A Struggle Anew: Imperial Struggle and Its Older Cousin

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Imperial Struggle: The Global Rivalry Between Britain and France, 1697-1789 enjoyed an active social life in the last three months of 2017. With appearances at GMT Weekend in the Warehouse in October, and then at the San Diego Historical Games Convention in November, more and more players have been able to sit down with the game and give their feedback. And one theme recurs: “This game isn’t as much like Twilight Struggle as I had expected!”

It’s true. Twilight Struggle is more older cousin than sibling to Imperial Struggle. They share a dream, scope, and player fantasy; but mechanically they diverge quite a bit. How could they not? Imperial Struggle covers twice Twilight’s length of time, and encompasses four major wars between the two protagonists. More fundamentally, the Cold War mentality – and thus the player’s emotional experience – is not the same as the 18th century dream of glory.