Qt3 Classic Game Club #1: IMPERIALISM II

We will be inaugurating the QuarterToThree Classic Game Club with Frog City’s 1999 turn-based exploit-'em-up, Imperialism II: The Age of Exploration.

Some rather opinionated critics have declared it the Best Strategy Game Ever Made.

If you don’t have a copy, you can get the game at GOG.com for $6.

We will spend roughly two weeks playing and talking about Imperialism II. We encourage you to not simply dredge up memories of playing the game in 1999, but to pick it up and play it along with everyone else. Then come on in here and share your experiences, reflections, and opinions.

Contributors to this thread will be in the lottery to choose the next Classic Game Club game!

Darn it! I finally expunged this from my backlog, and now you want me to bring it back!

I’m also going through a phase where I can’t stand 4X games. Let’s see if this one breaks the trend.

Just bought it. Never played it before. Looking forward to see what it’s like.

I’m not terribly experienced with strategy games, mainly stuff like Civ, Panzer General, and the Advance Wars games. Still, it does seem to get high praise and Tom’s article on the front page was certainly intriguing, so I’ll give it a shot. At least should be fun running an empire into the ground.

I’ve not played Imp 2 in years, and I recall being HORRRIBLE at it, so this should be fun!

I spent some time last night going through a lot of false starts, I like to say that as opposed to running my empire into the ground. Daunting, but I’m getting it slowly. Sizing the workforce and keeping both types of food in supply is the first task I’m trying to master. The only dated issue aside from the odd CTD I’m dealing with is zoom, too big or too small are my only options on the map.

Other than that I really like the elegance of design. I went and listened to the four year old three moves ahead podcast and felt for poor Bruce. He was making the case that you don’t see games like that anymore. It was a pre XCOM, pre Unity of Command world. I just wanted to say, “It’s going to be ok, Battle of the Bulge is coming.”

Tom M

Good call on the 3MA podcast. Link

I love it when there’s a companion podcast to a classic strategy game I’m playing. I wish QT3 still did the chat-and-a-game podcasts from a couple years ago. Timeless.

I have never played this game before and know absolutely nothing about it, so this should be pretty interesting.

I’ll join in. Post your OP map seeds now!

Just started playing this yesterday. FYI if anyone else is looking to run it in a window I am using “dxwnd” to do this successfully.

I have strategies… and secrets! I will crush you all.

I re-installed a year or two ago and had trouble getting used to the UI. But time to try again… thanks for this, Nightgaunt!

I started playing last night and had a surprising amount of fun with my first hour.

Dumb noob UI question: is there a place I can go to see what the rates of change for my various resources are? I can see food input and output on the industrial screen, but I’d love to know how many ores I’m producing a turn, for example.

I don’t know if it’s an exact answer to the question but the ‘transport’ screen will show you what’s coming into your capital. It’s the first of the buttons on the bottom of the screen in the world map.

Tom M

$6 used on Amazon. Sold.


And Amazon has the game itself on what’s called a CD-ROM for only $50.99! Works on Win 95, Win ME and Win 98!

Thank god for GoG.

Working on the manual in bits and pieces. Makes me wish I had a hard copy as I’d be a lot more motivated to tear through it at once.

God I miss SSI – even seeing the logo makes me giddy. Not many logos will do that – Infocom, Origin, SSI, and R*, pretty much.

Quick bit of terminology. Resources are the raw goods like sugar cane, wool, and iron ore. Materials are the processed goods like processed sugar, cloth, and iron.

So as Tom mentioned, the rates of change for resources are a factor of what you’re shipping in (hotkey 1 for your transport screen), plus any deals you’re going to make, which you decide one at a time in the interim before your next turn. The rates of change for materials are a factor of what you’re doing with your resources and your labor (hotkey 2 for the industry screen), plus any deals you’re going to make.

In the case of your example – how many ores you’re producing a turn – you don’t produce ore. You ship it into your capital. But the iron, bronze, and eventually steel you make with that ore are based on where you move the sliders, which is limited by your available resources and labor.

Does that help? Or did I just confuse everything?



#1: There is no shame in turning down the AI difficulty for the first few games. Imperialism II works just fine as a sort of colonial city-builder in which you outstrip some disadvantaged AI players.

#2: Labor, labor, labor. Or, ABB. “Always be booming”. One of your early and consistent priorities should be ramping up your grain and then meat production so you can support more population (emember that the first point of population eats grain, the next meat, the next grain, the next meat, and so on). As you’re raising your production level above what your population eats, you’ll convert wool into labor to add more population. So, ABB. There is never a time you shouldn’t be trying to boom your population.

#3: Note that your educated specialists – spies, engineers, builders, explorers – don’t cost any population! They’re free to support once you’ve paid the cash and paper to recruit them. Get an army of explorers out there early on! Once you’ve got a couple of wood and iron coming in each turn, add another builder or engineer to accelerate the rate you’re laying infrastructure! Don’t be shy about parking spies in enemy territory to boost your research.

#4: Riches are nice, but don’t go so crazy chasing gold and silver in the New World that you forget to establish a sugar and tobacco income for skilled labor. Those guys will more than pay for themselves once you can support them.

#5: Money problems? Of course you’ve got money problems! What a lot of folks don’t realize is that it’s your research that’s eating up all your income. Use those spending arrows on your currently researching techs to turn the spending rate down to zero. If you do this when you’re researching things the other nations already know, you can keep the spending at zero and you’ll eventually learn the tech anyway.


I’m quite excited about this. I thought I’d played most old strategy games worth playing, but it seems I’ve missed this one somehow. SSI as well… so many happy memories playing SSI games.