Derek Porter
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I wanted to post my two cents regarding technology. After our last game, we got into a deep discussion about tech, since there are players in our group that always realize someone else is about to win, but they're in no position to do anything about it because they've been running down the tech tree. In my opinion, too many players spend a lot of time developing tech every turn instead of actually scoring victory points, and who can blame them? There are many cool techs that give you an edge over your opponents, but it should not come at the expense of winning the game.
I present to you a Skeptic's Guide to Tech. This is all my opinion, developed from playing the game and similar posts online. It's all very subjective, since some techs are all around useful and others are very situation-dependent. Almost all of them are useful in the right situation. Feel free to disagree or point out anything I missed. Part I covers the tech tree by color, Part II, each race individually. I apologize for the length.

Technology by Race

The Arborec - Get Spore Acceleration as soon as possible. You're in a unique position of being able to skip Enviro & Sarween because you start with Stasis Capsules, and so long as you have a couple of ground forces in a system, you can build whatever you like exactly where you need it. XRD, Hylar V, and Gen Synthesis to keep those ground forces coming.
The Barony of Letnev - Get XRD to help early expansion, then get Duranium Armor and Noneuclidean Shielding to make all of your dreadnoughts & your flagship able to absorb ridiculous amounts of damage. The Letnev's home system is resource-heavy, so Enviro/Sarween and a second space dock will allow you build massive fleets with impunity.
The Clan of Saar - Enviro Comp. & Sarween Tools boost your docks, and Floating Factory makes them formidable. Grab Cybernetics and swarm your opponents with fighters. If (and only if) you have easy access to an Asteroid Field system, Chaos Mapping makes your docks untouchable. Shuttle carriers in & out to transport troops where you need them.
The Embers of Muaat - Your first tech should be Magmus Reactor, followed by Hylar V & Deep Space Cannon, since their racial tech adds movement and reduces the cost of the War Sun. Duranium Armor keeps those 'Suns going strong. Nova Seed makes for a great late game bargaining tool : "Are you sure you want to do that? I could just nuke the system..."
The Emirates of Hacan - The Hacan are probably the only race that can use Tech II to grab two techs nearly every time they use it. Get Micro Technology and Production Centers early, and fill in what you need as you go. The Emirates can also afford to buy War Suns, but if you go that path, do it as quickly as possible. Quantum Datahub Node can be used to great effect, but be careful that you don't provoke your trading partners by using it too often.
The Federation of Sol - The Sol are a cinch. XRD, Gen Synthesis, and Mk II Advanced Carriers. The Federation can actually make good use of Hyper Metabolism as well, since it's not a stretch for them to get it and fits with their space-bunny mentality. Round them out with the other basic techs (Yellows first) before you go for Hyper Metabolism, though. Spec Ops Training is worthless, but the Sol don't need it, anyway.
The Ghosts of Creuss - Get Gravity Drive as your first technology. It removes the handicap of being one step removed from the board and the Ghosts can make excellent use of it throughout the game. Go for Enviro & Sarween to build up, and grab the Slave Wormhole Generator fairly early so you can start snagging key systems. Depending on your preference, get either Cybernetics or Hylar V to give your fleets a boost. The Dimensional Splicer is handy, but don't be in a rush to get it.
The L1z1x Mindnet - The '1x is great for tech options. You have two options: work through the tree as is or get Inheritance Systems & Neural Computing. If you go the former, concentrate on either getting War Suns or Type IV Drive, depending upon your preferred strategy. If you choose the latter, you can pick and choose what you like from the tree. Either way, good choices include Duranium Armor and Type IV Drive for your dreadnoughts, and Nano Technology to protect them from Action Cards. Dreadnought Invasion Pods are handy early on, but lose their usefulness as the game progresses.
The Lazax - I have not had a chance to play the Fall of the Empire scenario, so this is pure speculation. It seems that there are two choices. If you want to play aggressively, grab Hylar V & XRD. If you want to play defensively, set up a PDS network with Integrated Economy and use Deep Space Cannon to make the galaxy think twice about invading Quann or Mecatol Rex. You've only got a limited amount of time, and you don't want to waste it going after tech. The Lazax has a great starting tech bundle, and other ways to control the empire beyond tech.
The Mentak Coalition - You want to get Stasis Capsules first, followed by Mirror Computing, Sarween Tools, and Salvage Operations. The pirates are the only race that don't mind getting Transfabrication, but don't expect to it to win the game. If you can spare the resources, Micro Technology can boost your economy, but don't make getting it a priority.
