How was the game developed?
In the mid 2000s both John Rodriguez living in Texas and Flo de Haan, living in the Netherlands picked up the idea to expand and develop their favorite game by Francis Tresham: Civilization. Maps grew bigger, accommodating more players, and more development was done. As soon as Flo and John met through a forum, they decided to work together to develop a new bigger game, each on either side of the ocean. A new approach with new original rules, stepping away from the original. In the meantime Gerart de Haan joined, and it took about ten years of development and testing, as 18 players is not a team you gather every week.
Picture of the full Mega Civilization
In 2015 the game was actually published in a wooden case. The product is an astounding achievement, weighing no less than 11 kilos, a mapboard stretching over 2 meters, containing over 2000 tokens and 1500 playing cards. A limited edition of 3000 numbered copies found their way into the gaming world.
In 2019 the game was upgraded, redesigned and renamed ‘Mega Empires’, a step further away from Francis Tresham’s game.
Mega Empires was always designed as two standalone games that can be combined to one big game. Though the maps and civilizations of either Western Empires and Eastern Empires are completely different, the team always aimed for two equally balanced games, with each unique characteristics. In contrast to the 2015 release, this time both sides of the full game are published separately, and either game can be played irrespectively of owning the other one, but can be combined for a unique mega experience for 18 players.
What’s the difference between The full Mega Empires, and this versions Western Empires?
Rather than developing a game for 18 players straight, Mega Empires was initially designed as two equally divisible stand alone games, Western Empires and Eastern Empires. Both games could be played stand-alone with 5-9 players, or – big fun – be combined into a single big game: the full Mega Empires. It took a lot of effort to make either side equally balanced, as both maps are completely different. When playing the combined game, either side may appear to completely separated to start with, but as the game evolves civilizations will mix up and player may find their population scattered around the full map.
This edition, Western Empires, is obviously the Western part of both sides. This can be played by 5-9 players, but leaves a door open to combine the game with a potential future release of Eastern Empires. This will not be an expansion, but rather a second stand-alone game, just as Western Empires, but with a different theme and mapboard. Eastern Empires will eventually bring new cultures, new flavor, but most importantly, a new playing challenge to the game.