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Subject: Fall of the Empire scenario? rss

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bob lawblaw
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What are people's thoughts on the Fall of the Empire scenario from Shards of the Throne? It sounds like it could be especially cool if you had a dedicated group of very experienced players (aka I'm pretty sure I'll never ever get to try it).
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I've only played it once, but I enjoyed it. It has a very different feel than the base game, and you have to go into it with the mindset of "it's OK for multiple players to win", since alliances are a huge part of the game.

I think it's critical that all players know ALL the objectives, though, because they really push the way the game works, and if you don't know what they are, it's hard to try and see them coming. There is one objective that I would probably recommend getting rid of; I don't recall which one right off hand, but it's nearly impossible to achieve and you have very little control over it.

Also, I do think it's only for "experienced" TI3 players. That doesn't mean expert, just that it's not really a good game for first-time players.

Overall, though, I think it's a fun way to play the game.
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Ian Madsen
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sigmazero13 wrote:
There is one objective that I would probably recommend getting rid of; I don't recall which one right off hand, but it's nearly impossible to achieve and you have very little control over it.


Support of the People: It's outright broken, so you should leave it out.

Strategy-wise it is important to remember that the Lazax's best chance of winning is through coalition building. Both the Lazax & loyalist can each have 1 ally, so up to 4 players could win in a game with the loyalist (removed in lower player counts).
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Stephen Allen
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Played once. Enjoyed it greatly. Agree about that objective.

The main this is you can't go into this scenario with the same approach as the main game with is all about Victory points. I really struggled (in a good way) with the idea that I had one Victory condition and that was the only thing that mattered. It meant there were a few turns where I was literally scratching my head as to what I should do (I had the one were you have to stall the game until the final turn). But this is a good thing and it meant I had to think outside my usual strategies and adapt.

For me this scenario feels like a different game with the same mechanics as TI3. It's also good because it makes the base Strategy cards interesting again. I didn't realise how long it had been since playing with them (But not Imperial - never Imperial - Initiative ins't broken, Imperial is).
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Are there any player counts you would/wouldn't recommend? Our normal limit is 6-players.
 
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possumman wrote:
Are there any player counts you would/wouldn't recommend? Our normal limit is 6-players.

I have only played it with 6 and it worked fine. It would work well with 7, based on the layout, and it would probably be ok with 5. Not sure how well 4 works.
 
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Jon Horne
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My group has played it a couple of times. I find it to be a refreshing alternate to the normal game, and it especially shines at 7 players.

Regarding Support of the People, good players will obfuscate their true objective by appearing to pursue others. If others are giving out multiple cards, then it gives the SotP player a bit of camouflage. Furthermore, as the game develops, it is often useful to change alliances, so giving out more than one card is not automatically suspicious. Although our group hasn't had anyone win with SotP yet, it is definitely achievable. For example:

1) I give my 4 to a neighbor. No one else has given him one, so he keeps it, because why not?

2) Later, I give my 3 to another player who needs my help at the moment. He probably keeps it.

3) I give my 2 to to someone who has abandoned his own objective to help me score my pretend objective. He wants my 1, but I say I want to keep some leverage back, in case he gets squirrely. I tell him, once he commits fully to my agenda, I'll give him the 1.

4) As soon as possible, I give my 1 to anyone. I explain that if they keep it, we both win immediately with Support of the People. He obviously keeps it.

If 3 out of the 4 above still have my cards, I win. It's all about timing. The 2 and the 3 can be given out after stalling the rest of the players until they pass, preventing anyone from spending a Strategy counter to muck up my plans.

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AxleKerrigan wrote:
My group has played it a couple of times. I find it to be a refreshing alternate to the normal game, and it especially shines at 7 players...


I'm in Jon's group. I agree with his comments. The thing is that you have to hide your intentions (unless you're the loyalist).

So I might have the "I conquered Quann" objective. But I can't tell everybody this. So I pretend I have "I gave out all my treaties" objective. You think I gave you my measly "3" objective because I'm trying to get rid of my treaties. So you leave the path to Quann open. Why not? I don't need it, right?

So the obfuscation of objectives is important not just for Support of the People but for all the objectives. You have to be sneaky to win.
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David Damerell
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AxleKerrigan wrote:
If 3 out of the 4 above still have my cards, I win. It's all about timing. The 2 and the 3 can be given out after stalling the rest of the players until they pass, preventing anyone from spending a Strategy counter to muck up my plans.


Trouble is, you've almost got to stall everyone out before you even give out the 4 - the player with it is almost bound to muck it if they get a better offer. But let's suppose you reach a situation where your 4 has been accepted and you've stalled out everyone else - as soon as you offer a second Treaty, you might as well have SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE tattooed on your forehead.

