Category Archives: Twilight Imperium

Twilight Imperum 4th Edition is real

Twilight Imperium isn’t just my favorite game. It’s the game that really launched the Muskegon Area Gamers. The 3rd edition was published in 2005. In 2007 we got the first expansion, Shattered Empire. In 2011 we got the second expansion, Shards of the Throne. It’s been so long we thought Fantasy Flight would simply keep the 3rd Edition in print into perpetuity. Then last Friday they officially announced the upcoming release of Twilight Imperium 4th Edition. This is slated for release in Q4 of 2017. I’d like to take this time to go over the press release and pictures from FFG.

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition is real

The initial news hits the tabletop community

Muskegon loves Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
Twilight Imperium 4th Edition from Fantasy Flight Games

On Friday, August 11th, Fantasy Flight Games confirmed the rumors that they are indeed publishing a new edition of their flagship game. This caused a ripple throughout boardgamegeek and the tabletop community at large. The 3rd Edition has been out of print for several months. FFG has been promising to republish the expansions. Normally they sell for $60; when out of print they sell for $200+. To the chagrin of some players, this news meant their 3rd Edition purchases were no longer going to be supported.

But to the delight of almost everyone else this news was very welcome.


What you get for your money

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition is real
Twilight Imperium 4th edition components

The 4th Edition will come with a staggering $150 MSRP price tag. This is almost double the original cost of TI3 which was $80. Obviously things are more expensive than they were in 2005. But the game comes with largely the same amount of components as the base edition. It comes with player sheets, the same allotment of plastic pieces, tons of cards and cardboard counters.

The Brotherhood of Yin (4th edition)
The Brotherhood of Yin (4th edition)

Much of the expense is in the artwork. FFG did not skimp on the graphic design. This may not be FFG’s best selling game but it will be their prettiest game. The artwork on the race sheets is great. The graphics on the system hexes is immaculate.

But what about the material changes?


What else comes in the box?

Plastic components for TI4
Plastic components for TI4

TI4 will have the same plastic components as the base game of TI3. You will get, for example, 8 destroyers, 3 space docks, 4 carriers, etc. The game will also come with flagships, an item previously available only in Shards of the Throne. The warsuns will also have two halves. Gone are the days of the space boob!

The new edition does NOT include mech units. Perhaps this will be an expansion item? It’s difficult to tell but it appears that there will be no shock troops or space mines either. Again, this could be expansion material.

Some faction sheets for TI4
Some faction sheets for TI4

The game will come with a full set of 17 races. All the races including the races from Shattered Empire and Shards of the Throne are included. The artwork that has been previewed makes some of the details clear. The Sardakk N’orr will still get their single race advantage of +1 to all combat. The Mentak Coalition’s race sheet has been reworded. They still have their two racial abilities (pre-combat with cruisers and stealing trade goods), but the rules have been reworded to meet the new mechanical changes to TI4.

But what about the mechanical differences?


Differences from Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition

Strategy cards from TI4
Strategy cards from TI4

The 4th Edition is actually a lot like the 3rd Edition. This is a departure from the previous revamps of Twilight Imperium where 2nd Edition was considerably different than 3rd. The 4th Edition is so much like 3rd Edition that if you despised the 3rd Edition there is little chance you like the newest iteration.

The 4th Edition is played largely like the 3rd. There is a strategy phase where you select a Strategy Card. This gives you a primary ability and gives everyone else a secondary ability. This also gives your turn order.

There is command counters for fleet supply, strategy allocation and command pool. There are action cards, ships, combat and diplomacy. The ships are identical in combat abilities (with the exception of the flagships).

So what’s different?

Imperial Strategy card is new. It is an amalgam of Bureaucracy and Imperial II. It allows you to score an objective mid-turn. It allows you to score 1VP if you control Mecatol Rex. But it has another ability. It allows you to draw another secret objectives.

Objectives from TI4
Objectives from TI4

Which brings us to another difference: players will have several secret objectives. You can still only score one per round. But you over the course of the game you could score many.

Trade works differently. The Trade Strategy Card gives you three trade goods. Then you refresh all commodities. Then you have the ability to allow anyone to use the secondary for free. Then everyone has the ability to pay to use the secondary. The secondary refreshes all commodities.

Commodities are like the total of a race’s trade agreements. The Hacan, for example, had a pair of 3 trade agreements. Now the Hacan would have 6 commodities instead of two 3 agreements. These commodities can be traded to any player who has ships adjacent to your ships. You can wheel and deal!

Political has been changed. There is no political step when the Political Strategy Card is played. Instead, there is a political step during the Status Phase when Mecatol Rex is conquered. From then on, there is a political step. Players refresh their planets. The top agenda is flipped over (for real!). Then players vote on it by spending planets. Then the next agenda is flipped over (also for real!). Then players spend planets to vote on that agenda. Then all planets are refreshed.

Tech example in TI4
Tech example in TI4

Technology has been overhauled. There is no more tech tree with specific technologies. Players can use any technology as a prerequisite so long as it’s the right color. Light/wave deflectors requires 3 blue techs. It doesn’t matter which three.

The technologies that upgrade ships are now called, “Dreadnaught II” or “Dreadnaught III” for example. These techs are overlays for your player sheet so you can see at a glance the new abilities. All ship upgrades require diversity in your technology colors while going deep in a single field requires you to focus on one color.

Promissory notes from TI4
Promissory notes from TI4

They kept promissory notes (an addition from Shards of the Throne). However, they are not related to Political Strategy Card, unlike Shards of the Throne’s rules. It is unclear how players will be able to dole out these.

They modified how PDS’s and space docks are produced. There is a separate Strategy Card, Construction, that builds them. Thus, there is no more Production Strategy Card. Instead Warfare Strategy Card’s secondary seems to do what Production’s secondary did.

There are no more leaders, no more distant suns and no more mercenaries. They seem to be eliminating some of the components that were either unbalanced or were patches to the game. They must have fixed these problems so they don’t need these components.


Final Thoughts

Bound rule book and prints
Bound rule book and prints

I love the new tech tree. I love the new Imperial Strategy Card. I’m intrigued by the new Trade system. I think it might adjust for some of the issues with Trade in TI3.

I’m not sure if they fixed the political system, though. The new political step is intriguing. But the real problem with the political game in TI was the arbitrary agendas. Did Fantasy Flight fix the stupid weak and stupid powerful agendas?

I really like the fact that there are numerous Secret Objectives. And you can score several during a game. And they have various VP values. This will make the game very lively.

The artwork is immaculate. The plastic components look amazing. And the other components will undoubtedly be as good as any FFG game.

I’m looking forward to playing this as soon as it’s available! It will be bittersweet if it fires Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition.


Until then, you can play Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition here:

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
188 Muskegon Area Gamers

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Twilight Imperium Tournament at GenCon 2016

We’ve been keeping stats on our TI3 games. We call it our “Leader Board”. To date, Dusty is our winning-est player. Last year Dusty played in the Twilight Imperium tournament at GenCon and won. I knew he would do the Muskegon Area Gamers proud again this year. Take a few minutes to read his session report. This will undoubtedly whet your appetites for our upcoming game in August!


