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

Subject: Improving the General rss

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Washington Irving
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It confuses and annoys me that the General gives different bonuses during attack (2 re-rolls) and defense (+1 to rolls).

Would it make generals too powerful if they provided both bonuses on attack and defense?
 
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John L
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That's what we do. We also say they automatically promote a GF to a Shock Troop at the end of the battle (if at least 2 GF survive).
 
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Michael Cohen
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The reason the General is bad is not because his effect on Ground battles isn't good enough, it's because Ground battles are often not a big part of the game. Artifacts tend to make them better though, as now there is something to fight over.
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Andy Day

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I find ground battles to be a VERY big part of the game, though they’re rarely more than a meager skirmish. 1-2 troops v 1-2 troops. If somebody digs in with more than that, the cost-benefit to take the blister out typically isn’t there. Unless, as mentioned, there’s VP involved.

If you want to make generals more important, you could also remove X89 Bacterial Weapons from the game. The potential to have my huge army easily steamrolled keeps me from spamming troops. But if that tech didn’t exist, then entrenching with Armies would be an actual viable strategy. IMO. Of course, you’d then open the door for people to turtle with troops and cause the game to stagnate significantly, and/or hand the game to the Sol (and maybe Arborec).
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Shaun Murphy
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@Gylth

I agree with you that Invasion Combat is an important and integral part of the game. On the other hand, does Bacterial Weapon seriously keep you from building more than 2GF per average planet?! Honestly, how often has that tech been researched in your games? I've played almost 20 games and seen X89 exactly one time.
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Andy Day

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Ironically, or amazingly, I have only seen X89 taken probably twice. It was enough. In my primary example, a Federation player decided to go GF crazy, building mammoth armies, while staying light on the fleet. Yes this is not a winning strategy, I agree, but it was early in the days of TI3 and we were all rookies. That said, the Federation’s neighbor was bright enough to see the rising tide, and researched the X89. Suddenly, the Federation was laid bare, powerless to stop the annihilating assimilation by the guy with X89. And sadly, nobody else could take any of the planets, they were too stacked with troops! I know this is a bit of an extreme example, but the holocaust has burned into my memory.

So, don’t build GF by sacrificing space forces. Lesson learned.

The game consistently enforces the relative uselessness of mid-sized armies. I’d ballpark that around 4-6 troops. Firstly, it is costly to put this level of force on anything other than main planets (read: spacedock), since you have to go through the painful steps of transporting them. That’s not just resources, but CC and CVs tied up putting the troops out there. The armies are then swept aside with pathetic ease by bombardments, of which there are plenty by the mid game. So, generally, I haven’t seen mid-sized armies do more than delay a planet’s fall by a turn. Yes, that is a BIG deal a lot of time, but would you rather delay a planet’s fall, or prevent it by having a more fleet-focused strategy? The answer is typically the latter, at least in my circle.

We haven’t used leaders in a LONG time, and were pretty green to the game back when we used them. The resume of the General was not written by his ineffectiveness in combat so much as our inability to property deploy him. It was amazingly rare to have the troop ships present to move the troops to do an important invasion, AND have the general in the correct position to assist. So he ended up being a wimpy version of the Diplomat, deployed at strong points to help in the defense.
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Shaun Murphy
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(Sorry for this late response.)

I can see how your experience has left its mark! I wouldn't agree that larger troops only prevent an invasion for a round. Of course it depends how frequently DNs/War Suns appear on the board. I would rather have a player even blockade my dock. I can still build PDS and shoot him from the sky, or better, swoop in from another system. Perhaps leaders do greatly effect the game in that way. The general has very different uses compared to the diplomat. I usually use the General offensively only.

I'm anxious for our next game though. I really want to "quickly" reach X89 and try to reproduce your group's lesson.
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Andy Day

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X89 is only as good as your opponents allow it to be. If they don’t churn out troops, then it’s a rather useless deterrent.

Lo, I desire to play again, but my group has forsook the game.
 
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