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Subject: How hard is Twilight Imperium for a beginner? rss

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Robert Thurman
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Hi I was wondering how hard is Twilight Imperium for a beginner,
Is it harder to learn than say Risk, or Risk 2210AD, or race for the galaxy or Necromunda ?

Thanks for your help.
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Necessary Evil
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Define beginner. New to TI3 or new to gaming?


I think the complexity is about that of axis and allies.

Longer and more involved that rftg, but less rules than your typical GW minis game


M
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Chris Binkowski
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I've owned this game for over three years and never have played it!

I am too intimidated. Plus I don't know others who want to spend the time to learn it.

But I watched Tom Vasal's video review (in two parts) for TI3 and xpacks and it seems like a very doable game.

Beginner? Like the guy above me said...
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malloc wrote:



I think the complexity is about that of axis and allies.


M


I disagree on this. I would say that TI has nearly double the number of rules, options, and game depth than Axis and Allies.

I also think its probably the worst game for a beginner that I can think of.

Start elsewhere, and work up to TI.
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David C
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Zaphod wrote:
malloc wrote:



I think the complexity is about that of axis and allies.


M


I disagree on this. I would say that TI has nearly double the number of rules, options, and game depth than Axis and Allies.

I also think its probably the worst game for a beginner that I can think of.

Start elsewhere, and work up to TI.


I had a hard time with my first (and last) TI:3 game.

HOWEVER, this is one of the few games that I would actually solo and be reasonably entertained. I mean, if you're by yourself, what could go wrong?

Likewise, knowing the rules helps. Your first game with other people, put the cap at like 3-4 folks. Definitely more than 2.
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Derry Salewski
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When I got TI3, my experience was Magic and Axis and Allies. And and I had no problem picking it up and teaching it to others of all ages with pretty much the same background.
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Michael Debije
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Zaphod wrote:
malloc wrote:



I think the complexity is about that of axis and allies.


M


I disagree on this. I would say that TI has nearly double the number of rules, options, and game depth than Axis and Allies.

I also think its probably the worst game for a beginner that I can think of.

Start elsewhere, and work up to TI.


Baloney. If someone likes the theme and is excited to learn, any game can be an entry game. My first was The Fellowship of the Ring at 11 years old.
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Zaphod wrote:
malloc wrote:



I think the complexity is about that of axis and allies.


M


I disagree on this. I would say that TI has nearly double the number of rules, options, and game depth than Axis and Allies.


If you're talking TI-3, it's also not as intuitive as A&A,
with its euro-style mechanics. I'd aim for an earlier version.
 
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Brian O'Farrell
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It is not the hardest game to learn, yes it's deep but it's a logical game to follow, and the rules are reasonably well written.

My recommendation would be the same as one of the previous posters, play it solo so you're comfortable with the rules and then get 3 friends around to play it.

It is more complicated than Axis & Allies, but not to the point of not playing it.
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Jeff Forbes

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Repeat after me.

There's no such thing as a gateway game.

You don't need to work up to it. You may want to have someone teach the game to you. You may have a hard time finding people willing to play an 8 hour long game. But if you want to play the game, there's no special board game understanding that happens when you play other games. It helps with rules reading/understanding initially, but it is not an obstacle to learning the game - it'll just take a bit longer to figure it out.

So, if you want the game and think that you would be able to find people to play it with, just get it and dive in. If you're teaching your friends how to play Pandemic and they are enjoying it, you might not want to randomly foist an 8 hour game upon them. They are surely smart enough to play a game like TI3, but not everyone has the desire to play something of its size.
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Jack Smith
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It all depends how much effort the beginner is willing to put into it. It is not a hard game to play it just needs patience to learn. Download the rules and take a look. They are available in PDF on the publishers website, Fantasy Flight Games. If you type the name of the game into the search here on BGG you will also see the game forum but most of those posts discuss expansions rules and information you do not need to worry about until you want to.

With the base game and 3 or 4 players it can take only 3-4 hours but for your first games be ready for longer. On your first games don't focus on any tedious rules explanation, don't include any optional rules and just spend a few minutes outlining the game. You can make the first game a learning game teaching as you go. This avoids boredom (a killer for new players) and is a good way to learn.

I also agree with the above poster, I really dislike the concept of a 'gateway game'.
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Clare Cannon
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Twilight imperium is a very involved game with lots of rules however most are very intuative and a lot are on the player faction sheet anyway..... Played a game (with ALL the expansions) on Saturday and it was 3 experiences players and one newbie*... rules explanation only took about 20-30 mins.

*Newbie is a gamer and has played various games previously


Risk is very simple,
Twilight is definatley much harder than risk. but twilight has secret goals and publish goals to give some guidance what sort of things to try and achieve so you are not overwelmed at the start.

The first turn or two might take a while but following turns follow pretty much the same order.

