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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Twilight Imperium - My first investment in the game rss

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Hans Messersmith
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With your head held high and your scarlet lies You came down to me from the open skies It's either real or it's a dream There's nothing that is in between
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Twilight, I only meant to stay awhile Twilight, I gave you time to steal my mind Away from me.
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Take Home Points:
* Twilight Imperium is a very fun game, but it is a game you INVEST in; once you have taken the time to buy it, learn the rules, set it up, and get into it, you want to play it a lot to recoup your investment.


Taking time out from our normal role-playing activities, four members of the Toronto area Independent RPG Meetup (http://roleplayers.meetup.com/261/) decided to try out something different...Twilight Imperium.

Erik, Steve, Josh and I all met up at Erik's apartment for the session. Erik was the only one who had played before, although I had read through the rules thoroughly and Steve had been able to glance a them.

The whole process of rules explanation and set up ended up taking about 1.5 hours. This is pretty steep; I would never attempt to play this game with my normal group of board game players as they would never stand for it. But we were a crew of people used to dealing with complicated games and I think we took it in stride.

Once play began, there were obviously a lot of slowdowns as we proceeded. Lots of reading as people try to get familiar with their own race sheets, the rules, the strategy cards and their various abilties, action cards, etc. The average turn length during the first round was probably 15 minutes, as people asked questions, tried to figure out what to do, etc. Each of us got royally screwed at one point or another by not knowing a particular rule, but that is typical for a game of this complexity when you play it the first time.

As we got into the 2nd round, play definitely speeded up, as we started to get into the swing of the tactical actions and what could and couldn't be done in them. We had at least one solid space battle in the 2nd round as well, which was quite enjoyable (even though I lost it).

At the end of the 2nd round, we had been going for nigh on 4 hours, and Josh had to split. We left his pieces in place (i.e. "civil disorder", most of us were old Diplomacy players) and played through a third round. Things went even faster still during this round mechanically, although now, as people were beginning to get used to the rules, strategy and tactics started to become more important.

At the end of the 3rd round (at about 8 PM) we decided to call it a night and cook some meat on Erik's grill.

A number of impressions formed as I played through the game. Here they are, in no particular order:
* This game is the most complex I have played in a long time. In complexity its easily on the order of many of the old Avalon Hill games I used to play back in the day (for example, Panzerleader or Kingmaker).
* This game is an investment. It costs a lot, takes a long time to set up, is complex enough to take a while to learn, and is not trivial in game length even after you have gotten used to the rules, I'm willing to bet.
* Because of the investment involved, I can't really see myself playing it much, even if someone gave it to me for free. The number of people I know that would be willing to make the investment in the game is simply insufficient to support the game, especially when there are so many other fun games that are simpler, shorter, and more thematically accessible to a wider audience.
* Even given all the above, I loved the game, and would love to play it more. Its mechanics are fascinating, and I know I only scratched the surface. Its just hard to see how it would be possible.
 
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Matthijs v S
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I know plenty of people who stop playing World of Warcraft (the computergame) for a night to show up for this. Yes, it gets a lot faster once everyone played once or twice, and it's a favorite among many. It may take long, but it's rather unique in it's concept and greatly fulfulling (most of the time)
 
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Scott Lewis
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I think the key with this one, especially in terms of it seeing table-time, is to specifically PLAN for this one. IE, with many games, you can just show up for a game night, and pop out a random game, and enjoy it. I've found that this one is best enjoyed when you plan ahead of time for it, to make sure you'll have adequate time, etc.

As you do this, and things start rolling, I think that this game brings a level of "fulfilment" that many games do not. Not that other games aren't fun, but they don't always quite immerse you as well as this one does
 
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Jay T Leone
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Pistoolkip wrote:
I know plenty of people who stop playing World of Warcraft (the computergame) for a night to show up for this. Yes, it gets a lot faster once everyone played once or twice, and it's a favorite among many. It may take long, but it's rather unique in it's concept and greatly fulfulling (most of the time)


Damn I wish I was in the Netherlands. All my brother does is WoW the CPU game. And my other friends can't comprehend anything but party games. People here (US, Cali, Bay Area, SF) must be dumber... sucks.
 
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Theo Miltenburg
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Pistoolkip is probably refering to my regular twilight group. Quite often I ask a WoW playing friend to send out a teamspeak to rally the people. really easy.

Also game setup the first time takes ages. We usually play at my place and when I know they will be coming I am sure I have setup everything nicely. All that should remain is planet draw, race pick and objectives creation. Also the seal bags really help in bringing out this game in a short time. with two it usually takes about 15 minutes before we start with galaxy creation.
 
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Blue Jackal
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First game is a long game.

You don't need to necessarily maximize what you do, unlike other games. (Say, Game of Thrones.) Also, a lot of the game can be summed up in:

Pick a strategy card, at the beginning of the turn. At some point during your turn you MUST activate it, and everyone ELSE can activate the Secondary.

Place a command counter during your turn to activate a system, this allows you to move ships that are close enough into the system, and build at the system. Ships cannot leave an activated system.

That is the basis of the game... it might be easier if you simply tell people these rules and then turn them loose, explaining specifics as you go.
 
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