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Our group is looking for more players or ideas on how to get new players interested


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#1 itschowda

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:07 PM

Hello all, not sure how many people will find this relevant and I hope it's not considered advertising but our play group for TI:3e needs more players. We play at my friend's store in Chino Hills, CA and are having a hard time recruiting new players. Either they find it way too overwhelming to learn or are just intimidated by the player base (I was named as the intimidating one, not sure why). We currently have myself, my friend who is part owner of the store and a regular customer that's almost always willing to play as core players and a small handful of others but this game I'm sure we all agree is ideally played with 6 players. So if you're from the southern CA area please come by, maybe we can learn from eachother and have a lot of fun competing for the throne.

The store location is:

JS Anime

2563 Chino Hills Pkwy Suite B

Chino Hills, CA 91709
 

You can ask for Derrick (me) or Alex (my friend the store owner) for info on when we're willing to play, which is almost all the time

If you're in the area please stop by as we somewhat desparately need more players to make the game fun for everyone instead of playing 3-5 most of the time. If you're not in the area please feel free to discuss/share ideas on how to get new players interested. Almost everyone that sees us playing says "Wow that game looks epic!" which is usually responded by "It IS epic" but then it's usually followed by "But it looks way too complicated"



#2 Hugesinker

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:27 AM

 

Sounds good bro, maybe next week.  I'm in Anaheim.



#3 itschowda

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:54 AM

 Sounds good. We have people coming from all over to go to the store. Not necessarily for TI but the owners are from Corona, I live in City of Industry, and we have some coming from Orange County so Anaheim isn't that much of a stretch.



#4 Tawnos76

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:34 AM

Wish I was closer but Reno, NV is a bit of a drive for me unless I took a weekend out. 



#5 itschowda

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 04:14 PM

Hi guys, almost forgot to mention some minor details. For now we try to play on Mondays and Thursdays with a 7pm-11pm time limit because for now I work at midnight Mon-Thurs. Fri/Sat/Sun we play when/if players are ready with no time limit.

The strategy cards we use are:

(1) Leadership, (2) Diplomacy II, (3) Assembly, (4) Production, (5) Trade III, (6) Warfare II, (7) Technology II, (8) Bureaucracy

The game options we use are (this was pasted from my excel sheet so apologies for the strange formatting):

Vanilla yes -3, 4, 5, etc players
Vanilla no -the long war (14 vps) we play with bureaucracy and play to 9 points
Vanilla maybe -age of empire (it depends on how much time we have for the night)
Vanilla yes -distant suns (domain counters)
Vanilla it'd be ok -leaders (if someone else wants to do the rules sure)
Vanilla yes -sabotage runs (trench runs/Using Luke's force)
Shattered no -variant imperal strategy card
Shattered yes -variant strategy cards
Shattered mixture -variant objectives (we play with a mixture of "vanilla" and SE objectives)
Shattered yes -race-specific tech
Shattered yes -artifacts
Shattered yes -shock troops
Shattered no -space mines
Shattered yes -wormhole nexus
Shattered no -facilities
Shattered yes -tactical retreats
Shattered yes -new domain counters
Shattered it'd be ok -territorial distant suns (if someone else wants to set up and clean up)
Shattered yes -mecatol custodians
Shattered maybe -voice of the council objective (depends on time and if the players agree to use it)
Shattered no -simulated early turns
Throne yes -preliminary objectives
Throne yes -race-specific tech
Throne yes -flag ships
Throne yes -the final frontier (space domain counters)
Throne yes -mechanized units
Throne yes -mercenaries
Throne no -political intrigue
Throne it'd be ok -fall of the empire (I'm willing to try it at least once when we have no time limit and if we start early)
 

One final note: Although all are welcome to come and play with us but the set we use is not the store's, it's my own personal set of pieces/tiles/etc and I am quite anal retentive on the matter of losing pieces and tokens. After every game I try to have everyone inventory all of their game pieces and race command tokens and control markers and if there's time, inventory all other pieces like trade good tokens/fighter supplements/etc.



#6 itschowda

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 04:16 PM

Tawnos76 said:

Wish I was closer but Reno, NV is a bit of a drive for me unless I took a weekend out. 

This is why I've been scouring the internet for a PC version of this game or any information if FFG is planning on making a PC version, especially with bots. For the longest time I loved Axis & Allies Iron Blitz even though the bots were garbage, but I'm still able to play by myself when I'm bored or just really want to play but have no other people to play with me.



