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Subject: Preparing first play, various questions rss

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Elan Morin Tedronai
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Hi all.

I bought Twilight Imperium a week ago or so, and have since distributed the rules, the Starlit Citadel review and a youtube tutorial to several of my friends so that we will all be prepared for whenever I can arrange a game-night (within a few weeks hopefully). I have now finished reading the rules, and am considering to implement some of the optional rules from the get go.

Before I come to my first question, you should know where I come from. I once played Star Trek: Fleet Captains and loved it, played it again sometime and loved it. I then decided that I wanted a space themed game (besides BSG) in my game collection, and was really considering Fleet Captains, however after some browsing on this site I came across reviews of Twilight Imperium, and since it could support more players than Fleet Captains I decided to give it a shot.

However one of the things that disappointed me with TI was that all the tiles are face up, and we would not have the awesome "go where no man has gone before" aspect as we had in Fleet Captains by exploring unknown tiles and encountering various things. Then I got to the end of the rulebook, and found the "Distant Suns" option that seemed to implement exactly what I was missing from the base game. However I then found another thread where people were really discouraging the use of this, but I couldn't really see why. So can anyone give me a good reason for not using this rule?

I also noted that people discouraged the use of "Leaders" and "Sabotage Runs", both of which I thought sounded fun, especially the Sabotage Runs for our own little Death Star run ala Star Wars. Why should they not be used?

Next up I have a thematic question:

What is the explanation for the Fleet Supply? I cannot quite wrap my head around it. If one ship can be out on its own perfectly fine, it means that it has supplies enough for itself. However if X ships that all managed to survive alone perfectly fine suddenly meet up...we get supply problems and have to limit the size of the fleet...why? My only halfway explanation so far has to do with logistics and communications, that perhaps the limiting factor isn't supplies, but rather problems with command structure and synchronizing movements. So what I am asking for is a thematic reasoning for the Fleet Supply limit.

P.S.
As for the variant options, making the game too complex shouldn't be a problem. My game group all consist of people who have played various amounts of board games, computer games ala Age of Empires etc. and otherwise are good at reasoning (all have higher education) so "adding optional rules makes the game too complex" wouldn't be a valid problem for us.
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David
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Hi, and Congratz for your purchase, you will be in for a good ride

The thing with Ti as i and many others on this site see it, is that you have to find the mix of options that suits your group.

Some people don't like DS because of the randomness it adds to an already pretty chaotic game. Me and most people i played with would not miss it. We played several times with "face down tiles" as you mention above. While it is fun there are many situations which are not covered by the rulebook. If you are not using some kind of seeding (similar to Territorial DS), the outcome could be heavily unbalanced. I would not recommend playing with that house rule the first game.
However i can't give you a good reason (besides the randomness) to not incorporate DS, as it is crucial part of the game for my group at least.

Leaders will further complicate your first game. While being a fun addition they tend to make an already long game even longer. I would not use them in your first game.

I don't see a reason against Sabotage Runs. I think in all the plays with my group no one actually used them.

I will leave the thematic question for someone more apt

I wish you the best for your first game!
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Nate Milbrath
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The only problem I have with distant suns is that they can really swing a game in a persons favor in the first few turns. The expansion fixes that a bit by using "Territorial Distant Suns" which basically puts less harmful/beneficial suns close to your home planet and more dangerous/beneficial suns out further.

I've now played both with them and without them. Personally I prefer slightly without them, but either way is fine.

Edit: Sabotage runs are great. Even if they never succeed, they add a bit of flair against fighting War Suns. Recommended.
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JP Suchecki
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A lot of people don't play with a lot of optional rules because it is a very long game, and those rules tend to make it even longer.

Sabotage runs are a pretty neat idea. I can't see anyone thinking they would want to waste a bunch of fighters on something that won't likely work anyway. But if you watched Star Wars: A New Hope, the point of it was, those fighters could not have taken on the death star without exploiting the weakness, were its quite possible for 2 fighters to take it out in normal combat in this game.

