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#1 The Archon

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:39 AM

I truly love TI3, and would be happy to play The Long War each and every time I play.  But reality says otherwise, and it becomes increasingly difficult for my fledgling TI3 group to be able to finish a game within a reasonable amount of time.  There are four of us, and we played our second game together last Saturday, which took about eight hours, box open to box closed.  Yes, that's a long time, but we're relatively inexperienced (it was their second game, my sixth) and we had some child-related distractions.  While we finished the game, we were disappointed that it lasted as long as it did (because it took away time from playing more games afterward).  Note that while we do play a number of optional rules, none of them are major contributors to our game length (no Mercenaries, no Distant Suns, no Political Intrigue). 

 

So I had an idea, predicated on playing the SE Strategy Cards (which we played for our two games): remove one Stage I public objective card and one Stage II public objective card from the Objective Deck.  Then, instead of playing to 9 points, we play to 7. 

 

Basically, it shortens the game by about two turns.  Does this seem reasonable?  The only problem that I can think of is that it may limit the amount of tech we can accumulate over the course of the game, but I really don't see that as being a big deal.  To the more experienced players out there in the community: any comments, criticisms, or alternative ideas would be greatly appreciated. 



#2 Relampagos

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:05 AM

My last game was a 4 player game.  We changed it to 8 points.  I had 7 points at 3 hours, with the others far behind.  The next turn I would get 8, so we decided we hadn't had enough yet and would make the game go to 10 pts.  This added 5 hours to the game.  Our fastest game ever ended up being one of our longest at 8 hours.  I think the first half of the vp track are exponentially easier to get.  I don't know whether it would benefit by changing the number of objectives at all.  Maybe start with 2 flipped face up at the beginning instead of 1?  That would increase the chances of people getting early vp's.



#3 Saikoro

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:35 AM

Relampagos said:

  Maybe start with 2 flipped face up at the beginning instead of 1?  That would increase the chances of people getting early vp's.

 

This looks like a good idea to me. Depending on how many players you got around the table. In a 3,5,6,7,players games, Bureaucracy tends to be unpicked since players want to have best possible start possible (picking tech, prod or trade Strategy card). That slow the game a little indeed. I would agree on revealing 2 Objective phase 1 at the start. In this way, you'll be revealing Objective phase 2 1 turn earlier.



#4 The Archon

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:42 AM

Saikoro said:

Relampagos said:

 

  Maybe start with 2 flipped face up at the beginning instead of 1?  That would increase the chances of people getting early vp's.

 

 

 

This looks like a good idea to me. Depending on how many players you got around the table. In a 3,5,6,7,players games, Bureaucracy tends to be unpicked since players want to have best possible start possible (picking tech, prod or trade Strategy card). That slow the game a little indeed. I would agree on revealing 2 Objective phase 1 at the start. In this way, you'll be revealing Objective phase 2 1 turn earlier.

I like it, too.  Perhaps a hybrid idea based on your suggestions: don't remove any objective cards, but start with an additional one flipped up and play to 8 points instead of 9.  As you point out, this does make it more likely that Bureaucracy will get taken earlier, as it makes it possible to claim two known objectives right off the bat (instead of speculating that one of them that gets flipped can be claimed on the turn that Bureaucracy gets played). 

 

Thank you both for your input. 



#5 BigKahuna

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 03:04 AM

Its hard to recommend time saving strategies because most of them trim the game down and actually make the experiance... less full. 

I can think of several ways you can trim the fat but I think the least intrusive to the game experiance is to use the 6 strategy card variant that was put out by a clever gamer over at the Wiki site, but unfortunatly that site is down right now  .  But if they do manage to get it up the variant effectively combines the effects of 8 strategy cards down to 6 and in a four player game I find that the biggest time waster is the 8 secondarys you have to run each round.  This trims it down to only 6 secondarys and 6 primaries without any negative effects on the game flow.  In fact it adds some elements that help to speed up the game further.  Its probobly one of the best player made variants out there and at our table has become the standard 4 player setup.

Other good ways to improve speed is to use pre-built galaxies.  This step while not time consuming itself does tend to slow the whole session down because setup can be done all in advance so when the players arrive at your house there is nothing to do but sit down and play assuming the host has a few minutes prior to your guests arriving to do the setup.

The use of open public objectives is a good way as well and the more you play open the faster the game will end, but personally I find that playing with objectives up like that in a 4 player game where the beuracracy card is always picked results in a similiar round robin effect you get with the imperial card.  First one up always takes the beuracracy card because with so many objectives up you are bound to qualify for one and if you can't its even more reason to take it as it prevents someone else from having that advantage, so in the end this can backfire on you as it will slow down the progress. 

