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Twilight Imperium, War of the Ring, Runewars or Chaos in the old World


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#1 Jabulu

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:08 PM

 Sorry for doing one of these to you guys, but I really can't decide. I've been on a bit of a board game binge as of the past two weeks and I'd like to get one more to even out my collection.

I have Talisman which is a fun game and easy to pick up.

I have Runebound which feels almost like a hardmode Talisman.

I also have expansions for both of them. Now I want a new game but I don't really want such a random single hero game. I would like a more involved strategy and battle game. I know this is a huge list of games but for the life of me I can't figure out which would be best and I really need some help.

 

My group doesn't care for game time, we usually have between 3-6 people, we like to pvp but it isn't a deal breaker if the game has none, we do want games with player interaction be it coop or pvp, and what we really care about is the richness of the world. We like games that have distinct races or groups.

If anyone could give me any sort of advice on any of these games I'd like to hear it. I've tried looking online but the reviews all seem to be this game rules, or this game sucks. They are seem to have a similar rating too. 

Thanks for any help!



#2 Shadow

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:58 PM

LIst of must have board games that involves strategy.

Board games:  Puerto Rico, Agricola, IronDragon rail games, Twilight 3 with Shattered Empire Expansions, Axis and Allies, Ra, Battlestar Galactica, Outpost, Settlers of Cataan, and at least another dozen "Must have board games"

Card games: Accession, Race for the Galaxy, Dominion

Twilight 3 is the game with the most strategy and with different races to pick, has the most variety.  But twilight 3 consumes the most time.

Twilight 3 is not a wargame game, unless you set the objectives to be warlike in nature.  But when your fleets clash, it is an Epic battle...

 

Selecting what board game to buy, really depends on your group's preferences in playing time and how intense they wish to plan their moves.

If you want to eventually have all the "Must have boardgames", plan on having a very large closet to store them all. 

 



#3 The Sorcerer King

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:07 PM

Haven't played War of the Ring yet, but have a great deal of experience with the other three- all extremely fun games.

 

By far, Twilight Imperium has the most depth and the most flavor- then again, the races all have the same units, but they all have different areas where they excel- and the racial techs, and councilors added in the expansions give each race a bit more of their own style.

Twilight Imperium allows you to punish players with political manipulation, research powerful new technologies, or simply crush the opposition with a massive Death-Star knockoff! It also tests the patience of some players, with far more time spent watching other players take their turns then actually playing yourself. If you can get past that, however, it offers a very expansive and immersive experience.

 

Runewars is nice because it plays in a much shorter time frame. Twilight Imperium takes around 1 hour per player- and (in my opinion) you must have at least 4 for the game to play at its full potential. Rune wars takes about 1/2 an hour per player (if everyone knows what they are doing), and is fun even 1v1.

Each faction in Runewars has its own units, which is also nice- and the Banners of War expansion adds upgrades unique to each faction and their units, which also helps a lot with flavor.

 

 

Chaos in the Old World is another game that's great for unique flavor. Each god of Chaos has their own method of victory and their own deck of abilities they can use. This really establishes the feel of unique and personal experiences- those focused on battle will gravitate toward Khorne, the manipulative towards Tzeentch or Slaanesh and the corrupting hordes towards Nurgle.

The downside of CinOW is perhaps its lack of variety compared to the other two- with the least ammount of cards and a static map- things tend to feel less dynamic from game to game. Its cheaper then both Twilight Imperium and Runewars however, and can be just as engaging as its more expensive counterparts.

 

 

From politics to trade to warfare and colonization- Twilight Imperium offers the most bang for your buck- however, it takes a LONG time to play and requires a larger ammount of players willing to devote their time to the game.

If a faster, simpler, yet extremely distinct and flavorful experience is what you want, then Runewars may be the best game.

If manipulation and bloodshed in the flavorful package of your own god of Chaos is what you are after, then go for Chaos in the Old World.

The choice is really up to you and your group. Though I love Twilight Imperium, my group decided that Runewars is speedy enough yet dynamic enough that we prefer it to the others. And since some members of my playgroup are less enthusiastic about the rather gruesome artwork of Chaos in the Old World, we end up playing Runewars far more often than the rest.

And in our experience, its a whole lot of fun, no matter what game you play.

Happy (game) Hunting!

 



#4 Jabulu

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:08 PM

 Thank you guys very much for your help. I feel like I'd love Twilight Imperium but after hearing this I feel like it would be too much for my group. 

