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El Mariachi

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Everything posted by El Mariachi

  1. Not a bad idea, I always thought it was a bit of a shame the stands damaged the counters so easily. Having said that, I'm not too bothered about the rest of it- my copy of Arkham looks well played which I'm very fond of- it's a testament to the many great games we've had with it! My copy of Fury of Dracula on the other hand still looks brand new which shows we've had…much less fun with it.
  2. …and loved it! I finally got around to ordering Arkham Horror after getting that itch for a new boardgame which I'm sure everyone here is more than familiar with I've got a good sized gaming group that I regularly play with but I bought this with the original of intention of largely playing it with the four most tightly-knitted people as we see each other all the time. We don't really have any fully co-op games (i guess the closest would be battlestar galactica) and Arkham Horror seemed quite unlike anything else we own. My girlfriend and I decided to try it out over the weekend to learn the rules before we try introducing it to other players and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it works extremely well as a two player game (especially if you each play two investigators). We have quite a few other games in our collection but none are really satisfying when played with 2 players, Arkham on the other hand really was! In total we played 3 games, two games with an investigator each and the last one where we each controlled two investigators (also the game we won despite the AO being Cthullu because we didn't get repeatedly screwed by those dreaded rumors!). After our three games we were left with the following impressions: This is a great game, it's truly immersive and we can't wait to play it some more and try out the expansions! Perhaps our favourite 'feature' of the game was that it's effectively a light-rpg. You get a lot of the story and immersion with barely any effort at all when compared with a proper RPG. The main sources of criticism towards Arkham Horror are that it's 'fiddly' and the rules are unclear. Whilst I agree that the rules are unclear, they're not that complicated. The main problem is the rulebook could be layed out a lot better, but its a minor issue thanks to all the help out there on the 'net. As for the fiddliness I don't get it; sure there are a fair few counters which could be replaced by sliders but in all honesty I don't really see it as a problem. In fact, I like all the stuff you get in the box as it feels like i've got my money's worth. Besides, I play Twilight Imperium (currently my all time favourite) on a regular basis which IMHO is far more fiddly. I've seen reviews of the internet that compare this with Fury of Dracula. This was the main thing that put me off getting Arkham for so long as I really, really don't like FoD! The only similarity I can see between them is that they're both boardgames. They're completely different in every other respect. Play time is just about right for our purposes. We love our epic Twilight Imperium marathons but to be honest, its nice to have a game which you can play in an evening without much planning. Set up and pack-away time is quick (compared with some other games we play) and you get a good 3 hours or so out of it. I'm really looking forward to introducing this to more people and spreading the word! Cheers, El
  3. Unfortunately I can't compare as I only have the new version, but Warrior Knights is a game very close to the heart for me as it's my gateway game. I didn't really think much of boardgames until I came across Warrior Knights which really opened my eyes.
  4. That's a really good comparison thanks. Warrior Knights was my gateway game so it would be a shame to replace it but having said that, you sell Rune Wars quite well!
  5. Thanks for the replies so far guys. I'm definitely intrigued a bit by Runewars, and hearing that it scales well is good to hear. What's it like as a 2-player game? I don't really have much in the way of 2-player games at the moment (well, ones that play well as a 2 player). The other main contender for my next game is Arkham Horror simply because it sounds very different to anything else I own at the moment which is probably why I'll get it next, but if I do, Runewars will be soon after if I continue to hear good things! Cheers, El
  6. Hi guys, So it's that time again and I'm getting the urge to buy another FFG game. I've got a number of potential candidates, Runewars being one of them. So I wanted to ask you guys, should I get it? Now I know that asking on the Runewars board will get me a biased answer but bare with me I'm trying to avoid getting multiple games that cover the same 'itch' so to speak. This makes Runewars a slightly odd choice for me as I have games which I consider similar, but I'm wondering if Runewars is different enough. Player number wise, 3-4 players is not a problem at all. It's the average number of players I can get for a game at anyone time although I can get more if necessary. The closest games I have to this are probably Warrior Knights and Twilight Imperium. The thing that attracts me to Runewars (other than it looks impressive laid out) is that it seems to be more of a straight up wargame without any of the politics and negotiating (which we already have with warrior knights and Ti3). What do you guys reckon? Cheers, El
  7. Holy Outlaw said: El Mariachi, Glad to hear you had a good first experience with the game. It's definitely richest when you're a true fan of the show, which it sounds like you are. As for your report, I think you came to a lot of accurate conclusions about game balance and the relative importance of different components. I'd concur with Skowza about how Roslin is actually kind of awesome despite her horrendous drawback. She's bad at the things that all the other yellows can do, but her card draw is great and her once per turn ability is tremendous. If she XOs nearly every turn, and uses the rare XO she's granted to Consolidate Power (maybe into purple, in order to Launch Scout), she's little affected by her drawback and can really shine. Admittedly, if you really begin to crave a proper President to take advantage of the Quorum deck, she's not your best play. Anyway, thanks for the report. It was a great read! You're welcome Thanks for the views on Roslin, I can see where you guys are coming from and I'm glad she has an ingame use such as that. Whilst we're the kind of group that will always pick a character based on how much we like them in the show, it's good to have some idea of how to play Roslin effectively should someone feel a bit bummed about her drawback. Another character I hear a lot of 'meh' views about is Dee, however whilst her OPG ability doesn't look great- her 'efficient' action would have been incredibly useful in both of the games we played as our defensive strategy involved the moving of a fair few civilian ships! When I bust out Pegasus I'll have to give her a go.
