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Janus

Player Aids: What have you made, what do you want?

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 With the new expansion coming up, I started thinking again about teaching my friends how to play Twilight Imperium.  I still have the handouts I made for the commander rules variant, which helped those games go smoothly.  But what else could use cheat sheets?  What have other people found when running their own games?  What might we want to see available from FFG in the support section?

 

Here's what I have so far:

 

Commanders Cheat Sheet - A listing of what the commanders might do for you, and how they influence game play.

Active/Pass Placecards - Used to signal and remind players who has passed their turn, and therefor no longer able to take actions this round.

Rules Packages - Specific combinations of rules variants designed for various game play styles

Rules Variant Cards - Don't make your friends fight over the rule book, and don't waste time reading aloud variant rules.  Cards that can be set to the side to show which options are in effect will not only ease understanding at the start of a game, but it will also allow for rules setup to happen in a way similar to board setup (if desired).

 

Do you have ideas?  Care to show off finished products?

 

 

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I haven't made anything yet myself, having leeched considerably from the player aids over on BGG. There are some 21 pages of file downloads there.

Before and during a typical game, I tend to use the following:

  1. A race summary - There's an Excel spreadsheet that fits 'em all on one page and assigns a numeric "value" rating based on starting units, home planets, and tech.
  2. TI3 Tech Tracker - Maybe not the best for new players, unless they are really obsessed, but I find it very handy for tracking the effects of my tech on various units. This way, I know at a glance what sort of combat rolls I need to make, how I can move, etc.
  3. Extra copies of the FAQ and base rules - A coupla extra print-outs are handy, for those that secretly want to look up a question.
  4. Tech Tree + Leader Summary sheet - I think there's a copy were the tech tree is crammed onto one portrait page of US Letter. There's also a summary of leaders and maybe even the special tiles (e.g. nebula, asteroids, ion storm, etc.).

PDF files exist for ready download so the noobs can at least skim the rules in advance. I also point 'em to the step-by-step tutorials. Many noobs will not take that sort of time before game day to read all of that, so on game day, it helps to have the following:

  • Surf around for TI3 player aids. There's one that has a handy visual depiction of what all happens in a game round on one sheet. It's more visual than text based, so I think it would help noobs easily grasp the turn structure. Some of these player aids have more detailed text. The one I'm thinking of even includes a step-by-step walkthrough, in order, of everything from FAQs + SE that impacts combat.
  • Tech Tree + Leader Summary sheet

All of these handouts are great, but nothing helps a new player better than having a friendly, experienced player or two who are happy to spend some time explaining the rules. Be cautious with this, or perhaps do it in concert with a practice game round, because some folks learn better by doing and will tire of the long-winded professor types babbling forever about some tangential nonsense. I resemble that statement.

As to what I'd like to see next, I like the idea of a more computerized set of player aids. Something where I can search a key word like "PDS" and get all the info there is, relevant action cards, FAQs, the works.

 

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One player aid I made (after beig inspired by the folks at BGG) was a set of planet tokens to place on the game board and replace the planet cards.  The front sides have the name, resources and influence, the back sides have the flavour text and greyed out resource/influence so you can keep an eye on how much total you have without constantly peeking at your face-down cards.

I went all out and mounted them on wooden disks the same diameter as the planets and I think they came out nicely, however, you could probably acheive similar results just printing them out on heavy cardstock.  Maybe print the backs on sticker paper so you can mount them properly after printing - trying to line up front and back for printing on a single sheet would be a nightmare, I expect.

It's a simple change, but it allows players to reach out and pick up the planets they conquer instead of having someone root through the planet deck for every planet.  I've found it makes a tremendous difference in terms of speeding up gameplay and helping people to remember what planets they have.

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Steve-O said:

One player aid I made (after beig inspired by the folks at BGG) was a set of planet tokens to place on the game board and replace the planet cards.  The front sides have the name, resources and influence, the back sides have the flavour text and greyed out resource/influence so you can keep an eye on how much total you have without constantly peeking at your face-down cards.

In expanding my knowledge about Twilight Imperium I've been reading through the older threads mostly for rules discussions and whatnot, but I ran across this thread and Steve-O's comment about these nifty sounding tokens.