Twilight Imperium Twilight Struggle Muskegon
When it comes to Twilight, Muskegon hates vampires but loves board games.

The Twilight Imperium 3 tournament is the highlight of my Gen Con trip each year. This year there was even more anticipation because I am the defending champion.

The format was updated this year. There were six qualifying games with the winner of each game being invited to the final table. I will save the story for how I won the qualifying round and skip right to my recap of the finals.

Races are chosen without any knowledge about objectives, map tiles, or seating. However, seating and speaker are determined entirely randomly.

I had a choice of the Nekro Virus or Arborec. I chose the Nekro because I did not want to end up being a non-militaristic race adjacent to a militaristic race.

Here is a photo of the board after setup:

Muskegon loves GenCon!
Board after set up

Going clockwise, starting with me:

  • Nekro (me)
  • Mentak
  • Saar
  • Yin
  • Sol
  • Naalu


I was disappointed to have two wormholes adjacent to me and no other wormholes on the board. My setup wasn’t great, but not terrible.

It was Age of Empires so we knew the objectives from the start [with the caveat that players cannot score Stage II objectives until Round 4]. Here is a pic:

Tournament objectives
Tournament objectives



My preliminary objective was: Antagonist – I control a planet in a system adjacent to an enemy player’s Home System.

The strategy cards were: Leadership, Diplomacy II, Assembly, Production, Trade II, Warfare II, Technology II, Imperial II.


Turn 1

Naalu is the speaker and took Tech.

Nekro(me) took Production

Mentak took Trade

I don’t recall precisely what everyone else took.


StrategyCard-ProductionIn retrospect, I believe taking production was a mistake. I should have taken leadership or warfare. Leadership would have allowed me to accumulate counters in preparation for the stage 2 objective to spend command counters on turn 4. Warfare would have given me an option to attack Mentak on turn 1 scoring the invade objective and my preliminary.

Anyhow, I popped production immediately on my turn because I realized I wasn’t going to be able to use it to take more resources turn 1 due to positioning and slow carriers. The only person to truly benefit from this was the Saar because they were the only player to take a tactical action before my first turn.

Trade went off, Mentak made some good trades getting a couple of 2s, and let a few others around the table trade. I was allowed to trade one of my agreements with Sol.

If I recall correctly, noone scored any points on turn 1.


Turn 2

StrategyCard-Warfare2I took warfare. Not sure what everyone else took.

Mentak bought mirror computing this turn. There was a law that came up to break all of someone’s trade agreements and forbid them from making trades this round or next. Mentak got some votes, but the Saar player had the most influence and voted for me, resulting in my trade agreement being broken.

This was a big problem for me, not because of the trade goods I would lose, but rather because Mentak’s trade engine was left unfettered. Each time he took the trade strategy card he received 7 trade goods, with mirror computing that is worth 14 resources to him.


I waited until the end of the turn and attacked Mentak at Abyz/Fria. It was a lopsided space battle, he did kill a couple of my fighters. One of the invasions I had a ground force and a mech vs a GF. The other was 1 on 1. I won both invasions.

As Nekro, winning these battles allowed me to pick up cybernetics and stasis capsules, bringing me to 4 green technologies counting the Nekro starting techs. The third tech was a difficult choice. I considered getting mirror computing, but ultimately took Sarween tools since my ability to get trade goods was severely hampered due to the vote earlier this round.

I built earlier in the turn and without considering that I might have access to stasis capsules; rookie mistake. If I had built GF instead of mech units I could have taken more planets using cruisers.

One interesting development of note was that the Mentak built a space dock adjacent to their home system in my direction.

This was a good turn. During the status phase I was able to score the invasion combat and my preliminary objective. I drew as my secret objective: Threatening – I control systems adjacent to 2 different player’s Home Systems.


Turn 3

I would have loved to take assembly in order to setup for a Turn 4 Imperial II when stage 2 objectives can be scored, but it was gone by the time it got to me. I can’t recall what was available other than that assembly was gone – I took production.

I was in a bit of a pickle this round. The Mentak had built 4 PDS adjacent to Abyz/Fria and would assuredly get deep space cannons this turn (or already did, I can’t recall). Although I took many of his resources, with his trade income and mirror computing, I was not going to win a war of attrition. Interestingly, if he had not built the space dock, I think I could have justified taking his home world because his TGs just wouldn’t be able to be converted into ships then, but because he had built that dock last round, there was no realistic way for me to blockade him effectively.

With the above in mind, I decided to strike a deal with him and leave Abyz/Fria for a TG, a promise not to shoot me with PDS, and a promise to let me spend them before he took them back. He agreed. This may have been unwise because it was giving up half of my Threatening objective, but I just don’t think I could have kept control of Abyz/Fria

During this turn, I used the force from Abyz/Fria to attack a Saar system that had an artifact and a weak Saar fleet with 3 ships. I lost another fighter, but won the space combat and the invasion. I was now defending the victory point with 2 GF and 1 mech. Unfortunately, Saar did not have a green tech for me to get to 5.

This was an okay move because it let me score a public objective, however it may have been better to move into place in an empty sector for threatening.

I took the planet in front of Mecatol in my slice of the galaxy and also moved 3 cruisers + 3 GF to the empty space in front of the B wormhole on the Naalu side. I was trying to give myself options for scoring threatening next turn because I had flank speed.

I also built my flagship in my home system to give me some protection.


Turn 4

Strategy selection is a blur. I was surprised Imperial II was available when the cards came to me. I took it without hesitation.

Saar attacked my fleet in their space. The bulk of their force was about 9 fighters. (To be honest I can’t recall if this happened at the end of turn 3 or during turn 4). I had 1 cruiser 2 fighters and a carrier. I knew the fight was a lost cause. I tried to negotiate with the Saar telling him I would retreat if he brought less force. He wasn’t having it. I decided it wasn’t worth the command counter retreating even though it would be perfect for Threatening. I would have survived with a single ship if I had retreated (damnit!). He did not attempt an invasion because he didn’t have enough ground forces to win. I destroyed a ship and got a tech.

Naalu approached me wanting to take 2 planets from me so he could score “I have 10 planets”. I wasn’t thrilled about this, but I didn’t have the plastic to fight him so I negotiated that in exchange he would let me take the system and planets adjacent his home world next turn (after he scored 10 planets) and he told me he would leave a gf on each planet of mine he took for me to get tech. I really didn’t have much negotiating power and did not care about leftover gf at all.

Later in the round an opportunity arose. Naalu had 11 planets outside his home system, but only needed 10. I struck a deal with him that I would vacate the planet in front of Mecatol for him and take the two next to his home system this turn. Naalu was nervous that the planet he had taken with diplomacy near the Mentak home world would be taken by Mentak. I brokered a deal where Naalu gave 2 TG to Mentak to not take that planet (worth 4 resources to Mentak due to mirror computing). That worked!

