Jim Spoto
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Orlando
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Several people I game with occaisionally (and some friends) got together for a whoppin' 6-player TI:3 slugfest.

After explaining the game and mechanics (took about 20-30 mins, including people eating during), things seemed to go well considering *nobody* else had ever played, other than myself. We ran through board setup, and soon were off.

Rules: I opted for Age of Empire as the only variant, in the interest of making getting VP's easier, and speeding things up. In retrospect, this was a mistake -- the increased scoring options provided an additional decision-making component to the players, and made for one more set of things they had to learn. Revealing a new objective per round is probably a better way to ease in new players...

Races: We selected random, face-down home system tiles and got Sol, Letnev, Sardak, Hacan, Yssaril, and Naalu.

Brief Racap with some Comments: First round took incredibly long for some simple expansion, but that was certainly the "noob" factor at work. Each successive round took less time, as the game progressed...

Players were, humorously, suspicious of all trade negotiation that I tried to set in the first round, also adding to the time.

Sol got a slow start, but steadily expanded without conflict early, and quickly learned that with Logistics, his abilty to fortify planets meant that he didn't need to split his fleet much -- he also eventually got the "zombie" tech, which pressed this advantage further.

Naalu and Sardak skirmished over a few border planets (mostly PDS fire) and Sol began to creep Naalu's way as well...

Yssaril had a solid early game, and moved confidantly towards MR. Soon, he had it, and had begun to assemble an impressive armada there - to the point where other players were beginning to discuss collective action...

The Barony of Letnev (myself) and the Hacan (my neighbor) began a prolonged compaign over our neighboring worlds. This was, at least partially, fueled by our conflicting trade agendas, with the Hacan operating independently of the deals I tried to seal in the first turn. I was going for the juglar in an attempt to weaken Hacan militarily, in hopes of reaching my "Conqueror" Secret Objective later....

Later the Hacan player commented on the potential value of making lucrative trade deals with your neighbors in particualar (specifically, if he had chosen to trade a 3pt. agreement with me) to discourage combat -- some good insight into how quickly these players were picking up on the game.

By midgame, the Yssaril Tribes were even in points, but in position to dominate with control of MR. Several big capital ships, and a space dock eventually appeared. That's when the Alien Artifact agenda came up.. goo After some colorful but quick negotiation, a vote to activate it passed and.... *BA-WOOM* Everything within light-years of MR was quickly vaporized, including 90% of Yssaril's fleet.

Sol made the most of this, and after having expanded slightly into Naalu and Hacan fleet (at the expense of some trade agreements) used his significant production to tech up, still maintaining a modest fleet.

Meanwhile, I made 3 attempts at 3 different homeworlds -- to no effect! If I could take the system, I just couldn't take all planets necessary to reach the SO, and kept changing targets prompted by Diplomacy, and a "best victim" approach to steal the 2 points. The difficulty in executing this was suprising, and I now feel that a sudden decapitation (maybe late in the game, using something like Flank Speed and at least a single full "troop carrier") is probably the best way to pull this one off. Sadly, I would only prove the "Zorak" to the the Hacan's, Yssaril's, and Naalu's collective "Space Ghost" shake

The Naalu got worn down to nearly nothing, and eventually took over the Sardak (his wife) who was getting sleepy around the same time... Sol eventually took what was left of Naalu, so this worked out in the end.

Finally Sol began to really emerge in the later game, and even though it was close in points between Hacan, Yssaril, and Sol, we entered the final "Imperium Rex" round with Sol guaranteed a win -- everyone then conceding the game, and empire, to those wily (and proliferous) Humans.

At nearly 4am, we were eager to finish! Actual playtime clocked in around 7-ish hours, for about 8 rounds. Very long, but about right if you figure a "new" game usually takes 1.5 to 2x as long the first time through.

Questions: Some situations that arose, where no rule/FAQ entry could be found:

1) Spacedock production limit: Does this apply to a single "build" order, or an entire round? (An example here would be building via ISC secondary, having already built as an Action)

2) Action Cards / PDS: When an action card eliminates a ground force, and then reverts a planet to neutral if no forces are left, are PDS's destroyed (we played yes)

3) Warfare: The primary allows one to clear a command counter to their pool, but is that the entire action for that turn, or can the player immediatly re-play the CC?

