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Shadowplay

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  1. Here is the low-down on how the game went. We built the map and there were 2 great spots, 2 mediocre, and one that was terrible. I was again fortunate enough to roll high and again I chose position 1 in our draft. I chose to ban Yassril and picked the richest spot possible. Races banned: Yssaril, Sol, Muat, L1z1x, and Jol-Nar. First race off the board was the Mentak picked by the snake(last person choosing race/position back to back). Second off the board was the Naalu, third was the Saar, fourth Hacan, and fith(me) picking the Sardak Norr. I was very excited because I've yet to play them and knew they could be very powerful in the variant we use. I had amazing resources but was lacking influence in the begining which is extra bad when you're a giant scary +1 bug. Their heroes were a bit disappointing (admiral yay, general, and ANOTHER general wtf). Not that they should have Barack Obama diplomacy or Stephen Hawking scientists but surely they could have an agent(mesquito-ninja-bug perhaps?). They definitely seemed a bit slow to start and really do require automated defense turrets to go along with their Hylar goodness. I tech'd kind of hard with them because my resources were so plentiful. It helped me with objectives later on but in the end the Naalu won the day. I got a bit crippled early because my Hacan neighbor decided to get cute and toss his whole fleet 2 hexes away from my home system on my dual planet hex next to mecatol. He was after technocrat and it became obvious so the races at large decided to take some of his other planets as well. Needless to say I had to unleash the beat-down and owned his fleet. The Mentak player decided to be a general annoyance to anyone near the center but eventually flew off on a tangent never to return to game relevance. The Naalu player saved up his CC's getting leadership whenever possible and turtled a bit after some early losses. Eventually he was able to outlast everyone and then run with his fleet around the map completing a 2 point technocrat secret objective and a 3 point public objective on the same turn. This variant did once again cause more conflict and ultimately was more satisfying than the original. An added bonus to the racial ban was that without the delaying races and with the assistance of a turn marker(ball being handed around to signify turn) our game finished in 6 hours. It was very nice to play the races we never choose and be done in that reasonable amount of time(we've had 11hr games before). Peace,
  2. Turtling really kills this game! I've seen people build mighty armadas that never engage in battle because there was no compelling reason to. Another thing that can happen is a signal jam or diplomacy on your armada. The whole variant my group and I have played lately has been all about discouraging turtling. When you are constantly fighting this game is a lot more exciting/engaging. It is just far too long of a game to get a terrible case of galactic blue balls. Yes, this game is about completing objectives but its about completing them in the most dramatic fashion possible. Also denying people or limiting peoples ability to complete objectives is the other side of that. If everyone turtles, and on a large ring map that's natural, with so many resources, there's no reason to really start denying people objectives until the end and frankley the biggest game losing mistakes I see are in late game fleet positioning. So you may have the best fleet in the verse and yet have no ability to make it effect the outcome of the game. Scarcity breeds conflict! Conflict is the key to everything that is good about this game.
  3. Even in the most ideal of situations a space dock can typically only produce 6-7 units per primary production or activation. Each fighter counts as 1 unit so you can only make 6-7 of them. Please note this section of the TI3 rules: A Space Dock may only build a number of units (regardless of type) equal to the resource value of its planet plus two. This means that a Space Dock located on a planet with a resource value of 3 may produce up to 5 different units (3 for the resource value of the planet, plus 2 for the Space Dock itself). This restriction is for the number of units, regardless of their total resource cost. Thus the above planet with a production limit of 5 may produce 5 Dreadnoughts or 5 Fighters (or any combination of those, and other, units). Anyways I think that tech is really great for the Naalu because of maxing out your fighters is one of the only offensive/defensive weapons they have. I've seen maxed fighters(advanced fighters +1, cybernetics +1, racial +1) decimate a War Sun'd out fleet. The two ways to get a crazy amount of dice rolls are fighters and anti-fighter barrage. Those have been the only two scenarios where I've been able to roll 16 dice hitting on 6+. Naturally the Naalu racial tech would normally elminate one of those very damaging destroyers thru the lose 1 fleet supply. Also to get to that tech you need type IV which means you get the super mobile fleet and helps get the dreadnought to the dance. Advanced fighters along with the Naalu racial means they are a military threat on par with any race. Outside of the Naalu, Yassril, and possibly Sol I don't see that its very useful for the rest of the races. You really need to start with some blue tech to make it a viable option. Oh and the game I'm pulling this info from I won with the Naalu. I had no war suns(speaking of things that can distract you from getting points) and still won each engagement with my ton of legally produced advanced fighters w/6+ combat value!
