Over three thousand years ago, the Lazax ruled the galaxy. But after many millennia of control, the Lazax grew complacent with their position over the other races. The six great races of Sol, Hylar, N'orr, Hacan, Letnev, and Xxcha began to chafe under the rule of the Lazax Empire. And so when a trade dispute over the Quann wormhole resulted in the Sol armada acting against the Letnev, a flame spread like wildfire throughout the galaxy, igniting a civil war between races that had only tenuously been held back by the Lazax rule. In the centuries that followed, the Twilight War eradicated the Lazax race and turned back thousands of years of progress. The great races retreated to their home planets to rebuild, and once the Galactic Council was once again able to meet, it was a shadow of its former strength. And now, thousands of years later, after the long era of the Dark Years, the time is right for a new race to step up and become the rulers of the galaxy, and the guiding hand for all races within its domain.
Twilight Imperium is a boardgame of galactic empire-building on a large scale, often described as a 4X game given physical form. Players build ships, conquer planets, research technology, and engage in trade and diplomacy, all in the pursuit of earning victory points toward claiming the Imperial Throne of Mecatol Rex and rule over the entire galaxy. For this forum game, I am planning on including the following options from the game's two expansions, including one minor house rule:
Rules and Utilities
Base Set Rules
Shattered Empire Rules
Shards of the Throne Rules
- Strategy card set from Shattered Empire
- Public Objective decks from Shattered Empire
- Wormhole Nexus; Empty Worlds stack includes both Wormhole systems for setup
- Remove Action Cards from the pool tied to options not in play
- Racial Technologies, Flagships, Mechanized Units, Shock Troops
- Tactical Retreats
- Custodians of Mecatol Rex
Previous Games on PA: Game I
, Game II
, Game III
), Game IV
There are a lot of rules to read through, and the summary I am putting into these opening posts will not be entirely comprehensive. I recommend reading through the Walkthrough/Tutorial linked above for starters and as a good review of the base game for veterans. You might also want to look at previous games played on the forum for an idea of the flow of the game.
In general, actions will be noted in bold dodgerblue
, bold limegreen
, and bold red
: see the sections below for specific formatting. Alternatively, players may post actions in bold using their race's color. Except for conversations between teammates and those initiated by the host, all inter-player conversation must be done in-thread. If you have need for clarifications, feel free to ask in bold darkorange
In order to claim the Imperial Throne of Mecatol Rex, players must accumulate 9 victory points (VP). VP are earned by fulfilling Objective cards: at the start of the game, each player has a hidden Secret Objective that only they may fulfill; over the course of the game, cards will be revealed from the Public Objective deck that all players may fulfill. As soon as any player has completed 9 VP worth of Objectives, the game ends immediately, even if another player could have gained more VP later in the round.
Races and Special Abilities
The Public Objective deck is comprised of 6 Stage I cards and 5 Stage II cards. Among the Stage II cards is "Imperium Rex", which acts as a bit of a game clock: if it is revealed, the game ends immediately and the player with the most VPs wins. In case of a tie, ties are broken in order by number of Objective Cards fulfilled, number of planets controlled, number of reserve Command Counters, and number of allocated Command Counters. If none of these measures break the tie, then the game ends in a draw.
Six races out of seventeen total have been randomly selected for play:
Universities of Jol-Nar
: The Hylar are a coalition of aquatic races, distinguished by their physical frailty and their peerless intellect. Before the Twilight War, their technology was ubiquitous; the remnants of their technological knowledge after the war has carried them through the long Dark Years and they are now ready to lead.
The Naalu Collective
- Starting Units: 2 Ground Forces, 2 Carriers, 1 Fighter, 2 PDS, 1 Dreadnought, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Hylar V Assault Laser, Antimass Deflectors, Enviro Compensator, Sarween Tools
- Trade Contracts: 1, 3
- You receive -1 on your Combat Rolls.
- When executing the Secondary Ability of the Technology Strategy, you may execute both its Primary Ability and the Secondary Ability.
- You may spend a Command Counter from your Strategy Allocation to immediately re-roll any of your die rolls.
- Racial Technology 1: Spatial Conduit Network (Cost: +6) - Once per turn when moving, you may move ships from one system you control to any other system you control as if the systems were adjacent. Your ships using this movement must end their movement in a system you control.
- Racial Technology 2: Electro-Resonance Turbines (Cost: +2) - When an opponent activates a system you control, gain 3 Trade Goods from the Trade Supply.
- Flagship: J.N.S. Hylarim (Cost: 10) - Battle 2 (x2), Movement 2, Capacity 2, Sustain Damage - Each 10 rolled by this ship during a Space Battle counts as 3 hits (instead of 1 hit).
: The Naalu are a race of serpentine beings blessed with the gift of telepathy. This talent has driven the direction of their technological progress, and the nature of their abilities has inspired awe and fear among the other races of the galaxy. Words are seldom used between Naalu, and all are prepared to do all under their power to bring the galaxy under their ideals of beauty and order.
