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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shards of the Throne» Forums » General

Subject: Balance of objectives rss

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Henrik Johansson
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Are objective cards (preliminary and secret) balanced? It seems to me that the secret and preliminary objectives are not very well balanced. That is to say that some of them are a lot easyer to fullfill then others.

An example from the preliminary objectives:
1. I have all 5 of my Dreadnoughts on the board
2. I have all 6 of my PDS's on the board

The first one requires a totalt of 25 resources, the second one only 12. Less then half as much.
Would I be way of saying that a player drawing the first one will have a much harder time fullfilling it then a player drawing the second one? And there by takeing much longer before he can draw a secret objective, there by reducing the time avalible to fullfilling that?

The public objectives don't need to be balanced as they are avalible equaly to all players, but since you are delat a random preliminary/secret objective and it applyes only to you, I think they should be balanced.


If this sounds like a case of sore loser I can only say... guilty as charged! I lost badly yesterday and now I'm trying to blame my failiure on the fact that I got the 5 dreadnought preliminary objective.
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Chris J Davis
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You're right -they're not balanced. But then that's FFG (and most Ameritrash games in general) all over.

As small consolation, the player who gets the "5 dreadnaughts" objective will have a harder time completing it, but will then have a sizeable fleet to pound the other players into oblivion with.
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Brian Petersen
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They are imbalanced, but on a race-race basis, they can become way easier or completely in line with the players strategy. "I have 3 yellow technology advances." The Jol-Nar can get 3 yellow techs on round 1, which they will always want to do.

As the Ghosts of Creuss, I had to buy 3 yellow techs, which avoided their racial, Gravity Drives, and diverted my resources away from acquiring ships. I was especially aggravated in that situation, because we were using Tech I, and upon completing that Preliminary, I drew the Diversified SO (aka another 4 tech buys and an MR invasion). Despite being in contention for the win, (I was at 8 VPs before Checks and Balances gave me Tech instead of Imperial I, and I qualified for a 2 VP objective), I had no fun that game. Every round I had to spend 8 out of 12 of my available resources to buy tech. Because tech was so expensive, I wasn't even able to take advantage of the bonuses I was gaining from it. Circumstances made it nearly impossible for me to avoid that cycle, mostly that we were teaching new players and using the base game SCs and objectives.

In a typical game, they should be achievable by Round 3, without changing your strategy too much.

The Preliminary about having 3 tech discount planets is either cake or difficult, depending on map set-up. The same goes for the SOs involving tech discount planets and Keeper of the Gates. Merciless is incredibly difficult against experienced players, especially if you have to wait til mid-game to find out you should be striving for it. The Mecatol SOs vary from 1 to 6 rounds of preparation, but are always possible. Diversified is quite impossible if gotten late game, though, since you may only purchase 2 techs per round.

The 2 cruisers is difficult, since 2 cruisers tend not to appear in the same fleet til Round 3, and may not appear at all if everyone is going for fighter swarms. On top of that, they may not be in range, and they can retreat and avoid taking them as casualties. It's important to note that the card says nothing about combat, so PDS fire counts for this, but I don't think the opponent gets credit for the Yin kamikaze ability.

The Traitor objective is particularly tricky with Trade III. When you pick it yourself, people tend to break your TAs using the secondary, and when you don't pick it, people tend not to allow your TAs to begin with. Sometimes you make it a bit too obvious that you have the objective (Yeah, I'll give you my 3 as long as I can trade with my neighbor), and nobody is willing to trade with you for the rest of the game.
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Rus
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You might have missed the rule that you can only have two PDSs per planet, and that a PDS can only be produced on the planet with a space dock (or moved there by a carrier). Plus, arguably 5 dreadnaughts are more useful than 6 PDSs. Given the greater logistical difficulty in getting 6 PDSs on the board and the lesser usefuless, I would say the two objectives are actually pretty well balanced!
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Necessary Evil
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Glen Arm
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They are unbalanced on purpose, You need to balance them out above the table.... I.E. you got that easy secret, there is no way I am trading with you, or helping you score again... etc. etc.

This is what makes the game work and not just be some boring min/max eurogame.

-M
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Michael Cohen
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This is why we ALWAYS deal out secret objectives at the start of the game, although we do not allow them to be scored until after the Prelims have been completed.
You need to know what you're getting into.
And we give players a choice of 2 secrets as well. That way, the chance of a no-fun game is reduced.
 
