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Subject: Early Twilight Imperium 4th edition technology analysis rss

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Michael Bomholt
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Unit Upgrade techs:

Space Dock II(enviro compensators)
Requires: YY
Adds +2 to the production capacity of your space docks

This is one of the worst unit upgrades in the game, you have to go deep into yellow and your payoff is a few more production capacity. The old enviro compensators was early in the tech tree which meant people had to buy it. I feel like this one will go unpurchased by most players in TI4.

Infantry II(gen synthesis)
Requires: GG
After this unit is destroyed, roll 1 die. If the result is 6 or greater, place the unit on this card. At the start of your next turn, place each unit that is on this card on a planet you control in your home system. +1 combat die modifier.

Infantry II is a decent upgrade, providing both a combat boost and the cost saving resurrection ability that has been “patched” to prevent the silly infinite home system forces shenanigans that happened in TI3. This tech provides a moderate incentive to go green.

Fighter II(advanced fighters)
Requires: GB
This unit may move without being transported. Fighters in excess of your ships capacity count against your fleet pool. +1 combat die modifier.

Fighter II is unchanged from TI3 but it is a bit easier to get to now. Having only one green prereq is nice because a lot of players will have neural motivators. That being said the scarcity of command tokens means that nobody wants to waste a fleet supply on a measly fighter. I don’t expect to see this unit upgrade purchased much.

Carrier II(XRD Transporters)
Requires: BB
+1 move, +2 capacity.

This is one of the best unit upgrades in the game. Most players will have two blue tech anyway because gravity drive is so strong and getting more movement and capacity on a core unit is huge.

PDS II(deep space cannon)
Requires: YR
You may use this unit’s SPACE CANNON against ships that are adjacent to this unit’s system. Space cannon upgraded from 6 to 5.

I feel like this is one of the weakest unit upgrades. The new construction mechanics makes PDS much less common and immobile making them less attractive for players to produce. That being said PDS are a bit of a fan favorite which will likely make this upgrade more popular than it should be.

Destroyer II(Automated Defense Turrets)
Requires:RR
Anti-Fighter barrage 6(3) instead of 9(2). +1 combat die modifier.

In TI3 destroyers with Automated Defense Turrets were one of the most efficient purchases you could make. In TI4 they feel like a dud. Requiring RR means you are deep in red and likely have your eyes on duranium armor or war suns instead of this. Combine that with the scarcity of command tokens to spare for fleet supply and destroyers aren't’ a great deal. I expect to only see this purchased when someone is facing down a huge fighter fleet.

Dreadnought II(Type IV Drive)
Requires:BBY
This unit cannot be destroyed by “Direct Hit” action cards. +1 move.

This is one of the best unit upgrades in the game, It has blue prerequisites making it easy and getting one of your core ships moving faster is always great. I expect this upgrade to be very popular.

Cruiser II(Stasis Capsules)
Requires:GYR
+1 move, +1 capacity, +1 combat.

Talk about bang for your buck! this is arguably the best unit upgrade.It’s prerequisite can be a little hard for some factions but I expect this to be a hugely popular upgrade.

War Sun(Mobile Base)
Requires:RRRY
Unlocks building war suns.

Other than duranium armor, this tech is the only good reason to go heavy red. These things pack a TON of firepower into one fleet supply making them even better with the new scarcity of command tokens. You won't’ see everyone go for these but when they hit the board you will feel their impact.




Colored techs:

Yellow:

Integrated Economy
Lvl 3
After you gain control of a planet, you may produce any number of units on that planet that have a combined cost equal to or less than that planet’s resource value.

Integrated Economy has received a complete redesign from the TI3 version and so any comparison is difficult. I do think this tech is very powerful, allowing fleets to forward build and grow as they claim planets deep in enemy territory. If you have a big battle and gain some planets you can replace your losses without every being exposed to a counter attack in a weakened state. That being said Lvl 3 in yellow is a really hard sell for all but a few races, I don’t expect this tech will hit the table very often, but when it does it should make an impact.

Transit Diodes
Lvl 2
You may exhaust this card at the start of your turn during the action phase; remove up to 4 of your ground forces from the game board and place them on 1 or more planets you control.

Transit Diodes is situationally powerful, it allows you to re-enforce a planet you just took last round or it allows you to regroup your ground forces so that they can be carried by one fleet into battle. This tech is nothing to write home about and I don’t expect it to have a large impact on games or be purchased very often unless it is needed as a prerequisite.

Graviton Laser System
Lvl 1
You may exhaust this card before 1 or more of your units use SPACE CANNON; hits produced by those units must be assigned to non-fighter ships if able.