One suggest my friend offered was the use of Artifact Planets and I agree that tends to speed up the game in most cases, but too can backfire as the result can sometimes be that people end up sprawling over the artifact planets resulting in more combat and as such more time spent resolving them.  More often than not though players will attempt to time their invasions of artifact planets to coincide with a "going for victory" move and I think usually the result is that someone steals the win and ends the game a round or two before it might have resolved without them.

In the end the best time saver is experiance.  My regular group has played this game three four times a month for about 5 years.  We can rap up even a 6 player game in 4-5 hours and we pretty much play with the whole ball of wax minus distant suns.



#6 Steve-O

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

The Archon said:

 

Basically, it shortens the game by about two turns.  Does this seem reasonable?  The only problem that I can think of is that it may limit the amount of tech we can accumulate over the course of the game, but I really don't see that as being a big deal.  To the more experienced players out there in the community: any comments, criticisms, or alternative ideas would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

if your biggest concern is the limitation on how much tech you can buy, then I would say you don't have a problem.  Wasting money on tech is one of the bigger rookie mistakes in this game - if the tech doesn't directly lead you to complete an objective, it's not worth it, 90% of the time.  There are some standard techs that can be exceptions to this rule, if you have a solid strategy built up around them, of course.  And sometimes you just need DSC to keep your neighbour in line...

But in general, trimming the number of techs you have time to buy shouldn't slow down someone who's aiming for the win from the get-go.  It may even help to teach the tech-whores in your group the error of their ways. =)



#7 Gotejjeken

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 03:44 PM

Age of Empires has been really helpful with our group.  We also play with space 'suns' (forget their exact name), territorial distant suns, and artifacts.  While the former don't always speed things up, they sometimes can help a lot by either thinning a player out (making them less likely to go look for more combat), or helping a struggling player (making them finish their turn quicker, as they have less to worry about).

Experience does wonders also.  Most of the players that play with me aren't really familiar with 90% of the races yet (still pretty new), yet we managed to finish a 4-player game to 10 VP's.  This was because I kept premaking the same galaxy and basically letting them train on something ideal and symmetrical.  When we get to the 'real' game (actually building the galaxy), things should hopefully go a lot faster. 



#8 melkor977

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:26 AM

It also depends on on SC you use and how many players you have. If you have 4, or 8 players than you know all the SC's will be picked, including number 8 which means atleast one objective card will be turned over. If you play with any other number of players, and you play with Bureaucracy it is (in my experience anyway) seldom picked, and when you're not playing with Age of Empires objective's don't get revealed and the game doesn't end. Putting the 'Imperium Rex' objective card will also shorten the game. or playing with the Imperial SC from the original game. I'm hosting a game with people some of which have only played once. So to keep the time of the game lower I plan to play with the original Imperial but change it so you only score 1 point, and you score a second point if you control Mecotal Rex.



#9 Shadow

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:53 AM

If you want to shorten the game then I suggest a home rule.

After the galaxy is set up, all players put......"1 space dock and 2 ground troops on a planet next to their homeworld".

 

So everyone actually starts the game with a homeworld system and 1 colony planet.   

 

Everyone is going to do this anyhow in the game but it will take 3 turns to do.

It will shorten the exploration period a little but not enough to damage the game.

 

Yes, I know there is an early expansion option in the game but I was never a fan of that because it consumes alot of time also.



#10 Kerrin2

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:21 PM

Some of the things we've been doing to help with the game length are...

Using the preset maps or a slight variation on them.

Using Age of Empires with 5 Stage I public objective cards and 3 Stage II public objective cards. The first Stage I public objective is available from the game's start.

In addition to the regular 2-point Secret Objective everyone starts with, each player also starts with a 1-point Stage I public objective card as an extra Secret Objective.

Playing to 8 victory points or 7 turns, whichever comes first.

We also have an "Active Player" card and a "Next Active Player" card that we pass around to indicate who is the active player and who should be planning what they want to do because they're up next. Also, the "Active Player" card helps us remember whose turn it is when we lose track when executing the secondary of a strategy card, resolving a political card, etc (yeah, sometimes we're forgetful like that).



#11 The Archon

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 06:48 AM

I like a lot of these ideas (or variations thereof). 

 

-I think we will start with a "template" preset galaxy (similar to the ones on the FFG website, where it tells you to place a 1-planet or 2-planet system, but doesn't specify which specific tile). 

 

-We played artifacts in the last game, which I think will help overall (but didn't in the last game because only one of the four actually scored, but it did change hands once), so we'll continue to play with them.

 

-I want to try beginning with two revealed Stage I objectives and only playing to 8 points. 

 

-One that I heard on another thread: that each player receives two Secret Objectives, but can only qualify for one.  So once a Preliminary Objective is completed, you get dealt two Secret Objective cards (considering doing the same for Preliminary Objectives, but I don't think that's necessary). 

 

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions! 



