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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: YAFGT (Yet another first game thread). rss

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Perry Clayton
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I have a group of folks that is enthusiastic for the game coming over to play for our first time in a couple of weeks. I guess you could pretty much say, I'm “sponsoring” the game. It belongs to me and we're hosting at my house.

I know that there are boat loads of threads devoted to first timers already, and I promise I've been reading through them. Incidentally, I own the base game only. We're not playing with any expansions, and there are six of us.

Here's what I'm doing/have done so far. Please advise where appropriate.

1). We're planning on starting early... as in, still in the a.m. early.
2). Everyone already has a copy of the rules and they are reading them.
3). I'm going to use a preset map. (Unfortunately the one on the ffg site seems to include expansions, but I think it won't be too hard to adjust. The asymmetrical wormholes make me a bit nervous. I'm also concerned about the distribution of resource producers since that map doesn't say which specific planets to place, just distribution of 1-planet/2-planet systems).
4). We're providing lasagna.
5). I'm going to play with the following races: Hacan, Mentak, Latnev, Sol, Sardak N'orr, & Xxcha. My plan is to have them preset on the board, and number them 1-6, then let the players randomly choose from a deck of cards numbered 1-6 for their race. Are there races I shouldn't have adjacent to each other?
6). I'm going to provide a game round flowchart and a space battle/land battle checklist.

What do you guys think?
 
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Haz Dhim
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Don't forget about your 4pm coffee break with afternoon sweets

Personally, I like to let everyone choose between two random races, so they can choose whichever they think will suit their playstyle more. Especially since races like Sardak and Xxcha are not everyone's favourite. And except perhaps for Naalu (because of the altered turn order), I don't think there's reason to exclude any of the base game races for your first playthrough.

Definitely print out one of the fan-made tech trees for everyone, so they can mark which technologies everyone has acquired. It's way more practical than having to meddle with those cards and constantly trying to get a glimpse of what your opponents can use against you when planning your assaults.

My gaming group prefered the Age of Empire variant over the normal rules, so everyone can pick freely which objectives they aim for at every moment, which gives some added flexibility and a better idea of what long-term goals to persue. But that's up to you.

The preset maps are fine. Switch the trade stations with two-planet systems, and Hope's End with Capua, and you should be fine. If you're uncertain about the balance of the other systems, simply add up the resource and influence values of the systems adjacent to everyone's home system and make sure it's all more or less equally divided. Minor differences won't be game-breaking.

You can always house-rule that all 3 wormholes are connected to each other, that way there's no assymmetry. It might make the sercret objective that says you have to conquer all wormholes slightly easier, but you can always take that one out for your first game.
 
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Marc Kob
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As a relative newbie to TI3, with only 3 games under my belt, I've found the creation of the galaxy a fun and engaging part of the game. I don't think it adds much more than 10 or 15 minutes to play time and allows intriguing decisions right from the start. Who will I annoy right from the start by placing this Supernova in between them and Mecatol Rex? Between which two opponents will I place this resource rich planet to seed future conflict? etc.

You are going to be together all day, why save 15 minutes with a preset map and truncate part of the fun?

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Haz Dhim
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Moon Knight wrote:
You are going to be together all day, why save 15 minutes with a preset map and truncate part of the fun?


To make sure everyone has an equal chance at winning this beast
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Gaedr wrote:
Moon Knight wrote:
You are going to be together all day, why save 15 minutes with a preset map and truncate part of the fun?


To make sure everyone has an equal chance at winning this beast


They don't - this equalises one aspect of dozens. TI3 is a massively assymetric game that has to be balanced by the players at the table. A preset galaxy does nothing to change that.

For a first game I would use a preset, or build a vaguely balanced galaxy, simply because new players don't understand enough to be able to make meaningful decisions, and for a first game (including all the looking up rules for red systems and trade stations) you are looking at closer to 45 mins in my experience for something that ends up pretty random anyway.

