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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First Play, First Thoughts - Twilight Imperium(Third Edition) rss

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Caleb Smay
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6(players)+5(newbs)+1(game)=12(hours)

Rules and Setup
First thing you need to know is that we played this game with the Shattered Empire expansion. According to the only person in our group that had played before, without this expansion the game is broken. And it seems as if a lot of people agree with him. This also means that we had to use a variant rule concerning 'Public Objectives,' but more on that later.

At the beginning of the game, each player randomly chooses an alien race which they will play. Each of these races have their own special abilities, home system, tokens with their race's symbol on them, starting units, starting tech, and - since we had the first expansion and chose to use it - a racial tech only they could research. Each player is also given unit pieces. These are the starships and troops that you will be using during the game. We decided to have each player use the piece color that closest matched their race's primary color. This ticked me off to no end because it meant I could not be red and had to be green.

I was being coached through most of the setup by the player teaching us the game, so I am not sure on the details, but based upon the number of players, the rulebox instructs you on how to setup the game board. There are several systems printed on hexagonal tiles that make up the game board. The planet 'Mecatol Rex' - which in the games backstory is the former home of the now shattered galactic empire - is always placed in the middle of the board. Certain tiles are removed from the system stack. Some are removed via the rules and others at random.

These tiles are dealt evenly among the players. Going clockwise around the table, each player will place 1 tile. You have the place the tiles adjacent to 'Mecatol Rex' until the area surrounding it is filled. After that, a second circle of planets is created. The third ring of systems is where the home systems of the players are placed. When finished in a 6 player game, each home system will be two systems away from 'Mecatol Rex' and two systems away from their imediate neighbors.

Each player is also dealt a 'Secret Objective' card. These cards are each worth 2 points - a total of 10 points is needed to win the game - and are kept secret from the other players until/if they are ever occomplished. There are also a number of publich objective randomly chosen. Since we were playing with a variant involving the expansion, all public objectives were face-up and could be claimed any time. I was told that, normally, only one is face-up at the start of the game and players must choose a certain strategy card to draw more.

A total of 8 'Strategy' cards are placed near the board. At the beginning of each round, players will choose a card which will give them a certain special ability that they can use once per round. Keep in mind that a round is not each player taking one turn. A round continues until each player passes due to not wishing to continue that round or not be able to continue that round. Also, a player HAS to use the special ability on their card before thjey can pass each round since there is a secondary ability that all players may use if they wish. These strategy cards also have a number on them which determines turn order during the round. A in depth explination of each strategy card we used will be under 'Gameplay.'

There are two decks of cards - 'Action' and 'Political' - that are shuffled and placed near the game board. At the start, no player has any 'Action' cards and no 'Political' cards are in affect but this will change as the game progresses. 'Action' cards are given out to each player at the end of each round while 'Political' cards are put into play whenever someont take the 'Political' strategy card.

Every planet in the game has two numbers on it. These numbers represent resources and influence. Resources are used to build units and influence is used to vote on political card to determine who they affect or whether or not they go into play. Some of these cards will only affect the current game round while others will remain in play until the end of the game or until somehow canceled by other 'Political' card.

On a the racial sheet that each player recieved is listed their race's special abilities, the turn sequence, and the battle rating of each unit. The most important section on this sheet, however, are the three spaces in which players will be placing their 'Comand Counter'. Think of 'Command Counters' as sort of a currency in the game. They can be gained and spent to obtain certain things or use special abilities. Below is a breakdown of each section of the command sheet.

Strategy Allocation starts the game with 2 counters.
Counters placed in this pool can be spent to use the secondary ability of 'Strategy' cards when a player activates them. Certain racial abilities require these tokens as well.
Fleet Supply starts the game with 3 counters.
You can never have a bigger fleet(number of ships not counting fighters) in a single system than the number of counters in your fleet supply section.
Command Pool starts the game with 3 counters.
These tokens are used to activate systems(see 'Gameplay') to perform tactical moves.

You will receive 2 more 'Command Counters' and will be allowed to rearrange them however you want after each round.

After all this is finished, the game can start.

Gameplay
The first player(we determined this by die roll) is given the 'Speaker' token. This token is important because if there ever is a tie in a political vote, the 'Speaker' is the one who casts the deciding vote and gets to choose their 'Strategy' card first and continues clockwise. First, a quick explination of the 'Strategy' cards we used. You use 8 each game, but with the expansion we were playing with, there are a total of 17 to choose from. We chose the 8 that are easiest and make the game balanced. Only the player that took the card main use the primary ability. All other players may use the secondary ability when the player that chose the card decides to use it.

