Friday, September 13, 2013

Little Wars: "Eight-Minute Empire"

Love destroying your opponents in a Risk-like game of global domination but don't have an entire evening to set aside? Then, Eight-Minute Empire might be the title for you!

Here's the game's declaration of war right from the Red Raven's website:

"Build an empire and conquer the land in around eight minutes!

"In Eight-Minute Empire, 2-4 players take turns selecting a card from six displayed. The card gives a good, and also has an action that the player takes immediately. Actions help players take over the map, but sets of goods are worth points at the end of the game, so players have to balance the two aspects.

"Eight-Minute Empire is the super-quick area control game with tough decisions. It’s easy to learn and perfect for when you only have a few minutes."

Looking to craft the optimal strategy for a realm-wide victory?  Take a few seconds to read the rules pamphlet right hur and in no time you'll be ready to charge into battle!


So, last Wednesday night was Mike's pick and he opted to go with Battlestar Galactica. Just hours before go-time Andrew sent around the following email:

"I have a game called Eight-Minute Empire that I was hoping to get played tonight.  I checked with Mike and he has no problem with us showing up around 7:30 to get it played while he puts his kids to bed.  Any of you willing to show up for 7:30 to play a new game?"

Andrew's cryptic invitation was enough to lure all of us in.  Chad, Jeremy and I arrived at Mike's place thirty minutes prior to our official BSG kick-off time of 8 pm.  Within moments Andrew managed to  set everything up, explained the game and get us started!



With a successful bid of two Coins, Jeremy won the right to play first.  He quickly snatched up an Ore card and then marched one of his Armies out onto Anvil Island to the south west.  

Andrew paid an extra Coin to claim a Gem card. He then placed two new Armies in the starting space.

Chad dropped a Coin in order to procure a Carrot (?) Card. This gave him four available moves which he used to spread out like a yellow fungus across the continent.  

I grabbed a free Ore card which let me move one of my Armies three spaces into Carrot Corner (??) to the south east.  


Keen on starting an Ore collection, Jeremy paid two Coins to purchase a second one. Armed with three points of movement, he then completed his subjugation of Anvil Island.  NOTE: This was actually a bit of a cock-up but Jeremy caught his mistake and fixed it in Round Four.

Andrew spent two Coins to buy a Vegetable Card. He then moved his Armies to the edge of the starting continent, clearly intent on branching out into the hinterlands.

Chad took on some hot, double-Carrot action and placed three new Armies in the starting space.

I paid zippo for a Tree Card, which let me decree a stately pleasure-palace in my newly-conquered neck of the woods.   

I can't believe no-one took the Cylon Basestar.


Taking a cue from my last move, Jeremy took a Veggie Card and then placed a castle on his Island Fortress of Doom.  

Andrew secured a Tree Card, marching two Armies out towards the North West quadrant of the board.  

Chad took a Carrot (to the knee?) for the express purpose of destroying one of Andrew's Armies on the starting continent!  Awwww, snap! Shit just got real, yo!


I took an Ore Card and placed three new Armies on my utopian paradise.  

To rectify his error in Round Four, Jeremy placed three Armies with an Anvil Card instead of taking the movement option.  

In a truly outrageous move, Andrew used a new Gem card (Heh, see what I did there?) to march his Army past The Wall in the north-west, eventually subjugating the Gem province.  

Chad blew two coins to capture the first Wild Card of the game.  

I picked up my second Tree Card and then stretched my forces out over the South East continent. OooOoo, roomy!  


Jeremy used another Anvil Card to place three new Armies on the start space.

Andrew picked up an Anvil Card to re-enforce his holdings to the north-west and spread out in the opposite direction! 

Displaying more vegetable-related obsession then Jamie Oliver, Chad bought yet another Carrot card in order to place three new dudes on the main continent.  

I took an Ore Card and then shifted one of my Armies onto Andrew's turf in the north west. 


Jeremy harvested a free Tree Card and then diverted three Armies onto Andrew's now-embattled nation!  

After scoring his own Tree Card, Andrew hastily erected a City. Now he could crank out re-enforcements right on the spot!  

Chad diversified, paying one Coin for a Gem card that let him place another new cube. While everyone was pre-occupied trying to foil Andrew's plans, Chad's stranglehold on the main continent was growing tighter and tighter!

I bought an Anvil Card and then placed a rival City on Andrewonia, much to the Emperor's dismay and consternation.


Jeremy pilfered a Gem card and then dropped two new Armies onto the starting space.  

Andrew beefed up his new City's garrison with three new Armies, thanks to an Anvil Card.  

Chad began the process of engulfing the main continent with a 6-move Tree Card.

I also picked up a Tree Card, using it to reenforce my new City with two new Armies.  


Spending the last of his cash reserves, Jeremy acquired a Double Anvil Card.  This gave him four points of movement, which he used to cut a swath through the north-west continent.  

With four movement points provided by an Anvil Card, Andrew eked out as much space as he could in the north-west.  

As if Chad hadn't already horked up enough real estate, he used an Anvil Card to move three Armies to the far reaches of the starting continent.  

In a pointless moment of overkill, I dropped three Armies onto my existing fortress in the north-west.    

So, literally, after about eight minutes or so, the game was over and began to add up our Victory Points.  


A player collects one victory point for each region on the map he controls. A player controls a region if he has more armies there than any other player (cities count as armies when determining control). If players have the same number of armies in a region, no one controls it.



A player collects one victory point for each continent he controls. A player controls a continent if he controls more regions in the continent than anyone else. If players are tied for controlled regions, no one controls the continent.



A player collects victory points for his sets of goods. The amount of victory points each good is worth depends on how many cards of that good he has and is listed in the middle of the card in four amounts.  If you control a region with a goods symbol add one to your count.  



Chad...13 points
Jeremy 12 points
Andrew...11 points
Me...9 points

Chad wins!!!



  • Eight-Minute Empire delivers on its promise. We played through an entire game in less time then it takes to cook a soufflé.
  • It's easy to throw down and explain and, as such, us pretty much the perfect icebreaker / time-killer / filler game. 
  • The components are colorful, whimsical and durable. ALL HAIL THE ALMIGHTY CARROT!!!
  • Three methods of scoring make the game deceptively deep.
  • Izzit just me or does it seem kinda wonky that all of these rival Armies originate from the exact same place.  Whatupwitdat?!?  

This is a surprisingly brilliant little game. As an olde skool wargamer I kinda wish that it had more chrome to give it some heft, but I also know that making it longer and more complicated is counter-intuitive to the game's mission statement. Through what I'm sure must have been a painful process, designer Ryan Laukat really trimmed the fat, delivering a game that's fast, cheap and out of control. New maps, cards and variants are sure to appear, but I'd almost hate to see this game lose its sweet simplicity.  

Eight-Minute Empire scores four pips out of six with a global tilt upwards!  

Looking to clobber your Risk-obsessed friends in the same time it takes to boil an egg?  Click on the image below to add Eight-Minute Empire to your collection and help support the blog!

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