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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Jimiminar and Friends play Twilight Imperium: GAME 3 rss

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Jimiminar JD
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GAME 3 Match Report
(Following feedback from GAME 2's match report, I'm adding some colour to aid following the game, let me know if it helps or not )

Due to some scheduling issues, a full 6 player game could not be arranged for GAME 3. Instead three of us were able to confirm our seats and take the opportunity to try out some of the optional rules.


Rules Setup
Following GAME 2, we would be playing with the base strategy cards and swapping in Imperial II and making the four races from Shattered Empire available for selection.
We would be trying out the Distant Suns optional rules. This entails placing a face-down counter on each non-Home system planet but not Mecatol Rex. If we intended to invade a neutral planet we would have to state how many ground forces we would take down to the planet and then flip the counter and resolve it immediately.
Now some counters will have good effects, some will be bad. A lot of counters resolve to nothing happens whilst others may gift you trade goods, or even a free tech or space dock. Bad stuff include discovering the planet is irradiated and all invading ground forces are wiped out, or there are hostile locals waiting for your troops.
Also there are a couple neutral-ish counters. Some that open up new wormholes, settlers which might give you or your opponent free ground forces on that planet and then the Lazax survivors counter which gives extra votes when resolved, gives 1 victory point and action cards when probed and really nasty stuff when razed.
It is possible to probe these Distant Suns counters. Instead of invading with ground forces you can peek at the counters to see what you could be facing, provided you have at least one fighter in the system. You cannot then invade on the same activation - you would have to wait for the next activation to invade which is normally the next turn.
Another option is to raze the planet(s) with a Distant Suns counter on therefore destroying the counter out right, paving the way to invade without any drama. To do this, you will need a ship capable of bombardment (Dreadnought, War Sun) and if you choose to do so, you will need to roll a die as laying waste to an entire planet is not going to be popular. Roll high and it will cost you action cards and even force you to exhaust all planet cards.
Also note that we only used the Distant Suns counters from the base game.

Race Selection
I draw first and I got the expansion race The Embers of Muaat and opted to play in red. The big thing about these guys is that they start with a War Sun, although it only has a movement of 1 until the Deep Space Cannon tech is researched. I can also pay one counter from my strategy allocation to spawn two fighters/one destroyer in a system occupied by a War Sun or Space Dock. I can also move through Supernova systems but cannot end my turn in one.
Race-Specific Tech: Magnus Reactor (Cost 5 Resources): When researched it adds +1 to War Sun movement (potential max:3!) and makes War Suns cheaper to produce.

Gaz selected the Yssaril Tribes and would be playing in green. He would be drawing an extra action card during the status phase and ignores the 7 card hand limit. He can also look at someone else’s action cards once every strategy phase and he had the option to skip an action during the action phase. Also of note is that his race start with the tech that increases a carrier’s movement to 2.
Race-Specific Tech: Shuttle Logistics (Cost 3 Resources): This would allow Gaz to move ground forces within the same system or to an adjacent one for free provided there are no enemy ships about. A little handy.

Nathan drew the Universities of Jol-Nar and would be playing in purple. We had met the tech-centric race in an earlier game and they ended up going deep down into the tech tree and became an unbeatable force. To recap: when Nathan executes the secondary ability of the Tech strategy, he can execute the primary ability as well (buy one get one free). He can spend a command counter to force a reroll but also receives -1 on all his combat rolls.
Race-Specifc Tech: Spatial Conduit Network (Cost 6 Resources) - When built, this will allow Nathan to move a fleet between distant systems effectively treating them as adjacent once per turn - nice.

My Secret Objective + Board Setup
I had the Focused - I control at least 4 planets of the same technology speciality and looking at the tiles I drew, I had three planets with the green tech speciality. I naturally would be keeping them close to my home system and would just have to see where other green tech planets come out on the board.
Now, the board layout is a little different for three players, forming a kind of triangle shape. Nothing too remarkable about how we built the map, Gaz placed two speical systems to narrow our efforts against him. I was hanging onto a hex with one end of the alpha wormhole and there was a chance of it being placed next to Gaz but instead Nathan took that position and I placed it near me. The other end had been placed by Nathan but was only a couple systems away so the wormhole itself wasn’t that impressive of a shortcut.



