A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Twilight Imperium 3 - Or how to make your friends think that 5 DN's are "just visiting" Mecatol Rex

Earlier in the week, I put out a call to arms for Sunday afternoon at Foster Street Studios. I knew that I was going to have a free afternoon, as I would be back from Toronto, where I visited with Karen and her family before she flew back to SPALO.

Colin, Cim, Paul and I were in for some mayhem, and Mike asked if he could bring his girlfriend Julia along. We bent the boys club rules enough to let her in, and she managed to beat us down for it, but I digress.

Colin had brought Twilight Imperium 3 with him, and he was anxious to get the first game under his belt. But, he wanted to go over the rule one last time, so the rest of us played one of Mike's new acquisitions, Colossal Arena.

It was a good game, and creatures were falling left and right. in the end, it was Julia who had made the most profitable bets, showing that she definitely had a career as a sports promoter ahead of her. She then avidly took to the PS2 for some Champions of Norrath: Return to Arms, which seemed to be a hit.

Colin then started to edumacate us in the rules of TI3. We started by selecting our races and building the galaxy, and then we dived in. Of course, as none of us had played TI3 before, it took some getting used to the rules, but after a while, we started to get more of a feel for what we should be doing, as well as how the different mechanics fit together. There were a few comments of "This is like the Armed Settlers of Serenissima Rico", or something like that.

Unfortunately, Paul had to leave early, which left us with a dilemma. We decided to keep our individual races, rebuild the board for 4 players and start again. We paid a lot of attention to the board construction this time around, and it seemed that Mike (Barony of Letnev) and Cim (Yssaril Tribe "Gollum dudes") had the most favourable planets, along with two wormhole nexii that would take them into close proximity to both Colin (Mentak) and Me (XXCha).

Both because of geographic positioning and resource availability,. Colin and I soon formed an alliance. We each undertook to defend the nexii against Mike and Cim, and we tried to leverage the most out of our trade agreements, often not allowing Mike and Cim to form any. As we played on, and the home fleets started to swell, we could see that the peace we had known would soon be broken, especially once Cim took a sizeable force into Mecatol Rex, probably to obtain his secret VP.

Knowing that 2 VP would put Cim very close to victory, we did our best to dislodge him, but only Mike had the available forces to make the attempt. What followed was a battle of epic proportions, wherein the absolute necessity of a sizeable fighter screen was evidenced. In the end, Cim's forces were demolished, but Mike was left with only a damaged War Sun and two ground troops in control. Colin and I could smell the blood in the water, as our light, yet undamaged, forces started to make their way both towards Mecatol Rex and Cim's Home system.

At that point, we had to call the game, as it had taken us many hours to get to this point. but now, we grokked the game, how its systems intertwined, and I am sure that our next game will advance much quicker.

Though the game lasted many hours, it was enjoyable. As the pace of expansion grew, it was very tense watching what systems would be conquered next. Even the politics of the empire were interesting, and many votes came down to the wire. The action cards were nasty, yet flavourful, and allowed some very interesting things to happen.

TI3 is probably not a game for all groups, but if this all sounds appealing to you, then you should either buy the game or "convince" one of your friends to take the plunge. It is not a short game, and to call it a war game is to focus on only one part of the experience. It is more of an empire simulation, where the military aspect, while important, is not the only means of exerting control. I am sure that many players will try their best to avoid conflicts and to concentrate on other ways of earning VP.

And the lunch peperoni was also very good!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a great time playing this game with these guys (and the lunch peperoni was great). I was kept awake late into the night trying to play the game to completion in my head. I don’t think I was in a very good position when we called the game. I do think it’s a good sign (for any game) when I’m still thinking about the game long after I’ve finished playing.

While reading the FAQ, I found the following four rules we misplayed. (a) with four players, each player has only one turn per round in the turn order using their *lowest* # (we played all 8 numbers, resulting in two turns in a row in some instances) (b) PDS cost 2 (it says 1 on summary card and 2 in rules) ( c) there are limitless ground forces and fighters (not limited by extra counters) and (d) you get 2 fighters for the cost of 1 but they count as 2 for the production limit at a star base (I definitely abused this rule, producing 6+ fighters repeatedly)

I’m really looking forward to getting together with you and the guys again Mark to break this out again.

11:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to finish the previous comment...

Cheers,
-Mike

11:42 AM

 

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