Games Gazette Logo

The Iceberg Internation game ORIENTAL EMPIRES is a classic computerised game of adventure, action, building, exploring and conquering.

ORIENTAL EMPIRES GENGHIS is a campaign add-on for the basic game, but it is not just a five-minute sidebar, it is a full blown game with the great man himself as the chief warlord.

Buy Oriental Empires: Genghis    Winter Sale     -25%     £7.19  to  £5.39

 

During the game's progress known and named characters, those with 2 ratings, will age and eventually die. In their lives though they will lad your armies, enlist more characters and proclaim and use edicts. The GENGHIS add-on/expansion offers 2 new campaigns 'The Time of the Mongols' and 'The Life of Genghis Khan' while the other campaigns are still available to be chosen. When playing the Genghis campaign you begin as a 9 year old, by the time you are 12 you are already skilled in war and at 16 you meet and marry Borte who is soon kidnapped, life is not as easy for the mighty Khan as TV and Movies will have you believe.

 

In 'The Life of Genghis Khan' the Mongols are introduced to the game and the player may only play the Mongols. Genghis (aka Temuchin) begins as a 9 year old when his father dies, and he has to learn the hard facts of life as he grows. The story and the myth are managed and realised throughout this campaign with the player making important strategic and military decisions about things like Technology and Culture, Power, Craft, Thought, Knowledge, Diplomacy, Edicts, Finance and player stats such as Info, Victory, Influence and Automation, there is far more to all of the ORIENTAL EMPIRES campaigns (or custom games) than charging around as a might horde - though there are times of necessity.  You have a set number of turns to win by completing Genghis Khan's conquests before the turns/time expires.
'The Time of the Mongols'  (13th Century) allows you to play through the campaign as the Mongols or any others of the numerous tribes and factions available. 

 

The other Campaigns are:
The Grand Campaign: Best start for new players to Oriental Empires. The Chinese Civilisations from 1500BC to 1500AD when Gunpowder was not soley the providence of China and everyone has use of it.
The Warring States: Cannot be played by anyone who hasn't reached Turn 120 in the Custom or Grand campaigns.
A Custom Game: A randomly produced world set to the player's specifications. Great for multi-player games.

 

The map is generally hex overlaid when viewed from above or distance. From ground level the terrain is exquisitely detailed and the 'dots' on the landscape take shape in the form of animals, buildings, towns and villages etc again all in high realistic specifics.

When you lead a force around the map you have to set their formation and direction and keep track of them by watching the long-poled banner that accompanies them. I have to say that the control system isn't immediately intuitive and although there is a tutorial to follow I still found the game to be unlike most others of its genre in as far as its complexities and completeness go. To move your units you have to click on and highlight their banner and then right click on the place you want them to travel to. Your route on the map is shown as an arrow or a series of arrows depending on the distance you have set. Each arrow alternates in colour, yellow then orange then yellow, the tip of each arrow (the pointy bit) is where that section of the journey will end (unless something previously not seen on the map interrupts).

Charging around the land is okay and when necessary your allies will join you, though you have no control over when, how or what they will do. They are also extremely fickle. If you lose honour, generally by failing in a mission, they immediately turn from 'friendly' to 'hostile', and with encampments and villages so close to each other you cannot afford to lose too many friends, especially as getting them back on your side generally means conquering them, which isn't healthy for either faction.

 

From the Website:

Participate in the extraordinary rise of Genghis Khan, in Oriental Empires: Genghis. Begin as a homeless outcast and become the legendary warrior in a brand new campaign. New maps, buildings, units, resources, technologies and characters enrich and expand your quest to become a true Khan of Khans.

Become the first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

Train and grow a small band of warriors, cultivate alliances and pick your battles wisely to subdue the rival clans and unite the Mongol nation. Earn the title of the fearsome Genghis Khan and unleash an all-out war on the great powers of the Xi Xia, Khwarazm and Jin Dynasty era. Are you the builder of a bridge between East and West that changed the world forever? Claim your place in history as its greatest conqueror.

More Oriental Empires

Guide humble Temuchin on his path to becoming the revered Genghis Khan, and experience important moments from his life in the new story campaign - or play a sandbox campaign set around the time of his birth. Genghis is set on a new map that extends from China in the East across the vast steppes of Mongolia, covering the great cities of the Silk Road, and reaching what was to become Afghanistan and Iran in the West. Stunning new building models bring the cities of the Silk Road and Islamic Central Asia to life. Discover new resources, technologies and characters as your quest unfolds.

