Hello to everyone and welcome to BeerMe's Drunk & Disorderly Tournament of Champions for Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition!
This will be a six-part sessions report dealing with all of the races in the current TI3 universe (official only, no homemade races). It will take place over four 3-player games, one 4-player game, and a final 6-player game using the five previous winning races and the one "Wild Card" race. All non-championship matches are completely random and all will use the same variants to help create a more uniform system.
Here is the catch though. I will be the only player in every game. I originally did this to help familiarize myself more with the game and it's unique rogue's gallery, but I realized maybe others could benefit from this too, and decided to do a series of session reports to give my insight into what I have learned over the course of these games.
If you are looking for the other games in my Tournament of Champions, please follow the links below (they will be updated as I submit more sessions):
Game 1: Nekro vs. Muatt vs. Creuss (Here)
Game 2: Hacan vs. Saar vs. Xxcha (Here)
Game 3: Winnu vs. Arborec vs. Naalu (Here)
Game 4: Letnev vs. Jol-Nar vs. Yin (Here)
Game 5: Sol vs. Mentak vs. L1z1x vs. Yssaril
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: N'Orr vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ???
Or you can find all my Solo Session Reports at my geeklist:
BeerMe's Drunk & Disorderly Solo Session Reports
One final note, here are the variants I will be using for every game, including the championship.
Shattered Empire Strategy Cards (minus a couple...see below)
Artifacts (I use all 8 artifact tokens, instead of 1 per player)
Mecatol Rex Custodians
I am not using Leaders or Voice of the Coucil because I don't like them. So there.
For the first time, 4 races come together to decide the fate of a galaxy! SOLdiers, Spy, Cyborgs, and Pirates spar to control the Galactic Throne.
It's Sol vs. L1z1x vs. Yssaril vs. Mentak!
Round 1 Strategy Phase
L1z1x (Black) Starting Preliminary = "I control a planet adjacent to an enemy Home System."
Sol (Blue) Starting Preliminary = "I attacked a player who I have a Trade Agreement with."
Mentak (Orange) Starting Preliminary = "I control 2 systems adjacent to Mecatol Rex."
Yssaril (Green) Starting Preliminary = "I destroyed 2 enemy Cruisers this Round."
*L1z1x - Diplomacy II (2), Production (4)
Sol - Trade III (5), Technology II (7)
Mentak - Assembly II (3), Warfare II (6)
Yssaril - Leadership (1), Bureaucracy (8)
* = Speaker Token
Yssaril Round 1 Summary
Typical Round 1 from any race, Yssaril spends it's time taking planets. They manage to grab up Lisis, Velnor, Perimeter, and El'Nath, also gaining 2 Trade Goods (TG) and finding Native Intelligence and an Ancient Shipwreck on El'Nath. Using Bureaucracy, they unveil "I control 5 planets outside my Home System." but unfortunately for them, they don't qualify for that or "I now spend 6 Trade Goods." which is the starting Stage I Public Objective. So far though, they have been setup for success, managing to gain 4 planets, and a lot of room to grow.
L1z1x Round 1 Summary
L1z1x runs into more problems than Yssaril during Round 1. They only manage to take 3 planets, including Vefut II which they got via Diplomacy II Option B. But, at the same time, they save a lot of Command Counters (CC) taking only 4 Actions with Round. Plus, they find a Hidden Factory on Quann and gain 1 free Cruiser. Otherwise, L1z1x needs to make up a LOT of ground during the next couple Rounds in order to keep pace with the other races.
Mentak Round 1 Summary
Mentak has the most formidable Round 1 I think I have ever seen. They only take over 2 planets this Round, but they are amazingly influential planets. Using the High Alert Token (H.A. Token) in their Home System, they manage to conquer Capha and discover Lazax Survivors there and the Precursor Fossil. They also use the H.A. Token to allow their Cruisers to enter the empty space directly below Mecatol Rex, and find a Derelict Ship, for another Cruiser. This completes their Preliminary Objective, as long as they hold on to the systems. In addition to all this, they move into Primor, take the planet and find a second Lazax Survivors! Finishing out their Round, Mentak uses Bureacracy to secure the Speaker Token and the Council passes "Vorhal Peace Prize" letting the player/s with the fewest CC in Fleet Supply to gain an extra CC during the Status Phase.