I now had 5 planets, my home world, the two adjacent the Naalu, the one in Saar space, and one of the Reigel planets right in front of my home world. I mistakenly did not realize that was only 4 planets outside my home world, not 5.

We were getting to the end of the turn. I had flipped Imperial II so that I could score multiple public objectives this turn. I had 4 VP (Preliminary, 3 ships, invaded, artifact

After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to backstab Naalu because it would catapult me to 9 points if things went as planned. I had negotiated with Naalu all turn to set them up to score the 10 planets objective, but secretly I saw an opportunity. The plan was to attack the Naalu home system with 4 cruisers, each carrying a GF, and a destroyer. I played flank speed to get the destroyer and one of the cruisers to the system. IIRC, the Naalu home system had 4 fighters, a carrier, and a PDS. There were no ground forces, so if I won the space battle all I had to do was survive against the PDS. If things went according to plan I would have scored the following:

  • 5 green techs by getting neural computing from Naalu, the last green tech I needed(2 points)
  • Destroying Naalu space dock in their home system (2 points)
  • Taking the Naalu home world, the fifth planet I needed for the 5 planets outside my home system (1 point)

This would mean the next turn I would have a shot at winning with my first action by taking the Naalu artifact planet.

I took the fight to the Naalu. It was complete mutual destruction. PDS fire took down the destroyer. The first round of the battle I had 3 hits and he had 2. In the second round of battle his remaining 2 fighters both hit and both my cruisers hit, meaning everything was gone and I scored 2 victory points instead of 5.


Turn 5

I tried to salvage what I could, but there was little I could do. The Naalu signal jammed my fleet adjacent to their home system (not all bad since I still could potentially score Threatening). That left me with my flagship and 1 destroyer.

The Yin had first pick of strategy card and took leadership. I think I took production again (looking at the final state I should have taken warfare for the 3 bonus counters and the mobility to score threatening or diplomacy to score early before Saar). The Saar took diplomacy.

I had drawn another flank speed and formulated my plan. I moved my command counter configuration so I only had 2 in fleet supply and about 5 in command. I planned to try and stall as much as I could and then strike the Mentak late in the round to take over a system adjacent to their home world with a space dock. That would allow me to score Threatening and destroy a space dock giving me 10 points.

Near the end of the round, the Mentak and I were the only ones left. I had stalled as much as I could by placing counters in empty space in the neutral zone between the Naalu and myself.

The Mentak had built voluminous ground forces on the system adjacent their home world (that was within 2 spaces), which meant even if I used flank speed to attack with my flagship, I didn’t have a way to win the ground battle. My flagship couldn’t reach the other space docks even with flank speed, so there was no way to bring my lone mech unit.

Finally, I negotiated with the Mentak in a futile attempt to take the empty space adjacent his home world. I attacked Naalu with a small strike force to get type IV drive, which I needed to reach the empty sector. I paid Mentak 2 trade goods not to fire his PDS (I should have waited to pay him until afterwards = ( ). He agreed and as soon as I made the move official he shot his 4 PDS and destroyed all 3 of my ships.

In the status phase, the Naalu scored the 5 tech advance to tie me in VP, the Yin scored 6 command counters bringing them to 7 points (a jump of 3 this turn bc they took over an artifact too), and then Saar scored 6 command counters and his secret objective diversified to end the game.

Even if I carried out my plan perfectly, it wouldn’t have mattered because I scored after Saar.

Here are pics of the board state and VPs at the end:

Board state at end game
Board state at end game
End of game
End of game


It was a fun game. As is always the case with Twilight Imperium 3, there were many areas on which I could improve. It is difficult to develop a coherent strategy on the fly while also trying to understand what everyone is trying to do. The moderators apply a lot of pressure to move the game along, which is good, but makes a tough game even tougher!

I wrote up this session report from memory, so it’s possible that I misremembered some things. Thanks for reading!


Twilight Imperium the Long War: a session report

Jon has not had much luck winning at Twilight Imperium since we instituted the Leaderboard. He had always had a strong showing in our TI3 games. But once we started tracking our data, Jon no longer won any games. This is mostly due to the strong plays of Ben, Dusty and Matt who all developed into exceptional Twilight Imperium players. The Muskegon Area Gamers had been hemming and hawing about playing the Long War variant (where you play TI3 to 14 points instead of 10). We finally managed to play the Long War in April. Jon played the Universities of Jol-Nar. Here is his victory session report…


The Player

Starting with my position, and going clockwise

Universities of Jol Nar
Universities of Jol Nar
  • Jon –as the brilliant Universities of Jol-Nar
  • Kevin – as the nightmarish Nekro Virus
  • Dusty – as the manipulative Naalu Collective
  • Jake – as the greedy Emirates of Hacan
  • Nick – as the cunning Mentak Coalition
  • Mongo – as the stealthy Yssaril Tribes
  • Chris – as the steadfast Xxcha Kingdom
  • Matt – as the nefarious Barony of Letnev



The Setting

Eight player Twilight Imperium
Eight player Twilight Imperium

My slice of the galactic pie was Influence-heavy.  My right hand neighbor, Matt, had the biggest Resource dump.  Everyone else had a more-or-less balanced start.  As usual, there were no real artifacts anywhere near my Home System.  All four Wormholes were present in the southern (i.e. my) half of the galaxy.  The Wormhole Nexus was in play.


The Rules

The Alastor--the Nekro Virus flagship
The Alastor–the Nekro Virus flagship

Standard Shattered Empire Strategy Card set, with Trade III included.  No Distant Suns, Final Frontier, or Representatives in play, nor did we use SET.  All other optional rules were enabled, including the Long War.


The Plot

Merc Daffren
Merc Daffren

The usual expansion thing happens.  Departing from my usual play style, I prioritize getting techs (mostly ones the Nekro didn’t care about), because Long War.  Planets are colonized, Artifacts are claimed, and known space is filled with Minefields, for some reason.

Space Mines
Space Mines

Flash forward to turn 4!  Things are heating up.  Mongo has a commanding lead as the Yssaril.  Chris and Nick respond by blowing up all of his carriers, stalling his progress.  Nick puts military pressure on Jake as well.  I sacrifice a few units to feed Matt 2 VP in return for vague, future favors.  I also choose this turn to try for my Secret Objective: Merciless!  I invade the Nekro Home System in a dastardly surprise attack!  The odds are in my favor, but Gen Synthesis and shit dice crush my dreams.  I lament this turn of events, loudly proclaiming my ineligibility to win anymore.  Dusty criticizes my complaining, because it has revealed my Secret Objective… Conqueror?!  I look at the board and see that Kevin built a second Space Dock during his last turn, and I totally missed it.  So yeah, guys, I totally had Conqueror…  Yep.  I take Dusty’s advice and remain silent about this unexpected advantage.  Meanwhile, Dusty does clandestine things and Jake does nothing.