A question for Steve-O, did you just scan the system tiles to get the planet images? Then I assume you fiddled with the images to make them what you wanted for creating the tokens. Were to tokens cardstock you ran through your printer?

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Kerrin said:

A question for Steve-O, did you just scan the system tiles to get the planet images? Then I assume you fiddled with the images to make them what you wanted for creating the tokens. Were to tokens cardstock you ran through your printer?

No, I pulled the images off the old ti3wiki.org (sadly no longer around.)  Then I fiddled with them to add the details and printed front and back on sticker paper, which I stuck to the wooden disks.

Then I went really nuts and covered both sides of each disc with clear contact film to protect from damage, although that may have been a mistake since Mecatol Rex, at least, seems to be yellowing with age.

I still have the image files and could probably share them with you if you want them.  I'd have to run it by FFG first and make sure they don't mind, but they have historically been remarkably cool about letting people digitize TI3.  Their only rule concerning ti3wiki.org was "don't share the card text."  (For those who may not know the whole story, it's my understanding the ti3wiki.org went down because the webmaster couldn't afford to keep it up.  Not because of any legal hassles from FFG.)

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Steve-O said:

No, I pulled the images off the old ti3wiki.org (sadly no longer around.)  Then I fiddled with them to add the details and printed front and back on sticker paper, which I stuck to the wooden disks.

Wooden disks from a craft store? That sounds very cool indeed.

Steve-O said:

I still have the image files and could probably share them with you if you want them.  I'd have to run it by FFG first and make sure they don't mind, but they have historically been remarkably cool about letting people digitize TI3.  Their only rule concerning ti3wiki.org was "don't share the card text."

I would definitely appreciate the image files.

I can understand FFG not wanting the entire game digitized and available online. Making the cards off limits is very reasonable. I also tip my hat to them for apparently having a good relationship with the players and fans of their games.

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I found a neat little trick with the planet deck is to sort them into alphabet order, it really helps, as you quickly work out where in the pack you need to be to find the planet you're looking for. I don't sort it right down to the last detail but it's enough to have it run from A to Z so that all the planets of a single letter are together.

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 Aye. I picked up that suggestions somewhere along the way and I now keep my planet cards alphabetized. Now my only annoyance is when other players mess up the order of that deck. preocupado.gif

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jboweruk said:

I found a neat little trick with the planet deck is to sort them into alphabet order, it really helps, as you quickly work out where in the pack you need to be to find the planet you're looking for. I don't sort it right down to the last detail but it's enough to have it run from A to Z so that all the planets of a single letter are together.

Yeah, we used to do that too.  It does help, but we still frequently forgot to actually get the cards, from one another or from the deck.

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I made a bunch of "Fleet Markers" by painting sets of 6 wooden disks, slightly rounded on one side, in all 8 plastic colors. I then proceeded to paint roman numerals I, II and III in pairs on them. I use them to lessen the clutter of plastic heaps on the board by placing the heap next to the board with a "Fleet Marker" next to it and the corresponding half of the pair on the board to show where said heap is located. I'll try to get my arse outta the wagon and post pics on BGG one of these years...

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Steve-O said:

Kerrin said:

 

A question for Steve-O, did you just scan the system tiles to get the planet images? Then I assume you fiddled with the images to make them what you wanted for creating the tokens. Were to tokens cardstock you ran through your printer?

 

 

No, I pulled the images off the old ti3wiki.org (sadly no longer around.)  Then I fiddled with them to add the details and printed front and back on sticker paper, which I stuck to the wooden disks.

Then I went really nuts and covered both sides of each disc with clear contact film to protect from damage, although that may have been a mistake since Mecatol Rex, at least, seems to be yellowing with age.

I still have the image files and could probably share them with you if you want them.  I'd have to run it by FFG first and make sure they don't mind, but they have historically been remarkably cool about letting people digitize TI3.  Their only rule concerning ti3wiki.org was "don't share the card text."  (For those who may not know the whole story, it's my understanding the ti3wiki.org went down because the webmaster couldn't afford to keep it up.  Not because of any legal hassles from FFG.)

Hi, Steve-O. Would it be possible to get a copy of those images? The planet disks sound very cool.

P.S. I am the same "Kerrin" as before - see my signature for why I'm now "Kerrin2".

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