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Subject: Jimiminar and Friends Play Twilight Imperium: GAME 2 rss

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Jimiminar JD
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GAME 2 Match Report


GAME 2 arrived and with it welcomed two new players, Will and Steve to the table. Returning back to the galaxy was of course myself, Nathan, Gaz and GAME 1 winner Dan. The intention was to start fairly early at 10am like GAME 1 but unfortunately Nathan turned up an hour late for whatever reason (we all think he was still asleep) so naturally that was going to make him an early target.


Rules Setup
In between GAME 1 and this game I have picked up the Shattered Empire expansion. That being said I was quite keen to keep rule changes/additions to a minimum so we played with just the base game hexes and swapped out the Imperial I strategy card in favour for the Imperial II card.
The Imperial II card’s primary strategy will score you 1 point if you have control of Mecatol Rex instead of the 2 automatic points granted by Imperial I. The primary strategy also allows you to qualify for any number of public objectives instead of one normally. Alternatively to this you can choose option b and instead execute the secondary ability of one build at a space dock without spending a command counter (same sec ability as Imperial I).
Using the Imperial II card meant that we also played with the Age of Empire variant where the objective deck is built as normal but then the cards are dealt face up before the game starts until we draw the Imperium Rex card as the last card. We then have a turn marker which moves from one card to the next in the status phase until we hit the Imperium Rex which signals the game end and the most victory points takes it. The stage 1 objectives can be qualified for at any point and the stage 2 objectives qualified for after turn 3.
This means that the game will last between 7 and 10 turns.
We also made the 4 new races from the expansion available for selection.


Race Selection
Whilst waiting for Nathan to arrive the 5 of us went ahead and selected our races.
We decided the turn order for race and seating selection by a D10 roll and it just so happened that last game winner Dan also rolled highest to pick first.

Dan (yellow) finally selected the Emirates of Hacan after somehow managing to pick the Universities of Jol-Nar twice (We house-ruled the selection of a different race than the one you had in your previous game). So the Lion people came out again and we would have to deal with the master traders and the unbreakable trade agreements.

I selected the Naalu Collective (playing in blue) whose big racial power is that they always go first in the order of play - The number of their strategy card is always considered 0 (Becomes quite important later). The Naalu are the peaceful, conflict avoiding race which are also able to retreat immediately from a space battle - they do not have to endure at least one round of combat before being able to do so. And finally, if they are caught up in a space battle, they have +1 on their fighter combat rolls. Something of note is that only one of this race’s starting technologies is an ultimate prerequisite tech for War Sun - helpful.

Will playing in red draw the Sardakk N’Orr, another returning race from GAME 1 and they simply get +1 on all combat rolls.

Steve was playing in (evil) black and picked the L1Z1X Mindnet - the race I had in GAME 1. These guys get an extra starting counter in their strategy allocation and get a discount on dreadnought production. An aggressive race getting bonuses on attacking combat rolls and a little worrisome as Steve was my immediate neighbour to the right.

Gaz who played in purple again drew the first expansion race, the Winnu. His home system had a yellow tech speciality - the only one in the game plus the influence of his home system was always available for voting even if that planet card had been exhausted. The Winnu also has immunity to the Local Unrest action card provided he has some ground forces on the targeted planet. He also does not need to spend a command counter to execute the secondary ability of the Technology strategy.

Nathan (green) finally turned up and he drew another expansion race - the Clan of Saar - the Mole People. Their Space Docks are special in that they aren’t tied to a planet, always have a production capacity of 4 (before any other modifiers) and can move from system to system. Nathan’s race also gain a trade good when they claim a new planet and can still fulfill objectives even if he doesn’t have control of his home system - Useful as Nathan lost his last game.

My Secret Objective + Board Setup
We had already dealt out all of the system tiles ready to build the board before Nathan arrived so when he finally sat down at the table it was time to look at my secret objective. I had the Technocrat objective - I had to control at least 6 planets with a tech speciality. Looking at my system tiles I had a couple of tiles with these desired tech bonuses so it was important to place them close to my home system. Remembering the belt of empty space we built round Mecatol Rex, I put a planet with a tech speciality on my side of the ancient planet. I did my bit but there was still a fair few empty systems bordering Mecatol, obviously everyone wanting to keep the good planets close to themselves. Will placed one side of the Alpha wormhole next door to Mecatol and later put the other half next to his home system, allowing himself to quickly move to the center if he so wished.
Asteroids and a Supernova got placed to Steve’s left and right effectively creating 3 channels for him to branch out down. My race had the tech to travel through those asteroids so I wasn’t too flustered by the barrier Steve had tried to place. I placed a Nebula between myself and Will to my left as a makeshift barrier to his potential advances. Ships can move into a Nebula system but have to stop even if they can move further and then can only move 1 space out of the Nebula so really slows down fleet movement.
I placed a 2 planet system in front of my home system, both planets offering a tech bonus. Will placed a couple of systems nearby with planets offering tech bonus so it looked like I had 4 of the 6 planets relatively close. I would have to fight Will for a couple and then venture further to find the other 2. I was cautiously optimistic that my secret objective was within grasp.
The map was built, initial ships set up at our home systems, we were ready to begin.




