Last night I finally got Struggle of Empires to the table for a 3-player game. I had read a lot about it, owned it for a few months, and gone over the rules multiple times. And even though I liked what I had read and figured I would enjoy the game, I was totally blown away by my first real playing. What strikes me so much is the amazing balance between theme, mechanics, and player interaction.
From my personal experience, I guess I would compare it most with Shogun, which also tries really hard to merge classic euro mechanics with a wargame feel while also making a but play for immersive theme with all its beautiful artwork and such. And while I really like Shogun a lot, Struggle of Empires just seemed to “pull me in” more. It may partly be that I am more interested with the European colonial period more than with Feudal Japan, but with the layout of the colonies, the way the control markers were made available, and how all the tiles worked, I really “felt” that the theme was more at the very core of the game thanit is in Shogun. Overall, it was one of the most satisfying game experiences that I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to try it again with more players!