Twilight Imperium the Long War
14pt Turn Track

Turns progress, and I’m keeping pace with the pack due to single-minded doggedness and back-to-back Bureaucracy.  Mongo and Dusty have the lead, but some of their points are soft; all of my VP are from Objectives.  I continue to score all of my aggressive Objectives off of Kevin, and he continues to allow it.  Dusty loans me 5 TG to score a spendy Objective (I tried to kill Nick’s lone Merc for Action Card-related Trade Goods, but the stupid dice punish me again).  I pay him back 8 on a future turn, but he lives to regret it anyway.  Matt and I are still at peace (foreshadowing!), but he and Chris are in hot war, and Matt is losing.  Kevin and Dusty fight a protracted bush war, and Kevin is severely depleted.  His flying bomb Flagship nukes a sizeable fleet of Dusty’s, to the mirth of all (except Dusty).  A labor law swaps Influence and Resources on all planets (yay!), but it is overturned on the following turn.  Nick takes Mecatol Rex, and Jake does nothing.

Secret Objective
Secret Objective

In the final stretch, I convince enough people to support a law that switches my SO with Chris’.  He gets my well-hidden Merciless, but fails to score it in time.  I get a Mecatol Objective (I forget which one, but the only important part is having the Space Dock on Mecatol Rex).  Kevin is currently in possession of MR, having run Nick out of town with the Doom Stack of Shock Troops he’s been farming on Hope’s End all game.  Fortunately, I have Gravity Drive, Type IV Drive, X-89 Bacterial Weapon, Duranium Armor, and a handful of Action Cards I couldn’t care less about.  My Admiral’s plague-carrying Dreadnought can move 4 spaces!  Kevin is sad, I set up to score my SO, and the table convenes to discuss how to stop me.  They cannot, with the possible exception of Matt.

Jake does nothing.

Remember how I fed Matt some of my units to give him 2 free Victory Points?  So do I, but Matt has forgotten.  He hits me with everything he has, but his ace-in-the-hole Action Card doesn’t work the way he thinks it does, and he cannot reach my Home System.  I have Bureaucracy due to a Mercenary I recruited on turn 1, and no one can stop me from winning mid-turn with 13 hard Victory Points.  Dusty is sure to have won during the next Status Phase, and Mongo is right behind him.  Nick, Matt, and Chris finish in the middle of the pack (around 10 VP, I believe).  Kevin and Jake bring up the rear.

In the final analysis, it was Influence and tech that gave me the flexibility to seize enough opportunities and squeak out a win.  I never had problems with Command Counters, and I was able to swing a couple of crucial votes.  Trade was very dynamic this game, switching around every turn.  Mercenaries were found to be extremely useful, bordering on broken.  As predicted, the Long War mitigates some of the annoyances of TI3: tech expenditures become more viable, and you can get deeper into the tree.  Prelim Objectives aren’t as obnoxious, because the time pressure of setting up your SO is less.  Powerful races stall out a bit just as the slow-start races hit their stride; by mid-game, everyone is more-or-less equal in power.


Upcoming events

We haven’t done an “upcoming events” blog post in a while. There has been quite a bit of activity lately. Now might be a good time to inform everyone about what’s up.

1. Twilight Imperium: Prep for the Long War  (January 31)

Muskegon's favorite board game is Twilight Imperium from Fantasy Flight Games
Twilight Imperium

We’ve been pussyfooting around the idea of playing “The Long War” for some time now. Twilight Imperium: the Long War is basically just more Twilight Imperium. Instead of playing to 10 victory points (9 with Bureaucracy), you play to 14 (13 with Bureaucracy).

We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of the Long War. If we play it, we have to use as many of the add-ons as possible. This means leaders. Keen observers of this blog know that TI3 leaders and the Muskegon Area Gamers do not mix well. But the leaders seem important for play balance to some of the races. And this will be important for the upcoming Long War.

To prep us for this, we should play a game with leaders. We really need the practice. Plus there are other add-ons that people are simply not using like mines and facilities. We will be using all of these.

I’m not sure if we will be using Distant Suns though. We will discuss this soon. 🙂


2. Formula D League: Every Thursday until I finish a race

Formula 1 racing in Muskegon!
Formula D from Asmodee Games

We’ve had three races in our Formula D league. And I’ve yet to finish a race.

That trend has got to stop.

I’m hoping to bust out the fourth map this Thursday and speed my away around the curves to 1st place. Tasha be damned!


3. Game Day at The Brew House                          (Saturday, February 20)

The Brew House in Muskegon
The Brew House in Muskegon

The Brew House has invited us back for a second game day. Our last game day was a success. We had about 14 people come by, if memory serves.

This time around I think we will break 20. The interest level is quite high. Surprisingly high. I posted the event on our facebook page and it’s going like wildfire.

It was about a year ago when we had our last game day there. If interest is this high, we may have to have a game day there once a quarter. Maybe even more frequent than that.

4. Crossover Event with The Burrow                   (Tuesday, February 23rd)

The Burrow in Grand Haven
The Burrow in Grand Haven

We’ve finally broken some bread with the good fellas at The Burrow. The Burrow, formerly known as Grandiosity of Norton Shores, moved to lovely Grand Haven. Their facility is on Washington Street in a strip mall.

They are looking to partner with the Muskegon Area Gamers.

Muskegon's favorite LCG: A Game of Thrones: LCG
A Game of Thrones: LCG

And we are happy to make such an alliance. I spoke in great length to David, the proprietor. He is willing to have his store do A Game of Thrones: LCG events on our behalf. This should keep Matt happy.

The first crossover will be on a Tuesday in February. We will be meeting there. We are hoping that the crew at The Burrow will also have gamers on hand to play with us.

We are looking forward to having a fruitful relationship with a FLGS.


5. A Game of Thrones Championship at AFK Games in Holt, MI (Saturday, February 27)

AGOT LCG 2nd Edition
AGOT LCG 2nd Edition

The Burrow game night coincides with the state championship for AGOT the LCG. This will be held at AFK Games in Holt. Matt will be driving if anyone is interested.


6. Twilight Imperium: Final Prep for the Long War (Sunday, March 6)

Twilight Imperium gets played in Muskegon, MI all the time.
Twilight Imperium Leaders

I figured we will need a second game of prep for the Long War. I don’t want anyone to get screwed over by leaders or mines or what have you. It would suck if someone got hosed on the first game round of the Long War because they didn’t know how something worked.

Let’s nip it in the bud with a second prep game.


7. The Long Awaited Long War                              (Saturday, April 2 at 8am)

Twilight Imperium Twilight Struggle Muskegon
When it comes to Twilight, Muskegon hates vampires but loves board games.

Virtue will be conquered. Chance will not be the same for all. The disciple will outshine the master.

And the Muskegon Area Gamers will play Twilight Imperium: The Long War. This will be in all its glory: eight players,  all the optional rules (that make sense) and 12 hours of non-stop gaming.

Seating will be limited to eight players. RSVP soon!