For this explination, I have listed the card in numerical order.

Initiative
Whoever takes this, get's the speaker token next round. They will also not have to pay tokens from there 'Strategy Allocation' pool to use the secondary abilities of each 'Strategy' card. Players cannot pick this 'Strategy' twice in a row.
NOTE: 'Initiative' has no secondary ability and is always considered to be active.
Diplomacy
PRIMARY: Choose an oppnent. That opponent is not allowed to attack you for the remainder of the round.
SECONDARY: Refresh upto two planet cards(planet cards are 'tapped' when you use them for their resources and, normally, are only 'untapped' at the end of a round).
Political
PRIMARY: Draw three action cards and one command counter. Draw the top card of the 'Political' deck. Players will than vote on if it goes into play or who it affects. Then look at the top three 'Political' cards in the deck. Choose one to go on the top and two to place on the bottom of the deck.
SECONDARY: Draw an 'Action' card.
Logistics
PRIMARY: Receive four 'Command Counters.'
SECONDARY: Spend 'Influence' to receive 'Command Counters' at the rate of 1/3.
Trade
PRIMARY: Gain three trade good. Trade goods can be used as 'Resources' when building units. They can also be used to pay other players to vote a certain way when resolving a 'Politics' card. You will also receive trade goods from any active trade argeements you have in play. These are cards - each species has two - can you can give to another player in exchange for one of their own. Or you can choose to cancel all trade agreements corrently in play.
SECONDARY: Pay one 'Command Token' to gain trade goods from your active trade agreements.
Warfare
PRIMARY: Allows you to remove a 'Command Counter' from the board. This will allow your ships to move twice or newly constructed units to move again.
SECONDARY: You can move certain units into an empty sytem.
Technology
PRIMARY: Gain a 'Technology' card. Keep in mind that ceretain technologies require that you have other technologies already in play. These will be listed on the card.
SECONDARY: Spend a 'Command Counter' and a number of resources(forgive me, but I cannot remember exactly how many right now) to gain a 'Technology.'
Imperial II
PRIMARY: When claiming 'Public Objectives' at the end of a round, you can claim as many as you qualify for - normally players can only claim one. If you control 'Mecatol Rex,' you gain one point. Or build ships from one space dock without activating a system once this turn.
SECONDARY: Pay one 'Command Counter' to build ships from one space dock without activating the system.

At the end of a round, these 'Strategy Cards' are returned to the common play area and are once again up for grabs. Any card not chosen gets a 'Bonus' token placed on them. When next it is claimed, you may trade in the bonus token for a trade good or a 'Command Counter.'

On a player's turn, they have three options. They may pass which means they are out for the round. They can still perform the secondary actions of 'Strategy' cards when the oppurtunity arises but that is all. They can perfom a 'Strategy Action' as described above by the 'Strategy' cards.

Finally, they may make a 'Tactical Actions.' To perform a 'Tactical Action,' players will spend 'Command Counters' from their 'Command Pool.' One per turn of these counters is place on a system on the board. This system is now 'Activate.' Any of the active player's ships within range of that system - most ships have a movement of 1, but this can be augmented by 'Tachnology' cards - may move to that system. If there are ships belonging to another player in that system, a battle insues.

Combat is performed by rolling dice. Each ship needs to roll a certain number or higher to hit. Most ships can only take one hit - again, can be augemented with 'Technology' cards - before they are destroyed. The player receiving the damage decideds which ship is destroyed. Some of the bigger ships can take 2 before being destroyed. If either player involved wishes to retreat from combat, they must declare so before the start of a combat round. A 'Command Counter' from their 'Command Pool' is placed on an adjacent empty or friendly system and all of their ships move there after the end of the next combat round. Other that this, combat is to the death.

I am not going to go into all the details, but there are certain things that can happen before a combat round takes place. For example, a Destroyer has an anti-fighter barrage and is allowed to take one shot at the enemy fighters before combat begins. There is also an optional rule in which the biggest and most powerful ship you can build - the 'War Sun,' which is essentially the Death Star - can be taken out by a fighter with a single hit, although the odds of succeeding are incredibly low. I do not know what it is called in the rulebook, but we all called it a 'Trench Run.' I mention this optional rule simply because I think it is awesome!

