This game we played with the auction variant where players get a chance to pick up bonds at the start of the game. It worked out so that all players had small majorities in all the countries except for Russia.
The player controling Russia (Robert) had only bought small bonds and had saved his money for Russia taking a whopping 12mjo bond. This secured his position for most of the game and since he was quite succesfull some other investors joined him. We were 4P and I controlled Germany and Austria at the start. England was controlled by Steven and France and Italy were both controlled by Jurjen.
Soon into the game the Austrians and Germans struck a deal with Russia. I jumped heavily into Russian bonds in an attepmt to steal their big tax break. I focussed German and Austrian attantion on the enemies in the west. Jurrien took contol of England and things looked bleak for Germany, also there was no one willing to invest there so I quickly gave it up. The French/English/Italian combo was split up when Robert Took control of France and proceeded to sweep away Italian occupation of Africa and the Medeterranean. Steven took control of Austria continuing the treatry with Russia and focussing on Italy. Bloody war ensued, bringing no advantage to Austria but much dismay to Italy.
Now I had my moment to break into and take control of France. I had only 15 mjo and needed the 16mjo bond... I had to settle for the 4Mjo bond....
This was the pivital moment in the game. I had missed the French boat so I had to make sure France did not end the game or was even tempted to tax and climb to 4X. I did this by occupying a factory from germany which the French under Robs leadership quickly retook. In the mean while the Russians ended the game leaving:
England and Italy X1
Germany and Austria X2
Rob managed to secure an additional 20Mjo bond before the last taxation so he was the big winner 119 points, I came in second with 97 Jurjen had 73 and Steven 37 missing out on all Russian and French bonds.
Rob played skillfully, using his Russians to keep in control of the game wil buying numerous bonds in France in an attempt to make them pay out too. I should have probably used austria to contest Russia but was afraid of Italian agression. They had the French as their allies for almost all of the game so they had little else to du but Kick Autstro Hungarian Ass... I did not trust them....
The Germans were beset by French and English so I felt they also had little choice but to make peace with the Russians. All in all they had the east to themselves. The english Ruled the waves but forgot to tax the fish, this is not a good idea in Imperial....
The only variant we have yet to try out is the one without the Investor card. I really like the medium term strategy thet the investor card brings into the game. I have the feeling it will become too much like risk with Bonds if a player can first secure his own interest before allowing others to buy bonds in their countries, but I will give it a try.
Imperial has not lost anything of its shine, Jurjen was least enthousistic about playing games but mainly because he objects the backlog of unplayed essen 2006 games. New player Steven would play again but is clearly more the Risk 2210 type where men are Mech Warriors and Spacecommanders have shiny tights.