  8. Holy Outlaw said: Incidentally, one thing I really appreciate about Exodus is the inclusion of YANAC loyalty cards that entail a lot of reading. My group no longer considers it suspicious for a player to read his loyalty card for a long time, or even to re-check it during game, which used to be a dead giveaway. And even if someone laughs or checks something on the table after reading their card, we still have to think twice before decreeing it suspicious. Not to mention, the Final Five cards give players cover to ask others not to look at their loyalty, or to justify odd behavior in game. I find that the "Conflicted Loyalties" option increases intrigue in a lot of little ways, and it's one of the things I really like about Exodus. I noticed that myself when flicking through my Exodus stuff the other day- I'm really looking forward to playing it! First though, I need to get some more base, and base + pegasus games done first. Oh well, more gaming can't be a bad thing.
  9. Thanks for the reply! In our first game we definitely did stop at a 1-distance destination although I can't remember if it was the fuel planet or not; I don't remember at stopping at more than 1-distance card but suffice to say in our second game we decided right from the off it was best to play this as a sprint not a marathon and when we could take the hit to resources, jump as far as possible. I've now gone through both the Pegasus and Exodus expansions in greater detail and I can't wait to try them although it will be a while yet before I do (mainly because I more people who want to try the game and I want to keep it simple but also because a number of players have yet to see the whole of the series). I've read the new Sympathiser card and it definitely seems a bit better. Not enough to stop 5 players being the sweet spot but just enough to make a 4 player game seem more viable without deciding to play another game. Either way, it definitely looks like an improvement to the original card.
  10. Skowza said: We just allow players to leave the room before looking at their card, but whatever works... That was my original idea, but we had started cracking up as soon as the cards were dealt. I think this game would be even better with beer.
  11. I was going to include this on my other topic covering my first games, but I thought it warranted a thread of its own. One of the main things I wanted to do in our games was to follow the advice i've read on here and Board Game Geek which is to spend about 10 seconds looking at your loyalty cards so it isn't obvious from the off who's a cylon and who isn't. This worked a treat however, all of us (human players included) felt an uncontrollable urge to smirk or laugh (either because we were a cylon, or because we weren't a cylon and were really desperate to not smirk so people wouldn't falsely accuse us- this of course has the reverse effect and makes you really want to laugh!). There we game to the consensus that after you look at your cards we each spend about 15 seconds laughing for no reason to get it out of our systems. This probably sounds really wierd (and probably looked even wierder in real life) but it did actually help settle out pre-game emotions and allow us to start properly with no one being any wiser as to who was a human and who wasn't. Do any other groups do something like this or we just that odd? Cheers, El
  12. Hi all, After getting Battlestar Galactica and its expansions for Christmas and having spent a lot of time reading through the rules and the various forums across the internet, I was finally able to get in my first games of BSG last night! Due to wanting to keep it simple to begin with and the fact that one of our group has not seen past the first season yet- it was pure vanilla BSG (although we did use the plastic basestars from pegasus). Overall we had two games, the first one was five player (which I was really keen for as this is the supposed sweet spot for numbers of players) and the second one was four player as one of our group had double-booked himself that day (which wasn't a bad thing as we were able to try out the much maligned Sympathiser card). In short, we loved it. We really enjoyed ourselves and the game played really well. For a fantasy flight game it was surprisingly rules-lite but there was a lot of depth to it as the game is obviously designed around the social interaction between players. It was also a reasonable length for our play group at about 4 hours for a game (some might consider that long but my group regularly plays 10 hour Twilight Imperium sessions so it was nice to play something that you could conceivably fit into an evening). The point of this post is to sat what we learned from playing the game and I'm interested to hear your comments to see if your experiences match ours. So with that said, what did we find? I'll start with balance. From reading the forums I pretty much found an equal number of posts stating that either the humans can't win, that the cylons can't win or that it's about 50/50 with the base game which lead me to believe that at least with the base game, it must be balanced to a degree. Balance is not something I'm particularly bothered with as my group is a very relaxed group- as long as the balance isn't obviously completely out of whack. From our 2 games (and I understand this isn't a huge amount) I would say that we found the balance about right- it wasn't too hard or easy for either side and there was plenty of tension. The first 5 player game was a victory to the Cylons, but boy was it close! I played as human and we managed to do an alright job- we got to 6 or 7 distance on our first attempt before we ran out of food and starved! (I think we were influenced too much by reading on the net that you rarely ever run out of food). We actually almost ran out of fuel- before we realised the use of Launch Scout and did what we could to delay the jump until we found a Tylium planet. Character