'Command Counters' can also be placed on friendly systems to build units. Each unit has a resource cost and you will need to 'tap' your planets or spend trade goods to build these units. Except fighters and ground units, you are limited to the number of ships that come in the game. For example, you can only have 2 'War Suns' in play at a time. Fighters and ground units cannot move on their own through the galaxy and need to be placed inside a 'Carrier.'

New ships need to be built on areas with a 'Space Dock' already present. 'Space Docks' can be built on any friendly planet so long as you have had control of that planet since the beginning of the round.

There are some cards in the 'Action' deck that need to be played as actions as well as some species abilities. But, for the most part, you will be doing one of those three things on your turn.

A round ends after every player has passed. Play continues until one player reaches 10 points or a certain number of turns pass in which case the player with the most points wins.

Components
First thing you need to know about the components to this game is that there are a ton of them! In our game we didn't even use half of the components that came with the base game, let alone the expansion. Thick, heavy tiles for the systems. Nice, durable cards with easy to read text, though I have never been a fan of the small card size Fantasy Flight puts in their board games.

Way too few dice! The battles we fought were usually 10-20 ships on each side each one needing a dice. But the game only came with 4. They are great quality dice, but we need more. I am probably going to buy like 10 in each of the different colors so each army will have their own to use.

A nitpicky thing I noticed is that the cards that come with the expansion are slightly smaller and a little darker than the cards that come with the base game. To me, this is not big deal and will not bother me in the slightest while playing.

Final Thoughts
Epic! Epic! Epic game! As I am sure you can tell, there is a ton going on in this game. Warfare, trading, politics, exploration! It is all here and it all works together well. The winner of our game barely even fought with any other player(until we realized that we couldn't catch up and we all tried to kill him). So there are obviously many strategies you can emply to achieve fictory. I would have loved to go on the warpath, but i was randomly dealt the race that is really a bunch of turtles and more about defense than offence.

Long! Long! Long game! As stated at the top of the review, this game took us 12 hours to complete. That is counting set-up and playtime. However, now that we understand it, if we played with the same group we could probably get it down to six hours. Which is still a very long game and that is going to be a major turn off for most people. Even when a gaming group loves it and wants to play it, they are going to have plan in advance and blank their schedules for that day to play a full game.

Twilight Imperium is not for everyone. It is not a filler or a game you can just pick up and play. It requires planning to get to the table. However, for those brave enough to play such an epic game, a truly amazing experience awaits.

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Makis
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Good review, and you've almost convinced me to try it again. I am one of those who most assuredly dislikes this game. It may have been the fact that we only played the base. It may have been the teachers we had. Either way I didn't like the mechanics of the game. It took far too long. And worst of all, there is a ton of down time between plays.

Now let me be clear. I understand what people love about the game. It's epic. There are a ton of things going on through the 8-12 hours. I actually liked some components of the game. Just overall I have to admit, reluctantly if you can believe it, that I will NEVER play this game again. I just can't pull the trigger on trashing 8 glorious gaming hours on this thing.

That having been said, once again I say good review! I see you've become a fast fan and I hope you remain one. I'd be interested to see how many times over the next year you actually play the game. One complaint or admission that most people offer is that while they love the game they only play it once or twice in a year.
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Alex Martinez
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Makis, I've heard these complaints before, and I certainly understand where they come from. This is a game that requires decisive players. If even one or two slow players are part of the game, everything can just drag.

I'm fortunate that all my plays have been with fast players and so, even my six player games have been brisk, fun experiences. That said, I certainly can't fault your experience. Like all games, it has as much to do with the players at the table as the game itself. And with a long, involved game like this, it's even more so.

Yes, it doesn't hit the table that often. But when it does, it's well worth it.
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Playing time alone isn't everything, for me it's more about how engaged you are throughout the game and how fast the pace of the game is. TI3 definitely has slow feel and game isn't as fluid as I would have wanted it to be. Perhaps it gets better with a regular group.
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Victor Balling
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I'm glad your game went smoothly. Well written and would make me want to play the game.

But I just played my first game this weekend and having looked forward to playing this game for a very long time I was thoroughly disappointed.

We spent 3 hours going over rules and the map setup. Then the most insufferable 7 hours of gaming I have ever been a part of. We called it quits after that as people had to work the next day.