#12 Kerrin2

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:24 AM

The Archon said:

-We played artifacts in the last game, which I think will help overall (but didn't in the last game because only one of the four actually scored, but it did change hands once), so we'll continue to play with them.

Ooo, yes, I forgot to include in my previous post that we play with artifacts too. I find them fun and, for me, add an interesting dynamic to the victory point tussle.



#13 revvbard

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:16 AM

We play with 4 players almost exclusively ... I'm interested in learning how to play with the 6 strategy card variant .. does anyone have the rules for the variant available or could explain to me how we play with those rules!!!

 

THX!! 



#14 Kerrin2

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:51 AM

revvbard said:

We play with 4 players almost exclusively ... I'm interested in learning how to play with the 6 strategy card variant .. does anyone have the rules for the variant available or could explain to me how we play with those rules!!!

THX!! 

Six strategy cards? Do two get dropped? Or, are they a completely different set of strategy cards?

Sounds interesting.



#15 revvbard

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

BigKahuna said:

 I think the least intrusive to the game experiance is to use the 6 strategy card variant that was put out by a clever gamer over at the Wiki site, but unfortunatly that site is down right now  .  But if they do manage to get it up the variant effectively combines the effects of 8 strategy cards down to 6 and in a four player game I find that the biggest time waster is the 8 secondarys you have to run each round.  This trims it down to only 6 secondarys and 6 primaries without any negative effects on the game flow.  In fact it adds some elements that help to speed up the game further.  Its probobly one of the best player made variants out there and at our table has become the standard 4 player setup.



#16 BigKahuna

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:38 PM

revvbard said:

 

We play with 4 players almost exclusively ... I'm interested in learning how to play with the 6 strategy card variant .. does anyone have the rules for the variant available or could explain to me how we play with those rules!!!

 

THX!! 

 

 

 

The 4 player (6 strategy card) varient replaces all strategy cards, so you actually have 6 entirely different strategy cards, but they include all the functionality and mechanics of 8 strategy cards.  I personally found the strategy cards on the now defunct wiki, printed them out and made hard stock versions of the cards and added them to my collection, but I didn't have the foresight to hold on to the files and as such unless the person who made them reposts them they may be lost forever (unless someone else has a copy).

The variant included a "council" system where players would be able to use one of the strategy cards to take a seat on the imperial council which offered a variety of benefits in each of the core mechanics (war, politics, technology etc..).

Easily one of the best 4 player variants I have ever played, it not only speeds up the game but very cleverly simply makes it better.  The only thing I can think to do is photo copy my set, since there is some interest in it I will see about doing that for you guys. I will see if I can at least identify who created these cards so that we can properly credit them with the work.



#17 BigKahuna

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:04 AM

Ok so I found some information about about the variant today, it took some doing, but it was buried in google.

Ok first, the creator appears to be Mike Evans.  I the linked version that I found below and it appears to be the same creator which made the set I'm using but this was is definitly different from the version I have (though i think it acomplishes most of the same things). Noteably it appears to be an updated version as it includes the latest expansion.  But its worth noting that I have not played this version so I can't comment on its effectivness to speed up the game.

I don't have my set in front of me, but from memory most of it appears familiar.  The one element that isn't in my set are the Writ Cards but there may other noteable differences.  In either case here it is

http://dl.dropbox.co...ayerVariant.pdf

 

I will have a peek at my set to see what the differences are and perhaps we can do a compare to see if there is anything significant but at a quick glance the Writ cards are the only thing that I noted from memory.

 

 

 



#18 Kerrin2

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:53 AM

I gave this a quick read during lunch - pretty interesting ideas in there.

I'll definitely download this later at home and go through it in more detail.

Thanks for the link!



#19 Fnoffen

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:51 AM

revvbard said:

BigKahuna said:

 

 I think the least intrusive to the game experiance is to use the 6 strategy card variant that was put out by a clever gamer over at the Wiki site, but unfortunatly that site is down right now  .  But if they do manage to get it up the variant effectively combines the effects of 8 strategy cards down to 6 and in a four player game I find that the biggest time waster is the 8 secondarys you have to run each round.  This trims it down to only 6 secondarys and 6 primaries without any negative effects on the game flow.  In fact it adds some elements that help to speed up the game further.  Its probobly one of the best player made variants out there and at our table has become the standard 4 player setup.

 

 

How does it trim it down from 8 primary and secondary to 6 of each with only 4 players? Do two players get 2 SC's each?


Pax Magnifica Bellum Gloriosum


#20 BigKahuna

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:04 PM

 

 

How does it trim it down from 8 primary and secondary to 6 of each with only 4 players? Do two players get 2 SC's each?

 

You are correct, its 6 possible cards but each player only gets 1 so in a 4 player game you end up with 4 primaries and 4 secondaries.






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