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Subject: My first experience with TI3: disaster rss

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Allen OConnor
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Date - 20/12/13

Allen - The Lizix Mindet
Bobby - The Xxcha Kingdom
Gaz - The Yssaril Tribes
Arin - The Emirates of Hacan
Anthony - The Naalu Collective

Outcome: Game abandoned after five hours due to poor preparation and arguments.

My gaming group and I played what turned out to be a disaster of a game of Twilight Imperium 3; I had heard great things about the game, and was eager to give it a try. We all went into the game thinking that Arin knew the rules, as he had been trying to get us to play the game for nearly a year, turns out he didn't. We included the Shattered Empire for a reason that went right over my head as a new player. We watched out friend frustratingly stumbling through a rule book that he didn't understand. After five hours, we managed two turns and we were all bored to death. An argument broke out between Arin and Anthony of the rules surrounding attacking (we looked at the rules later on, Anthony had it right). All of the other players suggested that we try playing the game when one of us is comfortable with the rules, which lead to more arguments and lead to Arin packing his game up and going home.

This was probably one of my worst experiences with a board game to date. I had a load of plastic ships, I didn't know the difference between them; I had to get 10 points to win, without any knowledge of how to gain points; I had to select a roll that was filled with terms that I did not understand.

I'm not saying that TI3 is a bad game, I actually quite like the look of it; but it isn't a game that you can just learn as you go along. At least one player needs to take the time to try and learn the rules to give the other players a basic understanding of what they should be doing on their turn. I suppose that if this game has taught me anything, it is that you need to learn a game before you bring it to the table for other people to play, especially a game as heavy as TI3.

I'm not giving up on TI3, I'm prepared to give it another shot in the future, once I have gotten my head around the game.






Click here to see my acquired taste reviews

Click here to see my session reports
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Jason W.
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TI3 is definitely a game where at least one or more player have player at least once or twice. There are some great tutorial video on the web especially here on BGG that all new players should watch. I like the one that yetikeeper/James Ross does as a 9 part intro for new players to learn the basics of the game or as a refresher if you haven't player in a long time. Here's part 1: http://boardgamegeek.com/video/27989/twilight-imperium-third...
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Sergio Macias
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van00uber wrote:
We all went into the game thinking that Arin knew the rules, as he had been trying to get us to play the game for nearly a year, turns out he didn't.

I hate, no, wait, HATE when someone does that to me. If you haven't read the friggin' rules don't insist on playing the friggin' game. Last time it happened to me was yesterday. Thank god the game wasn't even half as hard or long as TI3, otherwise I would've killed the owner of the game after the third time he had to check the rules during the first five minutes of playing it.

It's perfectly normal to forget some rule or not to understand some aspect of the game, but the least you could do is to read the bloody rules the day before playing.


Quote:
I'm not saying that TI3 is a bad game,

Good, it is not. It might ir might not be for you, but it is not bad at all.

Quote:
I actually quite like the look of it; but it isn't a game that you can just learn as you go along. At least one player needs to take the time to try and learn the rules to give the other players a basic
understanding of what they should be doing on their turn.

Actually that happen with almost all games other than fillers.

Quote:
I suppose that if this game has taught me anything, it is that you need to learn a game before you bring it to the table for other people to play, especially a game as heavy as TI3.

Well, at least you got something out of it. Sorry you had to find out this way.

Quote:
I'm not giving up on TI3, I'm prepared to give it another shot in the future, once I have gotten my head around the game.

That's the spirit!
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Lance Harrop
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The first time I played TI3 with my nephew we not only managed to get through it we actually got a winner (can't remember who) without...
... wait for it ...
... knowing to refresh our planet cards.

Since then I've only had one or two really bad games.

Lots of long ones though.
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Joe Browes
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That sounds like a dreadful experience, but you've got the right attitude about it. As we say here on the mean streets of S. London, 'hate the playa, not the game.'

TI3 is a great game, give it another go when you've recovered!

Here's a very well written walkthrough that will give you an excellent idea of what should have been happening:

http://www.preeminent.org/steve/games/ti3/ti3demo/3-player/h...
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John Bradshaw
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What an excellent session report on how things should not be done. This sort of report is a warning to players of any game, although in the case of TI3, which is a big time commitment, it's even more appropriate.

Ideally more than 1 person should at least read through the rules to have an idea of what's going on. Also, there are so many excellent player-aids posted to the Geek and these should be used to help players understand what their objectives are, what they are supposed to do, what the turn structure consists of, and so on.

I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad experience of the game. It's to your credit that you conclude by saying you're prepared to give the game another chance. I hope it goes much better for you next time.
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Josh Lacey
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We played a 5 player game of this. The plan was to do two 4 hour sessions. 3 of the players had played before. The other two not so much. It was decided to put in every expansion available (which is hard to fault when you only get to the play the game on occasion).

After 8 hours of playing the leader only had 4 victory points. The two of use who were new both felt it was a great computer game we never needed to play again via the board medium.

My other buddy has since gotten Twilight Imperium, that would be the original first edition. He baited me into playing that knowing my lack of excitement towards TI3. Well I've played Twilight Imperium twice now and I think it is a wonderful game. I'm kind of surprised how different it is from TI3.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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ughh...

yuk
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Kelly Page
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I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was a disaster due to poor preparation.