After the map was built, there was actually one only more green tech planet and unfortunately it was right next to Gaz. Looks like I would be mixing it up with him at some point...

Public Objectives
The objectives were dealt out visible to all players as per the Age of Empire variant:
I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
I now spend 10 resources - 1 point
I control 5 planets outside my Home System - 1 point
All three of my Space Docks are on the board - 1 point
I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color - 1 point

I control 10 planets outside my Home System - 2 points
I now spend 12 Trade Goods - 2 points
I have at least 9 Technology Advances - 2 points
Imperium Rex - GAME OVER




The Game:

Turn 1
There were no “I WIN THE GAME” objectives so it would be a straight shootout to 10 points and I felt quite confident on scoring my secret objective. Nathan’s tech race would be able to secure the tech-related objectives before me and Gaz so as soon as Jol-Nar was drawn, the challenge was thrown down on working out how to beat those guys. Even though I didn’t have a Mecatol Rex related objective, I decided to head straight there, get my elbows out and intimidate the others with my War Sun. To that end I took Warfare and moved my War Sun fleet up one system, probed the two planets - both were good, in fact, one granted me a free space dock, and then later in the turn played Warfare to remove that counter and move the War Sun fleet up again leaving me one step away from Mecatol. This time I chanced it and razed the planet and claimed it.
Both Nathan and Gaz were also cautious, opting to probe the neighbouring planets and Gaz concentrated on building his race’s super-carriers.
I took Technology as my second strategy card and opted for a yellow tech to qualify for the I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color objective rather than working towards Deep Space Cannons which would bring my War Suns upto full power. Predictably everyone moved fleets out of their home system and built new ships in the freshly emptied systems.



Turn 1 Scoring:

Jonny - 1 - I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color - 1 point
Gaz - 0
Nathan - 0

Turn 2
Unsurprisingly to all I took the Imperial II strategy and moved my War Sun fleet onto Mecatol and scored the point in a later turn. Gaz built more and more carriers and like Nathan was starting to claim the surrounding planets. I took the carrier fleet I built last turn and claimed the two planets I had probed last turn to claim their cards and a free space dock - I now had 2 of my 3 space docks built for the objective.
Gaz was not having much luck and seemingly all the Distant Suns counters he probed were red. Luckily he did probe so he knew how many ground forces to commit, coming up against irradiated planets and biohazards but then also discovering a new wormhole. It was for the alpha wormhole and made a clear path between me and Gaz. It was good in one respect in that it linked directly to the 4th green tech planet that I needed - what luck! But having not built any other ships other than carriers and fighters I was feeling a little undefended on that newly formed flank.



Turn 2 Scoring:

Jonny - 2 - Imperial II (The Ancient Throne) - 1 point
Gaz - 1 - I now spend 6 Trade Goods - 1 point
Nathan - 1 - I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color - 1 point

Turn 3
To block me scoring Mecatol Rex again, Nathan takes the Imperial II strategy and strangely I don’t take Initiative and instead take Trade. Gaz takes Initiative so that he can prevent me taking Imperial the next time - interestingly dropping into the rhythm of taking Initiative so you can take Imperial the next turn. Seeing as I didn’t actually need Mecatol for my objective I was quite happy to let it go if the guys came for it. To satisfy the public objective, I built my 3rd and final Space Dock on the Capitol. Now that the surrounding planets had all been probed in previous turns, these planets could then be claimed and this was done by all players.
I moved into the system with one end of the wormhole but opted to probe instead - my plan was to build a force to take through the wormhole but I didn’t want to waste any unnecessary ground forces by hastily taking the planet.



