Session Report: Twilight Imperium 3
Four players gathered around the table today to battle for galactic domination in the universe of Twlight Imperim 3: Shattered Empire: Carlos, Chad, Jon, and myself. Al would have played as well, but unfortunately other forces conspired to make him unable to stay for the full expected game length. Jon and Carlos ended up with two of the expansion pack races (lava people and the wolf boys); Chad picked the evil snake women, and I had the fair, noble humans.
We opted to use the full set of new variant strategy cards plus pretty much every bell and whistle in the expansion set. Due to only four players playing we didn't play with the Voice of the Council or simulated early turns. However we did use Distant Suns, artifacts, space mines, shock troops, facilities, race specific tech, the wormhole nexus, tactical retreats, and Custodians of Mecatol Rex. Once our galaxy was constructed, the game was on!
For the first few turns our forces ventured forth into the perilous unknown, with each of us claiming an artifact world and alternately cheering and cursing the distant sun tokens we discovered on the new planets we explored. Around turn 3 or so, I pulled a flank speed action card and zipped an extra space into Mecatol Rex with four carriers loaded to the gills with fighters and marines. After a tough fight with the imperial homeworld guardians, my troopers secured the capital and started digging in. During the fight, one of my troops proved worthy of upgrading to shock trooper status.
Meanwhile the forces of darkness were building on all sides of me. Overlord of the Lava People Carlos moved in with his huge fleet which included two of the massive War Suns (aka Death Stars). Chad and Jon each built every Dreadnought (aka Star Destroyer) they could and were loudly rattling sabers. Luckily, I was able to choose the Diplomacy strategy for the next two turns to keep my enemies at the bargaining table and prevent them from attacking precious Mecatol Rex while I solidified my defenses.
Alas, my efforts to keep peace and love flowing throughout the galaxy finally broke down, and Carlos plowed his entire armada into the Mecatol Rex system. I sounded the alarm, activated defenses, and sent unanswered requests for help to the far corners of the galaxy. Grand Moff Carlos's fleet survived my planetary defensive base fire, blasted through my mine field, then engaged my small but scrappy fleet in a pitched battle in orbit over the planet. My fleet went down in a flash of brilliant fire, but my rag-tag squadrons of colonial Vipers managed to severely damage both of War Suns and kill all but one escort ship. Carlos tried to drop his storm troopers on the planet, first bombarding piles of my peaceful space marines into oblivion. Despite the malestrom from above, my grunts held their ground, and I kept the Earth's flag flying over the planet.
Not for long though.... Chad, never one to miss the chance to backstab a vulnerable opponent (though he was encouraged by Jon and I), launched a second sneak attack into Mecatol Rex! Carlos' wounded fleet with two ailing War Suns, still busy trying to bombard my marines on the ground, wheeled about to face the incoming thread coming through the jump gates. Darth Carlos blasted away whole clouds of Chad's Snake Lady fighters! I tried to add to the fray by firing from the planet as well as making sure my space mines were still a factor. It was all to no avail Chad's evil reptile fleet blew up Carlos' remaining fleet, and we all cheered as two War Suns went super nova! I stopped cheering when Chad's marines dropped down to the planet's surface and killed the last of my brave defenders.
The next few turns found me licking my wounds and launching a small retailatory raid into the now fleet-less Carlos' territory. Opportunistic Jon, with a massive black armada moved towards the center of the board for an epic fight with Chad, gobbling up a few more of Carlos' worlds in the process.
Now that blood had been spilled, everyone seemed determined to build up their war chests for more fighting. Having had my fill of death by high energy plasma bolt, I decided to turtle up for the rest of the game and scarf up victory points through developing the worlds I was still controlling. I produced marines, fighters, and cheap ships like mad, and hoped everyone would leave me alone. Thankfully, my opponents also allowed me to pick the Bureaucracy power two turns in a row, which enabled me to cash in on four objectives in two turns, putting me over the finish line on top!
Alas, I wish I could have waited just one more turn to win, as we were about to have an absolutely massive fight between Jon and Chad for Mecatol Rex! This would have been a ton of fun to watch.
My sincere thanks go to Carlos, Chad, and Jon for spending the day playing one of my most favorite of board games. I am also thankful to FFG for producing such a great expansion set for the game. I think almost everything they added makes the game better (with a few items just adding good flavor). Lastly, I do owe the guys at Dragon's Lair a big thanks for being great hosts for our 7-hour game session.
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