Spotlight on Games > War Games > Variants

Empires of the Middle Ages

Grand Scenario variant
for 4 players
Copyright (C) by Rick Heli, 1991.

After completing the Grand Scenario, some players may feel that they have not been given an altogether fair deal. Perhaps they feel that the Byzantine Empire has too many eastern magnates to deal with, or that Italian colonization power is too high, or the Germanic language too widespread or even that the Moslem Spaniards are walkovers. Or maybe someone got a stature 9 administrator who lived for over a

This variant attempts to address such concerns by trying to measure players on pure skill. Throughout the game the players will be changing hats from empire to empire, seeking to leave each one better than they found it and being scored accordingly. May the best Emperor win.


Start the Grand Scenario as normal.

After Charlemagne dies the second time, divide kingdoms as usual.

Each player should roll two dice to establish a precedence. Choose empires in order, the highest roller going first.

Play with all six empires, adding the two additional ones as soon as they become available. Have the additional empires each played by the players with the empires which are most remote from them, attempting to minimize any contact between the empires. Example: If there are empires with courts in Constantinople, Lorraine, Ile de France, Lombardy, Bohemia and Kiev, assign the Bohemia empire to the Ile de France player and the Kiev empire to the Lombardy player.

Record current victory points for each empire.

When any player draws the Leader Dies Heirless event card, that player trades empires with the player currently ruling the empire with the oldest dynasty (a dynasty is considered to end when a Leader Dies Heirless event card is drawn). At the start of the game, the age of the dynasties is judged according the order in which the empires were chosen, the earliest choice being considered the oldest dynasty.

During the game, be careful to record the order of Leader Dies Heirless events so as to distinguish the age of dynasties started in the same round.

Empire trades always occur before applying the results of the Leader Dies Heirless event. Each player should record the victory point total of their current empire, subtract this number from the number of victory points recorded when they took over the empire and add this number, which may be negative, to their current personal victory point total. At the end of the game, compare personal victory point totals to determine the winner.

If a player's sole empire is lost or in exile, the player may disband the empire and take over the Magnate of his choice whenever it comes up. Taking over the Magnate can happen at anytime -- either when the location is known, anytime it is in play or immediately after the Magnate dies.


Instead of scoring points at the point of the Leader Dies Heirless event, each player tallies victory points at the end of each round. Count points as usual except do not include handicap values. Add two points to each player's tally for each Diplomatic Tie to an area which is possessed by another player.

At the end of the game, sum all the victory point tallies achieved by each player and divide by the number of rounds played to achieve an average. To this add the handicap values to determine the final victory point total.

Copyright (C) by Rick Heli, 1991.
Mon Nov 16 12:45:01 PST 1998