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Objective: To take the TwilightImperium pieces and ruleset and fiddle with it until we have a game that only takes two to three hours to play (instead of around six), and where a dominant board position is more closely related to a dominant scoring position.

Restrictions: The fewer changes, the better, so that TwilightImperium players are more immeaditely familiar with the game.


Stating the Obvious



The proximate reason that TwilightImperium is really slow is because of the scoring system. Points can only be scored during the status phase, and there's only one status phase per round. A round can take up to an hour to resolve, primarily because everybody gets to take multiple operational actions in the action phase.

Equally, the proximate reason that the winner of TwilightImperium doesn't necessarily have that much to do with who has the best board position is that scoring objectives doesn't generally require one to have a strong fleet-in-being or many planets under one's control.

So it is entirely possible that the game can be "fixed" just by changing the scoring system. However, I'm going to embark on slightly more radical surgery in the name of speeding things up a bit. Because:


Do we really need the Status Phase ?



In regular TI, the status phase does the following things:

Reveals a new objective
Allows players to score current objectives
Repair damaged ships
Refreshes each player's depleted resources (planets, fleet command)
Hands out action cards
Returns strategy cards

None of these are things which need the player to make significant decisions, other than where to put command counters. Since the actual strategy involved here is minimal, I vote we do away with it and incorporate these actions into the action phase, where they can be made more strategic.

For that matter, do we need the Strategy Phase ?



What if we combined taking a strategy card with playing it and returning it, all as a strategic action? I don't see why this would necessarily be unbalanced, though some of the cards (Diplomacy) for example, would need to be rewritten slightly. If people want to retain the role-selection aspect of the game, then rule that all strategy cards are returned once the number that would have been taken in the strategy phase of a that-many-players game of TwilightImperium have been taken.

New scoring system



The new scoring system has to:

Reward having a strong position on the board
Whilst not making this the only way to win the game
Not need the status or strategy phases, since I just did away with them

Things that could plausibly be given points:

Controlling planets
Controlling home systems
Controlling Mecatol Rex
Winning space battles
Winning invasion combats
Researching new technologies
Signing trade contracts

One thing in particular I don't want to give points for is the posession of (as opposed to the doing stuff with) a large battlefleet. A fleet should be points in potentia, not points now.

I like that you can't score points unless you control your home system, so let's keep that.

So, how about:
At the end of an action phase in which a player:
Successfully invades a planet, wins a space battle or controls Mecatol Rex, that player gains a point for each of these they achieve (ie, up to three).

We'll keep the secret objectives, but make them more important (as it's now much easier to score points than it was) - maybe 10 points each.

We'll also keep the objective deck, stripping out objectives that don't make sense any more
and potentially adding some more in if we feel the need (I'd need to look over the objective deck first). Scoring an objective would become an Action, as would revealing a new objective.

I have no real idea what the winning score should be here, but as a ballpark guess I'm going to try 20 points.

The expanded Action phase


(ie, the game)

Players take turns in a clockwise order instead of by strategy card number.

If the Naalu exist, they play first. Otherwise choose at random.

There are now five types of actions (plus playing an Action card)

Objective Action

A player either scores a public objective which is currently revealed, scores their secret objective, or reveals a new objective. This is the only action which can result in a player winning the game.

Tactical Action

Anything which is a legal tactical action in standard TwilightImperium is a legal tactical action in DaybreakDictatorship.

Logistical Action

Repair all their ships in any single hex
Remove two command counters from the board (and place them in supply). Optional Rule (Supply Lines): You may only do this if there exists an unobstructed path between this hex and one of your space docks
Refresh two planets
Take two command counters from supply
Draw an action card

At the end of an action phase in which a player (a) successfully invades an opponent's planet, (b) wins a space battle, or (c) controls Mecatol Rex, that player gains a point for each of these they achieve (ie, up to three).

Strategic Action

Draw and play a strategy card. Once N strategy cards have been drawn, where N is the number that would be taken in the strategic phase of a standard TwilightImperium game,  bonus counters are put on the unclaimed cards, then all strategy cards are reactivated and returned.

Some of the strategy cards need futzing with for balance or making sense reasons. Notably:

Warfare now allows you to activate another system with the command counter you pick up and move ships into it as per the rules for a normal tactical action. It can also be returned to your available pool as previously.

Initiative loses the "I get to play first" part of the card. That may or may not be in need of replacing.

Diplomacy as written makes no sense. Instead, the effect lasts "as long as this player holds the Diplomacy card".

These rules work with any variant of Imperial that you care to name. Though 2VP may *still* be overpowered even after I doubled the number of VPs required for a victory.

Transfer Action

As in regular TwilightImperium. I'm not quite sure what one of these is, but I'm sure they still work.


Comments:

This has been hacked together in about an hour. I'm sure there are lots of holes. People?
Fascinating. Looks cool. I think it seems a bit risky to let people take an Operative Action consisting of (a) invading with lots of dreadnoughts, followed by (b) repairing all damaged ships in that hex. But this does seem intriguing (a bit like the difference between normal Sparklies and ticks-mode Sparklies) - everything'll be a bit more fluid, with command counters appearing and disappearing more sporadically. I'd certainly be up for giving it a go. --AlexChurchill
Hmm. That wasn't what I actually meant (though I accept it's what I wrote). I meant to write "Alternatively, a player may take one of the following actions." Either could work...
Given the strength of some of the previously-status actions, I think it's fair to have it be either/or. In which case I suggest you split "Operational Action" into "Tactical Action" (the old ones) and "Cleanup/Status?/Operational? Action" (the new ones). --AC
The flavour behind the name "Operational" was that it made sense both for offensive or defensive fleet movement *or* a pause in fleet operations for repairs or reforming C3 links or whatever. In other words, it's supposed to mean all of those things (though I don't know why I bothered, since the in-game "strategic" actions aren't necessarily more strategic than some of the tactical actions (building a fleet in particular is strategic...which means the "strategic" action of revitalising a planet's industrial capacity goes into this section, too, mutter)). 
It occurs that several things will be different in this game (which is, of course, the point). For one thing, leaving a patrol of a couple of ships in a sector is now a rather bad idea, because your enemies are actively rewarded for attacking them. I imagine there'd be a bit more stealing planets from each other, which is probably not a bad thing. Also, do I read your scoring system correctly that if you control Mecatol Rex, every time you end an action (any action, not just a tactical one?), you receive one point? --AC
Currently, yes. This is another of my not-so-subtle "this is a wargame, so you should go to war" prods, and also trying to put the game on a shorter clock. If it turns out to make it horribly unbalanced it can be changed later. --SF

TODO: Fix the Yssaril and check the other races for balance, check through the objective and action cards and convert the ones that don't work, simulate, playtest. 

Suggested Yssaril fix by Senji: Allow them to skip a go to take two turns in a row in the next round.

And the major question:

Will this actually be any faster than TwilightImperium to play?

(If it isn't, one other thing you can do is speed up the setup by just dealing the galaxy out randomly rather than doing what currently happens).


BoardGame
OP = StuartFraser


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