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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Speeding Up the Game rss

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Dave
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Boston
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Twilight Imperium III is a long game. Players can take a long time selecting an optimal strategy. I'd like a mechanic to encourage people to play quickly, and to inject a sense of urgency into the game. This should encourage players to select a good strategy quickly rather than the optimal strategy eventually.

Here's my proposal: If a player doesn't declare his action within two minutes, all other players receive a free trade good. The other players continue to receive a trade good every minute until an action is declared.

I don't want to penalize people for the time it takes to move pieces on the board or conduct space combat. By declare an action I mean one of the following:

"I'm taking a strategic action."

"I'm taking a tactical action in this system."

"I'm taking a transfer action in these two systems."

"I'm playing this card as an action."

After declaring one of these, players have as much time as they need to resolve the action.

I'm not sure about the two minutes. I think one might be enough, but it'll take some playtesting to be certain.

What do you all think?
 
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John Cataldo
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I've added timers to a number of games, and there's one major practical piece of advice I can give you: Start with a long time period (in this case, definitely choose two minutes instead of one). The mere fact that there is any clock at all will make players move much quicker.

The exact timing does matter some; giving five minutes would probably produce turns that are about 3-4 minutes long. If you make it as short as one minute, I think people would probably feel incredibly frantic (possibly to the point of not enjoying the game anymore). I think 2-3 minutes is probably reasonable, as it's short enough that players aren't going to really waste time, but long enough to not make people too crazy.

Two minutes is the minimum amount of time I'd try. You could probably do three minutes and rarely see people going over two minutes.

As you say, it's important that the player need not finish their turn in that time. You could even just find a two-minute sand timer, and anytime a player is waffling about a decision, start the timer. As long as the player decides something in that time (takes a concrete game action), stop the timer. So if a player chooses Tactical, reset the timer. Then if the player takes too long to choose which system to activate, start the timer again. And then if they take too long choosing which ships to move in, start the timer.

This might sound fiddly, but you can probably get away with not starting the timer most of the time, as it will be clear that the players are moving in a reasonable fashion. (It might be messy at the beginning, though, as players get a feel for how long two minutes is.)
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