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TOPIC: TI: 4

TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 08:20 #259599

I just had made a HUGE post about TI:4 and our first time playing with my veteran group. Right before posting my 2 year old jumped on my head/cpu from behind erasing everything!

Overall all 5 players enjoyed it more than 3rd with some minor reservations. We played in 3.75 hours and final scores were 10,9,8,6,5. We are gonna play again likely Thursday (hopefully to 14) and I'll try to write post about everything I previously had mentioned. It still really *FEELS* like TI, the winning player only had 1 combat the entire game against a single ground force so the cold war style core of the game in intact. If anyone has any specific questions please ask away.
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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 09:06 #259600

Balls, would have loved to have read it. I am definitely excited to read any more impressions you have.
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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 09:16 #259601

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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 18:24 #259622

I learned my lesson years ago to do write ups in Word when possible.
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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 18:26 #259624

Of course it's better than 3rd. But is it better than 2nd?
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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 18:39 #259625

I'm playing it on Friday. Never played TI before! Three questions:

How long is the game for people who have never played it?
Are the rules posted online?
Any tips?
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TI: 4 26 Dec 2017 18:49 #259626

Erik Twice wrote:
I'm playing it on Friday. Never played TI before! Three questions:

How long is the game for people who have never played it?
Are the rules posted online?
Any tips?

I haven't played TI4 yet, so I am only speaking from my limited experience with TI3. My understanding is that TI4 is slightly streamlined compared to TI3, but still long and complex.

1. For inexperienced players without even one experienced player present, Twilight Imperium is impossibly long. Experienced players need about 1 hour per player, so you should just agree on an ending time in advance and finish out whatever game turn you are on when that time arrives.
2. Yes: images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com/filer_...o_playcompressed.pdf
3. Try to get all players to read through the rules in advance, and absolutely never play with anyone who has displayed analysis paralysis tendencies in any other game.
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TI: 4 27 Dec 2017 10:56 #259663

Erik Twice wrote:
I'm playing it on Friday. Never played TI before! Three questions:
How long is the game for people who have never played it?
Are the rules posted online?
Any tips?

- If the players are used to the FFG epic type games then once after full setup and a good look at all the components then Shellhead's 1 hour per player would be a good minimum time. If most or all of your players aren't used to those types of games then an easy 1.5 hours per player minimum. This year I've had a 5 player game of both TI3 and TI4 with three noobs each time - in the game (TI3) with players used to epic boardganes we finished in about 6 hours, in the other game (TI4) where the three noobs had no experience of FFG game mechanisms and epic games we got to about 5VPs in 5 hours before time ran out.

Tips:
- remind everyone (a lot) that the game is about scoring VPs, from Public and Secret ones - building a large empire and fighting fun battles while having FUN may be a part of that or may not.
- if you provide player aids make sure the first one is of all the role's in detail, the turn structure including what happens in the Status phase is a close second.
- have everyone look through their technology deck at the beginning for 5 minutes understanding what they mean (this will speed up that role during all the turns and provide new players a chance to develop a strategy early on). Also understand how the new simple tech tree requirements work.
- have one person call out the turn order (on initiative number) as each player finishes an action to keep the game moving (this was my job last game).
- if you do have at least one player experienced in TI (and they don't mind possibly disadvantaging themselves to assist everyone to have a good time, and your gaming group does not mind this) have them suggest better options to noobs in the opening round or two (also my job last game).
- again, if playing with mostly or all noobs, read out (remind) the Objective cards every couple of rounds.

TI4 has had a few things simplified (Tech tree and their prerequisites) and other things changed to streamline it for new players so I have few doubts you will all enjoy it.
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TI: 4 27 Dec 2017 11:06 #259664

Da Bid Dabid wrote:
I just had made a HUGE post about TI:4 and our first time playing with my veteran group. Right before posting my 2 year old jumped on my head/cpu from behind erasing everything!

Overall all 5 players enjoyed it more than 3rd with some minor reservations. We played in 3.75 hours and final scores were 10,9,8,6,5. We are gonna play again likely Thursday (hopefully to 14) and I'll try to write post about everything I previously had mentioned. It still really *FEELS* like TI, the winning player only had 1 combat the entire game against a single ground force so the cold war style core of the game in intact. If anyone has any specific questions please ask away.

