And it smelled of gunpowder. Empire: Total War

I love the Total War series. This is my favorite strategy series … Before the first “Warhammer: Total War” was released. And no, I do not want to say that this game is bad, on the contrary. The problem was that this was no longer Total War. It didn’t have the same scope, and it’s not about battles, but about the company itself. Playing it, you do not feel yourself at the helm of the state. What can we say, if in the company of Balthazar Gelt in “Shadow Blade 5e: Total War”, our goal is to become the supreme magician. Seriously? Seriously?! Am I really playing Total War? But what about the interests of the state? Expansion, living space, economy? That is, we are leading hundreds of soldiers to slaughter for the sake of … nothing? Plus, social policy was cut out of the game, like strata of the population. And also, they cut out naval battles …

Gold braids, bright uniforms and the smell of gunpowder

18 century. The era during which Europe was finally formed. The rejection of feudalism and the transition to absolutism, which began in the 15th century, finally ended at the end of the 17th century, and the republic of the united provinces, slowly but surely, was losing its place as the leading maritime and colonial power. Versailles and Windsor entered the first stage. In northern Europe, the Vasa war machine reached its peak under Charles XII and challenged half of its neighbors. Russia, reformed by Peter the Great, must oppose it. And Prussia is preparing for the unification of the German lands. In India, the Maratha confederation gained enough strength to challenge the Mughal empire. On the territory of both Americas, Europeans are already ready to break each other, not noticing that local tribes will also fall under the distribution. So we are met by “Empire: Eldritch Blast 5e“.

Also, it is worth noting the starting generals of some factions. The Russians Menshiks and Mazepa, the Austrians have Yevgeny Savoisky, von Borke in Prussia. Also, in the course of recruiting generals, other 18th century generals, historical and with special characteristics, may appear. Yes, this is a trifle, but extremely pleasant. 

But not armies of one are united. Fleet! For the first time in the series, we can take over the management of naval battles. And, as a longtime fan of the Corsairs series, I was pleased that the controls were taken practically from there. 

Yes, there were changes, but not as significant as it might seem at first glance. And that’s good, yet the ship’s handling in the Corsairs was one of the best.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to form a huge squadron, the engine of that time simply did not take out. But, a strike force capable of performing tasks far from home bases is quite possible. I prefer a connection based on ships of the second and third rank, supported by two cruising ships at high speed. This is more than enough if the player has straight arms, otherwise, even a squadron of brigs will turn your fleet into a sieve.

BUT! The game Firebolt 5e also gave new types of troops:

  • Colonial: European troops in the Americas and India. A complete analogue of its European counterparts, except for some characteristics. In India they are called: the troops of the East Indian Company.
  • Indian: Maratha and Mughal troops. They are distinguished by a huge number of cavalry and troops with melee weapons. The Mughals also have war elephants.
  • Berber / Ottoman: Turks and Arabs have their own unique set. At first, these are extremely cheap and ineffective foot soldiers, but they can be hired a lot. But, after the reforms, Osman’s infantry and cavalry was not nearly inferior to the Europeans. And thanks to parts of the Janissaries, it surpasses the average European army.
  • Indians: few small arms and guns, no navy. But, at the same time, they are masters of guerrilla warfare. And here, it is worth quoting the classic: “Johnny! They are in the trees! ”  

Science and economics

And now, we are getting close to the most important changes in the series.

The first thing to note is science. In this part, for the development of your state, you need to build educational institutions that will advance your state along the scientific ladder. In total, there are three such ladders: military, industrial, social. 

And if everything is simple and clear with the military aspect: we develop the technology, we get the improvement of the squad. So the infantrymen first receive baguettes (a bayonet inserted into the barrel of a musket), and then full-fledged bayonet-knives. Sometimes, pumping one technology or another, opens up new units: light infantry, rocket artillery, etc. 

The military branch is also divided into three parts: the fleet, artillery, infantry and cavalry.

Some technologies allow you to build new types of buildings: barracks, admiralty, shipyards, foundries. It is they who allow the recruitment of new types of troops and the continuation of scientific research in the required area. 

Next branch: industrial. It allows you to turn small businesses into full-fledged factories with steam engines that can feed and clothe your army.

And the third aspect: social. This aspect is fraught with a threat to your entire monarchical system. Since the more you develop it, the more your inhabitants demand rights and freedoms. That lowers the general level of satisfaction of different classes of the population of the country. At the same time, it increases your income and congratulates you on building various financial institutions: stock exchanges, trading houses, F95Zone, port shopping complexes.

Culture, religion and revolution

The general indicator of the culture in the country. Each region needs to build its own facilities: operas, theaters, guest houses. These objects are needed to improve the mood of different segments of your society. The exception is the capital city, where you can build objects that raise the level of contentment throughout the country.

Religion: in this part, the largest number of religions, at the time of the release of the game, in the entire series. Christianity alone is represented by three confessions: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism. Islam is represented by Shiism and Sunni Islam. On the territory of America there is shamanism, and in India there is Hinduism and Sikhism. And you need to fight with religion, because otherwise, you will get an uprising. To do this, you need to send preachers and build objects of religious worship: seminaries, churches, etc.

  1. The possibility of changing the government if it has little support from the population.
  2. New types of troops: Republican Guard in the amount of six units.
  3. Replacing the upper class with the middle one.

In general, a republic is much easier to control than an absolute monarchy. There is only one significant minus: not always the chosen stadtholder, it can be re-elected. But that’s better than a fool on the throne, believe me. 


I can highlight the following:

  • First and foremost: the card is too small. Countries like France and Spain are represented by just one city. The disputed areas of Metz and Gibraltar do not count.
  • Second minus: not the best AI. Yes, now it is much better than the one that came out, but even now, it needs to be tightened up.
  • Third minus: unfinished social mechanics. It can be seen that the authors only laid them down in the series. An idea with different religions, technology levels and so on, it’s incredibly interesting. But this is only the initial stage. And there are not so many differences between the republic and the monarchy.


In my opinion, this is one of the best parts of the series. If it was screwed up, completed, the game would be great. Unfortunately, this was not done. But, I hope that one day the creators will release the second part, with a more global and detailed map and completed social mechanics. And then, the light of El Escoril will illuminate the world: from the Gulf of Horn to the Forbidden City.