Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North is a card game in which players lead one of six clans from three different factions. The game plays out over a series of rounds, during which players explore, construct buildings, trade resources, and sail to new lands with the aim of either conquering, or pillaging to gain more goods! Each action brings the clans closer to becoming the greatest empire! The game ends in the round that any player reaches the 25 victory points mark.
"If you love cute but vicious, then this a great fit. In Empires you have a selection of factions, all of which have their own deck and their own specializations. The game also comes with a helpful guide as to which factions are the most difficult to navigate and which are easiest. This was really helpful, especially for our first game. The game plays over a series of rounds comprised of phases that continue until the first player crosses the 25 Victory Point threshold during the Action Phase, after which the game continues until round finish before final score tallying is conducted. The unique decks each faction gets contain several different locations to play into your civilization’s tableau, all of which will serve different functions and you’ll have some choice in curating which of those locations is built. This opens up a fun engine-building element that allows players to get creative with how they generate resources and Victory Points throughout the game.
Another awesome feature of this game is the option to set sail to either pillage or conquer islands during the Expedition phase. You can send out ships unique to your faction to visit nearby or far away islands to either conquer or raid for resources and rewards, but the order in which ships are sent is important to bear in mind when choosing whether you’ll send your ship out with the resources needed to reach farther islands. This is yet another way you can advance to victory or potentially customize your tableau. One important thing to note about the Expedition phase as well is that there is a chance you’ll pass the 25 Victory Point goal line. If that happens you do get one whole final round after to try and catch up with your opponents and vice versa.
Ultimately, I found the production quality to be pretty up there for the price and I personally really enjoy asymmetrical games, so this was a slam dunk for me and my partner. The game also has the added benefit of a nice box insert that so far has fit all of the expansions really easily alongside the base game. This game has made it on to my top ten favorites of all time as a medium complexity, asymmetrical engine-builder with a great theme and its own unique turn structure."