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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Custom Secret Objective as sole scoring. rss

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Ben Soden
United Kingdom
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Hi All, We are a gaming gang in the UK and have come up with something we are going to trial next time I am home. We play BIG (I have several copies of the base game and expansions) usually with 6 players gaming for approx 10 hours a time. We have certain other rules we follow like...

-The Galaxy is a pre-made and the seating depends on a dice roll. This insures impartiality by the galaxy creator and makes sure there is at least 1 x wormhole, red system and a couple of "good systems" in everyones immediate area.

-Every player has twice the amount of ships available. (hence the spare copies of the game)

- All original races are used except Naalu who are left out. Only Saar and Muaat are added from the rest of the expansion races (all of which are drawn blind)

- We play 3 x early expansion rounds taking 3 x systems that have to be linked to the homeworld. Planet tokens are taken off with no effect but after this they are in full use

- Trades are initiated instantly during this time (with deals, alliances, pledges, tributes and the first loose coalitions

I cannot remember the make up of the strategy cards? But its a mix and match of the most fun, dynamic ones that we have agreed on.

So "Game on!" but how to win? right?...

Basically we find the scoring is a distraction... All the back and forth, all the "Do I spend 10 resources? Do I own 5 x exo planets? Do I control a tech in each colour" seems to have little to do with the outright war, carnage, political intrigue, backstabbing and deal-breaking that goes on in our group.
So we have decided to print and laminate 12 cards with 5 objectives each. These will be shuffled and handed out blind after the first full round... See examples (with the flavour text above them)I know they are rough guys and still a work in progress but you catch my drift

10:00- Gaming begins
18:00- Scoring opens with anyone who has ALL 5 objectives able to declare victory (highly unlikely)
22:00- Cut off with the highest Objective holder being the winner.



 
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Martin DeOlden
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The objective that has "Be at peace with everyone"
Does that mean you have never initiated combat the entire game?
 
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Marc Elsenheimer
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I am not a huge Fan of the way you are dooing those secret Objectives. I guess they are completly Secret. So you don't know what other players are trying to do. So there is no indication of who is ahead and the end of the game might seem anticlimactic. Also i am not sure about how balanced those cards are. I don't feel like any of them are hard to fulfill if you don't have a Pie Sliced Turtle Map (which you don't since you use preset maps.

The Objective System is flawed. But there are ways around it. Start with 3 Public Objectives. Then every Round add a new one. Once there are 8 or 10 (preference) you are allowed to score 2nd Stage objectives (of which you revel 3 in the beginning). Also add Artifacts and Reward Players owning a Home System one VP. Then you have a compelling Scoring system with varied objectives. I recommend using the objective Deck from Shattered Empire or a Custom one.

If you want a bigger Focus on Secret Objectives you could let Players draw another one once they fulfill their Objective. They have to discard it if they fulfill it immediatly (for no surprise snowball victorys)

Why did i suggest that over your System:
- People know how others are doing which might affect military and diplomacy as well as trade
- The Objectives are more varied and Playstyle is only suggested and not enforced by the game.
- You have a lot of Board based Objectives as well as Meta Objectives which everyone is competing for.

I don't want so say that your system is inherently bad. I love the core Idea and love the execution in the Fall of the Empire. Maybe i should try your System before i judge it like this. But in a 10 Hours game which i can't play as often as i want i want to stick to what i know i like. I think your system can be refined into something awesome.

Greetings Bardo.
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Ben Soden
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TheBardo wrote:
I am not a huge Fan of the way you are dooing those secret Objectives. I guess they are completly Secret. So you don't know what other players are trying to do. So there is no indication of who is ahead and the end of the game might seem anticlimactic. Also i am not sure about how balanced those cards are. I don't feel like any of them are hard to fulfill if you don't have a Pie Sliced Turtle Map (which you don't since you use preset maps.

