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Subject: Space Empires 4x: the best space game on the market rss

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A review by Jeffro at Castalia House. Posted with permission.

GMT Games and designer Jim Krohn have put together what is quite simply the best space game on the market.

Okay, not everyone has come around to seeing it that way yet, but really… the game’s critics have to agree that all four “exes” are in evidence here and none of them get the short end of the stick. There are dangerous deep space hexes to explore. You can set up the perfect pocket empire as you expand across known space. The are barren alien worlds to exploit. And once you’ve gone shopping for your favorite technologies and constructed a massive starfleet, you can head off across the board to go exterminate your opponents. It’s fun. You get all the glory of a truly monstrous space wargame, but this one can be played in hours instead of days. And unlike its chief competitor, it’s set up to reward aggressive play instead of turtling. After a seemingly interminable glut of “group solitaire” type games that go out of their way to eliminate direct conflict, this one is a welcome change of pace.

It may look a bit daunting at first. When I teach the game at conventions and so forth, I do sometimes encounter people that ask why it is that the game requires you to track technological advancements on a counter-by-counter basis. Wouldn’t it be easier to just let everyone upgrade all of their ships automatically whenever they buy upgrades? I personally think that it’s this sort of thing really makes the game worth playing. It’s just neat to have your oldest “clunker” ships fighting alongside the latest models. And when your ships are spending time travelling and invading, your opponents’ ships are slowly improving and adapting while your units are far from friendly ship yards. The fog of war is such that you can never quite tell if you’re going to just burn through your opponents’ colonies or if you’re going to get repulsed. That kind of tension is gaming gold if you ask me, and well worth a little minor bookkeeping.

Another thing I hear occasionally is that maybe the opening part of the game could be cut short so that everyone can proceed straight to the action. I can sort of see where that is coming from. I mean, everyone has the same basic counter mix in their home systems, so there’s not too many surprises there. But in those first six turns, you’re setting up your economy without knowing what’s on the very borders of your core systems. You have to decide if you’re going to buy an extra mining ship or not before you know the nature of the deep space hexes. You’ll probably start building on a merchant shipping network before you know for sure that your geography suits that strategy. And you might make the decision to invest in terraforming technology before you even know the actual density of alien worlds on the map!

None of these individual decisions can make or break your chances of winning. But they do matter and they can add up. And hey… this is the part of the game where you get to explore and exploit! It’s fun. And you don’t know if your opponents are going to send a few scouts over to harass you in the early stages. Do you build some defenses to cover for that or do you take your chances? If you play it too safe, you’ll be paying maintenance costs on ships that aren’t really doing anything while your opponents are putting their money in better tech and more economic power!

That opening phase ends all too soon, though. All of a sudden, you have two enemy fleets on station at distant outposts, separated by only the flimsiest of frontiers. If you haven’t made contact yet, you’ll have no idea who is in the superior position. Different combinations of ships can exhibit wildly different levels of effectiveness depending on what they go up against. Raiders can slip through enemy lines and wreak havoc unless they are countered by scanner equipped destroyers. Fighters can be cause an amount of damage that far outstrips their size and cost. But scouts enhanced with point defense technology can pick them off with ease. And a minefield can take the blunt your fighting power if you don’t bring along any minesweepers. It’s worth it to sacrifice a few ships to find out what your enemy is up to, otherwise your first big battle can devolve into sort of a high stakes variant of rock-paper-scissors!

Part of the reason that it’s so hard to tell what you’re up against is that you don’t even know how many ships are associated with a single counter. Numeric markers are stacked underneath them, so until there is a battle you don’t know if it is six scouts or a single battle cruiser. The larger ships can take multiple hits and have higher chances of destroying enemy units. But if a fleet outnumbers its opponent by more than two to one, it gains a bonus on all of its to-hit rolls. This means it’s not a smart strategy to send out large ships without any escorts.