wise we used: Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Laura Roslin and Chief Tyrol. They all felt pretty true to the series and we enjoyed using them. The only character I saw as a bit weak perhaps was Roslin- being able to scout the Crisis deck was useful (and probably would be even more useful as a cylon which incidentally was starbuck and adama in this game), but her weakness seemed really quite crippling. Nevertheless, I think she will be taken again in the future by different players as we tend to like playing with characters we like from the series, rather than for their in-game effects). The crisis deck is an interesting beast. There are definitely some tests that its better to fail so you can save your skill cards for the really crucial events but the events are nicely thematic and because we had it well shuffled, the cylon attacks were fairly consistent throughout the game without massive periods of silence or overwhelming odds. The 2nd game was a very different experience from the first but just as enjoable although we had to use the sympathiser card as we only had four players (more on that in a second). I don't know what happened to the crisis deck in the half hour between games, but **** if things weren't hot at the start! Before we had managed to make our first jump we literally had everything on the board. All the cylon plastic playing pieces were on the board, fighting off against all of our Vipers which were trying to protect all the civilian ships (every last token) which had spawned on the board thanks to repeated cylon attack cards showing up! This was really tense and exciting and we managed to survive without much loss (i think we had 2 damaged vipers before we jumped). This situation really highlighted the importance of the Communications location action so you can move civilian ships out of harms way and within your Vipers's protective screen. XOing the person sat in communications helped out no end! In fact, I would have to agree with the general consensus that using Executive Orders properly is vital for the humans to win as it allows you to do much more. Moving on to the sympathiser card...I can see why people don't like it. The forced reveal seems quite artificial and actually semi-annoyed the player who got it. Thankfully it didn't ruin his playing experience as he wanted to remain human (he was a cylon in our previous game) and he ended up helping the human side (the crisis literally just before sleeper tipped one of the resources into the red- i was convinced until then that we were going to have deal with two cylons)!. Whilst I don't think the card is quite as bad as some people make out (I don't think it's as bad for the game as say, for example, the original Imperial strategy card for Twilight Imperium)- I don't think it's ideal. It highlights why the game's sweet spot is 5 players but having read through the pegasus expansion- I think the cylon leaders option should be a worthy alternative in future 4/6 player games). With the sympathiser revealed, our cylon knew he was on his one-sies and as we on the verge of brigging him for suspicious behaviour, he decided to reveal. As a revealed cylon he was definitely able to do a bit more damage to us (he was Gaius 'Mother Frakkin' Baltar out of interest) but it was definitely a bit more difficult for him because the humans knew there was no longer a traitor in our midst, so we could concentrate on pure team work which does make things harder for the cylon and I feel, strong evidence against the 'reveal early' strategy although I suppose future games might change my mind things happen differently. The 2nd game ended as a good win for the humans with only fuel in the red. I really, really enjoyed Battlestar Galatica. I'm a big fan of the show but the tabeltop banter and paranoia makes the game a fairly easy sell for anyone, even those not familiar with the show. I think the balance for my gaming group is good, although I could see the base coming easier for the humans over the course of many games (which is why I have the expansions waiting in reserve!). Cheers, El!
  13. I wouldn't think so. The wording on the board is quite clear and specific: Communications: Action: Look at the back of two civilian ships. You may then move them to adjacent area(s). (Emphasis mine). Now perhaps an odd situation can arise if you only have one civilian ship you want to move, or indeed there's only one on the board to move. That's fine, but it quite clearly says to move it to an adjacent area. An area two spaces away is not adjacent. The rule is quite different from moving the (thematically speaking) much faster vipers which you can do from control, and it says 'activate 2 unmanned vipers' (and is clarified in the rulebook that a Viper may be activated more than once in a turn, so in one action you could actually move one Viper 2 spaces). This is very different from communications which doesn't use the word activate and is quite clear (at least in my opinion) as to what you can do. So basically I believe you're right and that your group doesn't need to worry about consistency between games. Sure, in a game remain consistant. But once you move on to the next game it doesn't matter- especially if the rule has been played wrong in the past! Having said that, a gaming group is a great and wonderful thing and also a personal one- each gaming group is quite different from the next so if it bugs them that much, I wouldn't worry about it. The gaming police aren't going to come knocking on your door and the opinion of others on the 'interwebz' really has no relevance to how your group plays Cheers, El Edit: My opinion simply comes from my belief that the wording on the board being very specific- I'm sure Holy Outlaw or someone else with more experience can clarify further!
  14. Sounds like you had a great time! I've got my first game tomorrow- if no one drops out at the last minute it should be 5 players!
