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Subject: Thoughts after a 2-player game rss

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Edward B.
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Had my first 2 player game (and fifth overall) the other night. My opponent, “JR,” had played once before, but neither of us had done a 2 player game, so we weren't sure of what strategies to take.

Starting off, we each bought into every country with Russia being the exception - JR having bought a $2 million bond, but me having passed. I soon bought into Russia at $9 million, though. Early on, I controlled Russia, United States, and Brazil, with JR taking the helm of China, Europe, and India.

With two players, the investor card flew back and forth and provided lots of chances to invest. JR took control of the United States and Brazil from me, and I never got either one back. I matched his investment in the US in order to piggyback on his payouts, but matching isn't enough to take control. JR ended up heavily investing into Brazil, sinking over $60 million into it compared to me at around $20 million.

I ended up taking control of India, but neither of us had much cash invested in it. I primarily used it in an attempt to keep China in check. JR kept control of China for most of the game with an investment of around $20 million.

Europe became a battle ground as both of us had significant amounts of cash invested and control swung back and forth quite a few times. At the end of the game, Europe controlled most of Africa.

I felt like I was getting destroyed for the middle 3/4 of the game starting around when JR bought the $30 million bond for Brazil, making it unlikely I'd ever get a controlling interest in it again. This was the country I had spent the most time developing in the early stages.

Towards the end of the game, eyeballing the power track, a vague plan began to form on how I could possibly win. I had abandoned Brazil quite some time ago. But I had just taken controlling interest of China by $2 million as well as Europe by around $16 million. China had just acquired enough taxable assets to (if taxed) bump it up by 10, to the x5 slot. JR still controlled the United States and Brazil, however. Brazil was also within striking distance of the x5 slot and would have hit it if it had been taxed. This would have required JR to pay for two or three movements on the rondel, though, and Brazil was at the x3 track. Instead, he hit Investor. The plan was to wrest Europe away from me. This could have been devastating, but he forgot that when determining control of a country you add up the cost of the bonds and not the interest paid. Once that was pointed out, he bought another bond in the United States instead. United States then did some maneuvering.

I paid $8 million to move Europe two extra spaces on the rondel to hit Taxation, putting it on the x4 track. Since the marker passed Investment, I used the investor card to buy the $30 million bond in China. Russia, at this point, was just a lost cause, so I produced (accomplishing nothing). I hit Taxation with China, knocking it up 10 points to hit the x5 track and getting me a final $5 million bonus.

Final score was Me: $213 million, JR: $208 million.

Final power track was Russia x1, India x1, United States x3, Brazil x3, European Union x4, China x5.

I really felt like JR played the stronger game. I managed a narrow win only by being able to take advantage of an opportunity at the very end. I was a little surprised that JR didn't push Brazil to taxation, and to the x5 track, but he had less cash in his hand than I thought.

I would definitely play a 2 player game again. I was unsure of how it would hold up, but it was actually a little more intense than the 3 and 4 player games because I kept weighing every move against how my opponent would react. In other games, it seemed like, some rounds, there was at least one player I didn't have to worry about as much. Not here. Timing the investor card also becomes much more critical. It can be important to delay your opponent from getting an investment opportunity for a turn, even if it means taking a sub-optimal action with a country you control.

Like the rest of the games of Imperial 2030 that I've played, this one took around 4 hours, which is longer than suggested on the box. Not complaining. It stays interesting throughout. This continues to be one my favorite games that I own.

Russia continued its record of being one of the worst performing countries. China continued its record of being one of the best. I don't know if this is due to something inherent in the game or the people playing the game or only because I haven't played it enough to see performance balance out.
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Jeirod
United States
Iowa
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Great synopsis! Was very curious about a 2-player game because my wife and I rarely find a 3rd player. I'm still debating on whether to buy 2030 or the original.

Have you tried 2 player on the original map? If not, do you suspect it would be just as intense as the session you reported?
 
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Edward B.
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I have not played the original Imperial. I've heard the games are fairly similar, though, so I'd imagine it would be just as intense, maybe with more countries being occupied as the map is tighter.

I was looking at both versions, too. I decided on 2030 just because I thought the map looked cooler and I liked the idea of it being a world stage.
 
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Carsten Loehn
Germany
Kleinostheim
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2er in traditional Imperial is much more cutthroat then in 2030 I think. That is because of the higher taxes you could earn there in the beginning. It happens often that one player taxes 4 countries which gives him a big advantage right from the start. In 2030 it is just 2 mil difference.
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