Similar to the combat systems from block war games, each ship group executes its turn in letter order. (If groups have the same letter rating, the group with the higher tactics technology goes first. Otherwise the defender goes first.) In the situation pictured above, the three fighters with a rating of B 5-0 attack first. They might roll three ten sided dice to target the large stack of enemy destroyers, killing one for each roll of five or less. Assuming that both sides have no tactics technology, the blue shipyard units (C 3-0) will fire next, followed by the red cruisers (C 4-1). The first number is the unit’s attack strength and represents the chance to-hit. The second number represents the unit’s defense strength and is subtracted from all attacks directed at the units. In this case, the shipyards have to roll a one or a two in order score a hit on the cruisers. But unlike the other units in the battle, it takes two hits to kill the larger and more formidable cruisers.

In the situation here, things are not that favorable for the red player. One thing that can trip up people coming to this from other games like Axis & Allies is they might assume that they’ll be able to retreat at the end of a full round of battle. The way it works here, though, is that when a counter comes up in the letter sequence, it has the option to either fire or retreat right then. So even if red wants to pull out here, the cruisers will not be able to leave until after the fighters and the shipyards have fired. If he doesn’t have anything invested in tactics technology, the destroyers will not be able to leave until all of the blue units have had a chance to fire!

(Obviously, if you want to do reconnaissance work in such a way as to bring your ships back alive, a single large ship with a better letter rating than the smaller ships is a good choice. But the fighters here with their “B” ratings will be able to scramble and take a few pot shots at anything smaller than a battleship or a battle cruiser with a superior tactics rating.)

The details of the battle system may seem “fiddly” to dedicated board-gamers, but it doesn’t take that many fleet engagements of this size to settle a war. In the game pictured above, blue repulsed an initial attack from red while sending carriers and destroyers around the central barrier of black holes to raze the colonies on red’s right flank. The jig is up: red is not in a position to deal a comparable amount of damage and is unable to bring enough point-defense enabled scouts into play to counter both the flanking attack and the concentration of units in the center. The overall feel is that of pin and overload tactics in chess, but with many more details and nuances that can have sudden ramifications at the worst moments.

But not everyone gets this kind of experience with the game right out of the gate. If you play a standard core set multi-player scenario without the advanced rules, then you don’t have any of the fancy stuff like fighters, raiders, or mines. Without these disruptive elements, the game is far more liable to bog down and drag on too long. Compounding this, novice players are going to be sending out ineffective fleets. It takes a while to figure out that a lone dreadnought is not going to pose much of a threat to anyone. It may seem like a lot to take on in the first go, but I really recommend new players to try the “short game” victory conditions with all of the advanced rules even in their first games. It’s worth the investment and it’s surprising, but adding in the extra rules does not in fact increase the “weight” of the game. They make for a richer decision making environment without slowing things down!

You see, the advanced units of the game do more than just provide a means of keeping the small scout and destroyer units relevant even after they get obsoleted by the larger and sturdier ships. While all of the advanced ship technologies can be countered, they can’t all be preempted. If you’re setting up an attack, you probably only have enough resources to pick one of these technologies to bet on. From there it’s a matter of trying to capitalize on it before your opponent can adapt. Instead of a ponderous game where everyone can pretty much read the board, it creates a volatile situation where it’s possible to rapidly “check mate” someone in just a few turns. That basic situation is the backbone of the plot to half a dozen Honor Harrington novels and it’s completely exhilarating to be able to pull it off.

Just like Star Fleet Battles gives you the sense of being in the captain’s chair like no other game, this one turns you into Grand Moff Tarkin: “I’m taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work.” This game produces a war that simply cannot be won by the average “accountant” type of player. Hanging back and playing “diplomacy” isn’t going to cut it, either. This game forces you to take risks. You never stop being on the horns of a dilemma. And you have to make all kinds of important decisions without anything like complete information. Once you get over the initial learning curve, Space Empires: 4x can pack in incredible amount of action into two to four hours of game play.

Trading brick for wheat is fine. Coordinating with your buddies to prevent a worldwide epidemic is all well and good. And hey, even busting out a cascade of “village” cards to rake in the gold has its appeal. But a certain type of gamer won’t be satisfied until he has exploded countless starships and toppled vast empires of pure evil. This is the game for them. And it packs in everything you could want in a space game without killing the tempo or the playability. I really don’t think a game this good could have been produced back in the eighties or the nineties. And I used to think that a game like this couldn’t be developed in this decade. But it’s here… and it’s awesome.

