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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Galacic cold war rss

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Ryan Caputo
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Seems like every time I play, there is no combat until the end. Everyone is always afraid to attack the person on the right, because of the potential threat to the left. What are ways to create more combat but in a way as to not make it a total destruction of ones race. Any suggesions... maybe a way to set up the map or a variant like fighter capacity for PDS units...
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Dan Has
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There are a few options that I can think of. First I never play without Shattered Empire, ever since I first used it. The expansion changes the game to be a little bit more confrontational with the secret objectives and what not.

Another option could be playing teams. Two teams of three or two teams of two. That way you don't have the problem of others attacking your back.

What I usually do, or try to do, is ally with one of the players near me, that way I don't have to worry(as much) about being attacked from that side, then concentrate my attacks on my other neighbor. Of course your ally could always betray you at any time.

Anyway, that's just my thoughts. I can't stand "cold war" style game play. Even if I know I'll lose for doing it, I'll attack just to break the tedium.
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Christopher Halbower
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We play with a house rule: you get 1VP for every 4 space battles you win.

This encourages everyone to get into 4 fights and encourages a few races that are more aggressive to get into 8 fights. It also discourages huge fleet build ups. There are more skirmishes.

Also, you should play with Shattered Empire. Your original post doesn't state whether you do or not, but if you don't: give it a whirl. If you are playing with Shattered Empire, try adding the above house rule.
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Ryan Caputo
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Yes I play with SE expansion, I was thinking about the teams idea. Mabe I am not seeing a way to protect your backside, or maybe the guys I play with are super vindictive. But in my group you better not jump out and be the the 'war' guy because you will be crushed. (even though fighting is on everybody's mind. Maybe if I did just start attacking the results would be differnt than I imagine.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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The reason why there is no combat (until the end) is: there is no need for combat. There are few combat objectives. And those objectives which are combat oriented, may not come up in any given game. And when they do come up, they are a one time shot.

For example: I won a space battle against 3 enemy ships. Once you have completed this objective, there is no incentive to fight your opponents. Why make your neighbors mad? Also, this objective requires your opponent to have 3 ships. Thus, you are not encouraged to fight him when he only has 1 or 2 ships.

The only way I've come up with to solve this problem (and I've given it much thought!) is the Combat Objective system (4 space battles = 1 VP). Every player will want to start 4 battles. And some races (or players) will be able to attain 8 space battle victories. Thus in a 6 player game, you should expect 24 space battles at a minimum. Players will be encouraged to start racking up those space battle wins immediately so you should see more combat in the early and mid game.

Other people here on BGG will state that they encourage fighting by making certain objectives always available. Some examples would be Merciless, Conqueror, Supremacy and Domination. Having these objectives may promote more combat but they have one huge side effect: player elimination. I noticed in your original post that you don't like that aspect--neither do I. Furthermore, having these objectives being always available does not neccessarily add more combat. Supremacy and Domination are almost impossible to pull off. Merciless requires you to target a neighbor (and it's likely you will score it using an Action card rather than with combat).

Given all this, I came up with the Combat Objective system. Now this can be tweaked to your gaming group's tastes. For example, you could make it: 3 space combats wins= 1 VP.

But other than using this system, I have not been able to think of any other way to encourage combat. Many of the ideas people come up to solve this problem actually have the opposite effect. That is, despite their goal of encouraging combat, they are encouraging turtling. Keep this in mind when you think up a solution to this problem.


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Mike Betzel
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I find that using the Age of Empires variant helps. Having all the objectives out from the start lets people set a game plan, meaning less turtling early. Also, knowing how you want to approach the objectives from the start means you can be more aggressive in pursuing them and will need to be more aggressive in preventing others from getting them.

I like Warfare II from SE. +1 move gives you better striking range and +1 on all combat rolls for that fleet gives you pretty good combat advantage, especially earlier in the game. Using artifacts helps a bit as well. Having a couple VPs that can change hands sometimes results in fierce competition for them.

