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Subject: Games very similar to Twilight Imperium 3 but shorter play time rss

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Justin Brauchler
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Okay. I know these threads are everywhere but they are all a few years old and some of the games that are recommended aren't available anymore (or hard to find).

My group and I played TI3 and had a BLAST. But that blast lasted about 7 hours, and with all of us having wives and kids - that blast turned into what felt like neglect.. haha

I realize that we can get a babysitter and sit down and play the game but that wouldn't be as often as I would like. That being said, I'm looking for a game with similar game mechanics as TI3, you know, the 3 "ex's" exploring, and something, and something (I forget the others). TI3 very much felt like a video game to me, similar to Starcraft or Age of Empires with exploring, technologies, modular boards and fighting - and I loved that - but again ... too long for me.

So, some suggestions that I saw were -

Eclipse, Nexus Ops, and Galactic Emperor. But are these games at all similar? Any suggestions would help. (It doesn't have to be space-theme either, but I would prefer 'Ameritrash'.

Thanks fellow Geeks!
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Exodus: Proxima Centauri
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David Turczi
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Hegemonic, a bit more thinky and less impressive pieces than TI3, but still a wonderful excercise in 4x-yness
Burning Suns, it's not out yet, but having played it, it's the game people are looking for Less resource management than Eclipse (which I still like, but each to his own), epic space combat, modular boards, tech upgrades, agents, etc. Everything your heart desires.

Plus I've heard lot of good things about Omega Centauri, but I'm yet to play it.
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Russell Lindsey
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If you want a shorter game length and don't mind the fantasy theme, I've heard good things about Runewars.
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Michael Oliver
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justinbrauchler wrote:
Okay. I know these threads are everywhere but they are all a few years old and some of the games that are recommended aren't available anymore (or hard to find).

My group and I played TI3 and had a BLAST. But that blast lasted about 7 hours, and with all of us having wives and kids - that blast turned into what felt like neglect.. haha

I realize that we can get a babysitter and sit down and play the game but that wouldn't be as often as I would like. That being said, I'm looking for a game with similar game mechanics as TI3, you know, the 3 "ex's" exploring, and something, and something (I forget the others). TI3 very much felt like a video game to me, similar to Starcraft or Age of Empires with exploring, technologies, modular boards and fighting - and I loved that - but again ... too long for me.

So, some suggestions that I saw were -

Eclipse, Nexus Ops, and Galactic Emperor. But are these games at all similar? Any suggestions would help. (It doesn't have to be space-theme either, but I would prefer 'Ameritrash'.

Thanks fellow Geeks!


I like Eclipse a lot, as it serves the 4X side as well as some worker placement elements, for me. A 7-player game for us is usually in the 3-3.5 hour timeframe. So, still not "short" but half as long as your TI game...
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chris thatcher
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If you want a shorter game length and don't mind the fantasy theme, I've heard good things about Runewars.


Ive only played Runewars twice. 3 player took us 6 hours, 4 player took us 8.5 hours.
 
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Jeff
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Many designers have tried to make "TI3 but in XX minutes." All have failed, in my opinion.

TI3 is a messy, sprawling game, and because of that it provides an experience that is inevitably marred by streamlining. Think about it; what part of the game would you like to see removed? I'd argue that all the messy stuff that makes it long is also what makes it fun.

Is there any way you can leave a game set up and split play across two sessions? That would seem to be an optimal solution.

Barring that, Runewars is pretty much Fantasy TI3; if it takes you 8 hours to play, you're doing something very wrong.
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+1 for Eclipse

It's much shorter but offers a very similar feeling as TI3. In some aspects it's a little bit more eurogame where TI3 is pure ameritrash but overall it's an excellent 4x game.

But can I ask you something? Where is the exploration part in TI3? You lay out tiles before the game starts and the whole map is fully explored before you make your first move. That's one of the things I didn't enjoy about TI3 (besides the immense time investment). If you miss the political aspect of TI3 I'd suggest buying Cosmic Encounter. It's also about conquering other planets in space but relies heavily on negotiation and backstabbing (like TI3). But well.. it isn't a 4x game. Long story short.. I'd even prefer Eclipse over TI3.
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James Wilson
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Having played most 4x games out there, I would recommend Galactic Emperor for what you want. It's considerably shorter but has a similar feel. Keep in mind though that TI3 is so cool because there is so much stuffed into it, so if you are looking to cut the play time down, then you are also going to be making some sacrifices on what you get.

Many people are suggesting Runewars, and it is similar, but it takes my group nearly as long to play it as TI3, and the set up time is almost as long as well.

Eclipse is good, but there is more of a Euro feel to it. Nexus Ops didn't appeal to me much. Most 4x games are going to run at least 4 hours, and the only one that comes close to matching TI3 that can be played in about 2 hours is Galactic Emperor in my opinion.