If you’re tired of discarding games after about five or six plays; if you’re looking for something with enough depth that you’re liable to still be playing it ten years from now; if you think you could have done a much better job than Emperor Palpatine, then you need to take a look at this. (And even if your buddies don’t take to it, there’s still enough value in the solitaire scenarios here that you’re sure get your money’s worth; nice work there GMT!) It’s truly a masterpiece of game design and I can’t give a higher recommendation.
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Chris B
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Great review, exactly how I feel, but with me you're obviously preaching to the converted.
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Phil Triest
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Are you Jeffro, Icefalcon?
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Ice Falcon
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No, I'm just follow him. I asked him for permission to post this and he said I could.
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Roger Reisinger
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To me SE4x is a completely different game from TI3 and they cant be compared. While the former is much more combat intensive, I found the decisions to be made less meaningful and less engaging than the latter. To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present. For this reason I still prefer TI3 but am still in search of that type of game experience that can be played in 3-4 hours.
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Lowecore wrote:
To me SE4x is a completely different game from TI3 and they cant be compared. While the former is much more combat intensive, I found the decisions to be made less meaningful and less engaging than the latter. To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present. For this reason I still prefer TI3 but am still in search of that type of game experience that can be played in 3-4 hours.

Give Exodus: Proxima Centauri a shot. The diplomacy side of things is still weaker than TI3 but with the upcoming expansion I expect things may change a bit. What I really like about Exodus: Proxima Centauri is the strategic layers that seem to be peeled away each time you play it. You really have to balance your use of technology as that can limit your population you send out to planets. The area control in this game is fascinating. I love TI3 as well. Both very very good games!
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Jeff Johnson
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Lowecore wrote:
To me SE4x is a completely different game from TI3 and they cant be compared. While the former is much more combat intensive, I found the decisions to be made less meaningful and less engaging than the latter. To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present. For this reason I still prefer TI3 but am still in search of that type of game experience that can be played in 3-4 hours.

You have a point there. TI3 should probably be compared more with euro games like Puerto Rico than with a "real" space game like SE4X. And yes, people play SE4X without cutting a lot of deals. People bluff like in poker and it's not clear when a particular cold war is going to turn hot. The diplomacy in hum drum euro games like TI3 is more like passive aggressive disinformation campaigns where smarty pants players give bad advice to each other in order to distract people from who is in fact in the lead and who should be allying against them. Much more fun for me is when my ships roll over someone's borders in SE4X and those colonies start to burn up. No amount of table talk can do anything to stop it and every single choice made in the the turns leading up to that has a huge impact on just how it plays out. I am unstoppable! Unless I made a miscalculation or my opponent outwitted me.

Yeah, the games have entirely different target audiences in spite of their superficial similarities in terms of theme. To me, though, TI3 is not even in the same league as SE4X. It's just a big box of tacky plastic and space junk. I'd much rather experience direct conflict that isn't muddied up with a bunch of cutesy game mechanics that don't have anything to do with blowing up peoples' star fleets.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.

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Phil Triest
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Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


TI3 actually has political/diplomacy mechanics whilst Risk does not. They are moons apart in this regard. You cannot trade with those whom you are at war with in TI3. You also vote on political cards which often change the game's rules and you will often find players discussing between one another how they should vote and asking for something in return.
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someotherguy wrote:
Our games devolved into plodding, stagnant punching matches. The ships and alien techs didn't provide enough variety for one player to get much of an advantage over another, so wars went on endlessly. I don't think I ever played a game to completion.

I find this hard to believe.

Just speculating, but... maybe no one was playing in a truly aggressive manner. I see people guessing wrong on technology or fleet composition and then getting smashed. And then they cannot build back fast enough to keep the other guy(s) from eating them alive. Some people have the Napoleon gene, and once they get the hang of the basics, they start making people just plain cry. (Like the time that guy built a merchant pipeline "road" that funneled raiders into my empire! Ouch!) If the volatility of the ship techs aren't enough, then the classic chess tactic "overload" means that not everyone can have everything they need everywhere at once. This game just seems like it's set up to be a powder keg if you ask me.