Public Objectives
The objectives were dealt out visible to all players as per the Age of Empire variant:
I have controlled Mecatol Rex the entire Strategy Phase and Action Phase of this round - 1 point
I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
I now spend 10 resources - 1 point
I now spend 10 influence - 1 point
I have Technology Advances in all 4 colors - 1 point

I now spend 20 resources - 2 points
Domination! - I control all the planets in the Home Systems of two other players - I WIN THE GAME
Supremacy! - I control 18 planets outside my Home System - I WIN THE GAME
Imperium Rex - GAME OVER



The Game

Turn 1:
Not many surprises in the first turn, most of us move ships to a neighbouring system and claim valuable planets and the spending power they provide. We all build at our space docks after emptying our home systems and Dan and Gaz manage to move out into two adjacent systems and already the frontline between their two forces begins to form. Possibly the boldest (but also sensible) move comes from Will who took the Warfare strategy to first move to an adjacent system to him that contained the alpha wormhole, execute the primary ability of Warfare to remove the command counter and then jump his fleet through the wormhole to come out by Mecatol Rex and in front of Nathan.



After Turn 1:
Nobody qualified for any objectives after turn 1 so everyone was on 0 points, all to play for.


Turn 2:

Steve, clearly unimpressed with Will’s move towards Mecatol Rex plays an Action Card at the start of the turn preventing Will from activating Mecatol Rex and thus making a claim for it whilst he puts his dreadnought production into high gear. Having his original plan blocked, Will moves back and claims some planets close to Nathan. I myself, move pretty much my entire fleet left to claim a planet with the much needed tech speciality to help satisfy a public objective and move closer to my secret objective whilst Steve leapfrogs his cruiser fleet in his home system over a system he claimed earlier to move within a step of Mecatol Rex.




After Turn 2:

Dan 1 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Gaz 1 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
Jonny 1 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
Will 0
Steve 0
Nathan 0

Turn 3:
Turn 3 sees the first big conflict of the game with Dan moving into one of Nathan’s systems and triggering a space battle. Nathan had a skeleton force on the planets and Dan is able to claim one of the two planets (he only brought one ground force) without any real drama. Moments before Nathan launched a surprise attack through the asteroid field into a system next to Will’s home system. Whilst the two have not directly fought they both feel that the other has encroached into their respective territories - war is only a step away surely. I needed control of some of the planets around Will so I was quite happy that Nathan was starting to mix it up with Will - if it could divert his attention long enough, I could get a foothold in his territory.
Meanwhile Steve becomes the first to land a force on Mecatol Rex and claim the hallowed planet card. I move a fleet into the system that is next to Mecatol Rex in front of me to claim another planet with a tech speciality.
Will takes the fleet in his home system and hits back against Nathan’s invading forces for the first proper space battle. Nathan rolls terribly (and will continue to do so all day) and it’s a bloodbath with Nathan’s fleet being wiped out except for a solitary ground force remaining on a planet.
Gaz claims a couple more planets in the void between him and Dan and builds a second space dock as does Dan.



After Turn 3:
Gaz 2 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Dan 2 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
Jonny 2 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Nathan 1 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Steve 1 - Imperial II (The Ancient Throne) - 1 point
Will 0

