We have one last Imperium: Horizons civilisation spotlight for the year: the Aksumites...

A banner with art depicting a ship full of Aksumite warriors alongside the text "IMPERIUM HORIZONS CIVILISATION SPOTLIGHT: THE AKSUMITES, DESIGNED BY NIGEL BUCKLE AND DÁVID TURCZI"

We are spotlighting the Aksumite Empire, centred in modern-day Ethiopia, at the peak of its power between the 3rd and 6th centuries CE. A prosperous trading civilisation sitting on the crossroads of trade routes from the East African coast to the interior of Africa, they require the Trade Routes expansion to play them in Horizons. Of all the trader nations, we consider the Aksumites the most straightforward to appreciate, and they are recommended for your first play to explore the expansion.

A sample card from Imperium: Horizons titled Aksumites, with art depicting a group of Aksumites in fine clothes sat behind a long table

While this deck has the familiar utility cards (Conquer, Advance, Prosperity and Glory) it also has a trade route: the Maritime Spice Route. As this is your accession card, it will be a while before you can get it up and running, so in the meantime you can collect population and materials with your Salt Mines. Keep an eye on the market for cards with the Ocean icon, as they will boost your City of Adulis, a harbour city. Utilise Ge’ez Script to keep your deck trim, at least until you reach Empire.

A sample spread of cards from the Aksumites deck from Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Maritime Spice Route, Salt Mines, Ge'ez Script and City of Adulis

You do not need to worry unduly about the unrest your acquisitions will bring, as your Stelae gives you a way to manage it and another way to thin your deck. Once you become an Empire, you have some choices: will you continue to acquire cards with your Exotic Trade, or will you first develop Aksumite Coinage to make conducting this trade easier (and yourself more flush with resources along the way). Maybe instead consider Conversion to Christianity, which gives you the dilemma of dealing with unrest or gaining extra actions, thematically representing the social upheaval the change of state religion brings.

A sample spread of cards from the Aksumites deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Stelae, Exotic Trade, Aksumite Coinage and Conversion to Christianity

How you approach the Aksumites will depend on the market cards and your opponent’s strategies. You may wish to linger acquiring more cards or rush to become an Empire and the powerful developments you can access. Either way, do not overlook your Merchants card: you are at heart a trading nation after all.

Find previous civilisation spotlights for the Japanese, Taíno, Mayans, Inuit,
 Magyars, PolynesiansCultists, Abbasids and 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.