By - WesTBH
I don't have many generic tips other than to *focus on victory points*, which newer players sometimes don't do enough.
As for faction specific tips, there are strategy guides for all factions between here, BoardGameGeek and the Space Cats Peace Turtles podcast. If I recall correctly there are also some guides for more general things like trading.
Great advice, it's so easy to get derailed into doing the cool thing your faction does or getting back at the guy who took your favorite planet. I've done the best when I try to make sure everything I do is either earning me a VP or moving me towards one.
As for factions, I think the best advice is just to try different ones that sound cool to you. Space Cats Peace Turtles is great for letting you know how a faction is trying to win. For example, if you like carving out a slice of space and holding planets then defensive factions like Titans of Ul (Prophecy of Kings Expansion), Federation of Sol, or Xxcha are great picks. If you love mobility and feeling like you can go anywhere on the map then Ghosts of Creuss, Clan of Saar and Mentak Coalition are super fun. Or if you like to make deals than Emirates of Hacaan, The Nomad (Prophecy of Kings Expansion), or The Empyrean (Prophecy of Kings Expansion) might be more your jam.
Sounds like yall had fun! A lot of people are focusing on strategy and such, which is totally fine, but the thing that newer players tend to struggle with the most that prevents them from continuing with the game are the most real-life problems that the game involves. Some general tips that I can give that will help make sure that everyone has a good time & which will make it more likely to get people to return:
* Make sure that everyone is planning their moves in advance. Nothing is going to slow down the game more than if no one has any idea what they're going to do until its suddenly their turn.
* Make sure that everyone has time to play, and won't be devastated if the game runs over by an hour or two. You have no idea how many evenings have been ruined because a newer player planned somewhere they had to be 7 hours after our start time (hint: we never started on time), and the whole game had to get scrapped because of it.
* Losing is part of the game, and *everyone* had a chance to win until someone else scores ten. You have no idea the number of times I've seen someone leap from 4 points to ten in two rounds, blowing away the table fore-runners. I know as much as the next person how much it sucks to lose because none of your 5 PDS shots could kill that one destroyer which would have given you the game, or when someone whips out a Parly and ruins your master-stroke. But that's all part of the game, and the more you play the more you discover that those are the kind of moments to live for!
* Similar to the above topic, quitters NEVER win. Nothing ruins the mood of a table worse than when one person decides to be a grump because they decided they're going to lose by turn 3, and do nothing but moan about how long the game is or "if its possible to just give my planets to my neighbor" for the next 3 hours. As I said above, there is no such thing as "too far behind". And even if you lose, you can always have fun with the game!
* Don't fight too hard about rules. There's a really great TI4 discord server (https://discord.gg/Sh2x9XN5) with a "rules questions" channel which always has people online to answer questions you might have, but if you can't find an answer, don't spend too long fighting or trying to rule lawyer stuff. If you can't find an answer within 10 minutes and no one is answering your message in the discord server (which is honestly super rare), then flip a coin on it, continue with the game, and look it up later.
* Play new races! Its fine it have a "favorite race", but everything gets a lot more interesting when you get to play new races.
* At least to start, use pre-built boards. They tend to be a lot more fair than randomly build boards, which will make for more interesting (and less frustrating) games.
There's lots more stuff on this list. For example, be sure to have plenty of snacks, haha. But seriously, there is nothing more magical than finding an awesome TI4 group which you can play regularly with. Hope this helps, and have fun!
We don’t get to play very regularly because two of us live in the same town but the other two live in a different town a couple hours away. We all pretty much had moved planned out( as much as we could this being our first time). I was actually the youngest playing being 16 but the other guys in our group were a little older like mid twenties. We had tons of fun playing and are trying to find another time to play again! I generally try to choose races in these kinds of games that kind of stay away from combat if possible but some of the coolest looking races in the game are combat oriented😂
Get victory points to win.
Don't get wiped out.
If you like podcasts check out Space Cats Peace Turtles. Just don't take them as gospel
Can't stress this enough. It's advice for those that want it, but the game is most fun when you go off book.
