Replay of the original Imperialism with France

Stories about your game progress.
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Trilarion
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Replay of the original Imperialism with France

Post by Trilarion » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:50 am

To keep the feeling about how it was to play the original uptodate, maybe even learn something about the remake I will play it again and give some reports here.

May France conquer the world!

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Trilarion
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Starting the game

Post by Trilarion » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:11 am

So I fire up my installation of Imperialism and get greeted by the well-known start screen. It's a bit small in the middle of a modern HD screen but well, the nostalgic feeling is there nevertheless. I especially like the font type of the title banner and the globe.
001_Startscreen.jpg
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I select the scenario overview (book in the left lower corner) and choose Recovery of France and France. According to the description my country is diplomatically isolated, faces an overwhelming enemy in case of Great Britain but has advantages over the other continental powers.

What they don't tell you however is that within two years there is war with England for sure... :evil:
002_SelectScenario.jpg
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I start the scenario and are welcomed by the famous Imperial Times. A new Ruler has appeared. That would be me.
003_Imperial_Times.jpg
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Second screen is the map. Paris, center of the world... my world. The design of the main map screen is intuitive. Only the buttons for the actions of the units are not really descriptive - I always rely on the tooltips.
004_Map.jpg
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Comments in my role as developer of the remake:
  • The title banner looks nice. I would like to have the title of the remake on a similar banner.
  • "A new Ruler" is too generic. Adding the names of the Rulers would add to immersion. E.g. Queen Victoria of Great Britain declares war on...
  • The icons of the unit actions have to be clear. Their size is okay.
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Trilarion
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Getting used to the screens again

Post by Trilarion » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:59 am

It's some years that I last played the game. Surprisingly it doesn't take long to get used to it. All the important things I remember, many other things are self-explaining and the few details I will learn will playing.

Here we have the transport screen. The transport capacity is sufficient for the moment. Except food categories we are only generating wood. Even minor nations are producing and exporting more raw materials.
005_Transport.jpg
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The research screen is simple and there is nothing to do at the moment. Still the drawing style is just a nice touch.

As a strategy we will just buy all technologies as soon as they are available and we have the money.
006_Research.jpg
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The industry screen is the heart of Imperialism. Our advisor informs us that the Russian Empire has a twice as big army. We don't care really since they are so far away. We care more for the British army which is even bigger. But our advisor likes to speak about the russian threat. Personally I think that I will end this game without a single fight with any russian unit. Let's see.

Basically the whole economy is centered around producing goods with your labor force and selling them with profit. We will see more of this later. In the beginning I see fit of getting two more specialists (engineer and woodcutter) as well as some more infantry (need arms for it). All this will cut in my labor force, so I need to rebuild it. That costs finished products, but I also need to sell them for getting money and pay the military as well as buy raw material from the minors... the strategic challenges are obvious.
007_Industry.jpg
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Trade is comparably simple. We will sell value-added products like the top three (clothes, furniture, tools) and buy raw material like the ones displayed at the left frame side. The underlying economic model will ensure you make profit. Unfortunately you again have to adjust the sliders and values of these every turn.
008_Trade.jpg
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The diplomacy screen has many different ways to display it (treaties, relations, discounts). It looks sufficient for the task. I propose alliances to all major nations except England (do not remember if alliances costed anything). Trade embassies I cannot afford many, need to generate more income before.
009_Diplomacy.jpg
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Comments:
  • The meaning of the transport screen is rather minor and adjusting the wagons is a nuisance. Setting priorities might be enough.
  • The food consumed is displayed in the industry screen, the food transported in the transport screen. The bars become red when below the consumed food (minus the existing food). Still a nuisance.
  • It just feels unrealistic that minor nations export coal/ore/wool/wood (10 units from Netherlands alone) while major nations produce almost no raw material in the beginning. It's important for the game mechanics so trade and competition about minor nations is increased but we need another way to achieve this.
  • The research icons are nice. I want the same drawing style. Research should have more value in the remake - really giving an edge.
  • The diplomacy screen uses a fixed customized border scheme (country-country, country-sea) - I think we can do the same but programmatically, since there are only always two colors involved. So we just need to invent a scalable polygon-border-generator since our resolutions of the map screens aren't fixed.
  • I like that diplomatic actions cost money. Important game element. Maybe motivate better why (effort).
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Trilarion
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1820-1822

Post by Trilarion » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:04 pm

So I send my merchants and they could sell stuff to our beloved trade partners in North Africa. They are close to us and far away from our competing major nations, but not too close that we plan to assimilate them soon. Ideal to trade with.
010_FirstTrade.jpg
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Next thing we open the newspaper and read... four new alliances. What a diplomatic breakthrough! But wait. Will my alliance partners really stay with me or is it just all hollow words? We'll see.
011_Times_Summer_1820.jpg
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Now times goes by. The army gets influx although only modest, the infrastructure is extended by building two railroads and slowly we reach again the manpower of the start. Our merchant marine transports goods over all seas.
012_MoreTrades.jpg
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Damn, damn and double damn. England declared war, already in spring 1822. These bastards obviously think that we are a threat for them. They're right. They might have bitten off way more than they can chew. Unfortunately our alliances are worth... exactly nothing.
013_War_with_England_1822_Spring.jpg
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Okay, time for a small recap. A look at the diplomacy screen with all the relations. Well, France is not beloved. Well, that fits. I am anyway not the most diplomatic person. If they don't want peace, they can get war for free. One after another of course.
014_Diplomacy.jpg
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Comments:
  • Alliances should mean something. The other nations shouldn't have agreed to an alliance if the diplomatic standing of France is so bad.
  • The aggression of England is completely understandable. A competitor without much army and closeby. I would do the same. However they will always attack at the same time. Like it's build in in the scenario. I wonder what France would have to do to avoid this war?
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Time for some stats

Post by Trilarion » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:32 pm

At this point let's have a quick look over the stats in order to get an impression of the situation.

