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Subject: First game - 8 players rss

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tibbles von tibbleton
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Portland
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I finally got to play my first game of TI3 this weekend, which was awesome. I didn't take notes midgame, but here's the overview and a pic someone took near the end of turn 2.

Setup:
8 players, random races, pregenerated map with 3 artifacts, Shattered Empire objectives and strategy cards.

I played as black at the 6 o'clock table position and drew Jol Nar. Clockwise from me was Mentak (orange), Sol (blue), Letnev (purple), L1z1x (gray), Hacan (yellow), Yssarill (green), and Muat (red).



I was a bit worried sitting between Mentak and Muat, but I think I lucked out in that the Muat and Yssarill players were the only 2 who had any play experience and Muat with a choice between 2 late game powers opted to head for the experienced player rather than at me.

Other than the early military handicap, pulling Jol Nar was a lucky stroke since I was skimming the strategy section to try to find hints as to what one should do general in the opening turns and came across the Jol Nar Trade 2 opener. I'd like to think given the strategy card options on my turn I'd have picked Trade anyways, though I freely admit I'd likely have not thought to buy Nanotech and instead probably would have gone XRD and/or a military tech if a neighbor looked threatening.

My secret objective was to control Mecatol with 8 capital ships and a space dock, which I figured would be unobtainable, so my initial goal would be to hang back getting the public objectives and try to snatch 1-2 artifacts and try to draw Imperium Rex to end.


Turn 1:
The Hacan started as Speaker, Tech, Production, and Leadership were taken before it came to me, leaving Trade the easy choice, even without knowing the Jol Nar opener. 3 Trade goods plus I secured an unbreakable 3 trade with the Hacan who were on the opposite side of the map, so no worries over war. I also got a 2 for my 1 trade route with the Muat in return for approving his other trade deal. We accidentally played with the Mentak stealing during his strategy card use rather than the strategy phase, so he stole from the Hakan and I every turn, but still worth it.

Most of turn 1 went as expected, people built some cheap units and took the planets near their home world. I claimed a nice dual system 0/3 and 3/0 with tech symbols I think to my right, a decent one towards the center, and had empty space to my left.

The (unknowingly) game changer was a vote came up midturn to elect a science minister. The benefit is the holder got to use the secondary of Technology for no command cost and -1 to tech cost. Yssarill suggested that Jol Nar should get it since they already had a tech boost, it'd be the smallest effect to give it to them. Naturally I wasn't going to speak out against that idea, so in a unexpected turn I got unanimously elected. Coupled with the red/blue symbols on the planets near me, the end result was I got 2 techs every turn for the low price of only 3-4 resources total.

We misplayed Bureaucracy and flipped 2 objectives to start, blockading a dock and 2 techs of 3 colors.


Turn 2 (pictured):
I wanted to go for command counters, but unfortunately, Leadership was taken by another, along with the +resource strategies, so I ended up with Bureaucracy. Between a ground force victory and a space victory objective, I chose to reveal the space battle one. My techs were XRD and a red.

Muat moved towards Yssarill and next to their homeworld, which was a relief, so I expanded 1 more hex closer to the center. Wanting to avoid conflict, I told the Mentak player he could have the artifact planet between us (I was hoping Sol would also contest it) and that I'd angle right instead.

Everyone else also expanded peacefully, though L1z1x was clearly eying Letnev's new planet and the 2 started an arms race there which would last all game.

Yssarill had gone 2 hexes towards the center and built a space dock, but on seeing Muat's warsun by the homeworld built a fleet and attacked. What statistically should have been the end of Muat turned out to be a surprise Muat victory with a lone warsun sitting unopposed in Yssarill space.

At the end of the round I claimed the 6 tech objective and Muat claimed the space battle point.


Turn 3:
I took Leadership this round for the 6 command counters. Between these and my policy card was saving me command counters, suddenly getting a fleet of 8 wasn't looking as far fetched as it did on turn 1, I put 8 in to fleet supply and still had 1 for strategy and 3 for tactical left over. I decided to nab warsun tech.

