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Subject: Five player first game rss

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Mark Bausman
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Completed our first five player game Saturday. No one had played this game before but four players had played Empires: Age of Discovery. The game took about 3 and a-half hours with about 25 minutes spent in setup and rules review. The winning score was 73 points. The winner sent a lot of rebels to the planets in order to have a strong presence on many worlds. The winner also had a strong economy in trade goods getting 12 economic points at the end.

It became a standard move for the early players to get a smuggler or to place for trade goods. In this game the smuggler does not get 5 UC when they go to the planet as the trader did so trade goods are very important for the economy. Another favorite move was the covert missions. We had a planet with no sentinels on it so a covert mission was free there. Covert missions give both advantages and VP's. There was also a lot of activity around the galactic senate. One player had a technology that granted a diplomat each turn and that diplomat went straight to the senate box every time.

Even though players knew about the galactic war, no one every played warfare to attack a sentinel until turn 7 when one was attacked and killed.

A few thoughts:
The covert mission can only be done by one player so the first player had a big advantage in doing those missions.
The smuggler in the trade box is able to take 2 trade goods. This often locked out other players from getting a trade good. This was really to strong. It would be better if the smuggler got the 5 UC for going to a planet and only 1 trade good.
The galactic War was not good. We had three planets cleared by sentinels and it was actually better to play for second place. It only took us about 7 minutes to draw the cubes for war but it was really not much fun.

For our next game, we will allow the smuggler to take 1 trade good and get the 5 UC when going to a planet. We will also change the Galactic War by giving everyone a bag and having extra cubes for the sentinels. The sentinels will then attack the player with the most rebels at any one time and not focus on one player until he is gone.

Overall I like this one better that Discovery because of the senate but it really needs some tweeks to mak it a great game.

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Matt Smith
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mbausman wrote:
A few thoughts:
The covert mission can only be done by one player so the first player had a big advantage in doing those missions.
The smuggler in the trade box is able to take 2 trade goods. This often locked out other players from getting a trade good. This was really to strong. It would be better if the smuggler got the 5 UC for going to a planet and only 1 trade good.
The galactic War was not good. We had three planets cleared by sentinels and it was actually better to play for second place. It only took us about 7 minutes to draw the cubes for war but it was really not much fun.

Glad to hear you liked the game overall. Here are my my thoughts on your thoughts:

Yes, the Covert Mission box is heavily dependent on player order by design. In the Discovery game, Initiative is typically used to prepare to spam the Colonist Dock in a scoring turn, or to prep for the more powerful buildings to come out in the next Age. In this game, you need to grab initiative if you want to do a Covert Mission. It's a good "lesson learned" from your first play.

If someone puts a Smuggler in the trade goods box, don't place a worker in the last box. Yes, this means one less player will get a trade good, but that wasn't uncommon in the Discovery game either (one player placing twice in that box). This mechanic also puts more focus on player order, so ignore the Initiative box at your own risk.

In your game you basically said players didn't prepare for the Galactic War, then didn't like how three planets were cleared out by the Sentinels. Maybe those players should have been focusing on planets that were less well defended, or put more focus on building up their military science/troops, or attacked the Sentinels more than just once? Now that you've seen how the GW plays out, don't you think you could adjust your strategy to be better prepared, and try the game again with the rules as written before changing up the rules? In another BGG session report, the poster said they prepared for the GW by eliminating multiple sentinels, and the GW was a non-event.

Just my two cents. I usually give a game a few plays before deciding if rule tweaks are required to "fix a problem" or make some aspect more fun.
 
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Mark Bausman
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We realized that we needed to attack the sentinels but were guilty of short term thought. No one wanted to use their precious rebel to attack a sentinel unless everyone was going to do it. Perhaps a little diplomacy with all players agreeing to attack would have worked well. For the house rule it just seemed to make more sense that the Sentinels would attack the strongest rebel instead of just wanting to shoot the same rebel until they were gone. This would also balance the idea of playing for second in the Galactic War.

There are really three good things to do with your first rebel, initiative/covert mission, get smuggler and trade goods. You cannot do all three so the balance is really nice.

After the first turn money was difficult to get. Allowing the smuggler to get 5 UC when going to the planet negates the loss of a trade good and allows faster recapture of some money.

Normally I hate house rules and would want to play three or four times before doing one. In this case several of the players were very familiar with Discovery so we felt we knew the system pretty well. One of our players was a professional designer with a lot of experience in game mechanics.

Final thought, why did they not do a VP point track on the map? Those score sheets just do not show the leader and tax my brain. A score track would have been so much better. Am I mistaken or do the rebel (worker) sculpts look very much like the palace guards in Star Wars Queens Gambit?
 
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Matt Smith
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Familiarity with Age of Discovery can be a strategic detriment when playing this game. While several base mechanics are the same, the strategy is very different. I talk more about it in this thread. The bottom line is, you shouldn't approach influencing the planets the same way you approached colonizing the New World, because of the existence of the Sentinels and the Galactic War.

As for money, in base Age of Discovery, sending a Merchant to the New World (+5 money) was a source of income to buy Capital Buildings. In Galactic Rebellion, you have the Scientist who gives a 5 UC credit on Tech. These are equivalent. Use Smugglers to build your trade good income, and use Scientists to reduce the cost of your Tech.

For the Galactic War, thematically the Sentinels are attacking a rebel "base", which is why when they attack the base of the initially strongest player, they fight to the death. They don't attack a base for a bit then run away, scout out the now strongest base, attack it for a bit then run away, etc. Thematically that doesn't make any sense.

Players don't collectively need to agree to attack the Sentinels to have that Warfare action make sense. Say you're in control of a valuable planet that's defended by multiple Sentinels. If you want to score VP from that planet in epoch 3, you'll need to take out some Sentinels before the GW (or go really strong on military science and hope the odds work out in your favor). It's unlikely you'll have enough trooper/hero Warfare actions to clear all Sentinels from every planet you control, so you have to pick your battles.

Just some thoughts and observations. Hopefully you'll have a chance to play the rules as written a few more times to see if you can discover how to take advantage of the new strategies in this game.
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Aaron Bevan
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Played my first game of E:GW last night it too was a 5 player with others that have played the other games.

We didn't actually read the rules for Galactic war until it happened, leaving it to be a surprise though to be fair we all expected the sentinels to attack. We had a blast during this phase.

One player had invested much more into getting warfare cubes so he was much better off when the galactic war hit. He tried warfare against the sentinels several times on planets he was in control off and at the end of the war was in control of the most planets. This player got second and had very little trade goods, scored around 75 points

2 players had competing trade empires until a well timed player ability with smuggler cleared out all the trade goods and put him in the trade lead. These 2 players got 3rd and 4th with around 65 points

The winning player got an early 4 trade good match and then ignored further trade goods. Purchased 2 techs each epoch, and got 2 covert ops but mostly just flooded the planets/senate with cloned rebels, very few specialist compared to other players. This player scored highest in all 3 epochs and though died in droves to the sentinals was lucky to keep 1 planet and a second place. Finished with over 100 points

Overall i enjoyed this more than the other Empire games

 
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