My gaming buddies and I have never been happy with the Imperial strategy card, not even the two new offers in the expansion. None of the alternatives seems right - victory points and objectives should be seperated from the strategy cards in my eyes to avoid game-breaking and possible balance issues (I know many won't agree, and I indeed see the interest in having the imperial strategy card allow you to complete several objectives, but that's only good for the later stages of the game). We play with a mix of the old and new strategy cards and we really feel the best thing was to add another sort of resource - another thing you can buy/hoard, like technology,trade, tokens, and so on.
I came up with the idea of some changes to the leaders add on and tying it with the ISC. Here is my alternative rule:
ICS, main objective:
You may recruit one of your leaders from your reinforcement and place it on any one of your planets that has a space dock. You may spend six influence to recruit yet another additional leader. You may place this second leader in the same planet or any other planet with a space dock of your choice.
You may spend one token and four influence to recruit one of your leaders from your reinforcement and place it on any one of your planets that has a space dock.
In addition, the following changes to the leader game variants apply:
* All players start with no leaders.
* All leaders die automatically and are returned to the reinforcements without any dice roll. This applies if a ship that carries a leader is destroyed at any time, if a leader is found on a planet that has been succesfully invaded, or in the case of an agent, if it was sacrificed to act as a sabotage.
* Leaders can not be captured, that sub-rule is cancelled.
We have been playing with this variant for a while and it seems to be working, however I am still pondering game balance issues and influence cost. I would be very happy if people can try this rule and let me know what they think.