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PeanutButter Jelly
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I agree that half of what makes TI3 so interesting is that the game is inherently unbalanced. This is what causes each game to be different.

I have seen many wins, and have won myself, without achieving the SO. Have only played 4 games with preliminaries and witnessed all winners achieve their PO, and only %50 got there SO.

Rather like the imbalance between races, the imbalances between PO/SO are part of what make the game interesting.
 
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Henrik Johansson
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Lot's of interesting points of view. I suppose it's all down to your personal taste whether you "need" balance or not

Vandervecken wrote:
This is why we ALWAYS deal out secret objectives at the start of the game, although we do not allow them to be scored until after the Prelims have been completed.
You need to know what you're getting into.
And we give players a choice of 2 secrets as well. That way, the chance of a no-fun game is reduced.

That's an interesting idea, I might try it next time.
 
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Jeff S
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We deal two Secret Objectives, then you have to choose one of them after board setup.

I would play Preliminary Objectives the same way, some of them are exceptionally hard.
 
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Simon Bourigault
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Well, giving to PO to each player is not possible in the case of a 6 player game.

We'll probably play like this : You receive one PO and one SO and the start of the game. When you claim your PO, you draw one SO, then discard one.
 
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Steve Williams
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As others have stated your examples are more balanced than you'd think.

Getting 6 PDS's on the board is logistically difficult, and painfully obvious most of the time ["Why's he building so many PDS's? Aren't those terrible?]. It inadvertently won me the game, since they made a new L1z1x player decide not to attack my home system, but he'd have annihilated me if he had only sat down and calculated out that all I got was a maximum of 6 total hits before he'd proceed to wipe the floor with my petty fleet and prevent me from scoring objectives. I was the Yssaril and in the lead, a regular player would have laughed at my stupid PDS's [I also still had to get the 6th on the board at that point and hadn't even gotten the VP out of it!] and knocked me out of the game.

Dreadnoughts are more useful, and also slightly more innocuous. It makes it look like you've just got military game syndrome when you're actually fulfilling an objective, and while you're building up the dreadnoughts you can save a lot of CC on fleet supply and put those toward other things [probably secondaries as you wont have a lot of non-carrier movement to do either].

Again it all boils down to board set up, race, and the players around you. I'd say killing 2 cruisers is generally the most difficult one, since that requires 2 of them in one place and a bigger fleet in strike range.

Still at the end of the day they're strictly easier than the Secret Objectives, and have had positive impact in all the games i've used them in.
 
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Martin DeOlden
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Slight variant on the Preliminary Objectives:

For the preliminary objectives I decided to start the game with each out in play as an early objective and put out 1 per player. They can only be claimed be 1 player so when one is gone then you have to work on the others. It gives a scramble to the players to get the easier ones first.

You can either start with an SO or go by the rules in which you still have to complete PO before you can draw an SO.
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John Clark
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A good way to lose in TI3 is to take an early lead, so the easy POs may not be a big advantage in the long run.

As far as winning the game goes, my 'default' strategy is to get the timing of my winning VP rush correct. This means lagging a point or two behind the leader, get to 6 points and claim my Secret Objective and a 2-point public objective on the same turn to win the game. If you can grab an Artifact then you can go from 5 to 10 in one round.

I reckon a large proportion of TI3 games are won like that. The best POs are those where you can control when you claim it - the PDS or Dreadnaught objectives are good because you can build all the required units less one or two or them, so you can claim the objective when you want to.

If you take an early lead, thanks to (e.g.) an artifact, PO and a three one-point public objectives, then you cannot stop the others bashing you if they cooperate, no matter how strong you are. All TI3 players should be aware that once a player is on 5 VPs he can potentially win the game on the next round.

In a perverse way, TI3 and Power Grid have this in common - a lot depends on timing your victory charge. It does not really matter if your PO or SO is an easy or difficult one, as long as it is possible (rather than impossible) and you claim it at the right moment in the game.

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Henry Coleman
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Also remember that a couple of secret objectives require you to have dreadnoughts. You might get lucky and find you've done most of the hard work already.
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Seren of Moon
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Balance schmalance.

A good player simply needs to find other ways to score if the situation in the field cannot be manipulated to advantage. Assuming the map is relatively equal in terms of resources and you get fair TAs, you can usually overcome.

In a recent game, I saw a N'orr player build up all the DNs to get the 1 pt before 2 out of 3 opponents had accomplished their "easier" POs.
 
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