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"What's the best thing about Empire ?" Topic

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Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2013 2:37 p.m. PST

There are plenty of rulesets available for the period – what is it about Empire that makes it the one to choose ?

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2013 2:49 p.m. PST

Stop trying to save this board. Let it die gracefully. :)

14Bore01 Jul 2013 3:06 p.m. PST

It's everything to everyone, both good and bad, or some would write bad to good.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2013 3:13 p.m. PST

Err, ok.

To clarify -

I'm on a surge of Napoleonic interest at the moment – skirmishing with Drums & Shakos is the thing I'm planning on, but big battles will probably bite in a while.

So, as I don't know much about rules more modern than Bruce Quarries I thought I's ask on a rules board what makes this set a popular choice.

zippyfusenet01 Jul 2013 3:33 p.m. PST

Empire was never popular with me.

Back in the day when my friends were obsessed with Empire III, it seemed to me that they liked the rules because:

1. They gave the French super powers.

2. They allowed gamers to slam a couple of corps of troops on the table, then micro-manage deployment of the skirmisher companies.

These qualities were construed as 'realistic'.

Empire always gave me a headache.

captain canada01 Jul 2013 3:35 p.m. PST

That I am not playing it now.

KnightTemplarr01 Jul 2013 3:49 p.m. PST

In a way right now it is virtually alone in what it does. There are a lot of Napoleonic sets out there but most are either much smaller scale or larger scale.

The TTC concept gave the feel of broad sweeping maneuvers that gets ground up into a tactical fight.

sneakgun01 Jul 2013 4:25 p.m. PST

Empire III is what we had access to, we also played WRG Ancients because we could play with others. With Empire IV, we went on to other things and quit playing Napoleonics altogether. A shame really, as we had hundreds of painted troops.

John the OFM01 Jul 2013 4:25 p.m. PST

I play it, but with borrowed figures and a GM doing all the heavy lifting re: scenarios and running the charts.
So, we get to make what appears to us to be "rational" Napoleonic moves and roll the dice.
We are a rather mellow group, and not much upsets up.

Frankly, I have never seen what the problem was with Empire, but then I never bothered to read the rules either.

but you get to form columns, lines and squares, shake out skirmishers, and if you are lucky, roll up flanks.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2013 4:43 p.m. PST

I used to play Empire rules in the '80s and early '90s. One thing I really liked about it was how the table had hundreds of well painted figures on it at a time. Quite the spectacle.

doug redshirt01 Jul 2013 4:51 p.m. PST

I played once. How to describe those 8 hours? I gues if there is a war game h e l l that would be what it would be. Empire for all eternity, the horror.

chriskrum01 Jul 2013 5:01 p.m. PST

I love how after hours of playing everyone would have to go home before the game was finished. It's awesome because everyone can always claim that they would have been victorious if one had been able to play to conclusion.

StarfuryXL501 Jul 2013 5:14 p.m. PST

Empire for all eternity

Well, you could probably get a couple of turns done in that case.

myxemail01 Jul 2013 6:02 p.m. PST

Back in the early 80's the game club gave Empire III a serious go. There were about ten to twelve of us who made the effort.Very detailed rules and lots of charts and flow charts. Required a huge investment of time to learn the rules and to play them well. Turns took a long time to resolve, especially if new players were participating. At one point I felt confident with my rules proficiency, as did my roommate at the time, and it still took 20-30 minutes to play a turn in a one corps vs one corps game. As a corps commander you get to make broad sweeping decisions and maneuvers, as well as micro manage your single figure skirmisher stands. Very pretty with lots of troops on the table, though.

There was a sigh of relief as well as a surge in renewed enthusiasm when Napoleon's Battles came out. Another good thing about Empire was that it felt very well supported from the research conducted prior to writing the rules. The game came with just about every country and nation's troops and ratings, as well as the leaders. Lots of data with no extra books to buy. The troop and leader charts are a resource in themselves.

Chalfant01 Jul 2013 6:56 p.m. PST

The flow charts.


vtsaogames01 Jul 2013 6:59 p.m. PST

Take a look at Le Feu Sacre (3rd edition) by TooFatLardies. It's an Empire style game (same basic scale and scope) with much less fuss. For example, musket fire and melee is all contained in one table. Roll two dice, apply modifiers and consult the table. The results are anywhere from the attackers refused to charge, to the defenders broke before contact, to a nasty close range firefight, etc.

Timotheous01 Jul 2013 7:08 p.m. PST

The fact that I no longer play Empire. Like watching paint dry. Nor was it fun watching my opponent run rings around me because he didn't tell me when I could make the operational moves with my rear area troops.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2013 7:09 p.m. PST

I actually liked all of the troop charts and ratings. I have a lot of fond memories of the game as they were the first Napoleonic rules I ever played. And yes, we would play all day. Back then, complicated was good.

Jeigheff01 Jul 2013 8:15 p.m. PST

How do I start? The truth is, most of my old gaming friends (back in the 80s) and I did not buy Empire III, even though that same group took a stab at playing it. Needless to say, most of us didn't learn the rules and play them correctly. When I met this group, one individual did all the heavy lifting and refereed the games, which were frustrating and were never completed. I only participated in a couple of these games myself.

This old group of friends eventually switched to a simpler set of horse-and-musket rules adapted from "Le Kriegspiel", published in "The Courier." Our games quickly became more fun and playable, and a referee was no longer needed. I have happy memories of these games, played with as many as seven or eight friends.