Sol Round 1 Summary
Sol manages to have a very productive Round 1. Capturing Rigel I through III, Arnor, and Lor, they gain 4 TG, lose 2 Ground Forces (GF), and find a Native Intelligence regarding Saudor, revealing MORE Native Intelligence. Using Trade III, they establish Agreements with Yssaril and Mentak, and using Technology II, Sol researches XRD Transports. No one uses the secondary for either, and Sol doesn't hire a Mercenary (Merc). Taking the most Actions this Round, Sol also uses it's Special Ability to place 2 GF on Jord, and finds a Super Nova right next to it's Home System.
Note: The empty space tile adjacent to the Sol Home System is replaced with a Super Nova tile for aesthetic reasons.
Round 1 Status Phase
Mentak completes their Preliminary Objective and draws the "Conquerer" Secret Objective (SO).
Sol qualifies for the Public Objective "I now spend 6 TG."
L1z1x and Mentak both leave Tsion and Primor exhausted to gain 2 TG and 2 GF respectively.
Round 2 Strategy Phase
*Mentak - Production II (4), Bureaucracy (8)
Yssaril - Trade III (5), Technology II (7)
L1z1x - Diplomacy II (2), Warfare II (6)
Sol - Leadership (1), Assembly II (3)
Sol Round 2 Summary
Sol follows up Round 1 with a very unfortunate Round 2. Sol moves into Torkan/Tequ'ran on Turn 1 only to have it's Carrier with 2 GF and 1 Mech shot down, along with a Destroyer. This costs them the whole system and limits them to gaining only Saudor and Lodor (through Diplomacy II's secondary) for the entire Round. Luckily for Sol though, Saudor holds the Imperial Datacache and they at least gain a VP from there. Using Assembly II, Sol acquires the Speaker Token and allows Mentak to resolve a Political Card. They choose "Sharing of Techonology" and the Council meets. Both L1z1x and Sol abstain from the vote, letting R7-82 and Ronald Wiley to carry out their special abilities (For Ronald, this is the second time Sol has used his ability.) The laws is voted down and all Trade Agreements are cancelled.
L1z1x Round 2 Summary
Just as Sol did, L1z1x utilizes the Diplomacy II secondary to help expand this Round, claiming Bellatrix after being beaten there last Round. L1z1x also adds Malice, Qucen'n, and Rarron to their empire, and even manages to find the Lazax Armory on Rarron. The L1z1x ends the Round by building a Space Dock on Quann and is the first of the races to establish a forward position on the board.
Mentak Round 2 Summary
Making their presence know again for Round 2, Mentak captures Abyz, Fria, Dal Bootha, and Xxehan. This brings their planet total to 6 outside their Home System, and although they have one of the smaller empires on the board, they easily have the most agile. Their large amount of Carriers, Cruisers, and Ground Forces is quickly becoming a force to be recognized. They even receive Anti-mass Deflectors from a Technological Society they discover. This tech serves no direct purpose given the map setup, but will lead them to XRD Transports in the later game. Mentak finishes the Round using Bureaucracy, revealing "I now spend 10 Influence." and qualifies for "I control 5 planets outside my Home System."
Yssaril Round 2 Summary
Yssaril has a slow Round 2. They try to conquer the Arcturus/Sumerian system, but end up with only Sumerian after losing to 2 Hostile Locals on Arcturus. Yssaril does field the Y'sia Y'ssrila though and backs it up with a Mech Unit to transport. Using Trade III, they allow agreements to be made between all players, and luckily for Sol, this is after the Political Agenda from earlier in the Round. After that, Yssaril just coasts through the Round though, only gaining Enviro Compensators from Technology II and ending the Round not much better off then last Round.
Round 2 Status Phase
Yssaril qualifies for "I now spend 6 Trade Goods."
