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Subject: What makes this game take so long? rss

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Nate
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I am really curious about this game. I watched all the videos LongTom posted (thanks for those!). However, people say it takes 6 hours to play and I don't think I can play a 4 or 6 hour game. I love the idea of an epic scale 4x in space. The game looks beautiful, the flavor text is a very nice touch.

So what makes the game take so long? I've heard the rules are bloated and that the game is very complicated. However, with most games, once you learn the rules, the time decreases by a lot.

No one in my game group suffers AP and we usually play games pretty quickly. We finish Sid Meier's Civilization in an hour or hour and half (our favorite game at the moment). There are almost always 4 of us. I want to try this game, but not sure people would have the patience for it. Do you think we would enjoy this game? Is the time more manageable with 4 people who take their turns pretty quickly?
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James Mckane
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Quote:
Is the time more manageable with 4 people who take their turns pretty quickly?


The time is more manageable with 4 people who take their turns pretty quickly and...provided they are fairly familiar with the rules. 3 - 4 hours, maybe even less with some groups. That is my experience anyway.
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Jack Smith
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There are a lot of optional elements to the game that are very tempting to include, such as distant suns and leaders. If you strip the game to its basics it speeds the game up considerably while still being a very good game. The rules are the usual FFG bloated mess but the game is actually quite simple.

Also it is quite easy for a player to be getting on with his turn, or preparing for it, while another is finishing. As an example you can get long delays if a player does not start looking through his research cards or working out what he wants to buy until it is his turn.
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Steve Williams
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If 4 hours scares you away, I cannot really recommend TI3. It is at its best with 6 players, and if you want to play well there is really no way to get that done in 4 hours, unless all 6 players study the game religiously, which you would have to endure an unknown number of invariably 4-6 hour games before everyone got to that level anyway.

I will say however, if what worries you about 4-6 hours is downtime, TI3 has very little. You need to pay attention to everyone else's turns, if not to guess their plans then to be ready to take advantage of Strategy Card Secondary abilities, which are vital. If simply playing a game in any manor for that long bothers you though, then TI3 is probably not your cup of tea.

It's a very fulfilling 4-6 hours though, I'd say give it a try at least.
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Slev Sleddeddan
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My equation for the game length of TI

1-3 hours depending on variants, luck and play style
PLUS
30 minutes for each experienced player
PLUS
30 minutes for each inexperienced player.

Plus keep in mind it generally takes around thirty minutes to an hour to explain the game to newbies.

In short then, it's a BIG game with a lot to learn, which means that new players make it take a long time
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Volker S.
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Slev wrote:
PLUS
30 minutes for each experienced player
PLUS
30 minutes for each inexperienced player.


Shouldn't the first mean "for each player" or the second "60 minutes" then? I don't agree, that experienced players take as long as unexperienced players.
 
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Slev Sleddeddan
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VolkoV wrote:
Slev wrote:
PLUS
30 minutes for each experienced player
PLUS
30 minutes for each inexperienced player.


Shouldn't the first mean "for each player" or the second "60 minutes" then? I don't agree, that experienced players take as long as unexperienced players.


Yes, that is what I meant. That's the problem with typing early in the morning when there's still excessive blood in the caffeine stream.

So, six experienced players is 4-6 hours, while six newbies is 7-9 hours.

Tomorrow I'm teaching a group of four newbies (not partaking myself, just teaching), so i expect that to take 5-7 hours.
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Dave Taylor
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This is just my opinion, but I would say: Make sure every player reads the PDF of the rules and every player watches a couple of the online videos showing how the game is actually played. Don't try to "explain" or "teach" it to them right before you play, because that's going to add a lot of time and you're probably going to forget things. Give them some homework to do before you play!

If your friends are unwilling or incapable of reading a mere 30 or so pages of rules (not including options and fluff fiction) with big print and lots of pictures, then this game is probably not for them anyway. It's better to know that in advance and not waste your time. When I have had new players read the rules for themselves (which I usually try to do) it has sped up their initial play by about 200% and relieved me of the need to "teach" them the game on the spot. When I've had new players added at the last minute and had to "explain" the game before we played, it's been a real drag every time. If you know who's playing ahead of time, don't put yourself in that position unnecessarily.
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Peter Walsh
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I think the deciding factor is the level of focus a player brings to the table. The game is immersive and requires you to pay attention to what other people at the table are doing. A player who allows their attention to wonder beyond a certain point is going to take extra time on their turn attempting to "catch up" with what has happened since their last move. Things go faster if players have a good idea what they want to do each move and then adjust to contingencies as they arise.

