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An Empires Village-in-a-Pack

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2 April 2002page first published

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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An entire fantasy village in one blister pack? Yes, that's what it is - the Village from the Empires product line.

Village pack

How can this be done? The secret is that in Empires - a fantasy boardgame of competing empires - two game scales are used. Most of the figures are 15mm scale. "Large" things - settlements, castles, monsters, dragons, etc. - are whatever scale it takes to fix them onto a single base. Which, in the case of the Village, is about 2mm scale!

Like all of the Empires packs, the Village comes in a re-usable clamshell blister pack. Inside is a color game card showing the Village's game values, some foam padding, and three pieces of metal: the contoured base, a flag, and a sprue with three buildings and a tree. (When you open the pack, be careful not to accidentally discard the game card - it's behind the foam...)

pack contents

The base includes a well, a stone wall, and a cart path leading into the settlement.

Each building has a uniquely shaped plug which is designed to fit into the matching hole in the base. And if you need more clues, then you'll gladly note that the underside of the base has numbers which match the numbers on the sprue beside each object.

The three buildings are the sort of small homes one might expect to find in a village, I suppose - single storied (plus an attic), steep roofs with chimneys. The largest has a lean-to on one end, some sort of banner or sign over the entrance, and an odd room that juts off the house about a yard off the ground. All have different roof textures: one has shingles, another looks thatched to me, and the third has crosshatching for texture.

Village assembled

For those who haven't played Empires: The object of the game is to wipe out the other player's empire, but to do so, you need to build your own empire so that you can produce more units and hold more territory. The key to that is building towns and villages. And if you're using miniatures, there's an incentive to have more village pieces so that you can build more villages.

The Village is designed as a generic village which can be part of anyone's empire (Orc or Human Imperial in the basic game). Players may decide to keep their villages generic, or they may want to paint them up in colors for a specific empire.

Village as painted by the manufacturer

Assembly is straight-forward. Everything fits together, though sometimes a bit loosely. You'll want to take some care when attaching the flagpole, first to get it standing straight, and second because it'll slip too far through the hole if you're not watching. The buildings do not always match the ground contours, so you might want to use some gap-filling glue to tidy things up.

If you're into Empires, you'll probably find it hard to resist painting up some villages for your personal empire. If you're not into Empires - well, I suppose the buildings are useful for 2mm gaming...