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Tips & Strategies (35)

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9
Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Platinum Supporter
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“'Boldly Go' (as soon as everyone arrives )”

As @Stratagon mentioned in a highly recommended tip most excellent about 8 below – you can save quite a bit of time with a ready-to-go galaxy.

It seems even Fantasy Flight is aware their games conquer a tabletop and has published guidelines and rules for pre-setting a balanced galaxy.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Twilight%20Imperium%203/TI3SE_Preset.pdf

Not a forced scenario build like Catan or Smallworld – it runs ‘forced random’ and mimics players putting ‘nice things’ near them quite well.

*Bonus Tip* Also make sure you pre-set all your take-out menus as you’ll be ordering twicely during your 6 to 8 to 10 hour galaxy foray. 😉

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
50 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“1st Turn Expansion Efficiency”

The systems immediately adjacent to your home system will comprise where most of your dependable resources will come from. It is important to efficiently acquire them in as few turns as possible. Analyze your race’s abilities, technologies and starting units so that you pick the perfect strategy card during round one to not falter off the starting blocks.

Generally speaking, to take control of four different planets on round 1, you will need at least four ground forces and two different ships with large capacity. If you do not already have them, Imperial II will help you build what you lack and still have them available for exploration. Alternately, Warfare provides one of your ship and crew the ability to take over two different systems. Certain technologies also ensure faster expansion. Stasis Capsules are invaluable if your starting forces contain dreadnoughts or carriers (think Mentak!). This makes Technology a must have for first round. If you cannot utilize your strategy card to enhance expansion, Trade offers a nice option to offset a slow start.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
35 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Pass Action Token”

Nearing the end of the Action phase, time will be wasted by either telling someone who has passed it’s their action or asking them if they have passed yet. In our games I solved this problem by adding a color glass bead (those things you have sitting around the house from your (C)ardboard (C)rack (G)ame days) to each of the plastic unit trays. Every color set has a matching token. Similar to flipping your strategy card after taking your strategic action, after you take a pass action, place your token on your strategy card. Now while scanning the table to see who takes the next action, you will visually assess who to skip over, thus speeding play.

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7
Intermediate Reviewer
Champion
Mask of Agamemnon
Novice Advisor
20 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“More Frequent Speaker Change”

By the rules as written, there are two possibilities for how the Speaker role changes:

1. With the much-maligned Strategy Cards from the base game, the player that selects the Initiative Strategy takes the Speaker role, and chooses his or her Strategy first on the next turn. This is notoriously unpopular because the base Strategies include the Imperial card that simply grants one Victory Point — it is rare to choose another Strategy as the Speaker, and the person to the Speaker’s left will generally choose Initiative, to repeat the cycle.

2. With the Shattered Empire expansion, the new Strategy Cards exclude Initiative. The Speaker role is granted during the Assembly phase upon selection of a Political Card agenda. In this case, the person playing the Assembly Strategy will simply select the player to their right as the new Speaker and give themselves second choice or, less likely, allow an opponent to select the Political Card and give themselves the Speaker role. As the Assembly card is a relatively unpopular choice in comparison to other Strategies, the Speaker role remains with one player for long periods of time.

Suggested House Rule

This House Rule only works if playing with Strategies from the Shattered Empire Expansion.

The first person to Pass each turn becomes the Speaker. This encourages players to play their turns quickly and efficiently, speeding up gameplay.

If the Assembly (or Assembly II) Strategy is selected, the Speaker role is assigned in whichever order the Strategy and “first Pass” instances occur — this means that when Assembly is in play, the order in which the two events occur matters.

Should a player have no Strategies, Command Pool counters, or “Play as an Action” Action Cards remaining and be forced to Pass before the player with Assembly plays their Strategy, they may lose the Speaker role to a player selected by the Active Player during Assembly.

In the more likely event that the Assembly Strategy is played before any player has Passed, the player selected as Speaker gains the final vote and Speaker role during the Assembly, but may lose that role before the next Strategy Phase begins to the first player to Pass. This has the added bonus of the Active Player that has played the Assembly Strategy of selecting a Speaker that affects the Political Card agenda, rather than choosing a player that will simply give him or her an early Strategy choice.

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
27 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Backed into a corner? Go after commerce victories. ”

Often times I’ve seen players kind of give up early in the game if they get cut-off from expanding to the middle area by aggressive neighbors. They are cut-off from having a large empire, from going after tech planets or from setting up for a push to Mecatol Rex.