  15. Thanks for the reply Julia, much appreciated. To be honest the combat system didn't really bother me at all. Having grown up with Warhammer 40,000 I'm more than use to being frustrated at random dice rolls and to be honest, I got rid of that frustration as a kid so I merely see it as a means to an end. I'm sure there a lot of subtle strategies to discover, just from the few examples you mentioned. My problem is that from the 5 or 6 games I played (the last few being guilted into it by my girlfriend before I finally said 'no more!') just didn't grab my attention. It was more or less hours of fruitless searching (okay, maybe an hour of fruitless searching truth be told) followed by a combat, then a card is played that basically resets everything which does not make for a fun time. It also kills any table banter. (I would like to point out I don't mean to offend with my views on a game you quite clearly enjoy, this is merely my personal experience). In other words, we would spend ages basically going to a city, picking up a card and passing play on from what I remember- or at least that's the overwhelming impression I've been left with. For sure, the more you play a game the more one can learn the strategies to play it well and enjoy it, but the games I've had provide me with absolutely no incentive to do so (unlike others like Twilight Imperium- far too complex for a player to develop any kind of strategy in the first game but I was hooked from the start). What can the hunters do to enjoy the intial hunting around? An hour of initial boredom is a big mood killer, especially with new players (I've since moved into a new area since owning the game). Also I see from your signature that you play Arkham Horror? To be honest I'm quite curious to try that. I'm looking for a full co-op game that's more about story than anything else but I've heard it being compared to Fury of Dracula quite a lot which concerns me. Given what I've posted above, would it be worth me giving AH a go? Cheers, El
  16. A lot of good advice here already, the only I would suggest differently from other is I would say DO use distant suns (well, Territorial Distant Suns anyway as it reduces the risk of being taken out of the game early on). Distant Suns add a lot of flavour and fun and deliver (in my opinion) a much better, more epic experience for a moderate increase in play time (I've played a lot of TI games now and I've found that peoples claims about the amount of extra time Distant Suns adds are exaggerated a bit and the amount of time it saves is in my opinion, not worth the experience you lose). I would also add: Player wise, I'm not sure if there's a satisfactory 2 player variant out there. As this isn't your standard board game (it's more of a day event)- it's worth getting the extra players. I've played 3 player, 4 player, 5 player and 7 player games. 3 players game are good fun and a good way to learn the game (especially if everybody's new) but once you've got 2-3 games under your belt you want to get at least one more player. Once the players are a bit more experienced 'king making' can become a bit of a problem in 3 player games and it will always be down to whatever player can get one of the others on his side. I've heard the game plays best with 6 people which is something I really want to try. My best games (and most common games) have been 4 player however the 5 player game was great fun if a little tough on the person who is 'squashed' between his two neighbours (5 player maps aren't particularly well balanced by default). The 7 player game was epic...but the game definitely struggled a bit under its own weight. Once you've played your very first game. Immediately add the Shattered Empire expansion if possible. The first game should just be about learning the basic mechanics about the game but as soon as you add the Shattered Empires stuff (particularly the far superior strategy cards) you'll see Twilight Imperium start fulling all the potential you saw in your first game that may have not been realised at the time. One final thing I will say is that whilst you can get the play time down to just a few hours (about an hour per player if everyone is really experienced and focussed)- the best thing I've found is simply remove the stress of time by accepting it's going to take a while and make an event of it. I plan my Twilight days in advance, I send out invites, I get in a lot of snacks and drinks and tell everybody to not worry about time, if the game finishes late and they don't want to drive home they can stay for the night!. Twilight Imperium is an epic game and it should be treated as such. If time is a critical factor I would suggest playing another game. Hope that helps!
  17. Hi everyone, I would very much like some help with a little dilemma of mine so to speak which is...why do I find Fury of Dracula so dull? Now this isn't a whine or a rant thread- if I don't like a game (and to be honest, I don't like Fury of Dracula) I see little point in whining at others on a forum. No, this is a thread to try and either help me like it or just to finalise the decision that "it's not for me". I've owned the game for a while now (about 5 years I reckon) and whilst my girlfriend always seems to like it when it (rarely) comes out- I try and keep it on the shelf as much as possible simply because my mind wanders quite early on. I had forgotten I even owned the game for a while but rummaging around for something in the garage lead to me spotting this game lying forlornly in an abandoned box in a corner and it inspired me to create this thread. Now a little bit about myself. I first came into contact with Fantasy Flight Games towards the end of my university studies (around 2007ish). I was never big into board games (being from the UK the only games you really see readily for sale on the high street are Monopoly, Scrabble and Risk) but my girlfriend was. One day in town we both saw this game called 'Warrior Knights' so we decided that we would pick it up and give it a go with a housemate of ours (who really liked her boardgames as well). I was instantly hooked. The high quality of the pieces, the complexity of the rules and the politics of the game really drew me in and to this day I'm still a big fan of Warrior Knights. Other board games followed in the years since; in rough order I believe it was Fury of Dracula, Blue Moon City, Doom, Twilight Imperium and more recently Battlestar Galactica and Blood Bowl Team Manager. All of these FFG games have several things in common- high quality components and great game play (Twilight Imperium and Battlestar Galactica rate amongst my favourites in particular) but Fury of Dracula stands out in my mind as the only game that I get bored with very quickly with me starting to feel like I'm wasting my evening as I play. Now why is this? This game has fans out there so either I'm missing something or I just really don't get it. It's been quite a few years since I last played it so I apologise if I'm hazy with the details. From what I seem to remember we largely played 3 player games at the time and I remember finding the whole mechanic of searching for Dracula whilst exciting and interesting in theory, was inanely dull in practice (just my opinions chaps and chappettes, no offence is meant or intended). I also found having to manage multiple hunters a bit tedious (although that's probably more to do with there just being three of us at the time). Maybe it was because how Dracula was played (I think I was only ever a hunter in the 5-6 games we played) but I got the overall impression that nothing seemed to happen in the game. You spent a long time not doing anything (just stocking up on items whilst following a loose plan to cover the board) and when the night time phase came around- you might get a fight or two before *poof!* Ol' Pasty Face vanished into thin air and you effectively had to start over. This would repeat several times until the end when either the Hunters won, or Dracula won without much in the way of a climax (if memory serves Dracula won the most but I couldnt tell you an exact ratio- it wasn't anything so that to suggest that the game was inbalanced or anything so maybe 60/40 to Dracula?). So I ask you ladies and gents- is it worth me getting it out for one more go after all this time and what can I do differently? Regards, El
  18. Got the game this christmas and I'm really enjoying it. I originally got it for my girlfriend so that we would have a 2 player game for ourselves and it fulfills that niche quite nicely. However, I played my first 3 player game last night and it really came alive. Overall from what I've seen the game has been really well received and it probably makes commercial sense to release at least one expansion for it.
