It Came From the Tabletop! - Twilight Imperium - Board Game Podcast

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Twilight Imperium

This week we talk about Josh's all-time favorite game.  The one, the only...TWILIGHT IMPERIUM.

Thanks to the Minibosses!

There Will Be Games board game podcast

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Ska_baron's Avatar
Ska_baron replied the topic: #294881 02 Apr 2019 14:50
Long time poster, first time listener. Drawn in by the TI4, which I have come to determine is my top game as well. Spent 2018 on a quest to get in 8 games of it over the year. Topped out with 6 games (two 4p games and four 6p games), but it was a whole lot more TI than I'd have played otherwise!
Ska_baron's Avatar
Ska_baron replied the topic: #294882 02 Apr 2019 14:52
Oh and Josh, if you haven't already, you HAVE to check out the Space Cats Peace Turtles podcast! They provide you with that great feeling of TI4 for those long stretches that you're not actually playing any games of it ;)
spacecatspeaceturtles.podbean.com/
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #294888 02 Apr 2019 15:59

Ska_baron wrote: Oh and Josh, if you haven't already, you HAVE to check out the Space Cats Peace Turtles podcast! They provide you with that great feeling of TI4 for those long stretches that you're not actually playing any games of it ;)
spacecatspeaceturtles.podbean.com/


Thanks for listening! Hope you enjoyed it, this is kind of an atypical episode for us. I’ll give that show a listen for sure. Gaming podcasts tend to leave me cold, which is why I decided to put something out there that’s serves as an attempt as to how I would fix it, but an entire series about just one game that isn’t D&D is a killer idea. There aren’t many hobby games you can do that with, but TI is certainly one of them.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294925 03 Apr 2019 15:24
Here's my story about Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition that I think is about as clear an expression of the points you're making in your podcast. (I'm listening to it right now.)

Years back I'm at World Boardgaming Championships and the "TI3" championship game is going on in the middle of the lobby. Late in the game, all of the players are there but they aren't at the table wheeling and dealing. They're taking a mini-break and they're walking around a bit. So I walk up to King Putt and I ask him straight up -- you winning?

He gets a look on his face that indicates frustration, and he tells me (best memory of what he said),

"I'm doing ok I suppose, but I'm boxed in a corner so I have no option that can give me the win. Something really dramatic is going to have to come up for me to get a shot at this thing, and I don't see that happening."

He said it quietly to keep the conversation private, and I could hear that more than anything he wanted it to be over. The game had gone on for a long time.

An hour later Putt comes into open gaming with the trophy in his hand, lays it down on the table in front of me. He won. I asked him how the hell it happened when he had been snookered an hour earlier. His reply --

"I wasn't actually stuck when you asked. But Mike was standing right behind me and I knew he'd listen if I lowered my voice. After we spoke he focused on other problems and that got me my shot at the win."

I inadvertently presented Putt with an opportunity, he took it.

I don't think that can even be considered "table talk". That's the kind of skillset you win games of TI with, and I think a big part of the learning curve is understanding that the game is played WAY above the table. Most gamers have been well trained to follow very structured concepts in modern games, and TI erases a lot of those boundary lines.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #294927 03 Apr 2019 16:16
That’s a *great* story. I know I sound like a broken record, but there really aren’t many games that can, but this one does.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #294933 03 Apr 2019 21:26
I'm pretty sure I'll never play this game, but I *love* hearing people talk about it. Josh (edit: and Sag's anecdote above) cemented what makes it so fascinating to me. It sounds like it engages & cultivates a very specific, almost insular, skill set (like chess) but layers that human variability on top of it & extends it across such a long span of time that the dynamics can fully play themselves out.

Also, "the black tar heroin of board gaming" should be a blurb on the box.
stormseeker75's Avatar
stormseeker75 replied the topic: #294944 04 Apr 2019 07:30
You guys make me want to play games I don't actually want to play. I think I basically just want to play with you guys.

A note on the audio: You guys need to put a volume limiter on your podcast and probably some compression. Your volume varies wildly. If you don't have the means to do so, I can help you guys out. Shoot me a PM if you need assistance.