Sol and L1z1x both qualify for "I control 5 planets outside my Home System."
Mentak and L1z1x both leave Primor and Tsion exhausted for this Round also.
Round 3 Strategy Phase
*Sol - Diplomacy II (2), Bureaucracy (8)
Mentak - Leadership (1), Trade III (5)
Yssaril - Assembly II (3), Production II (4)
L1z1x - Warfare II (6), Technology II (7)
Mentak Round 3 Summary
Starting off the Round, Mentak captures Garbozia only to find a Beta Wormhole there. This changes the dynamic of the board entirely, now giving L1z1x almost direct access to the Sol and Mentak Home Systems. Otherwise, Mentak has a very quick Round. They build 2 Space Docks on Abyz and Fria, and use Trade III to hire the Merc Daffren.
Sol Round 3 Summary
Sol also has a very quick Round. They use the Diplomacy II primary, targeting Lodor to make sure L1z1x doesn't take it from them, and later builds a Space Dock there. Using Bureaucracy, they reveal "I have more than 1 technology advance in 3 different colors." and qualify for "I now spend 10 Influence." This move uses up most of their resources and is the cause of their short turn. Sol does manage to build more units in their Home System, however.
Yssaril Round 3 Summary
Regaining the Speaker Token through the use of Assembly II starts Yssaril down the right path this Round. Sol resolves to Political Card "Redefining War Crimes" and after an inconsequential Council, the law is voted down. Yssaril also finally captures Arcturus with the help of the Y'sia Y'ssrila, a Mech Unit, and the Merc Murrag. And Yssaril builds 2 Space Docks in the Lisis/Velnor system, along with a PDS unit.
L1z1x Round 3 Summary
A very uneventful Round from L1z1x leaves much to be desired. They spend the entire Round manuevering units through systems they already control. Using Technology II though, L1z1x does acquire Inheritance Systems though. This will prove to be a turning point in the game for them actually, and lead them to several VP in the end. Mentak also gains XRD Transports because of this Technology II activation.
Round 3 Status Phase
Yssaril and L1z1x qualify for "I now spend 10 Influence."
Mentak qualifies for "I now spend 6 Trade Goods."
Round 4 Strategy Phase
*Yssaril - Leadership (1), Bureaucracy (8)
L1z1x - Production (4), Trade III (5)
Sol - Assembly II (3), Warfare II (6)
Mentak - Diplomacy II (2), Technology II (7)
Yssaril Round 4 Summary
Yssaril starts the Round off strong, using Bureaucracy to reveal "I successfully invaded a planet containing at least 1 enemy Ground Force." and qualifies for "I control 5 planets outside my Home System." Afterward though, they run into some snags. While trying to take over the Lazar/Sakulag, they lose a Mech Unit to 3 Hostile Ground Forces, but capturing Lazar without an hiccups. They gain 5 CC from Leadership, but end the Round very dissappointed. This game is not going according to plan, especially from a race that is viewed as one of if not the best in the game.
Mentak Round 4 Summary
Starting the Round off with a Strategic Action using Technology II helps keep Mentak a strong player. They gain Gravity Drive, and now have immense speed and versatility from their forces. Unfortunately for them though, L1z1x makes use of Inheritance Systems because of this early Tech II use, and gains Fleet Logistics for 2 extra Resources. Mentak however has plans for this new boost in movement and activates the Yssaril Home System. Moving 3 Cruisers, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 2 GF, and 1 Mech Unit, they simply walk right and take Shalloq and Retillion. They follow that up by using Diplomacy II to make sure no one can take it from them for the rest of the Round. Mentak finishes the Round by building more GF and another Mech Unit in Abyz/Fria.
