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Board Games 4948
This is the Game you have been looking for,
I write this assuming you have the shattered empires expansion. You need this to make a good game great. That being said.....

Twilight Imperium is the best 4x game available as of writing this (2008). Accept no substitute this game has it all and it does it all very well. This is the type of game folks will be paying big bucks for years from now when it is out of print.

ti3 plays well from 3 players up to 8, with the major difference being game length (1 hr per player + 30 min for folks with less than 3 plays). I personally like 3, 4 and 6 player games the best in that I feel they have enough inter-player combat and still move along with little down time. 8 player games are fun but usually require a day to be dedicated to the game.

Aspect of this game I really enjoy.
Uneven Racial Benefits. There are plenty (14) of races available with ti3 and each plays slightly differently. Some are easier than others, but the meta game usualy helps balance this out.

Multiple Paths to victory.
The VP system really drives the game here. Many of the original VP objectives were lacing in that they did not encourage space combat, this was fixed with Shattered Empires and with the addition of Artifacts game play is opened up a lot. I have seen games end suddenly by an aggressive player scoring a 2 pt objective, their secret objective and taking an artifact planet via combat.

Empire Expansion.
Most of the time we play this for one reason, to build a bad ass fleet of kick ass ships. The tech advances in this game can really make a difference. All about combat.. go red. Want a strong economy focus on yellow, mobility Blue, elite ground units are all about green. Focus, or go for a balanced approach. The late game abilities of different races are wildly different than those at the start of the game.

Arguably the weakest aspect of Ti3, but possibly most overlooked. A strong political card played at the right time can win or prevent another player from winning. It is hard to do, and that is why I think most people feel it is weak, but it can be done and the ability to pull off a strong political play separates the men from the boys.

So if you like big, all encompassing games, one you will think about for weeks after playing trying to figure out how Malloc kicked you ass on turn 5, then ti3 is for you. I cannot recommend this game enough.

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