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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Politics/Assembly variant - 'Imperial Forum' rss

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Problem: the political/assembly strategy phase of the game more often than not grinds everything to a halt. This is because the Political Cards (PC) are so hit and miss, and are hard to consistently align with the game strategy. Even with culling the chaff, Twilight Council and other tweaks the same problem remains - the PCs often do not matter and the time spent on Assembling, spying, assassinating, etc. is often time wasted. Players are forced to spend time and effort on agendas that no one cares about.

What does matter are the personal alliances, grudges, cajoling, trash-talk and misdirection that makes up a great game of TI, especially if the players 'play their race' as suggested in the rules.

Suggested variant solution: Make this political aspect of the game part of the Political Strategy phase using the 'Imperial Forum' Strategy Card.

Set-up:
-create a game deck using only the most important, 'game changing' cards from the Political Deck.
-players are dealt one PC at the beginning of the game.
-Representatives are used.
-Promissory notes are used.


Wording:

The Floor is Open.

Take the Speaker token. Draw One Political Card.

You may choose (a) or (b)

(a)Speaker elects a player. Elected player must give the Speaker one Promissory Note. If the player is elected by more than a 50% majority, the Speaker chooses the Promissory Note. If less than 50%, the Elected player chooses.

(b)Play a Political Card from your hand. This is then put to vote by the Forum.

The Floor is Closed


Comment: 'The Floor is Open' signifies when players are allowed to form alliances, discuss strategy, point out other people's strategies, pass secret notes, wheedle, complain, etc. They are NOT ALLOWED to do any of this during the other phases. All verbal alliances and agreements are non-binding. Players can choose to seal the deal with the offer of a Promissory Note. As per the rules, PNs are always binding.

Allowing the Speaker to Elect a player in order to forcibly obtain a Promissory Note is a way to represent the bribery, flattery, blackmail or threat that would go on in a galactic forum like in TI.

The option to play a PC as an agenda for everyone to vote on makes the laws more rare, and more important, than in other versions which require a new law every time.

The ability to make another player vote for you by playing his Promissory Note opens up some 'long game' political strategies based on acquiring influence. The use of Representatives keeps the stakes high.

There is no hand limit to PCs.

PCs cannot be traded for Trade Goods.

Players cannot hold more than two Promissory Notes at one time, but they can choose which ones to retain. Excess Notes are returned to the original owners.

All players must participate in the Forum. They do not have to send a Representative and they may abstain when it comes to placing a vote. If they do not send a Representative for whatever reason, they can be automatically knocked out of the voting if targeted for assassination by a Spy.




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Scott Randolph
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We play "Galactic Senate" variant, which solves this issue.

Players get a hand of PC's at game start.

Players select 2 for the Senate Floor, these are all placed face-up. The unchosen PC's go into the discard pile. A new agenda may be added to the Senate Floor, but it isn't easy.

Players choose PC's ("agendas") after knowing their Great Race, Home System location, etc., so that they may choose agendas which ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE GAME (a well-documented flaw and weakness in the game design, as much as I love TI3, the design of the political aspect of the game "out-of-the-box" is complete rubbish).

It still isn't that great, politics just isn't a well-designed part of this otherwise awesome game. We also use SC#3 "Senator Emeritus" - same as base game political with a couple of minor changes; this new SC gives the Power Broker token, +3 votes for any voting purpose, which may be given to another player in order for the executing player to receive 1 CC from reinforcements, secondary, refresh ANY 1 planet (that you control) and receive 1 TG.

We've read, discussed, tried, researched multiple political variants and we've stuck with this one for 16 games of TI3 now...we're not changing.

I think you are on the right track, some creative ideas...find what suits your group best and play with that.

One thing I DO especially like about our political variant is that VoC has become very relevant, and not just a "free" VP which everyone anticlimatically just gives away to the player in last place.

In our most recent game one player chose an agenda which had a deep and important on the game in GR 5, and the winner won with 14 VP's at the end of GR 6...in a very close, tense and exciting game. This actually made politics fun, exciting and worthwhile, but tbh, this is the exception.
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what do you think of the idea of restricting table-talk/alliances/deals to this strategy only? Presumably that could be incorporated into any 'political' variant. Cuts down game time while at the same time makes conversation more meaningful. The irony is 'Political Cards' are the weakest, least political aspect of the game...
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Lance Harrop
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KTrout wrote:
what do you think of the idea of restricting table-talk/alliances/deals to this strategy only? Presumably that could be incorporated into any 'political' variant. Cuts down game time while at the same time makes conversation more meaningful. The irony is 'Political Cards' are the weakest, least political aspect of the game...


You actually have players talk about alliances?

Amazing.

Just a little tongue in cheek.
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Starkiller
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My first thought: cool, it makes sense that political deals can only be done at the political phase.

My second thought: wait, we bicker all the time. Eliminating that would eliminate a large portion of the game!

I don't think I'm much of a proponent of turning all the rest of the game into a quiet glowering match, but it may work. It would definitely give a bigger incentive to choose the political SC!

Added to Consolidated Politial Intrigue (Representative) variants/discussions. Check out the other variants!
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An update on the play testing and development of the Imperial Forum is on page 2 of Starkiller's Consolidated Political Intrigue blog.

The wording has been tweaked. Here is the Card:

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