Apr 2010

A Test of the Imperium

For some time now I’ve heard about the Fantasy Flight Game Twilight Imperium III. It has been touted as the Space Opera game to end all Space Opera Games. It’s been mentioned favourably many times on The Dice Tower and several other podcasts. I know some people who are very enthusiastic about the game and put it in a class all by itself.

All that good press aside, I’ve been reluctant to purchase it because of it’s very long play time. The box says 3-4 hours but I think that is extremely optimistic. I would say 5-6 would be a better estimate with experienced players. My Friendly Local Game Store Sentry Box recently started a rental programme with their board games. Instead of trying out the game in the store, you can rent the game for a small fee and take it home to play for a week. If you like the game, then you can apply the rental fee to the purchase of the game itself. I think that’s a great programme and it gave me the opportunity to rent TI3 to try it out.

My regular Monday night gaming group set up a special Sunday game day specifically to play TI3. We had to schedule it a couple of months in advance with the various significant others. That day happened today.

Here’s a picture of the game about halfway through (at the four hour mark). This is a five player game.

As you can see there’s a lot of bits in this game. The complexity is quite high and there are many things going on at the same time.

I have to say that I did enjoy the game, but I don’t think it’s for me, for a couple of reasons.

First, the game has an extremely long play time. I am used to playing games that take 45min-2 hours. Although I never felt that the game dragged or that there was any downtime, it was still a very long tIme to sit in one place to play a game. Second, the game is a conquest-style game, so naturally encouraged a lot of conflict. I really don’t like that kind of warfare-like conflict in my games and so it really isn’t my type of game. Still, I wanted to give it a try just to see how it feels. There are always exceptions to what I regularly play.

So the final verdict is that it is indeed a good game. It’s very well put together and there are lots of interesting options and things you can do on your turn. The cards modify the game in cool ways and cause you to modify your strategy and really think about your turns to use them carefully.

However, I won’t be buying the game. It’s not a game for me, but I am happy that I played it.

One other notable mention: Craig did bring over a wonderful treat. It was a Strawberry Shortcake using a sponge cake rather than the traditional biscuit cake. It was delicious. Thanks Craig!