  4. Well much to my chagrin we are playing with all II versions of the strategies this week. Here are the following mechanics we are adding to last weeks "Interesting Game Variant" post. We are adding a racial ban so after you roll to determine position you ban a race in roll order and then pick your position for the race/position draft. So here is the sequence: Each player gets a hand of systems and these are placed according to the normal game rules but without placing home systems yet. Then we all roll In roll order ban 1 race In roll order choose spot in the race/home system placement draft The player who is the snake in the draft is speaker For example: I roll highest and choose spot 1 in the draft. I choose to pick first so I get draft spot 1. The board has 2 great home system spots, 2 average, and 2 bad ones. I choose one of the 2 great home system spots with my first pick. I will have to wait until everyone else has picked position and race before I get to pick my race because it is a snaking draft. We believe the banning will make the race picking portion of our draft more important because odds are most of the borderline overpowered races will be banned. That means you will likely choose from the very balanced middle of the road and maybe below balance races. We are also adding the 2 ground forces to the Xxcha for balancing. During the course of building our variant we have had very heated discussions about the distant sun tiles. Point: I like them personally because I think the game is designed so the military races have an easier time at expansion. Also it seems to me as if generally the hex is half full. You have to get seriously unlucky such as a Norr player getting the random ground forces(flag icon) on a planet next to your home system. With no random tiles people like the Mentak with stasis capsules are overpowered in early game expansion. Most times the tiles are a benefit and I think they add a lot to the game. Counterpoint: When there are no tiles you focus on what the other player is going to do instead of making sure you have enough ground forces to take the biohazard planet, etc. For example last game we had a Mentak player toss a destroyer on a rival player's face-down artifact planet. The argument is that is less likely to happen when you have the tiles because you would devote more resources to taking the planets. Any ideas or suggestions are very welcome! Ultimately we are trying to make the best most exciting experience possible for our 6-10hrs.
  5. That was just me going off about some silly posts on boardgamegeek. Suffice it to say that delaying is the best skill possible for any race in an objective based game such as this.
  6. Greetings, My friends and I have a heated debate going about which to use. I love old warfare because of its ability to neutralize diplomacy and signal jams. You also could concievably move farther using old warfare. For example: a ship has 2 move goes to staging point 2 sectors away, old warfare is used to remove the command counter, and then you hit a sector 2 hex's away with they rest of your fleet. Also that means when you move the fleet to the hex you can also build in that hex. This is very important especially because this is generally the best time to build up your fighter meat shield. Warfare II gives +1 to all combat rolls for the high alert hex which is pretty cool except when someone pins you with diplomacy/signal jam. I hope you have a sabotage or agent handy. Also an unexpected action helps(hope it doesn't get sabotaged). My point is that Warfare/Diplomacy have been counter balances to each other in the past and with Warfare II that's just not the case. Very interested in any input you guys/gals have on the subject!
  7. Greetings, My friends and I embarked upon an epic 10-11hr 5 person game using our own variant. We choose to play with all of the secret objective cards revealed and drafted with snake our position/race. Our rules were that you could only complete one of the mecatol rex secret objectives so you couldn't keep getting 2+ pts per turn by holding it. Once you got a secret objective no one else is able to claim that objective. Only one secret objective can be completed per round and then only in the status phase. I was lucky enough to roll 98 on the 2-D10 roll for pick of position to pick race/position. I chose 1st pick and with that first pick I chose position(we made the map without knowing our position) which meant I'd pick race last. Sol ended up not getting picked until me so I jumped at the chance. My planets were the nicest and I was far away from everyone(5 player game remember). The races picked before me were: Yssaril 1st, Muat 2nd, Mindnet 3rd, and Mentak 4th. This was definitely a solid representation of the strongest races in the game besides the Naalu instead of the Mentak. Notice 3 of the 5 races have exceptional delaying tactics which despite the BS going around forums is a HUGE deal. ***RANT ON*** The whole idea of going last is only overpowered if everyone else is a bunch of NOOBS is without question one of the dumbest things I've seen on any forum EVER! Going last in a game where you complete objectives means other people can't react and stop you. If you think everyone positions themselves perfectly as to deny people this sort of thing then again YOU are the NOOB!! This is a game I'd be suprised if anyone has ever completed perfectly. I'm constantly blown away by how the sequence of events could be controlled better or resources allocated better. It's all about minimizing mistakes, decisive tactical battles, and cranking out pts no matter what variant you play. All of those goals are easier to achieve if you go last... ***RANT OFF*** Our variant made for an exceptional ammount of combat since everyone was trying to complete secret objectives/deny people completion. All turtling kinda goes out the window when you are trying to make 3-5pts on 1 turn. It also meant that when people succeeded/failed it took some recovery time where you may not be able to complete any objectives at all. Points came in bunches so it made for bolder moves and I think that helps balance races like the Sard'okk Norr(spell check). I was able to complete Focused cause of my awesome tech planets and some cross wormhole tech planet thievery. Sol just doesn't give up ground very easily(so many ground forces) so I was able to