Eight-Minute Empire: Legends from Red Raven Games brings all the mental challenge of a points-gathering euro-style game into a speedy package with a rich fantasy theme. The original Eight-Minute Empire had a static board, while Legends has a whole new dimension with modular play that means players will have to go through eight maps (one on each side of the four boards) in a variety of combinations before running into the same play area again.
In Eight-Minute Empire: Legends, players assemble a field, set out a starting region from which their empires will grow, and trim the deck to cards that will best balance the number of players in the game. Six cards are laid out from the deck to form a row of increasingly costly actions that a player may choose for his or her turn. Actions include growing an army, moving, building, and destroying opponents’ pieces. Only one card may be taken each player’s turn, making each choice of which card to act upon an important one, but players only have so many coins with which to bid for newly drawn powerful cards. Many cards have permanent actions, enabling a player to build powerful combinations as the game progresses.
The object of Eight-Minute Empire: Legends is to have the most victory points at the end of the game. Many of the victory points come from Risk-style area control. Players gain a point for each region controlled and another for each entire island controlled. Additional points come from special abilities, such as having a +1 VP for each arcane card held. A special bonus goes to players holding the most cards with the “elixir” label. While other players may be busy fighting for control of property, another player could sit back and quietly capture victory points through seeking out the right combinations. There is not a single best strategy to Eight-Minute Empire: Legends, since each game and even every turn is a unique set of circumstances for strategizing.
In addition to its regular gameplay, Eight-Minute Empire: Legends comes with bonus variants in-box. Players may change up the game with “Explore Tokens,” that give particular bonuses to certain regions laid out during set-up that give various benefits such as two elixirs from the Magic Spring, extra moves from the Stable, or even a victory point for Citadel Tokens as well as the loss of a victory point in Poison Swamps. “Encounter Tokens” readily change the game with dragons to be slain for extra victory points, and portals to link together distant parts of the map. Further, Players may draw Leader Cards that give specific goals to meet over the course of the game, heightening the fantasy element with warring factions.
Eight-Minute Empire: Legends is an area-control game for two to four players aged thirteen and up. A good rule of thumb for the length of the game is to add eight minutes for each player, making it one of the fastest euro-style games available. With constantly changing play requiring expert strategy and a dash of luck, players will return again and again to maximize the potentials of their empires.