Twilight Imperium: AAR
Played at Roll the Dice, Murfreesboro TN
October 15th, 2016
Six player game:
Player 1: Alex Porter: Sardakk N’orr – never played before
Player 2: Mark Thomas: Emirates of Hacan – fourth or fifth game
Player 3: Justin Ray: Barony of Letnev – fourth or fifth game
Player 4: David Houk: L1Z1X Mindnet – Third game
Player 5: Tony L. Thomas: Universities of Jol-Nar – several games
Player 6: Aaron Hall: Mentak Coalition – third game
Base game only… no expansions… base Strategy Cards
Starting empires were determined by random draw, based on order of arrival.
It’s my game and I showed up early to set-up; and I had the most experience – so I chose last.
As players arrives, they selected two random races and selected the one they wanted. Unselected races were returned to the mix and the tiles were re-shuffled before the next arrival drew.
Once a player had chosen a race, he then drew 5 random hex tiles and selected a unit color and a secret objective.
I had the choice between the Naalu Collective or Universities of Jol-Nar. Both are races that I like to play, so it was a hard choice. I like the option to go first each turn… but ultimately decided that with the player mix at the table today, a scientific victory might be easier to obtain than a military one.
Once I saw my initial tile draw… I knew I had made the correct choice.
Supernova, blank, blank, single planet, blank… ARGH!!!
And my secret objective was “I controlled at least 6 planets with technology discounts.” Great! I’m never getting that one. At least I was able to write off the secret objective early and focus on the public objectives.
The political game started early. Player #4 placed an Asteroid field adjacent to Mecatol Rex and in front of me… I whined and complained and groaned… but it was all for show. Without a Mecatol Rex based objective and only a single planet of my own… I never intended to go for it anyway. David consoled me by offering to place a planet adjacent to my home world as compensation. I ‘grudgingly’ agreed.
As player 5, I placed two in relatively rapid succession. A blank was in front of player 6. Player six then completed the inner ring and started the middle ring. I then offered the allow the high bidder to determine where I placed the Supernova tile.
Player 3 (Hacan) offered future trade goods to determine placement location, which I accepted conditionally… I retained right of refusal, since I didn’t want it near me. Player 4 offered to make it a double planet adjacent to my home if I wouldn’t place it in his ‘slice of the galactic pie’. Player 1 made the same offer…
So between Hacan and myself, it went in front of the Mentak home world, and I actually did get two double planet systems adjacent to my home world… one of which had two technology resources and one that had one. Adding that to the one from my single planet and I’m 2/3 of the way to my secret objective after all.
Turn one saw everyone move into the galaxy staking claims for territory. Player 6 and I each moved towards one another and agreed to establish a Galactic equivalent of the Maginot Line between the two double planet tiles between our home worlds. With both of having played games with and against each other prior to this… both sides continual built forces to the maximum possible in these two hexes. Eventually ending up with 4 PDS’s in each hex, multiple dreadnoughts, and multiple ground forces on both planets… as well as a Warsun in Player 6’s hex and 12 Advanced Fighters in mine. Fortunately (or possibly unfortunately as it was a lot of wasted resources…), the uneasy truce was never broken. Although it would have been a glorious battle. One we probably should have fought after the game – just to see how it would have ended.
The most notable event of turn 2 was the activation of the Politics Strategy.
Player 4 drew Politics…
The card was a Law (I forget the name). The elected Player must then spend 2 tokens from the Strategic Allocation pool to take the Imperial Strategy Card.
While a bad card to get… what made the draw so memorable was David’s last TI3 game. He was the unwilling recipient of the Law (being unanimously elected on the turn he was Speaker), so before this game even began – he was bemoaning the effects of that card and hoping / praying that it wouldn’t come up this game… and it’s the first card drawn!!! Hahaha.
Because I had moved into both double planet tiles and both had large amounts of influence, my influence total combined with David’s equaled more than the other four players combined. David had two trade goods remaining, so I offered to vote his way in exchange for the goods. He voted for Player 2 (Hacan). When it got to me… Hacan offered me double that to vote anyone but him… so I shifted my vote to player 1, since others had already voted for him and even if the remaining players all voted for me, they would not have enough votes to elect me.
The Butterscotch Betrayal lives… only this time, there was no butterscotch cookies.
The first 6 turns of the game went as expected.
Everyone advanced to fill their slice of the pie. Deals were made to allow this and that ‘nudging’ of the boundaries to help obtain public objectives.
The public objectives were scored by the truck load, as it seemed that all the easy to achieve objectives came up:
Spend 6 trade goods
Have 3 technologies of the same color.
Control 5 planets outside your home world.
All three of my Space Docks have been built and are on the board.
Control planets with at least one each of the three technology discounts.
Spend 10 influence.
Player 2 did duck into a convenient wormhole and exit adjacent to Mecatol Rex and claim it. But after two turns, he graciously agreed to vacate the planet to allow Player 4 to take it… and he hadn’t claimed a secret objective – so we’re not sure why he took it so quickly.
Too bad he left it the same turn the ‘Spend 10 Influence’ objective came up. That cost him a victory point!!! More on this later…
Player 4 took Mecatol Rex, played an action card to transport a Space Dock there… then claimed a secret objective. Meanwhile… Players 1, 2, and 3 seemed to be positioning themselves for conflict.
Player 1 started it out by fighting Player 6 for a planet… and losing. In more ways than one. Player 6 retaliated by taking out two other planets of Player 1… which was nice for me and he had to pull units out of the tile adjacent to my big build up to support the assault. These units were replaced next turn, but that action kept him from using them against me… if that was even a plan.
Player 3 advanced in the direction of both Player 1 and Player 4, taking a blank tile near Player 2’s home world and occupying an undefended planet in Player 3’s territory. This deal must have been negotiated earlier as there were no defenders and no retaliation. The withdrawal of forces from this region by player 3 opened up another technology resource planet, so I offered him 2 trade goods for the ground unit he was destined to lose and moved in. I now had 5 technology planets.
The first Public Objective of Stage II came up… I have more influence than both my neighbors… 3 victory points.
Due to the value of the planets in my wedge, I had 16 influence to my neighbors combined 17. So close…
Player 2 then played Flank Speed to jump into Player 1’s home system with a massive force and take over everything. On Turn 7, he claimed his secret objective (Control another players home worlds) and jumped into the lead with 9 victory points… too bad he left Mecatol Rex before he could claim the 10 influence public objective…
At this point, 3 of the six of us were at 8 points, one was at 9 points, and one was at seven. The remaining two players (1 and 6) were effectively out of the running. I was trying hard to gain another technology planet… or more influence (preferably by taking it from one of my neighbors). My neighbors OTOH were more interested in taking influence planets than in taking technology planets from me. So either way, it looked like Turn 9 would be a winning turn for me. I just had to survive turn 8.
As I plotted out a way to occupy at least one other technology planet, on Turn nine… the Public Objective for turn 8 was played…
I possess at least nine technologies… 2 victory points. And I had 12 already!
A quick examination of everything on the board was made and no one else could gain enough victory points to reach 10… so rather than finish turn 8, we called it a victory for The Universities of Jol-Nar and packed everything away until January.
It was a closely fought game that could have gone either way several different times.
Everyone played well and much fun was had.
Final score was 10, 9, 9, 8, 7, 5.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos... I'm trying to track down some from the other players. If I get any... I'll edit the post.
No butterscotch cookies? But you still got a betrayal in? That is a shame. You needed the cookies!
I definately want to make the next game at Roll the Dice. Hopefully work slows down by then.