Yesterday my group sat down for our second game of Twilight Imperium 4th Ed this year… and one of them brought a surprise…
(It says “TI 2019” on the cup itself)
Anyway! We were down to only 5 players due to some memory-issues one the behalf of Player 6 (Sam, who was going to play the Nekro Virus, and who won the previous game). Race selections and seating arrangements were:
Marc (me!) playing Xxcha (I randomly got the worst spot and the 4-trade-good benefit from it… which, to be honest, actually made the game pretty balanced)
Karan playing Yssaril
Will playing Saar
Chris playing Sol
and Graham playing Arborec.
Early game was interesting: Will drove his entire migrant-fleet towards Chris but abandoned every planet behind himself, until his fleet was wedged between the armadas of Sol and Arborec with nowhere left to go. At one point, Will was down to 3 planets and an asteroid field.
Meanwhile, Karan and I shared a peaceful border for the majority of the game, with Karan’s other flank “protected” by the fact that the Saar buggered their entire fleet off in a different direction.
By mid-game, we had several tech-focused objectives that we were all struggling with and the Tech strategy was taken every single turn by the speaker, whoever they were. My racial “Diplomacy” ability was used a grand total of once the entire game (Diplomacy was only taken twice). Will and his Saar jumped to an early lead (6 points while most of us were at 1-3 points), but it cost him as his fleet was surrounded and isolated. The Arborec had an extremely slow start to scoring, but then swooped in and nabbed Mecatol Rex for a strong mid-game rush of points.
The last turn started with me at 5 points and everyone else either at 7 or 8 points, with the Arborec and Sol both perched at the precipice of victory but Will only 1 solid Secret Objective away from a win. I sent the majority of my fleet (a War Sun, 4 Dreadnaughts, my Flagship, and 6 fighters) to take Rex, but my bombardment left 5 of the Arborec ground troops alive, and Graham’s “Magen Defence Grid” technology meant that he got a single round of shot on my 4 ground troops before I could fire… he ended up with 1 soldier left, and I with none, and held the throne world.
I had taken Leadership and was able to score 2 points (my 2nd Secret Objective, to have both of my Racial Techs, plus 2 Unit Upgrades), bringing me to 7, and then Graham scored his last public objective and a Secret Objective (hold 3 Wormhole systems) for the win.
A solid game… took us about 5 hours, start to finish (including setting up the galaxy). I started focusing on Victory Points a turn too late, and didn’t start leveraging my huge fleet advantage until turn 5, and I should’ve been bullying Graham and his Arborec by Turn 3 or 4 at the latest. There was a MASSIVE swing in fortunes due to a “Wormhole Technolgy” card, which saw Graham, Chris and I all receiving a free Tech in exchange for losing all our ships on Wormhole systems… I lost a Destroyer, Graham lost his flagship, 2 Cruisers, a carrier, and a dozen fighters, and Chris lost 2 Dreadnaughts, his Flagship, and easily two dozen fighters. That alone let the Saar back into the game, this migrant fleet, previously squashed between the Alpha and Beta wormholes suddenly freed to roam once more.
Such an amazing game! We are already scheduling our next match… I think I am going to try the Naalu, since they haven’t been selected since we started playing TI:4.
Some useless stats: The Arborec are the most popular faction (3 out of the last 4 games they were selected, with the Mentak, Sol, Jol-Nar, and Ghost each selected twice), the Jol-Nar are the most point-heavy (they average 8.5 points/game they are selected), and the only 2 races that haven’t been selected are the Nekro and the Naalu.