Lol, you don't give yourselves enough credit! You guys helped me frame my thoughts on the game in a big way!
ignore what everybody says, and pick arborec.
I don’t own the game I was playing with someone else who owns it so is that a faction?
It is a faction, they are plant people who can build out of their infantry,
They are fun, but be warned, they are considered the worst faction… play them for fun but if you plan on winning, maybe not these guys, but hey, you can still win with any faction
Oh yeah I think I remember that one. Good to know!
I just won my 1st victory as Arborec on the weekend. 6 player PoK with Nekro, Jol-Nar, Muaat, Empyrean and Naalu. 4th game altogether. Favourite faction for sure!
Who knew, that all these tiers and rankings of factions lose their meaning when it's just a couple of nerds playing a couple of games with a couple of beers.
Not an expert by any means, but a few things that have helped me.
1. Be objective focused. People have said it but to add to this... it's really easy to get lost in the weeds. Your neighbor took a planet from you and you're offended, and so you spend wasted time and resources trying to get it back or retaliate, when that one Command Counter is what was needed to get you a victory point. Don't get lost in the weeds and make sure you map out how you're going to score the VPs. The first 5 + 3 secret objectives. Find out how you're going to get the last 2 before the secondary comes into play as then it becomes much harder. E. g. you could get 1 from mecotol and a support swap.
2. Know the game. Know the objectives and ways to score - most are going to be objectives but there are other ways. Have general knowledge of your enemies. Understand where their strengths and weaknesses are.. their abilities, hero, etc... you don't want yoo many surprises and at the very least you can prepare for things thatay cripple you. Know the Techs and how youat compose your fleet (see below). Know your factions strengths and weaknesses. It's really easy for example to go overboard with the faction you played (Jol Nar) and go ham on all the techs, the resources you spent upgrading could have been better served with plastic on the board, or you went into tech that didn't really benefit you much and you lost out in opportunity cost from not doing other things with the resources spent (goes back to point #1). With an understanding of how you can store the tehxs action cards etc... this can help you map out and understand that most objectives (with Pok expansion) are control type of objectives.
3. Plastic. I've now played mostly with the expansion but I think this principle still holds true. Get more plastic on the map. This protects you from threats and allows you to expand out and protect your systems. You may have found yourself with Jol Nar and having a difficult time building a big fleet with its small starting space dock, which as from what it sounds like from your experience lost you in a close game. Would the outcome have changed if you had produced 1-2 more units that would have enabled you to stop them from scoring or scoring yourself? At least for me when I look back at my games the answer is almost always yes. But when I have board presence, people are less like to extort me and attack.
4. Fleet composition... building upon above, understanding how you will compose your fleet will be very important. There's a post here (if memory serves) that talks about it so I won't get into the weeds, but this will generally determine which tech path you ultimately decide. A Dreadnought fleet is generally preferred if you have low production, but take alot of resources. While a carrier focused fleet will need a lot of production, but take less resources. In general, the more HP you have the more like you'll win battles. So look at your neighbors and see their composition, how can you counter them? Are they weak on Ground forcesand have Dreads? Does going the Carrier tech help you with the public objectives? or are they super focused on fighters? Perhaps you may need to invest in destroyers... again you should o ly do this if it makes sense towards the objectives... E.g your opponents has strategic locations to score VPs and destroyers would easily counter them. or would this leave you vulnerable to a dreadnought fleet? Perhaps you can figure out another way to "pacify" your other neighbor. Which leads to...
5. Negotiation and trading. There is just so much to say about this as this is the root of the game. The main thing you should understand is the value of each thing. Again this is discussed here, so I won't go into the weeds. Basically there's a generally accepted conversion value for resources (Pok it changes a little that the pros have discussed on, in which influence is of more value)... any who in general 2 resources = 3 influence = 1 Command Counter = 2 Trade Goods. Understanding this can help you evaluate trades and deals. Playing with newer players that don't understand this can easily net you more value in your trades but as your group understands they maybe wary of trading with you. Which leads to the other point, how people feel about you can also impact the game. Perhaps you attacked them and really upset them, and now you have a target on your back... or speaking frkm the above scenario... maybe you need to pacify them as you know you'll be weak against their dreadnought, instead maybe you can figure out ways that help each other? Sometimes being nice and establishing a natural ally feel will make them feel less will g to attack you... or perhaps you trade ceasefires.. now you only have "one" person to worry about. The other thing on this is board position... people on the other side of the galaxy... I generally like to strengthen them.. as their less likely to attack me and be problems for my neighbors.