  19. Hi everyone, I thought I'd add another first impression topic here as I had my first game with Shards last night and all the other topics covering this are over at BGG or the TI3wiki. So yesterday was a 4 player game (the good old fashioned birthday event game at that!) using both Shards and Shattered Empire. We pretty much used all the options except for leaders, space mines, Age of Empire and early simulated turns. There might have been one or two others but we pretty much used everything and it was great. On the objective front, we used a mix of the vanilla and SE objective cards but with no Imperium Rex. The 4 races in play (everyone drew 3 randomly then selected one) were the Nekro Virus, the Ghosts of Creuss, the Brotherhood of Yin and the Embers of Muatt. It was a really good game although I as the brotherhood kinda got the raw end of the galaxy set up but the battle report is for another time, this is an analysis of the shards aspect of the game after one play through. So in no particular order: The Ghosts of Creuss I really liked these guys, they didn't seem to over powered but they are definitely up there amongst the better races. The guy playing them wasn't very aggressive which was a shame as he had a lot of wormholes in which he could strike at people home's systems very quickly but he was the least experienced player with only one other game under his belt (the rest of us have about 6 or 7). I could see the potential use of his flagship and I believe that the FAQ ruling is definitely the way the flagship should be played but he didn't really use it all that much. None the less the Ghosts are very quick and despite being new, he came second with 9 VPs (the winner came first with 9VPs but seized a precursor space station at the last moment). I can't comment on the Ghosts racial tech as I never saw it in use but certainly reading them makes initial impressions good. The Nekro Virus The race that won the game. These guys are true monsters- a great thematic race which can quite happily be the target for all the other players out there and still have a good chance of winning. In our game the Embers player on their left was so afraid that they kept negotiating with them for peace when really they should have helped the other 2 races take the Nekro out. These guys produce command counters like there's no tomorrow and basically just assimilate everything. A very good tactic for the Nekro player was whenever he was speaker he would take the Technology card to gain his command counters instead of leadeship- meaning people rarely got the opportunity for a free technology. Another thing the Nekro player liked about his race was that he could be a complete **** and people wouldn't get suspicious about him because it's how the race needs to be played- meaning he could get away with certain actions that would have torn down any chances of a non-nekro race making an alliance with another race if they did the same thing. He found it very liberating. Long story short, these guys are great and will definitely impact any game of TI3 they're in- you need to ally with other players if you want to take them out. In regards to specifics, their flagship is great and not only a brilliant deterrent, it easily wipes out entire fleets when sent in by itself on a suicide run. It's essentially a floating Nuke and certainly needs to be respected. Careful teamwork with other players is needed to counter it successfully. The Nekro also have some very interesting political representatives which certainly makes everyone cagey (although to be fair because of that, the Nekro representatives rarely worked as they were usually the target for an attack but when they did work, they were very good but more on that later). Overall, (after one play through anyway) I would consider them a top tier race but you have to be aggressive with them. Mercenaries and Trade III Overall we liked the Mercenaries- they're quite fun especially when you consider they each have their own special ability. We only saw them in combat for a bit but they're definitely quite good and their special abilities can throw in unexpected twists to a battle. As a group we also saw no problem with planets reverting to neutral if a Mercenary ground force is there by itself. You can explain it thematically through a manner of different means but more importantly it's a good balance modifier because otherwise the Mercenaries would be too much of a sure bet choice. They're also relatively cheap. Having said that I made the mistake of getting some too early which meant I wasted resources using mercs I didn't need at the time. Trade III on the other hand we found to be very...clunky. I didn't want to prejudge the card based on what has been said on forums. I wanted to give it a fair chance and didn't tell any of the other players what the general '1nt3rw3bz' consensus was. We all came to the overwhelming conclusion that the card is very poor- having Mercenaries recruited through the trade card is fine in of itself but once you take that out you have a very clunky trading system which in our opinion removed all the subtleties of trade strategies. The fact of the matter is that trade becomes a guaranteed income and the secondary ability to cancel a trade agreement is generally a waste of a command counter as it's too easily re-established in the next turn...for no loss of income for the partners who had their agreements cancelled. This is assuming that the trade strategy card isn't taken by the player who did the cancellation but this never happened as someone else would pick the card up (this might be more of a problem in 4 player games when all the strategy cards are going to be selected each turn- annoying when the majority of our games are 4 player). Normally we'd try something we didn't like one more time before deciding to change it as we like to play as close to the rules as possible but we are strongly tempted to go back to Trade II and link the mercenaries with that. Maybe there's something we're missing but why change Trade II so massively? In summary, Mercs: great, Trade III: poor to the extent we're willing to house rule it after one playthrough which we don't normally do. Mechanised Units Never saw any combat in our first game which is a great shame. However we did build some and for what they do they are very cheap and I can see why we're hardcapped to just 4 of them. The Nekro was within striking distance of my Home System so I immediately built all 4 on my homeworld which was strong enough to deter an invasion completely. I would have liked to see them in action but I see no reason not to use these guys, they seem like a lot of fun and are pretty simple. Political Intrigue (Assembly II) and Promissory Notes I know the internet things this option is a bit 'meh' but we really liked this option. We though the use of the representatives added a whole new mini game to the process. Admittedly it makes an assembly last a bit longer but we're the kind of group that