Its fun, but I have only seen it attempted once with failure as a result.

I have never felt that leaders added on any extra time, expect many to explain them to new people. If you want to follow the kiss rule, ignore it, but I think they offer a great asset to the game.

The DS can be pretty hurtful or helpful to any race in particular slowing it down a lot for some races, while speeding it up for others. However, I enjoy to the randomness of it. Especially with the territorial suns option, it tends to balance out a little more.

I think the purpose of fleet supply is for game balance. It prevents turtleing, growing one big massive fleet and just wiping the board with it, and quite frankly saves space on the board. Your point on sustaining troops is valid and I would agree with you there. However the more FS you have the less you can put in CP or SA, meaning less you can do on the board, racial abilities or Strategy cards. If their was a practical meaning it would sound like a communication problem to me. (However it doesn't really matter.)

My game group always loved the longer games. We made our own variant fog of war option. The official rule books have no rules for putting the tiles face down, but I can tell you what we did and you can see if you like it.

Depending on the number of players it can change a little, but for six we did this:

3 planet tiles per player, 1 empty per player, 1 Red tile per player.
Mix them up, make the board.

The game plays as normal with some minor changes. It can be possible for 2 systems that are red to touch. You can scout tiles the same way fighters can scout DS tokens.

If you choose not to scout, you can do a blind jump. Blind jumping into a supernova, destroys the fleet.

Blinding jumping into asteroid field without Antimass (actually makes this tech a little more useful) destroys the fleet. If you do have the tech, the fleet bounces back activating the starting system. (if multiple ships were used from different systems, extra tokens are taken out of reinforcements.)

If you have +2 movement (such as xrd, type 4 drive, gravity drive, exploring with a Destroyer, cruiser, or warsun) and moving through multiple unexplored systems systems must be resolved in order they are first moved into. If they are destroyed before making it to the activated system (such as discovering a supernova, gravity rift, or asteroid field without xrd) or the run into red boarder system, the destination system remains activated, but unrevealed, and the system that stopped them gets gets activated with a CC from reinforcements.

Anyway, none of this is in the rule book, but it works out pretty well.
I can see many people complaining about it, but I imagine those are the same people who have problems with DS tokens.

I'm glad you have discovered this game and I hope you and your friends enjoy it. I have read the rule book many times and I still feel their is something left to learn. If you haven't seen the errata on the ffg website yet, you should also take a look at that.
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Henry Allen
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Quote:
As for the variant options, making the game too complex shouldn't be a problem. My game group all consist of people who have played various amounts of board games, computer games ala Age of Empires etc. and otherwise are good at reasoning (all have higher education) so "adding optional rules makes the game too complex" wouldn't be a valid problem for us.


I would avoid Leaders for a first play.

The issue isn't whether you can handle the complexity, it is how much joy it adds vs. how much additional 'work' and effort it creates (more rules to comprehend, more rules to keep in your head, more rules and situations to have to lookup when something unexpected occurs, more room for conflicting interpretations to require a rules check, etc).

The more optional rules you add on the more time you are going to spend double checking the rules and looking things up. In a heavy game like this with all new players, you are already very likely to have a long game and spend some non trivial amount of time looking up rules or double checking them. If your group finds that fun then maybe add leaders for the first play but I think most groups want to spend as much time and brain power 'playing' as possible on their first play.

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Derek Porter
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Congratulations on your new game! You're in for a great time.

Regarding your questions:

- I enjoy the Distant Suns option, and every time that we've played without it everyone agreed that something was missing. While it can make for some early game leads/setbacks, the Territorial Distant Suns option from Shattered Empires mitigates this. If you don't have the first expansion, you can download the rules .pdf here. Territorial Distant Suns keeps the really bad (and really good) tokens towards the center of the board. The Distant Suns option doesn't add a significant amount of time to the game, and definitely helps make the early game more interesting. The best advice when playing with Distant Suns is always invade a planet with a face-down token with at least two Ground Forces.

