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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: First Full Game, No Expansions: Variants? rss

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Nick Clinite
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I am setting up for my first full game, and I'm wondering if I should go with any extra options. No expansions, just the base game. Would anyone recommend starting with any of the official variants? I'm a little worried that Age of Empire might be a bit overwhelming for new players, having all the objectives laid out before them at once. Would you also recommend skipping the whole build galaxy step, and go with one of the preset maps?
 
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Greg Pratt
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There's nothing wrong with playing without any variants. If you're working with a group of new players, they'll have enough to learn already.

As to the optional rules, my group used Leaders, Distant Suns, and Sabotage Runs our first game and continues to do so years later.

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Charlotte M-R
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Barrie
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My group's first game we used a preset map and no variants/extra options and it still took us about 14 hours (including meals). I printed out the Shattered Empire strategy cards and taped them over the originals. I would definitely leave out Distant Suns since I think it will slow you down. Leaders are fine, but I don't really see a need for them for a first game. I would let people look through a bunch of Action Cards before reshuffling the stack, so they have a sense of what kind of thing could come out. I'm not a fan of Age of Empires.
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Starkiller
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I recommend keeping options to a minimum for your first game, to give your players less to think about/speed up game time.

My recommendations:
Territorial Distant Suns (This gives exploration, and causes some excitement in the first few turns, which really helps new players like the game IMO.)

SE Strategy Cards. (They are better, IMHO.)

Maybe a couple other small ones, like Wormhole Nexus or Sabotage Runs.
Nothing else.

Check out these threads:
Here
and here.
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Stewart MacLeod
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I would recommend playing with Age of Empire, based on my recent experience. That allows people to understand what they're aiming for. Additionally, I would depower Imperial as otherwise canny people will be chasing that for the VPs rather than exploring their faction's strengths and weaknesses. Finally, I also wouldn't suggest using leaders; whilst they will make a difference on a couple of occcasions, most leaders are a distraction on the board rather than adding a vital aspect of gameplay.

Have fun!

Cheers

Stu
 
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Jonathan Challis
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I'd suggest Age of Empires and Territorial Distant Suns, the original Strategy Tiles with Imperial modified to 1VP.

Not Leaders, Space Mines, or Suicide Runs although all should be explored later.

In my opinion having the goals laid out helps rather than hinders newer players.
 
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David Damerell
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Even if you want to minimise the mass of extra rules, use the SE Strategy Cards. They are just better.
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Nick Clinite
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damerell wrote:
Even if you want to minimise the mass of extra rules, use the SE Strategy Cards. They are just better.


Don't have the SE expansion.
 
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marc lecours
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akinfantryman wrote:
I recommend keeping options to a minimum for your first game, to give your players less to think about/speed up game time.

My recommendations:
Territorial Distant Suns (This gives exploration, and causes some excitement in the first few turns, which really helps new players like the game IMO.)

SE Strategy Cards. (They are better, IMHO.)

Maybe a couple other small ones, like Wormhole Nexus or Sabotage Runs.
Nothing else.

Check out these threads:
Here
and here.


I agree. Keep things simple. Don't use any expansions or optional rules except for the following two.

1. Use the 8 strategy cards from the Shattered Empires expansion instead of the 8 Strategy cards in the base game. You can probably find them in the BGG files (or worse case, some kind soul can send you the text of the cards). All you need is the text of the eight cards. You can print them or write them by hand on cardboard. They don't have to be on fancy component cardboard.

2. Use the Territorial distant suns option. It adds fun and randomness to the early game.

Don't bother with any other option. The Wormhole nexus, sabotage run and all other options can wait until future plays of the game.

 
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Jonathan Challis
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damerell wrote:
Even if you want to minimise the mass of extra rules, use the SE Strategy Cards. They are just better.


1) He said base game only, or all our recommendations change.

2) Many (me included) find them mostly worse...
 
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Lance Harrop
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You know suicide runs seem so improbable that I never think to teach them to new players.

A fleet of destroyers with Hylar and carriers with fighters can take down a War Sun, even with good support.

Play with Leaders and Distant Suns and don't worry the rest.

Think of setting up a balanced galaxy and save your players the time at the start.
 
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Nick Clinite
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I imagine Sabotage Runs are worth it when you're pretty much guaranteed to lose anyway--at least it gives you a chance to take down a War Sun with you. Plus it's silly-fun.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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islan wrote:
I imagine Sabotage Runs are worth it when you're pretty much guaranteed to lose anyway--at least it gives you a chance to take down a War Sun with you. Plus it's silly-fun.


Honestly? No, I'd rather take down some opposing ships rather than the ~1% per fighter (IIRC) of taking down a WarSun.

Unless you lose the game if you don't take down that WarSun it's not worth doing, it's a pure chrome rule.
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Kim Andersen
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Do not use Distent suns, it adds randomnes whits can fuck up one players game from the start, and to lose a 8+ hour game to a random efekt in the fist hour an stil have to play it for 8 more is no fun
 
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Brad Miller
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Kelanen wrote:
damerell wrote:
Even if you want to minimise the mass of extra rules, use the SE Strategy Cards. They are just better.


1) He said base game only, or all our recommendations change.

2) Many (me included) find them mostly worse...


Per #1 weren't the SE strategy card "replacements" made available by FFG?

