I am working on the documentation for Imperia, and I have written a quick-start guide on the wiki. I wanted to also post it here so that people who were playing Imperia and were kind of lost about what to do have a better idea where to start.

Welcome, Your Excellence. Most people on their 18th birthday get cake, maybe some presents, and perhaps a new sweater or two. You got all that, minus the sweater, and a whole empire too! What fun! Your eager hand sits in the Astrography Chamber, where your bidding will be plotted out and the fate of millions are in your hands!

Nervous?

Well, that’s to be expected. I am Wilfred, your loyal regent, and while I know you paid attention in your ‘I’m going to be the Emperor one day’ classes, fear is natural. Let’s look at what you should be doing.

I would first look at your trade network. Unfortunately, your predecessors didn’t help you all that much with keeping robust trade lines throughout the Empire. Many of our sector capitals and most of our system capitals have either no starbase, or it is so decrepit that it is no longer being used. In any case, the issue is the same: without a starbase, a planet can’t receive replenishment materials and food from the Empire, and without that, well… let’s just say that uneasy is the head which wears the circlet. So you’re going to need to look at which planets are self sufficient, which are producing a healthy surplus of food and/or materials, and which ones are going to go hungry or run out of materials soon. The Intel screen will be invaluable with this, on page 2 (don’t forget, Your Excellence, to hit Page Down and Page Up to move between pages!) You will most likely find several planets with no starbase that will need one built very soon.

As you have probably noticed, however, starbases aren’t cheap. And they tend to take a while to build. And right now, your governors and viceroys aren’t exceptionally friendly with your presence on the scene – they’re used to having things ‘their way’, and you represent a threat. And being so new, you haven’t built up the influence you’re going to need down the road to push through really important things, so don’t spend it all right away. And though it will drastically cut down Edict times, and it will be very tempting to use, do NOT spend Tyrannical influence liberally unless you’re prepared to accept the consequences to your relationships – and have the power to deal with them!

I would recommend starting your reign slowly. Try building relationships with your viceroys and governors. And by relationships, I mean give them cash. You have a personal Imperial allowance that is untraceable and its use is yours by Imperial fiat. Beware, however, some in this decadent Empire may yet be honest enough to refuse your kind gifts, and if word spreads, more and more people will demand that you supplement their income as well!! Speeches, Imperial honors, and supporting industrial sectors that they approve of may work as well, but honors cost money and every action costs Admin – your precious time that you can not ever get back!

As you are perusing your Empire on the intel screen during your first turn, you will notice that many of them have cash flow that is yellow (losing money, enough in their treasury to supplement it), or red (losing money, requiring a subsidy from the Empire to stay afloat!) Your mighty Empire may well be losing money already by supporting such ne’er do well planets! What can you do?

Perhaps you can stimulate their planetary economy? Most viceroys will appreciate this effort! Try creating an planetary economic Edict or two to get some planets in the green. Check the cash flow on planets. What’s costing money? Too much government? Ask the viceroy to cut the subsidy. Manufacturing being built on a planet with a 15 strategic mineral rating? Encourage another sector! Consider adding a Secondary Designation that helps to balance out the planet’s potential. Or you might even consider changing the Primary Designation of a planet, but that takes a lot of time, money, and disgruntled populace as you displace them from their jobs.

And never forget, Your Excellence, that it is survival of the fittest. It may be better to abandon a planet that has no hope of a turnaround and allow those people to find better lives elsewhere than to continue allowing Imperial resources to propagate a money black hole. Yes, your Popular Support will take a hit, but eventually the people will understand…

You will probably notice that as planets build up their economic sectors and grow, they will use materials. And unfortunately, your glorious predecessors didn’t exactly have a lot of planets dedicated to mining and creating materials. You will probably have to create outposts on planets that are, shall we say, less than ideal. The good news is that people will flock to them because their wages are so high. The bad news is that unless you pick an excellent location, between wages and infrastructure costs to shield your workers from such a harsh climate, the outpost will be a serious drain on Empire resources. Choose locations where people can migrate to as well! Check your migration mode (‘C’ key) on the quadrant display to see how far people can travel to relocate.

