Derek Porter
United States
Bangor
Maine
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I always engage the other players in my group in table talk, especially my neighbors. I think that it's key to success and prevents a lot of unnecessary conflict if we simply talk about which direction we're expanding towards. Obviously, the really juicy systems like Abyz/Fria usually requires an exchange of trade goods (or something to that effect), but for the early turns it's key so that you don't waste a lot of time fighting when you should be building your resources.
After reading some of the threads here, I get the impression that a lot of players don't do this, or only engage in threats and trash talk. My question for everyone is:
Poll: Does your group negotiate at the table?
Yes
No
      107 answers
Poll created by templarjr
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Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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Is this game even playable without table politics? Sounds dreadfully boring to me.
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Le Psquadou
Canada
Gatineau
Québec
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Yes, but from time to times secret deals are necessary hehe
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William Towns
United States
New York
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I have to say I couldn't imagine playing this without talking/communicating with your opponents. Unless you're REALLY role-playing the Nekro not talking doesn't make a lick of sense on several levels. Now if you're being specific about the types of table-talk, say bartering, threatening, deal-making and deal-breaking, then I bet there are places some people/groups won't go for various reasons. For example, I never break promises unless the promise will let someone else win the next turn or so. This is mainly because I'm a terrible liar, trust me.
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Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Our group negotiates, but other than begging for mercy our group's negotiations tend to happen in private (as the rules don't forbid that).

We haven't played the Scenario yet, though, which explicitly forbids secret talks regarding objectives (which is what most secret talks would be about anyway).
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The Broox
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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We both talk and IM. Talk obviously happens in the open and the IMing is secret.
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Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
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we talk, openly and in private depending on the topic. Trash talk happens as well.
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Derek Porter
United States
Bangor
Maine
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This is more or less what I assumed, but at the same time... some of the "strategies" I've seen around lately seem to be focused on keeping to yourself and just harassing your neighbors incessantly.
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MIke H
Canada
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My negotiating strategy is to immediately boast (sometime in the setup phase onward) about my TI3 ability and how I am about to crush everyone in humiliating fashion. This allows me to bargain from a position of strength, as my opponents realize that I am the godliest TI3 player in the world. I then have fear on my side, which is more important than having ships. In fact, sometimes I don't even build those, relying on my reputation to win games. I've had mixed success so far.
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Brian Petersen
United States
Texas
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It sounds prone to backfire like my group telling all the new players that I'm a backstabber and go to war even as the Jol-Nar. While these may be facts, I also never attack new players unless they get adjacent to my HS or they're my only option for an objective, ie. Traitor Preliminary Objective.

Sometimes that turns into nobody attacking me because they don't want me fighting them, and other times (usually) it turns into "Why are you playing Local Unrest on me to tap one of my planets when your neighbor has an SD, 2 PDS, and 1 GF on that planet over there???"

The fear factor is what gives Yssaril half of its power. People generally don't wish to fight them when they consider how many Local Unrests, Lucky Shot, Direct Hit and Target Their Flagship etc. ACs they COULD be hoarding. Couple that with their new racial tech (which I try my best to grab ASAP), and you know they have those ACs, since you saw what they stole as soon as you drew it.

Fear of ships is usually how I go. Other players have nothing to fear of you when they have their HS, SDs, and Artifacts protected.
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Eugenio -
Italy
Livorno
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Yes, may I say even too much?

I have two gaming groups.
One is alright, apart from the fact we don't play often.
In the other, comprised of 4-5 players there is way too much table-talk.
I've played 3 4-players games with them, and only finished two, because after 8 hours (!) of play we had to stop, we were beginning round 5 when we stopped.
But time isn't my only concern.
The other two 4-p games I've played with them went awry for me because of outright alliances.

In the first I was Naalu, official pre-set 4-p map, and one of my neighbours was a hellbent-on-vendetta player using Yin.
I tried not to mess with him, but in round 1 (using Warfare) he colonised Bereg/Lirta IV, which was in the contested spot near MR, and contained an artifact, without asking me or offering something in exchange.
The next round I peacefully annexed Lirta IV, saying him that I didn't want to hurt him but he couldn't expect to have both planets in the system.
In response he said he would completely destroy me, or something similiar.
Seeing that there was no chance of keeping peace, I stomped him with a blitzkrieg-style manuever, gaining 2 VPs along the way [one from the artifact, the other from a PO].
At the beginning of round 3, I sucessfully invaded his HS and signal jammed the system containing his only other SD, completely crippling him.
At this point the other 2 players (Muaat and L1Z1X) were completely astounded.
They said that I was too good for them to beat on a 1 vs 1 and that they have to ally to bring me back in check.
So I had to face a 3-p alliance against me, and, needless to say, I didn't manage to win.
I got to 6 VPs though, tied for first until the final round, in which tha L1Z1X player won.
I have to thank Naalu's retreat ability and Telepathic Mind Weapon if I have been able to stay in the game for at least 3 rounds even if all the other players allied against me.