Playing with 4 new players(myself included) and 2 people(a couple) that had played before turned out very poorly. The couple "allied" together and played nice by not attacking each other and also trading together. I was an aggressive race and tried to expand fast and was threatening to take out my neighbor who then passed the law that switched supply and influence. That shut me out of the game as most of my planets became worthless. It also shut him out of the game as most of his planets became worthless. Player(Newbie) 3, across the map from me, used his action cards to block my movement and to blow up my space docks and ignored the allied players to fight the 4th newbie who was the only one trying to slow down the couple.

I think the thing that really got to me was that I would plan my entire round in my first action and the other players would take 5-10 minutes for each of theirs. I could go sit and watch the football games between my actions and miss nothing of interest.

I'll probably try again since other seem to have a better time of it.
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Ernest S
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I got to play 3 times in 2011, each game taking about 7 hours. I really love this game but it is a marathon & hard to get a group together to play one game for that long.

Thanks for the review.thumbsup
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Geoff
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SteakKnife wrote:
We spent 3 hours going over rules and the map setup.


Ouch. That certainly wouldn't be a good start for any game. I can explain TI3 well enough in 30 minutes to get started with map setup. Another 20 or 30 minutes of tile placement later (assuming everybody is on the ball), we'd be playing. For a game with the scope of TI3, you really need a rehearsed lesson.

SteakKnife wrote:
The couple "allied" together and played nice by not attacking each other and also trading together.


I'm torn on this issue. Politics are part of the game, and alliances (especially temporary ones) are going to pop up. On the other hand, I dislike when the politics are based on who one is dating or something arbitrary like that. In any case, I'd advise the rest of the group to go on the offensive and not let either player get away with it, because having 1 fewer opponents than everybody else can be a huge advantage. Of course, you do mention that one person tried that, and if you're all the way on the opposite side of the map, you usually have a really hard time getting over there to help take down the conspirators. I think this really is going to be something that will help a player decide whether or not TI3 is a good game for him or her, though you sound like you had a particularly frustrating experience.

SteakKnife wrote:
. . . my neighbor who then passed the law that switched supply and influence. That shut me out of the game as most of my planets became worthless. It also shut him out of the game as most of his planets became worthless.


The political bit can ruin a good game of TI3, especially with inexperienced players. I know a lot of people love love love the politics in TI3, but I find it to be a bit of a chore. With players who don't know to keep a player from getting a monopoly on votes or who vote on silly things, it can make the game feel like a waste of time for at least a player or two at the table.

SteakKnife wrote:
I think the thing that really got to me was that I would plan my entire round in my first action and the other players would take 5-10 minutes for each of theirs. I could go sit and watch the football games between my actions and miss nothing of interest.


Downtime is part of a big game of TI3. Our group doesn't have quite as much downtime as yours seems to, but it's not a fast-paced game. If you're playing with 6 players, just be lucky you've got football to fill the void

SteakKnife wrote:
I'll probably try again since other seem to have a better time of it.


If you're at all interested in liking TI3, I'd recommend trying out a 3- or 4-player game before playing another 6-player. The downtime on the 3-player game I played was pretty close to negligible for most turns, and I don't think the game lost anything with the lower player count.
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Makis
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KingCroc wrote:
Makis, I've heard these complaints before, and I certainly understand where they come from. This is a game that requires decisive players. If even one or two slow players are part of the game, everything can just drag.


I found that to be the biggest issue the time we played. Truth is its a bunch of tiny things that just turn me off. But again, I can see why so many people love the game.
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Scott Randolph
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After I have finished playing for 12 hours...I just want to play again.
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SteakKnife wrote:
We spent 3 hours going over rules and the map setup.


I don't understand stuff like this. No offense to anyone, but we're all literate here, right? And the PDF of the rules is freely available online. When I plan a game, I make sure new players who will be participating know to read the rules and (this is important) watch a couple of the online videos showing how the game is played. Usually on game day I only have to clarify one or two things and we're ready to go. Why make things harder on yourself when there are so many resources freely available to train new players?

If new players won't make any effort to get ready to play the game, then they probably don't have the attention span for a game of this length anyway. Better to weed them out early IMO.
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Dave Taylor
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imyourskribe wrote:
I'm torn on this issue. Politics are part of the game, and alliances (especially temporary ones) are going to pop up. On the other hand, I dislike when the politics are based on who one is dating or something arbitrary like that.


