Imperial Settlers Campaign Mode, review

So “Play games by yourself when Angelica is traveling” series continues with the extended version of Imperial Settlers called Campaign Mode. It’s a free update from Portal Games available here: Incidentally, thank you Portal for consistently making these free expansions for your games. Also, happy almost birthday to this mode which I really should have played earlier, heh.

Imperial Settlers Campaign Mode
Imperial Settlers Campaign Mode (aka, the rule sheet in the corner)

The idea is an iterative, shortened 1-player game. You’re still building for points, still competing against the raiding opponent, but you also get an ally you can make deals with, and after each game you get a new effect, as well a cost you need to pay for. On top of that, you can also spend your victory points to gain more power ups.

So for example: you play a normal 4 round 1-player game. If you won in the last turn, count up your victory points. Then roll on a bunch of different tables to find out what sort of a province you conquered. Misty Mountains? Ok, you get free stone each turn, but have to pay 1 wood each turn or you lose it. You then spend the victory points on a little power up, like “your neighbor offers you two deals instead of one, and you pick one”. Repeat until the costs of maintaining your civilization are greater than you can possibly afford, then collapse spectacularly.

So for something that’s such a small change, I’m really enjoying the mode. The addition of the empire narrative adds a nice alternate winning condition the game for when you don’t feel like min-maxing the best score. The removal of the 5th round also really speeds up the 1p game. While it’s only 20% of the rounds, the last round is easily the longest of the game, probably amounting to close to 1/3rd of it.

So if you have Imperial Settlers and want to try something for a slow solo evening, this is a really pleasant way to do so. Assuming you’re ok with the whole “build empire and watch it collapse” thing, which if you’re playing a Portal game, you probably are.