4) Deal-making: What is specifically permitted/prohibited? Trade Goods seem like they can be freely used for incentives, bribes, etc., but what about Action cards? Revealing secret objectives? Revealing political agendas? Among the new players, it wasn't clear just how much could be used as negotiating muscle...

Any clarification on these would be a help!

Summary: All told, everyone enjoyed the game, and is looking forward to another play. We're considering 1-point ISC, 8 VP to win, and a "no public objective limit" rule, although the last one I'm unsure about. The more I've read, the more I like the sound of the "bonus point for first player to score a public, only 5 players total can score an objective" variant. Maybe we'll try that instead...

At any rate, the game is tracking a strong 8 or 9 in my ratings book right now... I'm really awaiting a few more plays, to see how that goes over more sessions.
 
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Miroslaw Terlecki
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jspoto wrote:

Questions: Some situations that arose, where no rule/FAQ entry could be found:

1) Spacedock production limit: Does this apply to a single "build" order, or an entire round? (An example here would be building via ISC secondary, having already built as an Action)

2) Action Cards / PDS: When an action card eliminates a ground force, and then reverts a planet to neutral if no forces are left, are PDS's destroyed (we played yes)

3) Warfare: The primary allows one to clear a command counter to their pool, but is that the entire action for that turn, or can the player immediatly re-play the CC?

4) Deal-making: What is specifically permitted/prohibited? Trade Goods seem like they can be freely used for incentives, bribes, etc., but what about Action cards? Revealing secret objectives? Revealing political agendas? Among the new players, it wasn't clear just how much could be used as negotiating muscle...


1. this limit apply to single build
2. PDS and space docks are destroyed when planet reverts to neutral
3. you can't re-play CC immediately
4. you can only trade information and trade goods (besides, if you show your secret objective then you must discard it)
 
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zippy grey wedge owner
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Putrajaya
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Welcome to the wonderful world of TI3! No, I don't work for FFG.

For FAQ, do visit http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ti3.html.

For ideas, variants, Q & A visit the Message Board [i.e. forum]. Most of the stuff there are unofficial, but there are many who "know CTP personally", or "had a hand in the playtesting" and such. Some are actually good ideas.

And just my 2 cents, once everyone is familiar with the rules, limit the game to 4 hours i.e. sudden death. Does wonders to focus everyone's mind.
 
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Jim Spoto
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Great! Thanks for the responses to the questions.

I was aware of some of the player resources (FFG site, here, etc.) and printed some out prior to the game, but I definitely have more to go on, now. And using a hard time limit, in addition to things like the ISC to move the game along, could be a big help..

We'll likely play using some of the better known variants next time, just to see how it goes. There seem to be a lot of interesting tweaks available, often involving very minor rules changes...

 
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Greg Jones
United States
Washington
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jspoto wrote:
4) Deal-making: What is specifically permitted/prohibited? Trade Goods seem like they can be freely used for incentives, bribes, etc., but what about Action cards? Revealing secret objectives? Revealing political agendas? Among the new players, it wasn't clear just how much could be used as negotiating muscle...


You can trade trade goods.

You can't trade action cards, unless you're the Hacan. They have a special ability to trade action cards, but only in the status phase.

I think the rules say that you can't give anything to another player except trade goods, and as is allowed by action cards, political cards, etc.

You can't reveal your secret objective. You certainly can't show it, and I don't think you're even allowed to tell anyone what it is.

I don't think you could show the next political card to another player, but I don't see why you couldn't tell them what it was going to be (possibly lying).

Here are some other negotiating points that can be used:

Promises

You can't always give something to another player, but you can use your actions in a way they ask for, in exchange for another favor or for trade goods or something else they give you. You can promise not to invade, or promise to invade another player. In one game, I wanted to hold a planet to get a tech bonus public objective, but an opponent was clearly poised to take it. I paid him a 1 trade good tribute for him not to take it.

I think one of the key things to negotiate is your strategy card choice.

Votes

You can negotiate how you will vote on the political agenda. For example, you could buy the vote by offering trade goods to some of the other players.
 
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