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Empire II: The Art of War

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Mark Lewis Baldwin & Bob Rakosky

GAME DEVELOPER:White Wolf Productions

GAME PUBLISHER:New World Computing

Copyright 1996, White Wolf Productions

A disappointing end to the illustrious Empire series that began in 1978, Empire II: The Art of War feels like it was rushed out the door long before the game was ready. This results in an inconsistent, sometimes fun wargame that could have been much better than Empire Deluxe, but instead ended up as the sequel that never was. As Mobygames’ description and review makes clear:

“This version includes more terrains and more sighting and movement rules. A significant change is that land units can take damage in a skirmish instead of simply winning or losing (being destroyed). There are also added rules for unit morale. If a unit’s morale gets to low, they retreat, regardless of your orders. Other additions are allowing for reinforcements to appear on certain turns and weather factors.

The scenario editor has been enhanced so that players cannot only create their own maps and scenarios, but their own custom units, including statistics and the graphics. So players can fight prehistoric, historical, fantasy, science fiction, or whatever battles they like.

Although it’s part of the Empire line, it’s lost much of the charm. I think this is mainly because of the lack of exploration required. In Empire and Empire Deluxe, the fact that you have to explore the planet/area you’re conquering plays a big part in the game. That’s lacking from this version. You always see the complete map, it’s just a matter of being in range of sight of enemy units. If you’re an avid wargamer, you’ll probably enjoy it. However, if you’ve heard great things about Empire and Empire Deluxe and think this will make an acceptable substitute, think again.”

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