While I haven't used it yet, the star by star variant for map creation seems like it might help as well. Having the ability to essentially put your home system anywhere may result in placements that will naturally lead to more aggression.

Other than that the game isn't necessarily meant to have a ton of combat. More often than not fleets are used defensively and as scare tactics. They are tools to be used however you see fit and may or may not involve actual combat.
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Scott Lewis
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Another thing to do to encourage combat is to make sure resources are more scarce. This depends on how many players you have, but if you "stack the deck" of tiles by taking out more planet tiles and adding more empty/non-planet tiles, there will be fewer resources, and with fewer resources, you're likely to see more combat over those planets that ARE there.

This isn't as direct as Christopher's idea above (which I haven't tried, so I can't say either way how well it works, unfortunately), but it's just another thing to consider.
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Ryan Caputo
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Ok so I contemplated this to some extent and this is what I came up with as variants:

A. TI3: Knights of the Old Republic, Teams that can only attack each other to accomplish objectives, choice in seating causes you to ally with the person to you left (or right, your choice) with seating position 1,3,5,7. You can both play to 20 and try to win as a team, or play to 10 and win individually.

B. TI3: Total War, any planet conquered without a planetary bombardment is given to the new owner unexhausted.

C. TI3: Conquest of the Empire, when strategy cards are picked player initiatives 1 & 3 are team A and 2 & 4 are team B, teammates cannot attack one another for any reason that turn. Teams change every strategy phase.

D. TI3: Camelot, owner of Metacol Rex, all planets production are doubled and represented by trade goods (Tax collection in the Empire).

E. TI3: Race to War, any battle won is awarded by a victory token, 4 tokens gains 1 VP

I think all of these would increase combat as you vie for more resources. How could you make these better, perhaps VP’s for controlling the most resources? Please discuss.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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sigmazero13 wrote:

Another thing to do to encourage combat is to make sure resources are more scarce.


Totally agree. I like to stack the deck so there are fewer resources. This makes the game more interesting but does not necessarily lead to more combat.
 
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Steve Fowler
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Tawnos has made some Special Objective cards that could add to early conflict.
"Glorious Fleet"
I have the most Glorious Fleet, having defeated an Opponent’s Fleet of more Resource value than the previous holder’s, or of as much Resource value if defeating the previous holder.

Glorious Army
I have the most Glorious Army, having defeated an Opponent’s Ground Forces of number greater than the previous holder’s, or of as many if defeating the previous holder.

These act in the same way as Voice of the Council in that it counts as 1 VP for the holder. Combined with the variant of gaining your racial tech through VPs these become very attractive in the early going to acquire the racial tech.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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The problem with the "Glorious Fleet" and "Glorious Army" objectives is that only one person can score them. Because only one person can score them, that means in a 6 player game, 5 people will definitely NOT score them, despite their efforts.

If you are playing a 6 hour game of TI3 and you definitely do not score "Glorious Fleet" or "Glorious Army", you will feel jilted.

This is why you need to reward combat more generally.
 
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Zac Tomes
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People in our games usually are always trying to make temporary or more permanent alliances, non-aggression pacts, or even just boarders (a line that the other will not cross without asking first and if they do you are allowed to destroy their ships without fault). This usually works pretty well to prevent cold war because these agreements can help players and free them up for movement elsewhere (usually when making the agreements we agree on a one round warning, meaning that if one of the participants is breaking the agreement they have to tell the other person one round before they can actually actively break it). Of course there is nothing actually forcing players in the agreements to actually follow them, but that just forces players to take into account the tendencies of who they're making an agreement with.

One additional understanding that we all have is that if it becomes clear that a person who is involved in these agreements is about to win the game barring major and imminent military action, then the other players involved in the agreements with this person can declare then IMMEDIATELY null/void regardless of what they were. This is simply because we want to be humane/polite but realize that everybody wants to win and a certain amount of backstabbing is involved in the game.
 
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