At WBC this year the games I played (1 six, 1 four and 1 eight player game) went at a very good pace. The six player game ended a few hours ahead of a four player game where one player was taking between 30-45 minutes per move. Some of the players in my game were newbies, but they gave the game their full attention so the pace was steady. It's a long game no matter what, but it doesn't have to stretch into Advanced Civilization lengths.
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Dave Taylor
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Pete Walsh wrote:
The six player game ended a few hours ahead of a four player game where one player was taking between 30-45 minutes per move.


I hope that's just hyperbole. If not, what the (bleep) were they doing that required that kind of time?
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Simon Bourigault
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If you try the game with 5 others newbies, be prepared for an 8-10 hours !

If a game that last more than 4 hours is a problem to you, don't even think about TI3. 4 hours is reachable with experience and fast players only.
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Peter Walsh
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Blackadder23 wrote:
Pete Walsh wrote:
The six player game ended a few hours ahead of a four player game where one player was taking between 30-45 minutes per move.


I hope that's just hyperbole. If not, what the (bleep) were they doing that required that kind of time?


I wasn't sitting at the table with a timer or anything, but this was what was reported back the next day. Some people are...methodical.
 
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Michal Michalowski
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well I am after six player (3x experience, 3x new players) game right now. It took as about 9h... I will never get it how people can end it in 4h.
 
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Stephen Williams
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Vasquez21 wrote:
well I am after six player (3x experience, 3x new players) game right now. It took as about 9h... I will never get it how people can end it in 4h.


Well, for starters, they don't play with 6 people.

As one of the first responders said, a 4 player game with four people who take turns quickly can be done in 3-4 hours. That's conditional on the number of players being small and the speed of actions being fast (which sort of rules out any new players.) If either of those things are not true for your group, play time will increase. Having half of the table as newbies certainly doesn't help.
 
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Stephen Stewart
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Vasquez21 wrote:
well I am after six player (3x experience, 3x new players) game right now. It took as about 9h... I will never get it how people can end it in 4h.


It's called figuring out 2-3 different actions that you need to plan to do by the time it gets back to your turn in case someone throws a monkey wrench into your 1st plan.

The reason why it takes so long is the players that DON'T think of what they are going to do until it's there turn. That's why TI is so engaging and the time seems to fly by....You should ALWAYS be paying attention to what players are doing and what you think they SHOULD be doing.

Our group of 6 newbies played 2 full base games of TI in 10 hours. back to back 5 hour games. ALL were new and were fairly competent players.

This game is NOT for the casual gamer. Those that play Stone Age, or other 90-120 minute solitaire style Euro.
 
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Paul Rice
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People frequently blame the game length on new players, but more experienced players can be just as much of a problem with game length. I just played a 6 player game w/ an equal mix of new players & experienced players and it was definitely the experienced players that sucked up the most time. The game went on for nearly 10 hours with only myself and one other player at the 5 VP mark before I declared it time to end the game. There are all kinds of factors that dragged out the game length. Part of that was players not thinking about what to do until it was their turn, part of that was typical analysis paralysis, part of that was new players still getting acquainted with the rules, part of that was bickering & hot-headed disputes, part of that was most of the players were more interested in building up armies than acquiring VP. Any of these, and many other features are liable to infect your gaming group. It is the type of game that can bring out the worst instincts in the people you play with.

All of this can be a nightmare for some people. On the other hand, it can also be an incredibly memorable experience (in fact it could be both). It's a long game, and not one that I think really benefits from trying to make more compact, you should just accept it for what it is. If your game group isn't interested in the idea of spending an entire day playing a game, which is to say that you are sane, then you might want to consider other games. On the other hand, if you want to be overwhelmed by the experience of playing a board game, then it would be a shame not to check TI out.
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Derry Salewski
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Well I think that 'experienced player' implies 'experienced player without AP who knows how to play and wants the game to move along quickly.'

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Dave Taylor
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Thirty minutes a turn. Holy cow.

Personally, I would put a 5 minute clock on individual turns. Anything a human being can actually calculate can be calculated in less time than that. Would-be Rain Men who are taking longer are just wasting everybody's time and not increasing their chances of winning. Light a fire under them!
 