The second game is somewhat connected to this.
There was 3 of the players of the previous game + one newbie.
I was Mentak, my neighbours were Nekro Virus and Winnu(the newbie).
The other player, the same that I almost eliminated in the previous game, was Jol-Nar.
This game ended with no contest.
The Jol-Nar player, afraid of Nekro, submitted to him.
He researched the War Sun technology on round 2, then, with its first action on round 3, even before I could play Production, he sent a lone Destroyer against a big Nekro fleet, allowing him to pick WS tech with no effort at all, asking him to attack me in exchange.
He did attack me, and, thanks to some bad rolls on my part, succedeed in taking one rich system of mine, Lisis/Velnor.
I managed to destroy its fleet with a counterattack, but I couldn't take back the planets.
In doing so, he left his HS and Hope's End (containing his other SD) completely defenseless.
In fact, after my counterattack he was left with only a Carrier (containing a couple of Fighters) and a Cruiser, while the Jol-Nar player had two big fleets.
Despite this he didn't attack him, allowing him to reinforce the next round and overwhelm me thanks to the massive amount of resources he had.
After eliminating me (which took almost 3 rounds, in which I managed to destroy 2 WSs and his FG), the other 2 races were no match to him.
He had almost all his plastic on the board, had something like 11 technology advances and he was controlling literally more than half of the board (included MR).
His victory was made even easier by a war erupted between Jol-nar and Winnu.
He ended at 10 VP, while Jol-Nar was at 3 and Winnu 2 (I was at 1).
After the game the Jol-Nar player confessed his objective was not to win, but to see me lose.
I think in both these cases, less table talk and more "I want to win, not to get the silver medal" style would have helped a lot, especially in the first game.
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Clemens Auburger
Germany
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Eu8L1ch wrote:
After the game the Jol-Nar player confessed his objective was not to win, but to see me lose.


This happened to me, too. It is just too easy to prevent another player from winning by fighting an otherwise pointless war. There should be a general consensus that every player must try to win, no matter how bad his chances are. But maybe this should be discussed in another thread.

My group often prefers secret negotiations. We sometimes even exchange written notes. However, sometimes they lack initiative. I normally try to "encourage" them to gang up upon the leader in victory points or whomever I consider to be the most dangerous opponent (to me). In my opinion, everybody should do this. Twilight Imperium is often unbalanced, due to the map setup, the races or the domain counters; but by forming alliances against the stronger players, the weaker players gain a chance to win.

My group also bargains for planets, but due to map setup, this situation does not arise as often as it should. Normally, we end up with the best systems directly next to home systems. The only kind of negotiation that makes you gain these involves War Suns.
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Eugenio -
Italy
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Which kind of alliances?
Short-term ones with a specific purpose (e.g. gang on the leader), or something more akin to blood pacts like my fellows do?
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Clemens Auburger
Germany
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Short-lived alliances. If they were written on paper, they would not be worth the paper they're written on.
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Joey Jones
United States
Warrior
Alabama
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We negotiate openly a bit, but most deals are made in private. Either by going into another room, or often by text message, sitting at the table. It can be a bit unsettling when you make a move into enemy systems, and a flurry of text messages start coming in across the table.

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Colonel Coo

Austell
Georgia
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We had this happen once. Secret alliance at against all intelligent play for the win.

We told them if they wanted to make each other feel good they can go play with themselves. Further, if the do the same crap again in a game, we'll expel them from the play group (there are enough people in the group to get 6 players ever week). We're all adults and know right from wrong: when two people show up to start a game in alliance it's tantamount to cheating.
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Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Colonelcoo wrote:
We had this happen once. Secret alliance at against all intelligent play for the win.

We told them if they wanted to make each other feel good they can go play with themselves. Further, if the do the same crap again in a game, we'll expel them from the play group (there are enough people in the group to get 6 players ever week). We're all adults and know right from wrong: when two people show up to start a game in alliance it's tantamount to cheating.

How is that cheating? Where are secret alliances forbidden?

Even if one player deliberately THROWS a game to let another player win, it's not cheating. Granted, I wouldn't ever play with that person again because it's poor sportsmanship (and not fun at all), but not all poor sportsmanship is cheating.
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Lee Wiegand
United States
Great Falls
Montana
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Hopper1 wrote:
My negotiating strategy is to immediately boast (sometime in the setup phase onward) about my TI3 ability and how I am about to crush everyone in humiliating fashion. This allows me to bargain from a position of strength, as my opponents realize that I am the godliest TI3 player in the world. I then have fear on my side, which is more important than having ships. In fact, sometimes I don't even build those, relying on my reputation to win games. I've had mixed success so far.


Man if this stratagy worked, you and I would be the world champions of TI3.
You, the Super Victorious All Great Grand Poobah of Canada, and me, Champion of the People of The United States of America.
Thrice year we meet to clash over a game and still after years of championship games the score is:0-1-211,I had to retire on a timed match because I ate 2 bowels of chili, and I just couldn't wait any longer.

YOU HAVE BEATEN ME MIKE H. BUT I SWEAR I WILL GET MY REVENGE, WE WILL MEET AGAIN...SOON...AND I WILL BEAT YOU!!!!!!!
MUAHHHHH HAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAA
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Dave Taylor
United States
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Of course. How else could you play?
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