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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:

  • Amazon Brigade: The Amazons of Dahomey, actual Real Life Bodyguard Babes (albeit appearing slightly too early).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.


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