Turn 4:
With Will moving left towards Nathan, I find some courage and move onto the alpha wormhole system where Will only has the 1 PDS in the entire system. I have no interest in the wormhole or Will for that matter but the numbers I move make it look pretty aggressive. I claim the planet and its tech speciality.
Nathan builds a high number of ships to replace those that he lost against Will.
Steve moves a ton of ships into the Mecatol Rex, perhaps fearing an attack from me but I didn’t feel I quite had the numbers to launch an assault. It is a valid move and it will allow Steve to claim the “hold Mecatol Rex for an entire turn” objective.
Gaz moves a massive fleet into Steve’s rightmost system, which with Steve’s priority being Mecatol, is largely undefended. Gaz claims the system and the two planets and tries to claim “it’s not an aggressive move” - We all find it very hard to believe. Not that I’m complaining. Steve’s combat hungry robots could do with bothering someone other than me and there was some vague promise of a ceasefire between me and Steve for a few turns. I had left my home system undefended and Steve could have easily moved left and give me some serious problems. Luckily, Gaz made him change his mind it seems.
Having got a taste for blood, Will moves against Nathan’s system directly in front of his home system. With Dan moving on his right, it’s already looking a little claustrophobic for Nathan. Will was perhaps a little foolhardy taking a much smaller force against Nathan’s armada but he fought well, or rather Nathan rolled terribly and he punched a fairly big hole in his fleet before losing all his ships.
Dan made the claim that he was going to retreat from Nathan’s system after invading which strangely Nathan believed. I think Nathan finally came to the realisation that Dan wasn’t going anywhere after he built a Space Dock on his doorstep.
After Steve vacated a system to move everything into Mecatol Rex, Gaz spotted a chink in Steve’s armour and sent a couple of Cruisers outfitted with stasis capsules carrying a ground force to claim the planet that Steve left behind. Again, not aggressive everybody…
Nathan and Will continued to butt heads with Nathan offended by Will’s advancement and he moves into Will’s system but is only able to claim one of the two planets there.



After Turn 4:
Jonny 3 - I have Technology Advances in all 4 colors - 1 point
Gaz 3 - I have Technology Advances in all 4 colors - 1 point
Steve 3 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point, I have controlled Mecatol Rex the entire Strategy Phase and Action Phase of this round - 1 point
Dan 2
Will 1 - I now spend 10 influence - 1 point
Nathan 1

Turn 5:

Turn 5 started with a bang. Dan makes a move on Nathan’s home system cueing flashbacks to GAME 1 where Dan had the secret objective to claim another player’s home system. There is of course the stage 2 public objective to claim home systems of two players for all to see. It’s an automatic win but it seems pretty tough (Note: Dan managed it in GAME 1!). Nathan continued to roll poorly and loses 1 of his 2 home rocks (they’re not planets!).
Steve counters Gaz’s cruiser thrust with his own Cruiser movement to claim his planet that lied between Gaz and Dan.
With the continuing fall of Nathan, I sense my best chance to claim another planet with a tech speciality is to be the planet that Will and Nathan have been fighting over but is now completely empty and undefended. To this end, I move my fleet through the wormhole to move towards this planet. Unfortunately this fleet is very small and crucially the carrier within does not have any ground forces aboard - I think of moving in and following up with the required ships to claim the system. In that same system Nathan builds a new space dock in an attempt to prolong his survival.
I also move my Dreadnoughts through my column of systems readying to make a move on Steve’s Mecatol with which he takes Imperial II to score another point off.



After Turn 5:
Gaz 4 - I now spend 10 influence - 1 point
Steve 4 - Imperial II (The Ancient Throne) - 1 point
Jonny 3
Dan 2
Will 1
Nathan 1

Turn 6:
We all had to draw breath after a frenetic turn 5 and luckily we had previously agreed to take a long break for some food. Returning to the table and Dan, who is seemingly insulted by Nathan’s continued existence, attacks Nathan’s last refuge from what was his home system and Dan’s own system with his War Sun. Nathan rolls more bad dice but the sheer power and numbers of Dan’s forces are no match and Nathan is running for his life again.
I was readying my fleet for a strike at Mecatol Rex when Steve vacates the galactic center and moves to take the planet that Gaz pinched earlier. Gaz didn’t commit that many to taking that planet and they easily succumb to Steve’s greater number and I follow up immediately with a move into Mecatol Rex. I complete the takeover but then shudder in the realisation that Steve took Warfare and the thought raced through my head that he would strike back at Mecatol now that I’ve thinned my numbers - I held my breath.
Nathan had taken the political strategy a couple of times in the game and did so again this turn and we had to vote for and against his policy. If we voted for, then everyone would gain 2 points, if we voted against then everyone would lose 1. With Dan clearing out Nathan’s system and him maneuvering to do the same to Gaz I suggested to vote against. The votes were close but it rested with the speaker Gaz to cast his deciding votes and he voted For so we all moved up 2 points.
As predicted, Steve removed the counter from the system he moved from Mecatol to. I was expecting Steve to activate Rex on his next action so I moved some forces up expecting to hit back next turn. To my great surprise (and relief) Steve activated the system immediately to the right of his home system where Gaz had a considerable force. the fight was long but Steve came out victorious and then went about landing forces on the two planets. He claimed one planet but the other was left with just one of Gaz’s ground forces intact.
Meanwhile Dan moved his dreadnought fleet onto Gaz’s borders and Nathan tried to rally for the umpteenth time, building at his space dock. Quite a few players had by this time researched the War Sun technology but only Dan had built one at this time. A fact that Will was one of these players slipped my mind and scared me when he constructed his War Sun at his Home System. I hadn’t done much tech research and messed up not taking the strategy when it was available a few turns ago so I had conceded that I wouldn’t get my own War Sun this game. Seeing Will’s War Sun could make things very tricky for me, in particular holding this key tech speciality planets in between me and Will.
Steve still had the fleet beside Mecatol Rex available to move and again he went for Gaz again. He had scored the public objective with Mecatol so I guess he was happy to let it go. His fleet moved 2 and bombarded the system containing the majority of Gaz’s remaining forces. The space battle was more equal but Steve prevailed just and managed to claim the two planets for his own. With Dan also bearing down on Gaz, things suddenly did not look good at all for him.



