Game Review: Twilight Imperium

Third edition, with the Shattered Empire expansion set.

twilight imperium
twilight imperium

Quick Stats:

Ranked # 27
3-6 players (3-8 with expansion)
Age 12 and up
240 minutes play time
Rated 7.81 out of 10 stars (8.62 with expansion)

Learning curve: Intense. This is not a game you can pick up by playing like I prefer – there are many rules that definitely need to be explained in full prior to playing, and some that need to be mentioned a few times throughout the game just because there are so many. It will take a full game or three to really get how to play.

Re-playability: There are many different parts of the game that will change up each session. The board itself is built each time with hexagon pieces; the type of player changes giving you different advantages or disadvantages; and there are different roles to take each round. In addition, there are cards: technologies you can buy to advance in different paths, political cards and trade agreements, public and private objectives, and action cards. No two games would ever be the same.

My personal thoughts: I usually like games that have lots of little pieces (this one had plastic ships, all kinds of different cards, and a slew of cardboard chips), but this one seemed a little daunting having so many. I also did not want to play this game because I do not like long games, nor do I like strategy warfare games. (Four hours is about my limit, but being that this was a new game for two of us, I knew it would take longer.) But Boy really wanted to play it so Adam, Tofer, and I were sucked in. Perhaps had we all wanted to play it as much as Boy, my thoughts would be different but I did not like the game. I do strongly feel it deserves another chance, however, but I am unwilling to give it one any time soon. Like I said, it is not my style of game to start with. Let’s just say that Adam and I were very, very frustrated as the hours dragged on. The rules were not explained well enough to start, or some had been left out, or some where misunderstood, or some were never mentioned again until it was too late (this is the fault of no one really, since Boy and Tofer had only played it once themselves and were still new, and Adam and I weren’t really doing our part to ask questions since our frustrations turned to apathy).  But yet again, I won. So should I really complain? :)

Twilight Imperium and Shattered Empire review at BoardGameGeek.com

2005 Las Vegas

I thought I would carry on the theme of long-ago trips since there are more photos to spare. In 2005, we went to Vegas for Boy’s sister’s 21st birthday. It was another weekend expedition. The family met up with my mother-in-law’s good friend Denise who lives in California. Boy and I quickly learned that we hated Vegas. Yes, you read that correctly – we are definitely the black sheep of the American culture. It was generous of Denise to lend us her Jeep so that we could explore the region instead of being cooped up in the most tacky and resource-guzzling city known on Earth. Oops, did I say that out loud?

2005 Vegas trip

The first day we spent with the family touring the common sites: the hotels, the shops, the casinos, and the strip. If we were into consumerism, gambling, and drinking it might have hooked us. But alas, we are boring old souls. We did check out Cirque du Soleil though, which was amazing. I had no idea the super cool things that can be accomplished in plays. No photos allowed of course:(

2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip

The next day we discovered the vast expanse of the desert. We stumbled upon the Valley of Fire State Park and some super cool petroglyphs.

2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip

We also found some desert dwelling lizards and the silliest looking rabbit you ever did see, the jack rabbit. I learned first hand what a real echo is like. That was awesome. We found an oasis, too. These are things I had only ever heard of in theory but seeing them in real life was so very cool.

2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip

We spent the last full day checking out the Hoover Dam and its area. It was more of Boy’s thing than mine – cool to see how big it is and all that but the touring of the turbines and such did not do it for me.

2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip
2005 Vegas trip

I’m glad Katie got to celebrate her birthday in a big way just like she wanted with all the family, but I’d be happy never going back to Vegas. That’s just me. The region was fun though, so I’m not at all sorry we went:)

2004 Puerto Rico

More photos that I thought lost:)

2004 Puerto Rico weekend

In 2004, we went with our friend Jesse to San Juan for Halloween weekend (how posh does that sound?). His parents had a time share so it was a pretty cheap holiday.

We walked around San Juan each evening, and planned one big tour a day. The last day I fell really ill with a wretched hardcore cold of some kind, and I think my ear drum came close to bursting on the plane (in fact, I honestly believe there is permanent damage and seriously the pain was almost too much). Aside from that, the trip was awesome. The only regret I have is that it was pre-anthropology class and I was definitely there as a tourist instead of being interested in the culture, so I feel like i missed out, but I didn’t think this way at the time!

We first toured Old San Juan and the Fort San Felipe del Morro. Our bus driver was very nice and his son tagged along for the tour. We did a little window shopping, learned to order Subway in Spanish (as I said – pre-anthropology days! Plus we were not given much time to eat), and experienced the giant fort. My favorite part was seeing where the prisoners were kept (this theme is true in any of my visit to castles). Here, they drew ships, dreaming and wishing their fleets would come rescue them.

2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend

We also visited Casa Bicardi, which was a little lost on me since I don’t like rum. The tour was neat and we were given free samples to taste in their outdoor pavillion. Beautiful weather as I recall. Of course, any sunny day with green grass is beautiful to me at this time of year…

2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend

We also spelunked in the largest cave system in the Western hemisphere at Rio Camuy Caves. I’ve been in a few systems before, but nothing like this one – you can kind of see the scale in the arial view below. The Camuy River runs through it in parts. Our camera at the time was not up to snuff for low-light so very few photos turned out well.

2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend

We finished up with a view of the largest single-aperture telescope in the world at Aricebo Observatory. Essentially, it is used to understand space – measuring rotation speeds, identifying asteroids, and what not. It also functions as military intelligence locating spy satellites, and searches for life beyond Earth.

2004 Puerto Rico weekend
2004 Puerto Rico weekend

Okay, now I’m really itching for summer!