Summary of 1938 Rules

[In 2011 Dan Drake found and shared the rules sum­mary his father gave him in 1960, which inspired Empire as we know it. It had been filed away, await­ing redis­cov­ery. — ed.]

The attached rules [long ago lost, unfortunately—ed.] were writ­ten by [Mark W.] Eudey to avoid the throw of dice, but I don’t know if they were ever played. The orig­i­nal rules were more or less as follows:

Play started by each player select­ing a cap­i­tal, which could be any wheat square, and putting one of his population-​​counter thumb­tacks in it per­ma­nently. Four other thumb­tacks of the same color were placed point up on the same square. These were his ini­tial pop­u­la­tion units.

Two dice were thrown for each move. The moves could be divided between two pieces or given to one. A throw of seven enti­tled the player to an addi­tional pop­u­la­tions counter, placed on his cap­i­tal. No more than five such coun­ters could be sup­ported by each wheat square occu­pied on the same land mass. The cap­i­tal did not count as a wheat square after one addi­tional wheat square had been occu­pied, which had to be done before any other pro­duc­tion squares could be taken.

A throw of dou­bles enti­tled the player to pro­duce one unit of a com­mod­ity on each appro­pri­ate occu­pied square. Production squares were steel, oil chem­i­cals, and gold (wheat did not pro­duce, but merely sup­ported.) The player could announce which com­mod­ity he chose to pro­duce, and got one counter for each such square occu­pied any­where in the world by his men. Thus if he announced “chem­i­cals,” he got one chem­i­cal on each chem­i­cal square he occu­pied. These remained there until trans­ported elsewhere.

A pop­u­la­tion unit could carry one unit of any com­mod­ity with him on its move. They had to be assem­bled to pro­duce use­ful ele­ments, as follows:

(They could be later scrapped for any one of the com­po­nent commodities.)

One steel and one oil on any sea­port (ie a square con­tain­ing both land and water) could be con­verted into a ship with­out loss of move. The ship had to be announced either as a mer­chant ship or a bat­tle­ship. A mer­chant ship could carry an unlim­ited num­bers of com­mod­ity and pop­u­la­tion units, and moved one square for each die-​​count, just as pop­u­la­tion moved. A bat­tle­ship could not carry andy per­sons or com­modi­ties. It could sink a mer­chant ship by colliding.

One steel, one oil, and one chem­i­cal made an air­plane. An addi­tional chem­i­cal pro­vided it with a bomb good for one explo­sion. Explosion destroyed every­thing on the square it was on, except the air­plane. Explosion occurred only on the throw­ing of a dou­ble, with­out using up the cor­re­spond­ing moves or pre­vent­ing production.

One gold and one steel for­ti­fied a point. When two cor­ners, not diag­o­nal, were for­ti­fied in any square, noth­ing could pass that line with­out per­mis­sion of the owner of the for­ti­fi­ca­tions. No cap­i­tal could be for­ti­fied on all four corners.

One each of steel, oil, chem­i­cal, and pop­u­la­tion made an army, which moved only one square per die (regard­less of num­ber on die) and destroyed every­thing on every square it moved to. It could go by bat­tle­ship but not by mer­chant ship, and not by airplane.

The object was to occupy as much of the world as pos­si­ble. When an enemy cap­i­tal was occu­pied, all his coun­ters were pet­ri­fied in place, and his com­mod­ity sup­ply and ships and planes could be stolen. If occu­pa­tion ceased, his coun­ters imme­di­ately came to life again.

—Stillman Drake, sum­mer 1960

Licensed under Creative Commons CC-​​BY-​​NC 3.0.

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