feels disappointed if a game of Twilight only lasts 5-6 hours. Not knowing quite what your opponent is going to send is fun and it gave the game a very 'cold war' feel to the early stages with no actual wars being fought but with political representatives quietly 'disappearing'. We also had some pretty major laws come out which was really good fun and changed the flow of the game quite dramatically each time. The Nekro added a whole new dimension to the process as well with all of us being paranoid as to whether Beezlebub would show up. The potential is there if an entire group of timid players kept playing that nothing but bodyguards would keep showing to the assembly but that would be fairly easy to counter with a councillor for an important law. The Promissory Notes didn't actually see much use to be honest except right towards the end. I think they're a good option to get you out of a particularly tight spot but I don't see them being used that much in our group. New Technology, Racial and Otherwise. Not really much to say here at the moment because it would take a lot of games to see all of these in actual use. Duranium armour was nice though. New Spaces Having the planet within a Nebula was a great defensive spot to have right next to have my home system, plus the gravity rift (which occurred due to a Final Frontier token) was great. It's a really nice addition to the special system plus it saved my bacon as due to some un/lucky (depending on how you look at it) rolls, a Nekro fleet of 5 cruisers and a carrier was wiped out in its entirety trying to escape the rift whilst en route to my space. Good stuff all round and the double tech discount planets were good. Final Frontier Tokens We really liked these but then again we really like Distant Suns. If you are going to use them we recommend using Territorial Distant Suns instead of straight Distant Suns as the Final Frontier tokens can make basic space exploration quite a dangerous/expensive prospect. However, if you like Distant Suns like us, you'll love these. Will definitely be using them again. Flagships You'd have to judge these on a case by case basis I'd imagine but we really liked these and they help to further add flavour to the races. The Nekro 's Flagship is brutal yet brilliant as noted above and the Ghosts Hill Colish looks very good (although it was under used in our game) and the Yin's Van Hague which allows on-board ground forces to fight like fighters was useful. I wouldn't say Flagships are a necessity to the game but I would say that not using them as an option would be a great shame as they're a lot of fun. So there you have it. Overall I can strongly recommend Shards. I'd like to offer more insights into it but that will have to for now until I have some more games in the future! Cheers, El
  20. I converted a couple who didn't really think they would enjoy a board game by making it part of my girlfriend's birthday (yeah they were basically guilted into trying it). Out of politeness of course they then gave it a go and now they've played several times and keep asking me when we can try out the new expansion.
  21. DavidG55311 said: You're missing the Imperium Rex card. If you are in the lead point wise when you have bureaucracy and Imperium Rex is one of your choices, game over, you win. So the end game strategy for all players is; keep bureaucracy out of the hands of the leader. That sounds a lot easier said than done! Any tips?
  22. Some good reasoning in there Steve-O, particularly about the Tactical Retreats. Have you tried Voice of the Council? Still trying to wrap my head around that one as to whether it's worth taking or not...
  23. Hi all, Twilight Imperium 3 and Shattered Empire have been out for quite a while now and this topic has been done in dribs and drabs in the past I'm sure. However for the benefit of the new players (myself included although I've got a good number of games under my belt now) I thought I'd open this up to share my opinions and hear from others as to what they use and what they think of the variants. Please note this is only for official variants, not shattered ascension or any other home rules (which whilst great I'm sure, are not what this topic is about). This thread isn't to establish what's right and wrong as the great thing about TI3 is that its so easily tailored to specific gaming groups- but I'm interested to hear what the current opinion is on each variant! TI3 Variants: The Long War Haven't tried this one to be honest, I think the game is long enough with 10 Victory Points. However, this is something I'd like to try in the future once I have the luxury of setting aside a weekend. However as being able to set aside a whole day is something my group and I can only really do once a month I doubt this variant will see much use even if we do like it! Age of Empire This is a really good variant for new players to use and I'd recommend that all players use it for their first two or three games. It certainly speeds up the game and makes it easier for new players to work out what to do. However, once they're familiar with the game I'd recommend not using it. Not knowing what objectives are going to come up and trying to take them as they do adds a surprising amount to the game we've found and as such, if we're not playing with new players we don't use it. However, if we do have new players this is automatically chosen. Distant Suns There isn't much love for Distant Suns on the internet, however, I have to admit that my gaming group and I love them. Yes, they add time to the game but we always plan our TI games so that time isn't a factor and what time they cost in extra playing hours is more than made up by the fun of settling planets and not quite knowing what you're going to find! Sometimes it can be really beneficial, sometimes not so much and providing you use Territorial Distant Suns, the damage that can be done to you isn't so bad as to knock you out of the game. In my last game I got really screwed by then- the majority of planets had either hostile forces or hostile conditions which did slow my initial expansion- but if anything that can add to your sympathy factor when negotiating deals. I guess it depends on the gaming group but my one would always use this variant in Territorial form. Leaders To be fair we've only used this variant once before, in a 3 player game and to be honest we didn't think too much of them. We didn't think they were particularly bad, only that they added a fair bit of complexity without doing much and were fairly easy to forget about. Having said that, that was a while ago and I really want to try them in a larger game. In addition now that we all have the game mechanics understood fairly well I reckon we could probably put the leaders to good use. Sabotage Runs Cool for the Star Wars imagery but in practice we've found that the fighters are better kept as ablative wounds and not wasted. We don't use this one. Shattered Empire Variants Preset Maps We use the FFG