BGC’s traditional once-a-year gathering of friends over Xmas to play Twilight Imperium was back on the menu last Dec. Find out how our R10E6 Twilight Xmas session went, and how boardgames forge friendships that can endure years!
Race Leaders: aanemesis, wolfx, wonglc, redapril, jack208
Mecatol Rex Watcher: razq
Games: Twilight Imperium 3 (with Shattered Empire & Shards of Throne)
Location: OTK Cheras, Malaysia
Date/Time: 28 Dec 2019 (Sat) 10am – 5pm
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras
It’s always Twilight on Xmas
Back when BGC started hosting meetups way back in 2005, we accidentally stumbled upon the moniker “Twilight Xmas” for our Twilight Imperium sessions. Since then it has been a tradition for us to host a Twilight Imperium session every year (not exactly on Xmas Day) but in the Xmas holiday week.
We’ve not been consistent on this lately but last year we made the effort to set one up and here’s the sessrep for our Twilight Xmas ’19 session.
Read the origin story of Twilight Xmas.
One criteria for our Twilight Xmas session is to accept RSVP from experienced TI3 players coz we wanted to get started straightaway without any rules teaching nor refreshing. We expect all players to know the TI3 rules well.
BGC have separate Intro Days for us to get new players into the TI game, watch out for those on our BGC Meetup.com page if you are interested.
We also included both the expansions and mixed the modules into the game for our session. Strangely we’ve not done Leaders module before – or at least not in those sessions I took part in (and I did miss a couple of the past Twilight Xmas iterations) – so we remedied that by making sure we throw Leaders into the mix this time around.
Races were assigned at random, each player gets two then choose one
- RedApril (red) – Barony of Letnev
- WongLC (yellow) – Embers of Muuat
- Aanemesis (purple) – Yssaril Tribes
- Wolfx (blue) – Clan of Saar
- Jack208 (green) – Brotherhood of Yin
Race to 10 or End in 6
Our play format is what we call the R10E6 which means the game ends either when 1) someone hits 10 VPs, or 2) we clocked 6 hrs of play time (and winner goes to the race with the highest VP)
To us, the Distant Suns variant is a mandatory module to play with. Without it, Twilight Imperium is at best 3X. How can you call this an “eXplore” game when every planet you want to explore is an “open book”.
With the Distant Suns, it add an element of “surprise” to each new exploration. You might get a bonus tech upgrade but it’s more likely you are greeted with some Hostile Locals (that can throw a serious spanner to your ground invasion plan) or worst discovering a highly radiated planet that snuffed out all your ground forces! Oops.
Note: Another game that implements the “eXplore” part of the 4X well is GMT’s Space Empires. Oh, how I missed that game…. Time to arrange another session.
My race did pay the price for such exploration. In a race to get to Mecatol, my ground invasion plan collapsed when my ground forces (I brought 2) were wiped out by the hostile locals. So while my fleet controlled the sky, without authority on the planet, I can’t build space dock here for the assault to Mecatol.
Wolfx (blue) was probably sniggering when he saw my Yin advance halted by the local natives and he waited for no invitation to promptly sent his Saar armies into Mecatol.
I’d thought RedApril’s (red) Letnev who was also on a straight rush to the center would compete for Mecatol but apparently he has other plans (cooking his own Secret Objective and also setting up to claim the Public Objectives first) so the Saar went uncontested into Mecatol.
Note: Mecatol also has a Distant Sun token so it’s not like walking into a park and claiming it. One needs to bring enough forces to make sure you don’t get “surprised”
Meanwhile on the other side of my galaxy, Muuat (yellow) has been very quiet, just being a goody goody citizen of the galaxy but quietly (and furiously) researching Technologies to give their dreaded War Suns mobility (before they get aggressive). Then it’s Fuh-lat for everyone! LOL
Note: “Fuh-lat” is Cantonese for (literally) “pants down”. It’s a figure of speech to say “now it’s gonna be shit for you” 😛
Saar (being an experienced TIer) probably recognized this threat as he was quick to jump his fleet into Muuat territories via wormholes and even parked himself right next to their home planet just to say Hello.
Turned out the other reason Saar did that was to fulfill his Secret Objective – and obviously at the same time making a nuisance of himself for Muuat.
aanemesis’ YSSARIL (purple) was playing a patience game, lurking in the background, focusing on his politics of Assembly to stock up on Action cards. He was also building up his forces for an assault on Mecatol even tho Muuat was trying to buzz him off by flanking him.. not that it’s going to deter those fleets.
