Romance of the Nine Empires

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Logo of Romance of the Nine Empires

Romance of the Nine Empires is a fictional collectible card games in the world of The Gamers as well as an actual expandable card game published by Alderac Entertainment Group in association with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment.

Fictional History of the Game

"The history of R9E, as it is commonly called, is as improbable as its ongoing storyline. R9E actually started in 1982 as a homebrew role-playing campaign held at various small conventions within driving distance of the designers’ home town of Toad Suck, Arkansas, in which the results of each adventure pointed the scenario designers to create a new adventure based on the old.

In 1989, when one of the designers moved to Charleston, West Virginia, and continued to use the scenarios in other conventions, they had to assimilate the results of the players’ accomplishments in both states, creating what became the first Evolving Storyline Convention Adventure. These ESCAs rapidly spread among small conventions across North America and even overseas to Norway.

Things “ESCA-lated” in 1996, when a wealthy raisin farmer from Fresno became enamored of the ESCA concept, and teamed up with the original designers to create an Evolving Storyline Cardgame Adventure based on the groundwork laid over the previous fourteen years. The first R9E cards were released two years later. At first they were tarot-sized, but later switched to the standard Magic card size. The first R9E World Championship tournament was held the same year. Although R9E had started as a basic medieval fantasy, tournament players had an unprecedented amount of control over the story development, which included such salient events as the arrival of the extraplanar Ord, and the temporal displacement of an entire US military division from 1945 Los Alamos.

The game also survived some questionable decisions made when the entire staff but the accountant came down with the stomach flu at the World Championships. These include the notorious “partial keyword ruling,” which stated that anything that targeted an orc could also target a sorcerer card; and the “card ownership ruling,” which ended up banning borrowed cards and decks from tournaments until it was overturned in 2002."[1]


The nine factions of Countermay, as of the US Nationals 2013:

Real-Life Products


  1. Vancil, Matt, and Nathan Rice. Romance of the Nine Empires: Rules of Play. Edited by Jeff Quick, Alderac Entertainment Group, 2013.