- Leaders are another option that our group really enjoys. It gives each Race a little more individual flavor. There are some odd rules to remember, but there are a lot of handy references in the files section. Just remember to actually bring them with your fleet!

- Sabotage Runs are a great little addition, but you probably won't use this rule very often. Still, it's a nod to Star Wars that many players appreciate. Use it.

- The Fleet Supply mechanic is to prevent players from building massive fleets that never actually attack anything, creating a situation that no player wants to make the first move. Thematically, I believe you're correct that it's meant to represent the difficulty of coordinating the movements and logistics of so many ships.

Good luck with your first game! If you're looking for more player aids, this walkthrough is a nice description of rules.
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Arandor .
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I absolutely hate Distant Suns with the blazing intensity of a million white-hot supernovae. Seriously.

Tried it once, kicked it out, never looked back. Improved the game immensely. Never missed it at all.

Example: I invaded a system with 3 planets; Carrier with 6 GF dropped 2 on each planet. Exactly what you should do according to the DS fanboys.

Planet 1 - Radiation. Bye-bye.
Planet 2 - Hostile Locals; 3 of 'em. Bye-bye. Of course, they rolled absolutely stellar, I managed to kill 1, big whoop as they just regenerate next turn you land.
Planet 3 - Hostage Situation. No TG yet, bye-bye.

Second system I invaded of course had a Fighter Ambush that killed my Carrier. At least I got the planet... :S

I was limping behind the rest of the game trying to recover from the tremendous blow. Wasting several activations to get my empty Carrier back home, refilling it, sending it back out - finally claiming my planets turns later than I should have.

Of course, all my neighbors got all the 4-TG Natural Wealth, free Space Docks from Industrial Society, and so forth.

It almost always makes for early game leads/setbacks that you just can not mitigate. Not even using Territorial DS - in the beginning you're so weak that even the small negative ones hurt, and the beneficial ones give a disproportionate boost.

Also, the DS option adds a significant amount of time to the game, making the first turn much longer as everyone plans to land JUST the right amount of GF. Wasting much time looking up just what THIS counter does, wasting time in combat against hostile locals, fighter ambushes, and the like. With 5 players the first turn lasted much, much longer.

For no benefit, just a lot of frustration. This is not interesting, it is highly annoying.

templarjr wrote:
The best advice when playing with Distant Suns is always invade a planet with a face-down token with at least two Ground Forces.


Did that. It just makes you lose more.
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Brooks Child
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Arandor wrote:
I absolutely hate Distant Suns with the blazing intensity of a million white-hot supernovae. Seriously.

Tried it once, kicked it out, never looked back. Improved the game immensely. Never missed it at all.

Example: I invaded a system with 3 planets; Carrier with 6 GF dropped 2 on each planet. Exactly what you should do according to the DS fanboys.

Planet 1 - Radiation. Bye-bye.
Planet 2 - Hostile Locals; 3 of 'em. Bye-bye. Of course, they rolled absolutely stellar, I managed to kill 1, big whoop as they just regenerate next turn you land.
Planet 3 - Hostage Situation. No TG yet, bye-bye.

Second system I invaded of course had a Fighter Ambush that killed my Carrier. At least I got the planet... :S

I was limping behind the rest of the game trying to recover from the tremendous blow. Wasting several activations to get my empty Carrier back home, refilling it, sending it back out - finally claiming my planets turns later than I should have.

Of course, all my neighbors got all the 4-TG Natural Wealth, free Space Docks from Industrial Society, and so forth.

It almost always makes for early game leads/setbacks that you just can not mitigate. Not even using Territorial DS - in the beginning you're so weak that even the small negative ones hurt, and the beneficial ones give a disproportionate boost.

Also, the DS option adds a significant amount of time to the game, making the first turn much longer as everyone plans to land JUST the right amount of GF. Wasting much time looking up just what THIS counter does, wasting time in combat against hostile locals, fighter ambushes, and the like. With 5 players the first turn lasted much, much longer.

