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"Computer Empires in Arms Campaign System!!!!" Topic

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KaiLarson07 Oct 2009 8:19 a.m. PST

The computer version of the Avalon Hill board game Empires in Arms looks like my Holy Grail of campaign systems. Since its inception, it has always had the ability to resolve land battles outside of the game (i.e. on the miniatures table) and then input the results of the miniatures battle back into the computer game.

With a recent patch, they have brought this miniatures compatibility to naval battles too. Now, you can choose to fight out your land or sea battles either in game or with miniatures. It looks like the perfect grand strategic campaign system for the Napoleonic wars in miniature.

I'd tried to use the old board game Empires in Arms to conduct a miniatures campaign, but things bogged down because we had to physically keep track of the board, pieces, etc.

I considered using one of the play by e-mail systems for Empires in Arms, but they all seemed a bit clunky, and to make the game work well, you had to find 7 people who wanted to play. This computer version of EIA has an elegant interface, and the computer handles all of the record keeping, calculations, and "paperwork." It is built for play by e-mail, which is terrific.

Also, the computer AI will run the major powers that don't have human players, so all 7 major powers are represented even if you have less than 7 players. (Which is good, because I'm something of a recluse and don't even have 6 friends.)

I'm truly excited about this game. With the new ability to resolve naval combat with miniatures, I am for sure going to get a campaign going. (It always seemed wrong to have a Napoleonic grand campaign with no miniatures naval battles.)

I'm busy now working on translating my favorite Napoleonic miniatures rule sets for use with Empires in Arms. (I've also got a good incentive now to finish painting the Russian artillery I need to put together a viable Russian army.)

Computer EIA web page is here:


malcolmmccallum07 Oct 2009 9:01 a.m. PST

I had looked forward to this Holy Grail but was sorely dissapointed, so much so that I didn't even bother following up on what patches were done.

Firstly, the AI was so poor as to be unplayable unless vs other opponents.

Secondly, due to the nature of a turn sequence that requires responses in every phase, the PBEM system involved each person sending an email to every other player every phase and then having to wait for a response from each player for that phase and then sending out another mail to show the resolution of that phase. Now figure ona dozen phases ina turn and you've got hundreds of emails going out to resolve each players turn, every turn.

KaiLarson07 Oct 2009 11:17 a.m. PST

I have not yet found an AI that is equal to a human opponent. The AI is at least as good as in the Total War series of games. Certainly, it's better to have all humans, but the AI is there as a back-up in case nobody wants to play Turkey.

As for PBEM logistics, I haven't found it to be that bad. Because of the game presets (pre-ordering your naval units to do certain things or pre-ordering various diplomatic actions, for example) you don't really need to participate unless it's your turn or unless you are getting attacked. There are lots of PBEM games that move along quite well to completion. I've certainly seen more PBEM games of Empires in Arms played to completion than I ever did the board game version.

In the games that you played via PBEM, were the players and moderator active, or were there some laggards that never turned in their orders? (This can slow down any multi-player PBEM game.)

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