I'd hate the whiteboard SO much, and am not a huge fan of the disc idea either. I LIKE that it's kind of a pain to know what everyone has at any given moment. Sure, you can look and if you ask I'll tell you, but I'm also happy to silently let you not think about it when you're figuring out what you want to do. A white board really puts it in everyone's face. It's all about being subtly super rich, not flashing it across the galaxy so people decide they need to knock you down a peg.
"Oh, yeah, now that you ask, it seems I do in fact have the most influence by a whole lot, how bout that, I had NO idea!"
Only thing we try to make a big, clear deal about anyone else doing is when you get the tech that lets you fly through other fleets cause it's such a potential game changer. Otherwise, you wanna know the details of what I'm up to? Best pay close attention!
See, you say "you can ask me and I'll tell you what I have", but I'm not going to do that in a 6+ hour game and waste everyone else's time, out of being considerate. So I prefer a system where it's not strategically superior for me to waste time. I also prefer a game where "not being able to keep track of everything" isn't the main reason I lose. But maybe that's why Loter and I also so completely disagree on Chaos in the Old World, where it is also IMHO unnecessarily difficult to easily tell what's going on on that graphic-design disaster of a board! TI3 caters to everyone.
Yeah, even I definitely wouldn't say to bother with it. Constantly adjusting a whiteboard is a huge pain compared to just tossing away little discs, and as you pointed out, it's just not all that important a number anyway.
Thanks for keeping me honest! Been moving house, so a bit discombobulated...
Anyway - the game was a BLAST. Hour of rules and we were off to the races with the preset map and hot appetizers.
Game started off with the Mentak next to me shooting 2 cruisers to the 3 planet system close to my home world. This was a grave offense as I expected folks to colonize what was closest to them first. Now, this is my best frined since kindergarden and was the most stoked other than me to play. I immediately vowed war on him, but couldnt risk my fleet turn one b/c he had the pre combat shots. [found out at the very end that his secret was to get 2 systems adjacent to home worlds, so it all finally made sense] So he allies with the L1Z1X next to him. Ugh. To my other side was the Muuat (my brother) who 2nd turn invade successfully a planet of mine after I thought we were cool. GEEZ! Retake that over in turn 3. Meanwhile the L1Z1X fleet is huge and moving center. Muuat's not doing anything really. Sol (next to Muuat) advanced as did Jol-Nar (between Sol and L1Z1X) who was banking that tech and quietly putting a lot of stock into PDS's.
Next great calamity came when Jol Nar has the second artifact around Mecatol and I pounce (having a new alliance with my friend Mentak that I'd aid him against L1Z1X after I wiped out Jol-Nar's new space dock and had an agreement with my brother who was moving towards Sol anyway). Jol-Nar is shocked because at this point, I am the only person to be involved in EVERY combat we've had (Mentak then Muuat, now Jol Nar) and figured I was over extending myself. But I had just built a space dock near Mecatol and felt I could reinforce enough. I did a great job taking out his fleet, but not out of the woods, as he had a nearby war sun that I'd have to face next round. Plus, I first sounded the alarm that Jol Nar had 4 VP with everyone else at 1 or 2. He was the one to beat!
And then it happend. That damned law. Sol thought "it'd be fun for S&Gs" to bring up this law to a vote. And honestly, I was distracted or something, because I did NOT fully grasp the extent to which this law would screw me. It was the one where if it passes, all planets switch their resource/influence values. Sol is for, Jol Nar is for, L1Z1X is tepid, but votes for and that decided it with the rest of us against. It was a 9 resource decline for me that I know I could have avoided if I'd lobbied/bribed L1Z1X harder, but alas. Damage done. There would be no replacement fleet.
Then with Jol Nar looking to wipe me out of Mecatol's surrounding systems, the epic battle ensued with many action cards and heroics where I almost won, but sadly left him with a lone, wounded war sun. THEN! Mecatol (who delights in delivering surprise screw overs), materializes a ghost ship destroyer with an action card into the wormhole nexus, swoops in and destoys the war sun with his precombat shot! The battle and ensuing maneuvour was THE game moment.
So long story short, I'd screwed myself and so was a non factor the rest of the game. L1Z1X finally got into combat with Mentak, Muuat fought Sol (who had been neutered by PDSs trying to get a foothold near Mecatol against Jol Nar).
Last turn of the game, L1Z1X *finally* attacked Jol Nar (which I'd been lobbying for ALL GAME to thwart the obvious leader with the bord the only one to challenge), but it was not enough - we ruled that as Jol Nar got the 3rd artifact that it was a mid round win, which everyone was kinda cool with anyway. Muuat was super bummed because he'd meant to take Warfare last round (he was first pick), but picked Imperial2 in order to hail mary his secret which was master of the wormholes. Crestfallen, it had a ripple effect: Jol Nar would certainly have picked Imperial 2 then instead of Diplomacy 2 which I could have lobbied L1Z1X and Mentak not to take and held on to the planet I still controlled with an artifact surrounded by a Jol Nar fleet. Alas. Jol Nar won and I came in second. Had the round ended though, L1Z1X would've shot past me.
Amazing game and definitely doing it again. There were TONS of jokes and yelling. So much backstabbing, but never spite. This is for sure my favorite game and I'm already working on another game day. This time I think we're going to just do straight SE strat cards and I think I'll like that even better.
Game took around 10 hours with plenty of talk time, but we did institute the "ON DECK" method of figuring out whose turn it was and letting the next person know they should start thinking. Worked well enough without getting draconian.
Whew. I must play this again before we forget all the rules.
Okay, so I'll be getting together in about a month with my brother and best friend for some gaming goodness over two days. I am beyond stoked. Other than the fact that I'd prefer more people, at least I'll get to game with some of my *favorite* people!
So just wanted to get your take on how best to enjoy TI3 with three.
After last game, I think we're going to go with all SE strat cards and add in territorial distant suns and maybe leaders too. We'll see.
Was thinking of using a varient map to get us all closer over the preset map where everyone's like 6 spaces away from each other. Thoughts?
I've only played 3p once, but I did enjoy it. We used the variant map (triangular) and I highly recommend that. I think the game would suffer on the normal map. I don't have too much to go on, but I think you should eliminate the Hacan. I was playing them, and they are weakened in the 3p. They only have two trade partners available, so their high trade cards are weakened. You can't use them to your benefit to strategically make alliances; you are forced to use one for each player or none.
I've been trying to find a game of TI3 for ages (never played it), and I ran into a guy today who has it and likes it, and I mentioned I'd like to try it with 4 at first to keep the length down for a learning game, and he said, "Well, it's balanced around having 6 people."
How much truth is there in that? Should I not worry about player count for my first game (obviously not 8 though)?
I greatly prefer 5-6 players and would suggest that even in a learning game. Taking two strategy cards per player, what you do in games with 4 or less, really changes the dynamic of the game IMO greatly for the worse.
If you don't use most of the optional rules in combination with allowing players to begin their next turn while the last player decides which units to build, it will keep the game length more than manageable.
I always tell rookies to really focus on the steps of a tactical action and once you have a mastery of that the "flow" of the game comes really quickly. Try not to get bogged down by having a multi-turn plan to achieve certain techs or spend time calculating possible combat odds to decide what to build (those are things for later plays). By the end of the first game you will have figured out most of the rules and how they interact. Realizing everything you would've/could've done better will likely happen to late to win so you'll just have to play again to make it work. The second game should really click and the glory of TI should reveal itself.