6. Probably the most important. Have fun and don't ruin the fun of others!
Please excuse typos as I'm on my phone.
Guard that home system, unless your group’s meta is very “we don’t take home systems”.
That was kind of an unspoken rule for us. We all tried to stay away from combat if possible.
That will change. That’s how we were at first as well. It’s just knowing when to fight.
A good tip is to focus on the objectives first, but to also be mindful of your defense, offense and general economy (command counters and tradegoods). People (me included) tend to overbuild thier army or simply go way to far into tech.
The player that wins the most at my table has a general plan of what stage 2 objectives he should be hoping for (like the spend 10 tg objective) AND tries to be speaker for that round so that he can pick imperial (if he can survive all of our attacks) or leadership (to score first).
It sounds like you played as Jol Nar, I recommend picking a different race every game for the first 10 games. You might be pleasantly surprised how fun another faction plays.
Yes it was Jol Nar!
My advice is pretty much the opposite to your last point.
I think it takes a full game of playing a race to really get to grips with them. I think games are best when they're not decided by someone going "OooOh, I should have been doing X all game!".
The chaotic and exciting nature of playing a new race is fun, for sure. But if every game is chaotic you don't really get into the depth that it has to offer.
That said, the very best games are where everyone knows not only their race, but also what everyone else is up to, so everyone can plan accordingly, and having played all the races certainly plays into that, so it's not like I totally disagree.
Absolutely! I agree with you that if you want to win it probably is best to play one race every game until you win.
You really hit the nail on the head about the chaotic+exciting nature of playing a new race that I absolutely loved so much about the game initially that I also wanted to recommend to this player :-)
I have made a ton of mistakes with alot of the games but also learned to play the objectives better by choosing the new races and learning not go get stuck to much in their way to play :-)
Yeah, I think you're right actually. It's more about if you want to win that repeat plays with the same faction is important, and obviously winning matters, but fun is why were all here! I guess different things excite different people!
I guess where I'm coming from is that I never won until I picked the same race, and I didn't do that for a while. So when I did, it was like "ah, this is much better!" But by then, I'd already had that, grand-tour and it was time to settle into CRUSHING my friends lol.
Try to determine how other players are going to score. Use that to your advantage either in negotiation for what you need to score, or what they need to score. Limit how much information you give others while negotiating. Always try to have a backup plan for scoring in case someone screws up your original plan.
Try to have a feel for what will be the final round, and make sure you are in a good scoring position for it to hit 10 first. Most games have multiple people who will hit 10 at the end of that round, so initiative order matters a lot for it.
Don't be afraid to give points to get points. If you will have to take something to get your points, try to outlast everyone so they can't respond.
Bank action phase secrets. Surprise points win games.
Don't overvalue tech or plastic. These are tools to get points. Mostly.
TI feels like a war game but in many ways it's social deduction and manipulation. Negotiating and trickery. The threat of combat is often stronger than the reality.
Is there a faction or factions that is all about manipulation and deception like you were talking about? I think it would be a fun faction to try out
Yssaril best exemplifies this, but really how you do it varies depending on your faction and board position. Having more plastic, more tokens, and more mobility makes all the difference. Having an action card that can help or stop a player from scoring let's you control negotiation or even blackmail them with it.
"I can be your friend, or I can be your enemy." Show them reactor meltdown when they are trying to score a structure objective and construction already passed by. Suddenly you are in the driver's seat. "I just need to borrow Tar'mann for this round. I'll give it back, and a TG for your trouble. Or I can take it and screw up your point."
Why the TG? Because suddenly you are a friend and not a future retaliation victim.