The Naalu Collective - XRD, Cybernetics, and if you want Advanced Fighters, make sure every tech you get is a prerequisite for it. It may very well be out of your reach, but all the techs leading to Advanced Fighters are worthwhile. You'll want to have the Telepathic Mind Weapon early, as the snakes want to expand quickly and then let their opponents attack them. The Mind Weapon will make them think twice about it, especially before they have the fleet supply to spare. Hybrid Crystal Drives can swell your fleets to insane numbers, but it's probably better to build your flagship and surround it with carriers & fighters, unless you have Advanced Fighters.
The Nekro Virus - You can have any tech you want, without worrying about prerequisites! Too bad you have to rely on your opponents for all of it. Bear in mind most races start with a similar bundle, so you might want to spread out the harassment instead of concentrating on one opponent. The exception to this is if you can arrange an agreement with the Jol-Nar: they want lots of tech, too, so convince them to grab Electro-Resonance Turbines and have a system that they maintain with one destroyer. Every time you attack them, they have a net gain of 2Trade Goods and you get a tech, assuming you defeat that destroyer. Aside from this unlikely scenario, you'll either need to do without some key techs or do some fancy negotiating to get what you want.
Sardakk N'orr - The N'orr need a lot of good tech, but are in no position to get it quickly. Get Enviro Compensator and Stasis Capsules first, and then Sarween Tools. XRD is good for them, but hold off on getting it. The bugs need resources quickly, and your carriers can follow your cruisers to reinforce any weak spots. The Sardakk N'orr are the one race that doesn't need much in the way of Red techs to be formidable in combat, so avoid them until you've got your economy going. Exotrireme adds to the damage the N'orr can do, but don't buy this tech unless you have the resources to spare - both on the tech and the dreadnoughts you'll be blowing up. Valkyrie Armor's usefulness is limited at best, so pass on this one.
The Universities of Jol-Nar - You begin with all the techs you really need except XRD Transporters, which isn't a problem for you to acquire. It should go without saying that you should always convince someone else to play the Technology Strategy so you can take full advantage of it. Your first two techs should be Micro Technology & Nano Technology so you can really get rolling on a good economy. This allows you to get your flagship out early and gives you the extra resources to spend on tech to reduce your handicap in battle. Remember that just because it's easy for you to get lots of tech doesn't mean that it should be your focus. Electro-Resonance Turbines should be the first of your racial techs, but save it until you expect aggression from your neighbors. Spatial Conduit Network can be useful, but not enough to get it early.
The Winnu - It's easy for the Winnu to get tech, thanks to their racial ability, and you should always remember that you can spend their home system's resources and still vote. It's also one of the three Yellow specialty planets in the game. Their starting bundle is odd, but go for Sarween Tools, Hylar V, and XRD if you want it. The Winnu is closer to Type IV Drive than any other race, and it's worth getting if you can spare the resources. Bioptic Recyclers is great for stalling once a turn as well as getting rid of useless Action Cards. If you want Lazax Gate Folding, get it as early as you can, and be prepared to fend off all opponents. Considering how many Secret Objectives concern Mecatol Rex, using this tech is either brilliant or suicide.
The Xxcha Kingdom - You need to overcome the Xxcha's slow start, so your first tech should be Stasis Capsules, followed by Sarween Tools and XRD Transporters. Both Diplomats and Instinct Training are useful, but expensive, and require Command Counters to use. Instinct Training is probably the better of the two, so get that one, but only if you have the resources and Command Counters to spare.
The Brotherhood of Yin - The Yin are odd; their abilities make it difficult to know just what to do with them. Get Enviro Compensator first, followed by Stasis Capsules and Sarween Tools. Micro & Nano Technology help boost your economy, but don't waste time going for these if you don't have the resources. Yin Spinner is the better of their two racial techs, so if you find yourself short on ground forces, this may help.
The Yssaril Tribes - The Tribes are one of the best races in the game, but their home system's resource value sucks. Enviro Compensator and Sarween Tools help this, and Hylar V gives you a boost in combat. Micro Technology and Neural Motivator help, as more Trade Goods and Action Cards are never a bad thing. Of their two racial techs, Mageon Implants give you more incentive to look at opponents' Action Cards, and may prompt them to use a good one before you can steal it. Shuttle Logistics has its uses, but there are better things to be spending your resources on.