For no benefit, just a lot of frustration. This is not interesting, it is highly annoying.

templarjr wrote:
The best advice when playing with Distant Suns is always invade a planet with a face-down token with at least two Ground Forces.


Did that. It just makes you lose more.


Agreed, board games should never involve luck...
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Scott Lewis
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Arandor, while I can understand not liking it, I think the situation describes indicates a few things:

#1 - You found Radiation first? I'm guessing you weren't playing with Territorial Distant Suns? I disagree with your implication that even the negative small ones hurt disproportionately. You won't find Radiation first (unless you are jumping for a far-away planet). The two "worst" things you may find are Biohazard and Hostage Situations; the former is not a big deal if you bring 2 GFs. I'll discuss the latter below

#2 - Hostile Locals. Since you pulled a "3", again that means you weren't using Territorial Distant Suns; you cannot get a "3" in the "local" systems with that rule, the max is a "1".

#3 - Hostage Situation. I think this is part of the reason that the rule for spending Political Cards as TGs was introduced. Since each player starts with 2 cards, everyone essentially starts out with TGs to use for the Hostile Locals. While I understand why some people don't like the "spending PC rule", using it in the early game makes Hostile Locals not really that bad either.


I'm not necessarily trying to convince you that you are "wrong" about Distant Suns, because I know lots of people who don't like it. Personally, I just enjoy the game either way, though in my games with Distant Suns the "luck" factor has not been any worse for DS than it has for the dice; if you are fighting a major battle and your dice are cold while your underdog opponent is hot, it's going to have a similar lopsided effect

Rather, my point here is, I think that Territorial Distant Suns DOES help strongly mitigate the "swinginess" of Distant Suns; the "best" result is the 2 TGs, and the worst are the ones described above, which are easy to countermand. (The 1 fighter can also sometimes be an issue, but if you bring another ship along with your carrier, unless there are really bad dice rolls involved they won't be a big issue).


Just my take. I don't think the game is "immensely improved" by using DS, nor by not using them. I think the exploration part of the game is more fun with them, but I do understand why some people don't like them. I disagree that the luck factor is as dominant as indicated
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Seems you got unlucky there! But relax, we all have been "that Muaat player who got his Warsun destroyed in its first action". But that doesn't have to make you hate the DS right away? I mean if in your first game you would have thrown only ones and twos, would you have quited playing the game?

DS just add some randomness in the game, making the exploration part much more intense. And for those that don't like that intensity, there's always the possibility to probe the counter or maybe use the diplomacy 2 secondary (the one that annexes planets for you). There's nothing better then having to suffer a setback early game and still manage to rise like a phoenix from its ashes and dominate the universe!

They do make the game longer. If that is a pro or a con depends on everybody's own opinion
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Fedor Syagin
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sigmazero13 wrote:
Arandor, while I can understand not liking it, I think the situation describes indicates a few things:


Just my take. I don't think the game is "immensely improved" by using DS, nor by not using them. I think the exploration part of the game is more fun with them, but I do understand why some people don't like them. I disagree that the luck factor is as dominant as indicated


Have to agree with you.
Territorial Distant Suns are huge improvement on Raw ones (RAW can lead to brutal situations like that.)
As long as you play with Territorial DS and give everyone 2 TG (If you playing with house rule to disallow Political to Trade good) then nobody can be badly hurt first turn unless they are gambling.
Yes you might be unlucky still and get a little bit damaged, but played many games with Territorial - as long as you careful - it is easily mitigated risk.

Should you play with DS? Really up to a group as with any other optional rule out there.
I can play with and without them and both are ok with me.
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Fedor Syagin
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The Broox wrote:


Agreed, board games should never involve luck...


The game is pretty balanced but there are so many luck element in it so statement like that doesn't really fit in so well.

Race selection, Board Generation, Action Card Draw, Political Card Draw, Dice rolling in Combat - there are so many elements that are affected by Luck one way or another in this game. It doesn't make it less predictable - but they all affect gameplay.