I’ve also seen more industrious players simply alter their course of victory to the straight commerce route.
If you find your self cut-off and it looks daunting to build up an armada and good techs to fight back, closely review the public strategies, especially the ones worth 2 VPs. There is typically at least 1, 1, 2, 2, 2 VPs (for a total of 8) on hand regarding spending resources, influence and/or command counters. If this is the case consider turtle mode and playing the political and diplomatic antagonist.
Bunker up the systems you have to deter invasion, but don’t overspend. Save a little each round to go after one of the VPs that ask you to spend resources. Don’t worry about going after techs either (unless its for VPs).
If players are being expansionist, then they are likely spending all their resources on techs, military and command counters to be active and aren’t particularly concerned with “wasting” 20 influence for 2 VPs. This can get you a good 7-8 VPs.

Now, because you are hording your influence for the status phase, you typically will always have influence during the assembly (which is a great strategy to play every other turn) and if the better political cards pop-up, you might get a chance at rogue VP (attack elected player and score 1 VP) and the political muscle to ensure it.
Also, with the Shards of the Throne expansion, the promissory notes can also benefit you. You can coyly broadcast that your vote is for “sale” and maybe you can get another player to offer you “You require 1 less VP to win”.
One of the benefits of being in turtle mode with a small empire and not lots of tech, you’re low on the radar.

So, fret not if you are bludgeoned early and are forced to retreat into your neck of the woods in the early game, think commerce.

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6
Sweden
I play blue
The Silver Heart
10 of 10 gamers found this helpful
“Getting to the point.”

The most important thing if you want to have any chance of winning is getting those Victory Points. To that end, everything you do should be a step towards that. Only if there is nothing you can do to get closer to an objective should you ever try to actively hinder other players.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
34 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Pre-assembled pre-set board”

While introducing new players to this game, the biggest obstacle is reducing the amount of time it takes to learn and play. Even though building a random galaxy is one of the interesting (and strategic) elements of this game, a pre-set board can cut set-up time by an hour. It also eliminates the possibility of a new player accidentally putting themselves in bad tactical position through inefficient placement of tiles due to inexperience.

During a discussion with a recent recruit, we decided to use a pre-set board to speed up our next session. He jokingly suggested that I create a large color photocopy of the board. I realized then that even setting up a random galaxy before play time would slow us down. But if I had a pre-assembled galaxy set on foamcore, set-up would be as simple as unfolding a traditional board. I would also have the opportunity to review the galaxy for balance (even planet power distribution, good mix of tech bonuses). This would have the added benefit of avoiding a frustrating first game for hopeful long term players.

I designed a balanced 4 player galaxy. I tried to include a good mix of what this game has to offer. Next, I color photo copied segements of the board (3 or 4 tiles at a time) using the gold backs of home systems to reperesent where final placement would be. I cut and attached these pieces to a large piece of foam core which folded in the center for ease of travel/storage.

Although there is an initial time investment for this, the end result saves huge amounts for each game played. It is also useful for experienced players on a time budget who would like to “jump right in” to galactic domination!

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5
Gamer - Level 5
Smash Up: Pirate Faction Fan
I play purple
23 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy! ”

You want to win at TI. You can’t do it without choosing bureaucracy and choosing it more than your opponents. And on top of that if you choose bureaucracy you don’t necessarily need to be the strongest player. You just need to know what other objective cards come up. If you know this you can plan ahead and save influence, trade goods and get points quickly. Also you will know when Imperium Rex comes up an be ahead of everyone else. You cannot win TI with ignoring bureaucracy.

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4
I Play This One a LOT
Advanced Grader
21 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Making political agendas matter...”

TI3 is not a war game; in the sense that, in a war game, fighting (and winning the battles) is what moves the game forward, gives the player(s) advantage over time, gives points etc.

TI3 has battles and those matter, but battling is never without cost and there are other actions and ways to develop your civilization.

That said, it can be frustrating for some people or some plays to state, after investing in a stronger political position, hoping to accomplish his race’s goals toward ruling the galaxy, it comes down to no effect practically.
Given that the political deck is huge and diverse, that is indeed possible to happen time after time when voting on an agenda.

To make political decisions matter more, there’s a simple rule I used successfully in lots of my TI3 plays.

Divide the political deck in four:

Military Political Deck: put in this deck every political card that deals with acquisition or removal os units (plastic pieces) and Ground Forces’ or Fighters’ tokens and political cards that gives a bonus or penalty to battle rolls.

Economic Political Deck: put in this deck every political card that deals with acquisition or loss of trade goods, involving trade contracts and the refreshment or exhaustion os planet(s).

Scientific Political Deck: put in this deck every political card that deals with wormholes, technology acquisition or loss or technology cost.

