Review: Imperium Legends

In Imperium Legends you will build a deck to develop a civilization from barbarians to a thriving empire!


Osprey Games




Game overview

Imperium Legends is a deck-building card game In which you will develop an ancient civilization into a thriving empire. You do this by expanding your empire, trading and conducting scientific research.

You can choose from 8 civilizations in Imperium Legends. Each civilization has different cards and thus different tactics to win. The gameplay is largely the same for everyone. Each civilization has a starting deck from which you take 5 cards. Each turn you have 3 actions that you can take. Playing a card often costs an action, but can give you resources or new cards to add to your deck. After a turn you may discard cards and refill your hand to 5 cards. When your draw pile is empty you shuffle all the cards in the discard pile together with a nation card to form a new draw pile, this will advance your civilization with new cards. When your nation card deck is empty, your civilization evolves from a barbarian state to an empire. If you are an empire, you can play new cards, but can no longer play barbarian cards. After this, every time you shuffle the discard pile you can buy a development card and shuffle it through the deck!

The game ends when your development pile is empty, the fame pile (powerful cards) is empty, or if there is too much unrest and the unrest pile is empty. Players then add up all the points of the cards they have and the player with the most points wins the game.

Our thoughts

Imperium Legends (or Classics) is a game that screams deckbuilding. We are big fans of deckbuilding, it is one of our favorite mechanisms. This game could therefore not miss in our collection. Imperium Legends may rightfully call itself a deckbuilder, because the deckbuilding mechanism is very strong in this game.

When you start playing one of the Imperium Legends or Classic games, you will first have to bite the bullet. The rules of the game are described in the rulebook in a very difficult way. To learn the game we watched a video. It is logical that learning Imperium Legends is a bit more difficult, because it is also a fairly heavy and complex game (it gets a 3.72 on BGG). Yet the rules of Imperium Legends are described more difficult than necessary. We were quite overwhelmed after our first game, because the cards are scattered all over the table and you have to remember a lot of things. After a few plays we got the hang of the game and now we don't find it as complex as we thought. The actions you can perform are quite simple. It just takes a while to get the flow of the game. 

If you like deckbuilders and aren't afraid of a little more complexity, we can definitely recommend you take a look at Imperium Legends or Classics. We were ready for a deckbuilder with a little more challenge. You have to think carefully about the cards you add to your deck, potential combinations you can make and the amount of points you can score. Imperium Legends is therefore definitely a brain teaser. This is not a game you play quickly. A game takes on average 1.5 hours and during those 1.5 hours you'll have to be very focused if you want to win! 

The game contains 8 different civilizations that all play in a different way. You have easier civilizations and more difficult civilizations. In this way, the game offers a lot of replayability and variety. Within the different civilizations you also have the option to put your civilization card on the A or B side. The B side is for beginners and the A side is for advanced players. So you can start slowly and make the game a bit more challenging. We think this is a big plus! In addition, the different civilizations are all very different and it's a lot of fun to discover how they all play. For us, this is really a game we want to play again and again because we want to discover new tactics. 

Because of the playing time, we would only recommend Imperium Legends when you play with 2 players. The waiting time between turns is quite long. Of course you can think about your own turn, but often you just sit and wait while your opponent is busy with a lot of actions. 

Finally, we want to talk about calculating the final score. Because you have many different cards in different locations, all scoring differently, calculating the final score is very chaotic. The first time we did this we had no idea if there was a handy way. Fortunately, there is! With the webapp you can enter all the cards and your score will be calculated automatically. But even with this app it takes quite some time.

We would recommend Imperium Legends to anyone who loves deckbuilders and doesn't shy away from the complexity of the game. The deckbuilding in Imperium Legends is very strong and incredibly fun. In addition, the box is packed with content and new ways and tactics to play with. With Imperium Legends you can certainly go on for a while! 

Pros and cons

+ Strong deckbuilder 
+ High replayability 
+ Beautiful artwork 

- Rules are vague
- Calculating the final score is confusing 
- Playtime is quite high