Soldier by GMT, during the first 3 Crusades.
 
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Paul Lister
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Dr Brian wrote:
You forget Onward Christian Soldier by GMT, during the first 3 Crusades.


That game was released in 2006, I think Eamonns review was originally written when SPI were still publishing games - sone time back in the 80's
 
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