Generic/”True”/Social Political Deck: put in this deck every political card introducing new rules and/or special effects not related to the above criteria and those dealing with victory points.

When in doubt which deck to put a political card on, use the following priority scale:
Generic > Scientific > Economic > Military.

Pros
Players focusing on political dominance won’t be ignored as easily by belligerent players, specially in the short term.

The feel of playing any race is enhanced by your ability to enforce certain goals through the diminished randomness of the political deck.

A greater sense of autonomy is attained with the political aspect of the game. Voting on agendas become much more meaningful and thrilling. It doesn’t stall the game and may even diminish play time a little because of that higher degree of control.

Cons
You should tag the decks laying them over a piece of paper with what kind of deck it is written on it or mark each deck with one token from the game (like a Shock Troop token for military, a Wormhole for the scientific, a Trade Good for the economic and a bonus token for the generic deck, for example).

You should definitely keep the discards separate for each deck and store them in separate plastic bags or wherever you keep your cards stored after the game ends. Otherwise you have to reserve a lot of time just to make sure the decks are ready for another game.

If this tip is well liked, I’ll take the time to post the complete list I use for my games. 😉

Thanks for your feedback!

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4
I Play This One a LOT
Advanced Grader
20 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Maximizing play time without stress at the table”

To ensure that the game flows smoothly and timely (as best as it can), one of the best things is to everyone agree and make the habit of keeping an eye on:

1. Whose turn is it now;
2. Who wants and, from those, who has responded (executing the secondary ability) to the primary ability of a Strategy Card;
3. Executing the Status Phase steps IN ORDER;

All of this calling out firmly (but not yelling), so that everyone keeps their attention elevated and focused in the game. It’s incredibly tiresome if one (and usually the same) player gets the “mission” of tracking this all by himself.

Don’t ever forget that roughly 60% of the game time comes from distractions and delayed actions because of lack of engagement to keep things going (in an orderly manner).

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7
Baron / Baroness
Champion
Strategist
20 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Some important basics for beginners”

The only thing does really matter are points

It’s easy for new players to get overwhelmed by this epic game of near-infinite possibilities. They’re starting to build huge fleets, majestic Dreadnoughts and so on. So they lose. This game is not about building most impressing galactic civilization. This game is about claiming your objectives. So remember that is important to score one public objective every possible turn (unless playing with Imperial II). Then go for your secret! Try to avoid reviling what’s your goal is as long as you can, but do not let this secrecy stops you from obtaining it.

Technological advancing is important only when it is or it’s aids you goals, but some technologies are crucial for fast expansion (Stasis Capsules, XRD Transporters and so on).

But your points are not the only thing that you should be aware of. Beware of the other players and stop the best (with highest amount of points) ones from obtaining their objectives or take one of the planets on their Home System if necessary. Player that took Imperial II or Biourocracy at later turns is also a huge threat because he may score more Public Objective and also his Secret in a single turn.

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7
Baron / Baroness
Champion
Strategist
20 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Timing is your main weapon”

Calculate. Wait to strike at good moment and don’t hesitate when it’s time to act! Remember of secondary rules of all Strategy Card that going to be used in this game round. If you need to skip and you’re not playing the Yssaril Tribe you may always activate a random system on the opposite of the board or you may pay Resources to another player asking him to activate his Strategy Card sooner or later that they planned to do it. It’s also important when you exhausting your planets with large Influence (best to do after voting political agendas) and technological discounts (obviously best is to keep the one with the color of technology you want to buy until Technology will be played).

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
20 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Speeding Introductory Games with Player Aids”

Learning this epic game can be daunting. To help with this endeavor, our group uses laminated reference sheets. These full-color double-sided include:

– Technology trees showing tech colors and prerequisites. (One for each player)

– All of the Strategy Cards being used in the current game. (Three copies spread around the table so players can read in advance and from various distances, shortening time off Strategy and Action phases)

– All of the Objectives (Public, Secret and Special) that may exist in current game. (Three copies; allows players to better prepare for possible future objectives. Eliminates the “I didn’t know that was important” factor; Also gives insight into what opponents may have for Secret Objective)

Most of my references I copied right off of the original source material then sealed in laminating pockets purchased at an office supply store.

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7
Intermediate Reviewer
Champion
Mask of Agamemnon
Novice Advisor
20 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“More Objectives for a Faster Game”

The Shards of the Throne expansion includes Preliminary Objectives, which provide players each a small and easy to obtain goal before randomly selecting a Secret Objective. Unfortunately this slows down the game, as players cannot focus on their Secret Objective from the start.