8. CabinCon III: the need for a name                              (June 16 to June 19)

Muskegon Area Gamers love Into the Woods Retreat
Into the Woods Retreat

Our third CabinCon is already on the books. Excitement is high for this year’s event. The first CabinCon had six of us playing games for three days. This year it will be ten of us playing games for four days.


Even Nick Sima has RSVP’d. Check the meetup for more details. But for some of us, CabinCon has replaced GenCon.


9. Where our group meets

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
109 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Tuesday: Pandemic Legacy

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016, 6:00 PM
6 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


The Gaming Annex’s Year in Review 2015

2015: we hardly knew thee. There were big stories in 2015. Lots of laughs and some drama. We hit many of our goals as a game group. But not all of them. This post is to show where we have been but also to let everyone know that the best days are still ahead of us.


1. Game Plays in 2015

Game plays thru the years
Game plays thru the years

Oh boy. I knew my game plays in 2015 were going to take a dip. But 2015 was the lowest amount of game plays since 2009! Why was 2015 so low?

Partly this is due to my attendance. My new job is far more

TI3 Plays through the years
TI3 Plays through the years

demanding. I’ve missed a few Tuesdays and a few Thursdays because of work. This would account for some of my low game plays. But certainly not all of them. I am still playing games 3 times a week typically.

Clash of Cultures plays
Clash of Cultures plays

Maybe I’m playing too much Twilight Imperium–a game that takes 6+ hours.

Alas, this has not been the case. We played 12 games of TI3 last year. We typically play between 10 and 12.

Maybe we are playing other longer games? I looked up my game plays of Clash of Cultures. Lo and behold we played it 12 times last year! That’s almost as many times as we played it in all other years combined. It seems that our group has been playing other longer games lately instead of more (and shorter) games.

Let’s keep an eye out in 2016 to see if this trend continues.


2. Fives and Dimes

Notable game plays dimes
Notable game plays dimes

Fives and dimes is a gaming term used to describe games you played at least 10 tens (called a “dime”) and games you played at least five times (called a “five”). Let’s look at The Gaming Annex’s five and dimes.

Topping the charts are the two main social deduction games: One Night Werewolf and The Resistance. These games get plenty of play. For me, their charm is wearing a bit thin although I did recommend The Resistance last Tuesday (before Bruce showed up–he hates that damn game).

Next is Merchants & Marauders at 14 game plays. I love Merchants & Marauders. I’ve done a huge turn around on this game. And our group (now) loves it too. The expansion has added tremendously to this game as well.

Next is Imperial 2030. The Muskegon Area Gamers love them some Imperial 2030. Imperial is a special game. It’s unusual. And it is also free of randomness. I’ve convinced Kevin to write up a blog for Imperial 2030. Look for that later this month.

And rounding out the “dimes” are TI3 and Clash of Cultures. I love these games. Speaking of these games, I have to schedule our next game session for these. It’s been too long since I’ve played.

Notable game plays fives
Notable game plays fives

I’ve played Witness nine times in 2015. It’s a very good game. I would like to finish the 64 scenarios in 2016.

I managed to play Twilight Struggle seven times in 2015. That is not enough. I may need to teach my wife how to play 🙂

XCOM has become a recent favorite. We got slaughtered on New Year’s Eve. I even picked up Space Cadets recently because I thought if the group liked XCOM, they might like Space Cadets.


3. Attendance at The Gaming Annex

Attendance through the years
Attendance through the years

In 2015, there were 939 attendees at The Gaming Annex’s events. We had our best attendance ever in July with 92 attendees. When you get 939 in a year and 92 in a month, it makes your goals for 2016 very easy: get 1,000 attendees in 2016 and 100 attendees in a single month. Let’s make it happen!!!

Attendance in 2015
Attendance in 2015

Our Top 10 Attendees are seen here. I’m at the top. But notable newcomer Nick Sima is far and away the #2 attendee. We cannot seem to get rid of him.

The group went through some changes in 2015. Charles moved to Maryland (taking my copy of You’re Bluffing! with him, the villain!). And in 2015, we lost Dugas. Not because he died. There was some…unpleasantness. He had a meltdown.

This year has also seen the addition of Prof. Mike and Tasha to our Top 10 as well. Nick Sima, Tasha and Prof. Mike have been welcome additions to the Muskegon Area Gamers.


4. Events in 2015

Muskegon Area Gamers love Into the Woods Retreat
Into the Woods Retreat

The Muskegon Area Gamers had several events in 2015. Looking back, I wished we had had more. But we can improve upon this in 2016.

The biggest event of the year was obviously CabinCon. Every year, Dusty puts together a gaming retreat. In 2015, it was our second such event. And Dusty picked a fantastic cabin. Eight of us descended upon Into the Woods Retreat in West Olive to spend 3.5 days gaming. We are looking forward to the next installment in 2016. I’ll keep you posted with any developments.

The Brew House in Muskegon
The Brew House in Muskegon

We had an event at the Brew House on Seminole Road. The folks there asked us to come out and play games. And we obliged. The turnout was pretty good at 13 people. We’ve been asked to make another appearance. I’ll try to set something up in February. Keep your eyes on the facebook calendar if you’re interested.

We also had our second Kid’s Gala at The Gaming Annex. The kids always have a good time when we have these galas. I think the vital stats for our last Kid’s Gala was: 16 people in attendance and 60 chicken McNuggets eaten.


5. Odds & Ends

Our facebook page
Our facebook page

Our meet up group has passed 100 members in 2015. We now have 108 members. Obviously, many of them are not regulars. But the door remains open to them.

Our facebook page now has 366 likes. Not too shabby.

I’ve started using google analytics. I am by no means an expert. But I thought I might share some of our data. The google analytics looks at both our website and this blog.

Google analytics for the Muskegon Area Gamers
Google analytics

We’ve seen lots of internet traffic from West Michigan. Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Norton Shores, Grand Haven and Muskegon are all on the list. Someone from Detroit and from Ann Arbor have been serious readers of our blog too. I don’t know who you are, but your readership is important to me!


6. Where the magic happens









Twilight Imperium: The Long War–why I want to play it soooo bad

As you probably know, Twilight Imperium is my favorite game. It’s a perennial favorite at The Gaming Annex as well. Virtually the whole group loves it. We’ve played it about 30 times in the past three years. Despite this breadth of game play, there is one frontier left unexplored: the Long War. And it’s a frontier I want to pioneer as soon as possible.

1. What is Twilight Imperium: The Long War

TI3 Long War track
TI3 Long War track

Twilight Imperium: The Long War is just a longer version of the regular game. The regular game of TI3 lasts until someone scores 10 victory points (9 if you are playing with Bureaucracy). The Long War lasts until you reach 14 (13 with Bureaucracy).

I can haz Mecatol Rex
I can haz Mecatol Rex

Due to this change, the objective deck gets modified. There are two additional Stage I objectives and two additional Stage II objectives. This means the game will last at least two game rounds longer. And could last up to four game rounds longer.

And when it comes to my favorite game: more is better!


