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Subject: How do YOU like to setup your TI4 games? rss

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Ronald Cruz
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When doing the "Complete Setup" (with a custom galaxy), the Rules Reference booklet says to do the following in this order:
1. Randomly determine a Speaker
2. Choose a faction (it does not say what to do when people want the same faction)
3. After placing Mecatol Rex, people place their home system (it does not say how to determine who goes where)
4. Starting with the Speaker going clockwise, take turns placing tiles, reversing the player order with each revolution around the table.

As I assume most people know, there are important reasons to consider who your neighbors are and what other factions are in the game when choosing your own faction. For example, if Jol-Nar is your neighbor, there is arguably more value to choosing the Nekro Virus so you can steal their advanced techs. Also, the galaxy might have strong implications on your faction choice: if there are no wormholes near your home system, you may decide not to be the Ghosts of Creuss.

It seems like there is a good argument for a whole variety of ways to set-up this game.

I want to know from the community: how do YOU prefer to setup your game? And why?

I am about to have my first 6-player game with a bunch of players. After an initial game or two with the pre-set galaxy, I am inclined to do the following in this order:
1. Roll d20s: the highest roller is the Speaker.
2. In order of their d20 roll, people choose their faction. People have the option to pass. Selection goes around and around until everyone has a faction.
3. Randomly determine where people are placed around the board. People change their seats.
4. Starting with the Speaker, place tiles as directed in the Rules Reference.

I think I'd prefer that (1) people choose their factions before knowing who their neighbors are, (2) people can do the "galaxy building mini-game" knowing who the factions are and where they are in the galaxy (as recommended in the Rules Reference). Also, the Speaker's slight initial advantage is offset by choosing their faction without knowing which other factions are in the game.

What do other people do?

EDIT: And when do people think they should draw their first Secret Objectives?
 
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Bill Koens
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
In our current game we used the system detailed on this thread:

Advanced Setup - Well-tested variant

and have been pleased with the results.
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Ronald Cruz
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
Xelvonar wrote:
In our current game we used the system detailed on this thread:

Advanced Setup - Well-tested variant

and have been pleased with the results.


This looks very interesting! We may try it out once we have a stable, experienced group of players that will weigh all those decisions.
 
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John Drake
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
Typically, we start with first-come-first served seating, which determines homeworld position. On rare occasions a majority decree may alter seating (e.g., “don’t seat those two together again!”)

Each player in no particular order draws 2 homeworlds, chooses 1 and discards the other face down. If a player dislikes both options, they may discard both and draw 1 homeworld; if so, they *must* play as that race. This “mulliganing” takes place after all players have drawn their initial choices. Players reveal race immediately if mulliganing, otherwise whenever they’ve decided, in no particular order.

Speaker is then determined by D10, and everyone gets to building the galaxy.

Once the galaxy is built, then everyone gets secret objectives.

Seems to work well for us. Limiting the faction choices keeps anyone from squabbling over a race, and minimizes the “selcting X in order to respond to player Y” dynamic.
 
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james herbby
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
If you just mean speaker, seating and race picks.

1-Roll 1d10 for speaker.
2-Roll for position.
3-Shuffle home system tiles, make even piles, 1 for every player, and hand them out. Those are the race picks for each person.

We also hand out 2 secret objectives, pick one and then return the other.
 
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Federico C.
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
Map is preset and generally known by the players ahead of times.

Players are handed 3TG (used to be 5, but we had too much starting boost on occasion) for bids. The previous winner claims the Speaker token.

Players other than the Speaker openly bid 0-3 for their race selection. Once the bids are set (the Speaker breaks ties if necessary), Speaker bids. this can force a player to select a non-selected race.

Players other than the Speaker openly bid 0-3 for their home system position. See above for Speaker.

Players other than the Speaker openly bid 0-3 for their first turn Strategy Card. See above for Speaker.

Unspent TGs carry over to the game.

Game proceeds as normal. The winner is crowned Emperor, referred to as such on occasion, and will claim the Speaker token on the next game.
 