The big problem - and you can trust me on this - is that your SO has a wide variety of options for retaliation in the real world if he or she feels mistreated by you during a game. It would be asking a lot to expect most married or dating couples not to ally during games. You just have to roll with it.

Luckily for the other players in my group, if not for me, my wife hates board games! laugh
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Makis
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Blackadder23 wrote:
SteakKnife wrote:
We spent 3 hours going over rules and the map setup.


I don't understand stuff like this. No offense to anyone, but we're all literate here, right? And the PDF of the rules is freely available online. When I plan a game, I make sure new players who will be participating know to read the rules and (this is important) watch a couple of the online videos showing how the game is played. Usually on game day I only have to clarify one or two things and we're ready to go. Why make things harder on yourself when there are so many resources freely available to train new players?

If new players won't make any effort to get ready to play the game, then they probably don't have the attention span for a game of this length anyway. Better to weed them out early IMO.


Some people will not read rules. I'm in a pretty seasoned gaming group and there are two or three members who refuse to read rules. It's a bit selfish I guess, but they'd just as soon stab themselves in the eye then waste hours reading rules and watching videos.
As much as I'd love to have them all prepped before a game, it simply doesn't happen. Of course most of us work 40+ hours a week and have limited access to BGG at work. Luckily I don't fall in the limited access group so I can read till my heart's content.
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Dave Taylor
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markaaronmassey wrote:
Some people will not read rules. I'm in a pretty seasoned gaming group and there are two or three members who refuse to read rules. It's a bit selfish I guess, but they'd just as soon stab themselves in the eye then waste hours reading rules and watching videos.


Well, it's not really a "waste" of time to read the rules for a game you want to play, is it? That's just bizarre to me. Luckily I've never encountered that attitude, because my response would have been "Thanks but no thanks, get a ritalin prescription and then we'll talk about you playing." IMO people without the patience to read thirty pages of rules (not counting options) won't have the patience for a 6-10 hour game either. So you're probably correct in the belief that TI is not for your group.

markaaronmassey wrote:
As much as I'd love to have them all prepped before a game, it simply doesn't happen. Of course most of us work 40+ hours a week and have limited access to BGG at work. Luckily I don't fall in the limited access group so I can read till my heart's content.


I'm sure none of those hard working folks spend hours a day watching TV or playing World of Warcraft. I bet they could fit in a couple hours to read the rules if they were really motivated. However, if they're not, they won't be motivated to play such a long game either. So all in all you're probably right to give it a miss. Enjoy the games you do play.

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Blackadder23 wrote:
If new players won't make any effort to get ready to play the game, then they probably don't have the attention span for a game of this length anyway. Better to weed them out early IMO.


Some people (myself included) have a hard time understanding rules without having the pieces out to set up, look at, and push around the board. Others learn better from listening than from reading, and some find reading rules a chore. I also find that a lot of people don't want to spend a couple hours of free time reading the rules for a game that somebody can explain to them. None of those have anything to do with literacy. The last of those is my biggest concern. I'm really uncomfortable asking people to spend time doing things they don't enjoy in the time they're supposed to spend relaxing. If they want to, that's great, but I don't usually have people begging after rules to read.

I've thought about sending out links to videos for those who would like to watch it, but I haven't found any teaching videos I'm really happy with. Especially with TI3, there's a lot of information that most of the players don't need to know before the game begins. The videos I've seen don't line up with what I like to go over.

When I host a TI3 game with newbies, I just start the explanation at X:00 and tell vets that they can show at X:30 if they want to skip it.
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imyourskribe wrote:
Blackadder23 wrote:
If new players won't make any effort to get ready to play the game, then they probably don't have the attention span for a game of this length anyway. Better to weed them out early IMO.


Some people (myself included) have a hard time understanding rules without having the pieces out to set up, look at, and push around the board. Others learn better from listening than from reading, and some find reading rules a chore. I also find that a lot of people don't want to spend a couple hours of free time reading the rules for a game that somebody can explain to them. None of those have anything to do with literacy. The last of those is my biggest concern. I'm really uncomfortable asking people to spend time doing things they don't enjoy in the time they're supposed to spend relaxing. If they want to, that's great, but I don't usually have people begging after rules to read.

I've thought about sending out links to videos for those who would like to watch it, but I haven't found any teaching videos I'm really happy with. Especially with TI3, there's a lot of information that most of the players don't need to know before the game begins. The videos I've seen don't line up with what I like to go over.