So if you really trying to get rid of luck in any way - why play TI3?
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Arandor .
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sigmazero13 wrote:
Arandor, while I can understand not liking it, I think the situation describes indicates a few things:

#1 - You found Radiation first? I'm guessing you weren't playing with Territorial Distant Suns? I disagree with your implication that even the negative small ones hurt disproportionately. You won't find Radiation first (unless you are jumping for a far-away planet). The two "worst" things you may find are Biohazard and Hostage Situations; the former is not a big deal if you bring 2 GFs. I'll discuss the latter below

#2 - Hostile Locals. Since you pulled a "3", again that means you weren't using Territorial Distant Suns; you cannot get a "3" in the "local" systems with that rule, the max is a "1".

#3 - Hostage Situation. I think this is part of the reason that the rule for spending Political Cards as TGs was introduced. Since each player starts with 2 cards, everyone essentially starts out with TGs to use for the Hostile Locals. While I understand why some people don't like the "spending PC rule", using it in the early game makes Hostile Locals not really that bad either.


I'm not necessarily trying to convince you that you are "wrong" about Distant Suns, because I know lots of people who don't like it. Personally, I just enjoy the game either way, though in my games with Distant Suns the "luck" factor has not been any worse for DS than it has for the dice; if you are fighting a major battle and your dice are cold while your underdog opponent is hot, it's going to have a similar lopsided effect

Rather, my point here is, I think that Territorial Distant Suns DOES help strongly mitigate the "swinginess" of Distant Suns; the "best" result is the 2 TGs, and the worst are the ones described above, which are easy to countermand. (The 1 fighter can also sometimes be an issue, but if you bring another ship along with your carrier, unless there are really bad dice rolls involved they won't be a big issue).


Reading this, I say: basically, you're already admitting that DS as written is absolutely crap.

- You must play with PC-as-TG or Hostage Situation is going to screw you.
- You must play with Territorial DS or the swinginess will screw you.

Quote:
Just my take. I don't think the game is "immensely improved" by using DS, nor by not using them. I think the exploration part of the game is more fun with them, but I do understand why some people don't like them. I disagree that the luck factor is as dominant as indicated


If you play with Territorial, and PC-as-TG.

If the effect is, as you make it out to be, so negligble with these two: why bother to implement something that has little effect, little added value, and costs a lot of time?

You need even more time to place them, having to sort them, figure out which system gets what, etc. For what gain?

Let everyone just roll a die at the beginning of Turn 1:

1-2 - lose 2 TG
3-4 - lose 1 TG
5-6 - no effect
7-8 - gain 1 TG
9-10 - gain 2 TG

Same difference, much faster.
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Arandor .
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garfielder wrote:
Have to agree with you.
Territorial Distant Suns are huge improvement on Raw ones (RAW can lead to brutal situations like that.)
As long as you play with Territorial DS and give everyone 2 TG (If you playing with house rule to disallow Political to Trade good) then nobody can be badly hurt first turn unless they are gambling.
Yes you might be unlucky still and get a little bit damaged, but played many games with Territorial - as long as you careful - it is easily mitigated risk.


In other words: DS sucked, and needed a fix with Territorial DS and PC-for-TG.

Then it comes down to: everyone roll a die.

1-2 lose 2 TG
3-4 lose 1 TG
5-6 no effect
7-8 gain 1 TG
9-10 gain 2 TG

Much faster. And this simulates your exploration "(bad/good) luck".

Quote:
Should you play with DS? Really up to a group as with any other optional rule out there. I can play with and without them and both are ok with me.


I will never, ever play DS in any way, form or shape. Ever again. Flat out refuse.

Yep, that bad.
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Arandor .
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muthrali wrote:
Seems you got unlucky there! But relax, we all have been "that Muaat player who got his Warsun destroyed in its first action". But that doesn't have to make you hate the DS right away? I mean if in your first game you would have thrown only ones and twos, would you have quited playing the game?