#7 Hugesinker

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:07 AM

itschowda said:

Hi guys, almost forgot to mention some minor details. For now we try to play on Mondays and Thursdays with a 7pm-11pm time limit because for now I work at midnight Mon-Thurs. Fri/Sat/Sun we play when/if players are ready with no time limit.

...

One final note: Although all are welcome to come and play with us but the set we use is not the store's, it's my own personal set of pieces/tiles/etc and I am quite anal retentive on the matter of losing pieces and tokens. After every game I try to have everyone inventory all of their game pieces and race command tokens and control markers and if there's time, inventory all other pieces like trade good tokens/fighter supplements/etc.

A standard, suped up game of TI, four hours (7PM-11PM)!?

We got us a comedian!  In my experience, it takes about an hour just to get everything set up, organized, distributed, and all players and situated-- even with all the components separated and organized for distribution beforehand.  That's with players who have some experience with the game and the group.  Then the first couple rounds always seem to take a long time, especially with all the domain counter conflicts and delays which tend to crop up and make things interesting early.  Maybe you could cut it down with one of the pre-made galaxy maps and pre-chosen factions.  That's a maybe, and then you better hope that the top Stage II is the Rex and the frontrunner draws it with Bureaucracy.  Then you want to take an inventory afterwards too?!-- Which I completely understand.  Do you have a way of freezing the game that allows a group to come back to it later?

In my experience, the question "What are you doing today?" can be adequately answered with "Twilight Imperium".



#8 hencook

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:02 AM

Hey, either of you two want to play at the Dicehouse Gameshop today at 5PM? I played the game once yesterday for my first time (table full of noobs with only me having read the rules) and it was quite hectic.



#9 itschowda

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 04:39 PM

Hugesinker said:

A standard, suped up game of TI, four hours (7PM-11PM)!?

We got us a comedian!  In my experience, it takes about an hour just to get everything set up, organized, distributed, and all players and situated-- even with all the components separated and organized for distribution beforehand.  That's with players who have some experience with the game and the group.  Then the first couple rounds always seem to take a long time, especially with all the domain counter conflicts and delays which tend to crop up and make things interesting early.  Maybe you could cut it down with one of the pre-made galaxy maps and pre-chosen factions.  That's a maybe, and then you better hope that the top Stage II is the Rex and the frontrunner draws it with Bureaucracy.  Then you want to take an inventory afterwards too?!-- Which I completely understand.  Do you have a way of freezing the game that allows a group to come back to it later?

In my experience, the question "What are you doing today?" can be adequately answered with "Twilight Imperium".

According to people at the store I am quite a comedian, but I'm not kidding about the time limit. We've played multiple games where we started late having everyone situated by about 7:30pm and having everything cleaned up by 11:30pm. Turns go quite fast at our store as our experienced players have their turns planned ahead of time, sometimes full rounds in advanced, and the the only thing that really eats up the majority of time is combat. In our experience, we estimate total game time to be about 45 min - 1 hr per player, which includes the new players or the slower players. TI doesn't have to take all day to finish a full game of 6 so long as everyone is focused on objectives and avoiding pointless combat.

Our record game so far actually happened last week. 5 player game, 1 of them being completely new. We started the first strategy phase at around 7:30pm and every strategy phase the new player had to read at least half of the strategy cards. We taught him game basics and some advanced strategies AND finished the game by 10:15pm with me winning at 9 points. Cleanup was finished about 20 minutes after and I ended up bored for about an hour because I had all that time set aside for TI before work.

Our longer games were long mainly because 1 player attacked another for maybe an objective or used an action card that deters another player just to try to stall waiting for a specific strategy card to be used. Then the defending player (or victim) decides to turn that into an all out grudge match. Here's our most infamous example:

Player A reveals Industrious People or whatever the counter is that gives a free space dock. Player B, waiting for Production to be activated stalls for one turn by using Industrial Agent? as his action destroying the free space dock as it was the only valid target for the action card. Player B exclaims, "That's a declaration of war!" and Player B clearly explained that he was waiting for the activation of Production otherwise he loses a full round of invasions on his systems adjacent to his home system and apologized. Player A then began doing nothing but building large fleets in order to attempt an elimination of Player B and Player B was forced to do the same in order to defend himself. All combat during that game I believe was only between those 2, all the while the other 4 of us were focused on objectives and were able to accomplish scoring without firing a single shot at each other. Needless to say neither Player A nor Player B scored a single VP and we finished the game with the rest of us having scores between 6-10. At least 2 hours of game time could have been avoided if it wasn't for a personal grudge over something as trivial as a free space dock that was in a "good position" on the board.

