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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