How To Play: Imperial Settlers – Setup, rule summary and strategy

A concise wrap-up of the key focuses: understanding the components in 'Imperial Settlers', grasping the rules including setup, gameplay, winning and special conditions, plus mastering resource management, card synergies, engine building, and adapting to opponent's strategies to triumph.


Welcome to my definitive guide on ‘How To Play Imperial Settlers’! Whether you’re a fresh face to this empire building game or you’ve got a few settlements under your belt, this guide is tailor-made to boost your gameplay. I’ve spent countless hours with friends, strategizing and competing, which means I’m ready to pass on that hard-won knowledge just for you!

In this guide, we’ll start with a concise outline of the game rules to lay the groundwork. You’ll learn the essentials – from setting up your game to effectively taking your turns. But what’s knowledge without strategy? Fret not! We will delve deep into the best tactics to triumph over your friends. I’ll share invaluable tips on Resource Management and Optimization, Card Synergies and Engine Building, plus the elusive art of Adapting to Opponents’ Strategies and Game Flow. Through narratives of personal play experiences, illustrative examples, and perhaps a few anecdotes of triumph and the occasional defeat—we’ll navigate together towards mastery. Are you ready? Let’s build an empire!

What’s in the box

  • 1 Score Board
  • 220 Cards:
    • 30 Barbarian Cards
    • 30 Japanese Cards
    • 30 Roman Cards
    • 30 Egyptian Cards
    • 84 Common Cards
    • 16 Attack Cards
  • 4 Faction Markers
  • 4 Faction Boards
  • 1 First Player Token
  • 6 Multiplier Tokens
  • 20 Gold Tokens
  • 18 Raze Tokens
  • 10 Defense Tokens
  • 24 Worker Tokens
  • 12 Wound Tokens
  • Rock Resource Tokens
  • Wood Resource Tokens
  • Food Resource Tokens
  • Tool/Worker Tokens
  • 42 Shield Tokens
  • 2 Egyptian Faction Tokens
  • 70 CommonResource Tokens (
    • 18 Food
    • 18 Wood
    • 18 Stone
    • 16 Weapon


How To Play Imperial Settlers: Rules Summary

Initial Setup

Embarking on the journey of Imperial Settlers begins with set up. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a faction and take the corresponding deck, board, and pieces.
  2. Shuffle the common deck and deal 7 cards to each participant.
  3. Prepare the resources: workers, wood, stone, food, and gold.
  4. Place the score board and the round marker in easy view of all players.


Journey through the turns of Imperial Settlers with these gameplay highlights:

  1. Hang tight – each game round consists of a Lookout phase, the Production phase, the Action phase, and the Cleanup phase.
  2. Sharpen your strategy during your turn as phases rotate clockwise.
  3. Manage resources wisely and play or discard dealt cards to develop your civilization’s tableau.
  4. Track played cards and resources, ensuring your actions don’t leave you in a bind.

Winning the Game

The path to victory in Imperial Settlers hinges on how well you did per round.

  1. Five full rounds constitute a game. Accumulate the most points during them to claim victory.
  2. Compute final scores considering civilization developments, dealt cards, and bonus points.
  3. Players who have the most points after the final round conclude the game triumphantly!

Special Rules & Conditions

Make note of these nuanced regulations that can sway the game:

  1. Beware of fastidious details in rules regarding resource and worker management for potent turns.
  2. Diligently follow the specific faction and common deck rules to avoid unwittingly hampering your progress.
  3. Embrace the unexpected – random factors could propel or hinder your civilization’s advancement.

Best Imperial Settlers Strategies

Mastering the Art of Abundance in Imperial Settlers

Effective resource management is the beating heart of how to play Imperial Settlers. Not surprisingly, the winners often are the ones who’ve harvested their resources with a meticulous strategy. Firstly, let’s face the cornerstone advice:

1. Prioritize Resource Generation Efficiencies

  1. Gauge your factions’ strength at the game’s start and establish the most efficient resource-generating buildings. Focusing your early game efforts on these can help lay the groundwork for an economically strong empire.
  2. Continually reassess value. As the game progresses, respond dynamically to the natural ebb and flow of resource abundance and scarcity.

