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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A game to crush them all rss

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Michael Riewe
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There it was: shiny, new, expensive. It seemed that my boyhood dreams came true. Dreams from a time when we played Ashes of Empire and thought of Titan as a quick in between game.

How eager I was to get the game going!

We played the game as 5 people, out of the box. The setup took some time and rules explanation even longer but after about one hour we were ready to go. Nearly 5 hours in front of us lay a grueling match of TI3.

The first two turns were nothing special but they were slow nevertheless. In retrospective I think the game decided itself in these first two rounds as one player (Sol) took the Imperial Strategy 2 times and fulfilled an easy 1 Point Objective. This left him a little bit behind the other players but not much.

The midgame saw the absence of nearly all space combat despite many fronts building up. Everyone had deep space cannon researched by now and was fortifying their planets with cheap, hardhitting PDS.

After the other players realized how powerful the Imperial Strat was, everyone wanted to take them. Due to the seating Sol was able to snatch the Initiative and it would be clear that he would take Imperial next turn, taking him to 8 VP's due to two fullfilled 1 point objectives.

This caused quite some stir around the table and some quick (verbal) non-agression-pacts were made so that the two players nearest to sol (Yssaril and Letnev) could start attacks.

So after about 4 hours of no combat 2 players sat there watching 2 players beat up a 3rd just that he wouldn't win.

The attacks however fared poorly due to the strong PDS clusters (and a well placed Supernova) and the action cards. Some of these can be crippling to any attack and Sol had just the cards he needed. This round was a desaster for Yssaril and Letnev and while Sol was weakened, it was doubtful if any of the two could build up an attack to seriously threaten Sol next round.

Next round came, it was a round of rebuilding and logistics. Sol picked Imperial and fullfilled (action card powered again) a two point Objective.

Bang - game over - after 5 hours playtime.

Everyone around the board had a feeling of being somehow cheated and I was deeply disappointed! The game plays so clunky, everything is so slow. The main thing is taking a strategy that is actually not fun to take and refrain from fighting as much as possible.

We discussed this quite a while and thought about variances (Imperial only 1 VP, 2 with Mercatol) but then one said:

"If we do some light changes we have to play and see how it turns out."

After looking around I knew noone liked to sacrifice another 5-6 hours just "to see if the game was any better with a few minor changes" if we could play gems like Nexus Ops, Bang, Junta, Citadels, Puerto Rico or the like.

Then we discussed some more and ideas were formulated when finally all had to go.

And there I sit - having shelled out quite some bucks for this monster of a game and being entirely unwilling to either play it again with only slight modifications or to let it rot on the shelve.

So my mission is clear - I am gonna "Puerto Ricoise" this beast till it nicely fits into 3-4 fast, action paced hours. Fully redesigning TI3 for the euro-gamer-whimps we have become (my job/wive made me do it).

So gotta leave and warm up the scanner - see you soon here at this board!
 
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Ken B.
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Just reading your report, it sounds like you guys got bit by the "ISC" bug...the guy got four points off of that plus one more from a lucky strategy card, that's hard to come back from.

I'd recommend one more play, trying the "1 pt ISC" variant. If you want to reward combat, you could look no farther than Nexus Ops for some cool ideas on some nice 1 and 2 point victory conditions that you could lay right out on the table.


That sounds like it would fix what ails you. Sounds like you really wanted to like the game, if you're determined to give it another go give these changes a try. It's a great game, but I understand it may not be what everyone is looking for--though it sounds like it MIGHT be really close to something you'd enjoy with some very minor tweaking.
 
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Scott Mellon
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Now that everyone understands the power of the Imperial card, in your next game, wouldn't more people be likely to take it? That being the case, shouldn't it even out that everybody grabs it equally?

That's what I'm thinking will happen in our next game.
 
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Chris Turner
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It has the same problem as Pirate's Cove, a pirate game that makes any fighting a huge disadvantage for both players involved, yet everyone walks into the game ready to fight! But don't be fooled, fighting in the game isn't totally useless, but if it's not giving you victory points, don't do it. The last game we played we agreed that anyone that took the Imperial card would be targetted by everyone for attack once we were at about 5 VP's each.

My issue is that the political strat card and deck are the weakest choice in the game because it simply does not confir advantages to the player that takes it (except the load of bonus chips that invariably get placed on it). I think there should be offices that players are voted into and the player that takes the card gets his choice first and then assigns the other two to two other players. One of the offices should give VP's and the others should give some tech or on the board benefits until it passes to another player.
 
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Ken B.
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We've really been looking at Nexus Ops for some ideas on combat. This would both speed up the game (more victory points available faster) plus make fighting something desirable, which is usually what people want from the game.

I'm thinking a few 1 pt objectives like "Take over player's homeworld" (yes, if you get that secret objective, that just ups the points!) and "conquer a planet with at least one opponent's ground force on it"....and maybe a few more. Nothing unbalancing, maybe 3-4 points worth of public objectives that you could only claim once in a game.

The side effect is of course that once someone does it to you, you'll want to hit them back...it usually only takes that "initial incident" to provoke open warfare between two players. Why not encourage that by making it worth points?


