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Posted on Jun 29, 2009 in Electronic Games

Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition – PC Game Review

By DeWitt Cave

Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition
Matrix Games/Western Civilization Software. $59.99 (Physical Shipment). $49.99 (Digital Download)

Passed Inspection: Deep game play, includes state of the art diplomacy and very in-depth, hands-on economy.

Failed Basic: Steep learning curve, poor graphics.

Success will depend on your ability to manage an unforgiving economy and build and maintain a military while delicately balancing your foreign policy.

Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition, the sequel to Matrix Games and Western Civilization’s original game, Crown of Glory, takes place during the turbulent years of Napoleon’s rush to build an empire. Success will depend on your ability to manage an unforgiving economy and build and maintain a military while delicately balancing your foreign policy. CoG: EE is a turned-based strategy game, with eight playable countries and the capacity to play more than one country at once. Turns last for one month, and games can last from six months to 23 years. A standard campaign starts off in 1805. Victory goes to the nation that gains the most amount of “glory” by the end of the campaign. Glory is attained or lost in many ways that include winning battles, developing trade, accepting surrenders, and developing favorable diplomacy terms.

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The map encompasses all of Europe, parts of Russia and northern Africa, and is filled with a plethora of minor factions that can either help or hinder your growth as a nation. Clicking on a region can give you important information about that nation, such as whether it is a current vassal of another country and how many troops are stationed in it. Selecting a region also enables you to declare war or conduct a sneak attack (though that hurts your glory). Each nation has diplomats, which are an essential part of the game and can prove extremely useful in charming a nation or supporting revolt or even trying to displace rival diplomats in the same territory.

CoG: EE is game that truly allows players to control all aspects of their nation. One of most difficult and intricate features is learning the economy. When starting the game, you have the choice of a “simple” or “advanced” economy. To a new player, it’s best to start the game using “simple economy” and get a feel for managing that first.

The advanced economy really takes the player to another level of detail, where you must determine items to manufacture for each of your cities. One city may be more adapt at producing wine while another could be better suited to producing wood. None of this comes easy; you must play around with the cities’ economy setting to determine what works best for that city and your nation. If your nation can’t produce an item, you must set up trade with a foreign country, but beware that trading costs money and embargos can be set against you if you upset a rival nation. Within each city, the player has the option of selecting from a variety of improvements to make to that city. Each improvement impacts your country and can range from developing better roads, thereby expanding your city’s culture and its citizens’ happiness, to helping build a strong economic infrastructure. The economy takes a while to manipulate, but there are some help manuals out there that can get you up to speed quickly.

The diplomacy section in CoG: EE is truly superior to that of similar games. What makes it so dynamic is the amount of options at your disposal. Setting up alliances, providing terms of surrender, arranging royal marriages, lending land or asking an ally to remove a general or army from your lands are just some of the vast array of features.

Graphically, the game leaves a lot to be desired. Besides the main map, the secondary screens feel very cold and at times very text heavy. The main map does not stand out and feels more like a board game than a computer game. The military units are very basic looking and do not compare to other games in the same genre.

Sound effects are very detailed, though. During battles you get the sense that you are in the midst of two armies going head to head. During naval battles you can hear the ship creaking and ships’ bells ringing. Weather, shown on the main map, can wreak havoc on your country’s resources. Rain in one of your regions may hurt your economy; having allies on favorable terms might help in setting up trade if you find your resources devastated by storms.

Like all moves in CoG: EE, battles take place after you complete your turn. You can select Instant, Quick or Detailed versions for the land and sea battles. The computer processes Instant Battles and only shows the results when your turn is complete. In a Quick Battle, you are presented with a checked board with three zones for placing units. Placement is key, as it can provide your unit with a bonus. Land battles have charge, attack and defend options, and naval battles have melee, attack and volley. Once your selection is complete, clicking on the Done button will simulate the battle and provide results. The last option, Detailed Battle, puts you on the field with your units where you have more hands-on control and can move your units around. A good location on the map, favorable weather conditions and a well-thought-out battle plan will usually guarantee success. Again though, the graphics are lacking and each battle feels more like a board game then a computer game. This can have a big impact on players’ enjoyment, as part of the fun of war games is acting as the general, moving the troops, and seeing units fight against each other, not just knowing how many hit points a unit took.

Some extra features unique to this game are the Rumors and Treaties news updates. Rumors give you an idea where a current army is located, the possible troop strength, and where the largest concentration of troops is located. The treaty page gives you updates as to who is making treaties and how long that treaty will last. It’s an interesting facet of the game that provides more detail for the player to absorb and can help in deciding what the next move should be.

