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Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Alternate Rule Variant and Strategy Guide rss

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Ryan Lenard
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So I've been playing Twilight Imperium since back in the third edition days, and our play group(s) have incorporated a set of rule changes to help create (in our opinion) a better game. These have been honed from the testing of many sessions and have been incorporated fully into fourth edition. I don't really care if other people like or have a desire to play with this variant, but I figured that some groups may like it, so I decided to share it with the community. Let me give some context for the rules changes. Note, that many of these rule variations require components from third edition and elsewhere, unless you can get creative.

First of all, exploration is easily the weakest part of this 4X game, so we have completely revamped the Distant Suns rules from third edition an transferred them to fourth. The main issue with the domain counters originally is that they are way too random, and if a player gets mostly positive domain counters and another player gets mostly bad ones, the game gets really unfair. So to remedy this, domain counters are paired up: one bad counter and one positive one, so whenever a player encounters domain counters, they get a very balanced result. This gives each planet a completely unique identity, and makes the early expansion of the game more interesting. Some harmful counters can punish ill-equipped players, but it is not hard to plan ahead to be ready for them. We also completely redesigned the effects of each domain counter to achieve better balance.

We generally dislike multiplayer games that can create "king-making" scenarios, and the core rules of TI really invite that sort of behavior. Also, players that start to fall behind in TI4 may start to lose interest and want to quit, but cannot because leaving the game would "ruin it for everyone else." Therefore, we completely redesigned how one wins a game of TI. It is based around secret rivals and allies that can result in multiple winners, and is changed from reaching a certain point level to playing a set number of rounds (and looking at the total points of each player after the required rounds have passed). Each player (for the most part) has an opponent that they want to outscore, and each player has a secret ally at the table who has real victory point incentives to help their ally should they get into trouble. Players always have a chance to win the game, though, as if a player ends the game without their home system, they are considered to have 0 victory points, so attacking a player's home system is always an option. Lastly, should a player start to get pummeled, they can use "Mutually Assured Destruction" to even the playing field. Taking all of these rules into account creates a vibrant game-play experience that really feels like being a part of a larger galactic community. Players that fall behind always have a chance, however small, to win the game, which keeps everyone involved right up to the final round or two. It is also exceptionally rare for a player to be "effectively eliminated" with these alternate rules (although it is always still possible), at least before the final round or two of play. I recommend that before you edit or tweak any of these alternate rules that you play with them first, so you can experience how all of the various systems interact together.

The Agenda Phase has also been completely revamped, and now players vote simultaneously, which is a MUCH better system than the normal rules, which often results telegraphed results after the first two players have voted.

There are also numerous smaller changes to the game such as individual card errata and even the inclusion of space mines.

PROS:
-excellent domain counter exploration
-feels like a true vibrant, political galactic community (this is hard to explain, until you play it)
-no "king-making"
-players almost always have a chance to win (even if its a small chance), so lower scoring players are much less likely to lose interest.
-artifacts create contestable zones to encourage more militaristic interaction other than on Mecatol Rex.
-Agenda Phase is much more vibrant and interesting, resulting in many more negotiations, banter, and deal-making
-Easier on newer players (in terms of having a chance to win) as well as being even more rigorous an engaging for veteran players.
-custom galaxies are always wholly unique and there is a lot of strategy in creating the custom galaxy

CONS:
-while some may consider this a pro, games go much longer, taking up a full day or even two if players are slow.
-lots of new rules! It be a bit much to wrap one's head around the new system.
-requires components from outside of the game.
-requires a longer set up time


I'm sure that I have some typos or things that are not completely clear, as our group knows the rules, so it is easy to miss things when writing them down into instructions.

There is also in included strategy guide. This guide assumes that players are using our group's errata and rules changes.

Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions after trying them (or if you notice any significant typos).

See the links below to see all of the necessary documents:

Errata (obviously any rules not changed are as they are in the core game):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1poPXB7avG-7qMBzDtskWpuYCQe...

Domain Counter Sheet:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BuPYZiTXKkUcmBlkXtf_5pLKvO...

Coin Sheet:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1i2VzWyZM8NgnaONedVSxMv2uaP...

Rival and Support Cards (4, 5, and 6 player cards):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1n8PTeg7FQgoqMOqjocONBp8Ic4...

Twilight Imperium 4 Strategy Guide:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Mpa4TEI8frQ_6oCxJN5Z5d7xQ7...



Enjoy!
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Becky Rose
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Quote:
sometimes it takes many tries for everyone to get legal Rival and Support Cards, which can be irritating

This video explains your problem and how to solve it
https://youtu.be/5kC5k5QBqcc
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Ryan Lenard
United States
Wisconsin
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BeckyRose wrote:
Quote:
sometimes it takes many tries for everyone to get legal Rival and Support Cards, which can be irritating

This video explains your problem and how to solve it
https://youtu.be/5kC5k5QBqcc


Thanks for that! Very useful.
 
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christian liger
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You talk about using a larger 4th ring set up during the custom set up rules. How have you and your group tackled this using TI3 pieces in a balanced way. Love the new concepts!
 
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Ryan Lenard
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Wisconsin
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We honestly have not used the old TI3 pieces, but instead use a second copy of TI4, simply having duplicated planets. If a player gains control of a planet with a name they already control, they mark both the planet card and the planet on the tile with an identical token.
 
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Martin Soucy
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I found this really interesting, thanks!

I have a question about allied fleets. Two players invade a system together and win. After space combat, both are in position with units to take control of the planet(s) in the system. As per the rules, who gets to try first to land units and can they invade all planets before the other can try?

What are the consequences of Player A sucessfully (or not) invading a planet and player B wanting to also invade that same planet? Can they?

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Salman Qaisar
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Very interesting variant, I will try bits of it:
- Rival + support cards
- simultaneous voting in agenda phase
I don't have TI3, so can't add Domain counters, Artefacts or Space mines yet.

BUT 10 rounds will take far too long for us!
Would your ruleset work with 6 rounds?

If not completely, are there some tweaks that can allow it to be played over 6 rounds? Eg losing home system gives -3VP

Regards, Sal
 
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Salman Qaisar
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Another Q:
I like the reasoning behind Mutually assured destruction: protecting yourself from constant bullying.
And I understand that it must have a penalty, so that it is only used when absolutely needed.
But if it means the triggering player can never go above 4VP, then what incentive have they got to carry on playing (which is one of the goals of your ruleset)?
Regards, Sal
 
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