Military strategy in Imperialism and Imperialism 2 is a complex subject, covered only briefly (and not always accurately) in the Manuals.


Some of this advice is of use only to players using the tactical maps and also keeping control of all troop placement. The goal is to primarily describe strategy, as opposed to tactics, but some tactics will be described to illustrate the value of the strategy. Specific army units will be capitalized, while generic units will be written with lower case letters.


All wars must be declared before any attacks. You can see the declarations of war on the diplomacy screen. Click on the diplomacy button, then on the information screen click one button looking like an sealed rolled piece of paper. Click on the Great Powers to see their declarations of war. With the exception of the early turns, it would be best to do this every turn. Of course, any allies may also join in on this war. The AI does not look at this information. Rarely is the AI ever prepared to launch an attack and will start the process of moving troops next turn. With this information, you have the opportunity to reinforce your provinces for either offense or defense. Experience shows that placing a fast offensive force will be especially good at destroying reinforcing enemy heavy artillery.


Once you have been at war with another Great Power, their hatred for you will never stop. Their peace offers are only for their temporary advantage or for the purpose of gaining new allies and then declaring war on you again with the hope that a new ally will join with them in the war.


You know the time range in which new technologies will become available. Try not to build regiments that can be instead built with a soon to-be-available technology, its value could be quickly lowered. Be ready to upgrade regiments with medals. The Bessemer Converter is a unique opportunity to gain a considerable advantage. The AI will build and upgrade light cavalry, but in all of my random games, I have seen only one case where a Sharpshooter was possessed by the AI. The Sharpshooter has a firepower of 10, same as the firepower of the era one Light Artillery. The Sharpshooter has a range of 8 and defensive rating of 7. With your heavy artillery knocking down sections of the fort, the Sharpshooters can stand outside the range out of the defending era-one infantry and hit their Artillery with a powerful shot. The Sharpshooter also can catch-up with era one retreating troops during a counter-attack.

A note for those who do not possess the User Manual, era three weaponry has a considerable change in defense values. Conscripts and Mechanized(militia and light cavalry) have a defense of 10 and all other units have a defense of 20. This is a big change from the two artillery types having a defense of 3.


The army initiative rating is dependent on the initiative of the army leader(medals) and the make-up of the forces. The army initiative rating is used to determine the sequence of battles. Imperialism applies it to all attacks, so that any of regiments that are moving to get into the defending force are subject to a race with any attacking forces. With fast forces, you will be faced by only the existing defensive forces. The remaining forces for the defense will appear in a second battle for the province, this is announced as a counter-attack. Their troops, as placed, will be considered to have already moved and will not have the right to an opportunity fire during your first move. Your troop placement for the counter-attacks is to place the faster troops up front, this is something that auto-deployment will not do.


Combined forces are needed for any sizeable battle. A General should usually lead the attack, multiple Generals may be used for training purposes. Light cavalry is the fastest troop and a good troop to take the artillery’s first shot. You will need several available in a war zone to allow you to rest the damaged regiment while you continue the attacks in the next turn. Heavy cavalry helps to raise your army initiative, but will take a lot of damage and will not help much in pursuing during a counter-attack. Light infantry moves out to be in placed in front of where the light artillery will be placed. The light artillery moves and fires damaging the heavy artillery. You might need to retreat the light artillery to avoid their infantry. Light artillery will do almost all of the destruction during the counter-attacks. With colonies, regular infantry should provide the largest segment of your army and some heavy artillery is needed to control the battlefield and take down some sections of a fort. Since the AI has no idea how to properly use their Generals and is constantly moving heavy artillery to threatened provinces, you should win the race into a battle without any extraordinary efforts to build a really fast attacking army.


The AI attacks with a minimal force. They programmed that to help keep the AI from being outmaneuvered. You can afford to use more troops in battles. Especially, look for these situations in wars with independent Minor Nations and where you in a war with a Great Power that is only defending its capital. Troops with four medals have nearly two times the firepower of troops with no medals, this makes regiment medals of great significance. Also the General’s medals help improve the General’s abilities for morale and initiative.


For players using the strategic maps for battle, build a combat engineer. For tactical battles, contrary to the User Manual’s comments, you will have plenty of time to maneuver heavy artillery to do various tasks. I know that there is limited number of turns, but do not know the number, probably been 14 years since that last happened to me. Imperialism allows enough turns for a battle so that a combat engineer can have enough time to take down some walls. Using heavy artillery, you can maneuver them to destroy sections of the fort walls faster than you can with a combat engineer. As a plus, advancing heavy artillery hit and destroy defending light artillery(who do not bother to move out of danger).

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