Steve
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294954 04 Apr 2019 08:57

stormseeker75 wrote: You guys make me want to play games I don't actually want to play. I think I basically just want to play with you guys.
Steve


May Getaway is May 2nd through 5th this year, Dewey Beach Delaware. I'll forward you directions, can give you a ride.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294956 04 Apr 2019 09:03
I've told that story before and in other places I've gotten a curious response, an opinion that what he had done was actually cheating. That's the heart of the comment I made at the end -- a lot of modern gamers aren't comfortable with a freer approach to games. They want those formal rules in place that keep them channeled, almost a boardgaming equivalent of agoraphobia.

To some extent I think this stems from a lack of imagination, where more modern games work hard to keep your options clearly defined. But that certainly isn't universal, and I find odd little tidbits in much older games that indicate that this was a consideration in the past as well. (Junta's rules actually clearly tell you that cheating when handing out money is legal.) So maybe I'm seeing something that isn't really there. Maybe it's just that hobby boardgaming attracts people that are more comfortable with a very structured environment.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294966 04 Apr 2019 10:17
I'd have to be in the right mindset to play in that, as you call it, free form fashion. I've played enough diplomacy not to care to really do it again, it's too emotionally taxing. I think now that I have a job, commute, large amounts of stress doing a game that backstabby and meta would be too much for me. Props to those who can.

I also think it's kind of important that everyone at the table knows what they're in for wrt the extreme metagaming. Just a word before the game would be enough to know if I was in a headspace to play something that was that meta and psychological.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #294971 04 Apr 2019 10:32
I can't for a moment fathom the path of reason that says that what he did is cheating. It's every other player's obligation to assess the board state and make their moves from there. What he did doesn't even qualify as bullying or the kind of anti-social behavior that Matt was posting about last week. He didn't pressure anyone. He didn't argue. He didn't hide his moves. All he did was use someone else's mildly unethical behavior (eavesdropping) against them. Anyone suggesting that that is cheating has no argument and is looking for a way to express: "What he did is smarter than anything I would have ever done. Therefore, it must be wrong."
Ska_baron's Avatar
Ska_baron replied the topic: #294990 04 Apr 2019 15:12
My go-to phrase to describe one aspect of my love with TI is:

You have to play the game well to have a shot at winning, but you have to play the other people to seal the deal.

It brings up so much REAL human interactions, which I get that not everyone's looking for in their escapism/hobby. But if everyone playing is on the same intensity level (low to high), then there's no better gaming experience. Literal hours fly by (as Josh and Al recount) so that an entire half day is over and it was all engaging.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #294993 04 Apr 2019 16:18

Jackwraith wrote: I can't for a moment fathom the path of reason that says that what he did is cheating. It's every other player's obligation to assess the board state and make their moves from there. What he did doesn't even qualify as bullying or the kind of anti-social behavior that Matt was posting about last week. He didn't pressure anyone. He didn't argue. He didn't hide his moves. All he did was use someone else's mildly unethical behavior (eavesdropping) against them. Anyone suggesting that that is cheating has no argument and is looking for a way to express: "What he did is smarter than anything I would have ever done. Therefore, it must be wrong."


Exactly. Isn't the goal in almost every game to appear weaker than you actually are? Convincing someone/anyone that another player is a bigger threat to them winning than you are is the key to most competitive games.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #294994 04 Apr 2019 16:40

Sagrilarus wrote: Here's my story about Twilight Imperium


Well that was just about the best story ever! It not only conveys the many levels of interaction involved in this game, but also proves my suspicions that my brother-in-law Pete is a lying, cheating scumbag.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #295345 11 Apr 2019 13:08
so I was gonna do a ICFTT microbadge for BGG. this look ok?

engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #295353 11 Apr 2019 18:49

Legomancer wrote: so I was gonna do a ICFTT microbadge for BGG. this look ok?


Hilarious! Also very cool!

I'm not sure the "white on white" works so well, though. Maybe a black background?
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #295373 12 Apr 2019 10:06
it's actually transparent (the area around the IT). white inside the IT. I wanted it to be spooOOOoooOOOOOOooooky
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #295399 12 Apr 2019 13:15

Legomancer wrote: it's actually transparent (the area around the IT). white inside the IT. I wanted it to be spooOOOoooOOOOOOooooky


Well, cool! Let me know when you put it up for "sale". I definitely want one!
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #295404 12 Apr 2019 14:37
Me too! This is totally badass, I feel like I’ve finally made it!