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Subject: First Playthrough 6-player base game rss

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Matt
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For my birthday I asked if everyone could set aside some time to play. I spent my week learning the game, printing player aides, and practicing teaching it. I sent some tutorial videos to the players, but honestly none of them watched (I hear December is Latin for Month of Too Many Obligations). I'd say 3 of the players had experience with other heavy board games, and 3 experience with maybe Risk from a war standpoint or other modern board games.

First time changes
We pulled out the Naluu Collective to avoid Initiative confusion.

I prebuilt the map using the Pre-Gen map on FFG's site. I had to rotate the red systems and since there weren't any trade depot's or Hope's End I just supplemented with some 2 system worlds. Not sure it was entirely balanced or anything, but my goal was to cut down on the playtime.

I used a printed tech tree for each player that they highlighted when they got a tech. This worked out way better in our opinion than having the cards as it was less space/fiddly stuff on the table and easy to at-a-glance see where another player stood with tech and what they might be planning on getting.

We started earlier than my usual game days at 10 AM with some breakfast burritos and coffee, definitely a must.

Did not play with any of the variant rules or expansion. So no leaders, vanilla objective drawing, etc.

Overall: We had a blast, everything definitely was as fun as this game has been made out to be. I think some of the players were pleasantly surprised at the options beyond combat and really got into that aspect of the game. The uniqueness of choices between strategies and then when/how to activate systems was big fun.

The interaction with players across-the-board via political cards or trade was a good thing and the secondary strategy actions kept people engaged even when it wasn't their turn.

Every player was eager to play again and talked about carving out a Saturday in January. We'll see, it definitely is a huge time commitment and we did not officially finish this time around due to some obligations (one player, a doctor, had a patient issue).

Lessons Learned
I didn't have a player aide for the ships in the game as I thought the info on the race card would be enough. It wasn't. I got a lot of questions from players and it definitely slowed it down. I'll have six printed out next time, just have to find the best one.

Initiative order was tough for people, too much time was spent going "who is next?" About half the players were great about it, but the other half definitely added some time. I'll have a whiteboard posted with order next time.

I need to spend more time teaching
1) It's Strategy Action OR Tactical Action. Even the second turn in people were still struggling on that one and it led to some longer turns.
2) How activation works in terms of what you can do in that system, how activated systems nearby affect things. We definitely had a lot of people trying to move from/to activated/unactivated systems in situations they couldn't and having to spend some undo time. Also had to catch people activating one system then building elsewhere on accident.

I would play in the future with a new group having the visible objectives option in the rulebook.

I looked at some of the alternate strategies form the expansions, and I think they seem pretty great. Now eyeing picking up the expansions as I think these are better options, but we will see.

Tl;DR Amazing and fun game, spend time prepping, and budget long game time!
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Yves trundorn
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Quote:
Initiative order was tough for people, too much time was spent going "who is next?" About half the players were great about it, but the other half definitely added some time.

same problem for our first(s) play, now, we are using stands for Strategic Cards, turning the card when using the "strategic action" and putting it down when "passing"
the mega-Battle-board 3000 help for the battles too !



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Joseph Schmoll
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MattHawke wrote:
For my birthday I asked if everyone could set aside some time to play. I spent my week learning the game, printing player aides, and practicing teaching it. I sent some tutorial videos to the players, but honestly none of them watched (I hear December is Latin for Month of Too Many Obligations). I'd say 3 of the players had experience with other heavy board games, and 3 experience with maybe Risk from a war standpoint or other modern board games.

First time changes
We pulled out the Naluu Collective to avoid Initiative confusion.

I prebuilt the map using the Pre-Gen map on FFG's site. I had to rotate the red systems and since there weren't any trade depot's or Hope's End I just supplemented with some 2 system worlds. Not sure it was entirely balanced or anything, but my goal was to cut down on the playtime.

I used a printed tech tree for each player that they highlighted when they got a tech. This worked out way better in our opinion than having the cards as it was less space/fiddly stuff on the table and easy to at-a-glance see where another player stood with tech and what they might be planning on getting.

We started earlier than my usual game days at 10 AM with some breakfast burritos and coffee, definitely a must.

Did not play with any of the variant rules or expansion. So no leaders, vanilla objective drawing, etc.

