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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Variants for first time players... rss

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J.R. Lee
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Just looking at the rules I sure don't like the current imperial card and I have seen a number of alterations that people have made to it. The problem is that it seems as though the more experienced players are making several alterations to the game beyond just this card.

So I was wondering as someone who has not yet played the game (expecting to play next weekend with 5 or 6) what suggestions would the more experienced players have for our group knowing that nobody has played the game yet?

My concerns are:

- not prolonging the game too long considering the game is already known as being pretty long

- avoiding the let down of someone winning the game by getting the "automatic 2 point" imperial card and winning essentially through luck of the draw and turn order

- not making the game too much more complicated than it already is considering that we will not be overly familiar with the existing standard rules

- making sure the game has a good positive initial impact on the group so that we will want to play it again



Any suggestions that the more experienced players might have that fit some or all of my criteria would be very appreciated...
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Necessary Evil
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1st get shattered empires and play with the new cards.

2nd leave out all optional rules for the 1st game. No leaders, space mines etc etc.

3rd shorten the game a bit, play to like 7 VP or so, just to get a feel for the game,

4th Use one of the preset maps... skip the whole building of the board thing since it adds time.

5th make sure all who are playing have read the rules or at least a detailed summary of the rules, or have played before.

-M


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Adrian George
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I can't access the publishers site right now, but they have a number of suggested variants for the imperialism card. Or you can just go with the actual variant imperialism card they printed in the expansion.
 
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Jeff Vawter
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I would recommend playing with the vanilla Imperial card with the Long VP track the fist game. This acts as a built in timer for the game preventing it from dragging on.

The biggest complaint I got when I ran my first game was the time. I had 6 players and it took roughly an hour and a half per player. We used the cards from SE, and Distant Suns.

For the first game I would recommend the following:

Base game only, no expansion and NO Distant Suns
Remove Yssaril from the race choices.
Build the map before the game using a pre-built from FFG website.
Print out the player mats from BGG and the tech sheets for each race.

Good luck and remember to have fun.
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Scott Lewis
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PerfectStorm wrote:
I would recommend playing with the vanilla Imperial card with the Long VP track the fist game.

While I would agree that the original ISC card does act as a timer, I would strongly recommend AGAINST using "Long War" by ANY means - Even that extra 4 points will add several HOURS to the length of the game, even with the original ISC.

Instead, I would play with fewer points. The point of a first game is to get a handle on the mechanics, so if it doesn't last as long as it normally would, that's fine.
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Jeff Vawter
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By adding the long war you take the luck and turn order factor out. By skipping all of the other options like leaders, SM, and DS I think it will speed the game up dramatically. I got a 5 player game in just under 5 hours.

Playing to 14VP may seem like a lot, but its much better then introducing players to the "take the initiative card, then Imperial card" strategy which can leave a sour taste in their mouths. Remember he's looking to retain players, not scare them off with a simple win strategy.

Also don't forget the Imperium Rex card which should start to pop up around Turn 7-8.


 
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Scott Lewis
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PerfectStorm wrote:
By adding the long war you take the luck and turn order factor out. By skipping all of the other options like leaders, SM, and DS I think it will speed the game up dramatically. I got a 5 player game in just under 5 hours.

Playing to 14VP may seem like a lot, but its much better then introducing players to the "take the initiative card, then Imperial card" strategy which can leave a sour taste in their mouths. Remember he's looking to retain players, not scare them off with a simple win strategy.

Also don't forget the Imperium Rex card which should start to pop up around Turn 7-8.

I think EXPERIENCED players could get a 5-player game in with 5 hours. NEW players will be lucky to do that with a NORMAL-length game.

I would definitely recommend against playing with Long War for the first play. First time players are probably going to have an extremely long game anyway, as they learn to master the rules.

Heck, I won't even play with Long War NOW, as an experienced gamer, because most of my 4-player games tend to take 6 or 7 hours. We did a long war game once with 4 players, and the game length increased by 4 hours. And we were all experienced at that point (even if we aren't the speediest in terms of efficiency).


If he's looking to not scare them off with the Imperial/Initiative chain, I would simply recommend using Imperial II (which you don't even need the expansion for), or Bureaucracy, and play to less points (regardless of which method). A first game is meant to instruct on the mechanics, and playing a shorter game can facilitate that.