The Objective System is flawed. But there are ways around it. Start with 3 Public Objectives. Then every Round add a new one. Once there are 8 or 10 (preference) you are allowed to score 2nd Stage objectives (of which you revel 3 in the beginning). Also add Artifacts and Reward Players owning a Home System one VP. Then you have a compelling Scoring system with varied objectives. I recommend using the objective Deck from Shattered Empire or a Custom one.

If you want a bigger Focus on Secret Objectives you could let Players draw another one once they fulfill their Objective. They have to discard it if they fulfill it immediatly (for no surprise snowball victorys)

Why did i suggest that over your System:
- People know how others are doing which might affect military and diplomacy as well as trade
- The Objectives are more varied and Playstyle is only suggested and not enforced by the game.
- You have a lot of Board based Objectives as well as Meta Objectives which everyone is competing for.

I don't want so say that your system is inherently bad. I love the core Idea and love the execution in the Fall of the Empire. Maybe i should try your System before i judge it like this. But in a 10 Hours game which i can't play as often as i want i want to stick to what i know i like. I think your system can be refined into something awesome.

Greetings Bardo.


Hi Bardo, I get what you are saying. We just feel it might be something that works for us.
As I said before, Our games usually become one of grudges, alliances and secret talks in the kitchen between rounds (and WhatsApp messaging during the game)So the scoring tends to be a rather dull addition that nobody pays much interest to... Controlling a planet with each tech bonus isn't as beautiful as crushing a neighbour, exacting tribute AND invading The Rex in a game winning hail mary attack.
Remember we play with minimum of 6 players and each player has double the amount of resources to draw from (I actually have 3 base sets of the game) so our battles are bigger, with more resources something worth remembering for my next point.

Are the cards balanced? Well each card should be considered with the other cards alongside it? and the balance can be seen there.
Are they easy to fulfill? At first glance yes... But as I said, place them alongside other cards that potentially might be played by others? You might have a trade heavy card while another player has objectives to wreck trade. You might have a requirement for peace while a neighbour has to go to war with you.
The secret objectives are indeed secret but you can allude to your intentions during negotiations. For some reason our small group took TI and have run with it turning it into a game of statecraft as much as strategy and people were revelling more in convincing others to attack a third party rather than "Do I spend 20 influence"...take 1 point.
I see what you mean by the possible anti-climax. It was the same reason we removed that rather unthematic and hideous Imperium Rex (or the "Fudge you and your fun! Its Game Over time!") card. Perhaps I should have a game mechanic of calling assembly the round before opening scoring and everyone with 4 or more of their 5 objectives have to declare themselves... Thus focusing the back stabbing and sneak attacks in those who might steal victory.

Either way we are going to try it. We are penned in for the day on the 2nd of next month! I cant wait to see how it goes.
 
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Ben Soden
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tawnos76 wrote:
The objective that has "Be at peace with everyone"
Does that mean you have never initiated combat the entire game?


Hi mate. In answer to your question...No you can do as you please up to the point of "opening scoring" at 18:00 where you need to have all your scoring criteria met. Some of the cards will have sections that will need organising previously like this nasty card...


"The Dark Lord executed your predecessor and appointed you. He hopes you will prove yourself worthy by spreading war & destruction across the galaxy"

1 Our ground forces have invaded Mecatol Rex at least once
2 Have broken at least 3 x trade deals of other players
3 Attack every player at least once
4 Have all 4 x War-Suns in play
5 Control any of these planets: Malice/ Lodor/ Quenn/ Lesab

So breaking trade deals and attacking everyone at least once would force a normally quiet player to be a bit more reckless perhaps (IF they choose this card out of the 2 blindly drawn)


The beauty of that particular card you mentioned is you are trying to control what so many covet. So managing to broker peace with everyone while you control The Rex would be no mean feat alone! Not to mention controlling planets that are 80% most likely to be in enemy territory, Lazax (which are a moveable, tradable asset to us) and demanding tributes

"This madness must end... We must unify the races under our banner! We shall make the universe a place of law and justice for all..."