You are done, sure, but for anyone else that doesn't want to meet this fate:

1) Play the solitaire scenarios; they will give you a chance to practice your knockout punch. It can take multiple tries! But it will give you a significant edge over people that haven't done this. (I know I made someone cry when I worked out the perfect method for fighter blitzing.)

2) Play the short game victory conditions. If you don't know what you're doing these are mercifully short. If people don't fall in love with the game at this point, I wouldn't necessarily push for the "real" game scenarios.

3) If you're playing four players, do teams in order to avoid anything remotely close to the petty diplomacy problem from emerging. Or just play "first person to take out a home world wins" or something. Anything!

I hope it is the case that you guys got a rule wrong or something. Or maybe you are cursed in that you don't have anyone in your group that is truly, despicably evil. The only surefire explanation for you problems is that euro games cause brain damage, but your mileage may vary on that...!
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Rafael Ramus
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philtrees wrote:
Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


TI3 actually has political/diplomacy mechanics whilst Risk does not. They are moons apart in this regard. You cannot trade with those whom you are at war with in TI3. You also vote on political cards which often change the game's rules and you will often find players discussing between one another how they should vote and asking for something in return.

TI3 is more akin to Warrior Knights then to euro or SE4X. It has conquering mechanisms and intricated political phases, and above all, it is not a 4X.

SE4X is the only board game that I feel captures the essence of 4X: you can't win without doing all 4: you must explore to be able to exploit and expand, and you do the 3 first X to achieve the forth: Exterminate. There is really little space for turtling.

That's not necessarily how games of TI3 are played. You can win TI3 by being a good politician, and the secret objectives add on to that (on a second thought, in this regard I do feel TI3 is akin to a common version of Risk in which every player has a secret objective. If you play with a variant that ensures players are bound to their deals, it can feel a bit like TI3).
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someotherguy wrote:

After a couple of plays, considering how I and my game group feel about this, it will literally never get to the table again.

For me, SE:4X is a clever game, but not a fun game. I can't help but think computers just do these sorts of simulations better.

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Rafael Ramus wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


TI3 actually has political/diplomacy mechanics whilst Risk does not. They are moons apart in this regard. You cannot trade with those whom you are at war with in TI3. You also vote on political cards which often change the game's rules and you will often find players discussing between one another how they should vote and asking for something in return.

TI3 is more akin to Warrior Knights then to euro or SE4X. It has conquering mechanisms and intricated political phases, and above all, it is not a 4X.

SE4X is the only board game that I feel captures the essence of 4X: you can't win without doing all 4: you must explore to be able to exploit and expand, and you do the 3 first X to achieve the forth: Exterminate. There is really little space for turtling.

That's not necessarily how games of TI3 are played. You can win TI3 by being a good politician, and the secret objectives add on to that (on a second thought, in this regard I do feel TI3 is akin to a common version of Risk in which every player has a secret objective. If you play with a variant that ensures players are bound to their deals, it can feel a bit like TI3).

TI3 is not 4X game. I agree with you. There is minimal explore (except when using Distant Suns which I don't play with), exterminate (I am yet to see someone kill off all his enemies). There is plenty of exploit and expand though.
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Alex Brown wrote:
someotherguy wrote:

After a couple of plays, considering how I and my game group feel about this, it will literally never get to the table again.

For me, SE:4X is a clever game, but not a fun game. I can't help but think computers just do these sorts of simulations better.


I got that feeling as well when I did a bit of research a while back. It actually made me put off buying it.
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Alex Brown wrote:
someotherguy wrote:

After a couple of plays, considering how I and my game group feel about this, it will literally never get to the table again.

For me, SE:4X is a clever game, but not a fun game. I can't help but think computers just do these sorts of simulations better.


How many times do you get to sit around a table full of computers with your friends to play a 4X game in just one evening?

Besides, the game is quite modular. If you want the game to have a binding diplomatic thing on it... just houserule it!

It is decided then, I'll come up with some variant for that after the holliday season devil
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Rafael Ramus wrote:
How many times do you get to sit around a table full of computers with your friends to play a 4X game in just one evening?

I want to see the look on their faces when the counter stacks are revealed.
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The best part of this game is that your most powerful weapon is your opponent's imagination.

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Gwal wrote:
The best part of this game is that your most powerful weapon is your opponent's imagination.

