Chris J Davis
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Hi guys,

I just purchased TI3 and can't wait to have a game (I'm sure it's going to become my favourite game of all time; empire building and space travel - what more could a man want?!). Thing is, my gaming group is usually four players, and after reading the rules I get the feeling that a four player game wouldn't be the best gaming experience for this game. What with *every* strategy card being picked every turn, the bonus counters not being used and each player having two strategy cards, it seems too removed from the original intention of the game. My suspicions are also heightened by another similar post on these boards asking about suggested varients for a four player game.

So what do you think? Does having four players impact the game significantly and either raise or lower the enjoyment of it? Should I try to find another player (or maybe even remove one?!), or use a veriant? What do you think is the optimum number of players for TI3?

One last thing: I've heard a lot of talk of people prefering to play with the ISC only giving 1VP. Exactly what difference does this make to the game and the gameplay?

Many thanks,

Chris.
 
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
1 VP? Longer game time.
 
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David Reeves
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
Our group usually plays with 4 or 6 players with no apparent impact to game play. Since the ISC gets picked each round, folks in a 4-player game need to pay a bit more attention that one person doesn't get it too often or the game ends prematurely. However, we are all veteran players (20+ games each).

My preference is 6 players as this allows for more diplomatic, political and strategy card options, but I would not say that 4 players is broken, just with a few less flavorful options.

Since there are many variants of a 1 VP ISC, I cannot offer specific feedback. I can say with confidence that a 1-point ISC with no other method to get extra VP increases the game time considerably. Our games usually last 5-7 hours with a 2-point ISC, 6 players. I wouldn't want to test anyone's endurance by making it last longer. My group would rather play another TI3 game! YMMV.

I would also recommendd checking out the FFG TI3 forum for lots more info (http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?boar...).

TeknoMerk
 
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Ramon Zarate
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
Just some extra comments:

There's some action cards that have serious problems with four players. See the FAQ. Is not a big deal, just give a diferent card if someone recieves one of those.

I think 4 player is actually a very good number of players, bonus tokens are intended to avoid having one card never selected (usually diplomacy or political, depending on player experience and play style... diplomacy can be quite nasty, if used at right moments!), so in a four player game you don't have that need and certainly you wont miss it.

Stick to 2 points for ISC your first time... is not that powerful if players pay attention, and certainly it would be very long with just 1.
 
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Tom Key
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I personally love it 4P. Take the point above, that you need to keep an eye on the Strategy card and make sure you take it when you can - if someone takes it twice, they're ahead, three times and they'll probably win.

That said, I love that all the roles come out each turn, so there's always politics and trade.

My only other thought is that the 4P game can be a bit less confrontational. There is a bit more space for everyone to expand into and form natural borders. Fights come more as a result of direct agression, rather than a need for extra space. With 6P, its much more competitive for planets and resources. Again, I like the flavour as 4P, and it feels nicer for newbies, tho 6P is definitely the way it was meant to be played.

Oh, and 4P will be a bit shorter (and more manageable) for game length...

Enjoy
 
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Jim Patching
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
I actually really like the 4 player game. With our group it significantly reduces the game time (we can normally finish a 4 player game in an evening, whereas 6 player games normally seem to get abandoned before they end due to time constraints). I also like the fact that you know that all of the strategy cards are going to come up every turn - all of a sudden Trade becomes a more important stategy.

We have recently switched to using the 1 point Imperial strategy card and found it works much better that the 2 point one. We still manage to easily finish a 4 player game in an evening.
 
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Neil Sorenson
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
I prefer simply playing to a lower VP goal rather than using the ISC card as is and handing out 2 points per turn.

 
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mads l. brynnum
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
When I play - no matter the number of players - we have imperial at 1 vp, but the first person to qualify for a public objective gains an extra vp for that one. Furthermore we usually play with that the last player to qualify for a public objective will get no victory points. That ususally encourages players to do an effort in order to fulfill objectives and I quite like it that way.

mads
 
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David Reeves
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
We've tried 3 1-pt ISC games and it was just longer, but not any more satisifying. What, if any, are the other ways VPs are handed out such that game time is not significantly increased?