Yes, it's a great game but it requires a solid commitment from the group and advanced preparation. The thing about the rules for TI3 is most of them are simple and straight forward, there are just lots of them. Before playing again you and someone else in the group should sit down and play a couple of turns just to work through the basic rules.

You pretty much need two players (at least) familiar with the rules; one to serve as a reference for the active player, the other to serve as a reference for the other players. It's crucial in TI that the non-active players are planning and plotting when it's not their turn. That way when their turn rolls around they are ready to go.

A few other bits of advice for organizing the game.
1. Plan on a day (about 5-6 hours), get a solid commitment from everyone for that time block.
2. Have lots of snacks/beverages prepared in advance. Seems silly, but if you are going to be spending 5+ hours gaming, people will get hungry and you don't want to have to stop the game to waste time on trivial things like eating.
2a. Be prepared to take a few 15-20 minute breaks.
3. Prepare rules summaries, role summaries, and a copy of the tech tree for everyone (one page each) so they can refer to them.
4. Assign a task master to keep things rolling. Let people know in advance too so they don't feel pressured on game day
5. Don't get too bogged down on rules arguments. If you can't resolve it in say two minutes, have the group come to some agreement and move on.

There's of course more advice that others can/have shared. But these are the things our group does to ensure the game moves smoothly. I sincerely hope things work better next time.



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Allen OConnor
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@DrRednek - seems like great advice, thanks.
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Jeff S
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The rules and FAQ are available here so that you and others in the group can read them.

http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm...
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Julian Meynell
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Good session report on how not to play the game. TI3 is a game where you are bound to make mistakes the first time you play, but it is best if you are all new for more than one person to read the rule book, that way you can catch each other mistakes.

You've really got the right attitude about the experience. I think that TI3 is the best gaming experience that there is and it rewards the effort to learn it.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Sorry to hear about the failed session!

As a "monster" game, it's imperative that ALL players read the rules ahead of time—anyone who's unwilling to do this isn't up for the experience. In my group I make sure to email everyone a link to the rules a week in advance of the session, every time we play. This makes a HUGE difference in the end result.

Hopefully you'll have better luck with it next time!
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Mike Smith
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I would go further than any of the posters so far and say that with a game this complex then everybody needs to have done their homework and properly looked at the rules beforehand. We all have more time than game session time. Why not use that to prepare, and not waste the precious game session time. Personally, I learn better by reading and studying rather than listening anyway (though I agree a skilled rules explainer can sometimes streamline the job). Once the game gets beyond Euro or entry-level wargame it should be the job of all players to prepare.
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Allen OConnor
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I wish that I knew that before I played.
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chris thatcher
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Ouch, ive still not got round to playing my copy, ill make sure im prepared when i do
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Mike Smith
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Sorry, I got into soapbox mode there... Some minced pie went down the wrong way!
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Allen OConnor
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Mantuanwar wrote:
Sorry, I got into soapbox mode there... Some minced pie went down the wrong way!

I love mince pie
 
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Steve Williams
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I had a very similar first experience. I was the instigator, and while I had not played before I was pretty familiar with the rules having excitedly poured over them in their entirety.

My mistake was the group of players I'd chosen. All extremely competitive, especially one who also wants to know the rules in and out [yet refuses to ever read them shake]. When we got to Trade during the first round, we lost an hour [as in approximately 60 minutes] trying and failing to explain to him why he as the Hacan would want to give his pair of 3 Trade Agreements to other players. "That seems really good. Why would I want my opponents to have that?". After all that time it ended with him just crossing his arms and not making any trade agreements. Our game ended partway through Round 2.

43 Successful plays later, I'm glad I didn't let it ruin the game for me
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Jed Peachey-Pace
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Reading these makes me very glade that I had very good group first time I played. I had read the rules comprehensively and some tutorials online. Though I posted them for people to read no one did, wasn't a problem our first session was all about learning the game and I seemed to manage to explain the rules well enough and the way to win well enough to let it play out well. All had a good time no arguments (other than the ones that should be there lol) just looking to get it back to the table ASAP. Probably with an expansion or 2
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Gotta blame the OP here a bit, and perhaps the other 3 players.

The other 3 players....did you guys look at the rules and maybe some play thru vids? Or was one person going to teach all this from scratch?
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Brian Newman
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I can also suggest, while teaching the game, run through an entire practice tactical system activation sequence (and battle). How, what, and why. When I explain the game, I always miss one or two little things that I have to remember later. But this way, you can have the book open and refresh yourself on every detail.
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Justin Rio
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I can only echo the advice and encouragement the others have given you, Allen. TI3 is my favorite game, but it must must be explained well. Not even knowing how to get to your 10 VP is astonishing.

Oh, if only teleportation was real, I'd hop right over and help you learn the game in an instant. (figuratively and literally)
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Jeff S
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I just noticed from the pic that you also had an "illegal" setup. You can't place a red-bordered hex next to another red-bordered hex unless you have no choice, and since neither hex is in the outer edge this could not have been the case when the second red hex was place.

Also, I recommend for all games to have the rules and FAQ on hand on a tablet or laptop for easy searches.

Surprised you managed to squeeze five players in there - even for a 4-player game we use two of those tables or something of comparable size.
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Joe Browes
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sirjonsnow wrote:
I just noticed from the pic that you also had an "illegal" setup.

I think that was the least of their problems!
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