Also, the Simulated Early Turns variant is probably good for a new player; gets them set up fairly quickly. I don't like it myself, as it alters the balance of some races, but for new players, it will help get them into the meat of the game more quickly. And use a balanced, preset map, as the map setup can often be a time consuming task.


I think the key for the first game should be "make it somewhat quick, but effective enough to demonstrate what it is like".
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Edwin Priest
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Although I would never characterize myself as a "more experienced player", this is what we did and/or what I might suggest (all opinion, for sure):

--Play the Age of Empire variant with the ISC II card. Having all the objectives out gives new players a better overview of these options and more flexibility to pursue their own path.

--Use the preset map for the first game. If you do this in advance, this will also save you time.

--Avoid any other expansions. TI3 is complex (and rewarding) enough with the basic game.

--As has been pointed out, if time is a concern, consider decreasing the VPs required for victory if you want to shorten the game. However, this will also cut back on some of the epic fun of it all.

Ultimately, what you do may depend on your group. It they seem unsure, go easy: play a shortened "trial" game to speed up the VP accumulation. If they're into it, go for it, as TI3 is one of the best!

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Cole Wehrle
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This is beating my own drum a bit, but my friends and I have tooled the following very simple variant for several years:

http://boardgamegeek.com/file/info/36905

If you are playing with just the base game ignore the part about racial technologies.

This variant basically gives you an old style progression chart instead of the objective system. However, to encourage players to climb that latter there are lots of incentives that in turn speed up play.

Our games are generally 2 1/2 hours for 4 players, 3 hours for 6 and 4-5 hours for 8.

Best,

Cole
 
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J.R. Lee
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Good job on all the replies. Thanks to all.

I can see the advantage in building the map beforehand so I will certainly do this. Also playing to a shorter score is fine by me so we will be doing this for sure as well. I also like the option of having all the objectives visable and letting players choose as I think this would make it easier and speed up the game.

I also intend to play with as few variants as possible. So really the only thing I am looking to deal with is the imperial card which I really don't like.

The other thing is, I am not able to get the expansion at this point. I might later but for now we will be playing without the expansion.

So assuming these decisions are made, what is the best way to deal with the imperial card? After looking around the idea i like is where the card is worth 0 VP but allows the holder to complete multilpe objectives on the same turn. I don't know what this is called or whether is something I can print out to this effect. Or maybe people have other ideas.

But in terms of the imperial card, what is the best way to deal with it given the decisions I have now made with help from previous posters?
 
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Marc Q
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For the record, a few buddies and I just finished our first play-through of TI:3 on Saturday... it was an epic 8-hour affair that involved all of us learning the rules as we went (and messing some of them up, obviously). We set up the board from scratch, but I completely agree with everyone who's stated that it's better to use a pre-set up board... since we didn't understand the value or importance of the systems, we didn't get a very well-balanced universe.

One thing I highly recommend (and should be common sense... sadly, wasn't for me): Read the rules AND the Errata before you play. D'uh.

One of my buddies wasn't a big fan of the Secret Objectives, as they seem to influence gameplay far more than the Race you choose does (for example, we had the Diplomatic Race pumping out War Suns to complete his Secret Objective, while I, as a far more militant race, was stuck trying to weasel victory points from other methods due to tactically bad positioning). She suggested that instead of giving everyone Secret Objectives, give everyone one "Stage 1 Public Objective" that they can keep secret. I, personally, LIKE the Secret Objectives, but think that our group didn't understand how 2 VPs isn't really worth retooling your entire Empire over.

However, for a first play through... I think the Imperial Strategy, as is, adds a certain degree of stress to the system... once Bill (who eventually won) got his 8th point by using it 3 times in a row, everyone suddenly understood how powerful the card was. As long as your players understand that the game is about *getting VP*, and not technology or conquest, I think it works out fine.

Anyway, just my two cents. I know not everyone has 8 hours to devote to playing 1 game (although it was *absolutely* worth it).
 
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Martin DeOlden
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I try to give all my players more options with the Secret Objectives by giving them 2 at the beginning of the game and letting them discard one before we start. that way their is a little more control on your SO with what race you have.
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