Empire Classic (1984)

by Christopher
3 minutes read


Empire Classic: A Timeless 4X Masterpiece

Empire Classic, originally released in 1984 for the HP3000 minicomputer, is a seminal 4X turn-based strategy game that laid the foundation for the genre as we know it today. Developed by Ben Norton and based on Peter Langston’s 1971 game Empire, Empire Classic offers a deep and engaging gameplay experience that has stood the test of time.


Empire Classic is a 4X game, which stands for eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Players take control of one of six civilizations and must guide their people from humble beginnings to galactic domination. The game is played on a hexagonal map of the world, and players must explore the map, expand their territory, exploit resources, and ultimately conquer their opponents.

Empire Classic offers a wide range of strategic options, allowing players to pursue different paths to victory. Players can focus on military conquest, economic development, technological research, or diplomatic alliances. The game also features a number of random events that can add an element of unpredictability to the gameplay.


Empire Classic is notable for its innovative features, many of which have become standard in 4X games today. These features include:

  • Simultaneous turn resolution: All players submit their orders for the turn simultaneously, and the orders are then resolved at the same time. This eliminates the need for players to take turns, which speeds up the gameplay and makes it more exciting.
  • Fog of war: Players can only see a limited area around their units, which creates a sense of uncertainty and makes exploration and reconnaissance important.
  • Diplomacy: Players can form alliances, declare war, and negotiate peace treaties with other players. Diplomacy is an important tool for managing relationships with other civilizations and achieving victory.
  • Technology tree: Players can research new technologies to improve their military, economy, and infrastructure. The technology tree is vast and complex, and it offers a wide range of options for players to customize their civilizations.


Empire Classic has had a profound impact on the 4X genre. Many of the features that are now considered standard in 4X games were first introduced in Empire Classic. The game has also been praised for its deep and engaging gameplay, its historical setting, and its replayability.

Empire Classic has been ported to a number of different platforms over the years, including the PC, Amiga, and Atari ST. The game is still actively played by a dedicated community of fans, and it is considered one of the greatest 4X games of all time.


Empire Classic is a timeless 4X masterpiece that offers a deep and engaging gameplay experience. With its innovative features, historical setting, and replayability, Empire Classic is a must-play for fans of the genre. Whether you are a veteran 4X gamer or a newcomer to the genre, Empire Classic is a game that you will not want to miss.

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