Most everyone consolidated this turn, no one took any artifacts or Mecatol, I guess no one wanted to paint that target on themselves this early. 3-4 of us built space docks on the planet equidistant from our homeworld and Mecatol. Mentak, instead of going outward to war, used their wormhole and claimed the Nexus.

Yssarill rebuilt before Muat could claim their homeworld and the 2 stalemated. Yssarill got a blockade on Muat's second dock.

The revealed objective was to control Mecatol. L1z1x claimed the tech point.


Turn 4:
I took Production and coupled with all the trade goods I had on hand, built a warsun and several cruisers to go with the 4 ships I already had on hand, giving me my fleet of 8. Naturally on plopping that 20 resource build down I caught some attention and it was suggested by several that I needed to stop leaving Muat alone and should go capitalize on his totally undefended systems.

I nearly had a catastrophe in that my fleet of 8 was 2 spaces from Mecatol and included a dreadnought and I did not yet have the +1 move tech. The guy with Technology was bribed to wait 1 more action to play it and I only had 1 remaining command counter. Thankfully I remembered action cards and played a pointless play as an action to stall my turn long enough for Tech to get played to get my +1 speed and move my entire fleet to Mecatol.

I also built some additional defenses in my home system in case Mentak had some way to move 3 hexes.

Sol finally claimed the artifact near us and built up a giant mass of fighters in response to my navy and blew up my shipyard with an action card to prevent me from building at it a second time. Phew, so glad I had got my 8 out already.

L1z1x claimed the artifact in front of him but most of his fleet was still tied up stalemating with Letnev.

Hacan pulled a surprise expansion going thru the wormhole and stealing the Nexus from the Mentak rather than risking war with the L1z1x.

I forget the sequence, but in a series of battles Muat and Yssarill managed to nearly completely destroy each other, each holding the other's home planet with like 1 ship.

I moved my lone destroyer in to blockade Muat's last spaceport for a point, but Yssarill blew it up with an action card to both deny me a point and ensure that Muat couldn't build anything the next turn.

The revealed objective was spending 3 command counters, so I put the 3 from Leadership's secondary in to that. Yssarill and Hacan claimed the space victory point.

That put the scores at:
2: Jol Nar, L1z1k, Yssarrill
1: Sol, Hacan, Muat
0: Mentak, Letnev


Turn 5:
This turn went a little funky since we realized 1 round of actions in that we would have to call the game before turn 6.

I took Production thinking I would build my space dock on Mecatol and then build some extra ships just to help ensure that if anyone attacked me I would still have 8 left for my objective (I only had a screen of 5 fighters). Turns out, that's an illegal move, so I should have gone Bureaucracy. And in retrospect, even if that were a legal move, I should have gone Bureaucracy . I could have scored 2 objectives this round, I wanted Bureau next turn and I had that action card that lets you keep your strategy pick. Granted no one ever wanted it yet, but it was a pointless risk.

The revealed objective II was destroy a space dock for 2.

Deciding to get some action in at last, Letnev broke their standoff with L1z1x and launched an attack, but was badly beaten. Sol, looking around for some fun points, eyed my fleet at Mecatol but decided to instead smash the remained of Letnev's forces and claim a dock destruction there as well as conquering the Nexus from the Hacan. Unfortunately for him, the Mentak's finally made their surprise move and Flank Speeded a victorious assault onto Jord leaving Sol no way to earn the credit. Yssarill retook their homeworld.

I blockaded Muat's newly built docks to finally secure that blockade victory point, used the carrier I'd left innocently sitting 2 spaces away all game to drop troops on to Sol's artifact claiming it, and claimed my secret objective of Mecatol.

The game ended with final scores of:
6: Jol Nar
3: L1z1k
2: Yssarrill, Mentak
1: Hacan, Muat
0: Sol, Letnev

Though a couple more objectives would have been claimed had I not already announced I had 6, so I'm quite sure Hacan had/would have 2 and Letnev, L1z1x, and Yssarill might have had enough to get +1 from the command counter objective.


