How to Play

For people who want to play the game, either by printing stuff out, or using virtual components for play-by-email (PBEM).

One limitation is that we don’t (yet) have any printable or virtual pieces. These are under development: probably something useful and reasonably complete will be posted in late 2011.

Other than that, what you should do depends a bit on which category you fall into:

Classic Game

For people who played Empire in the 1960s or 1970s, and want to recreate that experience, you can print out some things to help yourself do that.

  • Rules: Try the 1976-era rulebook PDF from the Rules page.
  • Mapboard: Take your pick of classics from the Maps page. If in doubt, try the popular Ackerman II. To print out a mapboard, submit the digital file to your local digital output shop. In early 2011 we got quotes for a single 42″ x 72″ mapboard in Portland, on a variety of media (matte paper, glossy plastic non-tearable paper, or even foamcore mounted), from Moso Graphics ($60-75), AlphaGraphics ($160-190), and FedEx Office ($150-170).
  • Pieces: We don’t have anything to help you yet. Empire has sometimes been played in the past without physical pieces, relying primarily on the records, plus marking immobile objects on the board. A common approach has been to lay a sheet of clear plastic, mylar or glass over the board, and then write on that with something like washable (non-permanent) overhead projector markers. Such markers are available in a wide range of colors, and with a variety of thicknesses, including fine-tipped. These can be used to mark immobile objects at least, and optionally movable and self-mobile objects as well.

New Players

For people who are playing for the first time, and/or don’t have access to Empire rules experts, and want to play a game with physical pieces:

  • Rules: Perhaps the latest rules from the Logistics branch (4th Edition), as being more accessible to folks who haven’t played before. See the Rules page.
  • Mapboard: See above. You can use a classic mapboard with the now-optional sub-square rules. Once they are available, you may opt for either a classic board or a Logistics-style board so as to avoid the sub-square rules. The latter option means a less beautiful board because the maps are a little less free-form, but it simplifies the board handling and record-keeping.
  • Pieces: You face the same issues as above. Sorry!

Virtual Play

For people who want a virtual game (play-by-email), you should probably use the second set of options above, including going with a new Logistics-type mapboard so as to avoid the sub-square rules (and having to handle them on screen). You also will need virtual pieces etcetera.

Although porting Empire to Cyberboard or Vassal seems like a fine idea, nobody has yet volunteered to do it. Plus it might help if some pieces were designed, first.

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4 Responses to How to Play

  1. Eric Sprague says:

    I came across this site while looking for something else. (I don’t remember now what it was!) I have read through a lot of the info (but far from all of it) and found it a wonderful site. I am a gamer but without a group. I frequent Boardgamegeek, an internet database for board games, card games, video games, miniature games, role-playing games, — everything! I would love to add the Empire game to the database. It would garner some attention and maybe even a little interest. I also have dabbled in board game design and could put together a Cyberboard gamebox for PBEM play. I’m interested in the symbol font you have been working on and wondered if I could be of any help. I’m even considering writing a varient that’s more of a late-nineteenth century feel to it.
    Let me know what you think.

  2. esprague says:

    I have some experience building Cyberboard gameboxes. I would be interested in helping create one for Empire. I would also like to create a page for Empire on Boardgamegeek. It would increase exposure and generate some interest in the game.

    • Oops! The notifications of your comments were stuck in my spam filter. Luckily I periodically search through my spam filter with some keywords, so I found what you wrote.

      I actually use boardgamegeek myself, so I’ve started working on an entry for the game. 🙂

  3. Eric Sprague says:

    Any thoughts on a Cyberboard gamebox? Send me a message on BGG to eric_sprg.

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