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Subject: When Austria and Germany were not belligerents - 3 Players rss

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Patrick Schifano

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During our wargaming meetup last Friday Me, Mark, and Matt sat down to play Imperial. Matt had played a few times before. Mark had played once before. Me was the novice. I had read the rules online before we started.

Setup:

We had decided to do the open setup and to use the Investor. A d6 roll gave the first pick to Me. These are how the bonds ended out -

Me - 2 Italy, 3 Austria
Mark - 2 England, 2 Austria
Matt - 2 Russia, 2 Germany

Pax Europa:

Austria rapidly expanded into the Balkans and Crimea. Strangely we did not think about taxing them. Also ownership changed several times during Investor phases.

Italy expanded into the Mediterranean and Tunisia. Mostly they collected taxes. Investment action was quiet for these rounds.

Russia industrialized rapidly but had a low treasury with no investment.

Germany tooled up for war with an extra factory and lots of troops. This was fueled exclusively by investment by Matt.

France was invested in by Mark and then by Me. They expanded south at first, avoiding conflict with England.

England became strong as it created mighty fleets second to any foe. Matt and Me were slow to jump on board the English investment, leaving Mark in control.

German Containment, Italian Expeditions, and Russian Apathy:

Matt's sole investment into a militarily strong Germany forced Mark and I to organize their neighbors against them. Russia, Italy and Austria sent land forces while England contained them at sea. This policy effectively limited them for the remainder of the game as they built up
and destroyed the invading troops.

Italy grabbed random bits of land such as Spain and Turkey and parts of the Balkans. Good tax timing meant they gained many power points while not having a military bigger than 5 at any moment. They never retained their possessions very long either. Austria usually expanded back and France always kicked Italian butt. Despite this dubious history investment in Italy started to rival that of other powers.

France was the target of a short investment war. Me wanted to encourage the French to pressure England instead of Italy. Mark wanted them to do the opposite.

Russia which had remained unpopular to investors received a pittance from Me, but enough of one for me to gain control. Its low taxation made it unattractive to Mark and Matt. For Me it presented an opportunity to harass the Germans, Austrians and British but leave the Italians alone. An impressive fleet stayed in port at Sevastopol.

England continued to receive investment from Mark. Matt and I saw it would not be contained like the Germans and we began to throw money in as well. They started to reach some resistance but gained rapidly on the power scale.

England Prevails but Italy is Richer:

The militarily weak but investment strong Italy was in a race with England to 25 PP. Me had lost control of Italy for most of this portion of the game. It did not matter as now Matt was responsible for fighting the French in the Mediterranean. Austria continued to be a dead horse due to low number of Taxation actions. Germany finally destroys the last invaders as they are ejected from the Low Countries. At the very end I gain Italy as the Investor and tax the game to a close by paying $2 to move 4 instead of 3 on the roundel.

End Score:

Me - 136
Matt - 124
Mark - 127

Conclusions:

Imperial really comes alive with the open setup. Control of certain countries changed many times. Seeing four different countries ready to cross the Investment portion of the roundel led to some crazy turns. Taking a clear majority in a country made them an obvious target. Sometimes there would even be balance of power discussions over the board. So in conclusion, I would recommend open setup even for completely new players. Assigning a 9 and a 2 to each player just makes this a RISK style area control game.
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Paul Oakes
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Good session report, but I noticed that at the start no-one bought anything like all the bonds their cash allowed. Do you always play this way?

In my group sometimes the player who will end up with the Investor card at the start might save some cash rather than buy bonds he doesn't like in the hope of being able to buy a desirable bond when the investor is triggered that he can't afford right now. Players further round the table tend to try to get all their cash into the market as the possibility of missing payments while holding cash is not attractive, and the 50% return on the 1-3 bonds is hard to resist.
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Patrick Schifano

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Since it was my first and only game the answer is correctly yes for 'always'. cool Our interpretation was that we did two rounds of buying bonds then stopped. In retrospect it was probably a juxtaposition with the quick start rules. Being able to buy still we want to stop will make a more interesting start.

Also next time I will suggest to the group that the Investor card not pay out $2 million. None of us were ever very poor when it came to buying bonds even though we hardly paid out to investors.
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Paul Oakes
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The printed rules for the free set-up work pretty well, and allow players to choose whether to spend lots to control specific countries or just buy a lot of cheap bonds to get most income.

First player (randomly selected) gets to buy one bond from the Austria stack if he wants, then the rest of the stack is passed left, same choice until all players have bought or passed once..

The second player starts the same process with the second stack (Germany?), and so on until all the players have had one opportunity with each country.

Investor is left of the Austrian Chancellor, Austria starts the game.

Ignoring the investor bonus isn't a big change, but will hurt the lower income players.

Three players isn't a great number for the game, with more players control of countries is more fluid and the strategy of avoiding controlling a country is feasible.

You've put me in the mood for a game, I'll be taking it to a session tomorrow, although we might play 2030 which has a more open map and leads to more military activity.
 
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Carsten Loehn
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sir_schwick wrote:
Since it was my first and only game the answer is correctly yes for 'always'. :cool: Our interpretation was that we did two rounds of buying bonds then stopped. In retrospect it was probably a juxtaposition with the quick start rules. Being able to buy still we want to stop will make a more interesting start.

As already said in another response: Every player gets the chance to buy exactly one bond from every country in clockwise order. Countries are offering bonds in the order: Austria, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Russia. The first player to chose a bond in a country will also rotate clockwise.

sir_schwick wrote:

Also next time I will suggest to the group that the Investor card not pay out $2 million. None of us were ever very poor when it came to buying bonds even though we hardly paid out to investors.


Usually there´s a lot of money in a 3-player game. I was really wondering why your scores were so low. Maybe it has to do with your wrong startup. It has been a while since I played, but if I remember correctly with 3 players scores could be easily over 200, sometimes even over 300 if the game lasts long enough.

In a 4-player game money will be tighter.

 
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Carsten Loehn
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PaulinTheLion wrote:

Three players isn't a great number for the game, with more players control of countries is more fluid and the strategy of avoiding controlling a country is feasible.


From my point of view three is a great number for the game if players are experienced. In a 4-player game mistakes are not as crucial, so it is better if there are new players. 3-player games could be easily dominated by a strong player right from the beginning.

And yes, avoiding a country control in a three player game is usually not the best idea.
 
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Norman Hedden
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Imperial is not a wargame
 
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Rob Scovell
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Normandy wrote:
Imperial is not a wargame


You're right, Imperial is not a war game. On the other hand, though, Imperial is a war game.

It's an investment game in which war is a tool for maximising your ROI.
 
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