After Turn 6:
Steve 6
Gaz 6
Jonny 5
Dan 4
Will 3
Nathan 3

Turn 7:

Nathan took the Initiative Strategy to go first (after me of course) and played an Action card to prevent Dan from activating the system and claiming his late home system planet. Will had decided that I had been sitting in “his territory” for too long and moved his War Sun and dreadnoughts my way to rather annoyingly claim a tech speciality planet that I was really banking on. Unfortunately I couldn’t do much about Will’s might and promptly lost the system. I was intending to move on two systems to take the 2 extra tech speciality planets and claim my secret objective this turn but Will’s move had knocked me back some.
Undeterred, I moved on the system directly in front of Nathan’s home system. It was once occupied by Nathan’s forces but now Dan’s fleet sat there. I made the move under the guise that I needed to prevent Dan from claiming two home systems and therefore winning the game. It was half true and whilst I managed to destroy Dan’s ships, my invading ground forces were resisted by Dan’s troops.
The other system sat in front of Steve and was possibly even riskier but I felt the timing was now. Thanks to the starting Antimass Deflector tech I was able to do a sneak attack through the asteroid field and move into the near empty system now that Steve had migrated most of his fleets towards Gaz’s home. The system had two planets but I was only interested in the one planet and was able to claim the planet granting me one more tech speciality planet. By this time, other players had started to spot my targetted offenses and theorised I was after blue tech planets. Not strictly true so I was happy to let them keep thinking this.
Speaking of Steve’s fleet and next move he went to attack Gaz’s home system. Somehow Gaz’s homeworld had resisted but when Steve’s fleet couldn’t all fit on the hex, the future didn’t look good.



After Turn 7:
Steve 7 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Gaz 7 - I now spend 10 resources - 1 point
Jonny 6 - I now spend 10 resources - 1 point
Dan 4
Will 3
Nathan 3

Turn 8:

After failing to take the system in front of Nathan I consolidated my forces at Mecatol Rex and having taken Imperial II, fully expected to score a point from it. Dan moved on the other planet in Nathan’s home system and with the power of the War Sun, claimed it without exerting much effort - Nathan at this point reduced to controlling just two planets. With this move Dan had Nathan’s home system and with him bearing down on Gaz’s it looked like he was set to win GAME 2 as well.
I perhaps should have used the Imperial II strategy on my first go to score the point because Will moved his War Sun fleet to Mecatol Rex. Somehow my guys hung on and took down the massive War Sun. My fleet was reduced to a single dreadnought and one ground force on the planet but I would be scoring Imperial II next time, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Steve who had been sitting on the War Sun tech for some time now built his first War Sun at his home system and regretted not moving in to Gaz’s territory with it sooner.
Dan now moved his other War Sun fleet into Gaz’s home system and thanks to being weakened with an earlier battle with Steve, he was not able to hold them back. Dan now had the Domination! objective all secured if he could hold on to the end of the round.
Thanks to Will driving at Mecatol Rex, he had emptied the system with a blue tech planet that I held early but lost to his War Sun fleet a few turns ago. With just a dreadnought and no ground forces in the system, I double downed on the system and claimed what was my 6th tech speciality planet.
Because one of my racial powers is to always be first in the order of play, this would mean that I would qualify for objectives first. The other guys realised this too and desperately looked to see what they could do to take blue tech planets off me (they still believed that was my secret objective).
Will took a big force into the system I had just plundered and while my fleet couldn’t withstand him, he had no ground forces with which to take back my prized planet.
Steve launched a desperate attack on Mecatol but my one ship fleet resisted. Gaz followed up with a lone cruiser and with that I lost the fleet but maintained control of the planet.
Dan followed up with a fleet and took the planet card from me but was too far away to affect the planets I needed for the objective.