 

Things that speed up TI:

Artifacts, Voice of the Council, Bureaucracy playing to 9, focusing on objectives, planning your turn ahead, organized pieces/cards/tiles. If possible I can try to take pictures of how my TI is organized and post them. One of the biggest things that also speeds up our games is that when we hear the words "building or producing or transfer action" we ask the next player, "is anything he's doing relevant to you?" if the response is "no" then we proceed with that player's turn. Same with combat. "Is their combat relevant to you?" "No?" "Will your turn have any effect on the result of their combat?" "No?" "Go ahead and take your turn."

 

Things that slow down TI:

Personal grudge matches, pointless combat, planning your turn AFTER you realize it's your turn, some dramatic change that changes the turn you just had planned.



#10 itschowda

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 04:43 PM

hencook said:

Hey, either of you two want to play at the Dicehouse Gameshop today at 5PM? I played the game once yesterday for my first time (table full of noobs with only me having read the rules) and it was quite hectic.

I just googled the shop and if I had seen it earlier I might have been ok with it or tried to schedule an earlier time because this whole weekend my friends that own the shop have entrusted the shop to my fiance and I while they're at a convention.



#11 hencook

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 08:06 AM

Alright, I've got a Twilight Imperium game coming this Tuesday at Majestix CCG Huntington Beach running from 3PM to 9PM. 

 

http://www.majestixc...ntington-beach/

If anybody here is interested...show up.



#12 Hugesinker

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:25 PM

itschowda said:

 

According to people at the store I am quite a comedian, but I'm not kidding about the time limit. We've played multiple games where we started late having everyone situated by about 7:30pm and having everything cleaned up by 11:30pm. Turns go quite fast at our store as our experienced players have their turns planned ahead of time, sometimes full rounds in advanced, and the the only thing that really eats up the majority of time is combat. In our experience, we estimate total game time to be about 45 min - 1 hr per player, which includes the new players or the slower players. TI doesn't have to take all day to finish a full game of 6 so long as everyone is focused on objectives and avoiding pointless combat.

Well this I need to see to believe .  I just played the scenario game with five players on Sunday and it took us more than nine hours.  It did go the full eight rounds, but the scenario game is very scaled back and the map is predetermined.  The only rules that needed explaining were the things the expansion added.  We were moving on to the next player when somebody was producing and trying to keep on deck for upcoming turns.  Honestly, it's difficult to understand where all the time goes.



#13 itschowda

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:08 PM

Hugesinker said:

 

Well this I need to see to believe .  I just played the scenario game with five players on Sunday and it took us more than nine hours.  It did go the full eight rounds, but the scenario game is very scaled back and the map is predetermined.  The only rules that needed explaining were the things the expansion added.  We were moving on to the next player when somebody was producing and trying to keep on deck for upcoming turns.  Honestly, it's difficult to understand where all the time goes.

If I can figure out how to rig a camera to have time lapse photography with time stamping on the photos, I'll do it just for you. No sarcasm at all. It might be even feasible to video record our whole game and slowly upload it to YouTube or something but the problem is that I don't know anyone that has a good camera that we can hook up to my computer. I think I've seen time lapse videos on YouTube but I don't remember them having time stamps on the photos.

Playing with most of the extra VP options tends to speed up games immensely like I was saying previously. Preliminary objectives, artifacts, voice of the council are all worth 1 point which is equal to a Stage I Public Objective thus possibly saving an entire round. Bureaucracy, lowers the point requirement for victory, also possibly saving an entire round of play. Today we played a game that started at 7:30 pm and was cleaned up by no later than 12:30 am. Yeah I was an hour late for work but it was well worth it. 4 Players and the scoreboard was the closest race we'd ever had at the store. At any given time the player with the lowest score was behind by no more than 2-3 VPs.

Maybe my next thread will be: "Looking for a cameraman to record our game and show how fast TI can really be played"



#14 Hugesinker

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:21 AM

itschowda said:

Playing with most of the extra VP options tends to speed up games immensely like I was saying previously. Preliminary objectives, artifacts, voice of the council are all worth 1 point which is equal to a Stage I Public Objective thus possibly saving an entire round.

