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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Played our first game last weekend rss

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Taylor Liss
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Quincy
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Managed to get the group together and explain the rules in about an hour. We played with the Age of Empire and the Ancient Throne options and set a cutoff time at 10PM. We got to our 7th round before we called it a night - all told it was a 9 hour game with an hour break in the middle for dinner.

Because we were playing the 5 player map, I was the person stuck in the middle at the bottom. I played the Sardakk N’orr and had the the Yssaril Tribes on my right and the L1Z1X Mindnet on my left. Although I started with bonus trade goods, it didn't really matter because the Mentak Coalition stole them from the get-go. I felt at a severe disadvantage and it showed - when the game finished I had 0 victory points. That's right - zero, zilch, nada.

In round one, The Yssaril tribes settled two planets right next to my home system, and proceeded to get a free space dock on it due to a galactic council vote. I felt incredibly threatened by this, so I immediately waged war on him to defend what I felt was my territory. He painted me as a war-monger and convinced everyone else to shun me. When he played the trade strategic action, he didn't allow anyone to trade with me. For the majority of the game I only had 3 systems, while everyone else gain huge amounts of territory. It really sucked. Eventually I disbanded all trade agreements and the next one, restarted them with everyone but him, but by that point it didn't really matter. I wasted two strategic actions just trying to get trade set up. I fell behind and felt like there was no way to recover and I was right.

Meanwhile, the Mentak Coalition and the other player (I forget what race) proceeded to make huge armadas but not really do anything with them. At round 7, when we ended the game, the L1Z1X Mindnet had won the game due to just picking up all the technology victory point cards. After my first time playing, I am pretty torn by my experience.

I know that the goal is to get victory points, but I feel that when you fall behind its almost impossible to make up for lost ground. When you start losing systems and other players gain systems, they get massively stronger, gain more production and gain more influence to vote things. My vote became meaningless, my fleets were puny, and there was nothing I could do. I feel the 5 player map is really unbalanced for the player in the middle - they are forced to play nice with their opponents and if someone wants to take the territory right next to them, they can't do anything about it except agree. It was really frustrating.

I want to play TI3 again, but I'd much rather play it with 4 or 6 players. Also, I feel like the combat is nto very rewarding. I know the game isn't mainly about combat, but with all the time you spend building ships and upgrading military tech, you'd think combat would play a bigger role. We all lost to one player who never made a single attack and was nigh-impenetrable because of his massive number of PDS that all got rerolls on misses.
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Thomas Robb
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I like 6 player games but have played 5 player and it was still fun. Would not play with less than 5 because I love the player interaction/confrontation. Would not like to play with 7 or 8 just because of the down time between turns - unless players were OK with it.

TI3 is a game of imbalance, as it were, because every race and every map is more or less asymmetrical, so you have advantages/disadvantages from the get-go. How you maximize your advantages and minimize your disadvantages is paramount to success.

Another key, as you get more experience is to start Round One with a goal to begin to get Victory Points. As you stated, the winner never was in direct attack situations. Combat is a part of the game, but so is building up your resources, politics, etc. I always tell players before we start any game of TI3 "No matter how many planets you control, how many Action Cards you accumulate, no matter how magnificent your fleet, the game is really about Victory Points." Try to get at least one Victory Point every single Round - very doable when playing the Age of Empires, where the VP's are obtainable from the very start.

If planet control, politics, and combat/non-combat maneuvers do not get you Victory Points, then you will lose. That being said, some players just enjoy getting "stuff." One player in a game one time, wanted to see how many Technologies he could get before the game ended. (I think he got all but 2 or 3) For him, that was fun. So, if you do not like chasing Victory Points, there other ways to enjoy the game!

Another way to enjoy the game is to play a different race each time, and see how that race interacts with the game. The differences between races are more subtle (usually) so as you play multiple games, you begin to see how playing with the Saardok 'Norr is different strategically from the Xxcha. You will eventually probably want to play the same 4-6 races every game and exploit their systems that best represent your play style.

Don't forget negotiations, especially in a 5 player, lop-sided map system. Make friends with your neighbors early so you can build up your fleet or defense systems. Make a deal, as they say. Exploit your strengths and disguise your weaknesses. If you are in a 5 player game and in a bad place on the map, try to play, say, the Yssaril tribes for example, letting you skip actions. This will help you see what others are doing and let you better prepare for the worst. Or play the Naalu and go first every time. Maybe going first will let you stay away from trouble until you get a bit of an engine going on your home planet. The fact that the game is not balanced is what makes it the epic it truly is.

How you maneuver through the imbalance dictates your success. Play the hand you are dealt. In poker, not everyone has the same cards. Same in this game - bet big, bluff, stall, whatever to buy time for the long haul. Oh, and while you are long-hauling, don't forget those Victory Points!

and, welcome to the wonderful universe of TI3!!!!!!!




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William Diehl
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That was a beautiful response!
 
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Jeff S
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We find the suggested 5-player map needs to be adjusted a bit - try moving the 1 or 4 player up one spot to give the 5 spot a little more room.

Last time we used this template I created and it worked out very well. (I numbered the positions a little different than the rulebook)
 
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Matthew Galton
Canada
Barrie
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I've only ever played the original 5 player map once. Kinda hated it to the core.
Whenever our group gets together to play with only 5 we generally use one of the custom preset maps that you can find online. Our favourite and the one I find works the best is below. Our games are slightly tight with this map and there's a lot of combat but our group generally likes more elbow shoving anyway.
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