So, yesterday was another ten-hour Twilight Imperium game. Now that we’re playing a bit more by the rules (last time we had sort of overlooked the single public objective during the status phase requirement), the games are back to taking a long time. The variants we played with:
- SE objectives
- SE strategies
- Distant suns
- Simulated early turns
- Expanded universe
Simulated early turns was great. While this might shaft some races, getting about two moves worth of expansion out of the way, and attenuating early distant sun crap is a nice thing.
I liked distant suns, the surprise wormholes really changed the map, and otherwise it didn’t really slow down the game much, but made the whole planetary conquest thing feel a bit more “real” in that it wasn’t just an automatic cakewalk, and required a bit more care and investment.
The new SE strategies are far better balanced than the original objectives. Two things I noticed particularly: Bureaucracy is very powerful for somebody with a strong position; it should be taken defensively at first opportunity to prevent another player from securing a second public objective; I used it three times to pull ahead of my competitors. Secondly, the new warfare card sort of sucks. The bonus is nice, and gives a nice tactical advantage, but the power provided by the original ability to remove command makers is worlds more useful. Far too many times my fleets were locked by counter, not by military might or capability.
I’m sort of ambivalent about the SE objectives; they do increase the desire to go to war with neighbors, rather than just tool around and get planets for resources, so I think they’re an improvement, but they’re not as much of an improvement as I’d like. I expected a strong emphasis on space battle, and they still really only create space battles by proxy most of the time.
Other thoughts: I need a spreadsheet to track current attack modifiers and do auto combat rolls; I don’t like playing risk or Axis and Allies, and would like to get rid of this administrative portion of the game.
Anyhow, all of that said, I’m once again realizing that TI3 is just way too complicated. It’s cool, but working towards an optimal strategy is too much effort, and the potential avenues for tactical actions mean giving any turn full consideration would probably require a multiple-day approach to the game. Actually playing an 8-player game would also be a preposterous amount of work. I like the game, but it’s something I can only take in small (or, since they can’t be small, infrequent) doses; maybe once a month or so.