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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: 6 (or 7) player teaching game, set up tips? rss

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Josh Hagood
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I have played TI3 once with some veterans, but I bought the game and have arranged a day to play with my normal game group. I've played once, but didn't set the game up, so I wanted any tips on setting up the game for an initial game.

We have the 1st expansions (Shattered) and may end up with 7 players.

* Are there any 7 player pre-made maps that would be better than the normal 7 player generation?

* Suggestions for using Distant Suns for a first game? We played with it last time and I liked the random effects. I was thinking of an all-positive (and neutral) set maybe? Or hand choosing a "gentle" set of bad ones to mix in. Having a few NPC combats helped me out in understanding combat when I learned.

* What action cards would you recommend out of expansion 1 and base game? Should we use Imperial 2?

* What about the Imperium Rex politic card that ends the game and "he who controls the Rex, controls the game"? When I played last, that was taken out by the vets so I was wondering if this is an unpopular card or?

I'll be explaining the game so any other set-up or rules explanation tips appreciated!
 
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Starkiller
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Vazzaroth wrote:
I have played TI3 once with some veterans, but I bought the game and have arranged a day to play with my normal game group. I've played once, but didn't set the game up, so I wanted any tips on setting up the game for an initial game.

We have the 1st expansions (Shattered) and may end up with 7 players.

* Are there any 7 player pre-made maps that would be better than the normal 7 player generation?

Generally speaking, all fan-made preset maps are largely considered better.
Just google preset maps or check out:
http://www.astralvault.net/games/SA/maps.html

However, there is a complication.
These fan-made preset maps are invariable designed by those who own and play with everything in TI3, including fan variant stuff.

Consequently, I always have to modify them to use my less expanded ruleset.
The good news is: it's easy. Use one of those as a base and tweak it a bit. TI3 is designed to be self-balancing, so just get it close.
Vazzaroth wrote:
* Suggestions for using Distant Suns for a first game? We played with it last time and I liked the random effects. I was thinking of an all-positive (and neutral) set maybe? Or hand choosing a "gentle" set of bad ones to mix in. Having a few NPC combats helped me out in understanding combat when I learned.

I always play with Territorial Distant Suns, rules in Shattered Empire. This really helps make the first couple rounds really interesting, without helping/hurting any particular player too much.

Don't make them all positive. This neuters the tension. (It becomes just an exercise in flipping over the token to see what you got.)
Vazzaroth wrote:
* What action cards would you recommend out of expansion 1 and base game? Should we use Imperial 2?

I assume you mean Strategy Cards. Use the expansion ones. See here for why!
Vazzaroth wrote:
* What about the Imperium Rex politic card that ends the game and "he who controls the Rex, controls the game"? When I played last, that was taken out by the vets so I was wondering if this is an unpopular card or?

This is hard to answer, as I think you are mixing up terms.

Political Cards are what you vote on.

I think you are talking about the Objective Card Imperium Rex, but it doesn't have the quoted text on it. It says "As soon as this card is revealed, the game ends immediately. The player with the most victory points wins the game."
This acts as the time clock, and keeps the game from never ending. I would recommend you keep this in the game, as a bunch of new players will drag things out anyway. However, as you approach flipping over Stage II Objective Cards, make sure everyone knows the game is nearing it's end. Make sure everyone understands this card is in the deck! You don't want players blindsided by the game end.

At the very least, don't shuffle it into the deck of Stage II's; make it the last card in the deck. I STRONGLY recommend keeping this card in the game; the game can go on and on with newcomers.
Vazzaroth wrote:
I'll be explaining the game so any other set-up or rules explanation tips appreciated!

This whole thread is worth a read, but this is my reply.

Also, you are far from the first to ask for teaching/hosting advice. If you search the forums you will find many threads just like this. Check them out!
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Greg Pratt
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So, you have the core game and the Shattered Empire expansion (and not Shards of the Throne)?

One of the biggest things to hammer home when explaining the rules of the game is that this is a game won by points. A lot of players get caught up in building their uber-death fleets and forget this. Emphasize that points are everything over and over.

Number two is how command counters on the board work. Explain that if there is one of their counters on a system containing their units, that it represents that units there have already been used for the round, and generally can't do anything further.

Also make sure people understand how actions work. Getting that sequence into their heads is very important. And also that their Strategy Card's action doesn't have to be their first one (but it can).

As far as options and whatnot:

If this is the first time playing, I'd just go ahead and build the galaxy using the normal rules. It might be a bit lopsided in places, but that's ok. FWIW, my group strongly prefers building the galaxy as it makes for a more interesting game.