Don’t forget about luxury minerals! These are what power your retail sector, and a planet with a high Luxury Mineral rating, along with some manufacturing capacity to create high-quality goods, can quickly become a shopping mecca and an economic powerhouse! And to some extent, these goods benefit any planet in your sector (with a starbase, of course!) as the goods are traded across the sector!

Eventually, the people will demand to expand our borders, and that’s where exploration comes in. You will need to look at your space mission infrastructure. Hit ‘M’ to check out which systems can support missions and what range. You need at least level II starbases in order to support the massive science ships, population transports, and terraformers required to perform space Edicts. You must balance cost of setting this infrastructure up with all else, including trade hubs, other starbases, etc.

So about Edicts. Yes, I know you’re excited about creating laws that move entire planets and systems into motion. Who wouldn’t be? But remember that every Edict you enact has consequences. When you commit ADM from a system or sector capital, you are preventing it from being used elsewhere. And spending Empire ADM directly for a single planet is very inefficient. I do not recommend doing so unless there is no alternative. Materials are also very inefficient when used from higher levels of government, so I recommend stockpiling materials on a planet you plan to base Edict support from by building a trade hub and a Starbase, if one doesn’t exist.

When planning your Edicts, think about who will be involved. I will give you an estimate of how long I believe the Edict will take based on what I know about the personalities involved, but it is just that: an estimate. Influence will help, but it may be better to delay your Edict a few turns while you attempt to, ahem, convince those leaders that will be involved that their loyalty will be beneficial in the long run. And if you do have to use Influence, and your Popular Support is high, take your message to the people by using Nationalist Influence! It’s very effective if the planet’s population loves you, but remember that if the viceroy doesn’t like you, he or she may resent your using their mob to coerce them into supporting your goals.

One more thing about your leaders. There is a darker way to bring them into line, but it, like all things, has tradeoffs. You can instruct your Intel Prime to, shall we say, distribute some of your personal coin to the people of a planet to keep their ears to the ground about a certain viceroy or governor. Should something turn up that would be, ah, embarrassing, you can always resort to a little old-fashioned blackmail, but naturally that person will be very unhappy with you. And should the day come where they can break that spell… well, but I’m just a regent. What do I know! And if you’re truly unhappy with a leader, you can have them removed, but they may not agree if you are too weak – and regardless, your other leaders will know what you tried to do and the ramifications will be felt throughout your Empire.

And of course, if your Intel network is large and organized enough… you can attempt a.. rather final solution to your leader problem. History has certainly seen its share of tyrants who work that way.

This is but a brief primer, Your Excellence. Oh, and one last bit of advice. You do not have to use all your Admin every turn. Sometimes, the best action, especially with an Empire that is losing money, is inaction.

Good luck, Your Excellence.

Hey everyone,

So it looks like a lot of you have tried Imperia, and there have been a lot of questions about ‘what do I do now?’ While I understand this is a free hobby game, and it’s almost a tried and truism that these kinds of games are poorly (or not at all) documented, I realize that Imperia is not a game that you can just ‘pick up’ – there’s a lot going on under the surface, and comprehensive documentation is needed.

So here is where the documentation will be found going forward. It’s the Imperia Wiki, and I will be updating it as time permits. Please check https://sourceforge.net/p/imperia/wiki/Home/ for updates. And if you’re feeling brave enough to want to add to the wiki – let me know! I could use the help!

-Steve

Hey everybody!

I wanted to get opinions on the resolution of Imperia. As you (hopefully) know, currently Imperia only runs in 1080p resolution (1920 X 1080) due to the difficulty in getting a lot of data onto a smaller screen. And of course, this is a hobby project, but since one of the goals has been to deliver an awesome experience to strategy gamers the world over, I wanted your voice about the resolution. Thanks!

Ah, trade. The blood that flows through a nation’s arteries. In Imperia,  trade serves no less important a purpose. Let’s take a look at trade, Imperia-style!

