Cole Wehrle
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Introduction

I have been playing TI for about 7 years, shortly after the release of the 2nd edition. My friends and I adored the game, even in its inconsistencies and prolonged play. With the advent of the third edition, TI matured with our own tastes (now preferring El Grande and Caylus to Risk and Axis and Allies). But, despite an elegant and complex system certain aspects of TI frustrated us, and therefore, over the next few years we tweaked the rules to accommodate our tastes.

About this time last year we thought we had finally nailed it. Our games never went longer than 4 hours, and all players enjoyed themselves. Our house rules used a victory point heavy version of the Age of Empire option (more objectives off board and on board) and could easily accommodate a variety of players' styles. Over winter break my friends and I sat down for another game, but afterward we felt that, in striping down TI to create a sleeker, quicker game, we had taken something elemental from it. Over the rest of the break we worked to create a new set of victory rules that did not change the fundamentals of the rules, but allowed for a more immersive and confrontational experience without ballooning the games temporal footprint. The result is a game that provides the feeling of a space opera, filled with political intrigue and epic battles, but sidesteps the usual problems of downtime and player elimination.

This variant has been tested in 5 games now, with the following amount of players: 8, 8, 6, 4, 3. The games (excluding setup time) have been between 2-5.5 hours, depending on the number of players. I will try to keep the rules brief and clear in this post, and will happily answer any questions. After I play a few more games I will post a more polished PDF of the rules.

Only two sections of rules are added, the victory point track (which modifies the ISC), and rules for player submission, all other rules are kept.

The Victory Point Track

The goal of the game is the reach a Stage V Goverment, all players start at Stage I.

Instead of a claim objectives phase, a player may advance 1 step on the progression track. (Status on the track may never degrade)

The resource requirements can be spent via exhausting planets or spending trade goods. A controlled system must include at least 1 planet. (Sorry kids, no credit for empty systems)

(You'll need to print off a copy of this track)

Stage I
Everyone starts here!

Stage II
Control 2 Systems
Spend 4 Resources
Benefit: -2 off all tech costs.

Stage III
Control 4 Systems
Spend 6 Resources
Benefit: Generate 2 Trade goods at the end of every Status phase, gain racial tech if cost is equal to or lower than 3 resources.

Stage IV
Control 6 Systems
Spend 10 Resources
Benefit: -2 off all tech costs. Gain racial tech.

Stage V
Control 7 Systems including Mecatol Rex (controlled for entire round)
Spend 10 Resources
or
Control 9 Systems
Spend 14 Resources

Benefit: Victory

All benefits stack.


The Imperial Strategy Card

Choose a or b.

a) Immediately progress up one step on the progression track if requirements are met (including the cost assocated) This means you may move up twice in one round (once immediately and once in the status phase).

b) During the status phase you may move up the progression track without playing the resource cost.

Secondary remains the same.

Rules of Submission

These rules are optional, but are highly recommended. We based them on our collective scholarship of the Napoleonic period, and tried to make them a viable path to eliminate player elimination.

In the Status phase any player (not already a "state") may volentarily submit to another player. If a player's home system is controlled the occupying player may force that player to submit.

As soon as submission is announced the following happens:

1. The submitting player becomes a state or vassal of the conquering player (in the rules we will refer to these positions as vassal and lord). He may no longer move forward on the progression track.
2. The lord may review his vassals trade agreements and force a trade agreement with him (this may break a trade agreement with other players, even the Hacan).
3. The fleets of the lord and vassal may now co-exist in a hex with each fleet having its own supply limit.
4. The vassal now places one free ground force on every one his planets by way of imperial conscription.
5. All of the vassals ground forces are considered to be dual controlled by the lord and vassal, he may shuttle them on his carriers and land them in invasion combat without permission. These ground forces, however, will only benefit from the corresponding vassal's technologies/racial abilities. The vassal retains the ability to move his ground forces on his turn.
7. All of the vassal's systems count for 1/2 a system for purposes of the ruling lord's victory conditions (round down).


Grand Fleet Actions

A lord may forcibly move a vassal's fleet if he has more ships than the vassal in that hex. If any of the vassal's ships are moving, the lord must expend an additional command counter from his command pool.

Civil Wars and Independence

Though the fleets of a vassal and lord may co exist, no rule prevents the players from attacking each other. (this conflict will not break the trade agreement while a player remains a vassal).

