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Video Game: Empire Total War

Empire: Total War is the fifth entry in the Total War series of strategy games, released in 2009. Like other games in the series, it features a mixture of turn-based and real-time strategy, allowing the player to move armies and manage cities on a grand-scale strategy map, then zoom in to fight epic real-time battles when two armies meet. It is the first game in the series to make guns a major part of the gameplay, and the first to include real-time naval battles.

Taking place in the 18th century, it allows the player to control one of several European or Asian powers in a bid to found colonies, fight off rivals and establish a hegemony on the world stage. Changes in thought brought along by The Enlightenment allow experimentation with new kinds of governmental philosophy and research of more new technologies than ever before. The world is changing rapidly, and any rulers who wish to survive this turbulent century must adapt or die.

In addition to the Grand Campaign, the Road to Independence tutorial campaign follows the founding of the United States while teaching the basics of gameplay to the player. The Warpath DLC includes new playable Native American factions as an addition to the main campaign.


This game provides examples of:

  • All Your Powers Combined: The games in the series that came before this one have the Assassin and the Spy as agents. This game just has the Rake.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Amazons of Dahomey, actual Real Life Bodyguard Babes (albeit appearing slightly too early).
  • Alternate History: Take Over the World as Poland? Its in the cards! A united Germany by 1750? Hard, but doable! Native Americans expeling the European colonists? All this and more are possible scenarios.
  • The American Revolution: The third episode of the "Road to independence" scenario
  • Anachronism Stew: Empire and Napoleon both feature Moscow as the capital of the Russian Empire. While Moscow was the historical kernel of the Empire and later became a capital once more, St. Petersburg filled this role from 1713 to 1918. This also includes the Russian unique buildings the Winter Palace and the Kunstkamera museum, which are located in St. Petersburg in Real Life but can only be built in Moscow in the game.
  • Anti-Cavalry: The square formation is the infantryman's very eloquent and persuasive argument against cavalry, but charging your cavalry head on into infantry is a bad idea in general. Cavalry are restricted to flanking and maneuvering by this time in history, and the vast majority of infantry can hold their own against any force of cavalry stupid enough to try a full frontal charge, thank you very much. Cavalry are best used as flankers; failing that, they are best concentrated against small segments of line to break units in detail while the infantry focus on keeping the other side's infantry from turning their guns on the cavalry.
  • Arcadia: When the game starts, all the agricultural buildings are small and peaceful farms. This changes over the course of the game, as agriculture becomes centralised and industrialised.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your artillery captains may need to be hanged in Empire. When told to cease fire, they tend to discharge their loaded guns directly into the line of battle. If they aren't relentlessly baby-sat, expect embarrassing friendly-fire incidents the second their target moves within musket range of friendly infantry. God forbid cannon arranged in a line, and the target moves to their immediate right or left. However unintentionally hilarious it is to see them shooting each other in the back from mere feet away, the fact that in many campaign battles friendly fire causes far more deaths than the enemy is frustrating indeed.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: First-Rate Ships. Especially the Santissima Trinidad. They're so slow and they hurt your economy so much just by merely existing.
  • Badass Bookworm: Gentlemen can serve as both scholars and duelists.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Units will answer to your commands in their respective languages.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Sweden has a typical European army list, with only one unique unit, the Hakkapeliitta light cavalry. They're also the only faction in the whole game to not receive any new units through DLC. However, to compensate, their base-line units have fairly good statistics: Their Line Infantry are surpassed only by those of Britain, France and Prussia. While they're criticized as a boring faction to play, they remain high-tier in multi-player and quite a few players swear by them.
    • Most of Austria's available units are average if not weaker compared to their French or British counterparts. On the other hand, it's compensated by there being more men in each unit, the light infantry Greasers and the Hungarian variants.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Inverted. If a war is going poorly, it might seem like a good idea to buy a dlc that adds more elite units to give your nation a leg up, but depending on who you are and who you're fighting, your purchase might give your enemy the advantage.
  • The British Empire: Britian by this time controls the Bahamas, part of Canada, and the thirteen colonies. If you play as them, you can go to and colonize India in the name of the crown. If you play the United States campaign, Britain already controls all of Canada and the eastern coast of India.
  • Cannon Fodder: The Armed Citizenry are little more than local townsfolk hastily given muskets and would break before just about any other unit. They are mainly used in sieges, either in massed rushes or for garrisoning buildings.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Rakes can sometimes have crossdressing as a trait that makes his job easier. The creepy part is that Rakes are assassins/spies/saboteurs, meaning that they murder people and blow up buildings for a living.
  • Cutting the Knot Most, if not all of your problems, can be solved with some degree of violence. Troublesome Minor Nations? Go to war and crush them. Unhappiness? Wait for the rebels and then murder them all, which will put the populace back in check. Pirates raiding your trade routes? Wipe them out to the last man.
