Jumping to Expansions from the Basics of Imperial Settlers
Create a civilization split across production, features, and actions with different factions and expansions for Imperial Settlers.
It’s been a long, long time since I last played Imperial Settlers… So long, that I actually forgot all about some of my exploration of the various factions! Finally ready to tackle some of the other expansions, I brought my nearly complete collection back to my solo table. The artwork has always held a certain charm for me, and I was ready to build again!
Over just 5 rounds, cards are drafted, buildings take shape, resources are produced, and victory points accumulate. There are plenty of decisions, particularly with the way each card has multiple purposes. With common and faction buildings to choose from, the challenge is endless!
January 18, 2020
September 28, 2023
40" x 24"
Back to Basics
I decided to play with the base game to get myself reacquainted with the mechanics and strategies. Such a fun time! I forgot how much I loved this one.
Somehow, I managed to pull off my best score yet with the Barbarians! It didn’t look like I was going to hit my new scoring goal, until everything started falling into place.
Early on, I had all sorts of bonuses from razing cards. Near the end, each round netted around 20-30 victory points!
That was the perfect time to encourage myself to explore lots of the expansion content I still had yet to discover.
Finding the Strengths
One of the most important aspect of gameplay comes down to understanding a faction, particularly how each building can be beneficial. Triple raids are always great!
Although razing is certainly the focus of the Barbarians, they have some interesting faction cards that can open up some other nuanced strategies. Lots to understand.
Keep in mind, too, that with all of the expansions, I have 7 factions to play with. This entire session was with just one.
I found it fun to play over and over, never tiring because the building variety was excellent. Just one more play!
Going back to a fun memory, I picked up nearly everything here at a local game swap for a ridiculously low price. This might be my best find ever, but it’s underplayed.
At last, I started looking at the content included with the faction expansions. I still stuck with the Barbarians, but they worked really well with the Atlantean content.
Technology tokens could be placed on common buildings to double their bonuses… Talk about a ton of production!
I was swimming in resources, but not in a bad way: This shifted me away from 100% razing everything in sight.
Enchanted or Not?
The little details on the artwork are awesome, and I had a laugh over the difference between these forest types. You just had to look for the giant, enchanted orb. Ha ha!
This expansion was a great one because I kept out a lot of common buildings. These may be stolen by the solo opponent, so I try to replace them with faction buildings.
My play area was much different: Usually, I end up with about 0-2 common cards in play. This time? Balanced.
It was a neat way to shift how I’ve played. My scores were still great, but my thinking process changed just enough.
The True Meaning of Expansions for a Base Game
One of the things that will sometimes get to me is when a base game isn’t complete, but requires the purchase of an expansion to get the full experience. I usually point out Siege of Valeria as a recent example. However, this isn’t the case here! As I’ve gone through most of the expansions, they simply enhance and add to the original game. Excellent!
This hobby is constantly expanding itself with new offerings all the time. It can be hard to find the best solo games! But when a base game is complete, I feel a lot better about the game system in general. Don’t get me wrong: The right kinds of expansions are the best. It’s when that content feels like it should have been in the base game that I hesitate.
I started off this session playing with just the base game content. That gave me a better perspective on what the expansions offered. I think it’s possible to enjoy a lot with only the base game. No expansions required, thankfully. Yet I’ll likely do a deeper dive at some point to figure out which ones I enjoy the most with the various factions!
Blessings & Prayers
Next, I checked out the content in the Aztecs expansion. This is the only faction expansion that originally came without any common cards… Which I’ve now ordered!
I wasn’t so sure about this one. It seemed to change a lot about the Barbarians, often going in a direction that was entirely different… In a way that wasn’t synergistic.
The pray mechanic was also a little murky, turning religion into a gamble with the draw deck. Hmm…
It was very much based on the luck of the draw, too, so I didn’t find myself very excited about these buildings.
A Handful of Intrigue
I had some fun with these new cards, although it still felt a little too random to draw cards to hope for victory points. With no way to affect the order, it was unpredictable.
However, I’m not writing this off! I expect the expansion works better for different factions, and I still have a lot left to explore. Maybe the Barbarians were a bad match.
That’s the fun with all of this content, though! I’ll likely find my favorite combinations, and there is a lot to try.
Some expansion content still hasn’t even hit my table yet, so I’m still very excited to discover more fun in the future!
Play Number: 45-54
Expansion: Many (Amazons, Atlanteans, Aztecs, Ruins)
Accessory: Storage Box Plus
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Barbarian Faction
Outcome: 74, 64, 116, 82, 71, 91, 76, 65, 83, 81 (8 W & 2 L)
More content showed up, too! I found the fancy panorama building cards to replace the raids. The little scene was interesting to see, although I hope my Barbarians cleaned up a little bit! This was a lot of fun to keep playing through the content, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more fun.
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Each faction plays very differently and has its own set of faction buildings that change gameplay quite a bit.
- Just the base game offers an excellent and full experience, while expansions offer new strategies and mechanics.
- All of the artwork is fun to look at up close, particularly since there are some lovely details to find on many cards.
- Wooden resources are easy to use and make the play area even better when it’s easy to find the components.
- Gameplay only lasts 5 rounds and follows a clear sequence, making the total play time consistent and fairly quick.
- Multi-purpose cards mean that not everything needs to be built and there are constantly interesting choices.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Some elements and very high scores depend on a lot of luck with the cards drawn, which is entirely randomized.
- Not every expansion plays as smoothly for all of the factions, so there can be some misses in terms of new content.
- The play area can get rather massive during an excellent play with many faction buildings spreading out to the left.
- Despite having a rulebook that covers everything, it has a fair number of errors and typos to wade through.
Score 70+ Points
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Score at least 80 points as the Barbarians.
Score at least 90 points as the Barbarians.
Score at least 100 points as the Barbarians.
Continue the Conversation
What do you like about Imperial Settlers? Do you have a favorite faction or expansion? There is something very smooth about how gameplay works, and it’s nice to know there is so much content left for me to explore. So glad I finally brought this one back to my table! Now to look forward to the next time I play with a faction other than the Barbarians!