AGE OF EMPIRE
We always play using the Age of Empire option so that all Public Objectives are known upfront and everyone can make better long-term plans.
We broke for lunch around 1pm. SAAR (blue) in Mecatol, YIN (green) stalled sikit kat at Tar Mann but also distracted with the east incursion (that’s supposedly for some public objectives).
LETNEV (red) totally focused with a straight line to Mecatol. Oh Rex, I love you so much I’m coming straight for you!
MUUAT (yellow) was going loops around his home area.. partly becoz some dude (Saar) parked a few random fleets around his backyard. Darn those wormholes.
YSSARIL (purple) was patience and busy with stocking up Action cards, playing politics and also tech-ing up his forces. Not much of a threat now. But tunggu-la.
SAAR (blue) might looked like his fleets were scattered here and there but he was trying to rush his VPs as our format rewards aggression rather than turtling.
Post-lunch the MUUAT (yellow) were ready.. with increased mobility on their War Suns, they were now on the warpath.
YSSARIL (purple) have also started to act.. first task was to kick out SAAR (blue) from Mecatol.
My YIN (green) after holding back to tech-up and build-up has researched Type IV Drive allowing increased movement to my cruisers and dreadnoughts. SAAR (blue) obviously sensed the danger – and since they were out of Mecatol anyway (thanks to YSSARIL) – they started beefing up home defense.
YSSARIL (purple) after tasting blood at Mecatol has stopped all the politicking game and started on a warpath…. going gungho into SAAR (blue) territories, likely due to his Secret Objective (most of the secret objective cards in TI3 require an incursion into enemy territories making TI3 a more “violent” game).
MUUAT (yellow) having researched Deep Space Canon and his own racial tech Magmus Reactor, giving his War Suns movement of 3 (now it’s fuh-lat for everyone!) were done with the “goodie two shoe” image and started knocking off everything in their path to Mecatol, eventually converging on the planet for an epic battle with YSSARIL (purple) fleet.
That Supernova next to Mecatol would not hamper the MUUAT fleets as they can fly thru supernovas.
The battle outcome between MUUAT’s (yellow) overwhelming forces against YSSARIL (purple) at Mecatol should have been a foregone conclusion yet surprisingly MUUAT failed to clear out YSSARIL’s ground forces.
The YSSARIL troops stayed defiant!
Notice also how much YSSARIL’s fleets have grown since their early political days.
It was reaching the 6h clock so we knew the game’s ending in one more round. At this juncture, my YIN (green) was not gonna win it (late to Mecatol twice!), while SAAR (blue) after their early adventurous days (and clocking up the points) were happy to start early retirement planning and bunkering down. Or maybe it’s due to those YSSARIL fleets growing in numbers next to their backyard. hehe.
Note: A key difference between TI3 and TI4 is that in TI3, if you lose control of your home planet, you cannot win the game. This makes the game harder as you need to be able to wage wars in faraway planets yet maintain the ability to defend your home planet.
YSSARIL (purple) has grown in size and stature, and were threatening to overrun the galaxy until MUUAT (yellow) with their awesome Magmus Reactor granting their War Suns +3 movement, started throwing the weight of their War Suns around and checking YSSARIL’s expansion.
LETNEV (red) by now has also researched their own War Suns, and interestingly has split his War Suns into two parties (instead of concentrating them into Mecatol). Turned out he has a Secret Objective that required home invasion.
CONCLUDING THE SESSION
My analysis would be if we’d allowed the game to run to a natural conclusion, MUUAT (yellow) would likely win this. While points seemed to be generally tight but MUUAT were denied a few points due to YSSARIL’s stubborn (ground force) defiance against Muuat in Mecatol. 😛
Boardgames & Friendship
I was wow-ed when I realized that two of these five (aanemesis, wolfx) who joined this Twilight Xmas were part of the original Six in our first Twilight Xmas (back in 2006). In fact the 3rd fella (aygeng) would have made this session if he was free. We’ve met, played and known each other for close to 15 years now.. and it’s all because we wanted to play some board games. Indeed, board game friends for life!
Twas was a great Twilight Xmas session! May we meet again next Xmas. Cheers!
EDIT: Just as I post this sessrep, this article came into my newsfeed and thought what a coincidence so I would like to share this link here for your reading pleasure 🙂
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