Max Jahns

Rolling Meadows
Illinois
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Hi,

My name is Max and my friends and I love epic games (usually from fantasy flight). We've played three full games and three half games (where we ran out of time) of Twilight Imperium and now no one wants to play anymore. While Twilight Imperium is a sprawling civilization game and I love the crap out if it, it's incredibly taxing on everyone, mainly because of those pesky objective cards.

To my game group the appeal of TI is the civilization building, alliance making and war mongering. The problem is the victory points do not reflect our favorite parts of the game, and those people whose strategies are aimed solely at achieving victory points have objectively less fun. The winner of our last game vowed never to play again because he hated everything his objectives forced him to do. While my other friend ended up having the most fun because his civilization entered in a weird time of peace with his neighbor after a war that raged on for four rounds and together they became the most powerful alliance in the game. Except again when I say powerful I don't mean best at getting victory points I mean best militarily and economically.

So my question is, how do I still play Twilight Imperium, a game we love simply because it's so "cool" and has so many options, but take away the distractions of objective cards. We still want to determine a winner but we want victory points to be decided by something more wholistic than the weird goals of the objective cards, especially Mecatol Rex. I like the idea that Mecatol Rex is more important than anything else, but whoever has the Mecatol Rex objectives hate the game for a time because everyone else is developing cool technologies and making fun alliances while they're forced to spend time and resources trying to hold a position in the center of the board that would not otherwise be beneficial.

So in summary, I'm asking for a thematic way of scoring points and/or winning that is more wholistic than objective cards. Something that still encourages backstabbing and expansion and war, but also makes sure that every choice, even a bad one is fun.

Unfortunately, Twilight Imperium's main appeal to my game group is that it's so cool and has so many options. This may mean that game is flawed to our group but I refuse to give up on it. So I'd appreciate it if you could please give any suggestions you can or link me to a set of variants that might help.

Thanks!
 
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Roger Reisinger
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I think you answered your own question, dont play with them. Play a pure elimination game, let me know how long it takes.
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Max Jahns

Rolling Meadows
Illinois
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No offense but that sounds terrible. I'm hoping for the same game (including time frame) which also means that I'd like a substitute for objective cards so that not everything's military based. Because elimination would mean that every currency and advancement in the game is only for the end goal of military superiority and I like the mix of strategies in regular TI.
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Scott M.
United States
Winter Springs
Florida
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I think you don't understand the purpose of the Objective cards.

The objective cards are the Heart, Timer of the game.

Heart:
The cards vary with regards to what players need to pursue in order to
score those points. They are the motivation to move and take actions that will lead to conflict as other players attempt to complete those goals.

Timer:
The points allocated by completing the goals on the cards drive the time mechanism of the game to the designated 10 points.

Playing without the objective cards is impossible as the game literally revolves around them. Trying to play without them you might as well play eclipse because that's what you are looking for.

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Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
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You say:

"Everything his objectives forced him to do"

You don't state if you are playing with expansions, but except for one secret objective card, all the other objectives are open and shared, and available, to all.

One expansion gives a preliminary objective, which if you complete, lets you get your secret objective.

But in any case, you don't have to complete your secret objective to win.
 
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Stephen Williams
Canada
Mississauga
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If there are specific objectives that you don't like, then just remove those objectives from the deck. Heck, pare it down to 10 cards (6 level I's and 4 level II's) if you want. That way, all the "distracting" objectives are out, and only the ones that encourage the kind of game you want will ever appear.

Also, play Age of Empire if you aren't already (all objectives are face up from the beginning.) We find that encourages long-term planning and makes it much easier to focus on other things, even while working to score VPs by fulfilling objectives.

Don't play with SOs, since it sounds like you have an issue with controlling Mecatol, and 90% of the SOs involve doing that. Alternately, remove the few SOs that don't involve controlling Mecatol so that everyone will be guaranteed to have a reason to fight over it, and only the flavour of control required will differ.

Use the Artifacts optional rule - they give you VPs for controlling planets other than Mecatol, spreading out the tactical value of holding property.

Also use Voice of the Council as another non-Objective based VP.

Hopefully putting all this together will help to refocus the game on the aspects you enjoy.

I'm not sure that taking out objectives altogether will actually give you what you want - you can assign VPs for wiping out opponent fleets, but that will focus only on military, which you appear to be against. You can come up with house rules to assign VPs for a variety of different tasks, but how is that really any different from the objective cards?
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Starkiller
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Wasilla
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To the OP:
Are you playing with Shattered Empire expansion? Because the objective cards in that expansion really focus on fighting. I would get SE, and only use those OC.
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bob mackenzie
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purely do not use them by:
making your own set up, like capture opponents home system 1vp, having the biggest territory.

also - take them out and just have an elimination game. i did one with friends and for ease we did a 2v2 game. we took out imperial and trade and something else strategy card wise and just played like that.

make up before the game starts how to win the game... maybe you wanna do a 3v1 game and the first player to capture the guy by himselfs home system wins (i know pretty gay for the alone player so maybe make him more automated like an ai, or random player controls him each turn)

idk just all random suggestions, also the shards of the throne (2nd expansion) has a scenario especially for combat orientated winning. google it or whatever first, since only did it once. but its kinda like a 1v3 game but u all have secret objectives, like take out a player and hidden alliances etc.