Graviton Laser Systems is another tech that has had a total redesign. It is part of a design choice in the game of limiting +1 or -1 dice modifiers to unit upgrade cards so that players only need glance at their race sheet for combat values instead of doing a bunch of math every time they fight. I love this but it did lead to several technology redesigns. This new version is nice for making sure your PDS hit targets your care about, making players who have invested in pds even thornier. I rate this tech as relatively weak, I believe that PDS have become significantly less attractive in TI4 and so any tech that buffs them suffers. Again I see this being purchased most often for its prerequisite value over its actual ability.

Sarween Tools
Lvl 0
When 1 or more of your units use PRODUCTION, reduce the combined cost of the produced units by 1.

Sarween tools is the best tech in yellow, giving you a discount of 1 whenever you use PRODUCTION adds up over the course of the game and is particularly strong for the SAAR and Arborec. This combined with the fact that all unit upgrades other that spacedock II that require yellow only need one means that most players will be just fine buying sarween tools and never taking another look at yellow.

Red:

Assault Cannon
Lvl 3
At the start of a space combat in a system that contains 3 or more of your non-fighter ships, your opponent must destroy 1 of his non-fighter ships.

Assault Cannons redesign makes it much simpler but also scales its power down a bit. On the surface it seems very weak for a lvl 3 tech. I may be proven wrong on this but I don’t expect to see this tech very often.

Duranium Armor
Lvl 2
During each combat round, after you assign hits to your units, repair 1 of your damaged units that did not use SUSTAIN DAMAGE during this combat round.

Duranium Armor is largely unchanged from TI3, it has been fixed to prevent the dreaded faceoff of two immortal dreadnoughts but other than that it has the same effect. This is a very strong effect and with the relative strength of the larger ships in TI4 getting pushed Duranium is a great pickup and may be the best red tech.

Magen Defense Grid
Lvl 1
You may exhaust this card at the start of a round of ground combat on a planet that contains 1 or more of your units that have PLANETARY SHIELD; your opponent cannot make combat rolls during this combat round.

Magen Defense Grid is another redesign that replaces a dice modifier with a new ability. This one seems powerful on its surface but when you think about the hit percentage of ground forces it isn’t very good. It also suffers by association with PDS. This thing will cancel very few hits and will have very little impact. This tech is really only worth buying as a prereq.

Plasma Scoring
Lvl 0
When 1 or more of your units use BOMBARDMENT or SPACE CANNON, 1 of those units may roll 1 additional die.

Goodbye Hylar V Assault Laser and hello Plasma Scoring. This new technology is yet another member of the “let’s get rid of combat modifiers” brigade, it replaces one of the best techs in TI3 with an “OK” tech. This thing is at its best when you only have one PDS or Dreadnought effectively doubling the amount of dice you get from their cannon and bombardment. It is a decent ability that will do work over the course of the game but isn’t going to have a huge impact.

Red techs feel like the weakest branch of the tech tree, the only reason to go heavy into them is if you want war suns, otherwise the only really great tech in the tree is Duranium armor. Destroyer II isn’t a big payoff and you only need one red for cruiser II. I expect the only reason people will go deep into red is if they have some red tech specialty planets so that they can skip over the bad stuff and go straight for the few nuggets of goodness.

Green:

X-89 Bacterial Weapon
Lvl 3
Action: Exhaust this card and choose 1 planet in a system that contains 1 or more of your ships that have BOMBARDMENT; destroy all infantry on that planet.

X-89 has received an overhaul from its TI3 version. Gone is the cost of discarding your hand of action cards but now you can only use it once per round thanks to the tech being Exhausted when used and you have to do it as an action. This means you can’t move into a system and immediately wipe it out with x-89 you have to thread it. The new X-89 is still powerful but not as fast, it will take setup and deliberation. It will reward a player who carefully planned to use it but will disappoint players who expect it to win the war for them.

Hyper Metabolism
Lvl 2
“During the status phase, gain 2 command tokens instead of 1.”

Everyone has agreed that this tech is a misprint, it should read “During the status phase, gain three command tokens instead of 2”

Hyper Metabolism has lost the ability to “loot” action cards but keeps its additional command counter. Strangely enough it is more powerful than it’s TI3 predecessor simply because command counters are so much more scarce in TI4. This tech is one of the best reasons to go deep into green and will pay off quickly.

Dactive Animators
Lvl 1
After you win a ground combat, you may place 1 infantry from your reinforcements on that planet.

Dactive Animators have received a major simplification from TI3. In TI3 you hardly saw this tech in play because it was deep in the tech tree and had anti-synergy with gen synthesis. This new version is easy to get and no longer counteracts gen-synth(infantry II). These are great changes, but don't’ do enough to make this tech truly great. This will be a bit player that will mostly be purchased for its prerequisite.

Neural Motivator
Lvl 0
During the status phase, draw 2 action cards instead of 1.

