Cole Wehrle
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Preface

Firstly, let me just say this is a repost of a variant I worked out on the base games' forum. I realized that this variant uses some of the expansion and should be posted here as well. I've also made some very minor changes and will probably publish a .pdf for it in a few weeks.

Since the posting of this variant I've had the pleasure of 5 more test games, all with between 6-8 players.


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: -3 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 (for demonstration of imperial power), 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.

Additional Path to Independence
If a vassal is ever able to subjugate another player, that vassal may immediately gain independence. If the vassal chooses this, all co-occupied hexes with its former lord will battle immediately.

Otherwise the newly conquered player will become a vassal of the lord.


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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Necessary Evil
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This looks fun, have you tried playing this way on the Wiki?
I would happily play this version online to try it out.

-M

 
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Aaron Tubb
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The vassal rules are cool, plus I just LOVE the TI2-style victory conditions and victory track.

Giving bonuses along the track would also help speed up the game. And getting to the end of the victory track and being declared Emperor of the galaxy is much more satisfying than ending with the most victory points! Plus, progressing along the track requires you to do things you actually want to to expand your empire, like conquer planets and gain more technology, rather than do dinky little random tasks for VP like the objectives.

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Chris Tuxford
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Very impressive concept!

This is a great looking rules variant for a weekender. I especially like the idea of Lord and Vassels, along with civil war and independence if the Lord player gets too weak to hold his empire together. I take it you might need to tweak the use of diplomats and agents to entice worlds into civil unrest or bloodlessly crush a rebellion. The greater the number of players in this variant is definitely heaps better.

Get that revision PDF done and to me ASAP !!! laugh
 
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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!

Now I just gotta do the new Imp. SC.

EDIT:
finished the ISC:
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Aaron Tubb
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Some questions:

-Do you have to "control" systems for progression according to the game's definition of "control" (own every planet in the system and have a non-fighter ship in the system)? So you can only count systems where you have a ship present?

-Does your home system count towards the progression requirements?
 
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Cole Wehrle
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Aaron,

First off, great work on the chart and card, those look fantastic. Secondly, as to your questions,
the definition of control in this variant is that you own all the planets, but you do not need to control the space. Your initial home system does not count towards these goals.

This weekend I should have time to make these corrections, come up with a spiffy name, and submit a pdf.
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Aaron Tubb
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Cool, one more ?:

If two players each control one planet in a two-planet system, neither player can count it for progression?

Thanks again for the variant rules. I had thought of something like this, myself, a while ago, but I didn't really go very far with it:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/133566
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Very interesting...but does not the requirement of system control make the game much more military oriented? (This would favor military races) Also, wouldn't it encourage leader bashing because it is much clearer who is in the best position to claim victory?

 
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Cole Wehrle
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It does make the game military oriented. I believe the game balances political, economic, and tech sphere well. These different areas, however, all contribute to military expansion. This simply makes these avenues even more useful for military ends (for example, tech get cheaper).

Leader bashing might happen but often times there are 2 or 3 folks tied at each step.
 
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Just out of curiosity, what does this variant do for the average game length?
 
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Cole Wehrle
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This variant, which is now in the files section for TI:3e as Twilight Imperium: Casus Belli, generally shortens game time.

I find that with experienced players, a game of 4 is 2 hours, then every player adds another 30 minutes. We finish our eight player games in 4 hours.
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Ross Levine
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Just tried this variant, with a few tweaks of my own (for 8 players):

1. Upped number of systems required to 2/5/7/[9 with Mecatol or 11] to advance.

2. Played with artifacts. Controlling a system with an artifact counts as 2 systems toward the player's total.

3. If you control another player's home system, it counts double as well. As an added bonus, if you control another player's home system during the status phase, you may learn one of that player's technologies for free, providing you have the prerequisite technology.

4. We dropped the requirement that Mecatol needed to be controlled for the entire round. After all, military coups happen quickly.

5. We did not play with submission. It looked complicated and knowing my game group, nobody would do it.

6. Like for victory points, a player may not progress on the track if he does not control the planets in his home system. Saar is, of course, an exception.


I think we all really liked it. It made for a lot more fighting than the regular bureaucracy objectives. We'll definitely play again.
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I may have to give this a shot myself. What do you do with political cards that modify VP conditions? I assume you just throw them out. I also assume there are no Secret objectives since VP's are no longer used.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Tredogg wrote:
I may have to give this a shot myself. What do you do with political cards that modify VP conditions? I assume you just throw them out. I also assume there are no Secret objectives since VP's are no longer used.
You could rule that anytime you would gain VP, you gain 3 times as many trade goods instead. e.g. completing a 2vp secret objectives grants you 6 trade goods. I'd throw out those political cards that modify the win condition for this variant, though.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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I finally tried this variant out the other day, and it was great! Play time was definitely less than normal, and way to victory was a lot more straightforward for new players.

We played with the progression chart as you have it, and we ruled that you control a system if you own all planets in it and there are no enemy ships in it.

I forgot the text of the new Imperial, so we used the following for the Bureaucracy SC:

Choose A) or B):
A) Immediately advance on the progression chart if you meet the systems requirements (no resource cost). (This turned out to be very powerful, and I would probably rather word that you get a discount of 3 or something)

B) Use the secondary of this SC for free (in case you get denied progression during the round, you can still get something good out of this SC)


I think we'll use secret objectives next time, with a completed secret objective counting as a controlled system for progression.

Thanks for the great variant! I really like the bonuses; they give a great incentive to progress as soon as possible.
 
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