Second game on, I'd always build the galaxy, it's a major part of the strategic decisions (not tactical) in the game.
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Scott Randolph
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We stopped using RAW random map-making about 50 games ago, every time we thought we might return to RAW random map set-up we remembered:

1. the 45+ minutes it added to total playing time (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
2. the ridiculous imbalances RAW random map set-up created (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
3. how awful it was for some players, stifled in a corner, unable to buy techs or build even comparable numbers of ships to even attempt to take more resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
4. how hollow the victory felt for the players with the easily navigable areas rich in influence and resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
5. that we wasted an additional hour of set-up time to play a clearly inferior, non-competitive, long, boring due to being highly predictable (as in who would win, all our players being skilled, intelligent, veteran players) version of the game...(which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)

We just make our own game maps, we make them as a group before anyone knows their starting position. We play the Galactic Senate ruleset, we can finish a 6-8 player game, "TLW" to [14] VP's, in under eight hours - but that's not the most important point - a shrewd, highly skilled player can win with any start position and any Great Race in our games...in every game at least 2, if not 4, players have a clear, realistic chance to win, our games are very close, hotly contested, very exciting, and really fun for all VS the dull, predictable, inferior, imbalanced, much longer, more tedious games that include RAW random map set-up.
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David Dawson
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My only advice would be to make sure that people don't eat lasagna around the game, but that's just my own personal preference/neurosis.
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Ray Stever

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My fav game. Just be prepared to play the whole day. Esp if it's ur first time. But after a couple turns it'll be a lot easier to manage
 
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Perry Clayton
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Moon Knight wrote:

You are going to be together all day, why save 15 minutes with a preset map and truncate part of the fun?



That was actually my thinking too, but this was a decision that was reached as a group consensus. The concern was that, being unfamiliar with the strategy, we might create a heavily unbalanced game map.
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Marc Kob
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Clearly other people in this thread have had really negative experiences with the player set up board so your decision may be wise.

Perhaps we were just lucky. In the 3 times I've played most of the players were playing for the first time. We created the map together in each game and no one complained about an unbalanced board in any of them. After game there was discussion about certain secret objectives being easier or harder than others, but no complaints about unfair board setups.



KnobleSavage wrote:
Moon Knight wrote:

You are going to be together all day, why save 15 minutes with a preset map and truncate part of the fun?



That was actually my thinking too, but this was a decision that was reached as a group consensus. The concern was that, being unfamiliar with the strategy, we might create a heavily unbalanced game map.
 
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Matthew Klure
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SFRR wrote:
We stopped using RAW random map-making about 50 games ago, every time we thought we might return to RAW random map set-up we remembered:

1. the 45+ minutes it added to total playing time (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
2. the ridiculous imbalances RAW random map set-up created (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
3. how awful it was for some players, stifled in a corner, unable to buy techs or build even comparable numbers of ships to even attempt to take more resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
4. how hollow the victory felt for the players with the easily navigable areas rich in influence and resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
5. that we wasted an additional hour of set-up time to play a clearly inferior, non-competitive, long, boring due to being highly predictable (as in who would win, all our players being skilled, intelligent, veteran players) version of the game...(which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)

We just make our own game maps, we make them as a group before anyone knows their starting position. We play the Galactic Senate ruleset, we can finish a 6-8 player game, "TLW" to [14] VP's, in under eight hours - but that's not the most important point - a shrewd, highly skilled player can win with any start position and any Great Race in our games...in every game at least 2, if not 4, players have a clear, realistic chance to win, our games are very close, hotly contested, very exciting, and really fun for all VS the dull, predictable, inferior, imbalanced, much longer, more tedious games that include RAW random map set-up.


wow, I find the exact opposite is true for my friends and myself. We love building the galaxy and messing with others as we place systems.
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Scott Randolph
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klurejr wrote:
SFRR wrote:
We stopped using RAW random map-making about 50 games ago, every time we thought we might return to RAW random map set-up we remembered:

1. the 45+ minutes it added to total playing time (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
2. the ridiculous imbalances RAW random map set-up created (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
3. how awful it was for some players, stifled in a corner, unable to buy techs or build even comparable numbers of ships to even attempt to take more resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
4. how hollow the victory felt for the players with the easily navigable areas rich in influence and resources (which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)
5. that we wasted an additional hour of set-up time to play a clearly inferior, non-competitive, long, boring due to being highly predictable (as in who would win, all our players being skilled, intelligent, veteran players) version of the game...(which added nothing to our enjoyment, and greatly sucked)

