Written by  :  Stave (7)
Written on  :  Apr 11, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Not really an Empire game, but fun in its own right

The Good

This game is essentially a "beer 'n' pretzels" wargame construction set. It's pretty abstract, but capable of modeling almost any armed conflict from almost any time period. Units, maps, weather and victory conditions are all user-editable, meaning that it's endlessly replayable.

The Bad

I didn't really mind the abstractness of the game, however some hardcore grognards might be turned off by it. If you're the type of gamer who likes rules that model the metal fatigue on every rivet of each tank, you will be disappointed. One of the stranger features of the rules (which cannot, as far as I know, be altered) is that there is a unit stacking limit of two units per square, no matter the scale of the conflict. No matter whether a square is meant to represent a few feet or a few miles, only two units can ever fit in the same square at the same time. Weird. Each scenario is completely stand-alone, so there are no extended campaigns. Finally, the Windows version is very picky about only running on Windows 95 or 98. If you're on Vista or XP, you may have trouble running it.

The Bottom Line

What's important to understand about Empire II is that the only thing it has in common with the other Empire games is the name. It is purely a tactical wargame- there is no exploration or unit production, just two sides duking it out with the units that they've been given. Many if not most of the people who originally bought this game were expecting something like the next version of Empire Deluxe, and they were understandably disappointed. However, taken on its own merits, it's still a great addition to any wargamer's collection.