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Empires of the Middle Ages was first released by SPI in 1980. The game is a multiplayer simulation of grand strategy and diplomacy in the middle ages. Each player controls a kingdom composed of provinces which are rated by wealth, religion, and culture. Each kingdom also has a monarch whose talents in war, administration, and diplomacy are represented by numerical ratings. The object of the game is essentially to grow your kingdom in terms of wealth and/or geography. The game is played in 5 year turns where each player can attempt an Endeavour each year (a maximum of 5 Endeavour's in his turn). Endeavour's may be Diplomatic, Economic or Military in Nature. Central to the Game are 2 decks of cards, Event and Year cards. Event cards create random events such as Plague, Famine, Schism etc., and Year Cards affect the players endeavours. At the time of release the game was unusual in that it did not use Army counters to represent the military actions in the game. Instead Military action was carried out as an endeavour with its success depending on the military skill of the ruler and the relative strength of the target province and the province that the attack was launched from.  

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