Sol Round 4 Summary
Capitalizing on the Mentak moving so much away from their core systems, Sol makes a critical strike of their own. Using the High Alert Token in their Home System, and their ability to create Ground Forces out of thin air, they move into Capha. Seizing the planet, the Precursor Fossil, and qualifying for a Public Objective and their Preliminary Objective all in one move. They also finally capture Tequ'ran/Torkan and receive a free Space Dock in the system thanks to the Technological Society they learned about, several Rounds earlier. Sol gains the Speaker Token via Assembly II, but is then on the receiving end of the Political Card "Trade Embargo" after Rev. Hendrickson assassinates Zo Cou of Yssaril. Fearing retaliation from the other races, Sol ends the Round by using every available resource to build 5 Cruisers in the Lodor system. Sol just blew the hinges off this game, and will end the Round with 7 VP. L1z1x and Mentak will be at 5, and Yssaril trails with only 3 during this coming Status Phase.
L1z1x Round 4 Summary
Again, another Round of posturing from L1z1x with lots of movement of ships, but no real shinanigans. The most crucial thing they do is move into 2 systems of empty space. The first directly below Quann, releaving another Alpha Wormhole, and the second being just below El'Nath. This allows them to use the secondary of Diplomacy II to annex Resculon when Mentak triggers it. That simple move sets them up to qualify their Preliminary without ever firing a shot.
Round 4 Status Phase
Sol completes their Preliminary Objective and draws the "Forceful" Secret Objective. They also qualify for "I successfully invaded a planet containing at least 1 enemy GF." Sol also scuttles the Space Dock in it's Home System.
Mentak completes their Secret Objective "Conquerer."
L1z1x completes their Preliminary Objective and draws "Expansionist" Secrect Objective. They also qualify for "I now spend 6 TG."
Round 5 Strategy Phase
*Sol - Production (4), Bureaucracy (8)
Mentak - Warfare II (6), Technology II (7)
Yssaril - Diplomacy II (2), Assembly II (3)
L1z1x - Leadership (1), Trade III (5)
L1z1x Round 5 Summary
L1z1x has been the dark horse this entire match, sticking to it's own systems, and not making much noise. This Round changes all that as they attempt to complete their new Secret Objective. Lots more rearranging of ships occurs in their flanks to make sure they have ships in every system they already control. A Carrier with 1 GF is moved into the Corneeq/Resculon system to secure their foothold there, ships are moved into the empty space adjacent to El'Nath to take control of that system, and L1z1x makes it's first aggressive move as they force Sol out of the Lodor System. L1z1x also picks up Arcturus/Sumerian as Yssaril abandons it to reclaim their Home System. Out of the 28 non-Special non-Home Systems on the board, L1z1x now controls 12 of them.
Yssaril Round 5 Summary
Just like L1z1x, Yssaril find Round 5 to be the time to make some serious moves. Abandoning Arcturus/Sumerian, they reorganize their forces, reclaim their Home System, and manage to push L1z1x mostly out of Corneeq/Resculon. Yssaril also engages L1z1x in the empty system below El'nath, and finally completes their Preliminary Objective of destroying to enemy Cruisers. They also managed to kill a L1z1x GF on Resculon to qualify for a Public Objective. Using Diplomacy II, they also took over Sakulag earlier in the Round. This has given them a great boost to their VP, but at the cost of losing a system. In the end, they break even, but this may prove to be too late in the game to recover.
Sol Round 5 Sumary
Sol has their eye on the prize, and with only 2 more VP needed to win the game, they see their new "Forceful" Secret Objective as the key to winning. Especially after Bureaucracy reveals the Stage II Public Objective "I now spend 12 TG" and Sol can't qualify for anthing. Using Production, they begin amassing Dreadnoughts at Tequ'ran/Torkan. They also manuever ships from Lodor and Saudor into Mecatol Rex and easily defeat the Custodians there. This movement of units is what lets L1z1x take over Lodor with not much of a fight, with the remainder of Sol's Cruisers being repositioned at Jord to protect from a possible invasion. Sol spends the last action of the Round moving 4 Dreadnoughts into the Saudor system. Sol is now just a Transfer Action away from completing their Secret Objective and winning the game.
