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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Another First Game Question Thread! rss

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Tyler Durden
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Hey everyone,

Saturday i'll play a five player game with newbies.
I played the game several time, but all in all just once a year, so i am not that familiar with it.

I plan to play with preset maps so i can set up everything before the guys show up. Then i plan 2-3 hours for rule explanation.

One question is what kind of strategy cards do i use. i want to play with age of empires, so is it better to use all base game SC with the 8th replaced, or do you think it is better to use all SC from the first expansion (i have both)?

next question is about the action cards and the political cards. should i use all of them for the first game, or should is sort out all expansion cards and play just with the base cards.

beside AoE variant i want to include both race technologies and the flag ship, maybe artefacts, preliminary objectives, special 5 player map.

any suggestions regarding the races? just let them all in? just the base game races?
or sort some out, because they are to difficult or something?

Thanks for your answers!
 
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Andreas Kaiser
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Just the core game. This alone will probably be too much for some. And if you add more, you will only have to explain more. About how many newbies are we talking here? 4 out of 5?

About the races, I would pick races with easy-to-keep-in-mind special abilities, like the Sardakk N'orr, so they can focus on everything else.
 
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Georgios P.
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Coincidentally, I am running a new player game tonight. Will be happy to post my experiences with the base game only (incl. Age of Empires) here.
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David Damerell
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toerck wrote:
One question is what kind of strategy cards do i use. i want to play with age of empires, so is it better to use all base game SC with the 8th replaced, or do you think it is better to use all SC from the first expansion (i have both)?
next question is about the action cards and the political cards. should i use all of them for the first game, or should is sort out all expansion cards and play just with the base cards.


Shattered Empire Strategy Cards, always.

I would include the Action Cards and Political Cards, short of trimming any that don't work with the optional rules in play. The expansion cards aren't more complex; there's just more of them.

The same cannot be said of some of the expansion races, who do have quite funky and non-obvious special abilities.
 
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Adam Lucas
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Here's my take on it:

1) Play just the base game. Don't think of even just adding races from the expansions as they will all either complicate the game or they draw massive targets towards the other players.

2) If possible have everyone read the rulebook online and/or follow this mock-game for three players.

3) If you can have a few cheat sheets of rules printed or ready for players to refer to. Production value and the Transfer action are the weird cases that will trip everyone up. Same with activating the system you are moving TO, not FROM.

4) Have anyone who is unsure of rules come over a little early. At about the 30-45 minute mark either they will understand the basic rules or they will basically say "I'll figure this out while we play". Believe it or not, Twilight Imperium 3 is not that complicated.

5) There's nothing wrong with randomly drawing races before the game starts.

6) There's no need to setup a preset map. Board setup is basically Catan style hex placement expanding outwards from Mecatol Rex.

7) Explain the Politics cards and Action cards as they come up. Chances are only one or two players will even have Action cards in turn one. On the same note once it comes up make sure players are aware of Sabotages.

8) Explain the complicated or odd things as they come up.

What a lot of people fail to understand is that Twilight Imperium is not a complicated game rules-wise. There's no need to simplify it for newbies as they'll understand what's going on within a turn or two.
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Jim Patterson
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I think a preset map is OK for both speed reasons (can be set up in advance) and general balance reasons (so it's less likely that one player screws him- or herself over and is in a tight spot out of the gate). Presets are no absolute guarantee that that won't happen anyway (we had a six-player Geekway game in which one of the players was pretty much still hosed), but the likelihood is much less.

You'll hear, as I did, the full gamut on the strategy cards, but I don't think there's anything wrong with using the base game's cards, including Imperial, as long as everyone knows the value of Imperial and why they must take it if they have the chance or find a way to take it the next turn if they can. The nice thing about Imperial is it means the game will end in a semi-reasonable time frame, which is a good trait in a learning game.
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Georgios P.
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Twilight Imperium was a success. We played with 4 players, had a dinner break of about an hour and a rules explanation of about half an hour putting total gaming time at around 5,5 hours. Fairly decent for a game as bulky as this one.

I can just echo most of what's been posted already. We used Age of Empires and no other variant. So we had Imperial in play, which was admittedly criticised at the end of the game by the last player in turn order as he realised he could have been vying for victory, if he had sat down elsewhere. But as far as keeping the game moving forward it was a big help. Even if it is severely unbalanced.

I sent out the link to an introductory video and the tutorial site, and the new players vastly preferred the tutorial site to the videos.
Then I ran through the rules basics:
1. victory conditions
2. objectives (public I, public II, secret)
3. turn structure
4. strategy cards (what they do, detailed explanation came on the first turn)
5. actions (the biggest bulk as the tactical action is fairly dense)
6. status phase
7. command counter allocation
8. action cards

And assorted questions as they came from the other players. I didn't explain combat in any detail until we actually entered combat, which was around turn 4.

We used a preset map, which I think helped in speeding up the game and not giving any player the impression that they lost because of tile placement. I'm running another learning game in two weeks or so, and I think I'll stick to preset maps again. If you haven't played the game before, there's fairly little to guide you in what to place where. It's needlessly bothersome for a new player. If I were to play with people who have played at least once (more or less recently), I'd go for regular galaxy building.

In unrelated observations, the political phase remains the heart and soul of this game. Without it, it's just a clunkier variation on Eclipse.

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Jeff S
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Always have the rules and FAQ on some tablets.
 
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Andreas Kaiser
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How did it go?
 
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