Next from the loft we have the Games Workshop big box game Mighty Empires, originally designed as a campaign system for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but also playable as a game in its own right. 2 of my friends had copies of the game and I was fortunate to be able to acquire both from them for the original purchase price of £25 each. Mind you, we are talking a quarter of a century ago...
|A section of Albrecht Altdorfer's "Battle of Issus"|
Mighty Empires is unusual in having a box lid decorated with historical art rather than a painting by one of the usual GW cover artists. The 1529 painting by Albrecht Altdorfer shows Alexander the Great defeating Darius III of Persia in 333BC.
|Box 1 - map pieces, dragons etc.|
The first of my boxes contains the map tiles (I used to spend hours arranging and re-arranging these to create marvellous maps), a tub of dragons, some gold coins I bought to hand out to players as something more tactile than just scribbling down how many "gold crowns" you received in revenue at the end of each campaign turn. The small tubs contain some of the game counters. There's also that Kryomek plastic blister pack, but more on that in a moment...
|Box 2 - counters, armies, settlements|
The second box contains all the plastic fortresses, cities and villages that go on the map, also the banners (i.e. troop counters) and lots more counters. I made a North marker hex that could be added to the map if desired.
|Rules and maps.|
The rules have been hole punched and popped in a binder along with all the extra rules they published in White Dwarf. There is also a punched pocket containing some old campaign maps.
I fondly remember the campaigns played against my friend Matthew who lived over the road, we'd set up a map on a coffee table in my room and play over the course of 3 or 4 days, maybe 20 years of actual game time. After setting up the map and choosing your starting locations, each player had 6 turns (each representing 1 month) to explore the map. An unexplored tile would need to be scouted before you could move into it, 2D6 would be rolled to determing whether it contained a village, fortress, city, or was barren. Different tables were used depending upon whether it was a river valley, highlands or plains. Rolling doubles when scouting meant you'd discovered an independent settlement. After the campaign season, you'd tot up how much revenue in gold crowns you recevived from your various settlements (1 for a village of fortress, 2 for a city, +1 for each ship if you had a port), then spend the revenue on improving settlements (building fortresses or cities, bridges, ships), recruiting troops, buying supplies for them. Wizards in your realm might also cast some spells.
We must have managed 4 or 5 big games over a couple of years. Using 2 sets of the game made the campaigns suitably epic and far-reaching.
|Undaed - yay!|
Now we return to that Kromek packet. One of the sets of Mighty Empires included several of the add-on sets of metal miniatures produced for the game, including pirate ships, wizards' towers, bridges and the undead. Ah yes, the undead. All our games would feature the Necropolis somewhere near the border between our two realms.
|Undead army banner.|
The skeleton army banners are really nice, lots of detail that rewards the quick ink-wash-and-drybrush method of painting.
|Dare you enter the Necropolis? Of course!|
The Necropolis is a lovely piece of scenery too, suitably forebidding. I like the fact that the back has a slightly different design. Investigating the Necropolis could have all sorts of results, you might find a rich tomb and gain some extra gold crowns, or perhaps some of your army would become terrified and desert. If you were really unlucky, you'd accidentally disturb the Necromancer who would ride forth with his great undead horde and raze the surrounding area. Happy days!
|Necropolis from the back.|
Now that I have a 3d printer, I intend to add some extra pieces of scenery in due course, a mine, some temples, perhaps a great wall...