Empyrean Challenge

Empyrean Challenge is a play-by-mail game that was published by Superior Simulations.


According to reviewer Jim Townsend, the introduction of Empyrean Challenge in 1978 was consequential to the nascent play-by-mail (PBM) industry.[1] The other two primary companies in the PBM field were Flying Buffalo, Inc which began in 1970 and Schubel and Son which launched in "roughly" 1976.[1]


Empyrean Challenge was a game where 150 players vie for control of 100 star systems, each containing as many as 10 planets apiece.[2]

The game was developed by Superior Simulations owner Vern Holford, "an ex-Starweb player who thought he could come up with something more challenging and complex".[1] Reviewer Jim Townsend asserted in 1988 that he succeeded, identifying Empyrean Challenge as "the most complex game system on Earth" with some large position turn results 1,000 pages in length.[1] According to Townsend, in those cases there was a significant investment in time to understand what happened on a turn as well as fill out future turn orders.[1] He stated that a player without a spreadsheet was "nearly doomed from the outset".[1]


David Bolduc reviewed Empyrean Challenge in The Space Gamer No. 33.[2] Bolduc commented that "Empyrean Challenge is a mountain of fun to play. It is a world game - an economic game - and consumes a tremendous amount of time. [...] I recommend Empyrean Challenge for the serious game freak - particularly for the type who likes 'monster' games."[2] In the 1979 Game Survey, the game was rated 6.3 by readers of The Space Gamer.[3]

In the April 1983 edition of Dragon (Issue 72), Michael Gray stated "This game seems to offer the ultimate in complex simulations, involving economic, scientific, and military decisions. If you're looking for a long, complicated game, this is the ticket."[4]

A D Young reviewed Empyrean Challenge for White Dwarf #46, and stated that "obviously only for those space gamers who wish to immerse themselves totally in the role of Ruler of the galaxy."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Townsend, Jim. "The PBM Corner". White Wolf. No. 11. p. 20.
  2. ^ a b c Bolduc, David (November 1980). "Featured Review: Four PBM Space Games". The Space Gamer. Steve Jackson Games (33): 14–15.
  3. ^ Jackson, Steve (May–June 1980). "1979 Game Survey Results". The Space Gamer. No. 28. Steve Jackson Games. pp. 6–7. ISSN 0194-9977 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Gray, Michael (April 1983). "The PBM scene: Facts you can use when YOU choose what game to play". Dragon. TSR, Inc. (72): 31.
  5. ^ Young, A D (October 1983). "Microview". White Dwarf. No. 46. Games Workshop. p. 29.