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Age of Empires
Paths to Victory
Multi-Tribe Play
Paths To Victory
Historical Richness
"Age of Empires' historicity will certainly set the scene and add depth to the gameplay, but won't bog it down."
Gamecenter, May 1997

Age of Empires presents you with an opportunity to shape history. As you immerse yourself in Age of Empires, you sink into an historically accurate world of eat or be eaten. You'll get to see how good your survival, resource management and commanding skills really are as you take part in the rise of civilizations in the Age of Empires.

building You begin by choosing from among 12 real ancient civilizations, and your choice of civilization is tied to the type of technology which will become available to you. The architecture you build, the armies you amass, will all reflect your culture. As in world history, the differences between the tribes and their technologies become more apparent at key moments in history (such as the dawning of the Bronze Age).

Bruce Shelley on the civilizations of Age of Empires:

The 12 cultures in the game use four different building sets. The buildings of an Asian culture will look quite different from those using the Egyptian or Greek set. Each culture has a unique tech tree. No culture has all the possible technologies. Some have better soldiers, some better cavalry, some better ships, some better priests, and some have economic advantages. For example, Shang (Chinese) villagers move faster than the villagers of other cultures, making them more efficient in resource gathering. The Egyptian priests can develop the greatest range, making them more useful for converting enemy units. Each culture has to be played differently to take advantage of its strengths and overcome its weaknesses.

Age of Empires also includes a 40,000 word encyclopedia that provides historical notes on Age of Empires. The encyclopedia discusses the different cultures available for play, the game technologies, the rise of civilization, and the rise of ancient warfare.

Age of Empires isn't exactly like the real world though. In the real world leaders didn't have the option to limit or expand how they would rise to power. And they probably didn't have as much fun as you will with Age of Empires.

Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
-- Karl Marx (1818-83), German political theorist, social philosopher. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, sct. 1 (1852; repr. in Selected Works, vol. 2, 1942). From The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations: Copyright (c) 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press.