I may end up picking it up anyways and trying to play at my local gaming store.

I'm glad you made a list for me Shadow, I need something to look at to go on. There are so many choices it can be a little daunting to try and find the good ones.

 

Thanks for your input Sorcerer King. I feel like, sadly, Rune Wars may end up being the best choice. The price tag is a bit high which is less than fun. All you guys have managed to do is make me want Twilight more but save me from buying it for a group that doesn't have the patience for it. 



#5 BigKahuna

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:37 AM

what we really care about is the richness of the world

I player a lot of board games and in roughly 25 years of gaming I have never come across a game which fills this request better than Twilight Imperium. 

That said I have played all but one of the games on your list here so I can give you some feedback about them.

War Of The Ring:  The first thing to note here is that War of The Ring is really a 2 player game, in the same way Tide of Iron is a 2 player game.  There are rules for playing it 3 or 4 player, but to do so is like playing chess where one player controls the pawns of the white team and the other controls the back row pieces.  I think if your filling a group of 3-6 players you can easily skip this one, though I can honestly say that this tops my list of one of the best 2 player games out there.  Like you however, I rarely find myself at a gaming table with only one other player, which is why this and Tide of Iron both collect a lot of dust on my shelves.

RuneWars : My group likes this one but frankly while the play time is quicker than Twilight Imperium, its not by much, this game does run roughly 4 hours and if it where capable of handling 6 players it would run 6 hours just like Twilight Imperium.  Personally I'm so so on this game.  I find its a very elaborate presentation for a game that really isn't that elaborate and it takes less time because their is less going on.  Its fun though and I'm glad I own it, but by no stretch of the imagination is it a better game than Twilight Imperium. 

Twilight Imperium: I think what makes this the king of big strategic board games is the simple fact that you'll never have the same experiance twice, hell even if you put the same players, running the same galaxy and the same races and play the game twice, each time the games will be vastly different.  Its just one of those games that has the butterfly effect, even a small deviation and the game will spin into a completetly different direction.  Add to that the randomness effect of action cards, political cards and dice and what you have is a gaming experiance you won't find in any other game out there, trust me I know, been looking to trump Twilight Imperium for the better part of a decade.

I think you might want to take a look at a few other board games I didn't see mentioned.

Star Craft (with expansion).  Like Twilight without the expansion it has some short comings but with the expansion this is an exceptional game and offers a real sense of itself.  It has great atmosphere and if your even remotetly a fan of Star Craft this game will definitly bring you back.

Ikusa (formly known as Samuri Swords, which was formly known as Shogun):  Think of it as Super RISK with a Japaneese theme this game takes on a rather classic territory control mechanic but has a variety of interesting mixes of planning and decesion making that throw plenty of curve balls at people resulting in a far deeper game than you get with RISK.  Definitly no Twilight Imperium, but its a great way to spend an evening, the rules are easy to learn and teach (unlike Twilight Imperium which is a real hog) and of course who doesn't love Samuri's .. seriously....

I agree with Shadows List for the most part, that's kind of the quintessential game list and actually if you consider that list and match it against the Board Game Geek list of best games ever you will discover that all those either have in the past or currently hold top spots.  I think there are a few more worth mentioning like DUNE, Railroad Tycoon or Caracassone but I think we would be splitting hairs at that point.  There are a lot of games that might be considered quintessential but in the end a guys wallet and bookshelf only has so much room.

 

 

 

 



#6 Count Jondi

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:08 AM

i highly recommend twilight impirium. It's tied for my best board games of all time. The only reason Battlestar Galactica the boardgime ties with it in my opinion is that it requires less time to play, and i would recommand having both. The only problem with twilight impirium is that it can be too long, and you're never gonna play it as a "spur of the moment" kinda thing, it's usually best to plan it at least two days in advance, when i and  my friends have suddenly decided to play battlestar, which works with 4-6 players, and only requires 2-3 hours, maybe 4 if playing for the first time. while twilight impirium can go from 1-2 hours for each player, making it a 3-12 hour game depending on how many are playing, how many know the game, and how many are playing at an efficient pace, however you will rarely regret taking the time to play.