When I host a TI3 game with newbies, I just start the explanation at X:00 and tell vets that they can show at X:30 if they want to skip it.


I find spending a few minutes explaining the concepts and then explaining things as the game plays out the easiest way. Doing your 30 mins is fine too, it depends on how the group prefers it. Taking 3 hours is nuts. It would be quicker to read the rules out loud. No wonder why that session failed.
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Caleb Smay
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If anyone is curious, rule explanation for my group took 30-45 minutes. And that is mainly because we are a fun game group with tons of laughs. So it probably took 15 minutrs longer than needed. Guess I am lucky to have such an awesome group.

Now, granted, we did check the rulebook a couple of times during play, but this took no more than a minute or two and probably 10 minutes total with all the look-ups.
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I think this is a really good walkthrough to have new players watch. It shows a complete game.

http://www.preeminent.org/steve/games/ti3/ti3demo/3-player/h...

The only wrinkle is it's three players, so the set up and Strategy Card draws may be different from what you actually play. But I find those differences can be explained in a couple of minutes. Also the players screw up the rules a couple of times (as they acknowledge) but nothing too major. I think it's really helpful to actually see a game from start to finish before you play and get some sense of what terms like "activation" and "status phase" actually mean.

(I do think it's funny that the Yssaril player never skips a turn in that game - not once.)
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Caleb Smay
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Blackadder23 wrote:
I think it's really helpful to actually see a game from start to finish before you play and get some sense of what terms like "activation" and "status phase" actually mean.


This is true. Most people learn more by sight than just hearing. I actually learned how to play Chess by watching my two brothers play each other.
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Martin Presley
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Victor, I have to wonder, did you have anyone in your group who knew the rules or had played the game before? Because if not, I can understand how it was miserable; no one would really know how the game flows or what rules are important, versus which ones are bookkeeping.

When I played TI for the first time, with a group of total newbies, I read up on every common rules confusion and sample game I could get my hands on. When the big day came, I gave an overview (victory conditions, very basic turn order, how to read planets, what the hazards do), just enough to let people make informed decisions when setting up the galaxy. Then I gave a quick one-sentence summary of each strategy card (Imperial is the best, it gives you VP. Diplomacy lets you forbid someone from attacking you). We ended up coming in at 8 hours for 4 players, including explanation time and galaxy setup. You don't have to explain every detail or system ahead of time, especially since a lot is printed on cards. Just give players enough information to be aware of their options and you can learn the details as you play.

DEAR LORD 5 minutes per action? First of all, you should have the secondary actions of strategies going off, so it's not like nothing happens when it's not your turn. TI should have minimal downtime, maybe a minute or two per player on average. Sometimes people do take 5 minutes to mull over a tricky situation, while others will take 5 seconds; it should balance out.

And as to the married couple, that's a real shame, and is an issue in any strategy game. If you play with them again, you should try to make sure they sit on opposite sides of the galaxy; if this upsets them, explain that unbreakable-ultimate-trust-alliance isn't really fair to other people, and that this way they don't have to confront each other, while still keeping things fairly balanced. Or tell them to be secure enough in their relationship to go ahead and blow up each other's plastic space ships and laugh about it.

Sorry if this is sounding too forceful. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences, because I'm sure you had a poor time with TI. But from what it sounds like, it wasn't really the game's fault you didn't enjoy it. It really is a spectacular and uproarious way to spend a day; it's possible it's just not a good fit for your group, but I'd suggest approaching it with more preparation and forethought, and more time; 7 is too short for 6 first-time players.
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Victor Balling
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Caleb: I apologize for hijacking a lot of response. Your post was well put together.

hoobajoo wrote:
Victor, I have to wonder, did you have anyone in your group who knew the rules or had played the game before? Because if not, I can understand how it was miserable; no one would really know how the game flows or what rules are important, versus which ones are bookkeeping.


The couple that allied together were the two of us that had played before. Annoyingly one of them asked for more take-backs than the rest of us combined.

hoobajoo wrote:

When I played TI for the first time, with a group of total newbies, I read up on every common rules confusion and sample game I could get my hands on. When the big day came, I gave an overview (victory conditions, very basic turn order, how to read planets, what the hazards do), just enough to let people make informed decisions when setting up the galaxy. Then I gave a quick one-sentence summary of each strategy card (Imperial is the best, it gives you VP. Diplomacy lets you forbid someone from attacking you). We ended up coming in at 8 hours for 4 players, including explanation time and galaxy setup. You don't have to explain every detail or system ahead of time, especially since a lot is printed on cards. Just give players enough information to be aware of their options and you can learn the details as you play.