You're very dependent on neither the 4 nor the 3 recipient getting a better offer yet (and yet, even if you put this together in the first round, everyone else has already run out of turns and made all the offers they felt like) because the 2 recipient would have to be braindead not to realise what's going on.

Your cover story isn't much - for some reason you gave someone (the 3 recipient) a Treaty Card but now are offering the 2 card, having stalled out the other players to make absolutely sure you can't get anything from the 3 recipient and that any reward from the 2 recipient will be delayed. The other scenario the 2 recipient might consider is that you are lying and have given out your 1 already - but in that case your 2 isn't worth much either!

The 4 recipient may also just never keep a '4'. They know Support of the People may be out there, they know they don't have themselves, and they know the prospects of winning with a '4' are pretty limited. Why did you give them a '4'? You might have Support of the People, you might be planning to win with someone else, or you might be planning to blitz an objective like Traitor after stalling the other players out (but apparently you're really uncertain about your ability to do so).
 
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David Damerell
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I thought this over on the ride home, and I think much of the trouble with Support of the People is that it's too likely to be in the game. Not only is everyone else wondering if you have it, but they are also doing their best, with their own Treaty offers, to make it clear that they do not have it. If the odds of it being in the game were much lower, that wouldn't be viable - if you spend all your effort worrying about an unlikely scenario, you'll be outplayed by someone who decides not to fret about it.

On the other hand if the Objective deck was much thicker, every objective would be an unlikely scenario and nearly all games of the scenario would end in snap victories - with a few dozen possible objectives, you could hardly prevent someone from being able to blitz one of them. That would make the game unsatisfyingly short and ruin any possibility of winning on turn 8.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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I think the issue is twofold: Support of the People is tough but also a game group's meta can change things drastically.

If you are in a group where players typically give out 0 to 1 treaties in a game, Support of the People will be difficult to achieve.

If you are in a group where players are constantly backstabbing each other and thus are giving out 2 to 3 treaties in a game, Support of the People becomes much easier.
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Support of the People only works if people play with the understanding that giving out your 1 Treaty right off the bat is very risky. Alliances can shift very rapidly in this scenario, as people out themselves and make plays for their objectives. Alternatively, a player who has been outed may give up on his own objective and hitch his star to someone else's wagon (and even that may change as others intervene).

damerell wrote:
You're very dependent on neither the 4 nor the 3 recipient getting a better offer yet (and yet, even if you put this together in the first round, everyone else has already run out of turns and made all the offers they felt like) because the 2 recipient would have to be braindead not to realise what's going on.

Your cover story isn't much - for some reason you gave someone (the 3 recipient) a Treaty Card but now are offering the 2 card, having stalled out the other players to make absolutely sure you can't get anything from the 3 recipient and that any reward from the 2 recipient will be delayed. The other scenario the 2 recipient might consider is that you are lying and have given out your 1 already - but in that case your 2 isn't worth much either!

Agreed. The 2 is the hardest sell. However, you don't need all four to stick, only to give four out and have three stick. The last one is a gimme, so only two of the other three have to be kept. The trick is to sell your choices as responses to a changing board. If you have been pushing hard for a different objective, that's a sale you might be able to make. I've given out all of the my cards in a game where I didn't have Support of the People, and 3 of them were kept. Everyone was sure I had just won, but SotP wasn't my objective!

Because so many of the objectives can cause sudden death victories, it's not always possible to give out a Treaty card just to foil a suspected SotP, especially if he has only given out two cards. Again, it all depends on timing. SotP works best when multiple opponents have their hands full, and every action is critical for them.

Another factor in our games is that we use the Treaty cards to give secret communications in the open. Saying, "The text is important," or, "The text is not important," is common with my group.

In a vacuum, SotP looks impossible to achieve, but I can tell you from experience that it is much more difficult to prevent in a game where alliances are fluid and everyone is trying to hide his goal from the others.
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David Damerell
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AxleKerrigan wrote:
Agreed. The 2 is the hardest sell.


I think they're all hard sells (except the last one) but the 4 stands out. If you give out so many, who last won with the 4? Sure, you can use the text, but the recipient doesn't even have to keep it to read the 4. So the recipient should throw it away.

halbower wrote:
If you are in a group where players are constantly backstabbing each other and thus are giving out 2 to 3 treaties in a game, Support of the People becomes much easier.


Except then the recipients of your '4' and '3' are much more likely to get a better offer and throw them away. Stall then push out the lot? You can hardly sell them then "as responses to a changing board"; the only person who's changing it is you.
 
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I agree that this scenario is essentially a new game with the same rules. For me it was a worthless waste of space and I will never play it - I abhor it (and games of it's nature).