Overall: We had a blast, everything definitely was as fun as this game has been made out to be. I think some of the players were pleasantly surprised at the options beyond combat and really got into that aspect of the game. The uniqueness of choices between strategies and then when/how to activate systems was big fun.

The interaction with players across-the-board via political cards or trade was a good thing and the secondary strategy actions kept people engaged even when it wasn't their turn.

Every player was eager to play again and talked about carving out a Saturday in January. We'll see, it definitely is a huge time commitment and we did not officially finish this time around due to some obligations (one player, a doctor, had a patient issue).

Lessons Learned
I didn't have a player aide for the ships in the game as I thought the info on the race card would be enough. It wasn't. I got a lot of questions from players and it definitely slowed it down. I'll have six printed out next time, just have to find the best one.

Initiative order was tough for people, too much time was spent going "who is next?" About half the players were great about it, but the other half definitely added some time. I'll have a whiteboard posted with order next time.

I need to spend more time teaching
1) It's Strategy Action OR Tactical Action. Even the second turn in people were still struggling on that one and it led to some longer turns.
2) How activation works in terms of what you can do in that system, how activated systems nearby affect things. We definitely had a lot of people trying to move from/to activated/unactivated systems in situations they couldn't and having to spend some undo time. Also had to catch people activating one system then building elsewhere on accident.

I would play in the future with a new group having the visible objectives option in the rulebook.

I looked at some of the alternate strategies form the expansions, and I think they seem pretty great. Now eyeing picking up the expansions as I think these are better options, but we will see.

Tl;DR Amazing and fun game, spend time prepping, and budget long game time!


Sounds like a great time. And hits close to home, as we're all planning our first ever play of this game in but 2 weeks. I've definitely learned some tips from reading this.

Just curious, though you didn't "officially" finish (since some patient couldn't have patience), how long did the game go?
 
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Rayne Smith
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MattHawke wrote:
Initiative order was tough for people, too much time was spent going "who is next?" About half the players were great about it, but the other half definitely added some time. I'll have a whiteboard posted with order next time.


What my group does for the initiative order is whenever a player finishes their action they will say call out the next number to go (as opposed to trying to remember someone's name). This works fairly well for us, though we have had a few times where it took a few seconds for someone to realize that was their number. I really do like the idea of the stands for the cards though that Trundorn suggested.
 
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Lance Harrop
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Kaic wrote:
MattHawke wrote:
Initiative order was tough for people, too much time was spent going "who is next?" About half the players were great about it, but the other half definitely added some time. I'll have a whiteboard posted with order next time.


What my group does for the initiative order is whenever a player finishes their action they will say call out the next number to go (as opposed to trying to remember someone's name). This works fairly well for us, though we have had a few times where it took a few seconds for someone to realize that was their number. I really do like the idea of the stands for the cards though that Trundorn suggested.


I found some collectable trading card display easels that work pretty nicely.

I also have initiative order markers to give players so they know who is up.
 
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Matt
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Good suggestions on initiative. I'm pretty confident we'll have it down better next time around. I think I started calling it out toward the end but I think giving that task to all players up front would be smarter. In fact, I think I failed to mention that a good idea would be to give various tasks to players anyway.

-Someone to help with Initiative if there's a lull
-Planet Cards
-Action Cards
-Trade Goods
-Politics Cards

Doing this will give everyone something small and keep them engaged, I think is good advice I've seen elsewhere.

jospanther wrote:
Just curious, though you didn't "officially" finish (since some patient couldn't have patience), how long did the game go?


About an hour or so to teach and we played about 6 hours. We did have a lunch interruption I don't recall how long and our doctor friend had a few longer phone calls that did unfortunately (and unavoidably) interrupt some turns. The first turn took at least 2X as long as any of the other turns as folks asked rules questions, tried to do things they couldn't, etc. The last turn was the quickest as enough objective cards were out and enough political votes/border disputes to solidify people's decisions and alliances enough to propel it forward.

Definitely purchasing the first expansion and after looking I do think those strategy cards are overall more balanced.
 
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Jack Smith
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The first expansion is well worth the cost. It fixes the game as well as adding several new options.
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Brandon Zappala
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in reference to the initiative problem:
my friends and I take one ground troop (unlimited supply) from each player and place them in a row to show the initiative order.
we then lay down the ground troop/flag to indicate that the player has passed in a round and no longer is participating in the initiative order.
 
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