TRADE HUBS: Any planet can send and receive goods once they have at least a level 1 Starbase, but only trade hubs can receive non-emergency goods from upstream entities. Trade hubs work like this at each level:

  • SYSTEM TRADE HUBS  – Collect excess food and processed materials at full efficiency from PLANETS WITHIN THAT SYSTEM WITH STARBASES. 20% of excess of collected materials are sent downstream to a SECTOR TRADE HUB if one is set up (with minor efficiency loss), otherwise sent to EMPIRE TRADE HUB (your empire capital) (with high efficiency loss). If materials  or food are needed by a planet in the same system (alert generated), this hub will send as long as there is available material/food.
  • SECTOR TRADE HUBS – Collect excess food and processed materials from SYSTEM TRADE HUBS WITHIN THAT SECTOR if available, otherwise PLANETS WITHIN THAT SECTOR WITH STARBASES (with efficiency loss). 20% of excess of collected materials are sent downstream to EMPIRE TRADE HUB. If materials or food are needed by a planet in the same sector(alert generated), AND THERE IS NOT A VALID SYSTEM TRADE HUB in that system (either does not exist or there are not enough items to send) this hub will send as long as there is available material/food (with efficiency loss depending on distance, especially food)
  • EMPIRE TRADE HUB – Collect excess food and processed materials from SECTOR TRADE HUBS, or SYSTEM TRADE HUBS where there are no SECTOR TRADE HUBS.  Sends replenishment cargo upstream to SECTOR TRADE HUBS, or SYSTEM TRADE HUBS if no SECTOR TRADE HUBS exist (with efficiency loss), and will send emergency materials or food to INDIVIDUAL PLANETS WITH STARBASES at a high efficiency loss if no other option exists.
Trade view on the quadrant map - green represents empire trade hub, yellow represents sector-level trade hubs, and red represents system-level trade hubs
Trade view on the quadrant map – green represents empire trade hub, yellow represents sector-level trade hubs, and red represents system-level trade hubs

You can see at a glance how your trade network is set up by setting the trade view on the quadrant map. Systems that are inhabited and do not have a red circle will only receive emergency materials and food from their sector hub at a huge efficiency loss, and if there is no sector hub, the Empire will lend a hand, but between corruption, inefficiency in moving materials into a starbase that was not designed for it, and distance, you will lose a lot of the materials and (especially!) the food. This is why it is so critical to build a solid trade network as soon as possible – you don’t want planets with large surpluses just sitting there, unable to contribute to their sector or system network.

Sector View With Trade Hub
Sector view showing a sector trade hub in effect.

Due to the organization required, hubs can only be created at government seats, so system hubs can only be created within system capitals, and sector hubs can only be created within sector capitals. Any planet can build a starbase, and there is no minimum level for starbases to be to have a hub, but there is a throughput maximum for each level per turn as follows:

  • LEVEL I: 5000 materials/food total can be moved in/out
  • LEVEL II: 10000 materials/food total can be moved in/out
  • LEVEL III: 20000 materials/food total can be moved in/out
  • LEVEL IV: 50000 materials/food total can be moved in/out
  • LEVEL V: 100000 materials/food total can be moved in/out

It is recommended, but not required, to have at least one starbase level more than your trade hub level to ensure ease of moving resources; i.e. a level II starbase for a system trade hub, etc. Eventually, trade technology will make these throughput levels increase per level of starbase.

While you can not directly control what is moved through the network, nor will you see the freighters on the quadrant map, you can set a trade embargo on a certain planet/system/sector. Obviously, this will piss off the affected planets/systems and their respective leaders, so why in the world would you want to do this? In some cases, it may be a matter of survival of the fittest. If you have a backwater system that has a low population but is sucking up materials and food at a high rate, and you have a more, ah, politically important system that is struggling as well and your empire depots are getting low on materials, sometimes you have to declare ‘survival of the fittest’ and let the have-not systems figure it out on their own.

