Twilight Imperium (3e) discussion

Discussion in 'General Chit-chat' started by matt.lashof, Apr 25, 2012.


Twilight Imperium 3

  1. It's Awesome!

  2. It's okay.

  3. It sucks.

    0 vote(s)
  1. matt.lashof

    matt.lashof Well-Known Member

    Continuing from the other thread:
    This is not a game which fits into Sirlin's framework of what makes an ideal competitive game, but that doesn't make it bad in my opinion. It has some politicking (Sirlin hates that, but I like it if it fits with what the game is trying to be). Some of its mechanics may be a little fiddly or unbalanced, but the game has an epic story arc to it which in my experience is unmatched by any other game I've ever played. Not just unmatched, but unapproached.

    For reference, I almost always play with the expansion objective cards (encourage more fighting) and this set of strategy cards:
    Initiative, Diplomacy II, Political, Logistics, Trade II, Warfare II, Technology II, Imperial II
  2. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Ah... I've never played with the expansion strat cards, but I'd heard they change things for the better.

    Regarding the framework of Sirlin's ideal competitive games: I don't honestly mind the politics, and agree entirely that this sort of game is arguably more about the table talk than anything else. My issue is that if you're going to be playing for 4+ hrs, your game damn well better not have cases where you finish laying out the board and see that you're completely boned before even making a single choice (ie. nothing but shitty worlds near you).

    My gaming group implemented a house rule (found on BGG, I assume), where the tiles aren't truly random, but rather spread out in a way that's actually somewhat balanced. I've only played once since that ruleset got implemented, but the game seriously improved tenfold. This is what I was referring to in my old post. When you've got a high player count, the odds are that at least one person is going to end up SOL (Hello Supernova AND Asteroid Field!). Since TI tended to hit the table only when we had a larger group together, it happened literally every single game.

    I don't know much about the new secret objectives, but I'd hope they're more rewarding than before? Spending something like four turns on a goal where the reward was equivalent to just taking Imperial was my biggest complaint about them.

    All that said, I really don't hate the game. I think there's a lot of cool stuff there, just some pretty glaring flaws as well.
  3. matt.lashof

    matt.lashof Well-Known Member

    The rules actually don't say to spread out the worlds randomly. The official rules have each player dealt a bunch of worlds, and then you take turns playing tiles and build the galaxy in concentric rings (you have to fill all slots which are 1 away from Mecatol Rex before placing any world 2 away etc). So if you have a handful of crappy worlds, you can put them away from yourself, and then you force your opponents (whose hands are full of good worlds) to put some of them near you. You also can't play 2 non-planet cards in a row unless you have no more planets. And you can't put 2 special systems (Asteroid, Supernova, etc) adjacent to each other. I think you'd find that if you played the official setup rules you'd get a more balanced galaxy, and there's also opportunity for strategy in building it.

    New secret objectives are pretty much on par (we play with both mixed together), but the new deck of public objectives contains things like "I have won a battle against at least 3 enemy ships this turn" and a few less econ/tech objectives.

    Also, Imperial II really makes the game. If you haven't played with it, I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. It's text is something like this:

    In addition, when playing with Imperial II you are meant to use one of the optional setup rules printed in the base game rulebook, where all the public objectives are laid out at the beginning, and at the end of every turn you move a marker along them (so that the game ends when you get to Imperium Rex). This can create come-from-behind wins as Imperial II A makes it possible to gain 5+ VP in a turn if you qualify for a bunch of objectives at once, even without fulfilling your secret. I've played a 6p game which was over in under 3 hours where the winner used Imperial II A to win, when he started the turn on 4VP. Generally with Imperial II, the games are shorter and more strategic in my experience.

    And on top of all that, if you don't want to spend the money for the expansion if you don't know if you'll like it, you can just P&P Imperial II and proxy it over Imperial. Once we had Imperial II we never used Imperial again, and I've played TI3 probably 10+ times (for a game this long that's a lot!)
  4. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Sorry for the bad recollection there, I recall that method now (big gap between my latest game where we used the alt setup and the time before). We did indeed use the standard method, and the unfortunate board setups still certainly occurred. Might be that we still found that at least one person got really screwed.

    Trying to fill the opponent's side with junk to force them into giving you good stuff seems like a weak plan. It seems far better to just place worlds when filling your own side, and drop nonworlds when forced to place on opponent's sides. I'll outline my logic below, let me know if you see any flaws in it.
    1. Guaranteeing youself access to a world (even a crappy one) is better than gambling.
    2. By giving yourself worlds whenever possible, you boost the odds that you're allowed to place a nonworld tile when the time comes.
    3. Assuming everyone prioritizes self-improvement, the sides are going to fill at least somewhat evenly, which in turn makes it harder to force anyone to place elsewhere.
    4. The rule preventing forcing them to place worlds every other turn also prevents you from filling their side quickly (unless you're giving them worlds).
    5. When they're forced to place a world, there's no guarantee it'll be on your side. Odds are they'll try to place in a neighbor's space bordering their own to still have a chance of access.
    6. Even if they do place worlds on your side, they're obviously going to give you the weakest one available.
    Imperial II sounds pretty kickass. I'll pass along the suggestion to proxy it up and test out. Thanks!
  5. Drinkdrawers

    Drinkdrawers Active Member

    I haven't played the game a whole ton, so I'm reserving opinions. I tend to like games with lots of politicking, because even if you do get boned by the setup, if you can convince everyone that you're not a threat, the game tends to balance itself. So yes, politics is part of the game, but I think that's fun.

    It's also fun just to stab people in the back hard.
  6. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    I've stated before that I don't mind the politics. You may be misreading the original quote as "politics in games suck", when I'm actually referring to "Political", an actual card in the game.

    Regarding the sentiment in a broader sense... in TI, if you get screwed by the map, it's not a matter of convincing people you're insignificant. You really are. Also, one of your neighbors is likely to just waltz in and take what little you have. It's not like you're in any position to stop them.

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