We have tested various ideas around the Emperor boardgame that we’ve been working on. Emperor is really getting good. It’s everything I love about a strategy game. It has the potential to be quick, but it is hard to plan ahead because there are so many possible moves each turn — keeping you on your toes.
I wanted to design a game that allowed a player to use another player’s pieces against them. Emperor is the result of that desire.
We’ve tested with 2 and 3 player versions and the game is surprisingly stable and balanced. Because there are three ways to win, each player is constantly trying to adjust to the actions of their opponent(s). If someone is going for the Emperor’s Favor Victory, opponents needs to keep that play in check — if someone is going for the Court Influence Victory then other players need to either win more quickly or begin manipulating more pawns each turn. Lastly, don’t take your eye off your third pawn, while you want it close to keep it useful, if it gets too close you can lose the game by having an opponent manipulate your pawns into a Conspiracy Victory by surrounding the Emperor with another player’s pawns.
Here’s a closeup shot of a prototype. The game looks even better than this now, but this is a shot I have on hand.