#7 BigKahuna

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:15 AM

Count Jondi said:

i highly recommend twilight impirium. It's tied for my best board games of all time. The only reason Battlestar Galactica the boardgime ties with it in my opinion is that it requires less time to play, and i would recommand having both. The only problem with twilight impirium is that it can be too long, and you're never gonna play it as a "spur of the moment" kinda thing, it's usually best to plan it at least two days in advance, when i and  my friends have suddenly decided to play battlestar, which works with 4-6 players, and only requires 2-3 hours, maybe 4 if playing for the first time. while twilight impirium can go from 1-2 hours for each player, making it a 3-12 hour game depending on how many are playing, how many know the game, and how many are playing at an efficient pace, however you will rarely regret taking the time to play.

 

I was going to mention Battle Star Galactica as well.  For me the gameplay mechanics are such a great replication of the feeling of the TV show that if your a fan of the show the game has that much more love to give.  The only reason its not on my top 10 list is because despite how great the game is we rarely play cooperative games in my group. They are kind of a competative crowd, but despite that, when we do pull it out, I have never heard a bad thing said about it.  Everyone loves it despite it being a cooperative game in a competative group and I think that is really something worth noting.  Great game.



#8 Julia

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:11 AM

BigKahuna said:

I was going to mention Battle Star Galactica as well.  For me the gameplay mechanics are such a great replication of the feeling of the TV show that if your a fan of the show the game has that much more love to give.  The only reason its not on my top 10 list is because despite how great the game is we rarely play cooperative games in my group. They are kind of a competative crowd, but despite that, when we do pull it out, I have never heard a bad thing said about it.  Everyone loves it despite it being a cooperative game in a competative group and I think that is really something worth noting.  Great game.

BigKahuna,

I noticed your blog in your signature. It's impressive. Great job, lots of useful informations, detailed reviews and so on. It's brilliant. Just wated to give you two thumbs up :-)


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#9 Jabulu

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:51 AM

 Well after showing what you guys said to my group I think this game maybe what I want after all. My brother seemed to groan a bit because he felt like this game wouldn't have enough pvp combat for him. The other big player my friend Chris jumped at the idea of such a sweet sound space strategy epic. The rest seemed rather indifferent.

The Ikusa sounded really neat actually and I really enjoy Starcraft so I may have to look at that game. I need a way to get my Zerg on without having to use my awful computer.

Is the game really that complicated to learn, or am I just taking to much of what you guys have been saying out of context?

Could this game be played with only two people if the rest of my group except for Chris and me decide they hate it, or would I be really missing out and better off with another game?

From what I've read I still really want to try this one. I know I'm getting ahead of myself at this point but are the expansions good for the game too?



#10 Shadow

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:35 AM

Puerto Rico would be a better game for your group. Then get twilight 3.

If your players have no problem doing Puerto Rico, then they will more then ready for twilight 3.

 

Twilight 3 is really the combo of Axis and Allies and Puerto Rico but in space.

Axis and Allies is a WWII game with lots of units, Puerto Rico is a Plantation game that has similar strategy cards that twilight 3 uses.

It will be no problem for your group if they are used to how to do strategy cards.  

A strategy card allows you get money, technology, produce units  etc.  It takes a little time to get used to.

 

 

 

Twilight 3 last 6 hours.  1 turn an hour.

2 turns to grab planets, 2 turns to build up your fleets and doing small battles, 2  to 3 turns pummelling each other with large fleets.

You need 4 players to play the game, 2 players would take 2 races that play as a team.

 

Everyone eventually gets the Shattered Empire expansion for Twilight 3 because it fixes all bugs in the original twilight 3 game.

But you could go online and get a copy of the new 8 strategy cards.   

 

The problem with the original game, was fighters was the best buy and the Number 8 strategy card had to be replaced.

So in Shattered empire, they replaced the bad Number 8 strategy card and introduced a new tech to kill fighters easier.

Then the game works really well.

If you bought just the original twilight 3 game, after 10 games you will notice the mistakes that needed fixing and buy the expansion Shattered Empires.

If you become a die hard Twilight 3 fan, then you will buy the new expansion Shards of the Throne to get even more stuff.

 

But if you decide to buy twilight 3, be prepared.   It has lots and lots of units.  

There are three complaints you will have from a twilight 3 player.

1.  It takes 6-8 hours to do a game

2.  I cannot fit all the expansions in the original box.

3.  When, when will the next Expansion come out, I have to have it.    

 

Seriously, you will eventually spend like $200 on this game and whine when will the next expansion come out.

And hate your friends because they will only play twilight 3 with you only 4 or 5 times a year.