Do you play with the group out in Muskegon? They have frequent games of TI.
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TI: 4 27 Dec 2017 12:14 #259673

No its just my friends from high school and family. We used to play when everyone lived in the same town and then when people spread out we continued games over Vassel the last 15 years or so. We always try to get in person games in around the holidays when people are "back home".
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TI: 4 31 Dec 2017 15:15 #259908

I love TI and no matter what I was gonna enjoy playing TI: 4th. It's my favorite game to play even with its flaws or shortcomings. But the massive scope, the time commitment, all of that comes together for what my perfect board game experience is. Any game of TI to me is a bunch of time spent with my favorite people, usually some good food and beers, its lots of fun and really the essence of why I play board games. So clearly I'm biased, but here's a boatload of initial thoughts.

Before we can talk about 4th edition we should talk about how my group played TI 3rd. A quick run down of our rules used. We pretty much played with everything in both expansions, though some things didn't get much play such as mines, facilities, and some of the other extra chrome. The things we did not use were: The new techs introduced in Shards, support of the throne promissory note, and mercs (we stuck with Trade II card). We pretty much always used the most up to date Strategy card set swapping out Trade III and Warfare we sometimes used version 1. We had tweaked a few things drawing from the Shattered Ascension fan made rules without doing a full SA conversion. Generally they are small tweaks like making dreadnaughts stronger, improving politics by having more draws, slightly more balanced racial abilities, etc. I have always felt the biggest weakness in TI has been that universe creation results in the best systems in fairly "safe" zones, usually one step away from home systems. SA has lots of good preset maps and rules where you create the galaxy without your home system in the outer ring. This alone really makes the game a lot more dynamic and we had mostly switched over to that style of map, but we are going to play the first few times without many house rules or tweaks.

So initially just reading the rulebook I'm excited for a lot of the changes. Trade and politics seem to be the best changes on paper. I like the new strategy cards but want to see how they play out in the game, same as new tech system. Having not read the new objectives its hard to say (we had always picked and chosen objectives from 3rd to have a balanced deck) but having more secrets available and no variable game end are worth exploring. The lack of distant suns counters is a huge negative for me. They do add a lot of game time but they make the game feel more like a 4x with the events, I don't need perfect balance and someone getting a leg up or screwed for a turn never really bugged me. Wormhole Nexus being gone also a bummer. I feel like I will miss shock troops and tanks, but they did always have screwy interactions with bombardment (was fixed with SA). Overall just reading the rules alone, I walk away thinking they did a good job and am excited to dig in. I do think some of streamlining done in 4th wouldn't be lauded as much if people were comparing 4th edition TI to vanilla no expansion 3rd edition TI. In a way its kinda comparing apples and oranges because I know 4th will feel slimmer, but a lot of that extra weight we have chosen to play with in the expansions.

Game 1 we had one player bail and without being able to replace we went ahead and played with 5 players. Races are randomly determined and we ended up with Arborec, Yin, Ghosts, Universities, and Xxcha (myself). My brother wins like 60-70% of the time we play TI. He is really good at it and I think gets the most personal satisfaction out of the group to be the winner. Not that others don't try but people are driven by different things. He is playing Arborec - his favorite race from 3rd. Yin player is our biggest turtler and he is a little under the weather and seeming a bit subdued. Ghosts player is the warmonger of the group, sure to build a large fleet and crush someone even if it won't net him points. Universities is our wild card player his play ranges all over the map and you'll never know if he will hold a crazy grudge or play a perfect game. My style is conservative and try to hold a lot of the map, likely to make a few big errors that cost me in the end and end up a few points short.

The game runs fast and public objectives are pretty easy to claim resulting in points flying everywhere. Universities tech a LOT and end up holding Mecatol for the bulk of the game. Not a lot of battles across the galaxy as players focus on objective claiming, no one techs to warsuns or builds their flagship. Not being able to move PDS units means there are less of them around the galaxy, but the two upgraded PDS on Mecatol are doing a lot of work (one of the public objectives was to have a ship in two systems adjacent to Mecatol). The politics system seems to work well and adds two King of the Hill (we call the political effects that can be taken by winning a battle against the owner) objectives into the game. There are likely a few less decision points in the game because there seem to be less command counters with their higher cost on the leadership strat card. Some players managed this better than me, but I was command counter starved all game. I think moving forward I need to be more careful in each and every tactical movement chosen. New trading seemed awesome, but we are a group that never used Promissory notes very much and even the addition of the racial specific ones did not change that, the Universities player made a very tempting offer with his tech note but ultimately it was declined. In the end the Arborec, Universities, and Xxcha were in striking distance on turn 5 when the first 2 point public objective was revealed. I was able to first get up to a very unstable 9 points, as if I lost in battle I would lose one of the King of the Hill objectives that had been voted to me. The aborec was able to get in his first fight of the game with a single of my ground forces to take that KoH objective, and then claimed a secret that status phase with the first stage 2 objective to jump up 4 points to 10 and claim victory. Universities also climbed to 9 in that round, leaving me in 3rd with 8 points.

