New isn’t always better, and the Age of Empire board game from Tropical Games is here to prove that age (pun absolutely intended) doesn’t matter!
Particularly, we here at Shrunk Collectibles managed to get our hands on the Age of Empires 3 board game.
We’re here to give you everything you need to know about it.
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“A Certified Tabletop Gaming Classic!”
Our Rating: 4
This Age of Empire board game is directly based off of the Empires Age of Discovery PC game.
To say that it’s a deluxe version is a definite understatement.
Funded completely—with all those stretch goals included—Empires Age of Discovery is arguably one of the most successful board games that’s based on another medium.
So, if you’veplayed Age of Empires III the Age of Discovery, then you’d be familiar with all the game mechanics and features of this tabletop games classic.
The Age of Empires 3 board game has everything you’d expect from the Empires series.
It’s a mix of a control game and a, dare we say it, one of the best family games out there.
This Age of Empire board game has everything its PC counterpart has to offer and more.
That includes the age of kings to the rise of the Rajas to African kingdoms and right down to Asian dynasties.
Expedition of Discovery
So, get ready to have an expedition of discovery and alert your colonists and specialists.
This Age of Empires 3 board game will have you spending countless hours turning you from a tabletop games whiz to a legit conqueror.
Without further ado, we here at Shrunk Collectibles are proud to present you with our Age of Empire board game review!
The Imperial Pack
Make no mistake: just because Empires Age of Discovery has a subtitle does not mean it’s an Empires builder expansion pack.
Empires III Age of Discovery is a proper base set that you could play with or without any add-ons.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that World variant edition, though.
The package itself is an absolute gargantuan, measuring about 13 inches x 4 inches x 16 inches.
It includes a whopping 400 miniatures, and this Age of Empire board game even has historically accurate currency pieces based on Spanish dollars and silver coins.
And if you’ve played Age II or its predecessors, then you already know that there are multiple ways you could win in this game.
The miniatures are color coded into six groups: you have your yellow, purple, green, blue, red, and orange pieces.
As for the currency pieces, these gold and silver doubloons absolutely look great.
They’re plastic but are so finely painted that they almost look like weathered gold and silver pieces.
Additionally, there are also tiny plastic tiles that signify trade goods in the game, ones which colonists or specialists would probably most enjoy.
Then, there are the capital building pieces divided into three groups marked respectively by the Roman numerals I, II, and III.
As a sweet bonus—though no less important to the game—you get these sweet miniature merchant ships that allow players to “travel” around the known world.
Knowing Your Conquest
The Age of Empires 3 board game accommodates anywhere from 2 to 6 players (like we said, one of the best family games out there).
As with most tabletop games, Empires Age of Discovery is played on a board—and, man, this is one REALLY big board we’re talking about.
If you’ve played Age of Empires III the Age of Discovery on the PC, then you’d be familiar with all the phases in this board game.
By that, we mean that this Age of Empire board game is played in 8 phases or turns.
It is marked on the bottom section of the game board.
After turns 3, 6, and 8, players score each other and, of course, whoever gets the most points claims victory over their inferior peers!
Flaws of Conquest
This Age of Empire board game would have been perfect if not for one glaring flaw on the game board itself.
Don’t misinterpret it, though: Empires Age of Discovery has an airtight and balanced gameplay system.
We’re talking about the game board’s design here, instead, because you’ll notice that the border—where the scoring system is placed—is rather small.
Because of its very miniscule size in the game board, it’d be easy to get confused if more than one player is occupying the same spot.
The Empires builder expansion managed to rectify this problem, but we’re talking about the main Age of Empires 3 board game here.
All too Real!
The Age of Empire board game belongs to the control game or worker placement game genre.
As such, Empires III Age of Discovery will allow players to place their “workers” (marked by the miniature pieces) on certain sections of the board.
It’s an expedition of discovery where colonists and specialists vie for the most conquered areas of the New World.
Much like Age II and all those other previous expansion sets, the one who controls the most areas has the most points.
It’s the similar rule you see in Rise of Rome, Rise of the Rajas, Age of kings, etc.
In turn, the conquistador who has the most points means you’ve played Age of Empires III the Age of Discovery better than your opponents!
Sections of Power
On the right side of the game board, you have a number of sections where you could place your miniature workers on.
First, there’s the Turn Order and Initiative Track section, which mark the order with which players take their turns performing various actions in-game.
Next up in this Age of Empire board game is the colonist dock section.
That is where you place your worker miniatures and send them to the New World (on the left side of the game board).
At the onset of the game, the only New World section you could land on is the Carribean.
From there, colonists or specialists then have the opportunity to expand their territory and open up other New World sections, such as: New England, Virginia, and Florida.
Right below the colonist dock is the Trading Goods section of the game board.
It’s here where Empires Age of Discovery will allow players to use their Trading Goods tiles.
Trading is a pretty important aspect in Empires III Age of Discovery.
It will generate you some of that sweet moolah to fund your colonists and specialists in the New World.
Then, there’s the Merchant Shipping section where you’d use your miniature galleons.