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Derek Jensen
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
My group builds the galaxy before doing anything else. We start by rolling the d10s to order us around the table, with the highest roller getting the speaker token.

Step two is dealing the home systems. Each player gets dealt 2, with the option of discarding their choices to draw 1 at random. The reason we only deal 2 is because when we deal 3 or 4, we see a lot of the same races get played. This helps randomize better. However, WE DO NO TELL WHICH RACES WE HAVE. This is the most important part of our setup, and I strongly advise you to use it. Lots of races (saar, winnu, creuss, muaat, etc.) Can be hurt/helped by the galaxy setup. It also prevents someone from picking the 1X in response to another picking arborec.

From there, last game's winner places the first tiles and the setup begins.
 
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Ronald Cruz
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Re: How do you like to setup your TI4 games?
dsjensen19 wrote:

Step two is dealing the home systems. Each player gets dealt 2, with the option of discarding their choices to draw 1 at random. The reason we only deal 2 is because when we deal 3 or 4, we see a lot of the same races get played. This helps randomize better. However, WE DO NO TELL WHICH RACES WE HAVE. This is the most important part of our setup, and I strongly advise you to use it. Lots of races (saar, winnu, creuss, muaat, etc.) Can be hurt/helped by the galaxy setup. It also prevents someone from picking the 1X in response to another picking arborec.


Thanks for the tip - I think I'll eventually take it up! But I think I'll still galaxy setup after faction choices. I like the idea of knowing your own faction going into the galaxy setup, but you are prevented from sabotaging others purely based on what faction they are. This does mean replacing the method of people picking their factions based on other people's public choices, but that is arguably a bit gamey and might put too much power in the hands of people who pick last.

I do see myself trending toward your variant of drawing 2 with the option of discarding both and drawing one.

For now, because my friends are all new to the game, I am prioritizing choice in their factions because they are all still deciding whether they like the game. So I want them to be able to choose something they'll have fun with thematically. If we develop into a regular group, there will be more incentive to do random draws to avoid the same races getting picked over and over again and create more variety between games. And since they will have more knowledge about the races overall it will be a more interesting strategic decision.
 
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Avery Bailey
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1. Roll for speaker. Sit clockwise in high to low order.
2. Give everyone 3 home systems (2 for the speaker).
3. Starting with the speaker and working clockwise, choose race.
4. Construct Galaxy as listed in the book.
 
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René Dingding
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We tried this a couple of times, and it worked great for balance.
1) Split the planet tiles among players.
2) Build galaxy
3) Roll die to determine HS area
4) Each player is dealt two open HS to choose from.
 
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Indio Shepard
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After 7-8 years of hosting TI3 2-4 times a year, our process has been pretty well refined among my fellow middle-aged friends with families to get as much of the set-up done beforehand, the emphasis being to maximize game time once everyone arrives (increasing the odds of being able to finish) than any worry about perfect parity/gamesmanship. This is our usual set-up:

Three weeks out from "game day": I've identified a weekend when I can spare a day and see no obvious holiday/likely travel conflicts from the game group. Invites go out to the other 5 players who like TI.

Two weeks out: Finally have extracted responses/players have consulted their families. Two definitely can't make it, one is hopeful but not sure, another is likely a day-of decision. No one else is interested in a potential 3-player game. Consult the calendar, consult everyone for suggestions, and recalculate a new game day.

[montage of calendar pages flipping an indeterminate number of days or, more likely, weeks]

Three weeks out from game day: Invites go out again.

Two weeks out: Only one player has an immovable conflict; the rest are ready to pencil the weekend in. (We have never, ever, managed a 6-player game of TI. But we keep the dream alive! ONE DAY.) Negotiations ensue as to Saturday versus Sunday and best time of day to begin (early morning? not free til afternoon?). Over the course of negotiations, one player downgrades himself from "likely" to "I'll try."