So as an emperor, all you have to do is insure that you have a solid trade network in place with planets that are creating a surplus to fuel the network. Your capital planet is a production powerhouse, but it can not single-handedly sustain your entire Empire, especially if unrest rises or changes are made to the planet economy. That is where manufacturing and agriculture outposts can be very handy – they focus exclusively on the resource they are set up for and they come with a level 1 starbase as part of the cost of setup!

Trade and resource production will make or break your reign as Emperor. People need food and your planets must grow with materials to survive. Sometimes, hard choices must be made for the good of the whole, and it is up to you to make those choices!

NEXT: DEVELOPMENT ROAD MAP

-Steve

So in Imperia you as an emperor have an ADM (admin) rating that determines what you can do on any given turn. When you are just starting out as an 18-year old new emperor you might have 6-8 ADM points to use per turn (and they do not ‘carry over’).

There are essentially 3 ways you can use ADM: by contacting a character directly, by proposing an Edict, or by taking a personal action. It costs 1-2 ADM to contact a character directly, and is useful for asking for small ‘tweaks’ to how they manage their planet/system/sector. The downside is that they can say ‘no’ – after all, this isn’t you proposing law, it’s just you and a character having a conversation and you asking for something in a friendly manner. Edicts, by contrast, ARE law, and they MUST be followed. The downside to Edicts is that they cost a lot more ADM to propose (4-8), they cost planetary ADM to prepare and enact, and if a character who is along the possible ‘chain’ of implementing the Edict doesn’t like you very much, they can make sure your Edict stays ‘in committee’ for quite a while. Here is a list of the types of domestic Edicts that can be enacted:

Change Planet Name
Add Secondary Designation
Change/Assign Primary Designation
Prohibit Economic Sector Expansion
Eliminate Economic Sector
Build Starship Production Center
Encourage Tourism
Build Starbase
Change System Capital
Change Sector Capital
Add /Change System to Sector
Survey Planet
Colonize Planet
Survey System
Set Up Manufacturing Outpost
Set Up Agriculture Outpost
Set Up Scientific Outpost
Cede Garrison Control to Viceroy
Reclaim Garrison Control
Cede System Garrison to Sys Gov
Reclaim System Garrison Control
Designate Planet As Trade Hub
Designate Planet As Culture Hub
Build Starport
Abandon Planet
Abandon System
Abandon Sector
Declare Imperial Law
Survey Planet For Materials
Survey Planet For Minerals

As you can see, much more comprehensive than simply dealing with a character directly. Proclaiming an Edict and structuring it so that it will be successful is a large part of your success in Imperia.

Let’s take a small example and say that you want to change a planet’s name. In any other 4X, you simply type in the name and that’s that. In Imperia, simply changing a name can have far-reaching effects (after all, how would we feel in America if the government suddenly wanted to change the country’s name to, say, Goldberg?). The base ADM cost for this Edict is 5 ADM points and $5,000,000 to enact. A system capital might have 5-10 ADM and a sector capital might have 15+ ADM, so they could simply utilize their own planetary government to enact the change and that would be that. But what about a small, outlying planet that barely has a functional government? Say they have 2 ADM. They don’t have enough ADM to enact the change themselves. What can you do?

You can wait and let them build up their government sector until they have enough ADM to enact on their own, or…
You can get their system capital or sector capital involved., or if the need is great enough, you can always use the Imperial Capital planet’s ADM (which is always MUCH higher – 200-400 ADM)

Not all systems have a system capital – some sectors are one-system sectors and having a sector capital overrides a system capital. But if the system does have a system capital and they have some unallocated ADM, you can use some of theirs. It will be less efficient (it takes roughly 1.5 ADM points from a system capital per 1 ADM point you would spend on the planet) and it will take more time, but you can make it work. But… what if the system governor HATES YOUR GUTS!!! He or she can ensure that it takes YEARS to change that name!! So NOW what do you do?

