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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Jimiminar and Friends Play Twilight Imperium: GAME 1 rss

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Jimiminar JD
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GAME 1 Match Report

On an overcast Saturday, 6 individuals came together to participate in a game of Twilight Imperium. The first game for everyone here. Hopes were high and everyone had familiarised themselves with the rules and were keen to get down to it.

Race Selection

The players were led into the amphitheatre (or conservatory if you’d prefer) and the 10 home-system hexes welcomed them. A quick shuffle to convince others that I had not fiddled with them and then we all drew off the top of the resulting deck.

Dan drew the Universities of Jol-Nar and was playing black. Dan’s race were handicapped on their combat rolls but have the ability of executing the primary ability of the Tech strategy when they execute the secondary ability - effectively buy one get one free for technologies.

Nathan drew the Xxcha Kingdom and was playing green. His race gave a penalty to attacker’s combat rolls, could execute the primary ability of the diplomacy strategy without taking the strategy so could force allies much easier and also veto political cards.

Jon drew the Sardakk N’Orr and was playing red. These guys simply have a +1 to combat rolls across the board.

Iestyn drew the cat people, the Emirates of Hacan, and played yellow. This is the trader race meaning that except for war, no one could break trade agreements with him. He also got an extra trade good from trade agreements and his trades did not require approval from the person that took the Trade strategy.

Gaz drew the Mentak Coalition - our purple pirates of the galaxy. Gaz’s race are able to steal trade goods from two other players if they have 3 or more trade goods. Plus two of his cruisers/destroyers are able to pre-emptively fire before space battles and receive no return fire.

And I (Jonny) selected the L1Z1X Mindnet and would be playing in blue. My race are more aggressive with a +1 to combat rolls for Dreadnoughts and ground forces. My dreadnoughts are cheaper than others and I get an extra counter in Strategy allocation to start the game off.

Secret Objectives

The objective deck was built and with that a secret objective card was dealt to each player.
I received the “Master of Gates” card worth 2 points. To achieve the objective I would have to have ships in each system that had a wormhole. Now the difficulty of this objective is directly dependent on the board layout, and it is possible that one, or even both, wormholes could not be connected, as we’ll see later.

Board Setup

After removing two tiles as per the 6 player rules, the system hexes were dealt out. I had been given the speaker token so it was me to start so I played an empty hex in front of Gaz who was sitting opposite me. Going round and seemingly everyone else played an empty hex too. An asteroid field was played in front of Jon to my left and a Alpha and Beta wormhole hex were played in front of Nathan and Dan, who were round the table to the right of me. Continuing round and therefore everyone had to play hexes with a planet on and so there was a chunk of empty space around Mecatol Rex and planets generally in front of us. Dan also played the other Alpha wormhole hex in front of him next to the other wormhole hex which meant I would have to cross Nathan’s space to achieve that part of the objective. The planet hexes came out with a strange bias towards me and Nathan, almost as if it was an unlevel pool table and all the pool balls had rolled down to our side. Iestyn placed the second asteroid field between himself and Jon to create a narrow corridor between them and I played the Supernova hex between myself and Nathan. After the board was completed, the players took a moment to weigh in the scale of the game and the gravity of the situation that lay before them. Iestyn already looked dejected on achieving his secret objective, whilst mine was made a tiny bit easier with the other Beta wormhole hex not appearing on the board. All I had to do is skip past Nathan and set up temporary camp right in front of Dan, no problem, erm...

The Game

Starting with myself, we fell into the accepted pattern of the speaker picking the Imperial strategy for the easy 2 points and then the next player picking the Initiative strategy so they can pick Imperial next time. The Imperial strategy is in there to drive the game forward. Playing it reveals the next public objective and within the stage 2 objectives lies the Imperium Rex card which immediately ends the game. Therefore the game should end at least between turns 7 and 10 (Could it be won faster? Doubt it) and if you think of a turn lasting approximately an hour, you quickly get an idea of the undertaking.
So the first couple of turns saw us all venture out from our home systems and claim the planets around us. There was some light intimidation from the other players that they would need to come and claim the planets that were next to Nathan and myself but it never really transpired. I looked to capitalise on my racial ability and concentrated on building dreadnoughts. Gaz by the same token was building Cruisers.
An early public objective revealed was to build all 3 space docks for a point which most started working towards but I, strangely, waited a long time to build my 2nd space dock.
A couple of turns in I opted for the Political strategy as I quite liked the sound of laws and elected players adding rules that will most likely stay for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately I drew the Wormhole construction card which if voted for would mean that all wormhole hexes (Alpha and Bravo) would be treated as adjacent. With the Beta wormhole not being connected and the Alpha wormhole already been adjacent, it was a wasted strategy.