    • Generals too, are more easily dispatched in battle then by assassination or duels, since being surrounded by an entire army makes a Rake's mission difficult and being practiced blades make Generals formidable duelists.
  • David Versus Goliath: There are mods that let you play as minor factions, giving you the opportunity to stand up to or even surpass the major factions.
  • Dawn of an Era: The medieval era has become a distant memory as Europe enters the Enlightenment.
  • Death from Above: Get yourself a decent number of heavy howitzers and bombardment mortars with percussive shells and watch your enemies get blown to smithereens. Incidentally, this function is actually what makes it safe to stick your own units in front of them... as long as you're not aiming there, anyway.
  • End of an Age:
    • It must appear this way from the point of view of the Native American Nations and the Mughal Empire. Several eother nations, Poland-Lithuania being a good example, will often succumb to their aggressive neighbors.
    • The Enlightenment will come to a close as you approach 1800, with the western world's optimism in progress being choked out by all the conflict and rebellion in the last 100 years.
  • Evil Luddite: Certain Buildings cause unhappiness due to industrialization. If this industrialization causes too much unhappiness, then the people will launch a rebellion. Whether or not they win, between hundreds and thousands will die.
  • The French Colonial Empire: France controls much of Canada, a good chunk of the caribbean, and a snippet of South America. If you play as them, you can take over India or North Africa in the name of the French crown.
  • Glass Cannon: Artillery. Despite being the core of a proper army, even moreso in the latter, they are extremely vulnerable in close quarters unless immediately supported by infantry (preferably line) or cavalry to check a charge... or with canister shot ready and waiting to be fired to do the same. Part of the role of cavalry in the game is to destroy (can't capture 'em) any undefended guns that they can charge... from the side or behind, that is.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: The Barbary States are at war with every single nation, the Ottoman Empire being the sole exception.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: George Washington (the classic example) in the "Road to Independence" campaign.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: One of the possible non-fatal pistol duel resolutions: Both shoot simultaneously, both guns jam, so one of them throws his pistol into his adversary's face.
  • In a Single Bound: Boarding fights in a Naval Battle are quite ridiculous as the crewmen of the attacking ship will jump at unrealistic heights.
  • Inertial Impalement: You are suddenly missing an entire cavalry regiment? They have probably all impaled themselves on a cheval de frise while you weren't paying attention...
  • Jack of All Stats: Third-Rate Ships have the best balance of Cost, Crew Size, Firepower, Hull Strength, and Mobility. For the price of one First-Rate you can have 2-3 Third-Rates instead.
  • The Knights Hospitallers: They control a single island on Malta, and are only a shadow of their former power. You can only play as them with the assistance of a mod.
  • Landof One City: Several factions (including the majority of the minor ones) start out with a single city. Exaggerated in that some minor factions only start with one small town.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: There are rocket troops and rocket ships, but their tactical effectiveness is limited compared to simply getting proper artillery (although rocket ships can kill any large and slow ship in the game, due to their forward firing weapons, long range and ability to start fires).
  • The Missionary: Your religious buildings will occasionally spawn these, and you can use them to convert a provence to your religion. If you send them to India or the Americas, they will eventually gain traits that can help or hinder their ability to seek converts there.
  • The Musketeer: Ranged infantry and cavalry can befit the trope with varying effectiveness depending on unit stats and abilities. Dragoons are the best example, but are limited to melee attack when on horseback (since they're basically "infantry who ride to the fight"), while several minor nations have cavalry who can fire carbines from horseback.
  • The Papal States: This is a faction in Italy. You can not play with them without a mod, but you can easily conquer them for your empire.
  • Pirate: They are in the Caribbean and the trade theaters. The Barbary States also count.
  • Reassignedto Antarctica: You will need to send a missionary to missionary convert a provence in India or the Americas if you want to keep people happy. He can do well and get a bonus for conversions there, or do poorly and get a penalty.
  • Seven Years' War: The second chapter in the "Road to Independence" scenario, and you can choose to recreate this on the main campaign if you play as the British or the French.
  • Sinister Minister: Averted. This aversion is noticeable because this type of priest sometimes popped up in the game's predecessor.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Empire introduces the "garrison building" mechanic which allows you to put infantry in selected buildings and turn them into defensive strongpoints that are resilient to musket bullets but are inviting targets for artillery. Two problems introduced with this innovation are that you can actually garrison a building that's already on fire and that garrisoned infantry will not evacuate a burning building unless manually ordered to do so. Because of this, it is actually possible to lose a whole unit of infantry in a structural collapse.
  • Venice: This is a minor faction, which controls the city of venice as well as a provence in Greece. You can only play as them if you have a mod.
  • Vestigial Empire: There are a few. Portugal, Venice, the Mughal Empire, the Knights of St. John and the Papal States are just a few of them. Most of these factions are unplayable without using mods.


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