1 Our ground forces control Mecatol Rex
2 Have ANY player paying a tribute of 2+ or more Trade goods
3 Be at peace with everyone
4 Control at least 2 x "Lazax Survivors"
5 Control any of these planets: New Albion/ Rarron/ Tibah/ Veruft
 
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Jeff S
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Why is the 2+ Trade goods tribute objective worth 2 points on one card, but worth 4 on another?

I kind of like the idea, if it works for you, but a lot of the objectives seem to have flaws. For example, passing three laws you propose - the fact they have to be laws, and knowing that objective exists you'll rarely ever have that third one get passed by other players.

With the amount of trade goods that seem to be in play (sounds like a lot extra), the increased number of units, six players, a third system with Simulated Early Turns, and it seems like you want more combat, I don't know how you're going to have more than 3 full rounds played in 10 hours.
 
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Ben Soden
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sirjonsnow wrote:
Why is the 2+ Trade goods tribute objective worth 2 points on one card, but worth 4 on another?

I kind of like the idea, if it works for you, but a lot of the objectives seem to have flaws. For example, passing three laws you propose - the fact they have to be laws, and knowing that objective exists you'll rarely ever have that third one get passed by other players.

With the amount of trade goods that seem to be in play (sounds like a lot extra), the increased number of units, six players, a third system with Simulated Early Turns, and it seems like you want more combat, I don't know how you're going to have more than 3 full rounds played in 10 hours.


Hi Jeff, Any discrepancies in the examples have been fixed. We also (ironically) voted to remove the "3 x laws passed" clause on one of the cards to allow something more directly achievable.

I wouldn't say "a lot" of the objectives have flaws and think they are all eminently achievable depending on the statecraft of the player themselves. As Bardo mentioned, on the face of it they do not seem too difficult however when you take 6 x different objectives that are ultimately pitting people against each other it becomes a different story! You might need "Peace with a neighbour" while that neighbour has instructions to attack someone either left or right? For us that's where the beauty of the game lies... convincing others during secret meetings or messages via WhatsApp. We now have house rules for tributes, open alliances, non aggression pacts and more.

I have no doubt we shall get through 8 or 10 rounds or more easily (We have sped up quite a bit from our first time with players preparing ships they will buy and planning ahead more often than not) I am just looking forward to the dynamic of seeing people who physically need to crush another OR be at peace with other players. Those who need to invade certain systems and have a more realistic strategic aim rather than "I spend 20 influence...yay I am a great commander!"
Most of the group had input into the cards and despite the reluctance I am meeting here on BGG they are enthused to the point of saying we should live-stream or at least partial record for youtube.

I am not native Naalu so I cannot be sure? Only time will see if our endeavour was worthwhile!
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Aaron Tubb
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I have nothing to say about the specific objectives you have, but I do like the idea. The Fall of the Empire scenario in the Shards of the Throne expansion similarly gets rid of victory points and awards victory based only on completing your secret objective.

I think this could work well as a nice alternative to victory points if the objectives were a bit simpler. Maybe limit each objective to two or three items instead of five? Or each player draws two secret objectives with one big item on each and they have to fulfil both objective cards.

Just ideas. I like the idea.
 
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Ben Soden
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Just an update.

It was frigging awesome! Everyone really got down on the "Secret Objectives" but the only confusion was due to players not realising anything goes...up to the scoring window opening THEN you need to do whatever you can to meet your objectives.

Funnily enough it played like a normal game in many ways and ironically 4 out of 5 players chose the Mecatol Rex centric cards (when handed the 2 x secret objective cards after the initial 4 x early advance rounds)So we ended up with huge fleets massing in the centre and lots of shenanigans through the wormholes towards the rear/near homeworlds.

Anyway I am making a few more tweaks and adding a few more things into our house rules (Open alliances, Military Support and Tributes need to be clearer) but everyone liked it. IT was slicker and more action packed.

Thanks to those who gave input here and there. Especially the guy saying about holding 5 x political cards per player for making the political side more relevant to the situation.

Good times!
 
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