preset balanced maps for new players as they ensure that new guys aren't disadvantaged from the start and are therefore more likely to enjoy themselves. Once they've comfortable though we like to randomly generate our maps although some of the preset maps on the TI3wiki look like fun. Variant Strategy Cards Not much to say here. Easily better than the original ones which were quite ham fisted in their actions. We really like the Bureaucracy card over either Imperial Card as well. Variant Objectives Definitely use these as well, they....'encourage' player interaction quite a bit. I'm thinking of removing the duplicates from the original objective set and mixing them in for more variety. Race Specific Technologies Some races have better tech than others but only in such a way that it balances the races further. To be honest they add a nice extra to the game and there isn't much reason not to use them! Artifacts We really like these and pretty much always use them. The 'right' to explore them often leads to interesting bargains and deals being struck on a political level across the table as well as providing additional focal points on the map. It's surprising how something so simple can add so much to a game but we've found that they really do in our opinion! Shock Troops/ Facilities We like both of these. Shock troops are really quite nice without being too complicated and make Hope's End a bit more special when it's in play. They're not overpowered and whilst I've yet to see it happen I imagine it's probably quite handy being able to capture enemy PDS/Space Docks, Facilities we normally forget about so I would normally say 'include them if you want, they don't add that much'. However, since the last game I changed my mind as they really helped players in low resource parts of the galaxy compete later on- to the extent that we actually ran out of facility cards. As such, I reckon we'll probably keep using them as they're not hard to use and you never know if you'll end up needing them. Space Mines Haven't used these so can't really form an opinion on them. All I know is they're not well thought of broadly speaking. The Wormhole Nexus It's always nice to have an extra system to contest and being able to effectively use an alpha wormhole to come out of a beta wormhole (via mallice) is always good fun. However sometimes it's nice to know that alpha and beta are seperated from each other. We tend to flip a coin to decide whether or not to use the wormhole nexus but to be honest, there's no reason not to include it if you want to. New Distant Suns Tokens/Territorial Distant Suns/Custodians of Mecatol Rex Already covered this above, we reckon they're great for the reasons stated. Tactical Retreats This is okay I suppose but we usually omit it because there isn't much wrong with the default retreat. I'm not sure what others think though... Voice of the Council This is the one that I'm really not sure about either way. We've never ever used it but I am curious to try, however I can't really find much on the internet as to what people think about it. I'm not sure how it would work either...I mean rules wise it seems simple enough but how could you really exploit it? Surely if you're even in contention for top spot people would just vote the victory point away from you? It seems like it would add a lot of discussion time between players without adding much to the game? I'm particularly interested in hearing what people think about this variant. Anyway, that's me done. Please add your thoughts below!
  24. Right, here's the report as promised from my last thread! As they say, even the best laid plans don't survive contact with the enemy but thankfully this turned out to be a very enjoyable day. The 6 player game I had organised looked like it was going to be a 7 player game at one point before becoming 6 again and then finally, on game day, 5 players. It was a tiny bit dissapointing finding out it was only going to be a 5 player and not 6 (I had gone around my friends house the night before to set up the game because he's got a much larger place than I) but we didn't let it bother us because it would still be the largest game we would have all played to date and all of the remaining players were either relatively experienced or had played at least once before! As such we decided to ditch the preset map and randomly create the galaxy! Variants in play were: Alternate Strategy Cards (with Bureaucracy) and Objectives Territorial Distant Suns (we're a big fan of these, even if sometimes they can screw you up and can't really ever see not playing with them!) Shock Troops Facilities Artifacts Race Specific Tech (naturally!) The Races were drawn at Random with the following being selected: Myself: The Mentak Coalition Girlfriend: The L1Z1X Mindnet Long time mate from school: The Winnu Friend from work (only 1 game under his belt): The Fedaration of Sol Sol's girfriend (again, only 1 game under her belt but she did win her first): Yssaril The game would be played to 10VP with Imperium Rex omitted from the objective deck (time wasn't an issue- we started early and planned to overnight if the game finished late) Map Layout The map layout was quite interesting, I wish I had remembered my camera but to summarise I ended up in the 'squashed' position with the winnu on my left and L1Z1X on my right in the slightly less squashed positions. Unfortunately we all forgot to get our bonus trade goods for starting in those positions (which in my case could have really, really helped early on!). Never the less, I as the mentak managed to end up placed to quite a few planets in my vicinity but not quite as much as the yssaril which had well over half of the available planets it seemed in their sector. The winnu had a very mediocre turn out of planets to claim which would be alright although the L1Z1X would have tread on a few toes to establish an empire. The poor Federation of Sol however got truly screwed over and was truly out in the sticks, in the middle of nowhere (2 turns into the game the player claimed "hmmm, next time we make the map I think I'll put my planets closer to my home system instead of the other side of the board...") Anyway, that's part of the fun- you don't know how the galaxy will look so with that done, we started the game! The Campaign is Launched The early game proved to be quite eventful, largely in part to the distant suns counters. The Mentak found their initial expansion slowed by a run of bad luck; it seemed the inhabitants of the galaxy didn't quite like the fun loving pirate lifestyle I had to offer! The only run of good luck I particularly had in that regards was the system next to Mecatol Rex from my side of the galaxy which was an industrious populace (obviously sick of work) and gave me a free space dock. I was also lucky with the artifacts- 2 tokens were placed within my reach. The one I claimed proved to be an actual artifiact whereas the other one which was technically on the border with me and the L1Z1X