DescriptionKaiser (German for emperor) is a political/business simulation set in 18th century Germany. Players take the role of nobles in the Holy Roman Empire and compete for the crown of the emperor.
One to nine players can play, beginning by entering their name and gender and being assigned a state in the empire. Gameplay then takes place in turns, each consisting of a number of consecutive screens. In the first screen, players can sell and buy grain and land. Grain is necessary to feed a noble's subjects. Bad weather can result in harvest losses, making it necessary to buy extra grain to prevent starvation. Providing more grain than necessary increases population growth and the state's reputation. Acquiring more land increases population and is necessary for economic growth. Following the trading screen is a statistics screen, displaying births and deaths, immigration and emigration as well as income and expenses.
The third screen allows control of income. Players can set taxes and tariffs and can determine how harshly the justice system works - setting it to a level that is too brutal might increase income in the short term but also lead to increased emigration. Another overview screen follows, displaying a player's lands and properties in detail.
The fifth screen allows for spending the turn's income. It is possible to buy marketplaces and grain mills (both of which increase income) as well as construct part of a palace or a cathedral (both of which have no direct use but are required to move into the highest levels of nobility). Each building option requires owning a certain amount of land. Constructing five marketplaces and three mills results in the creation of a city.
Only if there is more than one player in the game, income can also be spent on military expenses. Soldiers can be recruited from the own population or hired as mercenaries. Recruitment is limited by population size, while mercenaries cost more, but are more skilled from the start. Infantry, cavalry and artillery units are available. Military exercises can be conducted to increase the troops' experience. Finally, troops can be sent to war by selecting another player to attack. Only geographical neighbors can be attacked directly - if other states are in the way, their regents have to be asked for right of passage. All other players besides the two fighting parties are asked if they want to support either of the two. If a party gains the support of another noble, they are allowed to control the supporting player's troops in the battle. The actual battle is fought automatically, but both parties can place their troops on a map of the defending player's lands beforehand. The victor of a battle gains land from the loser.
At the end of a turn, interest on the money reserves (or the debt) is calculated and players move ahead in the ranks of the nobility if certain winning conditions are met. Higher ranks increase the debt limit and allow players to be more demanding in setting taxes. Becoming emperor requires moving through all ranks, owning five cities, a palace and a cathedral, 25.000 hectares of land and 100.000 thalers of money.
The game has a built-in time limitation. At the start of the game, all players are given a set date of death. This is the same for all players, but if players take more than 90 seconds for their turns, the date might move ahead, shortening their game.
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