- Publisher: Kolossal Games
- Designer: Grant Rodiek
- Illustration: Gong Studios
- 2-4 players
- 30 minute playing time
- Currently on Kickstarter: Imperius
*A prototype of the game was sent to me, these are prototype components but they still look damn good!
Ashnon, Drakkai, Quell, or Zathmir, who will be sat on the Dawn Throne?
Imperius, a game of conflict, a game of tension, a game where there can, and will, only be one surviving faction. A game for 2-4 players, Imperius is short, snappy and drenched in theme. The empress has died and the Heir to the Crown Imperius has vanished, who is going to take control of the universe?
The aim of the game is to score victory points, the victory condition is met when one player reaches 20 victory points, which will trigger the last round of the game. Whoever has the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
Simple? Nope. Imperius is full of twists and turns and simple gameplay packed full of tough decisions, interesting card drafting, and a no-frills approach.
Each round presents several phases including a Deal Phase, where you will be dealt five cards from the deck.
Then a Draft Phase where you will all draft four cards, including cards belonging to your faction, potentially, or belonging to other factions as well as event cards. You will then choose one card to place in front of you. All the remaining cards are then passed on and so on and so on until everybody has drafted their four cards.
After that comes the Dispatch Phase, this is where you’ll take turns deploying cards one at a time to the different planets, before revealing and resolving those cards in the Resolution Phase.
During the Dispatch Phase, those cards can be played to any planet, face up or face down but there are rules, rules that you must follow. There can never be more than two face-down cards on any planet card at any time unless noted and if there are already two face-down cards on a planet, your card must be played face up. There can also never be more than five cards on a planet if three or more of you are playing. If there are already five cards on a certain planet, too bad, you’re going to have to place those cards on another planet. Once you have all played all of your cards, the phase will end.
The Resolution Phase is where you will do just that, resolve all of that exciting card drafting that just occurred. All of the cards on each planet will be revealed and resolved to score points, inflict casualties and place control markers on the different planets.
Then you’re going to be thrown into the Reset Phase, where cards are discarded, the first player token is passed on and you’ll check if the game ends.
Why are we putting cards on planets? WHY?
For each planet, the player who has the most control tokens on a certain planet scores the victory points on that planet. Are you following?
If more than players are tied for the number of control tokens, neither player will score. You will, however, score one victory point for each control token you have on the planets.
Let’s talk about card drafting, shall we?
The really clever thing about Imperius is the card drafting, there are going to be times when you want to try and draft as many of your own cards as possible. There are going to be times when that isn’t possible. When you’re playing your cards, you have a tough decision to make. Will you play your card face down or face up? will you take one of your opponent’s cards to play the event? SO MANY DECISIONS.
I think that is what makes this game. It packs A LOT of punch and is seriously clever for a 30-minute, maybe 45-minute game. Not that other games aren’t clever but this felt like a full-on, heavy-duty strategy game without all of the other stuff. Just some cards, counters and some seriously innovative mechanics. I haven’t quite figured out the knack to it, but that isn’t a bad thing. Sure, it sounds simple and the mechanics are easy to understand but getting a strategy down takes time, it takes effort and that to me is the making of a pretty special game.
Then you have the artwork. Well, what can I say, you have eyes, you can see it. It really adds another layer to this delicious game. This is a game that screams ‘PLAY ME’, this is a game you want to show off, a game that my family and friends have wanted to play again and again over a two week period. A game that looks gorgeous on the table.
You know what is also awesome? Some pretty diverse representation in the game as well as cool mechanics and shiny components. Kolossal are bringing it to the table, they are being thoughtful, careful and considerate when it comes to Imperius. They have crammed the game full of weird and wonderful characters. (These are just a few of the awesome characters that appear and none of them are wearing a bikini, WHAT?)
Overall, I feel like every boardgame collection has an Imperius shaped whole in there, it’s the kind of game that would slot nicely into any collection. It’s the kind of game that I think everybody will get along with. I’m not usually a fan of saying that “this game will suit all sorts of gamers from light gamers to seasoned gamers” but it kind of does and I’m thankful for that.
Kolossal have delivered the whole package with Imperius. Eyecatching artwork, smart mechanics, and a wonderful theme. I can’t wait to add this one to my collection!
If you want to check out the Kickstarter, you can do so here: Imperius Kickstarter Page