The L1z1x Mindnet
- Starting Units: 1 Space Dock, 4 Ground Forces, 1 PDS, 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 4 Fighters
- Starting Technologies: Antimass Deflectors, Enviro Compensator
- Trade Contracts: 1, 2
- The initiative number on your chosen Strategy Card is always "0" (replacing the normal initiative number of the Strategy Card). This means that you are always first in the order of play.
- If attacked, a Naalu fleet may retreat before the beginning of the Space Battle step of the Tactical Action sequence (following the normal retreat rules and restrictions).
- All Naalu Fighters receive +1 on Combat Rolls during Space Battles.
- Racial Technology 1: Telepathic Mind Weapon (Cost: +5) - When your opponent activates a system that you control, he immediately loses 1 Command Counter from the Fleet Supply area of his race sheet.
- Racial Technology 2: Hybrid Crystal Drives (Cost: +3) - Your Carriers and unsupported Advanced Fighters each only count as 1/2 a ship (rounded up) towards the Fleet Supply.
- Flagship: Matriarch (Cost: 9) - Battle 8 (x2), Movement 2, Capacity 6, Sustain Damage - Your Fleet Supply limit in this system is increased by 1.
: Though the Lazax were thought to have been eradicated in the Twilight Wars, a small colony escaped Mecatol Rex to a remote world. In order to survive, the survivors integrated technology into their bodies, greatly changing their form. The galaxy now waits to see whether the L1z1x has maintained the old wisdom of their ancestors, or if they have become twisted and dark.
The Ghosts of Creuss
- Starting Units: 1 Space Dock, 1 Carrier, 5 Ground Forces, 1 Dreadnought, 3 Fighters, 1 PDS.
- Starting Technologies: Enviro Compensator, Stasis Capsules, Cybernetics, Hylar V Assault Laser
- Trade Contracts: 1, 1
- The base cost of your Dreadnought units starts at 4.
- Your Dreadnought units receive +1 during Space Battles, and your ground Force units receive +1 when attacking during Invasion Combat.
- You start with one extra Command Counter in your Strategic Allocation area.
- Racial Technology 1: Dreadnought Invasion Pod (Cost: +2) - Your Dreadnoughts may now carry 1 additional ground Force unit.
- Racial Technology 2: Inheritance Systems (Cost: +5) - When researching Technology using the Technology Strategy Card, you may spend 2 additional resources to ignore the Technology’s prerequisites.
- Flagship: 0.0.1 (Cost: 11) - Battle 5 (x3), Movement 1, Capacity 2, Sustain Damage - When this ship is present, all hits from your Flagship and Dreadnoughts must be taken by opposing non-Fighter ships (if able).
: The Ghosts of Creuss are extradimensional beings comprised of mysterious energy. While the region where they dwell has long been known for strange events and mysterious disappearances, it has only been recently that the Ghosts have shown themselves. Why they have finally decided to make their presence known, and what their objectives in this dimension are, only they know.
The Embers of Muaat
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Destroyers, 1 Carrier, 2 Fighters, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Antimass Deflectors, XRD Transporters
- Trade Contracts: 2, 2
- You may treat "A" and "B" Wormhole systems as if they were adjacent to each other.
- You may always use Wormholes, regardless of other game effects or restrictions.
- Other players may not use "A" or "B" Wormholes to travel into a system you control.
- Racial Technology 1: Dimensional Splicer (Cost: +3) - At the start of a battle in a system containing a Wormhole and at least 1 of your ships, you may assign 1 hit to 1 enemy ship of your choice.
- Racial Technology 2: Slave Wormhole Generator (Cost: +5) - At the start of each Status Phase, you may place (or move) your extra "A" or "B" Wormhole tokens into any empty or friendly non-Home Systems.
- Flagship: Hil Colish (Cost: 10) - Battle 4, Movement 1, Capacity 3, Sustain Damage - You may treat this ship’s system as if it had a "D" Wormhole in it. When this ship is moving, treat its destination system as if it had the Wormhole.
: The Gashlai are a race of beings encased in flames, requiring armored suits in order to survive and interact with outside worlds. They were once slaves to the Jol-Nar and charged with the production of the prototype War Sun, earning their freedom in a revolt in the chaos of the Twilight Wars. Now they seek a higher destiny - rulers of the galaxy atop the Imperial Throne.
The Yin Brotherhood
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Fighters, 1 War Sun, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Enviro Compensator, Sarween Tools, War Sun
- Trade Contracts: 2, 2
- Your War Suns have a base movement of 1; this improves to 2 when you acquire the Deep Space Cannon technology.
- As an Action, you may spend one Command Counter from your Strategy Allocation Area to place 2 free Fighters or 1 free Destroyer in any one System containing one of your War Suns or Space Docks.
- Your ships may move through, but may not end their movement in, Supernova systems.
- Racial Technology 1: Magmus Reactor (Cost: +5) - Your War Suns now have +1 movement and a base cost of 10 resources.
- Racial Technology 2: Nova Seed (Cost: +3) - As an action, you may remove this card from the game to replace a system you control with a Supernova system tile. This may not be used on Mecatol Rex, a Home System, or adjacent to a red-bordered system.
