Since the moment my copy of Imperial Struggle arrived (see: Imperial Struggle – what’s in the box?) I tried to devote as much time to playing it as possible. You probably already seen my first attempts and impressions (see: Imperial Struggle – initial after action report). Today I would like to share one of my games which surprisingly ended pretty quickly. What chain of events lead to it? I will present it in a below photo-session report.

One thing which we added this time to our session was Majority Tracks Sheets by Paul Norell. He shared it on Boardgamegeek and if you are interested, you can find it there. It really helped and streamlined counting of advantages within regions as well as demands. And now enjoy the session report!

Set-up

Beautifully balanced map, with minor advantage of France (me) in Europe and Britain (Jakub) in squadrons (click to enlarge)

Now, what we have chosen for first era as far as ministry cards are concerned:

  • I went whole Europe, with The Cardinal Ministers providing significant bonus to diplomacy and Jacobite Uprisings being always a potentially great source of VPs.
  • Jakub decided to build his economic (East India Company) and naval (Edmond Halley) empire. That was more long-term strategy.

First Peace Turn

t1
Situation at the end of the turn – map (click to enlarge)
  • Kuba learned a lot from our first game, and leading the British put up a lot of fight in Europe; that will pay in the incoming War of Spanish Succession; fortunately, I managed to keep enough advantage to score Europe and prestige.
  • There was nothing I could do with Jakub taking over America and Caribbean; however, what I lost there, I managed to offset by some other means, including Jacobite and events.
  • It was not a surprise to us, that the Global Demand went in majority to British; I simply did not have resources to contest Tobacco and Furs markets, and only managed to be equal in sugar.
t1a
Situation at the end of the turn – majorities tracks (click to enlarge)

The situation was very balanced after Turn 1, with France leading by one point – marker at 16 Victory Points. That actually could be a good prognostic for England, which usually is heavily mauled in initial round. Above I marked in color who took each demand / region – while more was won by British, I had nice events to counter the VP losses.

War of Spanish Succession

t2
War of Spanish Succession resolution

The result in Central Europe was surprise to each of us. Kuba invested very heavily in Austria, had best Basic War tile and achieved a win! In other 3 wars France as victorious, so I managed to offset that defeat. The most impressive – and long-term important as we shall see in a moment – was American Theater, where England was completely obliterated.

t2a
Situation at the end of the war – map (click to enlarge)

After the War, France was still slightly leading, with 17 VPs. As you can see above, I took Asiento, counting on cheap squadrons builds plus took control of the Fur market in America.

Second Peace Turn

t3
Situation at the end of the turn – map (click to enlarge)
  • When we draw award tiles and global demand for Turn 3, Kuba immediately went pale. 7 VPs will be score in North America (two goods and 3 VP Award Tile)! Another 3 in Europe. Both regions are my strongholds…
  • And as expected, the fight for American colonies was fierce and bitter! We invested a lot there but in the end I managed to prevail.
  • In Europe I used Jacobite and only as much actions, as was needed to maintain the status quo (i.e. my advantage:)) . Thus, another 3 VPs for the region and prestige for France!
  • The coup de grace was my last action play in India, where I managed to take over cotton market plus make sure that no VPs for region will be achieved by Jakub.
  • This time as you can see, going second had a huge and fundamental advantage!
  • And then we counted the points…
t3a
Situation at the end of the turn – majorities tracks (click to enlarge)

To our astonishment, I managed to accumulate 32 points! Three for America, three for Europe, six for global demand not to forget Jacobite! All that meant that France lead by me achieved automatic victory!

Summary

That was exciting though short game; the results from initial Spanish Succession War heavily impacted the final outcome as I managed to wipe-out English almost entirely from American soil. And that theater become a focal point of Second Peace Turn For sure, I was not counting on such a heavy coincidence but once opportunity arrived, I took it.

Another key aspect were Jacobite. That is very powerful card and British has to do everything they can to prevent it. I think they gave me around 6 VPs across two turns. And what is more and side benefit, we of course had another chance to polish our understanding of the game and get even more interest in it.

After couple of games I must admit the rules are pretty straightforward and the game flow is usually flawless. We rarely ever had to look things up in the rulebook. The majority  tracks while not mandatory, really streamlined our game and focus of play. You may of course count on more session reports from me!