Eight-Minute Empire: Complete Edition review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Acram Digital
Developer: Acram Digital/Mobo Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-5
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

Even though I?ve always wanted to enjoy games like Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne, I?ve never been fully able to on account of the fact I?m horrifically bad at them. I like the idea of conquering territories and building up cities, but as soon as you need to start planning ahead with your moves and strategizing, I fall to pieces.

As such, I was kind of excited to play Eight-Minute Empire. It?s based on a board game of the same name that, as you can guess, is built around quick play sessions. You still have to conquer a map and gather resources, but your time is limited. Rather than agonizing for hours over troop movements and resource gathering, you get 13 moves to do everything you want to do — in other words, individual games are over and done with long before there?s any chance of getting distracted or losing track of what?s going on.

Sounds right up my alley then, right? Well…kind of. On the one hand, it was fun to actually win a game like this (even if it was against AI set to easy). It?s simple enough that even someone like me can grasp the rules fairly quickly: you get as many troops as you can, you gain as much land as you can, and it?s all over before you have time to get bogged down in individual decisions. Admittedly, I didn?t play with others, but based on my own experience, it?s safe to assume that almost literally anyone can pick it up and figure it out quickly, which is exactly what you?d want out of a party game.

That said, the flip side of that is also true. Even for someone whose abilities are as limited as mine, Eight-Minute Empire started feeling pretty shallow after a very short while. It didn?t take long for it to become apparent that once you get beyond the initial bidding of who goes first (which isn?t something you want to win, since this game definitely rewards whoever goes last), most of the game is based on luck of the draw. You get 13 rounds of card-drawing, and even if you have to manage your cash a little early on to make sure you have slightly better options at the end of the game, it?s pretty apparent that you should draw whatever card gives you the most troops or the most troop movements.

But, I suppose, that?s kind of the point of a game like this. If you wanted tough strategy, you wouldn?t be playing a game that can be easily completed in, as its name suggests, less than ten minutes. Eight-Minute Empire most definitely won?t challenge you too much, but as board games on the Switch go, it?s definitely among the most easily-accessible.

Acram Digital provided us with an Eight-Minute Empire: Complete Edition Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-