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Jul 25

IGS: Imperial 2030 Play Report

Play report disclaimer.  Please remember that I can only report on what I saw and what I was thinking.  If my report seems to focus heavily on my own actions, this is because it is what I could best explain.  This is in no way an effort to disrespect my opponents!  So without further ado…

During the most recent gaming session of the IGS that I attended the game being played was Mac Gerdts’ masterpiece, “Imperial 2030.”  The players participating in this evening’s competition were James, Rich, Steve, and myself.  With all players having played the original Imperial we played a few turns of a practice game to familiarize everyone with the minimal differences between the two games and then we got down to business.

The play order was as follows:  James, Rich, Chris, and Steve.  All players began with $19 million at the start of the game.

Initial Bond Purchases

                     James    Rich    Chris    Steve

Russia              3            2           4            1

China                1            3           4            2

India                  1            –            –            2  

Brazil                1            2            –            3

USA                   3            2            –             –

E.U.                   –             –            –             1

I chose to play this game in a different manner then I usually do and planned to pursue an early strategy of control in Russia and China.  The plan was to use China as a shield for Russia to give me a solid base of operations in Asia from which to watch for any opportunities that might present themselves.  Well that was the plan at least. My control of Russia gave Steve the investor card and we began the game proper.

Game Turn #1

Russia:  Investor.  Steve purchased the 1 bond in USA

China:  Investor.  James upgrades the 3 bond in Russia to the 5 to gain control. Rich buys 3 India as Swiss bank to gain control. 

India:  Investor.  Rich buys the 2 bond in the E.U. to gain control.

Brazil:  Investor.  Chris buys the 3 bond in the E.U. to gain control.

USA:  Investor.  Steve buys the 3 bond in Russia

E.U.:  Import.  Buys 2 fleets and 1 army.

So it seems that James is very interested in controlling Russia as well.  Interesting…I made at this point what might have been a game determining mistake and bought the 3 bond in E.U..  I strongly considered buying the 3 bond in Russia that James traded in to upgrade which would have likely sealed my control of Russia for the foreseeable future.  Instead I bought the 3 bond in E.U. for control thinking that I could surround Russia by also controlling China for the purpose of safeguarding my Russian investment.  Of course this only works if you can keep control of these countries and by extension the region.  I also feared buying the 3 bond in Russia would prevent me from any diversification as I was already only invested in two countries.  Given the small number of countries in which I was invested, and thus how few interest payments I would receive , I decided to skip investor with E.U. and try to get a large tax bonus.  I hoped to rush ahead on the rondel and be the first back to investor with the E.U.  Over the next few turns I built up the military forces of the E.U. and China.

Turn #2

Russia:  Import  3 armies

China:  Import 3 fleets

India:  Import 2 fleets 1 army

Brazil:  Import 2 fleets 1 army

USA:  Import 3 fleets

E.U.: Maneuver

Game Turn #3

Russia:  Maneuver

China:  Production

India:   Production

Brazil:   Production

USA:  Production

E.U.:   Taxation

Game Turn #4

Russia:  Taxation

China:  Maneuver

India:  Maneuver

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Maneuver

E.U.:  Production

Game Turn #5

Russia:  Production

China:  Factory

India:  Taxation

Brazil:  Taxation

USA:  Taxation

E.U.:  Maneuver

Game Turn#6

Russia:  Maneuver

China:  Production

India:  Production

Brazil:  Factory

USA:  Factory

E.U.:  Investor  James purchases the 4 bond in Brazil gaining control.  Steve buys the 4 bond in India as a Swiss bank for control.

Game Turn #7

Russia:  Investor  Rich buys 5 bond in China for control.

China:  Investor  Chris buys the 5 bond in Brazil.  James retains control.

India:  Maneuver

Brazil:  Production

USA:  Production

E.U.: Import 2 fleets and one army

It was at this point that things started to go wrong for my plans of global economic domination.  With Rich’s takeover of China and Steve’s getting heavily into India, I found myself getting pushed out of the two countries(Russia and China) that I had intended to control Asia with while starting to be locked out of the India goodie basket!  I inexplicably chose to remedy this situation by buying the 5 bond in Brazil without gaining control.  I know it looks bad on the screen, and it is, but I was also in danger of getting locked out of any Brazil bonds and at the time Brazil was expanding virtually unopposed.  While I think this was probably a mistake strategically it felt right tactically at the time and helped ease my fears of a quick win for James via a runaway Brazil if I had no piece of it.

Game Turn #8

Russia:  Production

China:  Production

India:  Import  2 fleets 1 army.  Steve buys 4 in E.U. taking control.

Brazil:  Investor James buys 5 in E.U. for control Chris buys 4 USA for control.

