Imperialism scenarios are pre-made game starts using not the standard random start but a "modded" setup, usually with a bit of a background story.
How to start playing one
Your standard game opening screen links (from a book) to a screen containing a few scenario options along with tutorials.
The scenario and tutorial files are in separately-numbered groups in a subfolder on your computer called "\Scenario". The first group has s0.inf, s0.map, and s0.scn. Others have matching filenames with just the number changed. Some have additional files, such as "s14" and "s7.TXT". The version from FreeGameEmpire in December 2011 had s0, s1, s3 (the three that are listed in the Manual), and s9-s15 (tutorials). Sources other than the original game may offer other scenarios, with (one hopes) distinctive numbers. The files can be added to the scenario folder and display on the resulting menu.
According to "St Leo" on Apolyton, "Fact: Imperialism supports scenario filenames from s0 to s63, ...".
The game displays all scenarios from that subfolder of yours in numerical order (with a "more" link if there are more than a windowful). Highlight one, and the rest of the screen shows the map and (for each GP you click on - except in the tutorials, where there is no choice) a description.
Details of publicly-available scenarios
(More detail is available on the individual articles - but if a name is a red link please click on it and start the article yourself!)
Known file numbers
- Recovery of France 1820 - playing France is graded "Hard" but may be Nigh-On Impossible if Great Britain attacks early; so build an army fast as a deterrent! See http://apolyton.net/showthread.php/149120-Imperialism-Recovery-of-France-Scenario
- Naval Competition 1882
- Old World decline 1784 - one of Frank's. Dutch and (without Catalonia) Spanish are GPs; Germany and Italy are not. (But it opens in 1820.)
- Unification Movements 1848-1890
- The Great War 1914 - see http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Imp_list/message/2753 - one of Frank's. Said to be based on the 1882 game. (But it opens in 1815.) That link seems to be dead. You can start as "Germany" but when the game starts your countrty as no name and the program closes as soon as you click to end the turn.
- Ottoman Empire 1820 - variation of s0 giving Otto a better chance; world map is basically unchanged but Otto has a lot more going for him; a human playing Russia may put him out of the game but Britain is still powerful
- Recovery of Spain 1820 - practically the same as s0 except Spain is a GP instead of Sardinia and gains Catalonia and has greater military strength than Great Britain, and France has lost Corsica (and is likely to be virtually out of the game soon after GB declares war in 1821 or if Spain declares war; double iron in two places on the border with Spain is no help)
- Tutorial One: Civilian Units - five turns on random-looking map, following page 93 of the Manual
- Tutorial Two: Military Units - one tactical battle on random-looking map, following page 97 of the Manual
- Tutorial Three: Naval Units - one turn or more turns on random-looking map, following page 99 of the Manual
- Tutorial Four: Transport Network - one turn on random-looking map, following pages 101-102 of the Manual
- Tutorial Five: Industry - two turns on "1820" map, following page 102 of the Manual
- Tutorial Six: Trade - one turn and one trade offers phase on "1820" map, following page 105 of the Manual - you play France and it's called "Easy"
- Tutorial Seven: Diplomacy - two turns on random-looking map, following page 108 of the Manual
- Pan-Germanism, by Andre Novellino; which Power will unite the Germans? Sardinia? Switzerland?
- Resurrection of Holland 1815, by Allard H.S. Höfelt, with notes about improvements by "Eternal" - firstname.lastname@example.org or (link no longer working) profiles.yahoo.com/admiraalz96
- Ancient Greece - starts in 1835 but asks you to believe it's set in pre-Alexander days with a remnant of Persia in the east; contains a few bugged tiles, one of which makes Persia "Beginner" material
- Colonization of the World 1820 - Scenario by dr_spet on a map of the globe. Playable nations: Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ottoman Empire, Russia, United States. Available in files section of Imp_list
- France 1815 - created by http://profiles.yahoo.com/andrenai2000 and discussed at http://s1.zetaboards.com/Imperilist/topic/2321916/
Unknown file numbers
- The European Restoration 1815 by Andre; "still very much a work-in-progress" in March 2009, with no further notes in the subsequent 5 years