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447Twilight Imperium 3 - session report - Feb 3rd.

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  • Neil Parker
    Feb 6, 2008

      I had planned to do a report, then I was so immersed in the game I forgot to take notes and then I came away thinking I might not be able to do the game justice. But I've been prompted so I'll give it a go. There may well be some errors, but the flavour is here.


      The players from my left going round in order: Brian – The Mentak Coalition (space pirates), Keith – Xxcha – (diplomats), Stuart – Sardakk Norr (insectoid warrior race), James – Jol Nar universities (boffins of the galaxy), George – Clan of Sarr (itinerant builders) and Neil – Embers of Muaat (armoured blacksmiths).


      Rules. We used the SE expansion to include the new races. We used the standard strategy cards with the Imperial 2 card, simulated early turns, special race techs, Age of Empires option and tactical retreat option. George and Stuart organised a balanced mapboard which gives a fair opportunity to all. All of us had played at least once, except James – he was new to the game, Brian – he has played about 3 times and i think George has played it twice.


      Game: I was nominated first player and we all carried out our early turns. This option allows players to claim two free systems and get a boost to starting units and tech before the proper game begins. Everyone bar Stuart took the two planet systems either side of their homesystem, but Stuart seized an opportunity to take the two directly ahead, thus getting closer to Mecatol Rex.


      First round: We all made fairly predictable opening builds and moves claiming extra territory. Muaat and Sarr had already signed a peace and co-operation treaty which was to last the war. Muaat signed a non-aggression pact with the Mentak, The Sardakk gave `assurances' to both the Jol-Nar and XXcha about territories. The Muaat took a gamble and went political straight away risking no tech build and not gaining any victory points – as it turned out, the action cards gained allowed me to develop tech. My starting war sun was slow at first so I missed out on gaining extra systems. Sarr sent his space dock out of his home system and started to build a fleet, Sardakk took up a strong position next to Mecatol Rex and started to build what was to be an impressive battery of PDS' giving food for thought for anyone attempting to control the capital system yet being able to land with impunity at a later date. The XXcha and Mentak eyed each other cautiously and Jol-Nar made aggressive moves towards Sardakk. Most races gained a victory point at the end.


      Second round: This round was the only real consolidating round where races took over systems and reinforced their position without too much interference. Muaat took technology to get the race tech and now the war suns were able to move two systems. Jol-Nar had sought to prevent any tech being developed, but the Muaat diplomats worked overtime and successfully persuaded the Jol-Nar that the Sardakk were more of a threat. XXcha and Mentak began their respective marches to acquiring war sun tech – with the Jol-Nar easily winning that race. Posturing continued and Jol-Nar and Sardakk soon fell out, XXcha started to feel the heat stuck between two aggressive neighbours, Muaat was slow to build up an industry base, but was acquiring political clout as was the Xxcha who were politically the race to deal with. Sardakk and Jol-Nar were establishing a nice industrial base which would provided the basis of their power struggle. Most races scored a victory point at the end of this round.


      Third round: Races were realizing that special tech was quite powerful so there was am arms race to get these techs. Muaat gained cheaper and faster war suns. Sardakk was in effective control of Mecatol Rex and other races were in discussion as to how to combat this threat – Sardakk were not leading in the victory points race, but controlling the capital gives you significant political clout – with potential to gain 3 voctory points from one of the objectives (you must have more influence than your two neighbours). Sardakk and Jol-Nar were effectively at war. XXcha and Mentak were at war. Muaat and Sarr were openly cooperating at this time, sharing military intelligence and plotting the overthrow of the Sardakk. Muaat went political again to get more action cards and they started to build what would be a very handy set of actions. Races secured more victory points, but races were clearly separating in the race for victory.


      Fourth round: Sarr's space docks now became mighty mobile construction sites and the Mentak were salvaging ships to trade and repair. The Muaat bit the bullet and successfully invaded Mecatol Rex, the Sardakk and Jol-Nar continued their war and the XXcha gallantly fought off the Mentak who were becoming a serious force with several fleets. Races continued to gain victory points, but going into what was likely to be the last and deciding round, things were still close with Sardakk looking to seize those three victory points.


      Fifth and final round: Sarr went first looking to take the initiative and prepared to assault Sardakk territory. Sardakk attacked the Muaat war sun orbiting the capital and was repelled. Muaat gained diplomatic immunity and prevented any further access to the capital system, XXcha and Mentak staved off each other. Muaat attacked Mentak territory to divert Mentak from attacking XXcha but this only served as a minor problem and the Mentak response was forceful. Muaat prepared further troops to boost the defences and gain extra victory points by qualifying for their secret objective (usurper). Sardakk and Jol-Nar and Sardakk and Sarr fought battles largely for glory and reputation. Muaats forces were low, but gains made were unassailable. Sarr gained position over Sardakk. Mentak maintained a strong threat and took out a Muaat war sun. The XXcha gained a war sun and the Sardakk still posed a serious threat. In the end, the Muaat secured sufficient political muscle to acquire the 3 victory points objective and race to 7 points from 5 rounds. The nearest contender scored 5 points. The others were on 3-4 points. The Muaat were declared rulers of the galaxy, opposing fleets were ordered to stand down and each opposing system has a Muaat war sun to keep the peace – but for how long … until the next war…


      Thoughts on the game.


      a)      I think everyone enjoyed the game, which was the most heartening thing. The game is an epic and with so much time invested, it was good to see a good, friendly attitude and the game being played in good spirits. Stuart's opening gambit was the talk of the opening couple of rounds.

      b)      The strategy cards. With six players, not all the cards would be selected. This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you view it. The political card for me was one of the big factors in my win. I decided beforehand to build up a set of action cards, a bit of a gamble, but action cards are generally useful – some of the ones I had, even those I didn't use, went a long way to securing victory. Stuart and James used Imperial well to build extra units.

      c)      Overall, I think the game with six players played well, better than I thought it might although I think players generally felt a little boxed in. It might be worth considering an extra ring of systems or playing with 4 players, Given the interest in future games, it might be better to have two 4 player games than one 6 player. Given a choice, I would prefer to play in a 4 player game.

      d)      Final thoughts on strategy. One of the things I like about this game is that there is not one single tactic or strategy that will win you the game. Success depends on your race, your neighbours (player and race), turn order, action cards, acquiring tech, military build up, industrial and political bases, forming peace treaties, compromise and most importantly qualifying for objectives. Always try to score points, keep up the momentum, let systems go if you can still score points and consider preventing other players from getting points – you cannot get everything you want, so focus on what you need.


      Count me in for the next game.

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