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Empires of the Ancient World
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Store:  Strategy Games
Format:  Board Games

Empires of the Ancient World

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Ages Play Time Players
13+ 120-180 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Martin Wallace

Manufacturer(s): Warfrog

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Product Description

Going back to the age of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, you control the destiny of your empire--building armies, annexing neutral provinces, trading across the Mediterranean, and fighting battles. The heart of the game is its innovative card combat system. Superb, full color cards allow the use of pikes, swords, war bands, elephants, heavy cavalry, foot skirmishers, light horse, siege towers, artillery, and galleys. Special cards allow you to develop better military leaders, diplomats, traders, and engineers. However, winning the game is not just about having the largest empire. The player with the largest army will also lose the most victory points, so he had better use his forces well! If warfare is not to your taste then you can trade your way to victory, by having the largest trading empire.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Martin Wallace

  • Manufacturer(s): Warfrog

  • Artist(s): Peter Dennis

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 120 - 180 minutes

  • Ages: 13 and up

  • Weight: 1,060 grams

  • Customer Favorites Rank: #45

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).


  • Rulebook (English and German)
  • Full colour map
  • 110 full colour cards
  • 250 wooden playing pieces
  • dice

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.9 in 7 reviews

by Tony
Simple to learn yet hard to master - Excellent
September 16, 2001

I've now played this a few times with a mix of different players and everyone agrees that this is an excellent game.

Trade, diplomacy, land and naval combat, sieges, plunder, special units--the game covers a wide spectrum, but within a simple system (once you've finally deciphered the rules).

We all felt that the length of the game was about right. In actual fact, you never seem to have enough time to do everything you want.

The card combat system is the highlight of the game, with no one set of cards being all-powerful.

The mixture of luck and tactics means that the battles aren't usually foregone conclusions.

Interestingly, the winner of our last (4 player) game was a new player who never had a presence in the med, made very few attacks and didn't possess any merchants, diplomats, military leaders or engineers. As you can imagine, he took advantage of the mayhem that was happening in an all-out war throughout the south of the map, to build a large trading empire in Northern Europe.

Our previous games have been closer and have sometimes hinged on one or two decisive battles. It's one of those games where you know that war is expensive and difficult to prosecute and you should really establish trade everywhere, but the temptation of military victory and plunder means the warmongers among you just can't help yourselves. (Unfortunately, that's usually me, although I have won a couple of games.)

Maybe this game just happens to suit our set of players, but we all emerge from a game having thoroughly enjoyed building our empires and fighting land and naval battles across the map, whether we ultimately win or not.

Great fun!

An Overlooked Masterpiece
June 15, 2001

I can't believe that more attention isn't coming to this excellent game. Maybe if it was about a herd of Druids fighting over a can of Spam or some other ridiculous theme, the reviewers would stampede over themselves to give it kudos. This game is well worth a serious look. It has several options, a simple combat resolution system, and quite a bit of depth.

Martin Wallace's gift to the genre of boardgaming.
April 14, 2001

This game is one of balance, tactics and strategy. It has an elegant and smooth system and deign. You must balance trade with warfare, diplomacy with intimadation. It has all the makings of a milestone in multiplayer conflict games. As a fan of Diplomacy, Risk and Civilization, I believe this deserves a place among them.

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