Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Your Own Private Waterloo

The World Is Yours For The Taking

As mentioned in a previous blog about my current addictions, I play a game. Calling it a game might be a bit of misnomer. It is more of an epic simulation. The type of struggle that all men dream of, but few will ever get to experience in this day and age.

Do Your Duty

This simulation is called "Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition". It is a simplified war game that can be played against the computer or against other human players, either via a network or via e-mail. Calling it simplified may be a bit miss-leading. Considering that there are about 30 types of units, terrain factors, weather factors, supply/economic factors as well as some engineering involved. Keeping track of everything can be a pretty daunting task.

The Struggle For The Straits

Simulations such as this teach you how things work in a strategic sense. Finding ways to produce, transport, confront and triumph over an enemy that is far away and entrenched is not an easy task. Alexander found this out, Caesar learned this, as did Hitler, Eisenhower and Mao. It is a bit of a lost art, except for the few that have the patience and the time to learn it.

That is where Empire Deluxe comes in. It recreates all of these factors. The only thing left out are the politics, and even that factors in, in the form of treaties and agreements between the players.

Oil Fields and Infrastructure

Which brings me to the current game. We are in turn 332 at last count. The game has been ongoing for about a year and a half. We started out with four players, but one of them didn't fare too well and he was annihilated. That leaves three of us and by the looks of things, we will be playing this game well into turn 500. The turns are completed, and then e-mailed, round-robin to each player. Given about one turn every 3 days for each of us during the average week, that would put the game well into 2010at the current rate of combat.

Modern combat of this type teaches you some interesting facts about warfare. When you have oceans....sea power is key to assault and supply. Air-power is critical to sustain any assualt and counter attack. Suprise attacks are best when possible, and nuclear weapons have their limitations. These are things that bring the nightly news report on foreign policy into clearer focus. Although the advantages of airborne assault over a narrow strait have little value when watching American Idol.

The Fog Of War

The Opening graphic is the current game map from my point of view. This isn't visible outside the game application, so I created a graphic mosaic to show the scope of the entire conflict. Clicking on the graphic will take you to a larger resolution image that is 2000 pixels across. If you really want to 'see' the entire war in detail, you can try and view the full size map of the entire conflict in its original size (7000 pixels across), but be warned, it is a 9 megabyte file. The detail and complexity are astounding.

If anyone is intersting in learning this game or finding out more about it, drop me an e-mail at