We just make our own game maps, we make them as a group before anyone knows their starting position. We play the Galactic Senate ruleset, we can finish a 6-8 player game, "TLW" to [14] VP's, in under eight hours - but that's not the most important point - a shrewd, highly skilled player can win with any start position and any Great Race in our games...in every game at least 2, if not 4, players have a clear, realistic chance to win, our games are very close, hotly contested, very exciting, and really fun for all VS the dull, predictable, inferior, imbalanced, much longer, more tedious games that include RAW random map set-up.


wow, I find the exact opposite is true for my friends and myself. We love building the galaxy and messing with others as we place systems.


We've had approx 60 players come and go from the MHS2 game group over the last 9 years (we still have a core of about 8 originals), and only 1 of approx 60 players has ever been a proponent of RAW random map set-up.
 
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Jon Horne
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SFRR wrote:
We've had approx 60 players come and go from the MHS2 game group over the last 9 years (we still have a core of about 8 originals), and only 1 of approx 60 players has ever been a proponent of RAW random map set-up.

We've had about 15 players over the years, and all of them prefer building the galaxy RAW (calling it "random" is a bit inaccurate, in my opinion). We find the pre-built galaxies to be less strategically compelling.

Sure, people bitch when their slice has fewer resources, but sandbagging to deflect aggression is part of the game. I've seen players with a shitty corner of the galaxy play brilliantly and win on many occasions.

Group think is probably responsible in both of our examples. We all hate Distant Suns, too, but lots of groups would never consider playing without them. To each, his own, as it were.
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Perry Clayton
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AxleKerrigan wrote:

We've had about 15 players over the years, and all of them prefer building the galaxy RAW (calling it "random" is a bit inaccurate, in my opinion). We find the pre-built galaxies to be less strategically compelling.


I think that's the way we will go too, once we get a game or two under our belt. But there was definite anxiety among the players about being stuck in a looong game with an unbalanced map due to a lack of understanding the implications of tile placement.

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David Damerell
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AxleKerrigan wrote:
We've had about 15 players over the years, and all of them prefer building the galaxy RAW (calling it "random" is a bit inaccurate, in my opinion). We find the pre-built galaxies to be less strategically compelling.


I certainly am not a fan of the prebuilt setups that put no resources at the hexes that otherwise would serve as the obvious bones of contention. The prebuilt 6-player board is practically a recipe for a game where everyone sits in "their slice".
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John Drake
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KnobleSavage wrote:
AxleKerrigan wrote:

We've had about 15 players over the years, and all of them prefer building the galaxy RAW (calling it "random" is a bit inaccurate, in my opinion). We find the pre-built galaxies to be less strategically compelling.


I think that's the way we will go too, once we get a game or two under our belt. But there was definite anxiety among the players about being stuck in a looong game with an unbalanced map due to a lack of understanding the implications of tile placement.



I would definitely suggest starting with a fixed map for your first game, then trying the RAW map setup. It will be easier to build the map both fairly or using the setup process as a part of the politicking once everyone is already familiar with the relative worth of different placements, resources vs influence, etc. Our group never goes without a RAW setup with distant suns, but our forst few games would definitely have gone smoother without that particular variable.

On a different note, I'd suggest setting up a playlist on Spotify of either soundtrack or "epic" music for the background. It helps the ambiance to a surprising degree. I usually use the group Two Steps from Hell, although I've heard people use Star Wars or Star Trek a lot too.
 
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Scott Randolph
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damerell wrote:
AxleKerrigan wrote:
We've had about 15 players over the years, and all of them prefer building the galaxy RAW (calling it "random" is a bit inaccurate, in my opinion). We find the pre-built galaxies to be less strategically compelling.


I certainly am not a fan of the prebuilt setups that put no resources at the hexes that otherwise would serve as the obvious bones of contention. The prebuilt 6-player board is practically a recipe for a game where everyone sits in "their slice".


You can always just make your own maps, we haven't used the "vanilla" pre-set map in over 7 years...our maps require conflict and negotiation, they are "very strategically compelling."
 
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