Technology in Twilight Imperium is great, and it's a lot of fun to grab as much as you can. However, everything you do should be getting you Victory Points, and in my experience too many players spend too much time on tech and have to scramble to catch up in the last few turns. Tech should help you, but it should not be the focus of your strategy.
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Stefan Sasse
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Both of your guides seem sound to me. I had similar thoughts on the matter, as to be witnessed in my strategy guide.
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kiz kiz
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templarjr wrote:
The Barony of Letnev - , then get Duranium Armor and Noneuclidean Shielding to make all of your dreadnoughts & your flagship able to absorb ridiculous amounts of damage.


Agree 100%
I had a small fleet of dreadnoughts and flagship. the amount of damage i could absorb was obscene.Even with no fighters i nearly overcame a fleet that came at me with 18 fighters and multiple large ships.
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Grzegorz Szymanski
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Not being a TI veteran at any rate but I have a question.
Are Sarween Tools really mandatory if you don't have the Enviro Compensator? You need to spend around 12 resources to get the S Tools (IMHO when you grab the Technology Card you would take a racial tech instead) and 2 turns, which means your fleet can be weaker in combat early, which can invite unwanted attention from your neighbours.
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Scott Lewis
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Gygu wrote:
IMHO when you grab the Technology Card you would take a racial tech instead

While I think it's best to get your Racial tech with Tech primary (since you can't get discounts anyway), don't forget you still have to pay for your Racial Tech - the cost printed on the card is ALWAYS required, even if you would normally get a "free" tech.

So depending on the Racial tech, getting it instead of Enviro Compensators or Sarween Tools isn't necessarily going to save you a lot.

Sarween Tools is best the earlier you get it; once you have it, if you build 6 times after that, you've paid for the tech with the free units you've received.
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Grzegorz Szymanski
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Yes, but lot of the racial techs are pretty mandatory for their owners and the race benefits from them more than from Sarween Tools.
With EC and ST to develop you must build 12 times to make it pay and I'm wondering if it is worth the cost and time.
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Scott Lewis
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There are very few racial techs that are any more "mandatory" than Sarween Tools would be.

Both techs are also very useful. Mandatory, no. But there really aren't any "mandatory" techs in every game; it all depends on the game, the setup, etc.

There are many games I never get Sarween Tools, because the dynamics dictate other roads are more important. But I've never had a game where when I get ST, that it's been un-worthwhile.
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Jeff S
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With Simulated Early Turns I think it's huge for the races that are close, to go for Micro + Nanotech. Depending on how close you are and if you know you'll get Tech the first round, having Nano in the first real round of the game is awesome - pays for itself that first turn.
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Derek Porter
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Gygu wrote:
Are Sarween Tools really mandatory if you don't have the Enviro Compensator?
...
IMHO when you grab the Technology Card you would take a racial tech instead


I agree with Sigma. No technology is mandatory or necessary, I wasn't especially clear on that. The Racial tech suggestions are just that - suggestions. I would say that some races could win without ever researching a single tech. Technology will help you in the right situations, but I doubt that tech will win you the game. I think that Enviro Comp & Sarween Tools are universally helpful because they allow you to build more units without exhausting as many resources or activating multiple systems.
 
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Derek Porter
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sirjonsnow wrote:
With Simulated Early Turns I think it's huge for the races that are close, to go for Micro + Nanotech. Depending on how close you are and if you know you'll get Tech the first round, having Nano in the first real round of the game is awesome - pays for itself that first turn.


We haven't tried Simulated Early Turns yet, but I have seen a Jol-Nar player get both on the first play of Tech II. He didn't win, but he always had more than enough resources.
 
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Scott Lewis
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Simulated Early Turns is, in my opinion, garbage; it may help speed up the game, but doesn't do so in a way that keeps the racial balances in check. Muaat and Norr get especially benefited from it.
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Derek Porter
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From what I've seen, it's the only way to play the N'orr.
 
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Dan Waeber
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I have played Norr many times and you just have to be aggressive but honestly simulated turns does help them. The problem is it hurts so many races. We played it once and then not ever again because it just hurts some races too much.
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Michael Cohen
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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shards of the Throne » Forums » Strategy
Re: A Skeptic's Guide to Technology, Part II
The N'orr can be helped by giving them +1 carrier, and leave it at that.
 
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