The SO MANY OBJECTIVES House Rule

Players start the game with a Preliminary Objective AND a Secret Objective, and can fulfill either one in a given Status Phase (along with a Public Objective, if applicable).

Upon turning in a Preliminary Objective, a player takes ANOTHER Secret Objective as indicated on the Preliminary Objective card.

This House Rule allows players to potentially score up to three personal objectives each, and can generally provide five Victory Points if all goals are achieved.

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
25 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“End Game VP variant to measure strength of empire”

A new house rule we have is to gain VPs to show how strong/sustainable your empire is. So that players don’t sell out everything at the end to get that last VP when if the game continued (as would the timeline of the universe) they’d get crushed.

These are only in 1/2 VP increments. When the game ends, players than get additional 1/2 VPs for:
most planet cards held
most empty systems controlled
most distant Suns plus final Frontiers counters
most units (excluding GFs and Fighters) in all systems outside home system
most influence available

It’s not a lot of VPs, but its a little more satisfying and it can be a better tie-breaker than simply having initiative during the status phase.

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24 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“DIfferent Setup”

Create the galaxy before players get their race. Leave space in the galaxy for the home worlds. Then each player in turn can select either a location for their home world, in one of the open spaces, or a race. Then going around in reverse order have players select which ever one they did not. In this way a player can get either a better position or race, but probably not both.

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
25 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Hidden Artifact for more suspenseful games”

TI:3 is great, but one issue is the anti-climatic endgame, where some folks sit and calculate out the chances of people winning in that round or the next. One thing we have done is make the artifacts hidden. When you turn uncover an artifact, you keep it secret to your self but leave it on the table.
If you own the planet, the only way a player can look at the artifact is whether the control the space, not necessarily the planet. The blank artifacts are left on the table as well.

This has the added benefit incentive to players for more expansion and exploration. It also increases the amount of scheming and suspense at close to the end, because folks don’t really know if the player will indeed win or if that guy in “3rd” place is doing a great job of antagonizing people for his own push at victory. it fits in great with the theme and style of game TI:3 is.

Try it, you’ll like it. 😉

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“How to achieve a 30 minute set-up and pack away.”

*How to get set-up time down to 30min*

The following fits all the expansions and items into the main box, but I bought two aluminum cases from Home Depot for super pimpiness.

I bought 18 plastic tuck boxes to place all the race specific pieces into the tuck and made labels on the side of the tuck. These tuck boxes are sturdier than print and fold tucks allow you table ready spots to keep these things organized during gameplay. As the tucks lay in the box, its super easy to find, remove and return the tucks.

I also bought 8 plastic clear containers (4″x6″x1.5″) to place the colored spaceships. Again easy to find, remove and replace. Plus its another spot in your area to keep this organized.

Jewlery box for all the cards, tokens, etc.. This keeps everything organized and easy to find. Plus, you can leave it in one spot and not have to spend all that time unpacking and figdeting with the gear during the game.

Plastic Tubes for the deep space and planet counters. If you decide to use these, you just drop out as many as you need and it stays random.

Cigarette card sleeve page to hold all the planets. I made labels for all the planets in alphabetical order and we hand it on a nearby wall. Easy to find and replace the planet cards.

I have an area in my box for the board hexes that are separated with labels for the different hex types. easy to find and return.

This is about it. This helps cuts the set-up and pack away time down to 30minutes on each side and it has the added benefit of cleaner and faster gameplay.

Our group can crack out a 6 player game of TI:3 in 7 hours.

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
24 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Political can be catered to be very strong for this game”

One of the things we’ve tried in our gamer group to strengthen to political aspect is filter through the political cards and distill them down to certain aspects.
It’s possible to distill the political cards to force more militaristic actions. Or more backstabbing or more substantive treaties.
I highly recommend that the more experienced gamers or host of the game prior to the game, go through the political cards and select anywhere from 15-30 cards catered to a particular atmosphere for the game and give the players a heads-up of those type of political cards.

E.g.; pull all the cards that grant a VP for some action or another.
or pull all the cards out that affect techology or economy.

Gamer Avatar
6
Sweden
I play blue
The Silver Heart
“Knowing the basics is key.”

While there are a HUGE amount of rules to master in this masterpiece, the basics are, after all, just that: The base upon which all other rules rest. Learning at least them (a.k.a. said basics) can spare you and your opponents a nigh-on metric ton of rulebook page-fliping. To this end I present a site I have found invaluable in teaching new players how to play:

http://www.preeminent.org/steve/games/ti3/ti3demo/

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