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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: The best solution to bad starting forces rss

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Adam Mitchell
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I often read complaints on this forum regarding the substandard starting forces of certain Great Races, most particularly the Sardak N'orr. Therefore, as a public service, I am writing this post so that all in the TI3 community will know of the best way to circumvent this problem, thus bringing the Great Races to a more even level with each other.

As with the answers to most riddles, the solution is actually exceedingly simple: Buy Shattered Empires and use those Strategy cards instead! The wonderful Production Strategy card allows the one who chose it to build with +2 Resources at a Space Dock of his choice, without activating that system. All of the other players can then spend a CC from SA to build up to three units at one of their own Space Docks without activating the System. Never in thirty games have I seen Production fail to be chosen in the first turn, and the builds it allows alleviates any diffculty with one's starting forces.

Nor is having the resources to undertake such builds a problem; with the Assembly Strategy card in play every race begins the game with two Political cards, which can also be used as Trade Goods.

Of course the far superior set of Strategy cards offered by SE is just one of the abundance of substantial improvements made to the game by its first expansion. As with Arkham and the Dunwich expansion, SE "fixes" Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, making it the incredible game it should always be.
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Starkiller
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Yeah, but if you allow trading PCs for TGs, the entire political side of TI3 is missed. (Everyone trades their PCs.)
That, IMHO, is the dumbest rule in the entire history of TI3.

And you're missing something....while the Production SC certainly helps the 'Norr, it doesn't help them MORE than any other race. So they are still, relative to the other races, at a disadvantage. They are able to expand faster compared to using the original SCs, though.
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Jonathan Challis
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Sorry, but this is just a screwy theory! Misses the point entirely.
 
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Adam Mitchell
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akinfantryman wrote:
Yeah, but if you allow trading PCs for TGs, the entire political side of TI3 is missed. (Everyone trades their PCs.)
That, IMHO, is the dumbest rule in the entire history of TI3.

And you're missing something....while the Production SC certainly helps the 'Norr, it doesn't help them MORE than any other race. So they are still, relative to the other races, at a disadvantage. They are able to expand faster compared to using the original SCs, though.

Well, yes, we allow it because that's the rule for Assembly. And the political side of TI3 is hardly missed by using this rule, since every use of the Assembly strategy card will cause a political card to be played whether any player has one or not. Then, too, you must admit many of the political cards are not worth playing in the first place. We do, however, tend to retain the especially good or interesting Politcal cards rather than spending them as Trade Goods.

Why should it help them more than any other race? Relatively few races begin with two Carriers; aren't all races that don't at a comparative disadvantage to those few who do? And as you concede, Production offers far faster expansion for one-Carrier races than the original strategy cards do, putting the races on a considerably more even footing.

Then pray tell what is the point that I'm missing?
 
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Scott Randolph
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Having played 19 games now, I think the game was really designed for 4 players. With two Strategy Cards per round, the Sardakk N'Orr are still at a disadvantage, but a lesser one, and 2 PC's as Trade Goods to start helps.
I just played a 3 player game, with the best player in our group (he wins most often, about every 3rd game he plays in) in the game.

Final Score
The Winnu - [14] VP's (he scored first and won)
Sardakk N'Orr - [14] VP's
Yssaril Tribes - [13] VP's

It was fun having N'Orr Warsuns with Duranium Armor!
 
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Bill Norton
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Solan wrote:
[q="akinfantryman"]Well, yes, we allow it because that's the rule for Assembly. And the political side of TI3 is hardly missed by using this rule, since every use of the Assembly strategy card will cause a political card to be played whether any player has one or not.

Has not been my experience. TGs are too valuable the first round to not spend them. There might be a few PCs that I would hold on to, but usually not.

So then you get where you just pick a random political card and see what happens. There is no strategy, no forethought, no planning. I find it boring the times I have played this way.

I have had too many games where the political aspect was completely irrelevant.

Bill
 
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Jon Baxter
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akinfantryman wrote:
Yeah, but if you allow trading PCs for TGs, the entire political side of TI3 is missed. (Everyone trades their PCs.)
That, IMHO, is the dumbest rule in the entire history of TI3.

Doubtful it's the dumbest rule, having played over 100 games I can easily assure you there are dumber rules.

Regardless, the typical variant to use is;

You can not spend your last PC for TGs (always must have at least one).

I personally prefer; At the end of the Status Phase you may discard up to one Political Card to receive one Trade Good, you may not do this if you have less than two Political Cards.




akinfantryman wrote:
"Race Imbalances"

Meh, it's all balanced in a timey whimey way. I've won with everything and lost with everything, I have my favourites but not based on win/loss, and I have what I think are strong races, which others think are weak.