2. Maintain a Balanced Portfolio

  1. Veering too heavily into any one resource can be tempting, but diversification ensures you’re equipped for various cards and scenarios you may encounter.

As you pore over your cards, consider how each investment contributes a balanced resource flow. Every decision should align with your overarching strategy.

3. Optimize Trade Opportunities

Trade wisely but do not overtrade. Imperial Settlers poses a delicate balance—trading resources can surge you ahead but hoarding lends power for the late game bursts.

4. Planning for Future Turns

Finally, don’t get caught in the trap of short-term success at the cost of long-term planning. Every resource managed today should support not just the immediate, but your ultimate conquest as you march towards victory.

Remember, as you pilot your way through the whims of Imperial Settlers, resource optimization isn’t just about accumulation—it’s about astute allocation, prophetic planning, and audacious adaptation to the shifting landscape of play.

Master the Art of Card Synergies and Engine Building in Imperial Settlers

When looking to dominate in ‘How To Play Imperial Settlers’, understanding and leveraging card synergies is key. Prioritize cards that naturally work well together to strengthen your civilization’s capabilities exponentially. First, let’s unpack the fundamentals of forging powerful combos.

Identify Potent Pairings

  1. Scrutinize each card’s abilities and consider how they might amplify others in your possession.
  2. Track combinations that have prospered in past games, as these sets are likely to yield success.

Strategy Meets Timing

  1. Position your card plays. Sequencing can mean the difference between a decent turn and a game-changing one.
  2. Always adapt to new draws, they could potentially offer even better synergistic opportunities.

Long-Term Engine Optimization

  1. Plan beyond immediate gratification; select cards that will bolster long-term strategies.
  2. Incorporate various engine components that provide resources, card draws, or points seamlessly throughout the game.

Mastering the Art of Adaptation in Imperial Settlers

Learning How To Play Imperial Settlers means more than just managing resources and building efficient engines; it’s about adapting to your opponents’ moves with agility and foresight. Adapting isn’t simply a side note—it’s a cornerstone of advanced play. Let me show you a few strategies on how to keep one step ahead:

  1. Anticipate Resource Blocking

    Keep a close eye on your opponents’ settlements. If you notice they’re accumulating a specific resource, beat them to the punch. Secure those trading posts or production buildings first, effectively bottlenecking their progress and securing an advantage for yourself.

  2. React With Counter Buildings

    Encounter a fast-expansion player? Construct buildings that counteract that—and remember, in building our knowledge about How To Play Imperial Settlers, it’s clear that the best counter is often a well-timed building that steals or transforms their key resources into something less useful for them.

  3. Adapt Strategy Based on Actions

    Reacting isn’t just about buildings. If your opponents pivot their strategy, don’t hesitate to re-evaluate your game plan. This might mean diversifying your resources, shifting your focus to a different type of building, or even razing your structures to pave a new path.

  4. The Art of the Feint

    Lead opponents into thinking you’re committed to one strategy, while quietly laying the groundwork for another. Sometimes running with an expected tactic can net you benefits when opponents counter the ghost of your strategies past, rather than your current game plan.

  5. Dynamic Defense Structures

    Finally, defensive structures are not just passive blocks. Use them actively to disrupt, apply pressure, or lock an adversary into an unfavorable trade. Skilful defense can reshape the flow of the game, compelling your opponents to take inefficient actions.

Your Conquest Awaits in Imperial Settlers!

Now that you’ve journeyed through the essential strategies and grasped the rules looming within the realm of Imperial Settlers, you’re well-equipped to start your conquest. Remember, each session is a new challenge with endless possibilities. Keep a vigilant eye on resource management, exploit card synergies whenever you can, and adapt like water to your opponents’ moves. Whether you stand tall as the Romans, navigate cunningly like the Japanese, delve deep with the Barbarians, or harvest with the Egyptians, every game carve your path to victory.

Forge your empire, settle your lands, and don’t forget—the cleverest emperor never ceases to learn and evolve their strategies. May your civilization prosper, and your settlers bring you glory. Happy building, and see you on the fields of Imperial Settlers!

Want to know what we think of Imperial Settlers? Read our detailed review of Imperial Settlers here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.