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Starkiller
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If you don't want to hear my tale of woe, just skip down to the question! SSS

Bit of background here:
For the first time in over a year, I had set up a TI3 day, a couple weeks in advance. My game group has changed in the time absent, so I was starting with mostly new players. About a week before the set date, it looked like I might have 9 people showing up, including me. Which is a problem, because I can only hold 8 players....but I figured someone would cancel. I tried very hard to impress on people how much it helped to have everyone show up on time.

So, at the appointed time, me and the Hacan player were there. angry
Three hours later, two other players made it.
An hour later, the Hacan had to leave, after only playing one round (with rules run-through).

We just kind of removed a few systems and didn't take over his area.

The Hacan were really excited about playing, so I wanted to give him a chance, especially because he was the only one who actually tried to stick to the schedule.

He's leaving for two months of work/vacation, so we decided, on Sunday, to try and throw together a TI3 day for Saturday. There were 5 of us there making the decision, they could all go.

I put out more invitations, in case someone else could make it.

10 guys total thought they could make it two days later.
The Hacan told me he could make it by 11:00am, so that's when it told everyone to get here.
Two days after that, it looked like only me and one other could make it--the Hacan was maybe going to show late, and everyone else was more unknown.shake

I was getting the idea this new group has some commitment issues.googoo

My wife and I put much less effort into preparing for the day, unsure if there was even going to be a game, with me hoping for four people, thinking we would maybe get a partial game in, with some having to leave early--after starting late.

Friday afternoon everyone starts saying they will make it. This is my dubious face:

However, by that night, it was looking like it was happening, and I had a list of 9 people promising to make it, with the Hacan saying he and his son would be there by 12:30. (I can't set the time back, as it's way to late to start confusing people after I begged them all to show up on time. Plus, another player said he would have to leave by 9. An 11 start would give us 10 hours....start early.) He picked Hacan again, I said we would have him all set up, and they could just take their first turns in a row an catch up. This means I need to find a preset map. 2 someone elses were going to leave about 5. I am reluctant to tell them not to show at all, as I am trying to encourage this group.

First, I just decided to make an 8 player preset map, hoping one random guy wouldn't show, but the rest would, and we'd just deal with the players leaving.

My table is too small....I've never tried to set up for 8 players before.surprise

I searched through the interwebs and bgg for a solution.

It was almost 2am before I came up with a 6 player asymmetric map, with 2 of those off to the side for the late arrive-ers, and two small sections connected by wormholes for the pair that were leaving early.

So, by 11:20 the next morning we had six guys, only one of which had to leave early. And the Hacan and his son were not going to be in until much later, about 3.

My carefully constructed preset map got torn up, we 6 built another galaxy as per the rules.

Eventually, the Hacan pair did actually show up, meaning we had 8 players.

[As a side note, my wife and I did not have nearly enough food prepped for 8. My wife is a saint and spent all day fabricating food for us hungry aliens in the back. I try not to be a huge burden on these big game days, but I was this time! It was most unfortunate and I feel terrible, but she pulled it off under pressure. Correct RSVPs ahead of time are really nice for the hosts...whistle]

The young Hacan ended up leaving after only an hour, and shortly after that the Letnev left to baby-sit, so the Hacan took oven his section of the galaxy. Consequently, it all worked out, but I have to say the little sections of the galaxy connected by wormholes did not work at all.

More unfortunate, the guy who said he had to leave at 9 left at 7.

And then the Naalu left a little before 9.

The final 4 finished the game at 9:30. At least, it was a great game.

So, we started with 6, went up to 8, down to 7, then a different 6, 5, finally 4.

TL;DR
THE QUESTION:


In an ideal world, everyone would show up on time and leave when the game is over.

My group, not so much.
I had a couple people planning on leaving early. I had thought to put them off in their own little section (and when they left, delete those few systems) connected by wormholes, like this:

This did not work at all. They were too disconnected from the rest of us.
Granted, the two who ended up using them showed up late, so that was a problem as well.

Has anyone ever done anything like this that worked?

Maybe have both of them in the same small section off on their own, connected by wormholes?