Mentak Round 5 Summary
Mentak starts the Round by jumping ship, and running from the incoming Yssaril forces. They don't leave a single unit behind and are hoping to use them to fight off Sol at Capha, and possibly defend their other systems should Yssaril try a retaliation. Using Technology II, Mentak picks up Sarween Tools and Deep Space Cannon, while L1z1x also researches D.S.C.. Mentak now strikes at Capha using the High Alert Token, 2 Dreadnoughts, 1 Carrier, 2 Mech Units, and 1 GF. When the dust settles, Sol has been wiped from the system, and Mentak takes back the Precursor Fossil.
Round 5 Status Phase
L1z1x completes their Secret Objective and qualifies for "I successfully invaded a planet containing 1 enemy Ground Force."
Yssaril completes their Preliminary Objective and draws "Merciless" Secret Objective. They also qualify for the "I successfully invaded a planet containing 1 enemy Ground Force." Public Objective.
Mentak qualifies for "I have more than 1 Technology Advance in 3 different colors."
Round 6 Strategy Phase
*Yssaril - Leadership (1), Technology II (7)
L1z1x - Diplomacy II (2), Trade III (5)
Sol - Assembly II (3), Production (4)
Mentak - Warfare II (6), Bureaucracy (8)
Round 6 Summary
This Round comes down to one of two things happening. Either Yssaril has to invade the L1z1x Home System so that they can't qualify for "I have more than 1 Technology Advance in 3 colors" or Mentak has to keep Sol from reclaiming Capha and the Precursor Fossil or take Mecatol Rex from them. Either way, the game ends this Round.
L1z1x using Diplomacy II to safeguard their Home System put the pressure on Sol to do impossible. They have to keep their own Home System safe, keep Mecatol Rex safe, and not use 4 of their Dreadnoughts to take back Capha. Two of these things they manage to do, but Capha proves too elusive. Mentak ends up positioning more forces in the system, and into the adjacent empty system making the move too much for Sol.
Round 6 Status Phase
L1z1x qualifies for "I have more than 1 Technology Advance in 3 different colors."
Mentak qualifies for the newly revealed "I am blockading an enemy Space Dock" which they achieved by invading Tequ'ran/Torkan during the last couple turns of the game.
Sol completes their Secret Objective.
L1z1x - 9
Sol - 8
Mentak - 8
Yssaril - 6
I believe this was my longest game yet in my Tournament of Champions, and it came down to a real slugfest at the end. It is also my only 4-player game for the tournament, and this added a lot to the mix. The map was fairly well balanced, and the races are all some of my favorites. And although it was an extremely close race in the end, this is another example of where a race being left alone to it's own devices can make or break the game.
I had even prematurely ended this game at the end of Round 5 when I thought there was no catching L1z1x, but had to start a new Round when I looked at the potential VP for each race at the end of what another Round would bring. Sol had the opportunity to win this, and had I played them a little better, and maybe not been distracted by the other race's agendas, they could have come out on top of this. I might have to go back and revisit this game once the tournament is over and see what I could have done differently.
Thoughts on L1z1x
A great race. I wouldn't say Top 5 for sure, but maybe. Their ability to brutalize opponents with cheap, strong Dreadnoughts and vicious Ground Forces makes them real tough combatants. This game didn't display that at all, however. In fact, this game highlights the Mindnet's ability to work outside their specialties. Their Representatives are diverse, their racial techs (well, one of them) is absurdly strong, and their new Flagship, although not fielded this game, makes attacking them seem like nonsense. This allows them to mostly expand unhindered until mid to late game. This early established empire they can build means they get more Resources, more Influence, and more room to work with faster than many other races.
If facing them, dont let them grow too rapidly. Shut them down with debilitating Laws in the Council, make allies with their neighbors, and force them into a corner. Limiting their income of Trade Goods will help as well. Granted all this can be said of fighting any opponent, but with the L1z1x, they are going to be wanting to crank out more expensive ships early thanks to their discounted Dreadnoughts. Break their economy, and the Mindnet will crumble under it's own weight.
Thoughts on Sol
Another race that can be devastatingly hard to control, the Sol spread like wild fire. Any planet they control can become a breeding ground, literally. Their special abilities focus on what we as Humans do best...make more Humans. This combined with their additional CC every Status Phase makes Sol extremely versatile. Allowing them to have larger fleets, more actions, or use of more secondaries before most opponents. All these factors, combined with a ridiculous Flagship and fairly good Representatives makes Sol a mighty race.
