Just What is Imperial Harvest?: Gameplay Preview

Wow, It's February! And that means we're just north of two weeks until our Kickstarter launches for Imperial Harvest, the first official release from Broomstick Monkey Games. To get you excited for the game, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of the hours of fun you'll have outwitting and out-berry-picking your opponents. Keep reading to see what Imperial Harvest is all about.

The Story (in a nutshell)

We've given a more elaborate history of the Imperial Harvest universe in a blog post last year, but here's the summary. In the Imperial Garden's grow Royal Strawberries, which have powerful magical qualities and help decide rulership of the Empire. When the Four Kingdoms aren't in official competition for these strawberries, the garden is protected and patrolled by Imperial Guards. Imperial Harvest pits a team of these guards against a band of raiders from the North who are trying to steal the strawberries for themselves.

The Game

Imperial Harvest is a head-to-head game (1 vs. 1 with one game box), where each player controls a team of 3 characters. One player plays the Imperial Guards (the gold team), the other plays the Norther Raiders (the silver team). Both players have the same goal: harvest more strawberries than the other team before time runs out (14 turns) or all the strawberries are harvested.

How to Play

Play always starts with the gold team, and will always end with the silver team. On each turn, a player activates 2 of their 3 characters. The character that did not act on a turn must act on the next turn, so players cannot overuse a particularly useful combo at any time.

During an activation, players can move their characters, harvest strawberries and use special abilities unique to their characters, based on the number of Action Points their character possesses. In addition to basic abilities, characters gain one or two empowered abilities when their character is carrying a Royal Strawberry. In addition to their own characters, players can also move hydras in the moats of the garden, which automatically attack all characters around them. If a character is attacked, they are killed and sent back to their team's camp, and must trek back across the garden to the strawberries and their bins.

The ultimate goal is to pick up strawberries and deliver them to your team's bin. After 7 turns each, or when all the strawberries have been picked up and the silver team finishes its turn, the game ends. Players get 1 point for Strawberries they're carrying and 2 points for Strawberries they've delivered.

Simple rules, varying play styles

You can get through the rules of Imperial Harvest in about 5 minutes, but there are several elements that make it a much deeper game than it initially lets on. First, the garden itself can change with every play if you want. The core game contains about 20 garden tiles including camps, moats, bridges and double-sided hedge mazes, so that you can build gardens in varying shapes and layouts. Different tiles set-ups make navigating the game a new puzzle to solve with every play. What might be a good strategy in one play could backfire in another.

Second, both sides have very different characters (although both sides have a Bard). The Guards have a strong defensive character along with a martial artist who can grow new hedges. The Raiders have powerful fighter along with a spellbinding magic user who can actually control other characters. Learning the ins and outs of both teams will take time, but that's just another excuse to play more.

Imperial Harvest combines chess-like positioning with fantasy tactics, all set in a whimsical yet cutthroat world where blood is shed over berries. If you're interested, be sure to check us out on February 17th to see everything we have to offer in our Kickstarter campaign.