The first Eight-Minute Empire was an excellent experience; though games rarely wrapped up faster than 20 minutes – rendering the title a bit economical with the truth – it was still a fast paced and streamlined game of empire building that didn’t take much time to get to grips with.
The standalone sequel, Eight-Minute Empire Legends, adds a fantasy twist and changes some of the mechanics a little, though retains the basic mechanics that see you deploying armies (represented by cubes) across a world map by purchasing cards from a line of six, with card costs increasing from 0-3 coins, left to right (as follows: 0,1,1,2,2,3).
Each card purchased allows you to carry out an instant action, such as placing or moving an army/armies, building a city or destroying an opponent’s army. The cards also have ongoing abilities or bonus victory points for meeting certain conditions by the end of the game. Once each player has acquired a certain number of cards, victory points are calculated – with points awarded for players having the highest number of armies in a region (thereby controlling said region), the most regions controlled on an island, then adding any bonuses from cards collected.
With a fixed number of turns and a limited amount of cash to spend, the game can really hurtle towards its conclusion; though it’s great that it doesn’t outstay its welcome, it always feels as if it ends a turn or two too soon – but of course, that just makes it incredibly important to ensure that you don’t waste a single turn.
For such a compact box, there’s a lot to like here. The basic game is great to learn the ropes on; even if you don’t move on to using the generous amount of variants that are included – which spice up the gameplay and add a number of different elements – the random board layout also adds a good deal of variety.
It’s an excellent little game with beautiful illustrations and clear, straightforward, fast paced play that can be quickly picked up by players of any age and skill level. The variable board layout and game variants give it a much bigger sense of replayability and variety over its predecessor – and the fantasy theme also adds a more appealing look. Well worth checking out if you’re looking for a light strategic game that won’t take hours to learn and play.
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