I highly recommend you give it a go, even if you only play a round or two
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Wim van Gruisen
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What makes TI3 reasonably difficult to learn is the kitchen sink approach to the rules. The system is not really streamlined and easy to understand. FFG has a habit of making a few extra rules if that adds additional coolness to the game.
There are lots of exceptions to the standard rules. Each race has its own rule-breaking special characteristics. Politics cards and technology advances add their own rule breaking stuff. That makes things difficult to follow.

When playing with new players, prepare for long rounds and much AP while everyone tries to find out what he can do in his turn.
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
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iamwilly wrote:
Hi I was wondering how hard is Twilight Imperium for a beginner,
Is it harder to learn than say Risk, or Risk 2210AD, or race for the galaxy or Necromunda ?

Thanks for your help.


Just my opinion.
Yes I think it's harder that your stated games (except for Necromunda which I have no idea about).

A hard or complex game can be real easy if you're willing to learn, really. The only thing with TI3 is finding the time to play. If you have the time, then you are good to go as I think at this point you're interested with the game anyway, thus willing to learn. Find a friend who can teach it to you, or learn it yourself (which is better for the experience).



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Whymme wrote:
What makes TI3 reasonably difficult to learn is the kitchen sink approach to the rules. The system is not really streamlined and easy to understand. FFG has a habit of making a few extra rules if that adds additional coolness to the game.
There are lots of exceptions to the standard rules. Each race has its own rule-breaking special characteristics. Politics cards and technology advances add their own rule breaking stuff. That makes things difficult to follow.

When playing with new players, prepare for long rounds and much AP while everyone tries to find out what he can do in his turn.


While I agree with you there I think the base game with no trimmings is not too bad. It also has the advantage of the timer (+2vp to a player each turn) so the game should not drag too long. Also it really is not the end of the world if a rule or two is forgotten. The rules can always be reread another time with the benefit of some experience of the game.
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Alexander McKinney
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jforbes wrote:
Repeat after me.

There's no such thing as a gateway game.



I have to disagree with you here. If someone isn't particularly interested in the hobby, I've found that games that can be explained quickly are definitely better.

Most of the board games that people are familiar with are very light, risk, monopoly, dominoes, sorry!, etc. Get them onto a game that isn't hard for them to pick up. Then once they start associating board games with fun try and introduce them to meatier games that take a bit longer to understand.

Perhaps others have found that it isn't necessary, but I find that when introducing new games, the fewer different component types and rules the better.

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Enrico Viglino
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jforbes wrote:
Repeat after me.

There's no such thing as a gateway game.

.


You're wrong. There's no way in hell I'd drop
DAK or something from Musket & Pike
on someone who hadn't worked out the fundamentals already.

The problem with something like TI3 is that there really
ISN'T something to prepare someone. If the theme grabs them
enough, it's a fine starting game.
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Scott M.
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I use this Tutorial written by an awesome BGGer to teach new players Twilight Imperium. Reading the TI tutorial you will have played a 3 player game in under 1 hour. All of the fundamental mechanics of the game are presented step by step in an applied manner during game play so you can clearly visualize what is occurring.
LINKY: fastfingers Awesome--------------> TI3 tutorial

It it help you send a thanks to
Steve Wessels
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calandale wrote:
jforbes wrote:
Repeat after me.

There's no such thing as a gateway game.

.


You're wrong. There's no way in hell I'd drop
DAK or something from Musket & Pike
on someone who hadn't worked out the fundamentals already.

The problem with something like TI3 is that there really
ISN'T something to prepare someone. If the theme grabs them
enough, it's a fine starting game.


Gateway game often means a simple game such as Settlers of Catan. But the simplicity of mechanics can go against a new player taking any further interest in the hobby. No one is suggesting DAK as a first try but even then there may be people more than happy to try it out.

There is no one size fits all but the concept of gateway game assumes one size does fit all. That, in my experience, is completely wrong. Similarly I find the ability of children to learn more complex games is often underestimated.

A game should suit a persons preference. That may be simple games or complex games or anything in between. Patronising people new to the hobby is not something we need to do.
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Jeff G
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iamwilly wrote:
Hi I was wondering how hard is Twilight Imperium for a beginner,
Is it harder to learn than say Risk, or Risk 2210AD, or race for the galaxy or Necromunda ?

Thanks for your help.


As above - depends on what you mean by "beginner". If the beginner in question has played Risk 2210AD, Race for the Galaxy and Necromunda, then they can probably get through TI-3 just fine.

If the beginner has minimal gaming experience, but is a huge Sci Fi fan and wants to learn TI-3, then as long as they're braced for a bumpy ride, they can probably get through it provided they don't expect to win their first few games.

