Huge thanks to Chris and Anni for their herculean efforts behind the desk that day. If you're at all into video games then be sure to check out their amazing video game documentary series, People Make Games.
Six years ago SU&SD published a review of the grand, weird game of Twilight Imperium 3rd edition. Today, we present a first for the board game industry. Please enjoy our amateur attempt at a documentary on the history of the game - which is really the history of Fantasy Flight Games - and the development of the new, shiny, 4th edition. Huge thanks to our donors, without whom this project (which we started work on back in 2015!) would never, ever have been possible.
As you buckle your seatbelt for this ride through time and outer space, please bear in mind that the doc doesn't cover the nitty-gritty of game mechanics that have changed from 3rd to 4th edition. We'll be covering that in our forthcoming review of Twilight Imperium 4th ed, which Quinns will be creating since he had almost no involvement in the doc.
Instead, we tried to make the documentary of broader interest, so please consider sharing it with board game-curious friends. Or just tell your mum it's Netflix? That might work.
Here at Shut Up & Sit Down we've been huge fans of Twilight Imperium since we reviewed the 3rd edition all those years ago. It's the grandest, silliest game that we know; an epic brawl featuring everything from capitalist cats to a race of sentient vegetables. So back in 2014 we got to talking with owner of Fantasy Flight and original designer of TI Christian Peterson, one thing led to another, and we agreed to document the process of making TI 4th edition.
How do you go about making the grandest board game in the world even more grand? Find out later this month!
Pip: Shut Up and Sit down – despite the confrontational name – is almost always a hive of lovely cardboardy activity. That's why I started playing games with them and that's why I'm working with them now.
But sometimes in gaming there are acts of betrayal, of contrarian buttheadedness, so large they cannot be forgotten. Instead they lurk in your mental back pocket, ready to be drawn out at a moments notice – reminders that these glorious friends and colleague care as much about boardgames as you do and will do almost anything for a few victory points. Or a cheap laugh.
I'm not talking about the lower level stuff here. This isn't about how Quinns will fail to tell you a rule until partway through the game ("Oh! Did I tell you about [rule which suddenly advantages what Quinns has been doing and nullifies any and all Pip-strats]?"). No. This is about Brendan and this is about City of Horror.
"One piece of trivia orbits modern board gaming like a dark, sexy star. Someone who doesn't really play them will always have heard from their friend, who heard it from another friend, that something like Game of Thrones or Battlestar Galactica is mean it ruins friendships.
"But Game of Thrones? Battlestar Galactica? These are games where the backstabbing and twists of the knife are expected. If you really want to test your friendships, these are the games you should be playing."
...and rapidly moves on to the five games I think should be handled with care. I'd recommend you all go and peruse my warnings, before it's too late.
I remember a colleague taking a 5 minute break, away from the jittery job of reviewing Battlefield 2. “It’s fun when you win,” he said, exhausted. “And boring when you lose. Haven’t we moved past that yet?”
No, we haven’t. For a medium that’s evolved from play, video games have an overwhelmingly binary view of success and failure, one so crippling that if we settle into a single player game and make no progress, or lose every multiplayer match in one night, our lives will have been worsened. And we never ask why games are like this. After all, how else could it be?
...and continues vigorously until it stops. Quinns would point you towards the article himself, but he's currently in hiding from furious gamer-gangs, who cry his name on every street corner. Go read! Don't let his sacrifice be in vain.
The Twilight Imperium gameplay has been refined and redone by original designer Christian T. Petersen. The new design features faster gameplay, and involves players in a far more active game experience, with much less downtime. In addition, TI3 will include the new "Race Cards," as well a dramatic new approach to the structure of the gameplay itself using the new "Command" system.
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition is nothing short of a massive epic release, and is destined to become a classic for years to come. FFG has directed all its craft, talent, and energy into this massive production. Are you ready for another age of Twilight?