Both Will and Steve built on the last turn, presumably for poops and giggles.
Then came the Status Phase and I revealed my secret objective and then also scored a public objective and thanks to the earlier Imperial II card, I scored 4 points in the turn to jump from 6 to 10 and victory!

After Turn 8: Final Score.
Jonny - 10 - Imperial II (The Ancient Throne) - 1 point, Technocrat - I control at least 6 planets with a technology speciality - 2 points, I now spend 10 influence - 1 point
Gaz - 7
Steve - 7
Dan - 4
Will - 4
Nathan - 3

Other player’s secret objectives
Dan and Gaz had guessed that Steve had the secret objective Conqueror - I control all the planets in another player’s Home System - 2 points and Steve made the attempt on Gaz but was ultimately beaten to it by Dan.

Dan had the Industrial - I control Mecatol Rex, and I have all 3 of my Space Docks and all 5 of my Dreadnoughts on the board - 2 points objective and whilst he did manage to build all 3 space docks and all 5 dreadnoughts, he didn’t move on Mecatol Rex until very late as he preferred the Domination objective for the outright win versus points.

Gaz had the Focused - I control at least 4 planets of the same technology speciality - 2 points objective and his best shot was to cut across Dan and fight him for some of the planets in front of him but being attacked on both sides by Dan and Steve meant he ended the game in a similar way to Nathan.

Will had the Master of Ships - I control Mecatol Rex, I have a Space Dock here, and at least 8 (non-Fighter) ships in the Mecatol Rex system - 2 points objective and even his War Sun couldn’t wrestle me off Mecatol Rex when he came to push. That knocked him back quite a bit and he didn’t have enough time to recover.

Nathan had the Usurper - I control Mecatol Rex; I have a Space Dock and at least 6 Ground Forces here - 2 points objective but he never really got going and spent a lot of the game desperately trying to avoid complete elimination.

Conclusions
Many players of TI have moaned about the Imperial I card being busted and I feel that our game trying Imperial II was much better, and I’m not just saying that having won it
The game may just have been better as most of us had played before and so were more comfortable with the pace and machinations of the game or it may have been the strategy mixup due to the Imperial II card. It’s difficult to say ultimately but the strategy selection became closer to a more traditional worker placement where it proves valuable and ofttimes essential to take first player just to set you up for the following turn(s). This was very apparent with Nathan wanting to take Diplomacy to prevent invasion for several turns but was unable to as he was so far round from the speaker.
From now on we’ll play with the Imperial II card, there’s no real drive to revert back, I think Imperial II offers a better flow in the game. the long term aim is to introduce a few of the optional rules, give them a try and either chuck ‘em out or keep them for further consideration. The alternative set of strategy cards that came with the Shattered Empire expansion will eventually get a run out too.
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Starkiller
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Excellent Session report!
Having labeled pictures really helps. The arrows and moves (Ninja! Ninja back!) were terrific. Kudos for the work you put into this! One of the better session reports I've seen in a while.

One small suggestion...in the pictures, I would label the players name/race next to their home system, unless you mentioned their name next to moves.
Meaning: in the first picture (starting setup) you wrote down "Steve's 3 Corridors of Attack." This is great-but I had to scroll back up to race selection to see who the other 5 players were. (Remember, I wasn't there and don't actually know who was who.) Just a small thing to make a great report even better.

Again, great job!
 
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Jimiminar JD
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Cheers for the feedback

I primarily wrote it for my gaming group so used people's names versus blue player, red player etc but I agree with your thoughts and will try something for GAME 3 which we're planning to play in the next couple of weeks
 
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Bryan Nelson
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Ladner
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Great report! I really enjoyed reading it and the level of detail. Your thoughts and tactical objective throughout makes an interesting read, and the pictures are really helpful to keep track of the action, though I'll echo akinfantryman and say names/races more clearly identified on them would further clarify things

Congrats on your win! I'm really jealous you're getting to play as much TI as you are. Friends and I are going to play in a couple weeks, and it's our first game in a year.
 
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Jimiminar JD
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Cheers for the feedback
I'm trying to keep momentum up with the frequency of the games but it is very new for me and my group so it will hopefully ease back into a game every 1/2 months which would be great.
 
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