Monday, September 30, 2013

The Great Plague (Part 6) The Diseased & Infected etc...

Throw the dying into the fray! Egads! They're infecting everyone!

The Counter Card "Plague Symptoms" that goes along with the new and gross Soldier Cards.

Three versions, two with counter included.

And also, last but not least... A Kingdom Card that offers some protection against Discard and Remove from Game Shuffling.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Those who cannot learn from history...

George Santayana
The Life of Reason (1905-1906)
Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

This famous statement has produced many paraphrases and variants:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

And my favorite:

If you don't play Empires and Generals, you will not have had as much fun learning as you could have.

Honestly, I just made that one up.

odd. the dimensions on this picture are 3x5

Friday, September 27, 2013

NINJAS! Feudal Japan - Shinobi Training

Sometimes you gotta get your NINJA on!

Now what exactly are these Ruffians teaching our children these days?


Breaking Pinkman

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Plague (Part 5) Hospital

How History works - Iron Smelting

Medieval Science and Technology:
Original Essays 

Medieval Iron and Steel -- Simplified Bert Hall
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
University of Toronto

from HERE

Iron is one of the most useful metals ever discovered, but it is also one of the more difficult metals to understand in history, especially in medieval history. Iron comes in several forms, and the complications involved in producing each of them fosters further confusion. What follows is the layman's guide to medieval iron -- as simple as possible, but not one bit more!

Three Forms of Iron:

Pure, unadulterated iron is only moderately hard, as anyone who has bent a nail with a hammer can attest. When it becomes red hot, say at about 700 degrees Celsius, it can be easily bent and formed into whatever shape the artisan wishes -- straps, hinges, horseshoes. For this reason we speak of "wrought iron," (wrought, from wreak, to bend or twist). Unfortunately, it is also only moderately tough; it can easily be bent when being used. It also loses any sharp edge very quickly under the pressure of work or abrasion.

Cast iron, on the other hand, is enormously strong. Cast iron takes its name from the fact that it emerges from the smelter in liquid form (see below) and can be cast into moulds rather like bronze or silver. Unfortunately, it is rather brittle, and worse, it can't be bent or shaped in any way once it has solidified. Hammering on red hot, even white hot, cast iron will simply break it.

Steel, iron with a small amount of carbon dissolved inside its structure, combines the best of both worlds. It can be cast into moulds from the furnace, shaped when red hot, and it holds an edge when it has been sharpened, even under fairly heavy use. Steel is clearly the prince of ferric metals, but it's not easy to make.

Carbon is the major variable that distinguishes between wrought iron, steel, and cast iron. Too little, and one gets wrought iron; too much and the iron begins to flow as cast iron. Just the right amount of carbon (around 1% or a bit more) and you've got steel. So why didn't everyone make steel? Because the smelting furnace doesn't let the operator control the carbon content with any degree of precision.

What Happens in the Smelting Furnace?

The job of the smelting furnace is to reduce the metal from its chemically combined state to a metallic state. Iron is a reasonably common substance in the earth, but as any owner of an old car will attest, most of the time it takes the form of rust, iron oxide. In the smelter, iron oxides and other chemically combined forms of iron have their chemical bonds broken. This allows the iron atoms to combine into a mass of metal. Rust goes in; iron comes out.

The smelting furnace has two tools to bring about this transformation: heat and carbon. Smelters, like all furnaces, burn carbon fuels to produce heat; that much is obvious. But burning is never complete, and the hot gases within a smelter are rich in carbon that is chemically active. Hot carbon has a strong affinity for oxygen, and the oxygen atoms are literally stripped away from the iron by the gaseous carbon. Left without any chemical partners, the iron atoms form a mass of nearly pure metal.

Heat and the Forms of Iron

The temperature inside the furnace is a critical variable. Most early smelters in Europe could no reach average temperatures of about 700 degrees. Now pure iron has a very high melting point, about 1530 degrees. So when the newly-formed mass of iron coalesces at 700 degrees, it remains a red-hot, slightly plastic solid called a bloom. The smith can hammer on this hot mass to shape it (and to make it extrude lumps of impurities that it might otherwise congeal around).

The bloomery type of smelter must produce wrought iron. No carbon can dissolve in the iron bloom at 700 degrees. But what happens if we start raising the temperature inside the carbon-rich conditions of the smelter? Simplistically, we would expect to have to get to about 1500 degrees before the bloom would start to melt. But this isn't the case at all.

At much lower temperatures, around 1150-1200 degrees, the iron starts to flow as a liquid. What has happened is one of the great "tricks" of physics -- a so-called eutectic point. When the temperature in a smelter rises, more and more carbon is absorbed by the iron. At about 3.5% carbon content, the iron-carbon alloy has a melting point much lower than either element would have by itself. It liquifies and begins to try to flow out of the furnace.

