Just received My copy 5 days ago. Here are some thoughts after reading the rules and the new components, please note that I haven't yet played with any of those new options. That's why I don't post in the review folder.
I suppose that most peoples who take a look at this second expansion are allready TI3 fans like me. And for many it will be a no brainer and a must buy. This expansion cames as a surprise a few months ago when it was announced as FFG was rather silent about their historical Flagship game. It immediatly caused a great excitement in the community and many expectations. So what's up now it's available:
Upon opening the box the first impression is rather negative, as the quantity of components is disapointtingly small for the big box and for the price of a full game.
I would not say that this expansion fix any gap like Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shattered Empire did. It doesn't add any thing necessary, however it offers a bunch significant new options:
- New races, interesting new ones here, and always a good things, The control markers and color schemes for those races look similar to other existing ones, and could make things hard to distinguish during play, as the board is rather "busy" usually.
- New Techs, 1 for each colour, not groundbreaking but a welcome addition to add variety as most of the new techs appears early in the tech tree, it will change threadbare opening tech strategy.
- A new second race specific tech for each race. Very good.
- Flagships, and to a lower extent Mechanized units. Flagships add some extra flavour to each race wich is a good point, probably one of the most exciting new addition. Mech unit are stronger Ground Forces with the sustain damage ability and are not affected by card that target Ground Forces.
- New systems, always a good things, but nothing stunning here. For each color of tech there is now a planet wich offers two reduction symbols (one with 2 blues...) interesting for tech fans who expect to advance far away in the tech tree. There is also a new Special red border system type the Gravity Rifts " when a ship move out of a Gravity Rift roll one die per ship, on a roll of 1-5 the ship is destroyed", more dices and more randomness, Not really my cup of tea here, nevertheless to make things more interesting there is a Gravity Rift system with a Planet inside, a sort of a one way trip. And a technology card allow to move out of Gravity Rifts unharmed.
- Space Domain Counters, for system without planets, why not but again more randomness, if I understand the rules correctly you cannot take a sneak peek at them and reveal them after all your forces have moved into the system, good or bad they are pretty powerfull.
- Mercenaries interesting but I find that the Evasion rules is a bit lame: "When a player assign a hit to a mercenary, he rolls one die, on a roll of x (evasion value of the merc) or higher the mercenary is not destroyed." Rolling dices to cancel attacking dices sound like a poor (Games Workshop style) mechanisms to me. Also I think they could have made both sides of the mercenaries more different so that you can judge at once if they are grounded or in space as it is important rulewise.
- Political Intrigue, looks like a good way to beef up the political aspect of the game, as it is often neglected as most of the new options affect combat or tech.. Basically each player have three Representatives each having a number of bonus votes plus a special power. During the Political Phase each player play one representative (if able) face down. Representatives could be either Spies, Bodyguards or Councilors. The spies assassinate or cancel Councilors but Bodyguards cannot be assinated and on the contrary have special effect when targeted by spies. I really don't like the paper/scissor/stone aspect of this rule introduced by the spies
Those Two last point sound like very good ideas with lots of potential, but I'm not sure that the way they are implemented is so great. It add some extra rules and playing time, but the mechanisms seems rather poor and unimaginative to me.
- New "historical" scenario, potentially great, roughly a third of the components and of the rulebook of this expansion are dedicated to this scenario. But this is mostly exclusive of the other components. So basically you use a third of the expansion or parts of the other two third. So I hope it stands up to the promise of all this material investment. Naturally imaginative players will find their own creative ways to use the components normally dedicated to this scenario.
- There are a number of cards to correct or update to the new rules older ones.
- Just one scenarios. I wish they added more, especially a couple of official two or three players scenarios would have been great.
Haven't yet played any of those options, I could not judge the effect on game balance, but this could be an issue, although with many players the game tend more or less to self balance itself.
Overall I'm not really disapointed, there are some nice additions but nothing really ground breaking. On the whole the new mechanisms seems implemented in an mundane, old school ways often rolling more dices in an allready dice heavy game. There are nothing like Role Selection or Command Counters management which were very good mechanisms.
Nevertheless after waiting five years I would have expected something more. With all the components so far in the three boxes I really wished a full scenarios BOOKS which develop the plot and enrich the (hi)story. It would not have cost much in terms of components, although I acknowledge that it would take time in developement, well many something around 5 years .
After all this times we could have expected a little more. But as usual I'm confident that the community will find ways to use all those new options wether it is as written in the rules or by making their own creative (or twisted) ones
As a side bonus it also urges fans to dig out their (dusty) boxes off their shelves to once again dive into this fascinating game.
I would rate it a seven for now (which is good following BGG scale). But would be inclined to raise my rating if my next games call for it.
Must resist M:tG. Boardgames are my methadone :)
After seeing all the previews and skimming the rulebook, I got pretty much the same impression as you.
The main selling point for me is the flagships, and to some extend the new races. I'm a little worried that the new races are a little to wierd from a rules mechanical point of view, and there have been posted a lot of questions on game balance and interactions between these new races and old components. I haven't studied these questions/issues in detail, so I can't say for sure whether they are problems or not. This is something I will look further into before deciding to get the expansion.
More scenarios would certainly have made the expansion more attractive, but I'm sure there will soon be lots of fan-made scenarios to choose from.
I don't remeber what the new techs are, but adding techs is generally easy because it doesn't add an extra layer of mechanics.
I wasn't too impressed with the new strategy cards, but maybe that is just me being (too?) consertive. I didn't care much for the non-II strategy cards from SE either.
Hi Adrian, My post started as an answer to one of your own post, But as it grew larger I make it a separate thread.
I expect to play the game soon, so I can make a more meaningfull answer.
Yes, I play the Bass.
Sweet Holy Moses, Fruit F*cker Prime!
I like the preliminary objectives.
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I like some of the preliminary objectives but I am playing my games with 5 of the more neutral ones as starting objectives rather then by the rules. Each player gets their SO no matter what and the preliminary objectives are now just beginning objectives that can be scored by anyone. I did this before with my own and liked it as it can shorting a few hours and still have full fun game.