I'd recommend to go ahead and just use the replacement strategy cards from Shattered Empire from the start. It will save on players relearning the game later. And they are almost universally regarded as better. Don't tinker with replacing any of them, just use the 8 from SE.

Use all of the political, action cards from SE and the updated tech tree. These really don't affect things too much.

My group likes using Distant Suns completely randomly. Again, it might come up a bit lopsided at times, but it has the merits of being simpler to set up and raises the tension of exploration a bit.

I'd set up the objective cards normally, Including Imperium Rex. Also don't forget to add an extra Stage II objective (per page 9, SE) when using the variant Strategy Cards (this often gets forgotten). I think that most groups just mix the two sets of Secret Objectives together into one deck. My group does and it seems to be fine. The rules recommend playing to 1 less VP using the Variant strategy Cards, but if you use the artifacts option, 10 points plays just fine.

You didn't mention what other options you're using, but I feel that the leaders do help balance some of the races a bit.

Prep and Setup Tips

Here's what my group does:
Frequency:
First off, we do a game of TI3 roughly quarterly. This seems to be often enough that people still remember the rules, but not so often that people get burnout. I think it also makes people more interested in playing because they know that if they miss it, that they have to wait 3 months for the next game.

Scheduling:
We set the date for the next TI3 game out at least a month in advance, and often closer to two months. Be sure to include a start time and the message that players should expect to stay for the entire day, possibly into the evening. This gives people enough time to schedule around it. It also leaves enough time to firm up commitment to attend. I usually start with an email proposing a date. I collect people up into three buckets: Definitely will attend, may attend, won't attend. As date gets closer to the game, I send follow up emails, with the goal of getting the may attend resolved into one of the other two buckets. I usually set a date of 2-3 weeks prior to the game as a deadline to get the "may attend" group to commit. And if they commit, it is real important that they commit to attending the whole day, including showing up at the start time, or they get dropped. This much notice is usually enough to get the day off for those whose work schedule is an issue.

Buildup:
Even as scheduling is progressing, I start doing some prep to build up for the game. When I have at least one more committed player over to witness things, I have my 7-year old son draw races and roll for home system placement order (we always use the built galaxy per the rules). I send this information out to everyone. This gives players a chance to read up on their race and the others, if they want. This lets them focus on the ones they really need to consider. I think that this builds up some excitement (interest) in the upcoming game. I also send around a pdf copy of the rules and a few of the excellent race summaries and tech charts found here on BGG.

Home System Placement:
One of the things we do in advance is home system placement. Once we have the list of players locked down to committed, I send around a hex map and have the players select the location on the map for their home systems. Sometimes we proceed with 1-2 players not yet committed (typically due to late work schedule posting) and select positions on a few different maps (with different player attendance combinations). This latter option we don't do often. And I usually insist on at least a week's notice from players that they attend.

Setup:
As we've got home system locations and races already determined, I do an early setup of the game, including starting forces and extra stuff. Including a stack of system tiles sitting ready for each player. Ask one other player to show up early to help, witness, and double-check stuff. This makes a big difference; players can go directly to their seats without playing musical chairs. And we go right into the game with building the galaxy. Overall this shaves 30-60 minutes off of the game length. One other big thing about having things ready to go (and making sure that players know this) is that players get it into their heads that there isn't going to be extra time for setup, and if they're late they will miss the game.

Food Planning:
TI3 is a long game. It is a guarantee that you'll need to get lunch. And very possibly dinner too. And it helps a lot to also plan food in a manner that it doesn't take players away from the game. It is a lot to ask one person to prep food. I strongly recommend looking for two places that deliver (usually pizza and something else). Gathering a lunch food order (and placing it for delivery at a particular hour) in advance is a good plan. We usually play through lunch, with players grabbing a bite from their order when they are waiting on other players. Repeat this for dinner. Make sure that you have a place ready to go along with paper plates and paper towels, etc. Let everyone know about the food plan in advance and get their orders collected.

Game Day:
We use an early start of 9 a.m. This gives enough time to actually finish the game without going far into the night. We also expect committed players to be there. If they aren't within a reasonable time (15 minutes at most for my group) we assume that they aren't going to play and adjust accordingly. It is very important to make sure that when you sit down that players are committed to stay for the entire game. If they play and don't, you need to drop them from the invites next time, as dealing with players that have to leave early really wrecks the enjoyment of the game.

Other Items of Use:
A whiteboard for handling voting is really handy, especially if it can be held up for everyone to see. A pad of paper can work in a pinch though. Even if you have a large table, a few TV trays around the sides can really help with space. Extra 10-sided dice are also a good idea, and different colors for different units can let you roll quicker. I highly recommend making a cardstock ring using the template for one in the files section here on BGG.


Hope that all of this helps.
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