During the status phase if the space of all of a vassal's systems is empty or controlled by his ships(regardless of the garrisons on the planets themselves) he may declare independence. The vassal is now unfrozen. If there is a combined fleet elsewhere on the board, the lord player must preform a tactical retreat. The fleet would be activated for the next round and therefore unable to move.

Conclusion

Well, I think that's it. I hope you all enjoy these rules, and if you do try them, I would be very interested to see how they work with different groups. I've got a few session reports I'm hammering out w/ pictures that I will post sometime.

Best wishes,
Cole
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Jim R
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Re: For those of you wanting a little more TI:2nd in your li
Looks interesting.

I like the -2 off tech costs for Stage 2, since tech may be too expensive even in TI3 to ever gain much (and it was far too expensive in TI2).

What is a "racial tech", as in "gain racial tech"?

Imperial Strategy Card: seems very desirable for its progression up the progression track, although you do still have to qualify for the number of systems to progress, so that emphasizes conquest a bit more, which is good. Does this Imperial card sometimes get passed up (if a player has the resources needed to progress), or is it generally always picked by the first player?

Submission rules: looks fun, although what would be the main reason that one player would submit to another? To avoid getting eliminated from the game by the lord, or just as a temporary alliance for mutual benefit before he "revolts"? Does the vassal share in a victory of the lord (e.g. maybe as second place), similar to an alliance victory in Dune?





 
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Chris Morris
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I'm just guessing here, but here goes:

The Racial Tech is most likely the addition of special techs in SE for each of the races. Currently, you must still pay for these, but it does give the option here of acquiring them in different ways. I like the two step process of gaining them - available earlier for thos that are less powerful.

I think you would most likely try to take the Imperial card any chance you got simply for the option of gaining the next stage without having to pay the resources for it. If you didn't take that risk, you potentially hand over a level to someone else when they take it. Certainly, it is not as game breaking as the other way if you pass it up. If you had no way of progessing up the chart, you would certainly pass up on it and take a different strategy card instead. I like this concept.

As for Submission and Vassals, if you were getting hammered by someone and they were relatively close to winning the game, I could see why you might submit yourself to another race in order to prevent that from happening. This way, you get a boost of ground forces and get some extra support in space battles with a larger force aiding you. I certainly would do that if I were in that position, at least you're not waiting for the game to end and have to ability to contribute this way.

Overall, I like many of the ideas submitted here and look forward to trying it out sometime down the road. However, it will most likely be quite a while before that happens.
 
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Cole Wehrle
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Re: For those of you wanting a little more TI:2nd in your li
The Racial Techs are included in the Shattered Empire set of rules, I forgot to mention that.

As for the picking of the Imperial Card, It definatly gets picked every turn, but I often see initiative, logistics, warfare, and sometimes trade get picked before hand, so it hasn't seemed overbalanced.

Initially we did not have any benefits on the progression track but we found folks just did not move up it, even though they knew it was the one way to win. By putting incentives it becomes a viable strategy unto itself. And by putting things like the tech discount, it encourages people to really invest into techs, which are normally only slightly tapped into.

As for allied victory, the verdict is still out. If the "lord" player does win, certainly his vassals share in the victory, but because the victory was earned by the ruling player I have seen, in two cases, vassals fight very bitter civil wars to get their independence then come back for their own win. Which is part of the importance of progressing up that track early, so you can be in victory position.

One thing I forgot to mention, for the Mecatol victory condition, you have to have had Mecatol for this entire round from strat to status phase.
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Jose Angel Garcia Gomez
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Great variant! I really want to try this. Good job, Cole!
 
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Tiggo Morrison
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"ballooning the games temporal footprint"

Like it, like it.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Way cool. I like it. I always liked the winning conditions of TI2 more than TI3. I actually suggested something like this a while ago, but didn't have any good idea for what resource costs should be, since in TI3 everything is cheaper.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Hey, I just made up a progression chart for this variant:


based on the one for TI2:


I hope you like it!

I know I'll probably use it next time I play!

The ISC:
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Jonathan Davison
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This is great! I just got done playing TI3 at a gaming conference and we all agreed we enjoyed the flow of the game but wanted a more linear method of claiming victory points (rather than random objective cards). And I like the throwback to the 2nd ed victory track. Thanks Cole for the rule variants and Aaron for the image files.
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Martin DeOlden
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Could you upload both of these to the file section on TI3. The scan of the new Imperial card is very dark.
 
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