by Jason Huffman, Battle Hardened Games
What were more common goals for imperial expansion? Historically they were commodities -- gold, of course, but also spices (love that pepper), then furs, sugar and ivory (must make piano keys). Human cargos as well. By the mid-18th century, China was again producing desirable good for export, but they just wanted silver in exchange. (For flavor, Benjamin Franklin was even writing about how Chinese civilization should be emulated.) These aren't dynastic goals, but they would have been strong motivations for many citizens and would-be colonists. Of course nationalist and religious competition was right up there too.
@Charles definitely good for me to consider. @Punisher I like it :)
Really, to be consistent with the period, you have to consider dynastic objectives; what did the dynasties want?
What about a secret objective related to the number of alliances you've formed?