Neural motivators is easily the best Lvl 0 tech in TI4. Action cards are one of the most powerful things in the game and having more of them is great. I expect this will be one of the most purchased techs in TI4.

Green overall is decent, it has the best lvl 0 and a fantastic lvl 2. That being said it doesn’t unlock great unit upgrades. I expect the deepest most players will go in green is neural motivators unless they have a great green racial tech.

BLUE:

Light/Wave deflector
Lvl 3
Your ships can move through systems that contain other players ships.

This technology is unchanged from TI3, it is still very powerful in the right situation, allowing players to grab points in the late game that would be inaccessible without it.

Fleet Logistics
Lvl 2
During each of your turns of the action phase, you may perform two actions instead of one.

Fleet logistics has gone from a rarely used niche tech in TI3 to a game winning powerhouse in TI4 thanks to the fact that you can take any actions with it. In TI3 you were limited to tactical actions, meaning it only allowed you to activate two systems in a row. With the new fleet logistics you can make power plays like a move into mecatol then an immediate flip of 8 to score a point. You can move into a system then immediately flip diplomacy on it to lock everyone out with no chance to react. This tech is going to be responsible for a large percentage of game winning moves and is VERY powerful. I’m afraid it is going to warp the game so that every player always goes for blue technologies first.

Gravity Drive
Lvl 1
After you activate a system, apply +1 to the move value of 1 of your ships during this tactical action.

Gravity drive is easily the best Lvl 1 tech in the game, it has been nerfed from it’s TI3 incarnation which provided too much mobility to a much more reasonable tech. It allows you to catch up with your flagship or that one ship that is lagging behind and gives you many more options.

Antimass Deflectors
Lvl 0
Your ships can move into and through asteroid fields.
When other player’s units use SPACE CANNON against your units, apply -1 to the result of each die roll.

The much maligned Antimas deflectors has received a small buff from the TI3 version. You are now allowed to end your movement in asteroids and it has been given the -1 die roll to space cannon that was part of the old maneuvering jets tech. Neither of these buffs do much to make Antimass any good, it is easily one of, if not the worst lvl 0 tech.

Blue feels like the overall best tech color, not only does it contain gravity drive and fleet logistics two of the best tech in the game, it also unlocks two of the best unit upgrades; Lvl2 carriers and Dreadnoughts.
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Nick Davis
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I think it should be pointed out when talking about tech in TI4 how much cheaper techs are in this edition. With the primary of the strategy card being one free tech and a second for 6 resources and the secondary being a tech for 4 resources.

This isn't as big a step if you are used to tech 2 but a huge difference if you are used to tech 1.

I don't think the secondary on tech is going to be as agonizing a decision as it used to be.
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Marcques Domask
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blarknob wrote:

Fighter II(advanced fighters)
Requires: GB
This unit may move without being transported. Fighters in excess of your ships capacity count against your fleet pool. +1 combat die modifier.

Fighter II is unchanged from TI3 but it is a bit easier to get to now. Having only one green prereq is nice because a lot of players will have neural motivators. That being said the scarcity of command tokens means that nobody wants to waste a fleet supply on a measly fighter. I don’t expect to see this unit upgrade purchased much.

I'm not sure what you mean by "waste a fleet supply on a measly fighter". The power of the tech comes form pumping out lots of cheap units then sending them off harrow enemy fleets. For 2 resources, get 4 units that move 2 and hit on 8. That's not bad for a turn 2 tech.

It's admittedly better early game when fleet sizes are small and other players have not built up fighter or destroyer screens.
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Ido Abelman
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Nice analysis. Not sure about your assertion that PDS will be much less common. You might get less chances to build them but you get one practically for free if you take construction for the space dock, and two if you take construction without building a space dock (opportunity cost of not using another strategy card, but I think it will be worth it at least a couple of times). Then the secondary costs 1 CC and the opportunity cost of not building a space dock. Might be expensive in some situations but I think it will be worth it at some points. At least you keep resources for other units and they may not be mobile but you build them right where you want.
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JH
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Good breakdown, but I think PDS upgrades are better than this assessment reflects. Being able to shoot adjacent spaces AND force players to choose non-Fighter ships to destroy is going to make invading a rival's outskirts a risky proposition. Can't safely send a single carrier and a couple fighters to snap up an outlying planet if there are PDS with DSC and GLS in range, or you end up with a 50-50 chance of losing the carrier and everything it supports.

Not being able to move them makes some difference, but being able to plunk them down anywhere you control makes up for that, since you don't have to move them to where you want them.
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Paul Couch
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Rakor wrote:
I think it should be pointed out when talking about tech in TI4 how much cheaper techs are in this edition. With the primary of the strategy card being one free tech and a second for 6 resources and the secondary being a tech for 4 resources.