A final option you might want to consider that I haven't seen mentioned is Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game by Fantasy Flight. It has the same feel and is faster, but it still takes my group about 4 hours.

So, if 3 to 4 hours in manageable for you then I would go with Eclipse or Civ. If that's still too long, then I would go with Galactic Emperor.
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James Wilson
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Quote:
Where is the exploration part in TI3?


Use the distant suns option.
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Justin Steinberg
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If you want the same feel and gameplay style as TI3 then Exodus: Proxima Centauri is the best bet. Eclipse on the other hand is more of an economic Eurostyle game and because of that it doesnt have the same feel, gameplay, or itch scratched that gou would want from a TI3 replacement. TI3 is a massive space opera, much like Exodus: Proxima Centauri with its detailed 4x qualities. Eclipse is a Euro economic 4x game. Even Sam Healey has mentioned it multiple times on the Dice Tower and on various Top 10's, and speaking with him, of the similarities between Exodus: Proxima Centauri, which he considers TI3-light, and TI3. Whereas Eclipse is to never be put in the same sentence as TI3 according to him.

(Take a look at the Overrated games video on the Dice Tower. Eclipse gets a very crazed reaction from people over its comparison to TI3.
 
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James Palmer
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Galactic Emperor is is basically Puerto Rico in space. I bought this hoping it would be TI3-light, and was quite disappointed.

I'll second recommendations for Eclipse and Space Empires: 4X.

Eclipse has more of a euro feel and is more about economics and resource management, Space Empires: 4X is much more about the warfare - building and upgrading ships, and blowing your opponent away.

Both are a lot of fun for what they do, but I would say neither is the "complete package".
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Jason Brown
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Runewars is the obvious answer. You should always be able to finish in 4 hours max (Usually 3 or 3.5)
 
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Galen Iliev
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Exodus: Proxima Centauri seems like the obvious choice.

Runewars being 2nd and quite good in my opinion. Fantasy theme though (so no star wars sounds and jokes). 1st game will probably take you 4-6 hours, but with the 2nd game we dropped it to easy 3 hours maybe 3:30 with the setup time.

Eclipse I think is only like TI3 in having ships in space. The idea behind Eclipse is totally different. Its like comparing Star Wars to Interstellar (exaggerateing a bit). Game of eclipse can finish without a single battle. Other times its not worth the risk of dice battle (dice don't like me) The VP you get from battles you can get from the useless mobs that spawn on some planets.

edit: Omega Centauri looks quite good too.
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Ray
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Nexus Ops definitely wouldn't give you that same feel. I've had the same dilemma with wanting a robust 4x that is as short as possible. I have yet to do a lot of research on it, but Runewars is what I'm leaning towards..even though I'll never even get that to the table! Lol...I think I'm obsessed!
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Eclipse replicates the boring parts of TI3.

You are aware that TI3 goes faster the more you play, right? Seven is a long game for veterans.

S.

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Ben Rubinstein

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TDaver wrote:
Hegemonic, a bit more thinky and less impressive pieces than TI3, but still a wonderful excercise in 4x-yness
Burning Suns, it's not out yet, but having played it, it's the game people are looking for Less resource management than Eclipse (which I still like, but each to his own), epic space combat, modular boards, tech upgrades, agents, etc. Everything your heart desires.

Plus I've heard lot of good things about Omega Centauri, but I'm yet to play it.


I kickstarted and traded away Hegemonic. To me, it felt super mathy and I didn't experience the theme much at all.

HOWEVER I've also kickstarted Burning Suns, so I'm SUPER EXCITED to hear you say that it's the game the OP wants.

My only suggestion to the OP is that if you play with 4 or less, look at Clash of Cultures.
 
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Ray
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I have Clash and it really doesn't have a strong war aspect, which is why I didn't think to suggest it, but it is a good one.
 
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James Arias
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I'm glad you posted this as I had a similar ask below, not for epic 4x, but fast dudes on a map with sci-fi theme, that was not a collectible miniatures wargame.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1244033/looking-space-op...
 
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Adria D
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There is no short version of TI3. We've been looking for something shorter, and/or something that plays with 2, and haven't found it yet. TI3 is still king.

As mentioned, TI3 gets quicker as you get more experienced at it. We have our games down to an hour per person or less, on average.


My thoughts on similar games we have tried:

I enjoyed my one play of Exodus: Proxima Centauri, except for the hidden movement. The rest of the game was enjoyable.

We tried a prototype copy of Burning Suns and it fell really flat for us. Just not our style of game at all. We didn't like how combat worked. Some of the race/power combinations seemed a little unbalanced. And a 4X game in which you might not be able to do one of the X's (ie explore) simply because someone else already did it just rubs us the wrong way.

Eclipse is OK, but really dry compared to TI3.

