I’m going to talk about one of the most successful strategies I’ve employed while playing Imperial Settlers, and it involves a single card and a lot of draw power. I call it the Gate Strategy. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this post, then you already know how to play Imperial Settlers. This installment focuses on the Japanese Faction, and in particular one of their cards, “Gate”.
Gate is one of the Japanese Faction’s most powerful cards not only because it has an incredibly powerful effect, which can score you upwards of 50 Victory Points, and because it can’t be razed like most other Japanese buildings can, but it’s also incredibly cheap to build, costing only 1 Wood and 1 Foundation.
Gate’s Text Reads: Feature: At any time during your turn, place any number of your [cards] from hand under Gate to gain 1 [Victory Point] for each [card]. At the end of the game, you gain 2 [Victory Points] if there are 3 or more [cards] under Gate.
The Strategy is to start building buildings or making deals that let you draw cards and/or cards that produce people as early as possible. This lets you search your deck for Gate. Once you have Gate, your goal is to draw as many cards as possible until the end of the game. Because you can place any number of cards under gate on your turn, you can keep scoring points from it every turn of the game, plus an extra 2 at the end of the game.
Cards that work well with Gate:
•Watchtower [Common Deck]: Production 1 [card] – Building Bonus 1 [card]
•Bob’s Building Team [Common Deck]: Feature: At the beginning of the Lookout phase draw 2 Faction [cards] instead of 1. Keep one of your choice and reshuffle the other back into its deck.
•Buddah’s Temple [Faction Deck]: Production: Draw 2 Japanese [cards]. Keep one of your choice and reshuffle the other back into its deck.
Some things to keep in mind:
•Placing Common Buildings under Gate is better than placing faction buildings under Gate, because Faction Buildings are worth 2 points at the end of the game if they’re built, which is 1 point more than you’ll score for them with Gate. But Common buildings are worth 1 point whether you build them or place them under Gate.
•There are 2 copies of Gate in the Japanese Faction deck. If you can build both, it means you have the potential to score an extra 4 points at the end of the game, which is small, but worth it, considering it doesn’t matter which Gate card you place the cards under, as long as you have at least 3 under each at the end of the game.
•Japanese doesn’t naturally produce Food, but a lot of their cards do. It can be beneficial to build a few of these buildings or raze buildings that provide food, because you can make deals to produce victory points with Trade Route or Dojo, Cards with Lady Spy, Shrine, Buddah’s Temple, or Great Journey, or People with many Japanese Faction cards. All of which aid in making the most of Gate.
•While Gate is the main win condition, there’s no reason not to build any buildings that could potentially score you more points at the end of the game.