Sunday, September 9, 2012

Twilight Imperium

Like most people who've played TI3, I loved the game, but wasn't happy with how the ISC card is used. It just seemed like it was a "cheap" 2 VPs and that whoever ended up with the card the most ended up winning the game.

My group experimented with different variants. We played that it was worth only one point and we tried it worth 2 points until the stage II objectives were revealed, at which point it was worth only 1. My group disagreed on how to use this and the game was eventually shelved.
The infamous Imperial Strategy Card
Recently, my son (23) and his group wanted to play and we played with the original rules and his group's reaction was pretty much the same, so we took to the task of doing additional research. Of all the variants we came across, we decided to use the one put out by FFG and the how the card (I think) is used with the expansion.

Basically, a player gets one point for Mecatol Rex (making that even more important) and can qualify for any number of public objectives that turn (using the optional rule that the game is played with the objectives exposed, which we've liked the last several times we've played). Or, the player can chose to conduct a "free" build while not allowing others to do so.

I must admit that I really enjoyed the game. It seemed to me there was much more strategy and that we got to do more toward achieving the objectives. In fact, one time I picked the ISC card I chose the rapid mobilization option instead of the objectives option, although I realized after that turn I could have won the game had I been able to qualify for several objectives. But then again, if I hadn't of built, I could have been invaded and lost a few of those objectives, so who the heck knows.

Toward the end of the game.  I played blue and had the "Universities of Jol-Nar."
Having said that, the player who invaded Mecatol Rex (MR) early and garrisoned it with troops (it was the Federation Sol player) ended up winning the game. Yes, we failed to retake MR (no one had the army to do that) and we could have tried to take his homeworld (it was wide open) but, we were all busy with our own objectives, none of which involved MR (out of five players only one had a MR secret objective).  I actually tried this strategy the last game we played, but someone had a "knock out the population of a planet" card and I was unable to hold on to MR.

Federation of Sol (red) garrisoning Mecatol Rex
Federation of Sol "Race Card," giving them what we call the special "breeding" ability
Overall I liked the variant card and will probably use it from now on. In fact, it does motivate me more to purchase the expansion, but I have several other games on my wishlist ahead of the Shattered Empires expansion.

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