One thing I've read, but not yet tried, is a 1-pt ISC and starting the game with 2 exposed objectives. OR 1-pt ISC and 1 VP each turn Mecatol Rex is held the entire turn. Any others? Thanks in advance.
 
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Chris J Davis
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After studying the rules a bit and mulling over the responses of people here, I'm thinking about ditching the ISC in our first game, revealing a new Public Objective at the end of every status phase, and playing to only 7VP. Can anyone see any problems with this idea? Should I maybe, as suggested above, have two Public Objectives ready-revealed at the beginning of the game?

Many thanks again,

Chris.
 
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Ramon Zarate
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
As with any game, try the fame "as is" for several times before touching the rules.

That would be my recommendation.

And with four players, "ditching" a card can be problematic.

Get a feel of the game, don't pay much attention to what anyone says until you've seen the problem your self. I think TI is a specially subtle game.

Ofcourse, following my own words, don't take me too seriously, just (personal) opinions.
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David Reeves
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
I agree with Ramon. If you have little or no experience with the game, play it as-is for a bit before using house rules. Our group has 20+ TI3 games behind them and some of us many TI2 as well. ...and we are still careful about house rules so as not to upset the balance & feel of the game.
 
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Robert Martin
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
4 players is a good number. Definitely try the game "as is" the first time you play. Also keep in mind that the expansion comes out in December with two new official and playtested options for the ISC card.
 
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Greg Jones
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4 players is good. I don't think it matters much that every card gets picked. The cards that might not get picked every time are probably Diplomacy, Political, Logistics, Trade, and Warfare. The secondaries of Diplomacy, Logistics, and Warfare aren't incredibly significant, so it doesn't matter if you can count on somebody else picking them to enable you to do those. If you're stuck picking Trade, but you don't want other people to benefit from the secondary, you can pick part b and cancel trade agreements instead. Political is the only one that will make a big difference, but it's pretty chaotic. No player will really be able to predict what kind of difference it will make.

The major difference is you don't get to use the mechanic of bonus counters on the unused cards, but I didn't find that was that interesting.

There is a huge difference between using 2VP ISC and using no ISC or a variant that doesn't give automatic VP. With the former, two players each round have no practical choice of their strategy card. The speaker must choose the ISC, the next player must choose Initiative. That takes a lot of the fun out of picking your strategy card, and even more fun out of negotiating with other players to manipulate their strategy card choice (only one other player to practically negotiate with in a 4-player game).

Still, I agree that it's best to play the game as the rules are written once.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Unfortunately, the problem I have with trying the game out a few times as-is before using house rules is that my gaming group only gets together once a month *max*, and there's the eternal issue of "too many games, not enough time to play them in". In all likelyhood this will be my first and only opportunity to play TI3 any time over the next *year*... so it's quite important for me that the experience isn't a disappointment in any way. :-/

If there are any other TI3 players out there who live in London (England, not Canada), please get in touch and I'd be more than happy to join you for a game or two! :-)

Chris.
 
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Robert Martin
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've played the game maybe half a dozen times or so with the original ISC and it's always fun. In a way, it becomes a magnet for conflict, especially towards the end of the game. Some games will go very peacefully until someone is within striking distance of the win and pending the ISC in a turn or two. Then all hell breaks loose for a big slugathon at the end of the game. Good times.
 
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Jason Birzer
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
robartin wrote:
Some games will go very peacefully until someone is within striking distance of the win and pending the ISC in a turn or two. Then all hell breaks loose for a big slugathon at the end of the game. Good times.


Sounds like Munchkin.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Re: Your opinions on a four-player game for a first-time pla
I really like TI3 with 4 players, probably more than any other number of players. I like how all the Strategy cards get picked. Also, the game isn't overly long.
Since you use every hex in a 4 player game, there can be a lot of planets in the game. That can make the game less confrontational. One variant I saw on BGG, and like, is to have each player flip over a planet hex and treat it as empty space. Just playing it as is is also good; my group just likes a bit more fighting.
 
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