 



#11 BigKahuna

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:43 AM

Julia said:

BigKahuna said:

 

I was going to mention Battle Star Galactica as well.  For me the gameplay mechanics are such a great replication of the feeling of the TV show that if your a fan of the show the game has that much more love to give.  The only reason its not on my top 10 list is because despite how great the game is we rarely play cooperative games in my group. They are kind of a competative crowd, but despite that, when we do pull it out, I have never heard a bad thing said about it.  Everyone loves it despite it being a cooperative game in a competative group and I think that is really something worth noting.  Great game.

 

 

BigKahuna,

I noticed your blog in your signature. It's impressive. Great job, lots of useful informations, detailed reviews and so on. It's brilliant. Just wated to give you two thumbs up :-)

Julia said:

BigKahuna,

I noticed your blog in your signature. It's impressive. Great job, lots of useful informations, detailed reviews and so on. It's brilliant. Just wated to give you two thumbs up :-)

 

Thanks appriciate it.  I don't consider myself a writer but I never tire of talking about games, though I find people tend to tire of listening to me so the blog is kind of the psychologist that always pretends to listen.

Julia said:


BigKahuna,
 
The Ikusa sounded really neat actually and I really enjoy Starcraft so I may have to look at that game. I need a way to get my Zerg on without having to use my awful computer.

You know Ikusa is a classic game and if you have players that like Player vs. Player games type of games, this one will definitly make it happen.  It suffers from some of the problems of old school design, like the game without end syndrome, but their is a great community that supports this game just like Twilight Imperium and their are all sorts of variants that have been created over the years that greatly improve the game.  Even out of the box though it makes for a great evening.

Julia said:


BigKahuna,
 
Is the game really that complicated to learn, or am I just taking to much of what you guys have been saying out of context?

Well I can't think of a single board game I have every played that is more complicated than this one, but in the same token it has a flow and a natural course of actions and sequences that after a game or two become second nature.  For such a complex game you would think it would have a considerably thicker rulebook, but its actually not a whole lot bigger than what you might find in any other big board game.  Its fairly well laid out and the learning process really doesn't take more than a game to get your head around, but it may take several games before you get everything right.  That said I have been playing this game since it was released and even after this weekends game we are still discovering rules, effects and things that we have either been doing wrong or out of sequence.

It is complex, but its managable if you have a group excited about the content and willing to bare with it as you do your first game that is bound to be full of mistakes. 

As for playing it as a two player game, I know there are variants out their that do a fair job, but ultimatly this game doesn't really play all that well until you hit 4 players and even than, I would say your not getting the full experiance.  It really is at its best as a 6 player game.

Its an expensive toy, but not more expensive than your average PC or Xbox game.  You can only do so much research before you have to take a plunge but I can tell you that in near a decade of introducting this game and hanging out with gamers that own it I have never met anyone who has regreted playing it or regreted their purchase so if that happens you would be the first.

 

 

 

 

 



#12 BigKahuna

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:45 AM

They really need to uncheese this forums quoting system!, I'm not even going to try to fix it.



#13 Fnoffen

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:42 AM

Shadow said:

2.  I cannot fit all the expansions in the original box.

I can...

Shadow said:

Seriously, you will eventually spend like $200 on this game and whine when will the next expansion come out.

And hate your friends because they will only play twilight 3 with you only 4 or 5 times a year.

 

+1. Though I'd be overjoyed to play that many TI3 games per year...

Still. Worth every last dime!


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#14 infinihedron

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:25 PM

A friend of mine ran a horrible little site full of offensive humor and the occasional good review.  They did an excellent review of Twilight...

http://www.nakedrobber.com/2011/09/twilight-imperium-the-first-among-equals/



#15 The Archon

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:53 AM

Fnoffen said:

Shadow said:

 

2.  I cannot fit all the expansions in the original box.

 

 

I can...

Shadow said:

 

Seriously, you will eventually spend like $200 on this game and whine when will the next expansion come out.

And hate your friends because they will only play twilight 3 with you only 4 or 5 times a year.

 

 

+1. Though I'd be overjoyed to play that many TI3 games per year...

Still. Worth every last dime!

I fit both of the expansions in the base game box, too.  And I'd say that there's a little room left over (unlike Descent, for which I use the base game box but is busting at the seams).  I recommend Chessex storage trays for all of the non-race-specific counters, and separate baggies for each race (with ALL things specific to that race in it; homeworld tile included) and for each color (including technology deck).  Works great!

