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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: What's so hard to learn about TI? rss

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Talon Amores
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So I purchased Twilight Imperium today, and after destroying my hands by removing the ships from those plastic rack things with brute force (I'm pretty sure there was a easier way to take them off) I decided to set up a mock game of 6 players, just to see how long it would take to set up a game that big. I do plan on playing with five other friends of mine with this game, but that won't happen until next week, so I have some time to prepare.

I've read the rulebook many times before I got the game, and to be honest, the core rules don't seem that difficult to comprehend. So I ask those who have actually played this game: what is so difficult to learn about this game? Sorry if I sound ignorant, but, again...there just doesn't seem to be anything fundamentally difficult to learn about this game.

But, then again, I haven't played a proper game of it.
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Chris Bender
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It's not difficult at all, it's merely complicated. It's also one of the best games ever, so have a great time.
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Brett Porter
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yeah i second that. The game is actually quite simple but when you are learning it it is just information overload and you don't quite know what all the possibilities are. Once the game gets going however things simplify and repeated plays are better.
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Talon Amores
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gokiburijin wrote:
yeah i second that. The game is actually quite simple but when you are learning it it is just information overload and you don't quite know what all the possibilities are. Once the game gets going however things simplify and repeated plays are better.


I think this and the previous post was one of the answers I'm looking for. Having a bunch of options is fun for some, very suffocating for others. Don't bite off more than you can chew I suppose.
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Richard Linnell
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The hard thing to learn with TI is how to win. No convoluted mechanics, just a lot of different things to follow and put together in order to crush your enemies.
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Brent Boyd
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TI is not hard to learn. The hard part is getting your buddies to commit to playing it through. I love this game, I love that there are several paths to victory, I love the politics (not all battles are fought with ships or troops) and the racial special abilities. The largest problem I have is that my "playmates" have short attention spans. The game is long and the game time can be increased by players who have so many options they can not decide what to do. One idea we have used is to get a cheap electronic oven timer (you can get them from the dollar store) and giving players a 5 minute time limit for there turns.
TI is a great game, with the rigth group of players, but the first couple of times you play can be a little overwhelming.
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Derry Salewski
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TI Players need to start like a hippie combine where we just live in a house and grow food and play TI . . . and other games.
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Sicaria Occaeco
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scifiantihero wrote:
TI Players need to start like a hippie combine where we just live in a house and grow food and play TI . . . and other games.


There's no reason to waste valuable time and resources growing food. We'll just make rounds to steal IVs from the local hospital.
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David Gagner
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A few turns into the game and most new people have got the general mechanics down pretty good.
A few more turns into the game and those people can now see how a bunch of the stuff interact.
Once you have finished your first game, you have a very good knowledge of what is going on.

What is not happening for new people, is that they can't see the strategy or they don't know what options are out there (action cards, political cards).

On any given action people have a ton of options and I think it prevents people from seeing the entire picture.

It's not until you play once or twice, or more preferably, that you can see strategies and can really start to plan ahead a few turns.

For a first game, I would definitely pick very few variants.
Ones that would aid a first play would be Age of Empires.
This will lay out all the objectives face up from the start of the game.
People can then plan their strategy a little bit more and not have to switch on the fly.
After learning, Age of Empires should not be used as the game is much better when you need to adapt when objectives are revealed.
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Scott Agius
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DavidG55311 wrote:

After learning, Age of Empires should not be used as the game is much better when you need to adapt when objectives are revealed.


Hmmm, I don't agree with that as some objectives are very difficult to adapt to and can work more like a bonus for those who happen to be in a suitable position to get it; having the objectives known from the start means that you can tailor any objectives that are common that come up too frequqently, say all the technology ones come up and tech heavy races lke jol-nar are in the game, they get an unbalanced boost because they don't even need to do anything special to get the points.

I find manipulating a balanced set of objectives creates a nice strategy for everyone to work towards and will save an awful lot of game time too.