I am going through the mock game that a previous poster put up. It is very helpful to see another game. We had a last minute dropout so we called up a friend who was willing to play on 30 minute notice who had never played before. Of the 4 newbies, 2 of us had at least skimmed the rules and the other two were completely new to the game. We definitely spent way too much time on the rules. But a lot of scenarios where we had to check the rules came up and then surf the web because the rules weren't detailed enough or efficient.

hoobajoo wrote:

Sorry if this is sounding too forceful. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences, because I'm sure you had a poor time with TI. But from what it sounds like, it wasn't really the game's fault you didn't enjoy it. It really is a spectacular and uproarious way to spend a day; it's possible it's just not a good fit for your group, but I'd suggest approaching it with more preparation and forethought, and more time; 7 is too short for 6 first-time players.


Well we did allocate 10 hours but 3 went to rules... I want to try it again now that I have a better idea of how to play. I can probably convince a few of them to do it again and in much better time.

Aside: I am going to look at variants that could speed up the game such as reduce points required or having all the tier 1 public objectives visible to start. I prefer a faster game when learning a game then go to the normal pace when people have a much more clear vision of how to play. 6 hours of paying for early mistakes seems too much.
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Martin Presley
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SteakKnife wrote:
Well we did allocate 10 hours but 3 went to rules... I want to try it again now that I have a better idea of how to play. I can probably convince a few of them to do it again and in much better time.

Aside: I am going to look at variants that could speed up the game such as reduce points required or having all the tier 1 public objectives visible to start. I prefer a faster game when learning a game then go to the normal pace when people have a much more clear vision of how to play. 6 hours of paying for early mistakes seems too much.


Great to hear you're giving it a second shot! I wouldn't worry about early game mistakes that much, TI isn't too punishing on them. Just get in there and have fun. If you want a shorter intro game, you might set a turn limit, and just end the game after that many turns if no one is at 10, with the winner being whoever is ahead.

Here is what I would recommend for your next session. Whenever my group has a rules dispute and there's no clear answer in the book, we just take a vote, with ties in favor of the player who has brought it up. After the game we'll look it up, for the future. Also agree if/when anyone makes a rules slip up, to correct it if it's quick, and just live with it if it's not. It's more important that the game keep up the pace than every niggling rule from the FAQ be observed.
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Caleb Smay
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SteakKnife wrote:
Caleb: I apologize for hijacking a lot of response. Your post was well put together.


No problem! Any discussion is good discussion so long as it doesn’t turn into name calling and all that stuff. I hate that!

SteakKnife wrote:
I am going to look at variants that could speed up the game such as reduce points required or having all the tier 1 public objectives visible to start. I prefer a faster game when learning a game then go to the normal pace when people have a much more clear vision of how to play. 6 hours of paying for early mistakes seems too much.


In my game, we played a variant that comes with the expansion. This variant uses the ‘Imperial II’ strategy card as I mentioned. Not only are ALL objectives visible at the beginning of the game, but there is also a round counter which is equal to the number of objectives. You may want to look into this variant.
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Geoff
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SteakKnife wrote:
Aside: I am going to look at variants that could speed up the game such as reduce points required. . . .


We play an "abbreviated" game to 9 points. I think it's pretty much perfect; you still get a great story arc, but you never have to go through a last round that sometimes feels like an extra 30-60 minutes working towards an inevitable conclusion.
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What really surprises me about all these "first time" posts, is that they never seem to use the premade maps. How would you know how to build the galaxy if you haven't played the game before? (Build it well, anyway.)
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ScoobyG wrote:
What really surprises me about all these "first time" posts, is that they never seem to use the premade maps. How would you know how to build the galaxy if you haven't played the game before? (Build it well, anyway.)


I don't know, we've never used the premade maps with new players either. I just tell them "put the good stuff close to yourself and the crap close to other players." If we're using Imperial I, which is about half the time, I make sure to emphasize that whoever is going first needs an extra share of crap to help counteract the VP head start (and yes, I do this even if I'm the one who's going to be going first - fair is fair). I don't think it's that hard to understand.
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