secure 2 artifact planets. I stashed a diplomat on my launch point artifact planet and froze my neighbors main navy on the other artifact system using diplomacy. If you think about it Naalu diplomacy is able to signal jam anyone every single time its picked if you choose to use diplomacy that way. The strat of the day was more ground forces than they can possibly bombard/invade. That not only helped me keep the artifact planet/froze my neighbors main fleet after he attacked but in the end it won me the game. I went out to a rather gaudy 6 pt lead so I had a target on my back. Fortunately people tend to underestimate the ground forces required even if they have the space battle won against humans. It took my opponents until the last turn to remove me from the artifact planet and by then I had 11 anyways so it just bumped me down to 10. In the end the opponent with the most game knowledge besides me decided to come after my home system. The turn before last I lost the system next to my home system due to completing the Technocrat secret objective and thus being a little wide open. My home system was well covered but still vulnerable. Ultimately the troops that were stockpiled there due to gen synthesis just barely won the day after beating the odds in a 5 on 3 after bombardment. I was able to get assembly the turn before and pick bureracy so they only had until I went to stop me. Fortunately only the 1 player was in striking distance of my home world. I moved my counters around in status to prepare to complete the spend 6 command counters objective since by then I was whittled down to just war suns and carriers. I can honestly say it was the best game of Twilight Imperium I have played because of the constant conflict. I'd highly recommend this as an alternative to using distant suns because frankley those objectives are too easy to complete. Even knowing the secret objectives they are still difficult to complete especially because people can see which ones you are after. It was a constant push/pull of denying and achieving those objectives on top of the fairly bland public objectives. There are many games when people build to no avail and using this style that is just not possible. The races in tis game really aren't completely balanced despite what some boardgame geek poll says so not being forced to stick with one of the bottom 4 races is really nice. Give this variant a try some time and tell me what you think. Peace!
  8. Honestly, if it was me I'd want to leave and did the one time I got eliminated. Eliminating players is a total pain in the butt and ultimately I've never seen anyone including myself take someone out without likely losing the game in the process. That important flexibility to complete objectives in the end game is a bit destroyed when you've had to put that many eggs in one basket. It also seems kinda messed up that your path to victory is through ethnically cleansing the universe of X race of aliens. IMHO all of those objectives are lame and break the game for the person who gets them. You can get away with diverting resources to Mecatol to complete your secret objective in large part due to how central that system is and if you play with them its proximity to the needed artifacts end game. When you take over someone elses home system and wipe the floor with them you force yourself way out of position. You have to hope you get a chance to counter punch and take it after they make their stab for mecatol or another player. Basically everything has to break right for you most times and even then you still may lose everything in the process. In the end I recommend that you take the proactive approach and remove those kill X neighbor secret objectives. They just ruin the game and very likely both parties chance at winning.
  9. They do change the tactics when you have them on mecatol and one hits the admiral's ship while you have a direct hit in your hand. Frankley I find it hard to believe that everyone would want mines so early game when they could be expanding more thru carriers/ground forces. In our games it kind of establishes your border because that's what cruisers are good at anyways. Then you move a cruiser with you to the warzone(usually Mecatol) and build a mine. Not sure about rules on this but we have previously allowed people to get rid of one of their mines in a different system and then re-buy that if we are out of tokens. Think of how awesome these are for the Nalu and their fleeing ability!
  10. The Fist of Ferrum said: Shadowplay: I'm not sure I agree with your analysis of Warfare II. No doubt it is weaker than Warfare I, but there is more than a simple +1 bonus being confered by Warfare, the bigger advantage is the +1 increased movement speed. Sure, you could get more than +1 range with War1 by double moving, but that costs an additional command counter. I also want to point out, that while somewhat generic, a +1 bonus stacks with other bonuses and works on defense; removing a command counter does not tend to help a player defend unless they've got a pile of res to spend on builds (in which case why not take production!) The +1 movement speed is insignificant compared to the power of the for...wait I mean compared to consolidating(massing) in one system and then using warfare to move them. It allows you to min/max your forces meaning perfect balance of ground force to fighter and fleet supply max of the best ships possible. That is MUCH harder to pull off using warfare II. You do get your command counter back into your pool which again is vastly superior because the game is fluid. This is even more important when you have massed fleet supply and are dealing with limited command counters. You may have planned to take Mecatol and complete a secret objective but then someone brings in an armada and steals a artifact planet to try and win. In many circumstances with Warfare 2 you would have already took off for mecatol and be powerless to stop someone from winning the game. Versatility would be why you'd take warfare and why it is so critical late game. Nothing else trumps diplomacy, enhances movement range, consolidates fleet power, move-build-move, and can also be used for extra production. Original warfare gets my vote. I'd say just add the +1 token to any 1 system in addition to old warfare rules. Makes it even better and more desireable late game. Peace!
