And we're back with another Imperium: Horizons civilisation spotlight - the Abbasids!

An illustration of an old man in a turban and robes sat in a library surrounded by scrolls, alongside the text "IMPERIUM HORIZONS CIVILISATION SPOTLIGHT: THE ABBASIDS, DESIGNED BY NIGEL BUCKLE AND DÁVID TURCZI"

Today on the blog we are covering the Abbasid caliphate, which was founded by Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib after the overthrow of the previous caliphate (the Umayyad caliphate) in 750 CE. It ended with the Mongol invasion in 1258. Our focus in Imperium: Horizons is mostly the 100 year period from the founding of the caliphate with the Abbasid Revolution through to the rule of Al-Ma’mun and the development of the Grand Library of Baghdad.

A spread of sample cards from the Abbasids deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Abbasids A, Abbasids B, Grand Library of Baghdad, Abbasid Revolution

The Abbasids offer up a few good openings: one is to play the Abbasid Revolution, which gives you the choice of removing Unrest (you start with plenty) at the cost of losing a region, or taking Unrest to expand – a very thematic choice for a freshly born, yet rapidly expanding nation. As you expand, keep an eye out for regions with rivers, as you’re a natural expert at Irrigation (a card you should be familiar with from the Imperium: Legends common deck). You’ll want to quickly cycle through your nation deck to get your trade routes into play: Maritime Spice Route and Western Silk Road. With the Western Silk Road and the Great Mosque of Damascus, your Unrest problems should be solved, allowing you to keep acquiring cards – a path that your nation card’s scoring already incentivises.

A spread of sample cards from the Abbasids deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Irrigation, Maritime Spice Route, Western Silk Road, Great Mosque of Damascus

One of the least complex trader decks in the game, a key part of playing this nation is when you flip your Merchants card to become a Merchant Empire (as we covered in our Trade Routes blog). Once you become an Empire, represented by the founding of Baghdad as your accession card, your ability to acquire cards merely changes: although you cannot play your Barbarian Advance, you can acquire using your Merchant Empire or by Dredging the Tigris. You can also use your Turkish Mercenaries in a glorious rush to release the garrison from your Merchant Empire so that – uniquely amongst all nations in this game – you can use its ability to gain a second Fame card from it.

A spread of sample cards from the Abbasids deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Merchant Empire, Baghdad, Dredging the Tigris, Turkish Mercenaries

In summary the Abbasids are a great nation to start your exploration into the Trade Routes expansion, but flexible enough with their fantastic rate of acquisition for you to try a multitude of strategies around the market cards that appear.

Check out our civilisation spotlights for the Japanese, Taíno, Mayans, Inuit,
 Magyars, Polynesians and Cultists - and learn about Trade Routes here.
Next week, we're looking at the Guptas!

High res versions of all teased cards are available on the the game's
BoardGameGeek page under the images section.

Imperium: Horizons is out February 2024. Pre-order now.