Overall, CoG: EE is a complex game with a lot of features that can provide you with very in-depth game play—or a high level of frustration. Gamers who don’t want a steep learning curve and desire a more graphical experience would be wise to look elsewhere. But players who enjoy methodical game play that allows them to get intimate with all details from shaping their economy to determining the best strategy for their army and navy will find themselves so absorbed in Napoleonic Europe it will be difficult to turn the game off. In the end, this game is best for veterans of Crown of Glory and for those who are willing to trade off flashy graphics for a compelling and intricate game that can provide the user with a rewarding finish.

Click here to read an exclusive ArmchairGeneral.com interview with the game’s design team.

Score: 79%

ACG Intel

Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition

Matrix Games

6 Comments

  1. HiHi

    Just some minor thoughts, in no particular order

    Can I suggest that you seem to have possibly missed out one of the most rewarding aspects of CoG EE, that is, it has a PBEM Multi-player capability, and there is already a steadily growing bunch of players involved in this aspect; the interplay with widely different “Characters” from all around the world adds a really worthwhile extra dimension to the Game

    Given that folk see things differently IMO surely, “Failed Basic: Steep learning curve, …” is synonymous with, “Passed Inspection: Deep game play, … very in-depth, hands-on economy.”

    No it’s not an easy game to become expert at overnight (I’m talking about the Advanced economy here), but then again nether is Chess and that game seems to have stood the test of time :-)

    The Goodfolk at WCS have however catered for the ‘Slash & Hack’ brigade by having an option of a Simplified Economy so folk can just concentrate, in the main, on charging their armies/Navies around the map.

    One very trivial addition, the ‘Rumours’ feature allows players to add their own input, now there’s a ‘Can of Worms’ waiting to be exploited if ever there was one! :-)

    “In the end, this game is best for veterans of Crown of Glory and for those who are willing to trade off flashy graphics for a compelling and intricate game that can provide the user with a rewarding finish.”

    Can I suggest here that players who enjoy ‘Forge of Freedom’ would also rate this game very highly, especially with the added Multi-player feature.

    So finally to any one reading this, if you can overcome any problems you may have with the Graphics this game is phenomenal (with a capital P!).

    All the Best
    Peter

  2. I agree completely with Peter. The review missed the most important aspect of the game, the multi-player ability. I use the AI to learn, but the real fun is playing with/against other people from around the world.

    Could the graphics be better? Yes, but IMHO, that would add nothing to my enjoyment of the game.

    Regarding the interface, it took me very little time, I understand the interface and really have no difficulties anymore.

    And as for the Advanced Economy, the recent guide that was published was all I needed to open my eyes to it’s beauty and, frankly, simplicity. I can’t imagine going back to the Simple Economy now.

    I owned the original Crown of Glory and Forge of Freedom, but I have to say that Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition is my favorite, hands down. I’ll be playing it for years with a hopefully growing group of PBEMers.

    Best,
    Andrew

  3. Thanks for the feedback guys. I’m aware of the PBEM part, but felt it wasn’t very intituative for new players like myself. Plus, with today’s multi-player games, you want to play right away and not email it out to a friend.

    I felt this game is best for those who are very familiar with the Crown of Glory installments. Someone who is coming from Total War Series or Civilization, may find the game lacking in some areas, but absolutely nailing it with the diplomacy.

    Like I mention in my review, veterns of CoG will love it and get a lot more of out it, then those who haven’t played it before. Due to the extreme depth of this game, it may be a turn off for first time users, but if they can look past some frustrating nights and forgo the graphics, there is a great game, the player just needs time to get grasp everything this game has.

    DeWitt

  4. DeWitt,
    I’m one of the developers of COG:EE. I would like to thank you for your review and high rating. I am posting here not about the review, but because I would like to point out something regarding your comment above. When our other game, “Forge of Freedom,” came out I posted a poll thread in the forum asking players how they played — AI, PBEM, and/or networked. To my astonishment, only around 3% or so played FOF on a network — and this was a game with just two sides! The number of people playing PBEM was somewhat higher, perhaps around 25% or so. (It’s been a while, so I can’t remember exactly.) My guess is that the percentages are similar for those who play COG:EE. My original poll, plus the anecdotal evidence from our forum (as well as the two comments up above) show that there are plenty of people who do still enjoy old-fashioned send-out-your-turn-and-wait games, and these were among the potential customers we were aiming for. (I would love to know the breakdowns for how many people play those other games networked.)

    - Gil Renberg

  5. I fonally broke down and bought it and I have to say I love this game so far

    It also comes with 7 tutorial videos, a nice PDF manual, and an advanced economy PDF for new players, but you can turn that off if you want

  6. Well, I wasn’t particularly interested until I read this review. Definitely my next purchase as I have a rather obsessive interest in all things Napoleonic.

    I realize the emphasis here is diplomacy et al, but I’d love to see a marriage of this game to some sort of Operational level engine to resolve warfare. Something like AGEOD’s Napoleon’s Campaigns – but with AI that actually worked somewhat.

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