John Clark
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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Me (Yin), Ben (Sol), Kerry (Mentak) and Josh (L1Z1X).

All of us had played several times before. Rules:

- Choose one SC each for each round
- All SE strategy cards, except Warfare from base game. Use Imperial II.
- Leaders but no mercenaries or reps
- Promissary Notes
- Assembly works as follows: active player gets one Action Card and the Speaker token and picks one of the four public agendas to vote on and one to discard. These two are replaced at the end of the vote. Active player gets +4 votes PLUS another 4 votes for each Bonus counter on Assembly. I think this works pretty well.
- three one-point objectives revealed at the start of the game, with another added each round. Two-point objectives added on round 3.
- players were dealt BOTH a preliminary and secret objective at the start, but the preliminary objective had to be claimed before the secret objective. This just meant you could plan a bit better.
- Artifacts. I can't stress enough how much these improve the game.

The three starting objectives were: conquer 3 planets in one turn, spend ten influence, spend 3 command counters.

On round 1, I was speaker and chose Warfare. My Secret Objective was to control MR and have 3 docks and 5 dreads on the board. I wanted to take MR quickly because the Yin should be able to hold it ok. I easily took 3 planets in order to claim the public objective. I also took an Artifact.

Ben chose Assembly and had full power to determine the outcome, and was threatening to pass Fleet Restrictions. Josh was very keen for that not to happen so he gave Ben a Promise Note which Ben accepted, and instead passed "Emperor" for himself (discarding Fleet Restrictions) AND made himself Voice of the Council.

At the end of Round 1, Ben was on 3 points, with me on 2 and Kerry and Josh on one point.

On Round 2, Ben as Speaker again chose Assembly. I chose Imperial II and the others chose Tech and Production.

Ben, Josh and Kerry all took an artifact, with Ben going to four points. I took MR and played Imperial II for the VP.

Ben then played Assembly, and I gave him the Promissary Note which meant he only needed 9 points for a win, in return for passing the law which said that no-one could invade MR for the rest of the game! Kerry and Josh were not happy with this but I did not mind!

At the end of the round I claimed the new Public Objective "I control MR", to go to 4 points.

Of course, the problem now was to spot me taking Imperial II, which Ben did by blocking that SC for everyone with an Action Card at the start of Round 3.

The new Public Objective was "I invaded a planet containing at least one ground force.

I started thinking about my Preliminary Objective, which was to destroy a ship in a system next to a home system. The idea was to complete that (5), then quickly do my secret objective (7), take Imperial II again (8) and claim the other two one-point objectives (10).

Knowing that I could not lose MR, I took Warfare and sent my MR force there off towards Ben's home in order to fulfill my Prelim Objective, knowing the Yin can do that with its special racial power (remove a destroyer/cruiser) and inflict a hit) even if I lost the battle.

Kerry took the Artifact I held, but I took it back on the next round. Josh and Kerry started battling quite a lot.

At the end of the third round, most of us claimed the new Public Objective, so Ben was on 5 and me, Kerry and Josh on 3 each.

The next Public Objective was the two-point "I spend 20 influence".

For Round Four I took Imperial II again, but Kerry took Diplomacy II and annexed MR! I did not see that coming and it was silly of me to leave MR completely empty. Kerry move units there and would hold it for the rest of the game since we could not remove the law. I thought my chances were slim then.

However, by taking Imperial II I could claim two objectives this turn, which I did - 3 command counters and 10 influence - and I also claimed my Preliminary Objective, so I went up 4 VPs in the turn (including the Artifact). This was a big shock to the others.

Ben also claimed his preliminary objective but lost Voice of the Council to Josh.

At the end of Round 4 I was on 8 points, Ben on 6 (needing 9) and Kerry and Josh on 4 each.

On Round 5 it was likely that someone would win. The new objective was "win two space battles, each against at least 3 ships".

Ben took Leadership. I took Trade - the three trade goods took me to 21 influence so I could claim the 2-point objective and could not see how anyone could stop me. I was surprised Ben did not take Trade to stop me - I actually pointed it out to him - and I could not see any way for him to get the three points he needed, because he did not have enough influence or enough firepower on the board to claim any objectives, even if he did claim his Secret Objective.

I did pretty much nothing on this round - I could not use any resources - needed them all for the Objective.

