Empire II: The Art of War

Moby ID: 873
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Empire II: The Art of War is a further update of the classic computer wargame. (See Empire Deluxe.) 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.

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Critics

Average score: 69% (based on 9 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 6 ratings with 2 reviews)

Good for wargamers, but it's lost it's charm.

The Good
Empire II was obviously designed with hardcore wargamers in mind. It has numerous rules for terrain, fatigue, moral, and even weather. Plus, you can create your own maps, scenarios, and even units! In other words, it's highly detailed and very customizable.

The Bad
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.

The Bottom Line
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.

Windows · by Lee Seitz (711) · 2000

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.

Windows · by Stave (3) · 2008

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  • MobyGames ID: 873
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Lee Seitz.

DOS added by Jewelcase.

Game added February 18, 2000. Last modified August 17, 2023.