 
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Janis Goldmanis
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In my opinion, Shattered Empires objective deck provides enough objectives that ensure conflict.

I'm playing also with Artifacts, Preliminary objectives - 8 players.

Almost all last games played ended with victory for the player, who had the mightiest fleet and went on to conquer half the galaxy.

I was always coming 2nd, managing to keep up with one of the smallest empires, scraping victory points left and right - the style you don't like.

You could also combine objective decks from Base game and Shattered Empires - only leave combat oriented objectives.
 
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Necessary Evil
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Glen Arm
Maryland
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Sounds like you want to play risk... that game is still in print.

-M
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Nathan
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My feeling is that the game may not be the best fit for your group in the end. It sounds like your group may be seeking a more pure 4x experience than what TI aims to provide.

While TI3 is one of my all time favourite games, I get most of my main galactic empire building and space combat fixes from the game Space Empires: 4X. I basically describe it to the uninitiated as TI3 that just gets down to the "nitty gritty" of empire building and conquest using tactical space combat.

It has many familiar TI3 elements such as aquiring planet colonies that earn income, small to large class combat ships (including cloaking capable raiders) with supporting fighters, technology upgrades and...if you get the expansion...ground troops for planetary invasions. Like TI it is very modular with optional rules etc. Best of all it utilises 'fog of war' mechanics and blind exploration so that you have little idea what forces your opponents are fielding or what space systems contain until you move into them. Lots of bluffing and second guessing to be had.

The basic game objective is that the first player to conquer the homeworld of one other player is the winner. Player elimination is not required.

The downside...it only plays to 4 players, but more importantly it has none of the "coolness" or pretty chrome of the TI boards and components. It uses small cardboard counters with minimal art used throughout. It is very fiddly and has a lot of book keeping and accounting. But, if you can look past and adapt to those unavoidable draw backs, it provides a solid game experience for the right groups.
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Sebastian Svensson
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Have a look at this:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/299706/those-you-wanted-litt...

TI:2 did/does not have any object cards, it focuses more on territorial conquest. You'll have to make a new SC8 and perhaps print the TI:2 Victory Track.

(I agree with the OP: I don't like Objective Cards either. I'm dabbling with a ruleset. It'll aim towards territorial control, have several different Victory Tracks, similar to Civilization. Also, the movement will be 1, with only the rare exception of 2. But let's not get into that discussion here )
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Jonathan Challis
United Kingdom
Hungerford
West Berkshire
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I don't think you want to play TI3, you want one of a plethora of space building/war games. The Euro nature that was brought in with TI3 is the very thing you want to remove, and it's central to everything in the game.

TI2 may suit you better, or something like StarCraft?
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Shane Hubenig
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Dont underestimate how much you can customize the flow and feel of the games by manipulating the objectives availale... Or you can make your own... like scoroing points based on number of planets controlled etc... You can also play arround with the stragegy cards too. You don;t have to stick to the ones given, or even in the combo they allow for... Mess arround with it... My group tries to use rules as written as much as possible, but we made some minor customizations based on our groups prefferences.
 
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Shane Hubenig
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We do total free for all set up allowing homeworlds to go ANYWHERE except beside Mexatol Rex or another home world, and we play with the larger sized galaxy , we rarely have 8 players, but often 7, so if we found outself with 6 we just kept the same set up more or less...
 
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Andy Day

League City
Texas
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I sympathize with the OP. Playing to WIN is not as much fun as playing to PLAY. TI is a rare game in that it's a lot of fun to play, but often times winning is anti-climactic. Diffiult? Yes. Earned through hard diplomacy and saavy plays? Yes. But winning typically ends up being more of a puzzle game about sacrificing a lot of stuff to gain that spare few victory points. I don't like puzzle games... that last 10 hours.

You may consider looking at the Twilight Imperium 2nd edition victory conditions and modifying them. That game (apparently) encouraged having an empire, and the winner was the person who was the most powerful.

I also don't like people who hop into posts like this and say "you're playing wrong" or "play something else." Those people can go F themselves.

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Benjamin Osborn
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Something that you could do is play with the Age of the Empire variant, where your objectives are selected ahead of time, and everyone has a knowledge of what's possible to score. You might consider selecting only those objective cards that you particularly like for your style of gameplay, tailoring your objectives to the kinds of things you want to see done in your game (what you consider fun).

However, bear in mind that games that focus a lot on conquest are more likely to include a player elimination; most games don't include a player elimination because the objectives don't push you to attack the weak players. As a result, you'll likely have two players start to win on opposite sides of the galaxy, and they'll rarely collide over objectives, since it's not in their interest to fight each other; instead they'll just trample their weaker neighbors.

So, while what I propose will likely work (just select objective cards that promote your style of play), it may end up lowering the quality of the game for those players who are definitely losing.
 
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