Ben played his master stroke - he sent ONE single cruiser through a wormhole to attack a large fleet of Josh's ships. Ben survived two PDS shots and then forced Josh to retreat with the earlier Promissary Note! Huge! Then Ben attacked my little fleet which was left over from when I claimed my Preliminary Objective, and thus won two battles against 3+ ships each.

Then Ben claimed his Secret Objective - control 4 planets with the same tech speciality - they were all close to his base! I also claimed the objective I needed but Ben had the lower initiative and so he won!

There was some luck involved - had either of the PDS shots hit his cruiser he was lost and the placement of the tech planets was very fortuitous - but it was a stunning win from nowhere!

The whole game was 5 rounds and took a tad more than 2.5 hours. I think the assembly rule worked pretty well but needs a bit more tweaking I think - perhaps the bonus votes should not apply to the Voice of the Council vote.

In the end Ben and I did best because we focussed on getting VPs rather than general expansion. TI3 is a VP race, as simple as that.

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Derek Porter
United States
Bangor
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Great report! As much as I love the epic twelve-hour struggles, the quick, unexpected wins are always interesting to see.
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Brian Petersen
United States
Texas
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Good session report, but one rules discrepancy. Diplomacy II cannot be used to annex MR or home system planets, regardless if they are neutral or empty but uncontrolled. This restriction is stated in the SE rules under Dip II.

You may have been able to spend 20 influence with MR in Round 4 or made an all out dash in the final round for an Artifact from one of the other 3 players.

How many games have you used the 1 SC each 4 player variant? Our previous 4-player game everyone was super rich picking 2 SCs per round. I'm afraid with 1 each, it would have the opposite effect, where one commodity or another would be lacking.
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John Clark
Australia
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TomBoombs wrote:
Good session report, but one rules discrepancy. Diplomacy II cannot be used to annex MR or home system planets, regardless if they are neutral or empty but uncontrolled. This restriction is stated in the SE rules under Dip II.

You may have been able to spend 20 influence with MR in Round 4 or made an all out dash in the final round for an Artifact from one of the other 3 players.

How many games have you used the 1 SC each 4 player variant? Our previous 4-player game everyone was super rich picking 2 SCs per round. I'm afraid with 1 each, it would have the opposite effect, where one commodity or another would be lacking.


Ahhh, thanks. Its hard to play TI3 and get every rule correct! Oh well.

We always play four player with one SC each - the rules say pick two each but we like having bonus counters. Seems to work fine but next time we might try picking two SCs each.

For some reason which I can't put my finger on, my four player games are always quick (3 hours), but five and six player games are much longer (6+ hours).

I think that maybe there should be less artifacts with less players - maybe n-1 'true' artifacts where n is the number of players.
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Marko Kemenj
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Hmmm...There's some rules on forum for artifacts. In addition to regular +1 VP,when you control artifact,there is 1 more add-on that state:

RED artifact: +1 to Dreadnought combat roll
YELLOW artifact: -1 to Dreadnought cost
BLUE artifact: Dreadnought can carry 2 fighters
GREEN artifact: Dreadnought can carry 1 Ground Force

Try this out.....we play with this rule over a 3 years
Its not OP rule,or game braking...just add some flavor to game.Most of the game ended player controlling 2 artifacts but didn't build any single Dreadnought (as a matter of facts...that happends for most of the time).
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Brian Petersen
United States
Texas
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A few things make a higher player game take longer. You can't predict your neighbors as well. (The first 2 rounds of a 4 player game, nobody can reach anyone without using wormholes.) For your group, you have more SC executions, thus more political/tech/production opportunities. And in my group, the 5th and 6th players are usually newbies. The last two makes everyone's turns last longer, and the first makes it harder to plan your moves out in advance.

I wouldn't tweak the number of artifacts. It's possible for there to be 0 true artifacts. Guaranteeing there to be n-1 means once you find the dud, you know the rest are real.
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Washington Irving
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I see that Dip II cannot be used on Mecatol Rex, but I don't see the language about planets in the home system.
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Scott Lewis
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Thornton
Colorado
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KalKraken wrote:
I see that Dip II cannot be used on Mecatol Rex, but I don't see the language about planets in the home system.

I don't think it's there, but in practice it's nearly impossible to do it to a home system planet, especially one with only one planet. All you need to do to keep it from having this happen is put a single GF, Space Dock, or PDS on the planet, and if you home system is even remotely threatened, you'd be foolish to have empty planets anyway.
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