Sunday, March 22, 2015

Organizing a Galactic Empire

Organization is the key to empire-building.
Or at least running an effective monster game.
I found that out a couple weeks ago, when several of us managed to get together for a session of Twilight Imperium
I'm still in the process of composing the game report.  In the meantime, I thought I'd discuss how I managed to organize such a large game--finally--and it's two supplements, Shattered Empire and Shards of the Throne.
I acquired the whole set used, which didn't come with a Shattered Empire box.  In my initial attempt at organizing Twilight Imperium (3rd Edition--"TI3"), I stuffed everything in Ziploc Bags, like this:

This worked fine, when there were only 3-4 players.  But our last session had seven players running six factions (one player was filling-in for a late arrival).
Not only was setting-up the game frustrating, but repacking it was done in a hasty, haphazard manner, which would have required a lot of re-repacking.
A week later, I bought three parts containers, made of sturdy plastic, which I found in the Tool Section of a local Walmart.
I kept the large map tiles, plastic playing pieces, and some of the playing cards in the plastic bags, as seen in the picture above.  The rest, primarily the cardboard playing pieces and small cards, went into the parts containers.
The cardboard playing pieces required two containers:

One to house the 18 races of TI3...

...and the other for the sundry of status markers (such as Space Domain Counters, Ground Force & Fighter Unit Supplement Counters, Trade Goods, etc.): 

What I like about these parts containers, other than being large enough to hold large game pieces, is the tops are removable.  This--I hope--will allow me to plop the box on the table as a ready-made Reserve Pool:
I sifted through the commonly-used cards and placed them in the third parts container:

These are sorted, from top-left to bottom right, in the following manner starting with the Representative Cards (diplomats/spies & bodyguards)...

...followed by the Objective Cards, like the public...

...and not-so public ones.
Next are the Facility Cards, such as Colonies (which add Influence Points)...

...and Refineries (which add Resource Points).

There's also some Unit Reference Cards containing the necessary information on the various plastic game pieces.

The Political Cards take up two sections:
Each planet has it's own status card.  The back side represents a planet when it's "exhausted" of Resources or Influence...

...or face up when the planet is still capable of producing for the ruling race, or influencing galactic politics. 
Here is the Galactic Capital, Mecatol Rex--a mere shadow of it's former self.  

And here's another version of Mecatol Rex in all it's glory, used during the Fall of the Empire Scenario, found in the Shards of the Throne Expansion:
Each race...
...has the potential to develop unique technology and build Flagships, "super dreadnoughts," with unique capabilities.

The Action Cards are another batch that take up two container spaces.

There are eight sets of Technology Cards, than can be developed by any race during the game.  Each space in the tray contains two sets of cards.

Another set of commonly-used cards are the Trade Cards, which reside in the status marker box. 

Since trade may involve the hiring of mercenaries (found in the Shards of the Throne Expansion), the Mercenary Cards are also stored here.

The face of each Mercenary Card reveals the image, stats and unique features of the mercenary leader and his/her.

Mercenaries also have corresponding playing pieces, which can move around the map and engage in combat.

Some pieces don't even fit into a plastic bag, like the TI3's Victory Point Track and extra-galactic Wormhole Nexuses...

...not to mention all the Race Sheets.

I got rid of the original cardboard fillers to make room in the main TI3 box. 
Despite the increased weight, everything fits and appear to be easily accessible.  (I'll make sure I don't store the game on any top shelf).
But the true test of my galactic reorganization will be determined in the next game session.

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