The long-awaited Imperial Struggle finally arrived. After precisely examining the contents of the game (see: Imperial Struggle – what’s in the box?) it was only a matter of time to agree for a face-to-face game with my usual wargames / political games opponent – Jakub. We both familiarized with the rules and playbook. Then it was high time to play!

I am fan of photo-session reports and below will be no exception. I will mark main actions on map with clear color indication. Enjoy!


Beautifully balanced map, with minor advantage of France (me, later abbreviated to FR) in Europe and Britain (Jakub, abbreviated later to BR) in squadrons (click to enlarge)
As for ministry cards for the first era (they were of course hidden) I focused – not surprisingly!- very strongly on Europe while Kuba invested in economic and naval powers

First Peace Turn

Situation at the end of the turn (click to enlarge)
  • The actual fight for dominance was in two theaters – North America (NA) and Caribbean, as FR completely dominated Europe while BR took the India; still the trade off was better for me thanks to prestige spaces and Ministry Card
  • I used extensively advantages which in the end allowed me to take NA
  • In the end four awards went to FR (Europe, Prestige, NA, Caribbean) and only India to BR
  • Still, the global demand was controlled by BR (two goods) with FR getting only one (which I still was fine with)
  • VP counter stayed still on 15 VPs.

War of Spanish Succession

War of Spanish Succession resolution

Well, that was massacre for BR. I invested in Bonus War tiles as well as spaces in Europe and managed to win 3 out of 4 wars. That gave me tremendous boost later on.

Situation at the end of war (click to enlarge)

French spoils of war – except for VPs – were three territories – Minorca in Europe and two Spanish enclaves in the Caribbean. It will be hard for BR to fight back but as we shall see, they will definitely try! VP counter hits 20 VPs.

Second Peace Turn

Situation at the end of the turn (click to enlarge)
  • this turn BR is much more active in Europe – the region still goes to FR in awards  phase but much closer and this is good prognosis for future turns and wars!
  • India is a place of complete stagnation – I have no resources to do anything there
  • There is a stark fight for influence in NA and Caribbean – but again, thanks to first turn gains, minimally won by FR
  • Global demand falls in Kuba’s hands, with Cotton controlled by BR, and other two commodities a draw
  • Still, the score stays at 20s VPs, which is good result for BR and clear stop to FR steamroller

Third Peace Turn

This turn we were obliged to change the Ministry Cards; my super-powerful Europe-orientated cards were gone, but now I will have more TRP and Military points; Kuba continues with fleet build-up and focuses too on diplomacy
Situation at the end of the turn (click to enlarge)
  • The war is looming so there is unbending struggle for political and military spaces giving advantages in it
  • NA is completely dominated by FR, a thing which will be even more visible after next war phase
  • Europe is in firm grasp of FR, but Kuba is not giving up, and although he is not able to win the region, he can influence wars via alliance spaces
  • As for British gains, they easily take India while Caribbean is contested till the last action only to fall into Kuba’s hands
  • Global demand – not surprisingly – goes to British, with Tobacco and Cotton controlled by them and only Fish by me
  • Despite all the efforts, France increases it lead – 23 VPs.

War of the Austrian Succession

War of Austrian Succession resolution

This time both sides invested more heavily into the Bonus War tiles which resulted in very interesting situations – to extent where two (!) wars resulted in draw, and two in total victory of each side.

Situation at the end of war (click to enlarge)

There were 3 changes in territories – I managed to effectively lock the North America while Kuba achieved the similar result in India. In the end, after 5 turns France was winning with 23 VPs. What would be next? We do not know as it was already very late and we decided to finish.

PS. I am sure we made tons of mistake. After the game we realized we forgot you cannot use Minor Diplomatic Action to unflag. Anyhow, it was tremendous fun to play!

First impressions

It is too early to formulate a review – I just played twice, once five and once four turns out of ten. Still, I can share some of my initial thoughts and considerations:

  • (+) The game is deep, engrossing and very interesting
  • (+) I am history fan and the title has to be thematic to appeal to me; that one definitely is!
  • (+) It is so balanced – you can invest in regions, in prestige, in global demand, in wars, get points from events and ministry cards – it is hard for me that you will by chance
  • (+) The designer and publisher support is enormous – Ananda is very active on boardgamegeek and the needed errata (small but still) provided very quickly
  • (-) On the opposite side, the amount of things to keep track of is really huge so additional board to have it handy would be great
  • (-) I am also lacking the urge to be first in turn (well, only if there is few event Investment Tiles). In TS the run who will first coup the battleground was important factor. In IS it is better to be last and influence couple of VP dimensions simultaneously.

I often hear the question “Is Imperial Struggle similar to Twilight Struggle“? Think about it like parent and child – same family, same genes, even same facial features but completely two different human beings!


I am hooked, I will not deny it. I am playing IS tomorrow again, and then next week again… The later peace turns and wars are still in front of me to discover. And knowing Twilight Struggle, they will be huge! Can’t wait to try them.