Genghis features

 

This may be the life of the great Genghis Khan but you can change history easily without meaning to by getting the Mongols all but wiped out through poor choices. GENGHIS is like all the games of conquering you have probably already seen and played in as much as you need to build civil, military, scholarly and other buildings that in turn allow you to train or recruit mercenaries, soldiers, archers, spearmen etc. Then you need to learn skills, such as horse riding, gunpowder manufactor and useage etc etc. The slower you are at doing everything at once, which is what it seems you are doing, the further behind the other factions you fall - a graph shows you just how quick the computer operated factions proceed ahead of you.

I have mentioned that failing at a quest will lose you friends. Some of the quests are illogical in how they come about and each has only a certain number of game turns for you to be successful. They seem to be somewhat random as far as where they are gained and the target to be reached and defeated generally means you have to forget every other aspect of playing and go blinkered towards the goal, prepared or otherwise.

 

One of the first quests was to rescue you wife from her kidnappers. It came about that I was near the 'known' edge of the map when I had an encounter. Without a fight ensuing a text box appeared onscreen to tell me my army had been routed and Borte had been kidnapped and taken to a town on the North-Eastern coast. It took me 6 or 7 movement turns to reach the town and then I find that I need archers with fire arrows to breech the walls. Luckily I had another general leading some troops not far away so I called them to meet up with me and they passed by some 'friendlies' who also sent out a small force to aid us. When my general arrived he too had no archers, but the 'friendly' general did have and they set fire to the walls. Meanwhile another large force of friendlies arrived from the South, but as I sent my men into the town to fight and rescue my wife they just sat on a hill and watched, as did the friendly force with the archers.

 

After a couple of turns my force overturned the garrison and my wife rejoined me. I didn't have enough troops to leave a strong enough garrison behind and the turn I moved out the friendlies from the South turned hostile and took over the town. A few short turns later and I am told to go to another town and conquer it. I had about 12 turns, maybe 10, to complete this. Unfortunately the town was on land across the sea and although I conquered another city on the way - because I didn't have time to go around it (and I thought it may have ships seeing as it was on the river mouth leading to the sea) once I got to the sea I was stumped - there was no way across and thus I failed the quest and lost more allies.

 

The weather changes quite quickly from Spring (bright) to Summer (sunny) to Autumn (terrain colours change) through to Winter (snow) and then back again to Spring but as long as you have your productivity set on automatic you do not have any worries about supply or sustenance, your units just keep on exploring, fighting carrying out your orders. Rearranging your formation depending on your situation helps especially during battles, though it may take you more than a few games to get the best results. There is a [Save] option and unless you want to go right back to the beginning - regularly at first - you are best to save at regular intervals, even when you are comfortable with your own skills and have moved on from the 'easy' mode to 'normal' or even 'hard' you should still reach for the [Save] button.

 

During your first game, especially when you are victorious at your debut battle, it is easy to think that as Genghis Khan you are invincible and so you hastily head on into the next fight. This is a mistake. Take whatever time you have before another quest pops into play to boost your faction in as many ways as you can. Send out settlers, begin new settlements, start farms, build roads; it's a little disappointing that when building roads/buildings etc you only see the results, you don't see them being constructed - no little workers shovelling and digging like in many other games in this genre. I know that seeing them makes no difference to the game-play, but they do offer the player some light relief from the vigours of war.

 

Visually Genghis is beautiful, particularly in close-up when you zoom in by rolling the mouse wheel and can almost see the colour of the soldiers eyes as the detail is quite magnificent. The terrain, mountains, rivers, trees, ground, all look like photographs, except when they have yellow hexes on them. The farther you scroll out the easier it is to see the points of interest but of course the detail deteriorates. Zoom in close and move the camera angle and you can see the shadows, the armour, the horses, even the leaves on the trees.

The only differences I personally can see from the majority of other games like this, and there are and have been, plenty, are the historically enthusiastic missions (quests) that feature Genghis and all of the warring factions and tribes in such a small region, at least it is small to begin with - the lands expand as you traverse the foggy outline and build roads between settlements. Travelers move a lot further on roads, but trying to plan a unit's movement along a path is virtually impossible - they will take their own route only using the roads when their own path connects with them in the direction the horde is traveling.

 

Message boxes pop up whenever there is something important you should know or if you have a unit without orders and you have clicked to end the turn. This gets to be a pain but it is good to be able to have the opportunity to not make a silly error, especially when your forces are spread wide and often thinly across the map. You have to remember that Genghis didn't conquer all of his empire on his own, he used generals and family members to command sections of his army and he united the majority of the nomadic tribes into a force that couldn't be reckoned with. It was only as they weakened and fell apart, after his death, and everyone wanted to rule as much of the land as possible under their own command that the empire broke up.

 

These non-game maps (found on the internet) show the extent of Genghis Khan's empire, also showing that the game is fairly historically accurate although some place names and positions do differ slightly on the game map; the biggest change from my perspective was Tatar not being across a fierce sea.

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015