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castiglione
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Imperial War » Forums » Reviews
User Review
Imperial War can be purchased and downloaded at RPGNow.com.

What you receive are: 6 pages of rules and one 8-1/2 x 11 colour map depicting much of Western Europe and some bits of North Africa and the Middle East. Required (but not included) for play are a regular deck of cards, different coloured tokens for the players and a six-sided die.

Imperial War basically takes the classic card game of War and runs with it, adding strategy, resource management and bluffing. In a nut shell, the mechanics of card game War are used to resolve battles - the various countries on the map are labeled using the names they were known as during the time of the Roman Empire, giving the game a vaguely ancient-type feel.

Play proceeds as follows - initially, players receive each receive a set number of tokens depicting how many troops they have and they take turns distributing them among the territories on the maps. Territories are separated into Imperial territories and Barbarian territories; the goal of the game is to seize all the Imperial territories and they need only be occupied by one token for a player to control them while Barbarian territories require two tokens to control although they confer bonuses upon a player when one invades another territory adjacent to them.

Once players have finished deploying their "legions" on the map, each player is dealt a hand of five cards and the game begins in earnest:

Each round, a six-sided die is rolled which depicts a random event - something referred to as "The Whim of the Gods" which affects play for that round. Players also receive additional units each turn depending on how many territories they control. Then they go about trying to seize territories. Territories can only be attacked from adjacent territories and the result of the battle is determined by comparing the numerical value of the card(s) played by the attacking player modified by how many tokens he commits to the attack compared to the card(s) played by the defenind player modified by how many tokens are in the territory that is being attacked. Players can play more than one card IF they are multiples, i.e. a player may play 2 3's (which makes a total of 6), 2 5's (which makes a total of 10) but can not play a 5 and a 2. The number of tokens committed to an attack or tokens defending a territory add +1 for each token to the attacking and defending card(s), respectively. Ties in battles are in favour of the defender. If the attacker wins, the defender loses all the tokens he had in the territory and the attack loses as many tokens as the defender had - any remaining tokens occupy that territory; it is very possible for the attacker to be left with no tokens at all (or in the case of Barbarian territories, with insufficient tokens to control the territory) in which case, the territory is unoccupied. If the defender wins, the attacker loses all the tokens he committed to the attack.

A player can attack as many times as he wishes (or has cards left in his hand) but an attack can only originate ONCE from a territory. At then end of his turn, he can then discard one more card after which his hand is replenished and the turn passes to the next player.

As one can see, Imperial War only vaguely resembles the game from which it originated. From a somewhat random, albeit "classic" children's card game, we now have a game of world domination that is vaguely reminiscent of Risk but with a slightly different flavour due to the manner in which battles are resolved. All in all, an interesting evolution of a classic game. I look forward to trying it out.
 
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Andrew Franke
United States
Elkton
Virginia
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This is a Quick and dun little Tweener game in the style of a Warpspawn game.
 
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