Friday, one week out: Reminders sent out, imploring everyone to make sure their partner is aware of the event. "I'll try" is still at "I'll try" status. Another player says he now has "kids' stuff" that morning. Game time adjusted to afternoon-to-well-past-dinner, with everyone's approval.

Sometime over the weekend before game day: I literally (proper use) draw names from a hat for seating order. I then randomly draw three factions for each to choose from (ONE DAY we'll only have two to choose from... unless an expansion beats us to it), with the following adjustments:

(i) The faction that won the previous game is removed from the pool.
(ii) No one gets dealt the race they played the previous game; shuffles and redeals occur as necessary.

Monday before game day, the group email goes out with seating order and faction options, looking like this:

1. Guy ("I'll try"): L1Z1X / Arborec / Yin
2. Fella ("Kids' stuff in a.m."): Yssaril / Mentak / Muaat
3. Me: Naalu / Hacan / Xxcha
4. Dude: Letnev / Creuss / Sardakk
5. The Other Guy: Nekro / Jol Nar / Sol

I get the ball rolling by having picked mine first. Everyone else emails back their picks as the week goes by. I keep everyone updated as the picks come in, in case some forgot to Reply All.

(We keep it transparent. Seeing as we play so rarely, folks usually want to just pick a faction they haven't played before or seen played in a while rather than any brinksmanship to pick last for maximum information, but that's just our meta. May not work for all parties.)

Friday before game day weekend: I more directly harass the 1 or 2 who never got around to making their picks ("Right -- that's this weekend! Sorry!") and send a general reminder as to game day and start time: "The DOORS OPEN at 1:00, and please let's try to have everyone here and ready to kick off by 2:00." Also that I'm covering the snacks but it's BYOB because I'm not made of money, guys. (I put a 12-pack, craft mix, in the fridge anyway because there's always someone.) I assure everyone that we'll order dinner from _______ whenever we deem necessary.

"I'll try" has upgraded to "Maybe"! Excellent. "Kids' stuff in a.m.", however, downgrades himself to "I may be really late," which we all know is a euphemism for "I may be a last-minute bail." Fine.

Game day: I set up the game area with everyone's starting fleet on their home hexes in seating order, starting techs out etc., and organize all the other player bits and pieces to as efficiently use the limited space as possible (octagonal poker table top, can get tight). I also set up the public components on the side table, but don't bother shuffling anything yet.

This way, as soon as the last player has arrived, we can start right on in with building the galaxy RAW. Set up is as complete as possible.

12:30: Text from Dude that he has to bail, "Sorry, unexpected event and/or forgot to check with family, but might be free to come over for an hour or two later to kibitz, just can't spare the day, that cool? REALLY sorry, game still on?" I sigh. Sure, see you later.

Down to 4 players, Me and The Other Guy are now neighbors, I text everyone else with the update.

The first guest to arrive -- probably ~1:15 -- gets the Speaker token.

I also set him to shuffling the system tiles and dealing them in piles, while I start shuffling the public cards. (Witnesses!) Next guest arrives -- it's the "Maybe!" Sweet! -- sometime during this and gets to work on any remaining unshuffled decks. Everyone checks their phones for updates from "Kids' stuff in a.m."

2:00: "Kids' stuff in a.m." arrives sooner than expected! Has bag of carryout lunch he grabbed on the way, starts wolfing it down away from the game tables. While he's chomping, first beers are distributed, and gameplay details are rehashed until everyone feels back up to speed. The first two rules of Twilight Imperium are then gone over again:

Rule 1: There are no drinks on the game table.
Rule 2: There are NO DRINKS ON THE GAME TABLE.

2:30 give or take: And we're ready to go!

