System map before game's end. Participants will note the strong presence of the NPCs.
|Formal run||2 July–13 September 2011|
Imperium Universalis was Taniciusfox's attempt to transcribe Imperium Offtopicum to space. While it ran from July 2 to September 13, 2011, the game was notoriously slow to update, with roughly seven complete turns within three months. A steady dropout rate combined with what Tani described as lack of roleplay led him to call a referendum on the game's future, after which he unceremoniously abandoned the thread.
The playing field was (initially) a 10x10-square map, each square a single solar system comprising 1-10 planets, each planet subdivided in turn into 1-5 'zones' (read: territories); a player's starting system was guaranteed six planets with 25-30 zones each. Each turn, a player could expend up to five expansion points (XP) to scout neighbouring systems and settle mapped ones; the initial colony required 2 XP, after which subsequent expansion required only one.
Expansion carried with it a revolt risk, determined by the number of total territories a player controlled and their level of civics research.
Every planetary zone produced 1 unit of income (gold) per turn. In addition, trade agreements with other players generated half of each other's total income; each player was limited to five agreements, but players situated between a route also received "50% of the trade's value". Income could also be affected by random events triggered at the GM's discretion.
Military units (armies, fleets, and orbital guns) cost 5 gold each and incurred 1 unit of support. Each territory initially provided 1 unit of support, and each newly-acquired territory produced a free army. A planet could support as many orbital guns as it had zones, but no more. Each military unit beyond the support limit generated an upkeep cost of 1 gold per turn, although the orbital guns granted to players' starting planets were free.
The game featured a technology tree separated into four branches: Economics, Transportation, Military, and Civics, subdivided into 4-5 levels each. Each level except for Economics increased in price. Every player was granted a bonus tech at the start of the game based on their nation's initial description.
- Economics increased a player's total income by 20% per level.
- Transportation increased the maximum range for movement and communication beyond the home territory. This particular path was considered useless, as players could interact with neighbour systems immediately, and contact with another player instantly extended communication range to each other's periphery.
- Military provided bonuses to combat and troop support.
- Civics increased the maximum number of systems that could be settled without incurring revolt risk.
Technology could also be stolen from conquered foes, the exact portion depending on the number of total participants.
Battles were calculated through RNG on a range of 1-10, in three stages: fleet battles, orbital defence, and ground assault. An attacker's success in one stage progressed to the next.
While the later inclusion of superweapons was hinted at, the game did not last long enough to realize them.
While diplomacy was looser than Tani's other games, a few diplomatic options generated hard-coded effects:
- Non-aggression pacts broken for any reason generated a 10% revolt risk for the duration of the conflict.
- A player could take on client states for a percentage of their total income. Behaviour toward them influenced their likelihood to support/abandon the hegemon in war-time, and the likelihood of seeking annexation into the player's empire.
The game also included a handful of spy missions primarily geared toward influencing NPC relations.
Each newly-discovered planet had a 25% of sapient inhabitants. They expanded at a rate of either ¼ their total territory or 1 zone, whichever was greater. They also started with level 2 military research as a deterrent against early aggression.
Updates were bogged down by the numerous complex calculations needed for each update, made all the more difficult when Taniciusfox took a short family vacation that summer. Neither the map nor participants were catalogued on the front page, and updates were not indexed in a search-friendly format, making referencing turn players and changes difficult. The rules were also somewhat poorly-defined, challenged repeatedly and amended ad-hoc, and the exact mechanics of combat were never fully explained. Also at issue was Tani's recurring tendency to give the NPCs equal emphasis as the players, conducting diplomacy and warring against themselves, independent of player actions.