Twilight Imperium 3: A Friendly Afternoon of Galactic Conquest
Carlos and his family were nice enough to host a game of Twilight Imperium 3 at their home today. Chad, Rob, Carlos, Carlos' son Alex, and I gathered around the table for a 5-player session of epic galactic conquest. The race assignments were:
- Carlos: Xxcha
- Alex: Hacan
- Chad: L1Z1X
- Rob: Letnev
- Ben: Jol-Nar
Very quickly it was clear Chad and I were not going to be the best of neighbors. We tossed action cards at each other to blow up and sabotage various things on either side. Chad made an early move into some neutral worlds between us, and I had to zap his forces back to vapor with my long range defense cannons. Rob, Carlos, and Alex were having squabbles amongst themselves as well. For the first few turns everyone was pretty much even.
During the early turns I convinced everyone to feel sorry for me, the poor defenseless fish people, and the group was nice enough to make me the beneficiary of a couple very nice imperial senate laws. Then for the first 4 turns or so, someone always picked the technology strategy, which enabled me to also use it for free (my racial special power). Soon, my high technology began to pay dividends, and I was able to plant a massive landing force on Mecatol Rex with a sizeable fleet guarding the skies above. Cries of, "He's running away with it!" sang about the room.
I continued to pepper my nemisis Chad with evil action cards, and I picked Diplomacy for two turns to keep him honest. Rob launched a strike against Carlos, and it seemed those two would be well occupied on that side of the board. Chad continued to bide his time, slowly building his armada. I was quite pleased with how Alex seemed to take a good deal of pleasure in attacking his Dad, further tying him up on the sidelines.
So, the last two turns arrived with me 2 victory points ahead of everyone else and having a firm armored spaceglove around Mecatol Rex, squeezing it dry like an overly ripe orange for every drop of influence and resources. I began to write my victory speech and order the champagne. Next thing I know, alarms on Mecatol Rex were clamoring and my radar screen was filled with jump signatures looking ominously like those of Chad's evil race. A huge fleet of dreadnoughts surrounded with a swarm of smaller vessels engaged my peaceful forces, still hung over from the night's celebrations. Being a weak fish-like people, my forces suffered a -1 modifier to all combat rolls. His forces were on mine like the proverbial wolf on the fold. One after another my battleships blossomed in rainbow plasma novas as millions of fish people went to the big fishfry in the sky. His marines showed no mercy as they burned down fishmen, fishwomen, fingerlings, and eggs alike. It was terrible I tell you!
The final turn arrived with me wanting revenge for the smelly stench of burning dead fish coming from Mecatol Rex. I christened the galaxy's first War Sun the SS Chad Spanker and pointed it back towards Mecatol Rex with a massive warfleet in tow. Unfortunately, I just didn't have enough time. The final victory point claiming phase rolled around Chad claimed enough VPs to tie me. Then, with a triumphant flourish he turned over his secret victory condition card, which he confidently displayed he had earned to advance a final 2 additional VPs. Argh!!
A great game all in all! My sincere thanks go to Carlos and his family for hosting this monster game and being such gracious hosts. Congratulations to Chad on his solid win and to each of my opponents on their skilled and spirited play. This is truly a game I could play every week, and I can't wait until the expansion arrives a few months.
PS: I think the Ancient Throne variant worked very well. You really had to earn the use of the ISC, and it just felt really right. I think the game still worked very well with 5, and I think I'd like to try it even with 4, where each person gets two strategies per turn. It really helped that everyone had a pretty good idea how to play, and I never felt like the game was taking too long.
PPS: We screwed up one rule at the beginning of the game when setting up the map. We forgot to reverse directions after going around once in placing our map hexes. This helped me (player #1) and hurt Chad and Rob (players #5, and #4). I guess it wasn't too big a factor since Chad won anyway, but still...