No, but DS is a risk you can not easily mitigate. If Muaat loses War Sun, they are either dumb, ganged up on (or victim of some other player who decided the War Sun MUST die at ALL possible costs, and is willing to suicide himself to achieve it) or really, really incredibly unlucky.

I've never seen it happen. Ever. Not until the mid-game when others have sizable fleets that can indeed challenge a War Sun in a somewhat even fight.

And no, just rolling badly doesn't spoil a game for me. But being out of the game because of some dumb rolls you can't mitigate, while others benefit enormously, plain sucks. Games should never involve elements like that. Ever.

Quote:
DS just add some randomness in the game,


And randomness is by definition evil.

Quote:
making the exploration part much more intense. And for those that don't like that intensity, there's always the possibility to probe the counter or maybe use the diplomacy 2 secondary (the one that annexes planets for you). There's nothing better then having to suffer a setback early game and still manage to rise like a phoenix from its ashes and dominate the universe!


Agreed, but unlikely to happen as the first few turns are key.

Probing costs a turn.

"A player may not land Ground Forces on a planet during the same activation in which he probed the planet."

You can not afford to waste a turn in TI3. Not an option.

Also: yay, you can look at a planet per Fighter. Do you happen to have *3* Fighters left over for a 3-planet system? Plus the recommended 2 GF per planet? I certainly didn't, my Carrier only had capacity for those 6 GF. I didn't have a second Carrier to spare for that system.

Best case: 1 Carrier, 4 GF, 2 Fighters; but even that is tough for many races in turn 1. And then you see it's Biohazard and Radiation. Now what? Wasted a turn.

Diplomacy II Secondary: first of all it has to be chosen (definitely not a given as it's not hotly sought after in turn 1, with Leadership, Production, Technology, Trade and Warfare all much more appealing) and second: do you have 3 influence to spare in turn 1? Not bloodily likely. Also not an option.

These risks just are not easily mitigated. You HAVE to jump in and hope for the best.

Quote:
They do make the game longer. If that is a pro or a con depends on everybody's own opinion


Definitely a con. The game is long enough as it is, everything in it that takes time should be WORTH that time. DS isn't.
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David
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DS is the Exploration part of the game (arguably the galaxy setup might qualify too, although in a much weaker way). In my book it is needed to add to theme and make the game what it is: a space empire building game (Master of Orion anyone?)

- Yes it might screw you
- Yes you might come up with different ways to implement another Exploration mechanism (Rolling that die sounds thrilling )

I prefer playing with the DS-option because it adds to the story of the game.

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Derek Porter
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One of my favorite things about Twilight Imperium is how easy it is to customize your game experience. If there are optional rules that you don't like, don't use them.

I'd still recommend that the OP try using Territorial Distant Suns at least once. In my opinion it's a great addition to the game, but I know that not everyone shares that opinion.
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Fedor Syagin
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Arandor wrote:

In other words: DS sucked, and needed a fix with Territorial DS and PC-for-TG.

Indeed it needed fixing if you don't like a lot of randomness (Actually there are people out there who consider the scenario you mentioned before to be totally fine.

Arandor wrote:

Then it comes down to: everyone roll a die.

1-2 lose 2 TG
3-4 lose 1 TG
5-6 no effect
7-8 gain 1 TG
9-10 gain 2 TG

Much faster. And this simulates your exploration "(bad/good) luck".


Well not at all.
Things that are rare but make a lot of difference there are
1.) Potential extra wormholes (change map dynamic drastically.)
2.) Potential free PDS (early game it can have interesting effect.)
3.) Potential free spacedock (Again usually happens where someone otherwise might not expect building base and particularly early on.)
4.) Settlers is fun one (Especially when you have trade treaty with someone who end up being on that planet and need to figure out if it's worth taking planet or keeping trade

So yes, there are plenty of no effect stuff there or just trade goods - but it's not only 6 choices

Also despite the fact that a lot of people recommend 2 tg or political to trade good with DS - hostage situation is not as scary and losing one invasion from time to time is not that scary and bad.
Also there are mechs out there.