I blockaded with cruisers to later use as a bargaining tool with the L1Z1X (which worked quite nicely). Despite my poor luck with distant suns, I was able to lay claim to the majority of planets within my reach and quickly established "gun lines pending negotiation" with the Winnu and L1Z1X. During this early stage the Winnu managed to grab a few planets, the L1Z1X even less to the extent where they would "make no promises as to their next actions". This lead to the Yssaril offering a few of the planets near them in exchange for an alliance which the L1Z1X agreed to- not a good situation for the rest of us! The poor federation started their long journey to Yssaril space in order to gain some land whilst using their miserable one planet to produce units. The trading situation proved very interesting early on. Despite the L1Z1X having bugger all to offer in terms of trade, they received the best deals and end up with a 3,2 trading agreement with the Winnu and Yssaril (I was not happy my 2 closest neighbours the L1Z1X and Winnu kept referring to me as the pirate threat. I guess it was my fault for being the mentak, choosing black and ending every sentence with "Arrrrrrr!"). The Winnu also chose to trade with Yssaril meaning that the federation and I could only trade with each other leaving one contract as useless! The Winnu then saw to further exploit the situation in the next turn by calling an assembly and forcing through a law banning the federation and the mentak from trading! This obviously could not stand and it was only round 2/3 at this point so I declared war on the Winnu and within the turn seized control of all his planets on my side and ended up with a fleet in the hex adjacent to his homeworld. (Unfortunately my secret objective was technocrat and didnt involve any homesystems). The Winnu at this point realised their mistake and were at my mercy- as tempting as it would have been to punish him further I am a strong advocate of not eliminating players. The game is too long to for such silliness and he's a good friend and this is only a game! So, what I negotiated was that I would pull back from the planet next to his homesystem but that I would maintain control of it and reinforce with groundtroops. In addition he would have to help the federation in their expansion plans by funding sol's fleet (this would later include 2 dreadnoughts amongst other things!) as the Yssaril were expanding fast, chummy with the mindnet and werent really worried about the weak federation. This later proved to be very beneficial as the federation were able to gain a foothold in Yssaril space and slow down their big expansion and actually significantly weaken the Yssaril as war erupted between them towards the end game. After that early spike of aggression between the Mentak and the Winnu, peace broke out between the races for many years and even though the L1Z1X were getting twitchy around my borders I conceded one of the planets in the dual planet system which we could both legitmately lay claim to. To seal the deal and gain an alliance with the mindnet I offered them the rights to settle the planet with the unexplored artifact counter on it which they agreed to and they in turn would give me half of their trade income each turn. Thankfully the artifact lead prove to be false but this was not detrimental to the alliance which lasted all the way until the final round (when naturally, all bets are off). Before the galaxy once more erupted in war towards the final rounds, the L1Z1X managed to settle Mecatol Rex before I could! This proved to be unfortunate as they not only fulfilled the public objective for controlling but also fulfilled their secret objective. To be honest I should have seen this and it proved to be my undoing. However, the mindnet conceeded that in the interest of the alliance they would allow me to control Mecatol Rex from the next turn to grab the public objective. I duly did this and then immediately locked the system down to prevent any other mectaol based secret objectives being fulfilled! It was unfortunate for me as the mentak that there was a large period of piece between the other players. My plan had been to get rich off the warring players by selling my services by playing my nasty action cards for whoever was the highest bidder and then picking off the weakened survivors but this didn't have very much due to everybody holding hands and hugging trees for the majority of the game! When the galactic war truly kicked off, the Winnu weren't in a position to do very much, so it was largely fought between the newly strengthend Federation and the Yssaril. The L1Z1X then broke their alliance with the Yssaril to capitalise on the rich pickings on offer and I in turn declared "Arrrrrrrr!" and did the same with the L1Z1X! Alas it wasn't enough and even though I faired well in all my engagements the custodians of the throne declared an end to the war and that they would declare a new emperor! The results were tallied... The Federation of Sol and Yssaril: 4 VPs The Winnu: 6 VPs The Mentak: 9 VPs (so close!) The L1Z1X Mindnet: 10VPs (technically 11)- the winner! This was a great game and much fun was had by all. The only bad thing was the realisation it probably be another month until the next one! I almost had this game in the bag, despite not being able to fulfil my original game plan. You definitely have to be quite ballsy with the mentak and I feel I did quite well with them but in the future, I would probably need to be a little more pirate like! It's unfortunate that 2 of their abilities (starting off with 4 fleet size) and raiding out people's trade goods become fairly redundant later on as people add to their fleet supply and wise up to your raids and spend their trade goods before any other resource! Having said that, the Mentak are a great race to play as in character and I'd happily play as them again. In a game as long as Twilight Imperium it's inevitable that as it goes on, mistakes will be made as you start to flag. The mistake which cost me the game I believe was there was a turn when I simply did not have enough command counters to take some critical actions (normally not a problem for me, I tend to prioritize them over anything). However, despite having the ability to take Leadership, I was overly cautious as I was about to leave a system exposed and took diplomacy reasoning that someone always takes leadership and the secondary will give me enough command counters for what I need to do. Of course that was the only damned turn I've ever seen in which no one took leadership! Anyway lesson learned, the game was a blast. I hope you enjoyed the report! Cheers, El P.S. Just remembered, one thing which struct me as particularly odd with this game is that shock troops didn't see much use but the facilities did! We actually ran out of facilitiy cards and as there were few high resource planets on the board, they proved to be really quite handy!
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