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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Video Game Connoisseur

Excuse me while I get nostalgic: Way back in the day (1994 to be exact), I started playing this little known game called Magic: The Gathering. It was pretty novel. They called it a “collectable card game,” meaning that you didn’t just buy a deck, you had to go out and buy more to make a better deck, beating the kid with rich parents who could buy him any card he wanted from the comic and card store. Three years later I gave up playing Magic. The reasons were mainly the cost and I only knew a few other people who played. The concept behind collectable card games always fascinated me; the idea of constructing your own deck based on certain rules and needs to try and keep it balanced and the way these games worked I always found interesting. Now that I’ve dated myself, let’s get back on track.

I’m also a fan of board games (the more esoteric the better). I’ve played games with miniatures that require a ruler and a scorecard. I always thought they were an interesting idea, too. So, much to my delight, when I discovered a computer game that combined collectable card games, board games and table top miniature games into one, I was quite interested. The result: “Armageddon Empires.”

The concept is one I’ve never seen before. You have a deck of “cards” that represents your forces, facilities and heroes. You can customize this deck however you want based on available cards (all “cards” come in the game, which takes away the collectable aspect). You play on a randomly generated board made up of hexagons, each hexagon representing one space. The game has 4 resources: men, materials, energy and technology; each space may have one or more of those resources or it may be empty. In order to play each card, it requires a certain number of resources plus action points. These action points are awarded at the beginning of each turn and are used to play cards and move them about the board. There are four different groups of opponents to choose from: The Empire of Man, The Machine Empire, The Xenopods and The Free Mutants. Each group has different cards with different strengths and weaknesses.

At the beginning of each turn, every side playing rolls dice to see who goes first; the higher you are on the initiative list the more action points you are awarded. Also in the game are independent groups, which, as of the new free expansion released for the game, have their own agendas, and will actively attack you. The game is designed to make you feel a bit frantic: there are a limited number of resources, you have a limited number of cards and when you run out, you’re in trouble. The games always seem to go so long that I run out of cards and inevitably just quit.

The game is good, but it has a few problems. The interface is a little clumsy and there are not a lot of tutorials. Also, there is no multiplayer function at all, a function this game begs. More cards included in the game would also be nice. I would recommend holding off buying it until there are more expansions available. You can instead look it up online and download the demo and give it a whirl.