USA:  Maneuver

E.U.:  Maneuver

When Steve, then James, took ever greater control of E.U. for the purpose of taking the quite large tax bonus I would have received at taxation I felt my chances of victory starting to dwindle.  Upon realizing the terrible cash flow situation I was in as a result of this turn of events, I bought the only bond remaining that would give me the control of at least one country, the 4 bond in USA.  At this point in time the USA was lagging behind a bit in expansion and I hoped I cold build it up a little while hanging on to control.  I skipped investor out of fear that Rich would buy control of the USA relegating me back to Swiss bank status and likely destroy any chance I had of winning the game.

Game Turn #9

Russia:  Maneuver

China:  Maneuver

India:  Maneuver  Rich buys 5 bond in India taking control.

Brazil:  Produce

USA:  Produce

E.U.: Taxation

Rich’s purchase of the 5 bond in India was a very serious development in the Asian theater.  For one, it virtually guaranteed my being shut out of India.  Secondly, it tightened Rich’s control of the region dramatically.  Up until this point, he had been sitting on the huge military I had built up for China in an uneasy peace with Steve’s India through diplomatic means and mutual fear that an all out war would ruin both countries.  By gaining control of India, Rich now turned China into a shield for India as I had planned to use it for Russia.  Sadly this involved crushing an already underdeveloped Russia with China’s military might and severely limiting any future interest by any of us in investing in the Bear’s future.

Game Turn #10

Russia:  Taxation

China:  Taxation

India:  Taxation

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Maneuver

E.U.:  Factory

Update

                   James    Rich    Chris    Steve

Russia              5            2            4         4

China                1            8            4         2

India                  1            8            –          6

Brazil                 5*          2            5          3   

USA                    3            2            4         1

E.U.                    5             2           3         5

* James has control of Brazil.

Game Turn #11

Russia:  Factory

China:  Produce

India:  Factory

Brazil:  Taxation

USA:  Taxation

E.U.:  Investor.  Chris buys the 5 bond in USA retains control.*

This was a turn of great hope for my efforts.  Somehow the 5 in USA had survived until I could buy it and at least lock up control of one country for a while.  I gained a much-needed tax bonus from the USA and looked to expand American power as quickly as I could.  Unfortunately, I could only do so much to effect events in Asia where Rich was reigning supreme.  With Russia weak, and his control of both China and India, there was little anyone do to stop his dominance in the region.  I ran as much propaganda as I could to protect USA from the ire of my opponents, but it is hard to convince them to attack India or China when it is geographically impossible.

Game Turn #12

Russia:  Produce

China:  Maneuver

India:  Produce

Brazil:  Produce

USA:  Factory

E.U.:  Taxation

Game #13

Russia:  Import 1 fleet 2 armies.  Steve upgrades 2 in India to the 6 taking control.

China:  Produce  James buys 2 bond in India.  Steve retains control.

India:  Investor  Rich buys 6 bond in E.U. for control.  GG Thx Steve.

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Import  2 fleets and 1 army.  Chris passes on investor.

E.U.:  Factory

Very important turn!  I was thrilled to see Steve do what was needed to break up the Rich India/China combo, but horrified to see him move India to investor paying out big money to Rich when he also had the investor card.  I jokingly wrote in my notes, “GG Thx Steve”.  I understand why he did it, big money in the India pinata and he wanted to get paid, but I feared that Rich would actually benefit more than anyone.  With Rich’s purchase of the E.U. 6 bond for control I worried my fears were confirmed.  I hoped that Rich in Europe would work out better than his complete monopoly of Asia had and prepared to smack the E.U. with the USA!

Game Turn #14

Russia:  Produce

China:  Maneuver

India:  Import  2 armies and 1 fleet

Brazil:  Import 3 fleets.  Steve upgrades 1 to 6 in USA.  Chris retains control.

USA:  Taxation

E.U.:  Produce

Steve made the unusual move of upgrading while not gaining control with his new-found wealth from the India payout.  Clearly he approved of my management in the USA and foresaw great things for America’s future.

Game Turn #15

Russia:  Maneuver

China:  Tax

India:   Maneuver

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Invest  James buys the 6 in Brazil to retain control.

E.U.: Produce

Game Turn #16

Russia:  Taxation

China:  Maneuver

India:  Taxation

Brazil:  Taxation

USA:  Taxation

E.U.:   Invest   Rich buys the 7 bond in India for control.

Game Turn #17

Russia:   Produce

China:  Investor  Chris buys the 7 bond in Brazil to take control.