Turn 3 Scoring
Jonny - 3 - All three of my Space Docks are on the board - 1 point
Gaz - 2 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
Nathan - 2 - I control 5 planets outside my Home System - 1 point

Turn 4
With first pick, Gaz took Imperial II from me - it was a shame I didn’t have a Mecatol Rex related strategy, I wasn’t being threatened at all.
There was a tech planet next to Mecatol and I can see Nathan gearing up to move into the system so I take a gamble and take my War Sun and move to claim it before he does. I don’t believe I can afford to probe and wait and not liking the gamble of invading and turning over a horrible red token, I choose to raze the planet and unfortunately roll a 10 which means I have to discard 3 (effectively all) of my action cards and exhaust all my planet cards - very rough considering I haven’t built any ships yet.
The following turn, Nathan moves in his dreadnought fleet and the sheer numbers of his fleet means I will probably lose out. True to form, Nathan rolls dismally and somehow I manage to wipe out his advance with a damaged War Sun on its side.

Gaz continues to expand, quietly builds his third Space Dock and reveals a beta wormhole token and thus the wormhole becomes active. The other end of the beta wormhole is close to Nathan, he might get in the mix.



And then comes scoring. A status phase to go down in history. Both me and Nathan score an objective for 1 and 2 points respectively. Gaz, who took the Imperial II strategy, is able to qualify for any number of objectives and he announces “stop me if I can’t do this” and then proceeds to qualify for objective after objective - 5 objectives in total!
My face turned to horror. At first, I couldn’t help but think that this was it, the game was over, he’s scored enough points to catapult him to 10! Gaz had scored 5 objectives for a whopping 7 points! A feat that I think we will find very hard to match and is probably impossible to beat.
Nathan, we just got buttfucked!



Turn 4 Scoring
Gaz - 9 - I now spend 10 resources - 1 point, I control 5 planets outside my Home System - 1 point, All three of my Space Docks are on the board - 1 point, I control 10 planets outside my Home System - 2 points, I now spend 12 Trade Goods - 2 points
Jonny - 4 - I control the planets needed to have at least one of each of the 3 technology specialities - 1 point
Nathan - 4 - I have at least 9 Technology Advances - 2 points

Turn 5
And so started what almost certainly would be the last turn. After earlier discussions between Gaz and Nathan on stopping me scoring Mecatol every round, it was time for me and Nathan to get into the huddle. The I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color seemed to be the remaining point to secure victory. We couldn’t stop him buying a tech if either one of us took Technology so I took Warfare and would be powering up my War Sun to see if I could topple his home system. I also took Diplomacy (the first time it was selected in the entire game) to prevent Gaz from naming me an ally. Due to it being relatively early, Nathan could not possibly reach Gaz and I would find it very tough.
After looking at it further, Gaz had two planets in his home system and I had only one ground force that could be picked up by the War Sun and still make it.
Gaz took the Imperial II strategy with the backup of taking Mecatol to score the last point and he played an action card preventing me from activating that system. I countered by playing the same card on Gaz so he couldn’t activate Mecatol Rex either.
I moved my War Sun down to a system with a Gaz-controlled planet and decided to bombard but with no intention of invading. I managed to wipe out the ground forces there and it’s around this time that I realised I couldn’t take both of Gaz’s home planets. In fact, Gaz had started pulling all his forces back to defend so it looked insurmountable for my War Sun to punch through anyway.
I also decided to move my cruisers through the wormhole to further put pressure on Gaz. They managed to get through but I realised I had shot myself in the foot by activating the system, meaning that my War Sun could not move in and claim the 4th green tech planet.
To that end I moved the War Sun and claimed an undefended planet from Gaz- small consolation. At this point I just wanted to outscore Nathan and had claimed enough planets to qualify for the required 10 that the stage 2 objective asked for.

Nathan, dejected that he can do nothing about Gaz, first builds a War Sun in a system and then moves a Carrier with two ground forces from another system to try and pinch the undefended Mecatol Rex planet. Luckily I had installed a PDS there a few turns ago but it missed the carrier and it was down to my ground forces to repel Nathan, and they did not suffering any casualties.

Gaz played the Tech strategy that turn and got the required tech to qualify for the tech objective and score the point he needed to claim victory.




