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First Player is the winner 90% of time?

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#1 RakaNishoo



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:02 AM


Me and my group were recently playing TI3 (basic edition) several times. After initial first few games to get familiar with the game we are now stuck with the following issue: Whoever goes first usually wins the game.

First player always chooses Imperial Strategy Card. Next one takes Initiative. After n turns (where n is the number of players) First player gets Imperial Again. If he is able to complete his Secret Objective in the first n turns or gains VP from Public objectives he is the winner. All other players would have to do both: Gain VP for Public Objective every turn AND complete Secret Objective which never happened for us.

Last game we played, ended up with 3 players having 7 victory points in turn 5. On Turn 6 the Imperial went back to first player (this was 5 player game) and he won. Other 2 players with 7 VP would also won the game if They got Imperial Strategy Card that turn.

Are we doing something wrong? We are a little dissapointed in the game because the next time to determine the winner we will just roll a dice.

I have a feeling that it completely doesn't matter what you do in the game. It doesn't matter what units you build, how you move units, what technologies and which race you play. Politics is totally useless and brings nothing to the game as is it gives each game 2 random effects with minor impact on the game. There is just not enough time. After each player has ISC once, the game is over. In 5 player game that is turn 6. In 6 player game it is turn 7.

I wonder... how can I win the game when I don't go first and I'm not the neighbour of the players who goes first to block his home system? I need to qualify for public objective each turn from turn 1 and fulfill my secondary objective. Then I have 9 points and I can race with the player that goes first and qualify for last public objective in the initiative order. It would require extreme luck to do that since not every PO is doable on first turn.

Another feeling we all share is that the Secret Objectives are really not balanced. Some of them are extremally easy (like you do it on 2nd turn without special planning -> like the one that requires you to control 6 planets with technology speciality that are usually near you.) and some of them are impossible to do (like the one that requires you to control 4 planets with same technology speciality usually scattered through entire board.)

I still hope there is somethign that we have missed in the rules or that we can't really play well yet. If anyone could share some tips on how to avoid the problems we are having it would be great.

#2 magicoctopus



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:27 AM

Most Twilight Imperium players come to similar conclusions. Thankfully, there are solutions.

I'll go ahead and suggest you get the Shattered Empire -expansion. The new objectives and Strategy Cards fix many of the issues you talk about.

If you can't get the expansion, the next best thing is to check out the official variants on the official web page. Here's a link:


Especially check the new Imperial Strategy card option.

#3 DavidG55311



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:39 PM

I would highly recommend the expansion as well.

It just got a reprint so there should be copies available now.

The expansion has a complete new set of strategy cards, and there are a ton of interesting decisions and interactions each round with strategy cards.

#3 - Assembly - Is how you get new political cards into play, but is also how to move speaker around.

#8 - Bureaucracy - No longer gives you automatic points, but lets you qualify for 1 addition objective per round. It also lets you which new objective comes out.

#4 - Production - Basically you can build units without activating a system, and then MOVE those ships. This really increases unit production per turn.

#7 - Technology - Tech is now much cheaper and easier to get more of it. The secondary costs only 6, while the primary lets you get up to 2.

Tons of new action cards and political cards and other optional rules (shock troops, facilities) really increase the epic feel of the game.


Highly recommend!

#4 Steve-O



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Posted 05 December 2010 - 01:54 AM

RakaNishoo said:

Are we doing something wrong? We are a little dissapointed in the game because the next time to determine the winner we will just roll a dice.

You're not doing anything wrong.  The problem you describe is known as the "game clock" effect.  I suspect it was allowed into the game during design as a way of speeding up gameplay (TI is not and has not ever been known as a short game.)  Unfortunately it also made the game entirely too predictable if players seized on this technique.

Other have already mentioned the expansion, which has a new set of SCs that get around this issue.  There's also the FAQ variant Imperial II card which is freely available in case you can't find or afford the expansion.

If your group is the sort who can be reasoned with, you could also simply agree not to abuse the "game clock" mechanic.  Of course, that does require everyone to agree in good faith.  All it takes is one person who goes for that combo and then everyone has to follow suit or concede the game.

#5 The Fist of Ferrum

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:43 PM

To heck with gentleman's agreements, someone has to take Imperial 1 to keep the game moving.  You can't not take the card, then no objectives would be revealed.

I'm mostly going to agree with everyone before me:

  • You should buy the expansion it fixes the game so that everything you described as being irrelavant matters again.  At the very least read the expansion rules so you understand what could be: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm=21&esem=4
  • You could play with the Imperial II varient card, who's rules can be found at the above link, without buying the expansion.
  • You could the VPs from Imperial I to 1VP which makes the card much less valiuable to have with respect to the other cards.  It's still pretty much an auto take, but there's actually something of a decision at this point of whether or not you should take the card.

As for Secret Objectives you'll find that they can run the gambit depending on the galaxy setup.  Any secret objective is hard, however if at least one other player at the table knows the rules and is willing to call you out on going for it.


#6 AleksandrKerensky



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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:34 PM

 its not easy, but kill that player, as a group if need be. its not fair. but when someone is about to win your only chance at winning is making sure that player wont. then move on down the rest of the list of whats best for you. otherwise your not agressivly pursuing your best intrest. oh and seeing it coming like you said you can in this situation, helps. that said i prefer the first expansions cards myself but my basic suggestion always applies to my game strategy.

#7 Cronus



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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:13 AM

 I haven't played using the Imperial card except for our first game. Our group felt it dictated the selection of cards too much and wanted to reduce the feeling of, "If I don't take this card, I'm screwing myself."

So we used the option to mix and match the Strategy cards with Shattered Empire. I found that our games have become a lot better and I think I've won the last 3 games and I've never once been the first player. 

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