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Subject: A Russian coup turns the war! rss

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Paul Elliott
United States
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We celebrated St. Patrick's day with Guiness, Irish stew, and a game of Imperial. There were 3 players (Krista, Peter, and me), and this was the first time for everyone. We played with the basic set-up and no investor card. Here's how it went to the best of my memory.

Initial Control of Nations
Krista: France and Germany
Peter: Russia and Italy
Me: Austria-Hungary and England

Early Game: Mobilization and Posturing
I immediately snatched control of Germany from Krista and built it up into a major, industrialized power. With their backdoor protected, my Austrians began to eat up the Balkans. I also built a shipyard and gained control of the Ionian Sea. Meanwhile, I had little interest in the English, since they were so far away from my power base in Germany-Austria-Russia (where I had a secondary share), so I intentionalized left the English weakened.

Peter built up his Italian navy into a signficant powerhouse. He quickly extinguished any Austrian pretensions in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, he snatched up the French flag from Krista, leaving her without a nation briefly. A couple turns later, she regained it. Then, he also grabbed the English flag, creating huge stability in Western Europe. The Russians had a slow start, as Peter played them very passively for the first few turns, but soon they had control of the Eastern Med, Turkey, and Bulgaria.

Krista was initially frustrated by the game, especially since she lost all of her flags early on. She reclaimed France and stole away Austria-Hungary, just as I was leading them into a hopeless war with Peter's Russians and Italians. Good riddance! She tried to outbuy me in Germany, too, but I continued to pour money into them.

Middle Game: The War at Sea
Peter's England and Krista's France tusseled over the English channel. My Germans grabbed all of Scandinavia and the Benelux nations, but then they were squished by the combined force of Peter's Russian and English fleets. Krista's Austrians and Peter's Russians fought a bloody and protracted war in the Balkans.

Peter became a major naval juggernaut. With the English, Italian, and Russian flags in his hands, he managed to take control of every single ocean space, except for the Bay of Biscay. It looked like he might be able to run away with the victory. His fleets shuttled hordes of soldiers into Scandanavia, the Iberian peninsula, and the Balkans.

Late Game: A Major Coup
So, here's where we stood: Peter controlled England, Italy, and Russia. He had a decent share in France, but somehow Krista maintained control. In addition to France, Krista held the flag for Austria-Hungary. Her next largest share was a minority in Germany. I controlled only Germany, but I had nearly enough influence in both Russia and Austria-Hungary to steal them away.

The turning point of the game was a major coup in Russia. I finally amassed enough cash to buy up the largest Russian bond. This gave me undisputed control of the nation, since there were not enough bonds left for Peter to regain control. This changed everything. Suddenly, Germany and Austria-Hungary could grow freely with the support of their new Russian "ally." The French, Russian, and German fleets crushed the English. The Germans even landed a couple armies in Britain and shut down all of the English factories. The Russian and Austrian fleets crushed the Italians. The Balkans and North Africa were divied up by the conquerors.

Everyone started buying up the last bonds in Russia, Germany, France, and Austria-Hungary. Soon, Germany pushed itself into the 25 VP spot.

Final Tally
Germany x5
Russia x4
Austria-Hungary x4
France x3
Italy x3
England x0

Me: 230ish
Krista: 160ish
Peter: 130ish

Playing time: 2 hours

Once everyone got the hang of it, we had a lot of fun. Even Krista came around, though Imperial isn't exactly her style of game. We agreed that we should play again in the near future, now that we understand some of the strategy. My intial rating: 8.5
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