We haven't tested it yet because we're still in the process of feeling out the game "per the rules"....does any of this stuff sound like it's worth trying?
 
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Nicholas Hutcheon
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I like this game as well, even though it can definitely be very clunky and slow. It's one of those games that can really improve from a true board gamer's stock in trade; patience.

There are so many rules and strategies in the game that it is almost guaranteed that your first two or three plays of it aren't going to be alot of fun. This doesn't mean the game is bad though; it just means that with all of its complexity, it takes time before you and your other regular players can figure out what works and what doesn't.

You guys did play with the two-point ISC, and I really feel that the 1-point ISC is much better, especially with newer players to the game.

A few other rules that we play with; deal 3 races to each player at game start; they choose one of them. This creates variety, while still allowing for some choice in the matter.

Also, you guys played with a five-player board, which is honestly the worst layout there is. It's the only one that actually results in an assymmetry of distance between home systems. I find that this game plays best with either 4 or 6 players.

One thing about TI is that it's definitely not a short game; we're always prepared to spend a good 4 hours at it, even though we're all pretty experienced by now.
 
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Michael Riewe
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You are all probably right in that TI:3 gets much better when everybody knows what he is doing and that you have to get a feeling for this game and bring in some minor tweaks for the ISC.

BUT...

as I said, my fellow players (especially the femals ones) are quite unwilling to spend the time necessary for this and I don't blame them.

TI:3 should play faster it being a modern light war/conquering game. It carries around too much weight for the casual player. But it has done something for me: I definiteley want to change the rules of this one, so that it plays faster, much faster, and that combat is much more rewardable (and plannable). That is the old feeling from maybe 20 years ago when I would tweak the rules of every game I came across just for the sheer fun of it.

Now, with Scanner, Photoshop and Colorprinter it is easier than ever, so I will give it a try - my gamegroup will hopefully like it and some of you may too, although from my current concept many things have to be thrown out, so TI:3 fans (e.g. true wargamers) will probably scoff at it.
 
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Barry Figgins
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I fully support the 2-point ISC. In all our previous games, we've had the same situation you did - one player managed to get ISC two or three times in a row - but that left his development and expansion so crippled that other players were easily able to threaten and take his territory. I think that now that you and your players know how significant the ISC is, they won't just let someone take it several times in a row.

For a more objective-based game, though, I like to use both a 1 point ISC and the Age of Empire variant, where all objectives are revealed at the start of the game. I think that being able to see all the objectives gives a nice counterpoint to the reduced power of the ISC.
 
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Michael Riewe
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TI3: A game of Galactic Conquest or a game of taking the ISC?

I tend towards leaving the ISC out entirely and giving VP's for something much more rewarding: conquering a planet from another player.

So when I win by 2 VP's (20%) it isn't because I took the ISC once more often than all the other players but because I grinded my opponents into fine dust.

 
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B Hammond
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I couldn't disagree more about the Political card being the worst choice. Sure the laws can sometimes be dangerous for the person selecting them if they hadn't previously set the agenda, but there are a number of advantages.

The biggest advantage in our games has been the three action cards. This means a minimum of 4 action cards per round and given how powerful they can be, even if they aren't the best cards, holding a full hand of action cards can be the cornerstone of a fantastic bluff strategy. Of course, if you are the Yssaril, you can hold the entire deck of cards.

The additional CC is really helpful as well, but setting the agenda could prove vital to a victory, especially since so many laws can really hurt the leader (Public Execution?). I've bottom decked a number of rough laws that would've lost the game had they come to vote. Of course, with all your extra action cards, you can probably also control the votes anyway.

Sure it might not always be the best choice, but in a variety of situations, Political really is a powerful card that shouldn't be dismissed.
 
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Michael Riewe
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The political card is a choice of luck. All other cards give you definite advantages, but the political card could be awesome (because of powerful action cards) or it could be worthless, you simply don't know.

If you like such a random mechanic such a time consuming wargame thats ok. I however find the action cards much too powerful sometimes. They can stop a very well thought out offensive dead in it's tracks, which I do not like.
 
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Barry Figgins
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littlemute wrote:
My issue is that the political strat card and deck are the weakest choice in the game because it simply does not confir advantages to the player that takes it (except the load of bonus chips that invariably get placed on it). I think there should be offices that players are voted into and the player that takes the card gets his choice first and then assigns the other two to two other players. One of the offices should give VP's and the others should give some tech or on the board benefits until it passes to another player.


No benefit? What about three action cards and a commmand counter, as well as being able to choose the next agenda?
 
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Barry Figgins
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Dornam wrote:
The political card is a choice of luck. All other cards give you definite advantages, but the political card could be awesome (because of powerful action cards) or it could be worthless, you simply don't know.

If you like such a random mechanic such a time consuming wargame thats ok. I however find the action cards much too powerful sometimes. They can stop a very well thought out offensive dead in it's tracks, which I do not like.


That's why the Neural Motivator tech is so useful, and also why Political is helpful. Don't worry about drawing good Action Cards - worry about setting up a good Action Card flow. By setting yourself up to draw more Action Cards than your opponents, you reduce the randomness of the game for yourself while increasing it for them.
 
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