Were we mentally lazy? Or were we realistic about having fun? I can respect the fact that some people genuinely enjoy complex rules. One person in our group was a guy who was studying to be a petroleum engineer. I don't think this guy liked "Empire III", but he certainly didn't like "Le Kriegspiel." This individual became enamored of "Generalship Napoleonics" and was convinced they were inspired by "Empire II" (I once owned a copy of "Empire II" and loaned it to this friend.) Some of us, myself included, gave "Generalship Napoleonics" a shot. But at this point, our once-friendly group of buddies split up, and things were never the same. Maybe this is a reflection on our immaturity and pettiness. But the differences about tastes in rules was also important as well.

Would I want to try "Empire" again? Please don't be insulted, but my answer is no. Realistically, I don't have the spare time to devote mastering these rules, or teaching them to someone else. I say this with respect to those who enjoy complex rules and can devote themselves to learning them. I'm just not one of those people.

vojvoda01 Jul 2013 8:44 p.m. PST

Played many versions but Empire III was what our group used most back in the day when we all had time and little life outside of what few rules we could find at the time. Now it is the fast food mentality of gamers that think two hours is almost too long for any game. I loved the control you had as a commander. Totally unrealistic but if you had great figures painted well you wanted to manage them like your own children. I will play it again but I was also one of those that tried Legacy of Glory, and Napoleons Battles. Heck I even have Chef De Battalion (or is it Brigade?) somewhere. Empire is not for the faint of heart.

James Mattes

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian01 Jul 2013 9:03 p.m. PST

Empire was what we had. You could cross the Country and find players that used the same rules.

Glengarry501 Jul 2013 9:26 p.m. PST

Napoleonics at our club was dead for years and I think playing "Empire" was big part of that. It's now slowly coming back to life because of "Warfare in the Age of Napoleon" and "Blackpowder".

Broglie02 Jul 2013 3:03 a.m. PST

I haven't played Empire in over 20 years but I keep a copy of Empire V for the appendices at the end. They set out troop qualities and commanders' ratings which are still acceptable.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2013 3:08 a.m. PST

I'm not detecting a lot of love for Empire – although "slow" and "detailed" and two things that do appeal to me (!).

wyeayeman02 Jul 2013 3:56 a.m. PST

I utterly loved Empire (except IV). I 'got' it the whole concept and I just let the whole thing flow. I found the rules actually very easy to understand and to put into practice. So it took some dedication and a lot of time – but so what???

We were lucky – we had a permanent set up and we introduced new members straight to it without any problems at all.

To be honest ever since we stopped (we lost our space) every rule set I have tried for every period have been both childish/childlike in their approach to history and completely pointless in execution.
Unsatisfactory at every level.

Bowden did lose the plot with Ancient Empire and Stars and Bars somewhat- which were both quite awful.

But Empire, when done well and with enthusiasm were a sublime wargaming experience.

The issue is that its like Marmite aint it?

kreoseus202 Jul 2013 5:16 a.m. PST

To crush your enemies ….

Lee Brilleaux Fezian02 Jul 2013 5:40 a.m. PST

It came in a nice box. I forget what I kept in it after I threw the rules away.

ubercommando02 Jul 2013 6:40 a.m. PST

It was popular in my very first club but only with the older players. My memory of it is down to one rule:

"OK, roll to hit with your artillery…now roll for bounce into the second line…now roll for bounce into the third line".

Feet up now02 Jul 2013 7:04 a.m. PST

It is good for making rules lawyers have nervous breakdowns.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2013 7:49 a.m. PST

The box is very pleasing, and much nicer than the Tractics box!

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Jul 2013 8:24 a.m. PST

With dedicated players we were able to play in "real time" (1 hour to complete a 1 hour turn). A Corps per player was about the maximum anyone could handle well. I had the advantage of a group with lots of troops and access to Huge terrain boards (large enough for 2-3 Grand tactical moves before contact)

wrgmr102 Jul 2013 9:09 a.m. PST

Shako 2 does the same and plays in a lot shorter time.


It drives others nuts when the fanboys come out!!!!!!!!!!!!

WarDepotDavid02 Jul 2013 6:38 p.m. PST

I play in a group who meet weekly for a few hours each Tuesday night and we have been playing Empire V with some mods for years.

Fast and realistic outcomes based on our understandings of the period is what keeps us using them even though most of us have purposed and then resold most of the newer more mainstream rulesets over the past years.

Bandit05 Jul 2013 8:41 p.m. PST


Back in the day when my friends were obsessed with Empire III, it seemed to me that they liked the rules because:

1. They gave the French super powers.

2. They allowed gamers to slam a couple of corps of troops on the table, then micro-manage deployment of the skirmisher companies.

These qualities were construed as 'realistic'.

These are my exact same gripes. I think Empire gave us a ton of great stuff and I value it *hugely* as an academic exercise, i.e. it teaches us things. As a practical implication I think it falls on its face because players are incentivized to micro-manage. I don't think this was intended but it is a consequence of the system as designed.

And as a French player, honestly, we shouldn't *always win* cause then why play?


The Bandit

bakblast06 Dec 2013 8:55 p.m. PST

The appendix!!!!

Still use them everytime I start a new army.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2013 2:25 p.m. PST


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