The idea is to allow someone to play for a little while, and leave, without having a too-big galaxy for the remaining players.

In addition, I have a smaller table and was trying to fit 8 players on a non-standard sized galaxy.whistle

I would also add that having someone show up hours late really does not work well, unless they can just take over for someone who is leaving. They are really hamstrung in their efforts to play in general.

Someone leaving early, even if they are on the main galaxy, is not the end of the world. Their units can be left as neutral forces, and it kind of works. But I would rather remove their systems, if possible.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Nice idea, but honestly, I don't think this can work.

Until you have a group that can definitely commit to being there all day, and the same time, I'd play other games, and leave this one on the shelf...
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Martin Larouche
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Kelanen wrote:
Nice idea, but honestly, I don't think this can work.

Until you have a group that can definitely commit to being there all day, and the same time, I'd play other games, and leave this one on the shelf...


This.

It's one of the reasons why TI3 is no longer remotely in my top 10 of best games.
The sheer amount of "work" it takes to organize a game... At one point, i was ok with it, then i got fed up.

- "Ok, we're going to be 6 to play this"
- "Can i play?"
- "Sorry, we're already full"
a day before the game...
- "I said i could come, but i can't make it..."
- "ok, no problem"
- "Hey can you fill up for this player"
- "no i can't. I said i could, but i now have other plans."
- "And you, can you fill up?"
- "yeah, but i can only be there two hours after"
- "ok, let me call everyone to say we're starting a bit late".

... the next day, a player don't show up. And one player has to leave early since he didn't plan on the game being started two hours later than usual.

zombie

I'd rather just call a game day, people either show up or don't and we play a game that scales better regardless of the number of players.

I find Terra Mystica to be just as fulfilling as TI3, less long, and plays very well regardless of the number of players.
 
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Philippe Castonguay
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I just wanted to throw this out there:

Me and my buddy were off on paternity and managed to get one game in (it took nearly 12 hours)

Since then, me and my buddy have a few kids and the third one in has a shifting work schedule.

I love this game and I love playing, but we all can't spend a day playing, and we can't spend a few hours getting together to play partial games, and leaving it setup on someone's table.

But I still wanted to play, and I was going to find a way.

I stumbled on VASSAL, a game emulator (no rules, just pieces you move around over the internet) and saw TI3 had a module for it. The only issue is the action cards didn't have the descriptions punched in, and it had all the expansions (which we did not)

So I stripped out the expansion stuff and I manually put in all the text (for a tech-savvy person it's not too tough) in the cards.

We set a weekly day, we set up a voice chat server (Mumble / Murmur) and we were set.

We also messed with the rules a lot (it was a 3-player game)

-No wormholes
-Pre-set map
-Choose your race from a pre-selected list of 2

I sent out a newsletter that had a quick summary of each race to make things easier to pick. The races were to be revealed when the game starts.

We had an auction for the starting places (you have 5 d10 and can spend them to claim a spot, highest sum roll wins the position)

So we spent about an hour selecting everything, and picked our strategy cards, and called it a night.

Now, what's great is that I take screenshots of everything (the objectives, the board, the cards we have, etc.) and everyone gets a newsletter with what to be ready for, what to expect, links to relevant rules to speed up the next round, etc. We then have a week to do whatever planning is required, then the next week comes and we get a turn done in an hour.

We play during the week later in the evening so everyone is usually free, and even if they aren't, we all just sit around at home and wait till next week (it's a tough wait when we skip a week!)

I like that I can plan for the objectives during the week (and adapt on the fly when things take a turn when we play) rather than having to consider it all at the table and having people hmm and hum at me for taking too long to play. It's comfortable, it's a bite sized chunk, and you get to play a great game that otherwise would see no play.

Now, 3 players, we're doing it as a test. You might have issues with more players and finding time, but most people can work a regular 1h into their weekly schedule.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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deedob wrote:

I'd rather just call a game day, people either show up or don't and we play a game that scales better regardless of the number of players.

I find Terra Mystica to be just as fulfilling as TI3, less long, and plays very well regardless of the number of players.


I don't find that anything else scratches the same itch (maybe MegaCivilization), but you have to have a group around you that you can reliably convene a TI3 day.

