Wow, its been a while since I have played Imperial. And, what is surprising, is that three of the people at the game have never played it before! In my opinion, this is the best of the rondel games. You just have to get out of the mindset that your goal is to run a country and win the game.
I was a little worried with how everyone else would play the game. It is hard to bet on countries and then watch as they are mismanaged. But it seems that everyone caught on and did well. I was able to reinvest my money often enough to jump out in the lead. I definitely had the most stocks. But this is not always a good thing. You want a lot of shares in the winning country and the second-most shares in the second-place country. But I was a little too spread out and had shares in every country. I did make one mistake at the end in buying a share in Austria. I should have instead bought another share in England and get a better multiplier (2x versus 1x). Oh well. I still one handily though.