Empires of the Void was fun. It's no TI3, but I'd like to play this one again.

Space Empires: 4X is fun if you just want to beat each other up. It's a straight-up "wipe out your enemy" win condition, which I don't always feel like playing. I prefer the variety of point-getting options in TI3.

Runewars is a game I enjoy. It doesn't quite have the politicking of TI3 though - the conflict is more direct.

If you're up for a civ game, Clash of Cultures has a big tech tree and a modular board, but the combat side is lighter than something like TI3.

Omega Centauri sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it'll work for us - there are some things we're not sure about. Ditto Hegemonic. They are games we'd definitely have to try before dropping money on them.

For something a little different, if you're familiar with Freelancer and interested in a boardgame version, 'Freelancer as a board game' is how my husband routinely describes Xia: Legends of a Drift System.
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Impulse, when I first read through the rules, I said, "This is like pocket TI3."
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Grizzly Archer wrote:
If you want the same feel and gameplay style as TI3 then Exodus: Proxima Centauri is the best bet. Eclipse on the other hand is more of an economic Eurostyle game and because of that it doesnt have the same feel, gameplay, or itch scratched that gou would want from a TI3 replacement. TI3 is a massive space opera, much like Exodus: Proxima Centauri with its detailed 4x qualities. Eclipse is a Euro economic 4x game. Even Sam Healey has mentioned it multiple times on the Dice Tower and on various Top 10's, and speaking with him, of the similarities between Exodus: Proxima Centauri, which he considers TI3-light, and TI3. Whereas Eclipse is to never be put in the same sentence as TI3 according to him.

(Take a look at the Overrated games video on the Dice Tower. Eclipse gets a very crazed reaction from people over its comparison to TI3.


Referring to a grumpy, narrow-minded YT-reviewer totally makes your opinion more valid. Just to let you know.. Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) is his holy grail and he bashes nearly everything else because it isn't TI3.

At the end of the day both games are great and offer a relatively similar playstyle. There are some differences.. sure. Eclipse got a real exploration part and TI3 got politics. But both games are about settling on planets, researching technologies, building space ships and defeating and conquering your enemies. So if you really think Eclipse is dry and just about economy and your games are ending without any fights you either never played more than one tutorial game or playing with the wrong group of people (don't hate the game.. hate the players ). There's also a small part of diplomatics and backstabbing (traitor-card). Definitely not as detailed as in TI3 but with trash talking friends you can get something out of it.

I understand when people don't like Eclipse because of its minor luck factor (available technologies are randomly drawn out of a bag and you never know what the next explored hex tile will bring) but at the end of the day it's a pretty good alternative to TI3 in my eyes. Especially if you don't like forced "turtling". In TI3 you always need to amass a lot of ships around your borders because your enemy can destroy and capture instantely. In Eclipse there is a possibility to react with your ships (even after you passed), because the combat phase always comes after the action phase. That provides more playstyle varieties in the early game because you don't have to fear to lose your whole home world in a blink of an eye.

As I've already said. If you really love the trash talking / negotiation / backstabbing part of TI3, I'd reccommend Cosmic Encounter. There is no better game for 4-8 people. If you love to explore, research and fight in a reasonable time frame.. go with Eclipse. It may take some rounds to understand its appeal (it did grow on me after the first 3 games) but it's definitely worth checking out.
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Jeff
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Biomage wrote:
Impulse, when I first read through the rules, I said, "This is like pocket TI3."


Impulse, while clearly marketing itself as something in the vein of TI3, could not be a more different (or less fun) game.
 
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Ben Rubinstein

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ExcitingJeff wrote:
Biomage wrote:
Impulse, when I first read through the rules, I said, "This is like pocket TI3."


Impulse, while clearly marketing itself as something in the vein of TI3, could not be a more different (or less fun) game.


Ouch...
 
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Martin Larouche
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Eclipse got a real exploration part and TI3 got politics. But both games are about settling on planets, researching technologies, building space ships and defeating and conquering your enemies.




TI3 is not about conquering your enemies and defeating them. It's about maneuvering yourself in a position to become the head of the galactic council. People that don't understand this and always try to conquer their opponents ALWAYS lose the game over those who "got it".

Eclipse, on the other hand, is supposed to be about vast empires... but it really feels like corporations exploring planets and waging pseudo wars among themselves for profits with a few ships here and there.

THIS is the reason why TI3 is still king and Eclipse can't match it. The scope just isn't the same.

Runewars is a fantasy TI3. However it's really not as good. Many of it's mechanics are wonky at best.

If the combat in TI3 is your thing... then maybe look at StarCraft: The Board Game if you can find it.

There is not really any equivalent to TI3, as other have mentioned. All other sell themselves as TI3-shorter. They are never as good. To make them shorter, they always cut an important piece of what makes the game.
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