Slightly off topic here, but do you think Preliminary Objectives are fair?  I've tried all the SotT options in games except for that one.  The problem I see is that some players could get a Preliminary Objective that happens to bring them close to also meeting their Secret Objective and other players could get a Preliminary Objective that takes them in a completely different direction from their Secret Objective, possibly making it even more difficult to achieve.  I see that it would speed up the game, but after reading these cards it just didn't seem balanced.  I've been trying to think up some optional rule that would make them "more fair".  I like to try to make use of as much as possible.  Perhaps when somebody completes a preliminary objective, they could look through all the secret objectives and pick what they want-- though if this were the case, I doubt certain Secret Objectives would ever be chosen.

 



#15 itschowda

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 04:45 PM

Hugesinker said:

Slightly off topic here, but do you think Preliminary Objectives are fair?  I've tried all the SotT options in games except for that one.  The problem I see is that some players could get a Preliminary Objective that happens to bring them close to also meeting their Secret Objective and other players could get a Preliminary Objective that takes them in a completely different direction from their Secret Objective, possibly making it even more difficult to achieve.  I see that it would speed up the game, but after reading these cards it just didn't seem balanced.  I've been trying to think up some optional rule that would make them "more fair".  I like to try to make use of as much as possible.  Perhaps when somebody completes a preliminary objective, they could look through all the secret objectives and pick what they want-- though if this were the case, I doubt certain Secret Objectives would ever be chosen.

 

I believe the Preliminary Objectives are supposed to set up for certain Secret Objectives. If you look at one of them, it's "All 5 of my Dreadnoughts are on the board." which is very similar to the one where "I control Mecatol Rex, I have a space dock there, and have all my Dreadnoughts on the board."

We actually had a case in a recent game where a player's PO was I believe "Attack a player with whom I have a trade agreement" and then he drew into the SO "I have taken control of a neighbor's home system planets" The victim was new to our group and the bluff on the SO was since "D" (me) is being a jerk (I was constantly hitting him because I was the Nekro Virus wanting technology) he'd be a jerk, too. It was the first time ever someone was "tabled" at our store. The guy had to leave shortly after but after he left my friend showed me his PO and SO combo and no explanation was needed.

A lot of the POs are quite easy and can be done in a couple of rounds depending on race and also, if you're lucky, set you up for your SO perfectly. It's one of the many luck factors that are in this game and what keep it interesting. Our group generally doesn't have a problem fulfilling a PO, it's the SO that they draw that might end up drastically changing their strategy.

Also, if you were allowed to look through the SO deck and choose one, an advanced player could get a lot of information out of what's missing. Especially if he's the 2nd or even 3rd player to choose an SO. There was a reason why you weren't allowed to share information about your SO in the vanilla set, because it could create a direct "above board" alliance giving an unfair advantage in a free-for-all game. So being able to know someone else's SO would give an advanced player a great advantage in how to stop someone from claiming their SO.



#16 itschowda

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:32 PM

@Hugesinker (and everyone else for that matter )

 Oh, I also forgot to ask something. Whenever resources, influence, or trade goods are being spent, how are you guys handling it? In initiative order like a proper rules lawyer and double checking the resources spent or do you run a trust system? That could be a huge part of where time disappears. With our group when something like Production is activated, we all produce at the same time and just trust that everything is going as it should. The only time we check on things like resources spent for production, technology, etc. are when we're playing with known cheaters. We have a couple of people at the store known for cheating at just about every game they play so that's the only time we double check.

As an example: This one player, on his second game, kept activating systems with command pool tokens from his reserves. He knew the importance of managing his tokens as well as resources so he knew that pulling from reserves was a big cheat and something he thought we wouldn't be double checking (even though he's a known cheater). We called him on it at least 3 times that game and needless to say, he's never invited to play anymore. Most of everyone else that plays at our store know that I'm constantly watching other players because above all, I hate cheaters at any game (probably why some people call me the big rules lawyer). A "Takesies backsies" once in a while is fine, but when I see people purposely activating their strategy and then saying "wait actually, nevermind" after they see who's capitalizing on the secondary I'll call them on it. Otherwise, most of the time we're trusting and that tends to save a lot of game time as well.



#17 Hugesinker

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:35 AM

itschowda said:

@Hugesinker (and everyone else for that matter )

 Oh, I also forgot to ask something. Whenever resources, influence, or trade goods are being spent, how are you guys handling it? In initiative order like a proper rules lawyer and double checking the resources spent or do you run a trust system? That could be a huge part of where time disappears. With our group when something like Production is activated, we all produce at the same time and just trust that everything is going as it should. The only time we check on things like resources spent for production, technology, etc. are when we're playing with known cheaters. We have a couple of people at the store known for cheating at just about every game they play so that's the only time we double check.

