Corin A. Friesen
My two brothers and I sat down for a game of Imperial.
The first is my twin; the second is 9 years old. The very first time we played Imperial, little bro whipped us. We were determined not to let that happen again.
We decided to play without the investor card (since we had not done that before), and to use the advanced setup rules. During the initial buy phase, I took out a bigger bond from Austria-Hungary and Russia, as well as a 4 mil. from Germany and France and a 2 mil. from Italy. That 4 mil. bond from Germany ended up being the only one granted from Germany! Twin took Italy and also invested in France, Austra-Hungary, and Britain. Little bro took big France and England bonds, and not anything else.
After seeing what little bro did, twin and I decided to follow in investing in those 2 nations early because he was so keen on controlling them. As the game progressed, we could see that he wasn't doing too much with them, and so turned our attentions to the ones doing well: Russia and Austria-Hungary. I controlled the latter for the first two-thirds of the game, with Russia being constantly juggled between us, landing with me near the end.
The first thing we noticed without the investor card was: Money was tight. You have got to be careful about how and when to invest. We weren't playing many investor spaces on the rondel either, so this game was particularly money-tight.
Little bro wasn't investing well this game. He tried instantly to get Britain and France 25 mil. bonds, but never played on taxation much! Both France and Britain had the chance to be great, but ended up having inexperienced government.
So, the game flowed this way: Austria-Hungary immediately built several units including a ship with an import-produce combo to take early control over the South-East neutral lands, and beating Italy to the sea. Italy decided to go slow and produce and maneuver. France went factory building, Britain went Italy's way, Germany did same. Russia Built a factory also.
Early, Austria-Hungary was the dominant nation. It was taxing well, and ahead on the power track, and keeping Italy in check. Only 2 bonds were granted from Italy and as said earlier, only the 4 mil. from Germany the entire game! Power shifted from Austria-Hungary to Russia after Italy made a huge counter-offensive and left Austria-Hungary impaired. Russia was in line to jump ahead on the track quickly. Germany, poor Germany, was squished between Britain's naval power and Russia's influence. But since no one was investing in it, all players viewed it as a pesky bug. I only squeezed 4 points out of it at the end.
And the end came quickly and suddenly. I found money enough at the end to jump Russia back and forth between investor and taxation to get it to the x5 spot! Italy and Germany were on x2. Final scores were:
Me : 125
Little Bro: 36
At the end, France, Britain, and Italy were all at only factor x1. I explained how points were made to little bro after the game, and he had a big "aha!" moment, which can only mean one thing: Watch out next game!