Strength might be the wrong word but our diplomatic standing is low. It's an inheritance and not because of our actions. I ask myself if there is a penalty for Britain because they declared war on us.
015_Stat_Diplomatic.jpg
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Interior strength is good... what exactly is it. No clue.
016_Stat_Interior.jpg
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I had forgotten how weak we are really military-wise. That is not good. It's bad actually. We must increase the military. Only we haven't any arms or people or money. :cry:
017_Stat_Militaric.jpg
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Merchant marine is large but with England blocking the ports...
018_Stat_Merchant.jpg
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Goes similar to merchant marine. Our exports are in danger. Or can I buy and sell overland? Don't remember.
019_Stat_Exports.jpg
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Industrially we are well developed. I didn't know this. I thought our industry is pathetic and quite small. Obviously the other nations are doing even worse.
020_Stat_Industrial.jpg
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Labor only third position. Well, we can do better than that.
021_Stat_Labor.jpg
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Comments:
  • Stats are cool. They help you understanding your empire and the game situation. A history would be nice too.
  • Maybe show them delayed (like the values are from two turns before) to not give too much knowledge away, especially in multi-player mode.
  • I like that it's not about values, showing it graphically is the best way.
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Veneteaou
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Re: Replay of the original Imperialism with France

Post by Veneteaou » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:08 am

Interior strength is good... what exactly is it. No clue.
It's a gauge of how much work you have done upgrading tiles with civilian units. I'm not sure exactly how it's calculated, but you do get a huge boost from growing villages into towns and towns into cities.
Our exports are in danger. Or can I buy and sell overland? Don't remember.
No you cannot. All trade is ocean-based, moving directly from capital port to capital port.
I ask myself if there is a penalty for Britain because they declared war on us.
Yes there is, but you won't see it in the status screen. The diplomatic ramifications can be seen using the informational tabs in the Diplomacy screen (the buttons in the middle of the box right below the world map). You can check to verify that indeed, Great Britain suffers from declaring war. Unfortunately, they declare war in ways that prevents them from losing minor nations, and we all know that other great powers would sooner declare war on the player than declare war on a strong AI opponent.
Industrially we are well developed. I didn't know this. I thought our industry is pathetic and quite small. Obviously the other nations are doing even worse.
Industrial strength doesn't look at actual output, only the maximum amount of work the factories can support. There are several good reasons in Imp1 for you to upgrade these factories as much as possible, even if you don't have the labor/resources to run them anywhere near full capacity.

Basically, when you have spare lumber/steel/fabric, you always want to be putting it into merchant marine, transport, or factory upgrades. Whenever you can afford to not sell furniture or clothing, you should be making workers at the capital. Whenever you don't need to be bringing in other supplies, bring in more food so you can support more workers. Basically, take every opportunity to increase everywhere your industry can allow, even if you won't be making use of it. It's far better to have unused transport, labor, or factory capacity, than it is to have ungathered or unused resources.
Maybe show them delayed (like the values are from two turns before) to not give too much knowledge away, especially in multi-player mode.
I'm gonna suggest that it isn't necessary to delay them, because these stats aren't the complete picture. We don't see how much money a nation has, we don't know how much of each specific resource is gathered or exactly what is produced. We can look at the labor ranks and guess at what nations might be able to mobilize into military units, but then again they may not be producing cannon or making enough money to do so.

I think Imp1 did the status screen very right.

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The situation at the beginning of the war

Post by Trilarion » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:02 pm

Thanks Ven for the explanation. And on it goes.

England is blocking our trade. That's... inexcusable. However there isn't much we can do. At least our ships make it through. I wonder what the chances are for a sunken clipper.
022_Piracy.jpg
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It turns out Poland is mostly canon fodder. Austria is just having it for breakfast.
023_Austria_war_on_Poland.jpg
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I realized I didn't show much of the map, so here is railroad line to south-western France. My specialists are working hard in improving the land.
024_Infrastructure1.jpg
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And here is the line to the East. The only problem is: the materials aren't tranported yet. Obviously I was to early and didn't wait for the appropriate technology. It's bad timing and a waste of money but I had forgotten about this.
025_Infrastructure2.jpg
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What I should have done is investing the money more into the extension of the factories and into the army. My mistake. But being a AAR, I will just continue and see what comes out of it. Now I need to continue playing.

Comments:
  • The trade blockade is quite effective. It needs to be present in the remake.
  • There should be a chance for Poland to survive a bit longer. I have pity for such a small country existing less than three years.
  • Since all trade is over ports I wonder how interior countries are managing it. This rule while useful also has some difficulties.
  • The technology list is not got in explaining that you cannot transport materials that early in the game. I have the feeling there should be a table somewhere telling you what you can and what you cannot.
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Trilarion
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Being defeated

Post by Trilarion » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Okay so I found what I was overlooking the whole time... depots. You need depots!!!

So I started again, put main emphasis on army. Completed even one ship-of-the-line and still was defeated in the war with England. My single ship navy sunk in the first sea battle, afterwards my merchants got pirated and my provinces attacked. The loss of provinces and the debt was ruining France.

The meaning of this is not showing that I can win with France in the earliest scenario (I probably cannot). So I just choose another nation. :)

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