Move on.
 
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David Damerell
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bnorton916 wrote:
So then you get where you just pick a random political card and see what happens. There is no strategy, no forethought, no planning. I find it boring the times I have played this way.

The thing is, suppose everyone's got a political card saved. (Our house rules ensure that is the case). Now what? Almost all the time when someone takes Assembly, it is not because they have a juicy PC of their own (and a reasonable assurance the vote will go their way) but because they want the Speaker card, so will call upon another player to play one. Who? Given that they can't actually examine the other players' cards, the outcome is little better than drawing a random card.

Next time I'm going to try a variant where each player who has at least one PC passes one to the player who played Assembly, who makes an informed choice as to which PC to resolve, returning the other players' PCs to them.
 
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Scott Lewis
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damerell wrote:
Next time I'm going to try a variant where each player who has at least one PC passes one to the player who played Assembly, who makes an informed choice as to which PC to resolve, returning the other players' PCs to them.
I've seen similar variants where instead of passing them to the Assembly player, you have a slate of cards each player has face-up in play that are available to choose from (with rules for how to switch out a card or whatever). That way, you don't even have to wait until the card is executed to begin making an informed decision.

I haven't actually tried that variant, as I tend to gravitate toward RAW, but this one looks like it could be worth at least giving one try.
 
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possum man
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We've always played that the players can show their PCs to the person activating Assembly.
Returning to OP, playing with Simulated Early Turns is a great way to balance the races in the opening round. Suddenly races with only one carrier aren't completely screwed.
 
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Scott Lewis
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possumman wrote:
We've always played that the players can show their PCs to the person activating Assembly.
We do that, too, with the key word of "can"; sometimes a player can weasel getting their PC voted on without showing it
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Personally, I just find Assembly to be an awful tile. We've played it 2-3 times, but never again!
 
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David Damerell
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I've seen similar variants where instead of passing them to the Assembly player, you have a slate of cards each player has face-up in play that are available to choose from (with rules for how to switch out a card or whatever). That way, you don't even have to wait until the card is executed to begin making an informed decision.

I considered that but rejected it because I thought it would lead to slowdown at SC selection time as every player with an option on Assembly will naturally want to read all the PCs on display.

I have every player "must" pass a card, not "can"; while I don't think Assembly is that weak (if you're near the back of SC selection, it's worth it for the Speaker token), I think the best way to make the political process more interesting is to give the maximum selection of PCs. This also may even give an incentive to keep two PCs (one innocuous, one very damaging) on later turns, because you know if the Assembly player is hostile or friendly to you, and have some idea how many votes your allies control, when handing them the PC. You couldn't do that with a preassembled slate.
 
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Starkiller
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If I may jump back in here....(and this is all IMHO)

First, when reading PCs, I can think of several situations where every single one would be really helpful when played. The problem is, most of them are SITUATIONAL...they are only good at particular times.
So, players frequently think most PCs are useless-causing them to ignore the political side of TI3. This makes them useless....a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The main problem with base Political SC is you have no control over which PC is played. So, it is totally luck as to whether a PC played is interesting or not.

So, most of the PCs end up being uninteresting for two reasons: 1, they just don't fit the situation, 2, players aren't used to looking at them to see how to use them as a weapon.

Assembly attempts to fix the first problem, by giving players a choice of PCs. If players think about how to use the PCs in their hands, they could probably find one that would be useful.

Assembly promptly shoots itself in the foot by allowing players to trade away PCs for TGs. This ensures players (who probably already think PCs are useless) will never take the time to try and use them-they promptly get traded away.
Result: if Assembly is played, player just grabs the top card of the PC deck, like Political SC.
(This is why I call this the dumbest rule. It completely nullifies the point of Assembly in the first place.)

In my opinion, Assembly is much better by dealing a hand of 4 PCs to start (greater possibility of getting a PC that fits the situation) and eliminating the trade PCs for TGs rule, or at least nerfing it. (My favorite: when a player gets 7 PCs, trade 2 for 2 TGs.)

You can also fix base Political SC with this house rule: Instead of drawing the top PC and resolving it; draw the top 4 and pick one, the rest going to the bottom of the pile. This gives a very good chance the PC up for vote is actually relevant to the present situation.

I would add one thing: Political Intrigue option (Representatives) in Shards of the Throne, attempts to make politics more relevant by adding in excitement to the voting portion. There are, however, several problems with them RAW. See this absolutely unbelievably marvelous (hyperbole joke, I'm the original author) thread:
Consolidated Politial Intrigue (Representative) variants/discussions
 
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One solution is to give everyone 11 resources before the start of the game, along with double their build capacity, in order to custom build their own fleet.

No fuss, no muss.
 
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