As we all agree, that's very different to scheduling a general games day, and you can't bang a square peg (or set of players) into a round hole...
 
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Lance Harrop
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This is so sad, it makes baby Jesus cry.

I'm sorry for you problems. I've certainly had similar issues, but I don't think it has ever been that bad.

I have certain 3D layouts which you can easily switch out, taking the sector one player started in out of the game. If I knew someone was leaving I'd definitely go that route. It would work in reverse if a player was showing up late, though how you catch him up with everybody else (give him an extra Command Counter per Round?) I don't know.
 
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Starkiller
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Thanks for all the comments!

Keep in mind part of the problem with this particular game day was I was trying to set it up in only 6 days. shake
deedob wrote:
Kelanen wrote:
Nice idea, but honestly, I don't think this can work.

Until you have a group that can definitely commit to being there all day, and the same time, I'd play other games, and leave this one on the shelf...


This.

It's one of the reasons why TI3 is no longer remotely in my top 10 of best games.
The sheer amount of "work" it takes to organize a game... At one point, i was ok with it, then i got fed up.

- "Ok, we're going to be 6 to play this"
- "Can i play?"
- "Sorry, we're already full"
a day before the game...
- "I said i could come, but i can't make it..."
- "ok, no problem"
- "Hey can you fill up for this player"
- "no i can't. I said i could, but i now have other plans."
- "And you, can you fill up?"
- "yeah, but i can only be there two hours after"
- "ok, let me call everyone to say we're starting a bit late".

... the next day, a player don't show up. And one player has to leave early since he didn't plan on the game being started two hours later than usual.

zombie

I do not exactly disagree....but I am trying to develop the game group. We will see if we get there.

I just really like TI3.
Kelanen wrote:
deedob wrote:

I'd rather just call a game day, people either show up or don't and we play a game that scales better regardless of the number of players.

I find Terra Mystica to be just as fulfilling as TI3, less long, and plays very well regardless of the number of players.


I don't find that anything else scratches the same itch (maybe MegaCivilization), but you have to have a group around you that you can reliably convene a TI3 day.

Well, I do like Terra Mystica....but I wouldn't say it's anything near as fulfilling.
I do agree that a game day is significantly easier to set up than a specifically TI3 day.

pcaston2 wrote:
I just wanted to throw this out there:

I love this game and I love playing, but we all can't spend a day playing, and we can't spend a few hours getting together to play partial games, and leaving it setup on someone's table.

But I still wanted to play, and I was going to find a way.

I stumbled on VASSAL, a game emulator (no rules, just pieces you move around over the internet) and saw TI3 had a module for it.

.....

Now, 3 players, we're doing it as a test. You might have issues with more players and finding time, but most people can work a regular 1h into their weekly schedule.

Well, hey, that's an idea. I don't know if it would work with 6 players...but it's an idea. Thank you.

Leifr wrote:
This is so sad, it makes baby Jesus cry.

I'm sorry for you problems. I've certainly had similar issues, but I don't think it has ever been that bad.

I have certain 3D layouts which you can easily switch out, taking the sector one player started in out of the game. If I knew someone was leaving I'd definitely go that route. It would work in reverse if a player was showing up late, though how you catch him up with everybody else (give him an extra Command Counter per Round?) I don't know.

Part of the reason it was so bad was the 'throwing it together last minute' problem.

I know I've seen wormhole-connected maps before, but I could not find any when I needed them.
Where are all yours Leifr?

I just checked your gallery....ninja


Thoughts:
Them showing up late really does not work well. I think you could do the stimulated early turns if they just missed the first round or so, but that is probably it.

One of the things I was hoping for was a core of gamers I can rely on to show up on time, and then add in all the others. I'm ok with playing a 4 player game if two don't show up.

The 'leave early' is a pain.
'Arriving late' is much worse. Not sure if that's really fixable.

I was just wondering if there was a really clever solution I had not thought of.
Thanks for the thoughts, everyone!

At the moment:
I don't think I will throw together a last minute TI3 game again....if I do, I'm not going to invite everybody. It's going to be the core group and that's it.
 