All that being said, their Racial Techs leave something to be desired. Their "Super Carrier" Tech is great, if you can utilize it properly, but in my mind it's better to fill those Carriers with Fighters, not the GF that Sol specializes in. This can make for a very mixed bag, and an unfocused Sol is a losing Sol. Their versatility needs to be put into one or two directions early one, or they simply over-diversify. Keeping a Sol player guessing will force them to refocus lots of time and resources preparing for something they didn't work on earlier. Try to undermine alliances, especially with neighbors, and make them split forces and tactics between two or more opponents.
Thoughts on Mentak
These Space Pirates were the first race I ever played when I bought TI3 and they will always hold a special place in my mind as the race that opened this amazing game to me. With that out of the way, they aren't amazing. Upper-middle pack if played well. They do have some nice abilities though, that don't really focus them in any one way, which leaves a lot up to the player. Stealing resources and shooting first in firefights makes them very fun to play with. Their Flagship could be better, and really only 2 of their Representatives are worth playing, unless in a very tight vote. Their racial technology Mirror Computing when combined with Transfabrication makes for a very interesting situation. I really do wonder if the game designers and playtesters let this one slip through the cracks. And although it isn't game breaking, it could give them enough of an edge in certain games to get them the win.
If facing them, spend as many TG as you can each Round, and take that advantage away from them. Also, investing in PDS and some PDS boosting technologies makes their Cruisers and Destroyers much less of a threat. Starve them out of resources, because without booty, these pirates fall flat. Early system setup with low resource planets or special systems can really slow down their fast fleets as well.
Thoughts on Yssaril
This is a terrible showing from an amazing race. Preliminary Objectives, especially the one they saw this game, really hinder them. Even at that though, they still kept pace with the other races for most of the game. Getting crumby Objective cards really hurt them in the long run, and they should have done much better.
These little spies use the ultimate stall tactic and this is a huge advantage. Basically forcing opponents to pass prematurely, or waste resources on other projects allows the Yssaril to dominate the Strategic Action. Also, the fact that they can look at, steal, and hold as many Action Cards as they want lets them dictate many situations, where other races flounder. I once faces an Yssaril player with an Action Card hand of 32 cards! The only reason the game didn't end in Yssaril victory was a gang effort to attack and cripple him, along with a Politcal Card near the end of the game that forced him to discard all his Action Cards.
That right there can be the key to beating these guys, especially if they complete their Preliminary Objective quickly. Their Representatives are extremely vulnerable, having no bodyguards. Target them early and often and soon they won't be able to vote down agenda's that affect them. Also, their Flagship is only really great at lancing strikes. If it moves too far from a supporting fleet, it's toast unlike some Flagships (*cough, Alastor, *cough) which can hold a system by themselves.
This brings an end to the regular series of games, and finally, FINALLY, brings about the Championship Match.
N'Orr vs. Nekro vs. Winnu vs. Saar vs. Jol-Nar vs. L1z1x
Here is a preview of what is in store for the final game. In case you can't tell, I added one or two more variants, just to make it a truly epic Championship.
EDIT: So a buddy pointed out to me that I have the galaxy setup wrong in the above photo. Wouldn't be a big deal if I wasn't already 4 turns into the Championship. But I'd rather start over now and throw away 6 hours of play than compromise the entire Tournament due to faulty setup.
- Last edited Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:09 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:54 pm
I absolutely love that you're doing this, and after seeing the map at the end of this I can't wait to see how this plays out.
Keep it up!
Villa Straylight, Freeside
I've just got the game myself and can't wait to play.
Got the first game planned with three friends and most of a Saturday.
I hope I get them into it so I'll have games like this one to look forward to.
Thanks to both of the above posters for the kind words. I really appreciate it, especially when this project of mine is taking such a huge amount of time.
If you liked this one, I would recommend reading the last 4, just to see how the other races got to the final, championship round.