But then i'm more of a euro gamer than ameritrash so it works much better for the groups I would play with.
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Phil
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The hard thing to learn is not to know what to do but when to do it. Thanks to the fast paced action system (compared to the Second Edition, which I prefer ).
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Bill Norton
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There are a lot of exception to TI3 with the Action Cards/Political Cards/Techs/RacialAbilities

This can make the first game a little hard.

Bill
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Weilong Seow
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Well, based on my experiences of teaching people to play TI3, these are possible mechanics you want to make sure that they learned correctly:

When taking a tactical action, you can move units from as many systems as you desire as long as it is within their movement and your fleet supply is sufficient. Some people take a while to understand this many-to-one concept.

The tactical action incorporates movement, planet invasions and production all in one action. I have noticed a tendency for some new players to forget that one tactical action encompasses just about everything you can do on a system and be thinking in terms of one tactical action for either movement (+ planet invasion) or for production. Though this isn't that big an issue, as it is easily pointed out especially if the player likes to think aloud.

Units cannot leave an activated system BUT units starting outside an activated system can pass through it. This also takes a while for some new players to understand. I guess they are still trying to reconcile the no-fly zone which an activation token in a system signals to them and the fact that it's not a no-fly zone but rather a no takeoff no landing zone. Similar mistake to take note is that ground forces, fighters and PDSes can be picked up mid-flight to the destination system by carriers and other ships with capacity, unless that mid-path system is activated.

The intention to play an action card is first declared (but the card is not revealed), other players decide whether they want to play an action card at the same time. Action cards are resolved by turn order. An often overlooked rule, and which usually isn't needed but which avoids a lot of conflict should the situation come up.

Pre-combat effects are resolved in the order of the defender's choice. Excluding PDS fire, which comes first regardless as it's a post-movement effect rather than a pre-combat effect. Another one that rarely comes up, but saves a lot of potential conflict over the order in which effects are resolved.


Those are the main stuff which I've noticed. Of course, the sharper the gamers you play with, the less likely that you'll need to look out for these mistakes in learning. Sorry if it's kinda long, guess the people I play with take a while longer to learn TI3.
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Trent Y.
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As people have said, it's not hard to learn, but it's got a LOT of little details to it that are very easy to miss.

For me, I hate how TI3 handles building. Building happens at any time and it's not what I would call intuitive. It's the Resources of the planet + 2 are the maximum number of pieces of plastic that can be put down. And then you spend Resources.

Also in both cases, there are Technology upgrades to both the number of plastic and the number of Resources you get. For new players it is very easy to forget those technologies.

As well, Technology, while super cool, can often be forgotten. I've seen plenty of players miss using their Hylar Lasers because it applies to one type of ship but not another.

It is not hard - it is just a LOT of things that you have to keep in your brain while playing. Your plans, your strategies, how to use your strategy card, how to use your opponent's strategy cards (what happens if they don't play them when you want them to), what is your tech plan (because the tech tree, again while cool, is not always easy to follow), and what objectives can you achieve and what can you do in a turn to achieve them, etc, etc.

It's the sheer quantity of rules that I think will me most challenging for new players.
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Shaun S
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Irecommend the 1st game or two to be with no variants at all. Yes, include the original imperial card. It is a bit easier for the players to get a handle of the "flow" of the game when the 1st two players are essentially "stuck" drawing the same strategy cards. (1st player takes imperial, 2nd takes initiative to get imperial)
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Greg Jones
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It's easy to remember all the rules ... two or three turns after they were supposed to have been followed.
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Sean Stone
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I agree, to skip having the slow/begginer first turns I suggest sending this to your friends, its a step by step tutorial, its a bit dry but it works, also itll show you how to have a two-player match if you dont know how
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todd peterson
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There is a 3-part video that runs about 90 minutes at bookshelfgames.com...I am going to play this game and after watching the videos alot of the game became clearer.
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