As to using the old strategy tiles - well we basically do anyway.
 
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damerell wrote:
I think they're all hard sells (except the last one) but the 4 stands out. If you give out so many, who last won with the 4? Sure, you can use the text, but the recipient doesn't even have to keep it to read the 4. So the recipient should throw it away.

Well, not everyone gives away several every game. Generally, if my 4 Treaty partner works out, then I will continue with him. SotP is just like every other objective; in some games, it will be viable because of what the others do or don't do. In others, it will be nigh impossible, so you try to join forces with someone who has a real chance at victory.

damerell wrote:
Except then the recipients of your '4' and '3' are much more likely to get a better offer and throw them away. Stall then push out the lot? You can hardly sell them then "as responses to a changing board"; the only person who's changing it is you.

Maybe they do, and maybe they don't. Just because you get a new Treaty doesn't mean you discard the old one. Everything is negotiable.

Many of the objectives have tells. A guy rapidly building all of his plastic is suspicious, as is anyone who moves adjacent to Quann or someone else's Home System.

I would have agreed with everything you've said after my first game of Fall of the Lazax. We've played it 4 times now, and the subtlety of the design has clicked for us. I would always encourage anyone to trust the designer for at least a few plays before they start houseruling. If you have done so, and SotP doesn't work for your group, then I would say toss it. The OP hasn't played it yet, so I advise him to not monkey with the design until he has.
 
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What happens with Support the People though, if you don't succeed at an already risky gambit? You are stuck playing the game and it is impossible for you to win, as you can't keep anyone else's treaty cards.
 
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Arcadious wrote:
What happens with Support the People though, if you don't succeed at an already risky gambit? You are stuck playing the game and it is impossible for you to win, as you can't keep anyone else's treaty cards.


You can keep someone else's treaty. Then you only have to give away three treaties.
 
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halbower wrote:
Arcadious wrote:
What happens with Support the People though, if you don't succeed at an already risky gambit? You are stuck playing the game and it is impossible for you to win, as you can't keep anyone else's treaty cards.


You can keep someone else's treaty. Then th only have to give away three treaties.


No, the card specifies that you must give away all 4 treaties: "When you give away your fourth Treaty Card, reveal this objective."
 
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Arcadious wrote:
halbower wrote:
Arcadious wrote:
What happens with Support the People though, if you don't succeed at an already risky gambit? You are stuck playing the game and it is impossible for you to win, as you can't keep anyone else's treaty cards.


You can keep someone else's treaty. Then th only have to give away three treaties.


No, the card specifies that you must give away all 4 treaties: "When you give away your fourth Treaty Card, reveal this objective."


Correct. You must give away the 4th one. You don't have to give away the 1st, 2nd or 3rd one.
 
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halbower wrote:
Arcadious wrote:
halbower wrote:
Arcadious wrote:
What happens with Support the People though, if you don't succeed at an already risky gambit? You are stuck playing the game and it is impossible for you to win, as you can't keep anyone else's treaty cards.


You can keep someone else's treaty. Then th only have to give away three treaties.


No, the card specifies that you must give away all 4 treaties: "When you give away your fourth Treaty Card, reveal this objective."


Correct. You must give away the 4th one. You don't have to give away the 1st, 2nd or 3rd one.

It's probably worth getting clarified, but I'm pretty sure it means you have to actually give away all 4, not just the one numbered 4.
 
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Not the "one numbered 4", simply the fourth card. When you give away your fourth card, you reveal your objective.
 
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halbower wrote:
Not the "one numbered 4", simply the fourth card. When you give away your fourth card, you reveal your objective.

I guess I'm confused You only have 4 cards to give away, and you can only give away your own cards (not other players). I'm trying to find the ruling that Corey made, but I an almost 100% sure he did (it may have been posted on the old ti3wiki forums that don't exist anymore).

That's one reason this objective is so hard: You have to give away all 4 of your own treaties (which means you can't keep anyone else's treaties), and if you fail, you have no way to win anymore since you are out of cards.

I may send Corey another email just to confirm the above ruling, if I can't find the thread where it was posted.
 
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If the rule is the way you say it is, this objective is IMPOSSIBLE when the political agenda card comes up that forces everyone to discard one. That can't be the intent. Corey may have ruled it that way a long time ago but I think he will have to reconsider in light of this agenda (whose name I cannot recall).
 
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halbower wrote:
If the rule is the way you say it is, this objective is IMPOSSIBLE when the political agenda card comes up that forces everyone to discard one. That can't be the intent. Corey may have ruled it that way a long time ago but I think he will have to reconsider in light of this agenda (whose name I cannot recall).

That's a good point. When I get the response back from Corey (I just barely hit send), I'll bring that point up.
 
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