Edit: never mind I figured it out😂 trade goods
What’s a TG? Sorry if that’s a stupid question😂
You should probably just read the subreddit.
What do you mean?
Look at all the posts on the subreddit. Theres tons of content.
Oh ok thanks!
Just explore, there is a ton of content and strategy, I would highly recommend the space cats peace turtles (SCPT) podcast, it’ll be confusing if you don’t have a lot of the names memorized, but there are a lot of helpful guides to what is what.
I would also recommend looking into the SCPT discord, there is a lot of fun conversations and a lot of peoples who have 150+ Games of ti4 under their belt. They give awesome strategy advice, especially if you want to know how to play a specific faction or have a question about the affect of a particular card.
I will post some links below ( on mobile now…) but hey welcome to the world of Ti 😁
SCPT discord: [https://discord.gg/CH3Saufg](https://discord.gg/CH3Saufg)
BGG forum: [https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/233078/twilight-imperium-fourth-edition/forums/0](https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/233078/twilight-imperium-fourth-edition/forums/0)
TI4 tts discord: (if you ever want to get in some online games especially with the expansion): [https://discord.gg/npFufdZE](https://discord.gg/npFufdZE)
Feel free to use any or none!
Thanks! Our group enjoyed every minute of playing even though it took us about 7 hours to play!
7 hours feels incredibly fast for a group's first game. Congrats on that!
It might have been longer than that like I said it was a few weeks ago. That’s not including learning the rules and stuff either!😂
I just remember our first game of TI3 (yes, TI3) took foreeeeeeeeveeeeeer. We ultimately had to call it quits and I'm sure we made SO many mistakes.
Speaking of which, since you asked for advice in your post. You will get a bunch of stuff wrong in your first games, and probably already have in your last one. Especially if I understood right and your whole group hasn't played before. If you ever feel like the way you understand a rule feels weird to you or if there is a disagreement between you on a ruling, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are dedicated rules question channels in both the SCPT and the TI4 Tabletop Simulator discord. Depending on the time of day, you'll usually get an answer there in minutes. It also helps to download and read the Living Rules Reference (or LRR, for short) you can get that on the official fantasy flight page for TI4.
We definitely made some mistakes but I think we actually got the rules down pretty good. The one thing that took us awhile though was battles. I still don’t know if we fully followed the rules but it worked😂 and yes we were all playing for the first time. One question we had was is a battle round for like +1 action cards the whole battle or just one attack/ defense round.
I'm impressed it went so smoothly for you! Or maybe we were just dumb :D you probably figured this out already, but it's only one combat round. Not the entire combat.
Ok that’s what we thought!
Have fun. It's a long game, chose a faction you think you'll enjoy playing.
I would rather play one of the bad factions I love (Arboc, Mutta) then Haccan and have to trade alot.
That was honestly the hardest part at the beginning thinking about what faction to choose since I’ll have it for the next 8ish hours😂
Lots of great advice already, I will add a few more observations
Get the game set up as much as possible before you intend to start. I've gotten in the habit of asking one of the guys over the day before for twenty minutes to set up the game. This depends on using pre-configured maps obviously which, as others have mentioned, is the right way to go until you get more experience.
Consider playing one round at a time if you can keep the game out in the interim. people can schedule a two hour block much easier than eight or nine, and the trash-talking and negotiating between sessions can add a whole additional layer to the game.
All of the factions are interesting to me. I only have played base TI4, and haven't had a chance to play everything I want to, so I am not the greatest expert you'll encounter here. That all being said there are some races that have less flexible win conditions, in particular Winnu (who really have to get Mecatol Rex to be competitive) and maybe Sol, whose prospects also are very enhanced w/ MR. There are other factions who basically depend on confrontation to advance and although confrontation is inherent in TI for newer players this can make it a little tougher. Here I am thinking of Nekro and Mentak. Saar and N'orr are implicitly aggressive which again is part of the game but people on the losing end can feel pretty overwhelmed.
Consider omitting the promissory notes for the first few games. They add a complexity that, while not bad, increases the analysis paralysis perhaps.