With there being a wealth of planets between me and Nathan, it was surely only a matter of time before we would butt heads. I made an early push right into what was arguably Nathan’s territory and claimed 2 planets on a hex. Unfortunately I didn’t take much in the way of protection of that scouting party and Nathan hit back. I pushed back a turn or two later and managed to push a carrier deeper into his territory but soon lost the carrier. Oddly, I had claimed the solitary planet in that system and Nathan left it alone for the remainder of the game.

Meanwhile Jon and Iestyn were playing super best friends being quite comfortable to not move towards each other at all. Jon, on the other hand, had claimed the planets in between myself and him and was threatening to get his elbows out and perhaps swipe across to claim planets. I strengthened my numbers on my border to the left and we seemed to reach an edgy stalemate. Iestyn had by now claimed the two systems in front of him and seemed content to slowly build forces up but not stray into the void of deep space between him and Mecatol Rex.
Dan made great trade agreements early on and was soon flooded with trade goods which combined with his racial ability to buy one tech get one free, he had started to delve deep into the tech tree. I implored others to take the Trade strategy card and break all trade agreements to try and limit his progress but didn’t want to do it myself with my turn. Technology was also a problem and everyone’s desire to develop technologies that will eventually unlock the brutal War Sun meant that Dan built up his tech twice as fast as everyone else and pretty soon he had the illustrious War Sun tech.
Meanwhile Gaz was not enjoying holding Dan at bay and the two exchanged PDS fire but no space battle yet. Gaz continued to build Cruisers and made a dash to claim Mecatol Rex stunning the other players. We all suspected he had a Mecatol Rex-related objective. Luckily for myself, I had no interest in the old heart of the galaxy but I would have to get close.
The turn after revealed a public objective for holding Mecatol Rex for a whole turn, which it looked like Gaz would achieve comfortably. The rest of us were just too far away and Gaz spent the turn increasing the number of ships around the planet and also adding a space dock.

Dan had built his first War Sun by this time and he had a good lead. It looked like it was his to lose. I tried to encourage Dan to move in on Nathan and also for Nathan to relocate forces to his border with Dan to give me some breathing room and perhaps a route through to the wormholes. Jon was building his forces on the other side of the asteroid field to Mecatol Rex. He had researched the technology to allow his ships to pass through the field but I felt uneasy with him being so close and how I could not really afford to fight a war on two fronts as the cliche goes. I had moved some of my cruisers into the void of space that ringed Mecatol Rex and that made some uneasy, especially Gaz. Iestyn asked more than once (only twice I think) if there was a way to get a new secret objective. He had still not gone beyond his three systems and seemed to content to stay there and enjoyed absolutely no pressure from his neighbours Jon and Gaz.

At this point, Nathan was finishing being first player having enjoyed scoring two points off the Imperial strategy when he played an action card in the next Strategy phase that blocked the selection of the Initiative strategy. This meant he would be speaker for a 2nd consecutive round and would be able to take Imperial again. A card that only made sense with him being first player and later it was revealed he had picked up that card in only the previous round.
At this point, there were three people tied for the lead with four points. Jon and I were on 3 points and Nathan was on 1 point but the timely action card meant he would close the gap and catch up.

By now Jon’s forces on the other side of the asteroid field could barely fit on the hex leaving him to literally stack his dreadnoughts - it was not going to be pretty but he had revealed that there was little gain from attacking me and his target was Mecatol Rex. Nathan’s forces had dropped back allowing me to move round the side of Mecatol Rex to the surprise of Gaz but it was immediately clear that I had the wormholes secret objective especially as I repeated to others that I was not interested in Mecatol Rex in the hope of avoiding conflict - a definite trend in our game. Nathan had also got to the War Sun tech by this time, I feared the worst but Nathan moved it towards Dan and had their moon-sized battle stations stare each other down.
I moved a lone cruiser to the first alpha wormhole hex but was not looking forward to pushing into the next hex with Planetary Defense Systems from the three bordering systems bearing down on any effort I made. It seemed futile for my race of sentient machines but I held on to a small glimmer of chucking ships in - I only needed to have control for a single turn to claim my Keeper of Gates objective.

