Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery was released by Tropical Games in 2007. The game was planned as a release by Eagle Games, but it went bankrupt and could not proceed with the game. Tropical Games was formed by some people from Eagle Games, and Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery saw the light of the day.
The game was designed by Glenn Drover, the founder of Eagle Games. He is famous for designing and publishing cardboard games such as the famous Railroad Tycoon.
The artwork of the game was done by Paul E. Niemeyer.
In 2011, the game was renamed to Glenn Drover’s Empires: The Age of Discovery following the loss of the naming rights to the series Age of Empires.
- 34 Capital Buildings;
- 150 Colonists (30 x 5 Colors);
- 150 Specialists:
- 25 Captains (5 x 5 Colors);
- 25 Merchants (5 x 5 Colors);
- 50 Missionaries (10 x 5 Colors);
- 50 Soldiers (10 x 5 Colors);
- 10 Merchant Ships;
- Money (50 x Silver, 40 x Gold);
- 46 Trade Goods (5 x Gold, 6 x Silver, 3 x Cattle, 3 x Cocoa, 3 x Fish, 6 x Sugar, 4 x Fur, 4 x Coffee, 5 x Tobacco, 3 x Rice, 4 x Indigo);
- 16 Discovery Counters;
- 16 Discovery Cards;
The game was inspired by the video game Age of Empires III.
Each player takes on the role of one of 5 major European powers out to discover different parts of America: England, Portugal, Spain, France and Holland. It takes place during the late 15th century. America is divided into 9 regions, each one is associated with a particular trade good.
It is a strategy for 2 to 5 players in the style of a Euro game. The board is divided into two parts: first one has the 9 regions that players are to discover, the second one is the place for Event Boxes.
The game lasts for 3 Ages: Age 1 and Age 2 both take 3 rounds, Age 3 takes 2 rounds.
The rules of the game are fairly easy, and if you follow the instructions, you will understand how to play pretty soon. At the beginning of the game, each player has 5 Colonists to work with. In turn order, they all place one of their Colonists in one of the Event Boxes. After all the Colonists are placed, the execution of Event Boxes begins.
Scoring happens 3 times during the game – when each Age finishes.
Here, the order by which players place their Colonists is established.
To change the turn order for the next round, you place a Colonist here. It also gives you income benefit.
There is a limited number of slots for Colonists in this Box. During the execution of this Box, Colonists in placement order are sent to one of the colonies currently established in the New World.
Each player can select from 4 randomly chosen trade goods. The first player who players a Colonist here gets to choose first, the second one chooses second, and so on. There are only 4 open slots. You should collect trade goods for potential income later in the round.
During each round, one ship is available, and only one player can have it. Whoever has the most influence in this Box, gets the ship.
Each round 5 buildings are available for purchase. If you have sufficient money, you can buy more than one. Purchasing happens in placement order, so, if there is a Capital Building that you know everybody needs, try to place your Colonist here as soon as possible.
This is the Box for establishing colonies in the New World. In the beginning, there is only one discovered colony. Colonists departing for America can only be sent to colonies that are already discovered. To establish a new colony you put your Colonists, Specialists and Experts in this Box, and when you have accumulated enough, they go on an expedition to a region of your choice. This is a risky moment. When someone tries to discover a region, the tile of this region is turned face-up, and if the number on it is larger than the number of your Colonists, then all the Colonists return to you. Otherwise, the colony is established.
This Box is for adding Specialist to be played in the next round.
When you put your Colonist here, you choose to either attack one colony where you have soldiers or attack all the colonies of a particular opponent at the same time (in this case, there is a fee you have to pay). When you announce your opponent, he has to remove one of his soldiers for each one of your soldiers. This could be a good way to shift influence in one chosen colony.
After executing all the Event Boxes, you calculate income for each player in turn order. You get money for sets made up of trade goods and merchant ships you have accumulated during the round. A set is three goods of the same type. A ship can substitute for any type of goods.
Then the players evaluate benefits they get from their Capital Buildings.
At the end of the round, you get 5 new Colonists.
During scoring, which takes place 3 times in the game, you get Victory Points for the influence in established colonies.
At the end of the game, Victory Points are added up with benefits you received throughout the gameplay.
The winner is the player who has most Victory Points.
This is the principal piece of the game. Each player owns 30 Colonists.
For bringing the Missionary to the New World, you get twice as much benefit as for an ordinary Colonist. Each player owns 10 Missionaries.
The Captain provides benefit for merchant shipping and during discovering new regions. Each player has 5 Captains.
The Merchant provides benefit for merchant shipping during arriving in the New World. Each player owns 5 Merchants.
The Soldier can be used for discovering new colonies. You can also defend established territories using Soldiers. These are the pieces that are used for warfare. Each player owns 10 Soldiers.
The Missionary, the Captain, the Merchant and the Soldier are all called Specialists.
Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery can be compared to the famous game Risk. Here, you also have a political map divided into territories that are waiting for you to take over them. Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery could come across as a lighter version of Risk: there are fewer regions on the board and the winner does not have to have the whole map to himself as in Risk.
Another game designed by Glenn Drover, Railroad Tycoon, also bares comparison with Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery. In Railroad Tycoon, you have a map of the Eastern United States and players get victory points for delivering goods to different cities.
Empires: Builder Expansion
This expansion lets you introduce a 6th player, so there is another colonizing power in the game. It also comes with a new Specialist – the Builder, 20 new Capital Buildings, a new Rules Sheet, the Mint and Overpopulation Will.
Glenn Drover’s Empires: The Age of Discovery – Plague Promo
This expansion brings you a set of 3 new Capitalist Buildings – one Plague Building with a special feature for every age:
- Age 1 – You succeed in every discovery during this age,
- Age 2 – Each colony that has population of 3 or more of the same color is reduced by one Colonist,
- Age 3 – You choose one opponent colony and reduce it by 3 Colonists.
Q: How long does it take to play Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery?
A: It takes from 90 to 120 minutes depending on the number of players.
Q: How many players need to be there in order to make the game interesting?
A: You can have from 2 to 5 players, or 6, in case you have got the Empires: Builder Expansion. What is great about the game, it works great even with just 2 players.
Q: Which languages has the game been translated to?
A: So far it exists in English, French, Dutch, Czech, Slovak and Chinese. But you can play the game using the version in a language you do not know since there is not much text.
Q: Does luck play a big part in Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery?
A: No, very little is left to the chance in the game. Everything depends on you: you come up with a strategy you want to follow and carry it out.
Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery is a political strategy with the gameplay highly depending on your tactics. There are different strategies you can pursue: you can dedicate your forces to discovering, or trading goods, or planning wars. One winning strategy does not exist. Thus, the game does not become boring even after you have played it several times: each time you can make it different. Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery is a very dynamic and well-balanced game that can be enjoyed by a company from 2 to 5 players. You can buy it on Amazon.