2. Race balance in a Long War

The Sardakk N'orr
The Sardakk N’orr

It’s no mystery that some races are weaker than others. In our games, since we started our leaderboard, the poor Sardakk N’orr are 0-10. I think we will see some surprises if we play the Long War.

Some races are simply more powerful as the game goes on. The Sardakk N’orr is one example. It takes some time to get the juggernaut moving. Several techs need to be acquired. Their flagship, which simply doubles their racial ability, needs to be acquired. Once enough of these pieces are in place, the N’orr simply auto-win any combat. But it takes time to put this into place. There is not enough time in a standard game to make this happen. I’m looking forward to seeing them get played in a long war setting. I really do not want to be on the receiving end of their wrath!


3. Depth in the tech tree

Racial techs
Racial techs

There are lots of cool techs deep on the tech tree. Due to the relative brevity of the standard game, many of these are viable. Even if you manage to get Advanced Fighters, for example, you have little time to implement them into your strategy and win with them.

But this problem is completely solved by the Long War. If the game lasts two to four more rounds, then you will have that much more time to develop and implement your grand tech strategy.

I am really looking forward to this aspect of the Long War. I want to see our stalwart gamers obtain and use Integrated Economy, Light Wave Deflectors and X-89 Bacterial weapon. I would love to see someone get all their racial techs and properly employ them. The Barony’s Non-Euclidean Shielding is an amazing tech. It allows your ships to sustain damage twice instead of once. In a Long War, the Baron will field a host of Type IV drive dreadnaughts protected by Non-Euclidean Shielding.


4. Leaders and the Long War

Xxcha Kingdom's leaders
Xxcha Kingdom’s leaders

Our group has a love/hate relationship with leaders. We love the idea of the leaders. But we have lots of problems with them too.

The biggest problems are 1) the agent and 2) the diplomat. The Long War will not fix these problems per se, but will mitigate them.

We play lots of 7 and 8 player games. In a 7 or 8 player game, you will have lots of agents in play. This means you will have lots of “sabotages” in play. In a standard length game, this means players have ample opportunities to thwart clever and/or lucky action card play. If it’s the third round of a standard game, you might discard your agent to cancel some action. But in a Long War? That would mean not having an agent for the next 6+ rounds. That’s a long time. In a Long War, players will draw many more action cards–but they will not draw more agents. This is the key. This will mitigate the effects of too many agents.

The other issue is diplomats. It’s too damn troublesome to attack a planet with a diplomat. If a game lasts 6 rounds, and you attack a planet with a diplomat on the 5th or 6th round, odds are you will not achieve your goal of taking the planet before the game is over. But in a Long War, there are more rounds. And this means you have more opportunity to take those planets. While you will still be annoyed by the diplomats, you at least have the time to circumvent them.


5. The objective deck

TI3 Objectives
TI3 Objectives

The objective deck can be a problem for some people. The random composition of what scores points will dictate one course of action in one game and a different course in the next. This is the nature of TI3. But in the Long War, this has a different impact.

There are 10 Stage I objectives in the game and 10 Stage II objectives. In a standard game, there would be 6 Stage I and 4 Stage II objectives randomly pulled into the overall objective deck. Since the Long War adds two additional objectives of both types, this means the majority of the objectives are in any given game of the Long War. 80% of the Stage I objectives and 60% of the Stage II objectives are in play. This means that you can largely predict what will be relevant. Keen players can predict this in a standard game, but the Long War will simply enhance this.

Secret Objectives are another animal that the Long War will smooth out. Some Secret Objectives are just tougher than others. But there is no reason why you cannot score your SO in a Long War.

6. Planning of this Long War

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

The Long War will take two sessions to complete. Ideally, these two sessions will be over two consecutive weekends. Probably on Sundays. Probably at 8 or 9 am.

I think our group needs a little bit more priming. We are not fully invested in Space Mines, facilities or leaders yet. And if we play Twilight Imperium: the Long War, I want to use all the bells and whistles. Except Distant Suns. Because screw Distant Suns.

We will try to get another standard game in soon. One that has these bells and whistles. And maybe in January 2016…Muskegon will finally prosecute Twilight Imperium: the Long War!



Musings about Twilight Imperium

As anyone who reads this blog knows, we (the Muskegon Area Gamers) play lots of Twilight Imperium. We play about 10 to 15 times a year. This may not seem like a lot, but games last 6 to 9 hours each so we are talking about a considerable amount of time. Our experiences with the game often conform to the consensus on Board Game Geek. But there are a few key areas where the consensus of highly experienced players on BGG differs from our group’s experience. After playing TI3 this past Sunday, it finally dawned on me why our experiences differ rather radically from the BGG community on these few, key issues: our game group size is 7 to 8 players whereas the typical BGG player can only muster 3 to 5 players! A game of Twilight Imperium plays substantially different if you are playing an eight player game than if you are playing a five player game. And some optional rules are much better or much worse depending upon the number of players. Below is what I’ve come to realize.


1. Imbalanced Races

Muskegon loves Twilight Imperium
Yssaril Tribes and Xxcha Kingdom

There are seventeen races in Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition. According to numerous polls and discussions, the Yssaril Tribes are the most powerful (ranked #1) and the Xxcha are at the bottom (ranked at #15, 16 or 17 depending upon the poll).

Certainly the Yssaril Tribes are powerful. And granted, the Xxcha Kingdom has some obvious flaws. The power differential between these two races is quite large…in a five player game.

However, in an eight player game, the power differential is much smaller. The power differential doesn’t go away completely but the Xxcha are quite competitive in an eight player game. Why is this, you ask?

In a five player game, there will be five strategy cards selected every round and three that will not be selected. This is written in stone. And the three strategy cards that are often unselected are the very strategy cards that the Xxcha needs someone (anyone) to take. These are often Trade, Diplomacy and Assembly. The Xxcha have nice trade agreeements, the Xxcha use the primary of Diplomacy when they activate the secondary, and the Xxcha can veto laws when someone takes Assembly. In a five player game, the Xxcha are greatly nerfed.

The Yssaril Tribes are still strong in an eight player game, but they are not nearly as strong as they are in a four or five player game. The Tribes can stall by using their racial ability of “skipping”. This allows them to act late in a round when everyone has passed. Outlasting three or four other opponents is easy enough. But outlasting seven other opponents is much more difficult. Also, the Yssaril Tribes might have enough influence to pass laws all by themselves in a four or five player games. Passing a law when there are eight players will almost always require the Tribes to form at least a small coalition.

Taken holistically, the races are much more balanced in an eight player game than in a four or five player game. The races are perfectly balanced, but the differential is well within the individual players’ skill levels.


2. Leaders

Twilight Imperium gets played in Muskegon, MI all the time.
Twilight Imperium Leaders

Using leaders is an optional rule in Twilight Imperium. It’s a rather popular option too if we are to believe the level of commentators on board game geek and the old TI3 wiki site.

The Muskegon Area Gamers have been using leaders off and on for the past year or two. And their reception has been fair to bad. Most find them fiddly. A few find them really annoying. And it’s not for lack of effort either. We’ve played approximately 15 games with leaders. And the leaders option is just not clicking with us.

