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Imperial (2006) is a strategy war game like Risk. However, you play international investors, rather than political leaders, who control the countries. By choosing how to invest your funds you gain control of the politics of the six imperial nations. The twist is that you win by having the most money rather than the most control, which means sometimes getting two countries you own to fight each other makes economic sense.

Play involves performing actions to erect factories, build fleets, and deploy armies in the countries you control. You can move your forces around the map to gain geographical advantage or engage other nations (Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, the German Empire, and Russia) in combat. As you make decisions you work to expand your territory, wage war, levy taxes and collect the proceeds.

Unlike other war games, the focus is not on combat strategy but on the real power at work here, commerce. Reflecting on this, there are no dice to roll to see outcomes. Instead, the player with the most capital and influence controls the outcome. It creates a shifting cycle of strategic alliances and conflicts with the aim of generating wealth for those involved.

The result is a varied strategy game without the luck of dice or cards. By combining aspects of Risk and Monopoly it deftly uncovers the motivations and decisions that arise when money and wealth are in control of politics.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Imperial 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 11 weeks ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to Imperial. Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Brain Game and Strategy game with Battle, Collecting and Sequencing elements. You can play with 3 to 6 players in the same room. Best with 4 players.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Learn to Play: This takes 1 and a half hours to learn. This is a complicated game that takes a long time to learn. Not only the unusual premise but how the cycle of play develops and the various options you have each move.

Play Time: This game will take between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.


This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

12+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 7+ years-olds. Includes the theme of imperialism and war. But these are not depicted graphically.


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
There is a more recent version of the game, Imperial 2030, that adjusts the game to focus on the USA, Europe, Russia, China, India, and Brazil. It's the same as the original game but offers:
  • New wooden pieces
  • Swiss Bank
  • More neutral territory, generating higher taxation
  • Control canals (Panama and Suez). 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2006, updated in 2009

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Players: 3-6

Genres: Brain Game, Strategy (Battle, Collecting and Sequencing)

Accessibility: 0 features documented

Components: Board, Cards, Figures and Tokens

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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