India:  Produce

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Maneuver

E.U.:  Import

This was probably the high water mark for my renewed hopes of victory.  When I purchased the 7 bond to take control of Brazil it gave me control of two of the most powerful countries at the time.  Given their geographic nearness, I hoped to play them as virtually one country for military purposes and try to create an impenetrable North and South American empire.  I did not come to the decision to buy control of Brazil easily and I am still not sure if it was my best play.  I considered buying control of the E.U. and using it with the USA to keep Brazil in line.  However, I decide that Rich was probably leading, and if I took control of Europe and did well it would also benefit him.  As I could not gain a foothold in India to offset his lead over me there, I needed to profit independent of him elsewhere.  Given that he had little invested in Brazil it seemed like a better option than the E.U.  I also strongly considered buying the 7 bond in the USA to seal up my control of it and make a run for the finish line with one strong country.  In retrospect this may have been my best move, but I did not believe James could buy back Brazil from me on his next investor(despite his warnings that he could), and decided that two strong countries are better than one really strong country.  Damn my distrusting nature!!!  Who knew he was telling the truth?  I had been lying my ass off most of the game and this led me to think/hope he was doing the same.

Game turn #18

Russia:   Maneuver

China:  Produce

India:  Invest Steve buys 7 bond in the USA for control.

Brazil:  Invest  James upgrades the 4 in Brazil to the 8 for control.

USA:  Produce  Rich buys the 1 bond in the USA.  Steve retains control.

E.U:  Maneuver

TOTAL COLLAPSE!!!  That’s all folks.  Steve buys the 7 in the USA taking control of my beautiful American war machine and then James follow through with his promise to regain control of Brazil.  Looks like I get to checkout the weather in Switzerland this time of year.  It was at this point that I fell back on the only weapon I had left.  Propaganda.  Yes I lied, threatened, warned, begged, and tried to manipulate all of the other guys into moving their countries where I wanted them to be moved.  I would literally campaign my guts out with all of the logic and illogic I could muster on one country’s turn to sway actions only to completely reverse my argument on the next country’s turn.  Hey, what are you gonna do?  Sadly, all members of the IGS are veteran gamers and there are limits to how much they can be nudged.  My kingdom for a bunch of noobs!

Game Turn #19

Russia:  Produce

China:  Maneuver

India:  Maneuver

Brazil:  Taxation

USA:  Maneuver

E.U.:  Taxation

Watching the E.U. and Brazil tax had me terribly worried.  However I have the investor card and Brazil is coming around to investor soon.  If I can convince James to move to investor I will have enough money to buy the E.U. back from Rich and possibly make it to taxation for the win.  At this point I start the sweet talking process of telling James how investor is awesome for both of us.  While true, it is waaay better for me as it will give me a very real shot at pulling off the win!  Just keep gently pouring honey in his ear and hope for the best.  What else do I have at this point?

Game Turn #20

Russia:  Maneuver

China:  Taxation

India:  Taxation

Brazil:  Produce

USA:  Taxation

E.U.:  Maneuver

Hey James, I think you should pay us bud.  We have to stop Rich right?  Man that money would be great for us!  Besides Steve is threatening with the USA.  We need that money James. Gotta have that money James.  Noooo, I don’t have any chance of winning, but I am just trying to finish higher in the standings at this point!  I promise I am not buying Brazil back James!(Actually true!)  Gotta get that money James!  Etc…

Game Turn #21

Russia:  Taxation

China:  Maneuver

India:  Maneuver

Brazil:  Maneuver

USA:  Produce

E.U.:  Taxation

Sadly James saw through my all too transparent attempts to make one last grab for victory and did not move to investor.  Boo!  I can’t blame him as he was correct that it would benefit me more than him and no amount of protesting to the contrary could hide the truth.  Well played sir…well played.  Despite my earlier contention that Steve had given the game to Rich, the general feeling at the table was that Steve might very well be in the lead at this point, and if not leading right now, most assuredly best positioned to win if the game went any longer.  As a result of this Rich made a bold move and jumped the E.U. from maneuver to taxation moving it to 25 on the power chart and ending the game.  His logic was that Steve was absolutely going to win if the game went any longer and although he might be losing, he would never have a better shot at the victory than right now.  I completely agree with his move and commend him for having the guts to go for it!

Final Bond Holdings

                   James    Rich    Chris    Steve         Power Multiplier

Russia              5            2            4          4                  x2

China                1            8            4          2                  x3

India                  3            15           –         10                x4

Brazil                 15          2            12        3                 x4

USA                    3            3            9         13                x4

E.U.                    5             8            3          5                x5

Cash                 11            11           8         11

Final Score      133         159!       127      154

“Fortune favors the bold”, or so they say, and in this case it was true as Rich was rewarded with the win for his gutsy move!  The margin of victory over Steve was a mere 5 million and 32 million over last place.  Had I been able to convince James to move to investor and finish with the E.U. it would have added 35 million to my score as well as any tax bonus.  It just might have been enough to do it!  A very tight game indeed!

It was another great session with the guys from IGS playing one of my absolute favorite games.  Everyone played hard and nasty and congratulations go to Rich for crawling out of the IGS primordial ooze and asserting his dominance over all on this occasion!

Next up for my IGS reports is Reiner Knizia’s Taj Mahal.  Be sure to tune in for your dose of hardcore gaming competition.

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