 

Also, everybody talks about how essential Shattered Empires is, and they're right.  However, I think Shards of the Throne is not far behind on importance.  It does a great job of balancing out the races (I know there's debate about this, but I think most would agree) and adds some nice features that you may or may not want to play with (but would regardless ensure that the game will NEVER get stale).  And Mechanized Units and Flagships are just terrific. 

 

I played a 3 player game a couple of weekends ago, and it was terrific.  I can't wait to play again. 



#16 The Archon

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:06 AM

And to get back to the OP, a lot of good info has been stated about TI3 and RuneWars, both amazing games (TI3 FTW for me).  But I'll chime in briefly about Chaos in the Old World: also an amazing game.  It's inexpensive (including the expansion, which is great BTW), it's very fast paced, it plays quickly (3 hours tops), it has great variation between the powers (none of them play the same), and it has a very deep strategy for having a pretty simple set of rules.  It doesn't have nearly the depth that TI3 or RuneWars has (again, TI3 FTW), but it's a great game and it still makes it to my table. 

As a disclaimer, I've never played War of the Ring, though I've been told I should get it (only a matter of time before I get that fix).  And BSG and Ikusa are also really terrific games. 



#17 BigKahuna

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:33 AM

Also, everybody talks about how essential Shattered Empires is, and they're right. However, I think Shards of the Throne is not far behind on importance. It does a great job of balancing out the races (I know there's debate about this, but I think most would agree) and adds some nice features that you may or may not want to play with (but would regardless ensure that the game will NEVER get stale). And Mechanized Units and Flagships are just terrific.

Ya I didn't mention Shards of a Throne primarly because it seemed like the OP was already struggling just to purchase the vanilla version, which is understandable, these games aren't cheap.  But I agree.  To me the Shards of A Throne did to Twilight Imperium what toppings do to Ice cream.  The Ice Cream without a cone metls in your hand... Vanilla Twilight is the Ice Cream, the cone is Shattered Empire, but the toppings are arguably the best part and thats what Shards of a Throne is to Twilight Imperium.  If you love Twilight Imperium than Shards of a Throne is ultimatly as much a must buy as Shattered Empire, but Twilight Imperium without Shattered Empire definitly has some broken features that are easily fixable with some houserules a couple of printouts but to me the original Imperial Card is irreversably broken and since I got my hands on the new set of Strategy Cards I have never played with it again.

The thing about Shards of a Throne for me is that while the new races are a great feature, having made dozens myself over the years a couple of new races are hardly worth the price of entry.  The best parts of Shards of a Throne are the additions of the scenario, the diplomacy and political aspects and the awsome new flag ships and mechanized infantry with added mercenaries which has made warefare in Twilight Imperium something far more variable and dynamic than it used to be.  Like the previous expansion, since getting this one we haven't played with the old set since and I doubt we will ever again.  The game is just that much better with the new expansion.



#18 Kerrin2

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:03 AM

I've been reading this thread with great interest because I keep waffling on whether I'll like Runewars enough to buy it. I enjoy Twilight Imperium. I recently got my hands on a reasonably priced copy of StarCraft The Board Game, but I didn't find it as great as I was hoping for. So, I'm a little leery of buying another big box game like Runewars and not enjoying it enough to justify the price.

Thanks for the commentary on Runewars and the others as well!



#19 adamwehn

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:24 AM

My first experience with Twilight imperium was a blast, the group we played with were all noobs to the game.  The first game round or two took a while as we felt out the flow of the game.  When I told an experienced Twilight Imperium player that we would be playing it he said we wouldn't get through a single game round.  We managed to get through four game rounds, with a score chart of 6, 5, 2 or 3, and two zeros.  It was such a great experience that the guy who organizes our D&D gatherings was begging me not to make him wait 5 weeks to play it again.



#20 adamwehn

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:45 AM

Fnoffen said:

Shadow said:

 

2.  I cannot fit all the expansions in the original box.

 

 

I can...

Shadow said:

 

Seriously, you will eventually spend like $200 on this game and whine when will the next expansion come out.

And hate your friends because they will only play twilight 3 with you only 4 or 5 times a year.

 

 

+1. Though I'd be overjoyed to play that many TI3 games per year...

Still. Worth every last dime!

My friends plan to run a Twilight Imperium game every third Saturday, that's how much they loved the game.






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