The Age of Empires series launched with Age of Empires on October 26, 1997. The series focuses on historic, real-time strategy gameplay in which players can lead different cultures to build towns, gather resources, hire armies, and lead them from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, to conquer their opponents who are trying to do the same.
Age of Empires
Age of Empires was the first major release by Ensemble Studios. It features 12 civilizations that the player can lead through the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The player must harvest resources across the map to produce units, buildings and vehicles. New technology can be researched, and after certain requirements are met, the player can proceed to the next age of development. Wonders can be built, and though they do not produce units or give new upgrades, they can win the match for the player if the building stands for 15 minutes (the equivalent of 2,000 years of game time). An expansion, Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome was released on October 22, 1998 and features four new civilizations: Carthage, Macedon, Palmrya and Rome.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was released on September 30, 1999, developed by Ensemble Studios. Set from the Early Middle Age to the Age of Imperialism. It adds 13 new civilizations including the Britons, Goths, Japanese, and the Turks. Its first expansion, Age of Empires: The Conquerers was released on August 24, 2000 and it added new game modes like Defend the Wonder, King of the Hill and Wonder Race. It also includes improved A.I., including such features as idle villagers automatically gathering resources and depleted farms replenishing on their own. The single-player has four historical campaigns letting the player control Attila the Hun, Montezuma, and El Cid.
Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III was released on October 18, 2005, developed by Ensemble Studios. It focuses on the age of European exploration, and the colonization of the Americas. It features eight civilizations ranging from 1421 to 1850, and introduces home cities which provide resources, reinforcements, and upgrades from your motherland. The first expansion, Warchiefs reworks and includes additional Native American tribes which use a tribal council instead of a home city. The second second expansion, Asian Dynasties was developed by Big Huge Games and released on October 17, 2006. It adds India, China, and Japan, as well as new game modes, including: Regicide, King of the Hill, Treaty, and No-Blockade.
Age of Empires IV
Age of Empires IV was released on October 28, 2021, developed by Relic Entertainment in partnership with World's Edge. Originally announced on August 21, 2017, the revival of the main series after an absence longer than a decade borrows heavily from the gameplay of the second game in the series, discarding many of the changes made in III and re-introducing mechanics and resources such as stone that were removed in III. It features eight playable civilizations, including the English, Chinese, Delhi Sultanate, and newly the introduced Mongols who feature differing mechanics due to their historically nomadic nature as opposed to the more sedentary lifestyle of the other factions.
Age of Mythology
The Age of Empire series eventually spun-off the Age of Mythology series. They shared many similar gameplay aspects, but Age of Mythology focused more on the supernatural and mythology of each of the various cultures. The player controls the armies of Greece, Egypt, and the Norse. The expansion pack, called The Titans, features the Atlantean as a playable race along with the ability to summon a race specific titan when the resource requirements were met.
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings
In 2006 Backbone Entertainment developed a turn-based game for the Nintendo D.S. called Age of Empires: The Age of Kings. The game combined many of the elements found in the Age of Empires series with gameplay indicative of many other turn-based strategy games.