So true, so true.
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Jeffr0 wrote:
Lowecore wrote:
To me SE4x is a completely different game from TI3 and they cant be compared. While the former is much more combat intensive, I found the decisions to be made less meaningful and less engaging than the latter. To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present. For this reason I still prefer TI3 but am still in search of that type of game experience that can be played in 3-4 hours.

You have a point there. TI3 should probably be compared more with euro games like Puerto Rico than with a "real" space game like SE4X. And yes, people play SE4X without cutting a lot of deals. People bluff like in poker and it's not clear when a particular cold war is going to turn hot. The diplomacy in hum drum euro games like TI3 is more like passive aggressive disinformation campaigns where smarty pants players give bad advice to each other in order to distract people from who is in fact in the lead and who should be allying against them. Much more fun for me is when my ships roll over someone's borders in SE4X and those colonies start to burn up. No amount of table talk can do anything to stop it and every single choice made in the the turns leading up to that has a huge impact on just how it plays out. I am unstoppable! Unless I made a miscalculation or my opponent outwitted me.

Yeah, the games have entirely different target audiences in spite of their superficial similarities in terms of theme. To me, though, TI3 is not even in the same league as SE4X. It's just a big box of tacky plastic and space junk. I'd much rather experience direct conflict that isn't muddied up with a bunch of cutesy game mechanics that don't have anything to do with blowing up peoples' star fleets.

I wont bother resonding to TI3 being akin to Puerto Rico or Euro games in general, if you think that my rebuttal will be meaningless to you.

However, when I stated SE4x is similar to Risk, I can elaborate on my meaning. In Risk, as in SE4x, you build, move, fight... Rinse and repeat. It is very mechanical and boring ( to me ). In TI3 there is much more to think about. Sure, the Diplomacy might not be flrshed out as much as anyone would like, but thinking about what SC to take, which ones my opponents might take, or what PC/ AC cards will be played leads to a much more cerebral experience.

I dont fault you for liking SE4x, so have fun pushing your fleets around and Happy Gaming!
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Rafael Ramus wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


TI3 actually has political/diplomacy mechanics whilst Risk does not. They are moons apart in this regard. You cannot trade with those whom you are at war with in TI3. You also vote on political cards which often change the game's rules and you will often find players discussing between one another how they should vote and asking for something in return.

TI3 is more akin to Warrior Knights then to euro or SE4X. It has conquering mechanisms and intricated political phases, and above all, it is not a 4X.

SE4X is the only board game that I feel captures the essence of 4X: you can't win without doing all 4: you must explore to be able to exploit and expand, and you do the 3 first X to achieve the forth: Exterminate. There is really little space for turtling.

That's not necessarily how games of TI3 are played. You can win TI3 by being a good politician, and the secret objectives add on to that (on a second thought, in this regard I do feel TI3 is akin to a common version of Risk in which every player has a secret objective. If you play with a variant that ensures players are bound to their deals, it can feel a bit like TI3).

Maybe this is what I enjoy about TI3 so much. There is not 1 specific eay to victory. Do you want to be peaceful and research Tech to a victory, np.. Can be done; you want to fight for a military victory, np.. Can be done; is politics your thing? Make alliances and break them at the right time to claim that last vp to win the game.. Sure, that can be done too.

To spend 4-6 hours moving fleets back and forth as the main mechanic to a game just isnt appealing to me and my game group, as I stated before we grew out of Risk style games when we were 12.
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Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

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To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


Well to be fair I havent played Risk in well over 15 years. If Risk has evolved to include Secret Objectives, Prelim Objectives, Leaders, Representitives, multiple ground and air units, tech, and politics.. Then I stand corrected.... Otherwise, the build, move, fight mechanic is mote similar to SE4x.
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Icefalcon wrote:
A review by Jeffro at Castalia House. Posted with permission.


You see, the advanced units of the game do more than just provide a means of keeping the small scout and destroyer units relevant even after they get obsoleted by the larger and sturdier ships. While all of the advanced ship technologies can be countered, they can’t all be preempted. If you’re setting up an attack, you probably only have enough resources to pick one of these technologies to bet on. From there it’s a matter of trying to capitalize on it before your opponent can adapt. Instead of a ponderous game where everyone can pretty much read the board, it creates a volatile situation where it’s possible to rapidly “check mate” someone in just a few turns. That basic situation is the backbone of the plot to half a dozen Honor Harrington novels and it’s completely exhilarating to be able to pull it off.



