In the early 80s Milton Bradley published what they called the Gamemaster series. The best known of these games are Axis & Allies (which has become an institution) and Shogun (later renamed Samurai Swords after licensing issues), but the others included Conquest of the Empire (set in the ancient Roman world) and Broadsides and Boarding Parties (pirates, natch). When these games were easy to obtain, I never picked them up. I was in my “complexity is good” phase and didn’t consider them to be as cool as hobby games like Squad Leader and Machiavelli. By the time I decided I might want them, Conquest of the Empire and Broadsides and Boarding Parties were long out of print and fetching $150 at the GenCon auction. I kept an eye out for the games in auctions and junk stores, but never had any luck finding them for a reasonable price.
A few years ago Eagle Games got the rights to publish a new version of Conquest of the Empire. They revised the original rules, and provided an entirely new second set that could also be used with the same playing pieces. I kept meaning to pick it up but never did. Then Eagle Games invested a lot of money chasing the poker craze and this was their undoing. They went out of business a couple of years back and their assets have been sold twice now.
Yesterday I traded in a game I had two copies of at a local store and got some credit. As I was looking around, I noticed they had a single copy of the Eagle edition of Conquest of the Empire. I decided I better get it now because who knew when it would come back into print? So 20 some years later I finally have a copy of Conquest of the Empire. On my command, unleash hell!
Now to find Broadsides and Boarding Parties.