Do you have a go to game? A game that you can play with anyone at any time that you will always enjoy and want to bring out again and again? My favorite game of all time is Imperial Settlers and it continues to grow in my estimation. For me this game takes me back to the type of game I used to play growing up on the PC. Sid Meier’s Civilization, Age of Empires and other games like it were such a draw for me and continued to draw me in for years of game play. Imperial Settlers has the feel of this epic civilization building game transferred to the tabletop.
The goal of Imperial Settlers is to build the largest civilization and obtain the most victory points. You will do this by taking a number of available actions in turn with up to 3 other players. On your turn you can build locations, make deals, raze opponents locations or your own hand of cards, send workers to gain resources and activate action locations. The depth and complexity of this game is figuring out the most efficient way to continue to grow your empire and gain points while making your resources last and work for you. There truly is genius in this design. You will pick one of four factions (or civilizations) to play.
You can choose to play the Barbarians, Romans, Egyptians, or Japanese civilizations (if you want to buy the expansion you can also play as the Atlanteans) Each civilization has a special ability to carry certain resources over from round to round. This can be very powerful depending on what strategy you are using. You will play for 5 rounds in total and the rounds get more and more intense because of the engines that people have built and the resources that people have at their disposal to attack you and grow their own interests.
All of the above set aside this game just hits a sweet spot for me. I love civilization building, this has it. I love resource management, this has it. I love card drafting, this has it. The theme is perfect for me and the artwork and graphic design make me so happy every time I pick up the box. The feel is lighthearted but the depth of the game will keep you coming back for more. Each civilization that you play will feel different and require you to make different decisions. There is a deck building aspect as well that creates tons of variability and replay value.
Imperial Settlers also has the best solo variant of any tabletop game I have ever played. The solo mode keeps the same feel of the game play and allows you to perfect the strategies of each civilization without having to round up a group to play. There is an “AI” deck so to speak included with the game and separate rules for the incredible solo version of the game. There is also a wonderful free campaign mode released online by this game’s incredible designer Ignacy Trzewiczek that you can download and print to create even more depth and replay value to the solo mode. This game is a masterpiece in my opinion and one that I will never get rid of. I believe in this game and I believe in this company. Portal games makes quality products and because they are not a major corporation with hundreds of employees they take personal care and attention to the details of their games and the passion shows. So if you have a chance, go out and buy Imperial Settlers. I don’t think you will regret it. If you can’t find Imperial Settlers, then buy any other Portal game you can find, they’re all good! I’ve rated this game as a 10 on board game geek and I wouldn’t change that rating for anything, this game deserves it. Below I have included a link to my how to play video for the game. It should be enough to get you started and if you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time I’ll see you at the table!