We usually let things move along too unless the production is going to affect how someone uses the secondary, which is pretty rare.  However, for new players we usually stop and help them with it for a few rounds.  Understanding all the elements of production (production capacity, fleet supply restriction, fighter capacity, resource cost/management, and handling the techs that modify these things) is probably the most difficult mechanics of the game to learn.

Cheaters suck big time, especially with games like this where everyone has plenty to concentrate on within their own prerogatives.  For simple games like Monopoly it can be fun to try a cheating-is-okay-unless-you-get-caught rule, but only if everybody agrees on it beforehand.



#18 Kootenay_Kid

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 04:31 AM

Hello gents. Unfortunately I live too far to join in any of your games but I just wanted to chime in on the Prelim's. I think that they are hugely unbalanced. And therefore unfair. Having to build 25 resources and pray that the stars align and you get a related SO is ridiculous IMO. Even a 12 resource PDS Prelim sucks compared to break a TA or Destroy 2 cruisers.  We have removed the 5 Dread one as a start but are unsure where to go from there.



#19 itschowda

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:23 PM

Kootenay_Kid said:

Hello gents. Unfortunately I live too far to join in any of your games but I just wanted to chime in on the Prelim's. I think that they are hugely unbalanced. And therefore unfair. Having to build 25 resources and pray that the stars align and you get a related SO is ridiculous IMO. Even a 12 resource PDS Prelim sucks compared to break a TA or Destroy 2 cruisers.  We have removed the 5 Dread one as a start but are unsure where to go from there.

25 resources? I'm assuming you mean the Dreadnought one which I agree can be pretty rough. 12 resources for having all of your PDS on the board isn't all that bad, seeing as how some races are very defensive and tend to almost always have all of their PDS on the board anyways. Destroy 2 cruisers, I've seen that one become near impossible, it mostly depends on the players. In a recent game, (not sure if it was our last game or the game before) someone got the cruisers PO and thought it would be cake, but it turned out to be harder than he thought because I was one of his "neighbors" and didn't really build cruisers and neither did his "neighbor" on the other side. We both built Carrier/Fighter/Destroyer fleets.

The thing about POs and SOs is that they should be considered bonus points and not your only objective in the game, which is probably why you're allowed to claim a PO or an SO on the same status phase in which you claim a public objective. Just like some SOs, some POs can be fairly difficult, especially early game, which is why in our group for the POs (used to be the SOs before I bought SotT) we allow one "veto." We look at the PO we're dealt, the tiles/systems that we're dealt, and the race we randomed then we decide whether or not to keep the PO. If not, we draw the next PO from the POs left over.

TI has HUGE luck factor associated with it, somewhat depending on what options you're using. The political and action cards alone are things where a player can get extremely lucky or unlucky. Sometimes your PO or SO works perfectly with your race, sometimes it doesn't i.e. 5 Dreadnoughts and the Lizix Mindnet. Luck is just something you have to deal with when playing TI, the combat dice alone have made me lose battles when statistically I should have won. 1 Hostile Local beating 2 invaders, then beating 2 invaders again with Gen Synthesis, sounds improbably right? Didn't make it impossible.

The things that may seem "unbalanced" are actually what make TI fun, when randomness sometimes beats out common strategy, there's a fun factor to it. I've won with "In the silence of space" and I've lost to political cards that either wipe my fleets or just give my opponents free points. Just accept that it's part of the game and have fun. If you don't like the option, don't play with it. If you don't like the game, don't play it. We've had a player quit because TI isn't oriented enough towards combat, so we told him "It's TI, not A&A. If you don't wanna play a point game, we're ok with you not playing."

I've gotten many a "thumbs up" with my Magic Online profile: "It's not the shuffler, it's just bad luck. Quit crying or start playing chess." If you aren't playing with a similar "veto" system like we do, try it, might work out better. It gives the players a little more control about their fate in TI. Just like the tiles I've been dealt, I've won with a seemingly ridiculously bad hand and I've lost with a seemingly ridiculously good hand. The objectives are randomized and it tests your ability to adjust strategy on the fly. That's what I love about TI, strategy starts before the board is even assembled and sometimes there's those random cards that make a perfect strategy player just say, "oh crap, I think I just lost this fight."



#20 Hugesinker

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 04:40 AM

The Preliminary Objectives topic deserves its own topic in these forums so that everyone interested can find it easily.  I'm going to start that and continue this thread there.






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