This right there is what drew me to the game most of all. Enough of a tech variation so that the combat would not all feel the same and the lack of resources to field everything. I am a huge Honor Harrington fan, but a playable strategic game in that universe is not something that I think will ever be done. Too much of what happens in the books cannot be replicated in a game without a lot of “idiot” rules to limit the players ability to react to what they know is coming. Then you are not playing a game so much as following a script. That is one of the reasons that I stopped playing Federation & Empire. I think that SE:4X gives the players a lot of chances to experience one of my favorite Honor Harrington moments. The scene in Flag in Exile where Thomas Theisman’s tells his political officer that the only way to make sure he is correct that Harrington’s remaining ships are to damaged to defeat him is too close to weapons range and find out.

You know that you have three fully loaded CVs about to engage that unknown stack of enemy ships and you will be potentially throwing 9 B rated dice so you should be okay. But what if the enemy has a Mine or Two or they might have stopped researching Ship Size so that their SCs mount PD! Only way to know is to move to engage them.
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Oliver Upshaw
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Lowecore wrote:
Jim Krohn wrote:
Yep, as Jeffro so eloquently puts it, SE is a wargame. goo thumbsup

Quote:
To me, SE4x is just a complicated form of Risk, with little to no form of diplomacy present.

YMMV when it comes to games like this. People have different tastes, but I must admit to being taken aback by this - this is the first time SE has ever been compared to Risk....

And what kind of Risk games do you play where there is no diplomacy present? Honestly, I think Risk is more like TI3 in regards to diplomacy than it is to SE. I have played a lot of Risk, but little TI3 and I felt the diplomacy was similar. Maybe I'm wrong - it has been awhile.

Especially if you play teams, as you say, there is little or no diplomacy in SE.


Well to be fair I havent played Risk in well over 15 years. If Risk has evolved to include Secret Objectives, Prelim Objectives, Leaders, Representitives, multiple ground and air units, tech, and politics.. Then I stand corrected.... Otherwise, the build, move, fight mechanic is mote similar to SE4x.

You should really take a look at Risk 2210. It has Leaders, Forts, Secret Objectives and a 5 turn time limit. With the 5 Turn Limit you can not conquer the globe yourself so you make deals with the other players for some safe areas and fight over the others. With the Undersea Cities and the Moon Map there is still a lot of areas to fight over even after declaring some areas yours and other areas belonging to someone else.
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Rafael Ramus
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Lowecore wrote:
Maybe this is what I enjoy about TI3 so much. There is not 1 specific eay to victory

And some of them feel like you stopped in the mid of the game.

Besides, some things in the game can feel really stupid. Like:
"So, you won because of that? Why should I follow your rule if I have two times the military? I'll fight to the end! BTW, that freaking stupid law you managed to pass in that stupid ONU like stuff... fuck that, my race, my people, my nation, I'm not obeying you and I'm not obeying any of these stupid laws."

In TI3, some laws seem to change how matter interacts with space and time.

EDIT: Just to be sure, I like the game, but it has its flaws. And I really prefer SE4X.

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Rafael Ramus
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Lowecore wrote:
In Risk, as in SE4x, you build, move, fight... Rinse and repeat. It is very mechanical and boring ( to me ).

Did you even care to play the game? Does Risk feels like a 4X to you? How many pipelines do you build in Risk? How do you manage the economy in Risk?

If you're going to extrapolate things like that, you can say something similar about just any game.

Take Eclipse for instance: you buy techs, you build, you move, you fight sometimes (no mention about exploration, the economic management or anything else, just like you did here).

Ah! But TI3 is different... is it? You build, you move, sometimes you fight (no mention about anything else, just like you did here). And it even has Secret Objectives - totally Risk.
"Don't you see there is politics in TI3?". Come on, most of it is silly card minigame.

I was writting an even longer response, but I decided to stop here because I feel I would be just feeding the troll.
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