  11. Maybe other aren't old school enough to have played the expansioned out 1st edition but I miss the espionage element of gameplay. In that past form it probably wouldn't make sense but spies were more fun than action cards really. There needs to be less generic expansion and I love what some people have done with the artifacts(giving bonuses for having them on top of the point). Addition of stealth ships would be lots of fun along with the spy. Sneakiness breads conflict and political posturing which is sorely needed when the game can become a turtle-fest. The political phase would be a lot more interesting if there was actually political intrigue but most of the time its motivated by more obvious immediate needs. Political is also extremely imbalanced for the delaying races(Yssaril, human, & Muaat) who wait until people have been forced to exhaust due to limited command couters/tactics to delay compared to the forementioned races. Race balance has to be looked at and specifically some of the older races(Hacan, Letnev, and Xxcha) need to be a little boosted. Trade agreements need to be looked at(Muaat have the best military and no trade counter balance like the other superior military races). New trade sucks and needs to be boosted up, then the Hacan will be balanced again. Faster advancement of technologies and quicker progression into stage 2 objectives. If people were able to finish their great navy 1 turn or so sooner there would be more conflict which really does drive this game. There really should be a stage 1.5 because the transition between the 2 never seems quite right. You'll have all these insanely easy objectives and then one that could be utterly impossible at that juncture. Also more military secret objectives that are a little easier to complete. The Mecatol ones are fine but there are some that are the same point total yet vastly harder to complete. Balance those out so its less luck of the draw. Less generic random event tiles on planets. Give people a hero when they meet up with the Lazax and take one away along with other razing conquences if they bomb it. At this point its almost never worth it to scout and that makes fighters irrelevant in the taking of space. Add EMP tech to dreadnaughts so they can knock out PDS's or make a science/espionage ship with special abilites. Take it one step forward and include a capitol ship for each race that has special abilities you can tech to. Uniqueness is good and makes for a more interesting experience each time. Part of the greatness of the game is how the galaxy can be different every time. Finally, this is one game that needs to be on a computer. I imagine this game in full 3D touch screen coffee table style. Kind of like how I think "Ender's Game" might look like during the battles. Having something to calculate for you and streamline vote counting, etc. This game could be everything "Master of Orion II" wanted to be and couldn't quite get right. Anyways, thats everything I can think of off the top of my head. Peace!
  12. They are both fun and limited. They make cruisers much better and intimidates people from attacking you. They only hit on a 9 or 10 but every ship has to take a roll. Ultimately it seems to serve the game well and helps spice things up tactically. Turtling on an artifact square is natural and usually plays a pivotal role in end-game. They rock and I shudder to think of how crappy cruisers were before them.
  13. I've completed over 100 games down through the years. This game is really not worth playing unless you have 6 to 8 people imo. The paradox is that makes it take longer naturally. I hate to say it but certain races really screw up the flow of the game thru delay like the terrans(1 CC = 1 Ground force for their action), and the racial skip from the Yasril(ok, I suck at spelling scifi names). That usually means the person going after them in order has to work that much harder to know what they are doing because they don't have the extra time of that persons turn to plan. The people of the Sun(whatever their names are I forget atm) have the same ability as terran to generate fighters instead of ground forces using 1 cc as their action. God help you if you have all three of those races together in a game and have any new players after the delaying races. Be smart and make sure everyone has read the rules THOROUGHLY. A mid week short game to 6 VP for new players helps as well.
  14. I need more players in Boulder, CO. Must be smoke friendly. Our game has been going for 10+ years now and we could use some new blood.
  15. My group uses Bureracy, original 3rd ed warfare, and possibly original trade as well(we are debating it). Original warfare owns cause of the ability to build and then move, circumvent diplomacy, and bring multiple hexes of units to one square to prepare your invasion(max out storage, transfer ground troops, specialize carrier cargo, etc) and then remove the counter and head out en masse, all of that vastly outweighs any +1 to combat rolls. All of those functions of warfare are unique as opposed to +1 to combat rolls which is extremely generic(racial, morale boost, etc). Trade seems under-powered and will almost never be taken in a 6 player game outside of when it has 2 bonus tokens on it. We don't use imperial because it makes the games strategy phase quite static. It sucks to have to take 1 or 8 based game mechanics. Having to have a sabotage late game to prevent strategic shift/stability cards is annoying. It's a lot more fun to sabotage a flank speed to your home system and own someone in the last pivotal combat because all their ships can't get there. Also, I recommend you take out the most insane take over everyones stuff secret objective(merciless, relentless....can't remember name). I've been the only person to ever complete that in my group of friends lifetime and still didn't win due to the effort expended on that. I hope that helps!
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