You can go ‘above their head’ and use ADM from the sector capital (at even less efficiency and more time) and there is no guarantee the sector governor will be any more obliging, OR…
You can manipulate the system governor into doing what you want!! You can do this a lot of ways! You can…

..bribe them (maybe, if they’re honest they will refuse and like you even less),
..or you can give them an Imperial title (this costs personal money and takes most of your ADM, but they will always love it),
..or you can create an informer network on the planet in order to discover secrets about the system governor and blackmail them,
..or you can respond to their needs and requests in line with their personality traits and behaviors to improve their loyalty,
..or you can attempt to remove them from their office and promote someone more loyal to you and more friendly to your policies (but this does not always work and is seen as Tyrannical)
..or you can have them assassinated, at great cost to your reputation and Tyrannical rating.

You have another ally at this point for particularly important Edicts: your Influence pools. You don’t have to, but you can, spend 3 different types of Influence from your pools to speed up the Edict’s process with different effects. The types are:

Nationalist – this is your ‘rally the Empire to the cause’ influence. Basically, you are taking your Edict to the people, and if they love you, it is very effective.
Pragmatic – this is your ‘everyday’ influence, working the backchannels of your government, and generally being a good politician. This pool’s effects are abstracted mainly in your Power rating – your efforts have more weight if your have the Power to follow through. This will be your most common Influence, and the fastest to recharge.
Tyrannical – this is your ‘do it or I’ll do something bad to you/your family/your planet’ influence. Much more ‘effective’ short term, but can have far-reaching effects if used too often without the Power to back it up. Very small pool initially, but the way your emperor acts (badly and without morals) can add to this pool over time.

Alternatively, you can structure the Edict to use only planet and sector ADM, thus cutting out the system governor – but taking more time and ADM (total of 8 ADM and 5 months base vs. 6 ADM and 4 months base if the system gov was used) but if the sector governor LOVES you they might just speed the Edict through the planning and committee stages… actually saving more time in the end, even though it cost more ADM! But what if the sector capital’s ADM is already being used for other Edicts and there isn’t any more to spare?

Expand the sector government of course!! Just ask the planetary viceroy of the sector capital to expand the government, add more workers (at a cost, of course) expand the ADM rating for the sector capital, thus allowing your planet’s change name request to be able to be added! If the viceroy is willing, of course…

However you do it, once you have the needed ADM in place, the Edict goes to 3 stages: planning, committee, and implementation. Depending on the loyalty and 2 other factors of each character in the chain, that time might be more or less in each stage. Each Edict has a primary and a secondary character attribute that contribute to the success and time required to implement. The primary attribute for changing a planet’s name is Intelligence and the secondary one is Charisma. If your planetary viceroy and anyone else in the chain have good stats in these attributes (and they like you at least a little!) the time might be less. If you have an exceptionally stupid or boorish viceroy or governor, however, the time in planning and committee will be adversely affected proportional to the amount of ADM that character has in the Edict. For example, to get to the Edict’s 5 ADM requirement, if you allocate 2 ADM from the planet and 3 ADM (but costing the system capital 5 ADM due to inefficiency) from the system capital, your planetary viceroy’s stats will affect the time by 40% and your system governor’s stats will affect the time by 60%.

So you’ve finally manipulated the Edict to be completed, and now the name change takes effect! You’re done thinking about it, right?

Well…

First of all, your citizens might love the new name. In which case your retail sector will explode (people are buying T-shirts, bumper stickers, and other clever merchandise with the new planet’s name). You may see a Posup boost. People may have a renewed sense of pride in their planet and their unrest may even drop! Sometimes, people may even migrate to your newly named planet because it’s got such a cool name, affecting an entire system or sector economy! You’re a hero, and your planetary viceroy is pretty pleased too!!

Or not.

Maybe they hate the name. Maybe they really liked the original name all along. Names have an intrinsic ‘cultural value’ attached to them and it is possible to get information on how the populace might react to a name change, you can do it anyway. But their Posup might go down. People might even leave the planet (rare, but possible) over it. Your viceroy won’t be too pleased about having to change all the software and letterheads to the new planet name, so to speak. In any case, you have your new name, but you have some downside as well.

And all this from just changing a planet’s name, which you would take 3 seconds to do in any other 4X game.

But that’s Imperia, folks. Welcome to the big chair.