Then it dawned on me why. We play 7 and 8 player games exclusively. This adds too many different powers to the game. In a 3 to 5 player game, the leaders would be fine. But if you have 8 players, there are going to be 3 to 4 more Agents (read: Sabotages) in the game. That is just too damn many. And you will have 2 to 4 more diplomats. Again: too damn many.

It’s really just the extra Agents and Diplomats that are problematic. You cannot pull of a cool action card combo in a 7 or 8 player game; you cannot pull of a cool attack from nowhere move in a 7 or 8 player game. This renders some of the most satisfying moments of TI3 toothless.


3. Representatives

Twilight Imperium Representatives are not very good in an 8 player game.
Twilight Imperium Representatives

Shards of the Throne added a new optional module called Political Intrigue. The use of representatives is included in this module. The goal was to make the voting aspect more interesting.

Players select one of their three representatives. There are three types of representatives (and not all types are available to all races). The three types are Councillor (who gives lots of extra votes), Spy (who kills Councillors or Spies) and Bodyguards (who are immune to Spies). This adds a rock-paper-scissors aspect to the political game. The RPS aspect is actually trite and annoying. But in an eight player game, the representatives are utterly boring and stupid.

Having thought about it some more, though, I’ve decided to revise my opinion of representatives a bit. In a 3 to 4 player game, representatives might actually be fun. There would be much less to keep track of in a 3 or 4 player game. The extra wrinkle of selecting representatives would be much more meaningful in a smaller game. The use of promissory notes (a mandatory addition if you are using representatives) would be much more meaningful too when selecting representatives.

I’m actually looking forward to playing with representatives now. We have a house rule that everyone gets to select the rules to a game of TI3 at least once. This means people have to play by others preferred rule sets. Kevin has stated he is going to use reps next game. I am not as apprehensive about it now as I once was. 😉


4. Political cards: Saving them, spending them, culling them

The political aspect of Twilight Imperium is lots of fun.
Twilight Imperium political card

When using the Assembly strategy card, players will start the game with two political cards. And players will accumulate more political cards throughout the game. These cards can be used in one of two ways: hold onto them until someone activates Assembly and selects you to read a political card aloud–then people vote on it; or discard the political card instead of spending 1 trade good.

In an eight player game, it is always advisable to spend political cards for trade goods. Always. We are talking 99.9% of the time. But in a 3 to 5 player game, the calculus changes to about 60% of the time. Let’s look at why.

In an eight player game, there are seven other players who have political cards in their hands. What are the odds that you will be selected to play on of YOUR political cards? Not very likely. And even if you are selected, your ability to swing the vote the way you want it swung is very limited. It’s more advisable to just discard the political card for one trade good.

In an three to five player game, the math changes quite a bit. The odds of someone selecting you to read a political card is much more likely. And your ability to swing the vote is more viable. Saving the right political card is actually warranted.

This brings us to our only house rule: culling the political deck. We remove the stupid-weak political cards and the stupid-powerful political cards. The culled deck means the political cards are typically meaningful and the decision to save them or spend them for a trade good is actually tough. Without a culled deck, you would see virtually all political cards discarded. You might ask “Why would someone discard a ‘stupid-powerful’ card if it’s so powerful?” The reason is: in an eight player game, a single player cannot swing the vote effectively and he must build a coalition. Instead of holding onto a stupid-powerful card in the hopes you can swing it in such a way to help you, you may actually find a coalition of players voting on it in such a way as to hurt you. You were better off just discarding it for one trade good.

In some spirited discussions on BGG, I’ve found that those who are critics of culling of the political deck are also fans of representatives. And these critic-fans only mustered three to five players for their TI3 games. I submit if they played eight player games more regularly they would have a very different view.

An Impromptu Game of Twilight Imperium

We play games every Sunday morning from 10am to about 4pm. I wasn’t sure how many players we would have because we only had two RSVP. As such, we didn’t have any games on the docket per se.

Muskegon's favorite board game is Twilight Imperium from Fantasy Flight Games
Twilight Imperium

Professor Mike, a newer member of the Muskegon Area Gamers, came by unexpectedly. When another member showed up, we ended up with four players. Someone mentioned Twilight Imperium. Professor Mike who hadn’t played it yet was intrigued. We broke out TI3.

We used all the accouterments from Shattered Empire along with some of those from Shards of the Throne. We inundated the poor professor with rules for about an hour. We gave him the Federation of Sol. Then we began the game.

For those who didn’t see my previous session report, our group plays TI3 with a leaderboard. This is a statistical tool that tries to track as much data as possible about our games. In an effort to accrue data that is meaningful, we distribute the races in a not-too-random and not-according-to-Hoyle fashion. Players are given the choice of two races about a week ahead of time. This gives them the opportunity to review the race’s racial techs and abilities. We play the game. Then we log the results. That player may not play that same race again until he has played all 17 races. This means that eventually all our gamers will eventually play all the races and we will have more meaningful data.

On Sunday, I played my 15th leaderboard game. This one was as the Emirates of Hacan. Dusty played his 13th game as the Barony of Letnev. Kevin played his 11th game as the Xxcha Kingdom. (Normally we play with 6 to 8 players but this game was impromptu).

The first public objective was “I won an invasion combat against at least one enemy ground force”. Dusty took Warfare II and ended up taking Abaddon from Professor Mike. This not only gave Dusty the right to claim this objective, Abaddon was a red-tech specialty–and Dusty was Focused. It didn’t occur to me why Dusty would take Abaddon over the more juicy locations in Ashtoroth-Loki-Abaddon, but it did occur to Kevin. He called Dusty on it correctly.

Professor Mike’s world was rocked again. Kevin took Jord in an effort to prove how Merciless he was. Kevin and Dusty, having scored their secret objectives, were off to the races in score.

My secret objective proved difficult to score. Conqueror with two experienced players on either side just didn’t happen. And that was the difference in the game (for me).

Kevin amassed a large influence lead over the rest of the table. He took Voice of the Council and kept taking Assembly to prevent his loss of it. He then put up for election “Public Execution”. After careful deliberation, we voted that the Baron himself (Dusty) should be publicly executed. The Baron lost his hand of action cards (he had just played Synchronicity in the Strategy phase), his planets were exhausted (14 resources down the drain) and he was at -1 to combat–and he had to fight Professor Mike for an artifact.

The Imperial Datacache was a highly contested site in our game. Mech units from the Barony and Gen-synthesized troops from Jord were trading haymakers over that planet for several rounds.

The other artifacts in the game were spread out. The Kingdom of Xxcha had a small force on the Lazax Armory. The Emirates had a large force on the Precursor fossil that was also barricaded by a supernova.

The score was 7 (Xxcha), 6 (Baron), 4 (Hacan) and 1 (Sol). One of the two objectives on the objective deck was a Stage II Objective, meaning there was a 20% chance of Imperium Rex being within reach of Bureaucracy. The Xxcha, leading the game, had the Speaker token. He could either go for broke and take Bureaucracy or he could solidify his holdings by going first and taking Leadership. He went for Bureaucracy.