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Greg Pratt
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Ouch.

Yeah, I too am in the camp that feels people switching out is a bad thing for the game.

Advance prep is important I think. 6 days is pretty short notice to ask people to commit for an all-day game, unless you have very dedicated group of players.

I have a pool of roughly 10 players in my game group, with varying levels of commitment, so I think what I've got a comparable situation. We have a semi-regular TI3 games that consistently runs with 6+ players. Here is what I do:

Frequency:
First off, we do a game of TI3 roughly quarterly. This seems to be often enough that people still remember the rules, but not so often that people get burnout. I think it also makes people more interested in playing because they know that if they miss it, that they have to wait 3 months for the next game.

Scheduling:
We set the date for the next TI3 game out at least a month in advance, and often closer to two months. Be sure to include a start time and the message that players should expect to stay for the entire day, possibly into the evening. This gives people enough time to schedule around it. It also leaves enough time to firm up commitment to attend. I usually start with an email proposing a date. I collect people up into three buckets: Definitely will attend, may attend, won't attend. As date gets closer to the game, I send follow up emails, with the goal of getting the may attend resolved into one of the other two buckets. I usually set a date of 2-3 weeks prior to the game as a deadline to get the "may attend" group to commit. And if they commit, it is real important that they commit to attending the whole day, including showing up at the start time, or they get dropped. This much notice is usually enough to get the day off for those whose work schedule is an issue.

Buildup:
Even as scheduling is progressing, I start doing some prep to build up for the game. When I have at least one more committed player over, I have my 7-year old son draw races and roll for home system placement order (we always use the built galaxy per the rules). I send this information out to everyone. This gives players a chance to read up on their race and the others, if they want. I think that this builds up some excitement (interest) in the upcoming game. I also send around a pdf copy of the rules and a few of the excellent race summaries and tech charts found here on BGG.

Home System Placement:
One of the things we do in advance is home system placement. Once we have the list of players locked down to committed, I send around a hex map and have the players select the location on the map for the home systems. Sometimes we proceed with 1-2 players not yet committed (typically due to late work schedule posting) and select positions on a few different maps (with different player attendance combinations). This latter option we don't do often. And I usually insist on at least a week's notice from players that they attend.

Setup:
As we've got home system locations and races already determined, I do an early setup of the game, including starting forces and extra stuff. Including a stack of system tiles sitting ready for each player. This makes a big difference; players can go directly to their seats without playing musical chairs. And we go right into the game with building the galaxy. Overall this shaves 30-60 minutes off of the game length. One other big thing about having things ready to go (and making sure that players know this) is that players get it into their heads that there isn't going to be extra time for setup, and if they're late they will miss the game.

Food Planning:
TI3 is a long game. It is a guarantee that you'll need to get lunch. And very possibly dinner too. And it helps a lot to also plan food in a manner that it doesn't take players away from the game. It is a lot to ask one person to prep food. I strongly recommend looking for two places that deliver (usually pizza and something else). Gathering a lunch food order (and placing it for delivery at a particular hour) in advance is a good plan. We usually play through lunch, with players grabbing a bite from their order when they are waiting on other players. Repeat this for dinner. Make sure that you have a place ready to go along with paper plates and paper towels, etc. Let everyone know about the food plan in advance and get their orders collected. A bonus tactic here is if you can get people to put money in for food in advance (as if they have money in, they are more likely to really be committed).

Game Day:
We use an early start of 9 a.m. This gives enough time to actually finish the game without going far into the night. We also expect committed players to be there. If they aren't within a reasonable time (15 minutes at most for my group) we assume that they aren't going to play and adjust accordingly. It is very important to make sure that when you sit down that players are committed to stay for the entire game. If they play and don't, you need to drop them from the invites next time.

Set Up a System for the Long Term:
Stick to a system. The long-term goal is to have regular TI3 games. Setting expectations and sticking to the system is very important to ensure that you'll have more games. If people know that a start time really means a start time, they'll be more likely to respect it. And TBH, it is better to play a 4 player game than to try to figure out a way to have players enter and leave the game.

I hope this helps.
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Starkiller
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Magesmiley wrote:
Ouch.