This isn't as big a step if you are used to tech 2 but a huge difference if you are used to tech 1.

I don't think the secondary on tech is going to be as agonizing a decision as it used to be.

I think that cost will be a wash, as tech discounts are gone. It was not uncommon to have 2 or more discounts of the same color. This dropped the cost to current levels but forced down one color.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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blarknob wrote:
Early Twilight Imperium 4th edition technology analysis
...



How many games of TI4 have you played? I've played several now and I disagree with many of your assertions. Does my group's take on the game differ that radically from yours?
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Michael Bomholt
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halbower wrote:
blarknob wrote:
Early Twilight Imperium 4th edition technology analysis
...



How many games of TI4 have you played? I've played several now and I disagree with many of your assertions. Does my group's take on the game differ that radically from yours?
I've played six games now. My buddies disagree with me on a few things.

I'd love to be proven wrong on some of this. Particularly fleet logistics.
 
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Steve Williams
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blarknob wrote:
I'd love to be proven wrong on some of this. Particularly fleet logistics.


That's not gonna happen, Fleet Logistics is bonkers.

I think you're being too harsh on Fighter II, and therefore equally undervaluing Destroyer II (more so the former than the latter, you are correct that double red is rough). Fighter II is effectively the new Cybernetics, and the ability to fly on their own is a pretty savage bonus when viewed in that light.

Space Dock II is trickier. Enviro Compensator was one of the best techs in TI3, and not just because it was an entry-level tech; in Aweberman's revised tech tree, Enviro Compensator was a Tier 3 tech, and saw frequent purchase in the games I played with that variant. That is on par with its TI4 requirements, although it doubled in effectiveness. In the 3 games I've played this edition, I saw the need for it constantly, but only once was I in a position where taking it was realistic.

In TI3 I agree that any and everything PDS-related is utter horse trash. Spending resources on units that can't capture planets or threaten systems was bad enough, flushing precious Technology purchases down the toilet on the old Graviton Laser System or Magen Defense Grid were basically declaring concession.

In TI4, they're not mind-blowing, but they've become viable. Not (directly) costing resources and deploying to any planet you have is nice, Plasma Scoring and Graviton Laser System make even one PDS II into a serious threat. Buying PDS off the Construction secondary is not recommended (unless you've got one of the 2 Secret Objectives that require them), but it's fairly common to take 2 off of the primary. Often the card can be picked up with a Trade Good or two on it, and it's perfectly serviceable as a check-down when juicier cards are taken. Putting 2 wherever you want, be it Mecatol Rex or a contested border, is solid.
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Theo Mags
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Is it just me or do the races that start off with the second tier techs in each branch appear to be disadvantaged?

I mean, not only do they begin with single tech but with the exception of creuss who get the new gravity drive, the second tier techs don't appear to be much better than the base ones.

In fact, I'm thinking that except for gravity drive I would rather get the base tech in each of the other colours.

What makes it disappointing is that it doesnt even give you any advantages when going down the colour branch either.
 
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Steve Williams
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Yavrim wrote:
Is it just me or do the races that start off with the second tier techs in each branch appear to be disadvantaged?


I don't think so. A tech is a tech, and this opens up a lot more room for variety. Arborec starting with Magen Defense Grid is admittedly strange, but they have an extremely powerful faction ability now, so I can agree with not wanting to give them anything useful. Graviton Laser System for Xxcha is fun. Nekro's Daxcive Animators doesn't really count since they don't touch the tech tree. And as mentioned, Gravity Drive is nuts for Creuss.

And that's it starting with Tier 2. So upon complete inspection, I don't agree at all
 
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Theo Mags
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Fair enough, disadvantaged was the wrong choice of word here anyway. Underwhelmed is prob closer to what I was feeling.

Arborec getting magen instead of Daxcive seemed bizarre at first from a theme perspective, but I agree that they are really strong already and starting with something like daxcive while being thematic might have resulted in being OP.





Still, given the choice, with the exception of Gravity drive, I'm pretty sure that I would still pick the first tier techs of each colour over the second tier.
 
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Thierry Vlaeminck
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I agree with most of your analysis. A tad too harsh for Pds and fighters tho,
Construction SC is a weird one everyone will need to get used to. I expect less people going for their 3 docks on the board asap in a double or triple system due to Sarween nerf.
Enviro is really strong, especially for fighter swarm strategies. Letnev with 14 home system capacity? Hacan 15 even. Nuts.

Btw, the hyper metabolism errata should read «gain one additional command token during the status phase» to make it work for Sol
 
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Necessary Evil
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I see Fleet Logistics as being a problem. Being able to do Tactical then strategic in one Turn is crazy good and late game will win it for you.

My guess is after a few plays we use the Ti3 rule and make it tactical only.
 
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