Turn 6 (in my head cool):
Since I'd rather win (or lose) legit than a called-for-time victory, and because no one at the table would have been keen to hear my plan for total domination, I want to share here, this was my probably game winning strategy for turn 6:

-Play 2 Signal Jammers on the artifact between me, Sol, and Mentak to keep them off it. Everyone else was too far away, so that would be 6 pts locked in.
-Take Bureaucracy (pretty sure it would be mine at 4th pick since it always went 8th) and try to pull Imperium Rex for the win, but failing that, score 1 for the Mecatol public objective for 7 points.
-Move my giant fleet in to 1 of the 3 enemy space docks within striking range and half my fleet size and blow it up securing 9 points come end of the turn for an official win.
-I had the 2 carriers in range to drop the other 2 artifacts to try for the immediate win too, but those could have easily been reclaimed from me mid turn.
-Barring some incredibly lucky rolls, Mentak didn't have enough to Flank conquer my homeworld to deny me points even had he not done the sneak attack on Sol the turn before (which he wouldn't have since Sol wouldn't have left it that turn). I would have had like 2 pdfs, 2 dreadnoughts, 2 cruisers, a destroyer, and 2 fighters vs his 3 cruisers, 2 fighters, and a carrier if he attacked me before either of us built more units and odds would have gone even worse if I got to build first.

As it turned out, Imperium Rex was the next objective, so I could have won my first action turn 6, though as I noted in turn 1, we accidentally turned over 1 too many objectives, so technically Imperium should have been the turn 7 card.


Final Thoughts:
First off, TI3 is an awesome game. I did not feel at all like I had sat there for 6.5 hours played + 1.5 hours overview. And considering the horror stories for this game, that seems like we went pretty fast. 5 full turns of 8 players in 6.5 hours. I'd have brought it to an end in < 8 hours even going to 9 points.

Second, woo, victory is mine!!!
I did seriously luck out though, that tech political card saved me the 5 command counters I needed to build my fleet from 3 to 8. And Muat/Mentak not coming for me turn 1. Probably next game I'll be absolutely crushed by luck as balance.

As glad as I was that no one decided to simply ram themselves in to my fleet for fun and potentially cost that Mecatol 2 pts, it was a bit disappointing to have never gotten 1 battle in (from turn 3 I planned to launch my attacks on turn 6). I halfway thought Sol was going to do so, but I was holding the Friendly Fire action card which would have been devastating against his attack force of 12 +1 fighters, 2 carriers, and a cruiser.

It also showed just how much the game can swing depending where you call it for time. We were only like 15 minutes safe from calling it for time before the end of round 5, which if we didn't do the status phase would have left us with a 3 way tie at 2 points. I THINK I would have won the planet tie breaker, but not sure. Both my competitors had their planet cards off the table due to space.
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R H
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Bethany
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Love the write up and the play by play!

tibbles wrote:
First off, TI3 is an awesome game. I did not feel at all like I had sat there for 6.5 hours played + 1.5 hours overview. And considering the horror stories for this game, that seems like we went pretty fast. 5 full turns of 8 players in 6.5 hours. I'd have brought it to an end in < 8 hours even going to 9 points.
THIS
This is exactly what I tell people who complain about the time involvement with the game. If they have other things to do, I understand. But if you are concerned you will be "bored" while playing because it will take X amount of time, that is your fault. Get involved in the game, and the time will go by so fast.
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Justin R
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Good report.

TI3 is my grail game, and I am all but certain I will never be able to get a committed group together for the experience. Reading that the 6.5 hours seemed to fly by gives me hope...whether my wife buys it is another matter entirely.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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Portland
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RruinerR wrote:

This is exactly what I tell people who complain about the time involvement with the game. If they have other things to do, I understand. But if you are concerned you will be "bored" while playing because it will take X amount of time, that is your fault. Get involved in the game, and the time will go by so fast.


Yes. Given it's designed to last so long, the game is very well designed to always give you decisions on other player's actions. It's not like it didn't feel longish, I won't lie, but I felt it more like 3 hours than 6.5. I've had rough 3 hour GoT games that felt subjectively longer and more draining. That said, if you get locked or knocked out early, TI3 could be rather painful. I could tell the Letnev player was losing interst after turn 3 cause he was pinned all game and was practically fleet capped turn 2.
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Oliver
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The game can be fast if the group is willing.
 
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