Iron has an extremely strong tendency to behave this way. The energy in its chemical bonds is such that the iron will absorb free carbon up to the 3.5% mark very quickly once the right temperature is reached, and the iron liquifies itself in the process. There is simply no way to stop the process once it starts, and that is why no master smith can realistically expect to make steel in a smelter.

What you get out of a smelting furnace depends on the amount of heat it generates. At lower temperatures, the iron is reduced without ever becoming liquid; it is drawn out as a spongy solid, red-hot and malleable, with virtually no carbon in its crystalline structure. At higher temperatures, the iron flows from the furnace into moulds, but it is virtually saturated with carbon and it cannot be shaped any further after it has cooled and been removed from its mould.

Making Steel

Both wrought iron and cast iron have their uses, but since neither form of iron has ideal properties, the smith will probably want to make steel, at least in small amounts. To do this, he needs another type of furnace. If he is faced with high-carbon cast iron, he must use an oxygen-rich furnace to try to "decarburize" or reduce the carbon content. If he is faced with low-carbon wrought iron, he must somehow produce a carbon-rich environment that would encourage limited amounts of carbon to combine with the iron.

Both tasks are hard to control in practice, but there is evidence that both methods were practiced in different parts of the world. Western smiths usually followed a process of heating the low-carbon wrought iron in some type of sealed container containing carbon, the idea being to promote the migration of carbon atoms into the metal. It was tricky, and often produced only small amounts of steel, but steel was simply so useful for tools and weapons that even small amounts were important. Steel edges were usually welded to a wrought iron core or blade to make a steeled tool in the most economical manner.

Some History

Broadly speaking, Europeans were devoted to the bloomery process until late in the Middle Ages, while the Chinese followed the opposite path, producing high-quality iron castings from the Chou Dynasty onward. The Chinese made steel or wrought iron by decarburizing their high-carbon cast iron, while Europeans made steel from their low-carbon wrought iron and seem not to have used cast iron at all. (There is some evidence the Romans made small amounts of cast iron by accident and discarded it as a "waste product.")

Throughout the European Middle Ages there is a great deal of iron in use. There are many centers of production, and a great deal of experiment in changing technique. One constant theme is the application of water-power to the "muscle jobs" of hammering the bloom and blowing air onto the smelter fire. The larger bellows that a water-wheel can operate mean a hotter fire in the smelter, and along with changes in the size and shape of the furnaces, they make it possible to reach the critical temperatures.

Current evidence from archaeology indicates that cast iron was first produced in Europe at two sites in Sweden, Lapphyttan and Vinarhyttan, sometime between 1150 and 1350. This suggests a possible connection with the much earlier Chinese practice of iron casting perhaps via the Mongols and the "Viking" settlements in the Volga region. This suggestion is supported by the general shapes of the furnaces as well. On the other hand, it may simply have been that bigger furnaces and bigger bellows led inevitably to cast iron flowing from the smelters.

One mystery remains: even if Europeans were making cast iron is Sweden by the thirteenth century, they weren't using it as iron castings. We have no pots or pans or bells or firebacks from such an early a date. Most likely the Swedish smiths were decarburizing the product of their smelters to make common wrought iron. Indeed, it is even possible that their effort failed and their knowledge lost for a time.

The market for cast iron objects in Europe appears late in the fourteenth century when cannonballs came to be in demand. Iron casting could make cheap, uniform cannon shot in vast quantities, and with this as a base, iron masters learned to produce and sell other simple objects for household use. Smiths also became skilled at making different forms of steel from cast iron, objects of high value when made into weapons.

In time, they would learn to make cannons as well as cannonballs out of cast iron, but the bulk of the smelter's output was destined to be converted into wrought iron, the familiar and easily-worked form of iron on the European market. It wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that Henry Bessemer learned how to make steel in vast quantities and at prices that could compete with wrought iron.

Monday, September 16, 2013

9/16/13 - a recent letter

a concerned citizen writes in today- 


How are things going with E&G? I was getting ready to print off all my cards that I have been collecting since I first heard of the zip file was corrupted. :( Anyway I started re-downloaded them individually when I noticed some some of the empires were empty. Since I havent received a newsletter in a while I figured I would email you and see how things are going and what I can do to get more cards. Im getting ready to teach a bunch of my friends how to play so I was hoping to re-collect as many as I could. Hope everything is going good. :) Thank you far all the hard work put into this game.


pauly responds - 

yes. some of the empires are indeed not ready for release yet.

persia is empty but greece should be getting done soon... just some tweaking left...

there is more to come!

trying to finish up the plague stuff and the prince and act of God and filling up greece all at the same time!


so much to do!

thanks for playing man. i will send out a newsletter here pretty soon.



and thank you for teaching your friends!

sorry the .zip was corrupted! i tried to send it to school but it was just a bad seed!


thanks for the letter!

have fun!