I asked everyone what they thought after the game and every player overall enjoyed 4th more than 3rd, with the exception of my Brother who won - stating he needs more plays to determine that. The general consensus was the game still had the underlying feel of TI 3rd despite the changes and streamlining. TI really feels like its own beast when you play and I'm happy to report that same "soul" of the game comes through and hasn't been cheapened at all. Our first game had less individual epic moments, like completing a crazy turn to claim a hard to get secret objective OR no massive battle between the two point leaders... but the overall epic feel was still there.

Some of my personal thoughts about the new mechanics and systems:
New Trade system was great. How commodities and trading works in this system is the best it has ever been in TI. It adds value to activating a system and moving a single destroyer in to act as a blocker OR to send one across the table to non-adjacent players to open trade routes. I thought at first glance once the council had opened and you could trade with any other player that on map trading would not be very important. I think that is incorrect though as the turn changes sometimes a little resource boost is needed in the moment and because the active player may trade at any time on your turn, that option stays on the table. LOVE the new trade its the best thing they did.

I really liked the new political aspect of the game. Gives importance to involving Mecatol in the game early and having two votes is a nice sweet spot of creating choices. There are many times where you need to decide if it is really worth using your votes on the first agenda when the second could be either way MORE important or just totally worthless. Refreshing all the planets right before and after voting is also a good way of doing things, as is not tying the vote from happening to a chosen action card. The automatic inclusion of politics, after early game build up, is very smart an makes it feel like the ascension of the faction to dominance is happening on political levels as well as military, etc. Strong Improvement and much better than the represent system.

New objective deck was varied enough, no need to take anything out yet. Secret objectives seemed good. Players will likely get 1 or 2 points more regularly now, but the cost (using strat counters) of cycling through to find claimable ones seems like it fits the value. It helps with getting that terrible secret objective and just ignoring even trying to get it, but I think will take away some of that warm feeling of victory when claiming one of the tougher ones. Overall these are a positive.
Fleet and unit composition also seemed improved. I thought I'd miss shock troops and tanks, but I didn't at all. I like that structures can't be transported from planet to planet. The way tech works I think will result in more varied fleets, will need to play more to see that out. But since the trees are gone you can tailor your upgrades more to your style or the needed situation. One of the techs is really strong... the blue one that gives a single ship plus movement. I need to play more to really figure out tech but so far I like it.

I did really miss distant suns and wormhole nexus. Wormhole nexus is an easy fix I already put the tile and card in the box from my spare set of TI 3rd and we'll play with that from now on. Distant suns I will need to carefully look at and see how they interact with new stuff and how mechanics in 4th work, but shouldn't be too tough to incorporate.

Strategy Cards: New Leadership is just fine, but the extra cost of counters means a few less in the game over time this isn't really good or bad, just how 4th works. Diplomacy is really tough to both use the primary ability as defense against others and refresh own planets. One of the most situational cards, but the secondary is strong and less restrictive than the primary ability. Politics is good, Speaker is very strong and the card can't be ignored. Action cards being tied to this at a fair price. Construction seems to work well. Huge bonus on primary being able to build and build from space dock in same turn for a quick boost in units as a surprise somewhere. New Trade system is great as I already discussed. Warfare is basically what it was originally in 3rd. Good for that ultimate turn where your uber-fleet strikes. A little boosted due to Command Counters being more scarce. Tech is good, the values fit the new system. Imperial is the strongest card as it always has been. What I like most is that Mecatol is REALLY important and anyone that is able to hold it with some force will need to be dealt with either via force to kick off the planet, or by starving them of strategy card choice and planning to keep them away from choosing this. A few savvy players in my group would take a strat card knowing that the player after them would be forced to take Imperial so it would not fall into the hands of the player currently owning Mecatol. Nice level of screwage.

Overall I really liked 4th. I hope to play it a bunch more and further see if these observations hold up. I've actually already played again and in game 2 we got a full 6 players and it ended up being A VERY different game than the first that we played to 14 points instead of 10. I'll give that report when I get some time to write out all my thoughts.
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Last Edit: 31 Dec 2017 15:16 by Da Bid Dabid.
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