[lots of good advice....]

I hope this helps.

Thanks! Lots of good advice here.
Somewhat of a schedule, every few months, sounds like a good idea.

I would add that what we did with food previous nights has worked well. The day before my wife cooked up something, and I prepped all the little snacks and stuff.
Game day, my wife had to do very little....we both had done it the day before.
This time....we didn't prep... it didn't look like it was happening until the evening before. And then we had 8. She's a saint.

Thanks again!
 
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Lance Harrop
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akinfantryman wrote:
Thanks for all the comments!

Leifr wrote:
This is so sad, it makes baby Jesus cry.

I'm sorry for you problems. I've certainly had similar issues, but I don't think it has ever been that bad.

I have certain 3D layouts which you can easily switch out, taking the sector one player started in out of the game. If I knew someone was leaving I'd definitely go that route. It would work in reverse if a player was showing up late, though how you catch him up with everybody else (give him an extra Command Counter per Round?) I don't know.

Part of the reason it was so bad was the 'throwing it together last minute' problem.

I know I've seen wormhole-connected maps before, but I could not find any when I needed them.
Where are all yours Leifr?

I just checked your gallery....ninja


I really need to get my files organized to share. The Strung Sectors solution lets you play three to twelve players using basically the same layout, just turning a non-player sector of three systems into a player sector of six systems and the home system. If a player arrives you switch in a three sector layout with one more home sector. If a player leaves you switch out a three sector layout for one with one less home sector (helps to know who has to leave early).





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Starkiller
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Alright Leifr,
This was more or less what I was thinking, thanks!

I understand the basic idea, but I really don't see exactly how it is done here.

Leifr wrote:

I really need to get my files organized to share. The Strung Sectors solution lets you play three to twelve players using basically the same layout, just turning a non-player sector of three systems into a player sector of six systems and the home system. If a player arrives you switch in a three sector layout with one more home sector. If a player leaves you switch out a three sector layout for one with one less home sector (helps to know who has to leave early).

I am assuming that the little circles next to the borders of hexes show how they connect. Even zoomed up all the way, I cannot see the specific connections:



Is this image even part of the same map? Or is it an alternate layout?



And this looks like Mecatol Rex:

However, again, I can't see how it connects. And what are the other small groups for?

Thanks for all your help Leifr!
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Lance Harrop
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Hi,

there are twelve tiles around Mecatol Rex. The circular connections on the outside of the tile groups connection them to the twelve outer sectors or to other tiles around Mecatol Rex. The trapazods around the small groups go to Mecatol Rex.

The larger four sheets are for three players on one. Otherwise you use the narrower sheets.
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Lance Harrop
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Hi Starkiller,

Look for the files tomorrow. I need to get Adobe loaded, so they are the raw Powerpoint files.

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Lance Harrop
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Okay,

Hopefully tomorrow:

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/139214/mecatol-rex-sector-...
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Starkiller
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Oooh, nice, I can see Mecatol Rex!
 
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Lance Harrop
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akinfantryman wrote:
Oooh, nice, I can see Mecatol Rex!


All the files are available now.

Key to understanding this, each sector touches every other sector, so you are three hexes away from every other home system and Mecatol Rex.

Which should make you VERY nervous.

surprise
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Starkiller
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Wow.
That's a nice set up, which is another way of saying you put in a lot of work.
Very nice.

I think I get it.
Mecatol Rex goes on the R, but is also connected to 6 other systems.

If you have less than 12 players, you play with the 3 system group, instead of the 7 system with the HS in the center.

So, no matter how many players, you will always have A-M sectors. However, with less than 12 players, some of the letter hex groups will only be 3 systems, instead of the 7 hex HS group.

If you have 12 players, you can instead use the bigger system groups.

Does that sound about right?

Thanks for posting the files and telling me about it!thumbsup
 
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Lance Harrop
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I think you have it Starkiller.

The point, from your thread, is you can take any sheet, put it's larger or smaller sheet under, and if a player shows up or has to leave, simply swap the sheets out and take out the home system and surrounding systems of the home sector, folding in the spares to form the three system sector.

So it's adjustable as players leave or arrive.
 
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