BTW - if you think I had no bad experience with DS or Space version of it and that why I am defending them -
a.) had very cool but painfull experience with both over course of history.
b.) I don't defend and suggest playing with them - just pointing out some facts. (As written originally DS were broken too chaotic for my taste, not really broken - but just too much chaos added.)

PS: my favorite person experience with space domain counters (cannot remember the name)
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/678324/alastor-and-the-terri...

Arandor wrote:

I will never, ever play DS in any way, form or shape. Ever again. Flat out refuse.

Yep, that bad.

Well good for you. As with any optional rules and this being something you do for fun - you should never play with something you don't like - doesn't matter if rule is broken or not. If you don't like it - don't play with it - never understood why it needs to be justified.
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Scott Lewis
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Arandor wrote:
Reading this, I say: basically, you're already admitting that DS as written is absolutely crap.

Nope, not even close, but it's clear based on this and other responses that you are so convinced of this that no matter what ANYONE says, you'll find reason to believe that.

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You must play with PC-as-TG or Hostage Situation is going to screw you.

Without it, yes, it hurts a little more, but no worse than Radiation, and only slightly worse than Biohazard. But if you really don't like the PC-as-TG rule, and that's the main crux of not liking DS, Hostage Situation can be easily removed (and it was added with the expansion, not in the base game, so it's highly possible that it was added specifically with PC-as-TG in mind), or relegated to the high-risk section of Territorial Distant Suns.

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You must play with Territorial DS or the swinginess will screw you.

Nope, not saying this either, Territorial DS just makes it less swingy. For some, that makes it more palatable. Yes, I think the option is IMPROVED by Territorial DS, but I had fun playing with DS even before the expansion came out. I don't agree at all that DS sucks without Territorial DS, I just like it better with the option.

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If the effect is, as you make it out to be, so negligble with these two: why bother to implement something that has little effect, little added value, and costs a lot of time?

I never said it had little effect OR little added value. I like the effects, and I think they make the game more enjoyable. It may only be a relatively "small" boost compared to the rest of the game, but it's a small boost that for me enhances the game.

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You need even more time to place them, having to sort them, figure out which system gets what, etc. For what gain?

This takes all of 5 minutes, tops. For a 7-hour game, that's trivial. The gain is that I find it more enjoyable and fun in the early game. (Honestly, in my games, the extra time that DS takes is not very significant in the long run).

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DS just add some randomness in the game,


And randomness is by definition evil.

Then why play TI3 at all? The randomness of the action cards, dice rolling (battle and otherwise), political cards, and even initial race selection have FAR more impact on the game than DS does. How is it any worse than a battle where a side that was statistically supposed to handily lose come out and destroy the more dominant side? Or having a Sabotage come at you at JUST the wrong time to really jump on a key opportunity?

If your opposition is to randomness, why do you play with Action Cards, and why don't you use deterministic battle results?


RE: Probing. I don't do it often, but occasionally I will when flying into a multi-planet system. If I don't have enough ground forces to land on them all for whatever reason, I'll probe the ones I don't. That can be very helpful for the next round when I take over the planet. I didn't lose anything by doing it, because I wouldn't have landed on the planet anyway. I don't probe every game, but it does come in handy if used right.


Distant Suns is typically a hate it or love it thing; you are obviously in the former category. I can play the game without it, but I do enjoy the game more with it. For me, the little bit of extra fiddliness and randomness is far outweighed by the added enjoyment I get from the game.
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Greg Pratt
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My regular TI group plays with DS as written (no territorial DS). I like it. And that's despite pulling 9 consecutive reds at the start of one game (it definitely hurt, but I ended up in 2nd that game).

For those that hate the randomness, probe the darn things. If you don't probe, you're essentially gambling that you can handle whatever gets flipped. When you gamble, sometimes it pays off, but you also get burned sometimes. Yes, it's slower to probe, but that's the tradeoff.
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