The Empress has died, the crown is up for grabs, and the whole galaxy is having a bit of a tiff about it. While that may not be the most enthralling theme out there, I’d be remiss not to follow that by saying that Imperius is one of the most thoughtfully designed drafting, bluffing, and scheming games I’ve seen so far this year. From Kolossal Games and on Kickstarter now, this science-fiction-themed cavalcade of cardstock is simple and elegant to look at and learn, but offers some real brain-burning challenges and mental gymnastics. As briefly described on it’s campaign page:
“Imperius is a game of intrigue and conflict for 2-4 players. Outwit and outmaneuver rival factions to score victory points. Play continues until one or more houses earn 20 victory points, which will trigger the end of the game. The house with the most victory points at the end takes the Crown Imperius and rules over the Known Universe.”
While each player is the owner of one faction in play, all of the faction cards are shuffled together, along with event cards, and drafted. Choosing your own faction cards allows you to control your fate, but picking another faction’s card allows you to manipulate theirs. After drafting, cards are played in turn order onto planets in an effort to wrench points from them, but any two cards on a given planet can be played face-down to keep your opponents guessing or entrap them. If you’re interested in learning more about Imperius and it’s gameplay, be sure to check out this paid preview by Boardgame Corner as well as the Kickstarter campaign page where the game has already been funded!