I took Assembly. I put Voice of the Council up for vote. The Xxcha knew he was going to lose his VP for Voice of the Council. If we gave the point to the Baron, the Baron would be leading and that would neuter the Xxcha’s Bureaucracy pick. The Xxcha voted for Sol for Voice of the Council. The Emirates and Baron voted for the Baron. But Sol voted for himself too! This gave the Federation of Sol 2 VP but it meant that the Xxcha was still ahead of the Baron in score (by tie breaker).

The Xxcha player played Bureaucracy. The first Stage II Objective was in fact Imperium Rex. The Kingdom of Xxcha emerge victorious.

Looking back, it was difficult to fault Professor Mike’s play to take the Voice of the Council vote for himself. There was only a 20% chance of the game ending and therefore an 80% chance of him simply taking 1VP.

The final score was 6-6-4-2. The two players with 6VP both scored their secret objectives. Our leaderboard has only taken Secret Objective information into consideration for the past five games. And in all five games, the winner has scored his SO. More data could be useful, but I don’t see this salient conclusion ever differing from what we’ve so far witnessed. You either score your Secret Objective or you don’t win.

Below are the charts for how well the races and players are doing.

Muskegon's favorite board game is Twilight Imperium
Wins by race

The Xxcha earned their 2nd victory since we’ve started the Leaderboard.












Muskegon's favorite board games
Deviation from Winning Races

I wasn’t able to budge the Emirates of Hacan from their position in last place. BOOOO!












Muskegon's favorite board game
Player wins

Player wins. Kevin now has two (rather cheap!) wins.













Muskegon's favorite board game
Player deviation from win

Dusty still leads the pack in deviation from winning.

Muskegon Area Gamers: Twilight Imperium Stats

Twilight Imperium is Muskegon's favorite game. The whole damn town loves it.
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition








The Muskegon Area Gamers keeps statistics on our Twilight Imperium games. Peruse our other posts on this blog for more details.

Yesterday we played our first game of Twilight Imperium in some time. It was also a five player game, our first five player game in about 6 years.

TI3 plays eight players much better than it does five; but five is all we could muster. So we went ahead with it.

I was the L1Z1X Mindnet, Mongo was the Naalu Collective, Matt B. was the Clan of Saar, Matt S was the Nekro Virus and Kevin was the Embers of Muaat. When the dust settled, Matt S. was the big winner. He orchestrated a victory that was so convincing that we conceding before the end of the round. He had The Alastor in his home system so even if we had somehow gotten to this home system (which seemed impossible), we would have to get their another time due to the ticking time bomb of The Alastor.

The fact that there are three untaken strategy cards each round, the five player game lacks the strategic choices of an eight player game. This reason will drive us to have 6+ players from here on out.


But enough with the session report. Here is the data.

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Race wins


















Another win for the Nekro Virus means the Nekro has tied the Mindnet and Sol for most wins in our group. Not too shabby for not being able to vote.

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Races points scored


















The Nekro Virus are in the middle of the pack in average points scored. This means the Nekro are tough when played properly.



Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Races amount of plays


















We use an alternative rule set for selecting races. We require everyone to play all 17 races before they can select the same race twice. Players are given two races from which to choose. The two races are races they have not yet played since we implemented the Leader Board. The poor Brotherhood of  Yin has not gotten much love. 🙁

Our group loves the Naalu Collective!



Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Player wins


















Matt, after defeating us yesterday, is now tied for the lead in wins. Poor Dusty still hasn’t won since the Leader Board was implemented. 🙁


Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Players average points


















Ben is still in first place despite joining the Navy. Matt and Dusty are close behind.


Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Players Amount of plays


















Looks like I’ve played the most. Mongo, Ben and Dusty have 10 plays under their belt.


Our next game will be either in December (6 to 8 players) or will be a Long War Event in November/December. Check out our meet up or facebook for more details.

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Muskegon Area Gamers: Events in October

Below is a tentative schedule of what the Muskegon Area Gamers will be playing. Check the meet up group for more details.


Sunday, October 5th

World of Warcraft

Muskegon World of Warcraft
Muskegon loves World of Warcraft

This monster of a game (no pun intended) takes 6+ hours to play. As such, it has been difficult to get people together to play it. However, we’ve managed to do so twice this year! Be sure to RSVP if you want to try it! Seats up to 6 players.


Tuesday, October 7th

Call of Cthulhu

Muskegon Call of Cthulhu
Cthulhu calls Muskegon. Will you answer?

A rare foray into roleplaying for the Muskegon Area Gamers will take place on Tuesday. This game will play 6 players + 1 game master. We are currently fully booked. But if this goes over well, this may not be our last foray into RPG’s. I’ll keep you abreast.


Saturday, October 11th



Our first poker game. We have the space. We have the technology. We have the capability to play Texas Hold’em. (With apologies to astronaut Steve Austin).



Sunday, October 12th

Two Player Extragavanza or Twilight Imperium

Montage 2


I love any game with Twilight in the title so long as it is not vampire related. We haven’t played Twilight Imperium since Ben went in the navy. And this may be the right time. However, I’m hedging my bets. If we can’t get 6+ players, we will play two player games. Matt wants to try Titan as a 2 player game. Plus we have a host of other two player games we can try out. Be sure to RSVP and voice your opinions on the meet up.


 Tuesday, October 14th

Open Night of Gaming

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

We’ve been discussing what games to try next. Could this be the day we finally break out Colonial: Europe’s Empires Overseas? Or will we try Here I Stand? Maybe we will fight the D-Day invasion in Memoir ’44 Overlord Campaign?


Sunday, October 19th

Civilization: Part 1

Muskegon Avalon Hill Civilization
Old school gaming

We will be playing the first session of what will probably take two sessions of Avalon Hill’s classic Civilization. This is some old school gaming at its finest. Players take on the ancient kingdoms before the Roman Empire. You trade, war and acquire technology. Players try to sidestep famines and epidemics in an effort to maintain some semblance of continuity. The game takes around 8 to 10 hours to play. Seats up to 8. Be sure to RSVP. Seats are going fast!


Sunday, October 26th

Mage Knight

The Muskegon Area Gamers plays Mage Knight about once a month.
The Muskegon Area Gamers plays Mage Knight about once a month.

Rocky and Matt wanted more Mage Knight and we are delivering. The game seats up to three. However, if we are overbooked, we could technically play two games simultaneously because the group owns two copies. Be sure to RSVP if you are interested.


Tuesday, October 28th

The Gaming Annex’s Halloween Game Night

Dracula's fury sieges Muskegon
The Dark Lord visits the Gaming Annex in Muskegon

An evening of laughs and horrors! Betrayal at House on the Hill? Check. Fury of Dracula? Check! Zombie board games? Probably. Letters from Whitechapel? God I hope so! Come along and get spooked!


Check local listings to make sure times/dates/events do not change.

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


On behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers