Skip to main content

Imperium:GDW

No post for a month, then three in one night!

Its 1977, Marc Miller has just released the Sci Fi RPG Traveller, which will set the standard for all Sci Fi games to follow, and GDW, the company Marc works for release Imperium. A board war game in the Traveller universe. I picked this up of a guy in the next city from mine for 5 wigwams. Deal since this sucker normally goes for at least four times that on ebay.


Its a pretty mint game too. This is a space opera board game, and its very asymmetrical. One side is the Terrans, the earthlings, the future us. The other is the Imperium, a massive conglomerate of alien races. The Terrans are the upstarts rebelling against the Imperium, and the much embattled Imperial regional governor has to put down this insurrection. This is one thing you get from older games that seem less common in the new, genuine imagination. I like Twilight Imperium as much as the next nerd but the back story for that game is very old hat compared with Chadwick and Millers design here.



The game is fairly simple. Both players spend resources to build units and then move them down the space lanes to fight each other. Theres a fair amount of nuance in how to spend and how to work your logistics but the game play quickly gravitates toward each side having a largish fleet and each trying to decide whether its worth pulling the trigger yet. The terrans make seek to find another route to attack the soft imperial worlds, the Imperium will try to hold all the choke points.

I said in my last post that wargames are about manoeuvre and the synergies between different units, but theres some thing else they are about, pulling the trigger and story. The best war games put you on a knife edge. Do you risk your entire fleet and go for the KO, or do you wait one more turn, maybe they will make an error, maybe you can get that one more ship into your fleet but times running out. The best war games (Hannibal Rome Vs Carthage does this excellently) ratchet up the tension and leave you hanging. Hanging until you pull the trigger and everything starts to explode. In Imperium, when a battle starts both sides line up their expensive irreplaceable ships and watch them get blown away.


Damn right its a trap, I had two extra cruisers in that fleet you weren't aware of.

Tension is the child of consequence. In Imperium, you don't play one game. You play many as part of a campaign. Each game only lasts until the imperial glory track either drops too low, or rises too high, resulting in either a victory or a defeat. The campaign only ends however when one side has been eradicated and lost all of its worlds. Waste that fleet, you might not just regret in this game, but the game next week.

Its a shame that this game is so long out of print. If it was brought back, i doubt it would sell well though. Whilst its not that complex, games like this are confined to niche blogs like this these days (not that i was around back in the day).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Play Thru: Washington's Crossing

Being a man who likes diversity I bought / pre-ordered 4 games for Christmas about dudes in flashy coats with muskets marching around road networks. I’ve already Quick looked at Nappys Nemesis 1813, Metz is yet to be released from P500, Autumn of Glory is on the shelf, so this weekend I have played Washington’s Crossing.




The Patriot opening more or less followed the script. Washington moved with his stack, crossed the Delaware with decent movement and ferry rolls and come morning was sat just outside Trenton next to Rall’s Hessian garrison. The American gets a rather scripted +5 to surprise rolls when attacking Trenton, plus it being dawn and a prepared attack gave Washington very favourable odds but the roll was terrible and Rall escaped with only 25% losses and a retreat.
Further south Greene collected a few detachments of militia and drove the other Hessian garrisons north.



The Hessians forced marched out wide forcing Washington to either hunt them down for a few extra vps, or look el…

Quick Looks; Red Star / White Eagle

I generally hate it when people describe designs or ideas in games as dated, because many of the most innovative games  are older than I am. Equally it implies there is something innately good about new designs, which I don't think there is.

Dune is arguably the best multiplayer 'war' boardgame and the 70s basic DnD is in my view still the best RPG. I wasn't born until the late 80s and didn't discover these things to the mid 2000s so this isn't nostalgia doing my thinking, its just that some old ideas are better than new ones, despite our apparent 'progress'.



But having said all this Red Star / White Eagle is a dated game design. And this matters if you are looking at popping £70 on a new reprint of it from Compass Games. I am a wary cheapskate so I picked up a second hand copy with a trashed box of ebay for £20. It was worth it, but only just.


Red Star / White Eagle is a GDW 1979 Hex and Counter wargame covering the 1920 Russo - Polish war. Everything …

Quick Looks: The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbour to the Philippines

Imported games have the allure of being foreign and expensive, they also often come with the glamorous trappings of bad rules translation. Pacific War is all of these things but first the good;
It’s short. I’m not being factious here, generally Pacific Theatre war games are long and complicated, which is fine but it leaves the shallow end of the dream pool rather empty. The Pacific War clocks in around 2-3 hours and feels engrossing for this life span.
You’ve got a point to point map, pretty and functional but no pageant winner, a deck of cards, and a load of counters representing ships that come in on a historical reinforcement schedule. Each year long turn you get a variable number of cards. Players take action rounds discarding a card to win the privilege of doing something and then either play an event card, or move some ships, or resupply some ships (so they can move again). Once out of cards they roll off for priority in taking more actions but if they roll doubles the year ends.