If you’ve played Age of Empires III the Age of Discovery on PC, you’ll know it’s used in conjunction with your trading goods.
By that, we mean these merchant ships allow players to earn more dollars in-game.
This brings us to the next section of the Age of Empire board game.
Up next is the capital building section of the game, where you mark which “Age” your campaign is currently in.
You do this by using all those capital building cards, which are divided into three sections or “Ages”
The more advanced the “Age” of your empire, the more expensive it gets in-game.
And as we’ve mentioned, the capital building cards are divided—in ascending order—into Ages I, II, and III.
And then, of course, there’s the Discovery section; this is Empires III Age of Discovery, after all.
Discovering New Worlds
This is the only section in the board where you could place as many worker units as you want.
The ultimate goal is to send them to the New World.
This section is also where you use your discovery cards or tiles, and this is where this Age of Empire board game starts to get savagely fun!
Discovery cards are placed in areas in the New World and are further divided into three sections.
The Three Sections
First, there’s the top part where you’d see how many natives are guarding any given New World area.
You have to defeat them in order to properly colonize an area in-game.
Second, there’s the reward section of the discovery cards found at the bottom.
It tells you what you get when you defend the natives/guards, usually victory points and some gold or silver.
And third, the middle section of the discovery cards denotes various in-game bonuses dependent on game conditions.
An example of this would be gaining additional gold or silver if you have, say, a soldier unit present in the area.
A Special Place
Right after the game board’s discovery section, there’s the Specialist area where your miniatures could attain various fields of expertise.
Colonists or specialists—your workers— could be trained to become one of four available “experts”: missionary, merchant, captain, or soldier.
A fifth tile in this section shows how much you need to spend to turn your colonists and specialists into one of these (it costs 5 in-game dollars).
This fifth tile will also allow players to select a pre-set “builder” expertise for your worker units for free.
In the World variant edition of this Age of Empire board game, or the Empire builders expansion set, the “builder” expertise also costs 5 in-game dollars.
But that’s neither here nor there.
This Means War
Finally, there’s the warfare section of the Empires Age of Discovery game board.
When it comes to warfare, this Age of Empires 3 board game allows you to have two options.
Either fight a single opponent in a single spot or fight a single opponent wherever you and they are placed on the game board’s New World section.
Fighting an opponent in a single spot in the map is free.
Choosing a more widespread type of combat where all the areas you and your opponent are placed could engage in war will cost you 10 in-game dollars.
Knowing Your Empire
The Age of Empire board game, as we’ve mentioned, is a tabletop games version of the classic Empires series.
Ever since these games were first launched for PC, players have been given the opportunity to do various things.
That includes craftingAsian dynasties, witnessing the rise of Rome, creating an age of kings, and even building their own African kingdoms.
Even Better than the PC Game
Designed by Glenn Drover, this Age of Empires 3 board game features an expedition of discovery, as its title suggests.
And by that, we mean that you’re getting the same experience from the PC game.
It’s even better because this is one of those family games that’s best enjoyed with more players.
As far as playability goes, this one could be appreciated both by seasoned fans of tabletop games and newbies alike.
Previous versions of the Empires series, such as Age II, focused on the rise of Rajas, Asian dynasties, and the like.
However, the Age of Empire 3 board game is set in 15th century Europe.
Of course, knowing 15th century Europe, you know there’s a whole lot of conquest and colonization (i.e. racism and murder) going on.
And that’s one of the defining characteristics of the Empires series, be it Age II or Empires III Age of Discovery.
This is a game based on certain points in history.
It’s also a control game where the goal is to gain as much points through conquest as possible.
All in all, this game is a classic whether you’ve played Age of Empires III the Age of Discovery on PC or not.
Simply put, this is one of those tabletop games that has a bit of something for everyone and a whole lot for fans of strategy games and history!
Manufacturer: Tropical Games (Now Eagle Games)
This Age of Empire board game was originally created and released by Glenn Drover via Tropical Games in 2007.
However, that company has folded since and Empires Age of Discovery is now distributed by Glenn Drover’s very own tabletop games company, Eagle Games.
Eagle Games has been around for almost two decades now, with popular board game releases like Incan Gold, Brass, and through the Ages.
They are a company based in Leitchfield, Kentucky and used to be divided into two subsidiaries: Eagle Games and Gryphon Games.
Nowadays, however, they’re just called Eagle-Gryphon Games, and Glenn Drover and co. is still at it making the best tabletop games out there.
Age of Empire Board Game: Our Verdict
With its fantastic set of rules and overall amazing gameplay, Empires III Age of Discovery stands the test of time.
It proves to be on par with current tabletop hits.
In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that it’s a whole lot better than most tabletop games released since it debuted.
The overall package itself is more than generous, providing players everything they need to play this classic.
Aside from the amazing miniature and piece count, the quality of the whole thing—from the game board right down to the miniature merchant ships—istopnotch.
In fact, you could even say that this Age of Empire board game works as much as a collectible as it is a proper board game.