I preordered TI4 and have enjoyed fondling it the past few months. We hope to play it for the first time possibly in late February!
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.
...There's one RAW change in opening set up between 3rd and 4th editions that we're really curious to see in action. In 3rd, RAW, the objective deck is prepared/revealed and secret objectives distributed BEFORE galaxy creation. This was a crucial component in our galaxy-building strategies. However, in 4th's RAW you build the galaxy and THEN hand out/reveal objectives. We plan on giving that a go for at least a few games, but reversing the order of those steps again may be our only house rule someday. Anyone have strong opinions one way or the other, based on experience with both?
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Nick Naz
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ronaldsf wrote:
When doing the "Complete Setup" (with a custom galaxy), the Rules Reference booklet says to do the following in this order:
1. Randomly determine a Speaker
2. Choose a faction (it does not say what to do when people want the same faction)
3. After placing Mecatol Rex, people place their home system (it does not say how to determine who goes where)
4. Starting with the Speaker going clockwise, take turns placing tiles, reversing the player order with each revolution around the table.

As I assume most people know, there are important reasons to consider who your neighbors are and what other factions are in the game when choosing your own faction. For example, if Jol-Nar is your neighbor, there is arguably more value to choosing the Nekro Virus so you can steal their advanced techs. Also, the galaxy might have strong implications on your faction choice: if there are no wormholes near your home system, you may decide not to be the Ghosts of Creuss.

It seems like there is a good argument for a whole variety of ways to set-up this game.

I want to know from the community: how do YOU prefer to setup your game? And why?

I am about to have my first 6-player game with a bunch of players. After an initial game or two with the pre-set galaxy, I am inclined to do the following in this order:
1. Roll d20s: the highest roller is the Speaker.
2. In order of their d20 roll, people choose their faction. People have the option to pass. Selection goes around and around until everyone has a faction.
3. Randomly determine where people are placed around the board. People change their seats.
4. Starting with the Speaker, place tiles as directed in the Rules Reference.

I think I'd prefer that (1) people choose their factions before knowing who their neighbors are, (2) people can do the "galaxy building mini-game" knowing who the factions are and where they are in the galaxy (as recommended in the Rules Reference). Also, the Speaker's slight initial advantage is offset by choosing their faction without knowing which other factions are in the game.

What do other people do?

EDIT: And when do people think they should draw their first Secret Objectives?


1- We build a galaxy, however we feel like doing it that game. Usually co-op or pre-set.
2- We roll for player order, then pick starting positions.
3- We pick races in the same order. (Gives advantage to going last)
4- Bid for Speaker token. Bidding is in the same order as above. We bid by "giving" the other players whatever you bid, so a bid of 2 would give every other player 2 resources. This seldom goes beyond 1, unless the Winnu are involved. If no one bids we roll die- it happens frequently.
5- Give out secret objective cards.

We do 1-3 over a text message feed and pictures so it can be set up ahead of time.
 
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Brian K
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I plug everyone into a random number generator to get an ordered list. When we start the game, going in that order, we each pick the faction we want, and where we want to sit. That means the early players get their pick of the factions, and late players get to decide exactly who to sit between. Then we build the galaxy as described in the manual.
 
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PK Levine
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We use this:

http://www.mygurps.com/TwilightImperium.html

I enter everyone's names and it spits out a list that randomizes seating order and race choices. Then I can just copy/paste that into an email or group message and everyone decides the day before we game, so it doesn't take forever when they get here.
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Andrew S.
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Only played it twice so far and so far it has gone like this (both times)

1) Okay everyone, since this is your first time playing we’re just going to use the preset map.
2)Okay everyone, since this is your first time playing we’re just going to use the recommended 6 starting races. (Me shuffling out one random homeworld tile to everyone)
3)Okay everyone, since this is your first time playing we’re just going to have me be the Speaker and pick Leadership so I can show you an example of a turn.

I have a six player game set up for April. Pretty reliable bunch save one.

Also, I own the game. That makes me the Speaker unless I don’t want to be.
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Avery Bailey
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1. Roll for Position. Highest is speaker, then clockwise in Descending Order.
2. Deal out Races Randomly. 3 to everyone except the speaker gets 2.
3. Starting with Speaker and going clockwise, select race.
4. Galaxy Construction
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