Final Score
Gaz - 10 - I have 3 Technology Advances of the same color - 1 point
Jonny - 6 - I control 10 planets outside my Home System - 2 points
Nathan - 4

Other Player’s Secret Objectives
Gaz had the Diversified - I control Mecatol Rex; I have a Space Dock here, and at least 2 Technology Advances in each of the three different colours - 2 points secret objective but didn’t really make a play for Mecatol and in the end he didn’t need to.
Nathan had the Usurper - I control Mecatol Rex; I have a Space Dock and at least 6 Ground Forces here - 2 points objective but was playing a longer game than it turned out to be. I think we all were except for Gaz who must have needed to be somewhere.


Conclusions
The Distant Suns optional rules were great and I like how it changes the early expansion which normally is very predictable. Early on we were cautious and probing all the time but we quickly realised that it was costing too much time to probe and then invade next turn and opted to either raze or take our chances which for the most part was not that punishing except for the one time where I rolled a 10 following a raze and it wiped out the rest of my go pretty much.
The game seems to play fine with 3 and I’m pleased that the 3 games so far have felt different to each other. I was expecting the game to be somewhat shorter with 3 but what started out as a defensive strategy by Gaz worked to his advantage in the biggest way possible and allowed him to play a winning round.
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steve perkins
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Love to be playing this, if only there was a day I could play. 21st Dec or 4th Jan or 18th Jan...
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Omni Pyrmaeus
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I like what you did with the coloring, it made it a lot easier to follow than most session reports I see.

One thing I'd like to point out. You mention the Jol-Nar ability as being able to "buy one get one free" on Tech. I think you said the same thing before with another session report. That's not completely accurate.

While it is true that you can get two tech for the cost of one with this ability, Jol-Nar isn't actually required to buy a tech if they don't want to. In other words, they can spend the Strategy counter to activate the secondary (but not buy a tech) and then opt to perform the primary - getting simply one tech for free (plus the cost of the counter).
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Jimiminar JD
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Ah, that's a nice distinction Omni, we'll have to remember that for future games.
We may well be moving onto the Alternative Strategy cards so even more tech!
 
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Jimiminar JD
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Steve, GAME 5 is scheduled for 21st Dec, not sure if you're listing days you're free.
There's 2 spaces free if you're interested
 
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steve perkins
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Jimiminar wrote:
Steve, GAME 5 is scheduled for 21st Dec, not sure if you're listing days you're free.
There's 2 spaces free if you're interested


Yes, 21st Dec is a day I'm available. Count me in. Are you using the base game only or is it including expansions?

What time do you start?
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Jimiminar JD
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Awesome Steve!
We're hoping for an 8 player so will be using new hexes from Shattered Empire and we've been playing with the expansion races in the last couple of games and they've been fine so we'll carry on there.

We are playing with the Imperial II card as most are comfortable with that and it's much better then Imperial I.

Wormhole Nexus as well cos I just like the hex

Other than that + race-specific tech, no optional rules for GAME 5.

I was thinking a 9am start as the game has the potential to go long. I've been updating the Facebook group I find easier to manage.
 
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Bryan Nelson
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Nice report! Seems like a good game (though illustrates why I like Bureaucracy more than Imperial II). Makes me want to post a report of my last session (which I will, if I have time later tonight).

Just another note that you could've stopped him scoring by grabbing one of his Home Planets, since he has to be in possession of both to score points.
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Jimiminar JD
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Is it both planets required to score objectives?
We've always played it as if you have control of your home system then that is enough.

We assumed the above as the secret objective for controlling another player's home system requires other planets, mmm. I will have to re-read that bit in the rules.

I am seeing the issues with Imperial II with the potential point-fest it can reap. Will hopefully try out Bureaucracy with the group soon...
 
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Bryan Nelson
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Well, to score the secret objective, you'd need to take both, but if you're looking to block him, you only need one, since he needs to possess all the planets in his home system to score objectives.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Imperial II per se (it's great presuming you don't mind the potential cascade of points, which can be a great come-from-behind mechanic), just that I prefer the relatively more predictable scoring bonus from Bureaucracy, and the control of the objectives it offers. Since you seem to like the Age of Empires variant, it may not be for you, since they're pretty much incompatible.
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