There are two types of turns in Imperial Struggle: peace turns and war turns. Each peace turn, an array of Investment Tiles is laid out: each tile represents a diplomatic, military, or economic opportunity your government can exploit. Each tile shows the action points you’ll be able to spend when you choose it – but be careful – if there’s only one Diplomatic tile on view, it may be worth denying it to your opponent rather than taking an Economic or Military tile with a higher action point value. With Economic action points you’ll extend and develop your control over trade in essential commodities: furs, sugar, cotton, and spices; with Diplomatic ones, you’ll negotiate understandings with other European countries and native groups; and with Military points you’ll decide the extent of your military preparations for the inevitable wars to come and fortify your colonial holdings against unrest. With all three, you’ll have the chance to take the lead from your opponent in areas of competition like taxation, industry, and scholarship. And, like your historical counterparts, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the massive debt that can accumulate as a result of your ambitions.
You’ll also hold Event cards which can be used for a minor benefit regardless of your board position, but which can yield much larger gains if you’ve planned ahead for them. Event cards can only be played alongside an investment tile of matching type. Taking a leaf from Volko Ruhnke’s COIN system, most Events have two versions: pro-French and pro-British. Thus events that went one way historically can break to the other side’s advantage in any given game.