If the beginner is your mother-in-law with no gaming experience who has only said in passing "Oh - you'll have to show me one of your games sometime", then no, TI-3 is not for beginners. Stick to the traditional "gateways".
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Jeff G
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Halfinger wrote:


There is no one size fits all but the concept of gateway game assumes one size does fit all. That, in my experience, is completely wrong. Similarly I find the ability of children to learn more complex games is often underestimated.

A game should suit a persons preference. That may be simple games or complex games or anything in between. Patronising people new to the hobby is not something we need to do.


What exactly is "patronizing" about suggesting what usually is a Top 100 game.

Dominion - #11
7 Wonders - #12
Stone Age - #26
Pandemic - #40
Ra - #50
Ticket to Ride - #75
Settlers of Catan - #82
Carcassonne - #86
Battle Line - #88

Gateway =/= Bad Games for Stupid People. They're just games where it's easier to get past "learning the rules" and into "playing the game".



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Jean Gagnier
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Halfinger wrote:

Gateway game often means a simple game such as Settlers of Catan. But the simplicity of mechanics can go against a new player taking any further interest in the hobby. No one is suggesting DAK as a first try but even then there may be people more than happy to try it out.

There is no one size fits all but the concept of gateway game assumes one size does fit all. That, in my experience, is completely wrong. Similarly I find the ability of children to learn more complex games is often underestimated.

A game should suit a persons preference. That may be simple games or complex games or anything in between. Patronising people new to the hobby is not something we need to do.


I concur.

I played Settlers about 10 years ago and didn't like it much. I found it too random, and I won against experienced players (which I thought was silly... if it's a strategy game, and I have no idea what I'm doing, why should I win?)

My gateway games, in 2008, were Diplomacy and Die Macher. I like Settlers for what it is now, and I'll happily play when people suggest it. However, it's not the right game for me. If anyone had tried to introduce me to modern board games with something lighter, say Carcassonne, I would've been completely turned off. Of course, I like medium-heavy board games, and not everybody will appreciate Die Macher as their entry into the hobby, but I've always been opposed to the "Have you played Carc?" approached to introducing games to people.

When new people come to my house to play games, I make them look at my shelves, and ask them if they see anything attractive. If they think In the Year of the Dragon sounds cool, they'll probably have more fun than if I forced them to play, say, Forbidden Island. I have a friend from Liverpool who loved Brass, despite having the hardest of times comprehending the light euro Trias.
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Jean Gagnier
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Lyear wrote:

Gateway =/= Bad Games for Stupid People. They're just games where it's easier to get past "learning the rules" and into "playing the game".


This seems more like a light, or simple, game than a gateway game. My girlfriend likes games with simple rules like Battle Line, Carc or Metropolys, but she'll never enter the board gaming hobby. To her, these games aren't a gateway: they are the whole thing. Their appeal is not that they facilitate getting into heavier stuff, but merely that they are simple.
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Mark L
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I've just started learning TI over the past couple of weeks myself, so my learning experience is still pretty fresh in my mind. Also, this is based mostly on the base version without expansions.

I don't think that any of the game is particularly HARD to learn, there's simply a lot. For example, I don't think there are a lot of nitpicky exceptions to rules and complication scenarios that end up confusing you. I would put it on a level with Race for the Galaxy in that area.


There are however a lot of different concepts that you have to learn. As compared to RftG again, the rules are similarly complex but there are twice as many. If you're willing to spend some time with it, I think it begins to make sense pretty easily overall. As has been mentioned before though, someone to teach it makes a HUGE difference.
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Jeff Forbes

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lexifer wrote:
jforbes wrote:
Repeat after me.

There's no such thing as a gateway game.



I have to disagree with you here. If someone isn't particularly interested in the hobby, I've found that games that can be explained quickly are definitely better.

Most of the board games that people are familiar with are very light, risk, monopoly, dominoes, sorry!, etc. Get them onto a game that isn't hard for them to pick up. Then once they start associating board games with fun try and introduce them to meatier games that take a bit longer to understand.

Perhaps others have found that it isn't necessary, but I find that when introducing new games, the fewer different component types and rules the better.



If someone isn't interested in the hobby, you don't play games with them.

If they are interested in Twilight Imperium despite having never played anything more involved than Risk, you play Twilight Imperium with them!

It is really that simple.

If someone who is not an experienced board gamer thinks "Ooh, Twilight Imperium looks fun!", there is absolutely no reason that they shouldn't just play it as long as they understand the duration of the game.

That I can get my mother to play For Sale or 7 Wonders does not make her more likely to want to play Twilight Imperium, or Dominant Species, or whatever. She's not a gamer. The concept of a gateway is a non-starter. You don't need to turn this person in to a gamer. If they are interested in TI3, then they already are one.

But if someone expresses interest in something, then run with it. You don't need to baby step them up to the level of a game like TI3.

Compared to my job, a game of the level like TI3 is a cakewalk. To imply that someone interested in the game can't handle it is to insult them.

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