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Fedor Syagin
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Blackadder23 wrote:
Thirty minutes a turn. Holy cow.

Personally, I would put a 5 minute clock on individual turns. Anything a human being can actually calculate can be calculated in less time than that. Would-be Rain Men who are taking longer are just wasting everybody's time and not increasing their chances of winning. Light a fire under them!


Yeap. I personally try to plan ahead but still sometimes a person in front of me would do a move that sort of voids everything I was planning for. Occasionally I would even get in situation where there is no clear choice between 2 options (sort of depends too much how other people would react and what their secret agenda might be at the moment.) but I have a rule for myself. If is stuck between 2 options for longer than 2 minutes - I just roll a dice - otherwise I might be stuck there for a while.

Also we trying to do simple think like - if you plan to buy - count your planets and resources and take proper plastic ahead of time - so once you announce buy you can tap planets and put plastics - done!

There are others way to prepare and be ready to move as soon as your turn starts.

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Andy Day

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The game has little down time. You're always busy. You're always making decisions. You're thus always busy deliberating. Each decision takes a little bit of time. But there are so MANY, they add up fast.

Take away decisions, and you shorten the game. But, take away decisions, and you have an animal that is different than TI.

Frankly, part of what makes TI epic IS its duration. We played a game that lasted "only" 6 hours, and felt it was brief and somewhat anti-climactic. Veteran TI players who picked up Eclipse commonly state that it's a good game, but lacks the scale of TI, and thus isn't the same. I totally respect being averse to playing such a long game, my group almost never has the time for it anymore. But when we do, it is worth it, and it is a blast.
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Stephen Stewart
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Blackadder23 wrote:
Thirty minutes a turn. Holy cow.

Personally, I would put a 5 minute clock on individual turns. Anything a human being can actually calculate can be calculated in less time than that. Would-be Rain Men who are taking longer are just wasting everybody's time and not increasing their chances of winning. Light a fire under them!


A 5 min clock per player IS a 30 minute turn/round.
 
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Fedor Syagin
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Gylthinel wrote:
Veteran TI players who picked up Eclipse commonly state that it's a good game, but lacks the scale of TI, and thus isn't the same. I totally respect being averse to playing such a long game, my group almost never has the time for it anymore. But when we do, it is worth it, and it is a blast.


My main issue with eclipse is that it's one of those games when you know how many turns it last.
It's not always bad. You tend to play safe since you cannot get sudden win and getting tons of points early just make you bigger target without any chance to actually winning early. Yes it's usually becomes obvious in TI that this is last round or possibly we will have another one. But you rarely have moments when you not going to attack someone just because you know that next round is last and game won't be over this one so it's better not to weaken yourself too early. TI3 and Dune (Dune especially and that why i love it so much) keep you at the edge all the time. What if he about to get secret objective and get 2 points and finish game this turn?
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Andy Day

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garfielder wrote:
Gylthinel wrote:
Veteran TI players who picked up Eclipse commonly state that it's a good game, but lacks the scale of TI, and thus isn't the same. I totally respect being averse to playing such a long game, my group almost never has the time for it anymore. But when we do, it is worth it, and it is a blast.


My main issue with eclipse is that it's one of those games when you know how many turns it last.
It's not always bad. You tend to play safe since you cannot get sudden win and getting tons of points early just make you bigger target without any chance to actually winning early. Yes it's usually becomes obvious in TI that this is last round or possibly we will have another one. But you rarely have moments when you not going to attack someone just because you know that next round is last and game won't be over this one so it's better not to weaken yourself too early. TI3 and Dune (Dune especially and that why i love it so much) keep you at the edge all the time. What if he about to get secrete objective and get 2 points and finish game this turn?

I can only partially agree. I find the 10 VP goal to lead to games that are sometimes cut short by a player who grabs them super quick. Sure, he deserves to win, but sometimes it makes the ending un-satisfying.
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Dave Taylor
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Blackadder23 wrote:
A 5 min clock per player IS a 30 minute turn/round.


Yes, but my understanding of the original comment was that one single player was taking thirty minutes per move. I just don't see how that's possible, or reasonable, or why anyone would need more than five minutes max to take their move.

I agree that, ideally, each player should take a move in much less than five minutes under most circumstances. Otherwise you're going to be there all day.
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