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Twilight Imperium: First Play Review

 

The giant TI box and pair of expansions had rested comfortably on the shelf for about six months until I finally worked up the nerve to punch and organize the components. After a long process of detaching all of the plastic mini’s and punching cardboard, and sorting cards, the game was ready for play.

I sent out an invite to a couple of friends to set aside a Saturday in January to try out Twilight Imperium. I purposely kept the invitation list small so that we could learn the game and possibly even finish it in the same day. We landed on a group of 3 players, including myself.

About a week before the big day, I sent out a copy of the rules and we hashed out some decisions about optional rules via a Facebook group.

Finally, Game Day had arrived. Jeff and Joel showed up around 2:00 PM and we picked races, and setup our fleets. We reviewed some of the rules and talked over the variants we would use. It was probably around 4:00 PM when we started our first turn. As expected, the first turn took a long time to get through as we frequently returned to the rules for questions and clarifications.

With a break for dinner, we finished the game around midnight, putting the total play time at around 7 hours. Here are my thoughts based on the first play:

1. One fairly major rule that we played incorrectly was around the player order. Jeff’s race had the ability to act at initiative 0, which meant he was the first player each turn. Our mistake was taking player turns clockwise from him. The order should have followed the value on the selected strategy cards.

2. The starting position on the 3 player map seemed to heavily favor one player. Specifically, this player had a gravity rift adjacently to their home world which allowed him to quickly develop the tech to increase the movement speed of his fleets near the rift. Using this benefit, he quickly arrived at Mecatol Rex and started grabbing victory points.

3. We played with the distant suns option by placing one of the domain counters on each of the planets. In hindsight, not putting this counters on the systems closed to the starting area would probably have been a better idea. As it turned out, one player was able to gain a permanent 3 votes by having a lucky domain counter. This wouldn’t have been a problem later in the game, but was perhaps a little unbalanced early on. The fact that this advantage went to the player who benefited from the Gravity Rift in #2 compounded the problem.

By the time the game ended, the scores were actually very close, as this game has the natural tendency to dog-pile on the leader while those trailing can catch up.

I really had a good time playing this game despite finishing last.

RATING
Fun – 9/10
Strategy – 7/10 – fair bit of randomness that is mostly offset by the length of the game.
Theme – 10/10 – this game is likely one of the most thematic games available.
Components – 9/10 – components are near perfect, subtracting a point for non-painted mini’s.
Mechanics – 8/10 – most of the mechanics are fairly streamlined. lots of referring back to the rules impacts the overall experience.

Final Thoughts

The game has such a broad array of options that can be added\subtracted\modified to fit the desires of the gaming group. I suspect that playing with more than 3 players would dramatically change the experience. I would highly recommend this game for experienced gamers who do not fear marathon gaming sessions.

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Poker Chips as board game currency

My gaming group has been using poker chips to replace the currency in board games for the past year.  Chips are a great way to avoid using paper money, or the standard cardboard tokens that are included with most games.

This episode of Board Games with Scott focuses on how using poker chips for currency while playing board games.

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Poker Hoody: Upgrade your game table

What is it?

Having a great table to play on is a need not a want for dedicated gamers.

If money and space were unlimited, I would order one of the awesome Geek Chic tables immediately.

Back in reality, we often end up using an existing table and it is adequate. To improve my gaming room, I decided to try out a poker hoody on my table. The poker hoody is basically a neoprene cover that fits over the table and has drawstrings (think sweatpants) that can be used to cinch the cover tight to the table.

You can check out the pokerhoody.com site for details and a video clip that highlights its features.

Dave’s Opinion

It definitely makes playing games involving cards more enjoyable. Having a soft surface lets you easily pick up cards and chips and quiets down noisy dice rolling. I’d rate it a Buy if you are a fan of card-based games like Dominion or even 7 Wonders.

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Time traveller in your gaming group?

Do you happen to have one of those players in your group who finishes their turn and after the next player has begun they ask to reverse time and redo a decision they made? In my group we roll this little beauty across the table to remind them of the rules of time travel.  This is a Mattel Hot Wheels Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Straight up Chess

A Father’s day present from the family.  The concept of having a chess set on the wall was intriguing to me.  In reality, it doesn’t get much play but it looks good.   My recommendation would be to only buy one if you like the novelty of it.  The only place I found to get these is straightupchess.com

You are able to choose the board and the set pieces separately to get the look that you want. I chose the fairly typical looking knight set, but their were plenty of nice options to choose from.

Here’s some close-ups of the set I’m using.

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GameKnight..a new beginning

Hi fellow gamers. I started off with the idea of creating a website to sell really awesome game components. To get the business off the ground, I decided to create this blog and build a place where gamers can go to find out about the best components and accessories available.

 

Eventually I plan to add a store to the site and sell some of the items you’ll find here.  In the meantime while I’m getting my act together, I’ll post about some of the cool things I found and where you can get them.