Saturday, February 18, 2012

Product Review: Imperium, 3rd Millennium

I bought the original Imperium when I was still in high school and just delving into Traveller.  I can't remember playing this game more than two, or three times with my brother.  While it was a quick, easy and fairly enjoyable game to play, my main reason for buying it was to incorporate it into the Traveller campaign I was running.  Due to my frequent moves while on active duty, I lost the original Imperium.  Then, in 2001 Avalanche Press came out with its 3rd Millennium Edition (I3M) to much anticipation--and much disappointment. 

I3M's demise is best told by Avalanche Press's owner, Mike Bennighof, in A Tale of Obsession.  So with the luke-warm-at-best reviews on sites like Board Game Geek, I held off on buying it.

However, last week I came across a copy, with unpunched counters, for sale on Board Game Geek's Market Place for less than $20.  So I bought it.


Because I always purchase boardgames with the idea of incorporating them into other games, primarily miniatures and role playing games (RPGs).  I own several versions of Traveller and I'm currently running a Star Wars RPG military campaign.  (Yes, I know Star Wars and Traveller are vastly different, but I'm looking for a quick and easy way to resolve large space battles).

Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase.  The maps and counters are sturdy and gorgeous!  However, in admiring the counters, I wondered what all the numbers and triangle symbols meant.  The small rulebook--normally a good sign that the game will be easy to play--doesn't have a single illustrative diagram to explain away the mystery.  (These might be buried in the rules, but I haven't read the booklet in-depth yet).

Fortunately, ER Bickford's Illustrated Replay of the First [Terran-Imperial] War solved the counter mystery with this photo:

While I3M is long out of print, Avalanche Press maintains several player's aid links in its Valhalla of Games page.  There are also several files available for download on Board Game Geek.

1 comment:

Shawn Driscoll said...

I've owned the 2nd edition since 1990, but never played it. Invasion Earth left a bad taste in my mouth. And Fifth Frontier War never got me excited. Anyway, years later (now) I've decided to give Imperium a try. That's when I discovered a 3rd editon was made. That's what brought me here to see what it's about. Sounds like a good version if you can find the revised rules for it from the publisher/fans to make play less complicated.