I've played the base game and the expansion, and I enjoyed both. However, I've found that many of my female friends prefer the BASE GAME FAR MORE than the expansion. Part of this is that the expansion lengthens some things out to the point that the game becomes more about WARFARE or has more WARFARE in general then the base game. In the base game, due to the way it's built, it ends right as conflict seems to be beginning. Hence due to that, trade and other areas in trying to achieve a secret objective, as well as dealing, strategizing about how to get the card with the 2 victory points, and the politics of the entire thing seem to play a bigger role...plus...can I say that too much warfare seems to turn off a LOT of female players...
In fact, it seems a majority of sisters, their friends, prefer the base game. However, when it's just guys, it seems they really like and prefer the expansion. Is the majority that clamor for the expansion ONLY and say that the base game is broken whilst the expansion fixes it...Guys?
I ask, since some of the girls I play with would say just the opposite...ironically.
I enjoy both, but the irony of it all seems to indicate that a majority of players here would be guys?
I know one of my friends who was a guy absolutely HATED the Imperium Rex and how the base game ends...and probably will only play with the expansion now. On the opposite end of the spectrum are two or three of my friends of the opposite gender who say the expansion goes on too long, has too much conflict later on, and really diminishes the vying for purely objectives, because the guys always seem to want to fight it out, instead of aim for other areas.
In an interesting parallel, the guys who enjoy the expansion seem to also be the same ones I play A&A with and other games, whilst the girls seem to hate those types of games, but are HUGE Eurogamers (or after the Germanic type dynamics in games such as Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, and other games of that manner) when I narrow down who likes what in the various groups. Normally however, it seems to go between guys = expansion or both, and girls = base game.
This is playing BY THE RULES IN THE GAME AND EXPANSION and NOT houserules not found in them that others may play with on the boards.
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I can't speak so much to male female ratio of preference (everyone in my group is a guy) but I still run across players who are introduced to the base game for training purposes and then we promptly have a game with the exapansion only to find that they liked the original considerably better (Imperium Rex and Imperial Strategy included). I guess preference is preference, I for example find it suprising to hear that there are a pretty large number of players that love things like Distunt Suns and refuse to play without them.
I think what it boils down to is that there are different types of players, those that play simply because its a fun game and those that play in a competative, serious manner. For those playing for fun, distunt suns is just a random factor, it has a sort of suprise and curiousity factor. Most people that play for fun aren't fantatical about balance and don't think Twilight Imperium needs any fixing at all, they are perfectly happy to play it out of the box. Personaly, while I probobly lean towards the more competative type of player, I actually envy the ability for people to approach the game in a light hearted manner. I think they get considerably more enjoyment out of it then those of us who sit here on the forum arguing for hours as to wether or not fighters count as ships, or if SET is a good or a bad thing. They simply just play the game and have fun doing it.
As for the expansion being more about warfare, I agree, it definitly has added a considerably higher chance that the game will at some point end up in an all out war. If I'm not mistaken however that was the actual intent of the Shattered Empire Expansion.
What I might recommend, if your players are interested in using the expansion while avoiding some of the warfare of the game is to remove the expansion public objectives that reward fighting and remove artifact planets. While this probobly wont eliminate war all together, since their wont be 'victory points' for going to war, the chances should reduce some.
If your players feel the expansion slows the game down, I would recommend either using SET or playing the expansion without all the additions, effectivly just using the expansion races . It may not be evident right away but the reason expansion games tend to take longer is because their more stoping to check rules as their are considerably more rules in the expansion game. This is why more experianced players will often argue that the expansion game is actually faster, which I agree with, because if you know the rules really well and aren't stopping to check them the expansion game offers additional ways to score points while actually playing for less points overall (1 less to be exact).
The only girl I've ever played with was the wife of one of a member of my playgroup and the power dynamic between them really ruined games. Personally I always play with the expansion it has a much deeper strategy and obviously more war/posturing, even if I played without it I would never play with imperial 1.
I find it strange that they say the expansion makes the game take LONGER? With Artifacts, combat-based objectives, and some of the anti-turtle measures that the expansion can help with, my experience is that the game generally takes LESS time with the expansion.
Granted, it still takes a long time, but not AS long.
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Strangely enough, for a while there my game group had more girls in it than guys. But this was during my TI2 days. There was plenty of combat, though. Might help that most everybody was a musician, and we can be a competitive lot. Now we have a few girls, but they are relatively new to the game so they tend to be a little turtle-ish, but I'd attribute that more to lack of experience.
I do find that the expansion really shortens the game though. Artifacts and playing to 9 especially. ISC II (the Ancient Throne one) can make the game end abruptly too though. Too abruptly, in fact. That variant is weird, because it was released after the vanilla game, but didn't have an actual card for it 'til the expansion. The most important aspect of play time is the players, though.
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