It was at this point that Dan pulled the trigger and thrust his second War Sun deep into Gaz’s territory - all the way to his home system in fact which was largely undefended. Even if it was defended the War Sun was accompanied with a massive squadron of fighters, now capable of independent movement, and anyone would eventually succumb to the greater firepower. Dan claimed Gaz’s home planet but as he had other planets and ships he wasn’t eliminated but it also meant he couldn’t qualify for any more objectives - a major blow!
Dan claimed his secret objective at the end of that turn - to have control of all the planets in another player’s home system and with a public objective of having at least 9 tech advances, he rocketed up to 9 points. The rest of us were a step back on 5-6 points but it appeared inevitable. There were other objectives of spending X resources or trade goods which Dan could easily qualify for plus the looming threat of the Imperium Rex meant the game end was clearly in sight.

Seeing that it was impossible to claim my secret objective, especially now that Dan had gone and moved ships into the other alpha wormhole system, I decided to turn my attention to Mecatol Rex. Iestyn came alive and was empowered to be the vanguard before my assault. Unfortunately dice rolls meant not much luck for Iestyn with his fleet being decimated. He inflicted some casualties on Gaz but didn’t punch as big a hole as he was hoping. I was committed anyway after convincing Nathan to let me make my attack rather than attacking from the rear. I managed to destroy the ships orbiting Mecatol Rex and attempted a hostile invasion of the planet. Along with bolstering his ships after taking the planet, Gaz was wise to increase the number of ground forces and they managed to defeat my invaders.

With the final status phase, Iestyn claimed one last objective to move into 2nd place with 7 points. I had built my ninth tech which would have allowed me to claim another 2 points but I went after Dan and so he claimed his tenth point signalling the immediate game end.

Final standings:
Dan - 10
Iestyn -7
Jonny - 6
Jon, Gaz, Nathan - 5

The other Secret objectives

Dan’s was the only secret objective to be revealed although everyone knew mine by the end following my fleet movements. Gaz had to control Mecatol Rex, have a space dock and have 2 techs in each of the four colours - and he wasn’t far off and rightly got a little concerned with me and Iestyn making a late push. Jon had a similar objective, except have eight ground forces on Mecatol Rex which he will admit he was a little too cautious during the game and regrets not making a move earlier. Nathan had to destroy a player’s last space dock - a pretty tough one considering the “build all three space docks” objective was out, so it would mean he would have to push deep into enemy territory to do so. Iestyn had to claim 4 planets that had the same coloured tech speciality, a very difficult one based on where he started. For the record I managed to claim three planets with a red tech speciality without really aiming for it.

Final thoughts and conclusions

Dan in the end won comfortably and he made best use of his racial abilities which we were very slow to come to terms with, and ineffective to stop after he gained the momentum. Personally, I went straight for dreadnoughts and some horrible space battles made me wish that I gave fighters, and the carriers to support them, the respect they deserve and to see their value a lot earlier.
It was fascinating to see all the empty space round Mecatol Rex and it actually proved a deterrent to moving close to Mecatol Rex and in the future, it may prove better to place a planet system to provide a “stepping stone” to the center. Overall, a lot of fun and can easily guarantee the next game will go completely differently
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Jeremy Davis
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Corona
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maybe i missed it but how long did the game take
 
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Jimiminar JD
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This game clocked in around 10 hours but that includes a nice long break for lunch and tea breaks pretty much after every status phase.
 
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Justin Rio
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Bellevue
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Honestly, sounds like a good game for an all-new 6-player game. With a bunch of new players, Jol-Nar tends to win, from my and my friends' experience. But they aren't broken, don't take that away from my statement. It's just that new players don't know very well how to counter Jol-Nar's tech advances, so techs seem awesome.
It also isn't very hard to figure out how to work Jol-Nar's racial advantages. Even yours, the +1 dreadnaughts, seems simple but you didn't know to give the ships support via carriers and fighters. So it's a real double advantage when you are the first person at the table who understands how to use their racial ability to it's fullest, and no one knows how to minimize that advantage.

Did you use any player aides?
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Jimiminar JD
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Yeah by the time we saw Jol-Nar running away with all the tech it was too late to stop it.
I had some tech trees pinned up and some brought their own tech tree and strategy card printouts, and of course the tome of a rulebook on hand.

We played GAME 2 at the weekend which I will be posting very soon
 
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