Sunday, September 15, 2013


Equipment is the stuff that you take with you when you go to war. It's also the stuff that you get when you get to the Warcamp for the war that's already going.

Below is the first Equipment card in the game. The Effect takes place when you play it on a Unit. It's not your typical Equipment but it is pretty powerful. Imagine if you were the guy sneaking in to the enemies camp to slip them the odd meat you scraped off of the floor at the butchers block.

Below are items that I have added to the glossary:

============Changed in Glossary============

Equip - Adding any card onto another card for the purposes of  changing the way that they are played. This can only be done at the War Camp during Army Phase unless specified.

Equipment - The cards that depict items that are in use by Units.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Great Plague (Part 4) Water, Disease, Maggots and Robbers

I was going to post these an hour ago but then I added the Ability to Spring Water. Muuuuuch more Awesome now. And so obvious. Water is water! You should have a couple of these in your deck no matter what's going on I think. Drawing protection from Disease or getting some free resources! Great card!

Infection! Yuck! Get those Dead Bodies out of here! You'd better hurry!

Maggots in the food! Maggots in the water! Gross! Get that mess cleaned up!

Hey you! Yeah you! The one with the shovel! Move those bodies over there... WAY over there!

Remove from game

Removing something from game?

Didn't I just do that with the discard pile?

Yes. Typically. But let's say that you are fighting the Vikings and they are looting the graves for bodies they can lash to their ship as a shield. What if you just moved those bodies before they got their? That would help a little in the long run. Removing something from play means that it is pretty far away or hidden so well that it cannot be accessed by the game at hand, by you or by your opponent.

The Great Plague Expansion has a couple of cards that mess with Discard vs. Remove from Game / Remove from Play. For instance, you can already have a big pile of plague-dead sitting in your discard pile and start removing them from the game so they don't spread the plague any further and you don't want someone to play A Field of Rotten Corpses and stink up the place... but then someone calls Bring Out Your Dead and all of your work was for nothing. I guess you will have to start over.

==========Added to Glossary===========

Remove from Play - Taking a card a step further from Discarding involves removing that card from play. It usually means that this card is over and done with for the remainder of the game and cannot be affected by discard issues.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


What is Leadership?

Leadership is that unknown force, that weird charisma that makes several people want to follow one person. In Empires and Generals, your Soldiers follow your General into battle. But often, a General is not present. When there is no battle leader, you may have another professional in the Warcamp lead the charge into the Battlefield. A Philosopher might bring the men into a battle fury with tales from long ago. A Doctor might rouse the men to find a cure for a disease, it takes just one man... whether he has a sword or not.

Empires and Generals recognizes that in history there are men of such caliber that will bring men to fight for them and it calls it: "Leadership". We used to call it "Does not need a General to attack", and this is still valid. Leadership has been added to the glossary for you. Thanks! Have fun and GAME ON!

==========Glossary Update==========

Leadership - This Unit is specifically marked with an icon in the upper right of the card. Typically Leadership is a General, but it may be a Philosopher, Doctor or other.

Needs no Leadership - This unit is typically a Soldier and does not need a General or any other Leadership Card in play to attack.

==========Glossary Update==========

The Great Plague (Part 3) Corpses

The Great Plague (Part 2) Rats

Laughing in the face of History - Samuel King and the Rain

On Feb. 18, 1986, frustrated that heavy rains had prevented some jurors from reaching his court, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel King said, “I hereby order that it cease raining by Tuesday. Let’s see how that works.”

California immediately entered five years of severe drought, with strict water rationing.

When colleagues reminded King of his order in 1991, he said, “I hereby rescind my order of February 18, 1986, and order that rain shall fall in California beginning February 27, 1991.” Later that day the state received 4 inches of rain, the heaviest storm in a decade, and two further storms added another 3 inches.

In a letter to a local newspaper, King said this was “proof positive that we are a nation governed by laws.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Holding Your Fortune

Well, at least you will have 5 safe Kingdom Cards. ><

Remembering Old Injuries

The Huns were famous for pushing Rome to use defenses that they wanted them to use by feinting an attack then coming in on the flank... By thinking two steps ahead, one can use this card for a game winner. Using your opponents strengths against himself is pulled off by the most apt of players.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Replace any in play with one in your deck.

This could be pretty funny in the right circumstance.