Explore space, conquer worlds in Imperium

Explore space, claim planets, collect resources, battle with opposing players, how can a game with such core dynamics not be good?

The game Imperium: The Contention is, as a result as rather entertaining one, although there is a but in this case.

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Imperium, by designer Gary Dworetsky and publisher Contention Games, is a game for two to four players. It can expand to accommodate five, or six players, if you have two copies of the game, the basic lay-out for the bigger battle included in the rulebook.

Our initial run through, and first plays are those which typically stick with players, often determining whether a game becomes a favourite or is shelved, was with three players.

Games which have an element of player conflict rarely seem to work well in three-player mode. The weak sister is soon sensed and the other two players play gang-up. It’s about as natural as our core nature probably is, so it’s not unexpected. But, it detracts from the game.

Head-to-head play, or four-player are simply going to work better.

So what exactly is Imperium?

“Experience the world’s first 4X card game with deck customization, area control, and ship movement. Choose from one of six pre-constructed decks, or build your own from a complete collection of over 300 cards (no packs, all cards included). It’s 2-4 players, 1-6 players with expansions (Void Scepter Solo Campaign available),” states the publisher notes.

“You begin with a homeworld, in a new galaxy created by location cards. Each turn, you can colonize new worlds, move ships, play cards, and battle your enemies. A unique simultaneous turn system eliminates downtime between turns. Streamlined 4X mechanics keep the game fast paced and tensions high. Cards are played simultaneously in secret and revealed at the same time using a bluff mechanic.

“There are many paths to claiming the Void Scepter. Your favour represents your Imperial influence. If it reaches zero you lose. Weaken your enemy’s favor by destroying their worlds, or eliminate them outright by destroying their homeworld. Take the Imperial Capital through force, and use the seat of power to crush your enemy’s favor.”

There is some neat aspects here, building a deck to fit a play style, definitely being a high point. That customization of decks means players can explore strategies, and that means the game has some built in reply value, which is a bonus too.

This is definitely a game that has enough to offer to make it worth a close look, especially if you like games set in the abyss of space.

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