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Chewie & Misfit4: Empires First Impressions


Empires
Product #
1601
Manufacturer
Suggested Retail Price
€35.28 EUR


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Revision Log
24 August 2004page first published

Areas of Interest

Fantasy

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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First Impression Report

Empires

When I looked at the box, the first thing I noticed was the cover illustration. A well-painted piece that shows an orc defeating a king and his companions seiging a castle. It was the type of art that often compels me to read and try new games.

I flipped it over to see the back and read the brief summary of the game, what was included, that it can be expanded, and that - except for the capital buildings - the miniatures shown in the picture weren't included. Well, this was definitely looking really interesting, so off came the cellophane and into the box we dove.

I noticed the dice first, all sides covered in shields or swords, which probably meant opposing rolls. Treasury cards to keep track of money, and a bag of plastic dots to use as the counters were quite well thought out. Sheets of various counters to be the units on the board were included. All had pictures of painted miniatures on them, so it was easy to imagine how it might look with actual painted miniatures on the board. It would also be easy to mix-and-match as you collected an army, slowly replacing tiles as you finished painting the miniatures.

The unit cards had matching pictures on them of the miniatures. They seemed really straightforward, with the unit name on the top and stats down the side, with the cost and damage counters on the bottom. Special abilities and requirements were on the back of the card. Nicely done, except that I would prefer everything on the same side of the card (as it's easier to quickly reference during a game).

The map was a hexagon-based map, so movement was mostly likely to be based on moving squares. The design and illustration were simple, but effective for the purpose of the game.

The bodies of the two capital buildings were identical, with only the roofs being different. The one roof was thatched, while the other was domed. There was hardly any flash and virtually no mould lines. The clean up work on these miniatures was going to be super easy.

And finally, we started looking through the rulebook. It had the same cover as the box, and the back was a quick reference sheet of rules and game phases.

As a designer, I would have failed the interior layout of the book. There was a huge space of almost half of each page running vertically in the inside section of the page. In this was an occasional note of text, but most of it was blank. The book could have been half the length that it was, if not for this wasted space.

The next thing we really noticed was the first and last four pages had illustrations on them, but the rest of the 44 pages had no art or illustrations. My first impression of the content was that there was absolutely no background on the armies or world given. That is sometimes the only real hook to draw us into a new game. Unfortunately, the lack of background information makes it seem like any generic, quick boardgame.

The rules seem to be well written, although some of the points could have been better explained, and others were too drawn out. Some of the rules may actually be easier to understand when they are played during the game.

Overall, so far the game ratings would be:

Dice
A
Cards
B
Counters
A
Map
A
Rulebook
C
Miniatures
A
Overall
B (high)

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