Gary Dworetsky’s Imperium: The Contention just might be one of the most unfortunate titles ever to appear on my table. By which I mean its title is atrocious. First of all, there is now a moratorium on using “imperium” in any more game titles. Sorry. I declared it. No more imperia. Second, there has never in the history of contentions been a contention that deserved the definite article. And don’t tell me I need to read the fluff at the beginning of the rulebook to understand the meaning behind The Contention. It’s a space game. Space empires, space bugs, space mafia, space humans. Can we fast-forward through the exposition already?
Color me surprised, because Imperium: The Contention is entirely happy to fast-forward through not only the exposition, but also through the extra hours that distend most games about space empires. Pare away the fat, leave nothing but muscle and spiked appendages and laser cannons. If that were the only thing going for it, it might be enough. Instead, Imperium has become one of my favorite rapid-fire space games in a very short amount of time.