Their texts are certainly findable with about two seconds of effort. Initiative/Imperial just sucks.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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KimAndersen1982 wrote:
Do not use Distent suns, it adds randomnes whits can fuck up one players game from the start, and to lose a 8+ hour game to a random efekt in the fist hour an stil have to play it for 8 more is no fun


That's why the expansion added teh Territorial Distant Suns version which everyone favours.

Also people choose their own risks - you can have zero risk with Distant suns if you choose - try using the probe action...

Lastly, without using Distant Suns, there is no Randomness, and it's not a 4X. Those a re both negatives for many.

I won't play TI3 without distant Suns, I'd rather play something else. I know quite a few players who feel the same (although one that feels the reverse).
 
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Philippe Castonguay
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I was also in a situation where we were playing a game with just the base set (Don't let people bully you into the expansions, the game has some serious flaws and still is fun without them. However, I believe it's the difference between VHS and DVD. You didn't think you needed DVD, but when you try to go back, you realize you really really did). We did make some changes. After having a little more experience, these are the things I would recommend, and why:

Pre-Set Map
No one has to learn the rules for setting up, or spend the time doing so. Look at online templates (some of them use expansions) as an idea for layout, then make it work with what you have. Swap tiles around until you get something approaching equality. Don't be afraid to off-balance the map a little bit, as long as each area has it's benefits (resources, influence, tech bonus, multiple planets, etc.) Consider that two 2/2 planets are significantly worse than a 4/0 and 0/4 planet. Systems are not the sum of their values.

In order to select the starting locations of each player, we used a bidding system. Each player has a certain number of die, and they can bid die on slots. The highest total roll takes the system. You can do it however you want.

Pre-Set Races
If you have twice as many race cards as you have players, you can give each player 2 races to pick from, and only announce it on game day. This way people can plan their own strategy without being able to determine how everyone else will play. If you don't have enough race cards, then give everyone a race card, and give people the option to re-roll. Set a date (say 2-3 days after the race is selected) and players can opt out of their race before then. Then shuffle it up and give out the new races. This lets people get familiar with their tech cards, starting units, racial abilities, etc. before the game.

Age of Empire
You can find this alternate rule in the original rulebook on page 33.

Essentially, rather than digging through the objective cards over the course of the game, you put them all out there from the get-go. You put a token at the top of the first objective, and players can only quality for any objective before that marker during the status phase. At the end of the phase, you advance the marker. VPs are the deciding factor in winning the game, planning ahead to get those points is important to success. If you want to control how long/short the game will be, you can put the game over card at a fixed location (we have 6 obj1, 2 obj2 and then it's game over)

Dis-Empower SC8 (Imperial)

Use this strategy card instead. You can print it off. The original gives 2 VPs for free, which is huge. Ultimately, unless they can somehow do better, people should take Imperial first, and short of that, take Initiative so that next turn they can take Imperial. It's no fun. If the same person is allowed to take it 2-3 times, it's game over before the first fight. This may cause the game to be longer, but less of a waste of time. This card and the "Age of Empire" customization go well together.

Extra Info
I am probably the most versed in the rules for my group. You could easily spend a few weeks doing nothing but going over the rulebook, the FAQ, clarifying things, etc.

It is helpful for the other players (and for you!) to go through GameKnights strategy guide on each race. They are for the expansions, but generally apply to the base set in many ways anyway. Re-work them, and give them to players before the game to read. It'll give people a place to start when they don't know what they should be doing, and you will get to know some interesting things.

Consider making a helper sheet with a better summary of the strategy cards, so people can figure out at a glance what they want, rather than everyone saying "what does that one do again" and reading 5 paragraphs of tiny text.

You can never do enough reading. Action cards, political, rulebook, FAQ, forums, ask questions, get clarification, make reference sheets. Consider that if you have to make a trip to the rulebook during the game (and I am pretty sure you will) you have failed in some way.

Your group will no doubt be situationally un-aware and will be a few steps behind you. If you see something coming up that you aren't sure how you should be resolving it, consider having the rulebook on your phone so you can do a text search. Maybe put it on a computer screen nearby. It is a long rulebook, don't get lost inside it. Try to have the answers before they're needed!
 
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Nick Clinite
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pcaston2 wrote:
The original gives 2 VPs for free, which is huge. Ultimately, unless they can somehow do better, people should take Imperial first, and short of that, take Initiative so that next turn they can take Imperial. It's no fun. If the same person is allowed to take it 2-3 times, it's game over before the first fight. This may cause the game to be longer, but less of a waste of time.


Not that this is the time or place, but I don't necessarily see it as a flaw of the game that it forces the players into a small pattern (if Imperial is available take it, otherwise if Initiative is available take it, otherwise take something else). To me it just seems to set a certain ebb and flow to the game. How that actually works out at the table, I have yet to experience. I can still understand why one would prefer Imperial II over Imperial, but I just can't see Imperial as a flaw of the game at this time.
 
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possum man
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Quote:
I just can't see Imperial as a flaw of the game at this time.


And for you, maybe it won't be! That's why it's so important to play at least one game with non-variant rules. I think Imperial is an excellent choice for a first game; it keeps a nice steady clock on the game and makes sure nobody finishes with 0 Victory Points.
Over the years the hate for Imperial has become more of a knee-jerk reaction to hearing the word. I don't think it's the best card in the world (for reasons you may end up discovering for yourself) and if after a few games you feel like changing it, then swap for the SE cards. My group prefer them, as do many - but not all.

It's all about finding the right mix for you - and you can't do that unless you've played the game as it was originally designed.
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