- Flagship: The Inferno (Cost: 10) - Battle 5 (x3), Movement 1, Capacity 4, Sustain Damage - As an action, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategy Allocation area to produce 1 free Cruiser in this system.
: The Yin race is a species of clones. Though cloning was banned by the Lazax, the deaths of the sons and wife of the Sol scientist Darien to Greyfire disease caused him to pursue the craft singlemindedly. His cloned sons have continued Darien's work to near perfection, though they are all male, and most scarred by the original disease. To honor Darien, the Yin now look towards the Imperial throne...
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Carriers, 1 Destroyer, 4 Fighters, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Hylar V Assault Laser, Automated Defense Turrets
- Trade Contracts: 1, 1
- Before an Invasion Combat in which you are the attacker begins, you may roll 1 die. On a 5+ your opponent loses 1 Ground Force and you gain 1 Ground Force.
- Immediately before the second round of a Space Battle, you may discard one of your participating Destroyers or Cruisers to choose one opposing ship present and immediately inflict one hit on it.
- Once per turn, as an Action, you may place your control marker on an unexhausted Planet Card you control. Until the end of the round, its Influence and Resource values are reversed.
- Racial Technology 1: Fanaticism (Cost: +4) - You may use your race's special ability twice at the start of each Invasion Combat.
- Racial Technology 2: Yin Spinner (Cost: +2) - Build 1 free Ground Force each time you build units at a Space Dock. This free Ground Force does not count towards any build limits.
- Flagship: Van Hauge (Cost: 10) - Battle 5 (x2), Movement 1, Capacity 4, Sustain Damage - Your Ground Force units in this system may participate in Space Battle as if they were Fighters.
General Game Flow
At the start of the game, players draw random races, which are then revealed. In addition to starting units and technology, players receive 1 Secret Objective and 2 Political Cards, and allocate 2 Command Counters to Strategy Allocation, 3 counters to Fleet Supply, and 3 counters to Command Pool. Players each receive five system tiles for creation of the game map. Mecatol Rex is set at the center, with each player's home systems sitting on the third ring directly outward. Starting from the first player and proceeding in a snake draft (first to last, last to first, etc.), each player places a system title from their hand with the following restrictions:
- Each ring must be filled completely before moving on to the next, starting from the center and moving outwards.
- Special systems with red borders may not be placed adjacent to one another.
- If a player has placed a system containing no planets, then a system containing at least one planet must be placed on their next turn.
Should a player be unable to place a system according to these rules, their hand of systems is revealed so that they may place a system while breaking the normal rules. Once the game map has been created, players place their starting units and Custodians of Mecatol Rex tokens are placed on Mecatol Rex (see Odds and Ends). The game begins with the first Strategy Phase.
The game is played over a number of rounds, typically 5-10 in total. Each round is divided into three parts: the Strategy Phase, the Action Phase, and the Status Phase. In the Strategy Phase, players select Strategy Cards: this determines the special action that player may take during the round as well as play order. The bulk of activity takes place in the Action Phase: here players may deploy abilities specified by their choice of Strategy Card, activate systems for unit movement, space combat, invasion of planets, building of new units, or to play certain action cards. Once everybody has passed their turns in the Action Phase, the Status Phase allows for players to score victory points by claiming objectives and refreshes the board setup for the next round of play.
In the Strategy Phase, players select Strategy Cards for the round. Each Strategy Card has a special ability and determines play order in the Action Phase. Starting from the player with the Speaker token and moving clockwise, each player will choose a card; each card may be selected by at most one player. To select a Strategy Card, note your selection in bold dodgerblue. Example:
I select the (1) Leadership Strategy Card.
At the end of the Strategy Phase, there will be two unselected Strategy Cards. A Bonus counter will be added to each card as incentive for selection in future rounds. When a player selects a Strategy Card with a Bonus counter, they immediately exchange each counter for either a Trade Good or Command Counter.
Starting with the player with the lowest-numbered Strategy Card and moving up in number, players take actions sequentially until all players have passed. There are four different types of actions that players can perform: the Strategic Action, Tactical Action, Transfer Action, and using Action Cards that are played as actions. Details about the first three actions are contained in the following sections. The fourth is straightforward: the acting player declares the card they wish to play in bold dodgerblue, noting its effects. For expediency in the forum game environment, players do not need to declare use of the Action Card, wait for others to declare, and then actually play the card. (Please note that the two-step declare-then-play protocol still applies for other phases of the game, including the Strategy Phase, Status Phase, and battles.) Example:
I play an Action Card: Alien Technology.
I exhaust Arnor (2R) and Saudor (2R) to gain the technology Sarween Tools.
If a player does not wish to make any more actions during the round, they may pass their turn. Players must use the Strategic Action specified on their Strategy Card before ending their turn for the round. Players who have passed their turn will still be able to participate in secondary abilities from other players’ Strategic Actions, but take no further actions in the Action Phase. Players may pass their turn in bold red. Example:
I PASS my turn.