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 and a number of house rules
Rules and Utilities
Base Set Rules
Shattered Empire Rules
Shards of the Throne Rules
Alternate Tech Tree
- Wormhole Nexus; Empty Worlds stack includes both Wormhole systems for setup; Regular Worlds stack includes Lodor and Quann systems for setup
- Modified galaxy creation, starting location, and race selection
- Strategy card set from Shattered Empire with modifications
- Open Preliminary Objectives and modified Secret Objective selection
- Mixed Public Objective deck from base set and Shattered Empire with modifications
- Action Card deck cut from combined 170-card deck to 120 cards
- Political Card deck cut from combined 110-card deck to 60 cards; Political cards cannot be spent as Trade Goods but instead provide a Trade Good when drawn
- Racial Technologies, Flagships, Mechanized Units with modification, Shock Troops with modification
- Alternate Starting Technologies and Tech Tree with Technology modifications
- Tactical Retreats
- Custodians of Mecatol Rex
- Resources and Influence may be converted to Trade Goods as a common Refresh ability
Previous Games on PA: Game I
, Game II
, Game III
), Game IV
, Game V
, Game VI
, Game VII
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. Keep an eye out for text in darkorange to note house rule modifications.
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 10 victory points (VP). VP are earned by fulfilling Objective cards, including Public Objectives, Preliminary Objectives, and Secret Objectives. As soon as any player has completed 10 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 line is comprised of 6 Stage I cards and 5 Stage II cards. At the start of the game, cards are randomly selected, revealed in a line (Stage I cards first, followed by Stage II), and a Red Tape counter placed on each card but the first. Cards with a Red Tape counter on them may not be fulfilled; counters will be removed as the game progresses (see the Bureaucracy II strategy card). Among the Stage II cards is "Imperium Rex", which acts as a bit of a game clock: if it is unlocked, 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.
A line of Preliminary Objectives is also dealt out at the start of the game equal to the number of players. Each Preliminary Objective may only be claimed once and each player may claim at most one Preliminary Objective. When a player completes a Preliminary Objective, they draw two Secret Objectives from the Secret Objective deck. When a player completes a Secret Objective, all remaining Secret Objectives in their hand are returned to the Secret Objective deck and the deck shuffled.
Six races from a pool of seventeen were randomly selected for play:
The Ghosts of Creuss
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 1 Cruiser, 1 Carrier, 2 Fighters, 1 PDS, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Gen Synthesis + (Stasis Capsules OR Transit Diodes)
- Trade Contracts: 1, 2
- You may not build Ground Forces with your Space Docks.
- Your Ground Forces have a production capacity of 1. You may not produce units with Ground Forces that have moved during the same activation.
- At the start of the Status Phase, place 1 Ground Force on one planet you control.
- Racial Technology: Bioplasmosis (Cost: +3) - At the beginning of the Strategy Phase, you may move 1 Ground Force from a planet you control to a friendly or uncontrolled planet in an adjacent system. (Discard any Domain Counters on the planet.)
- Racial Technology: Spore Acceleration (Cost: +5) - Increase the production capacity of your Ground Forces by 1.
- Flagship: Duha Menaimon (Cost: 10) - Battle 6 (x2), Movement 1, Capacity 5, Sustain Damage, Production Capacity 5 - You may not build units with this ship if it has moved during this activation.
The Clan of Saar
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Destroyers, 1 Carrier, 2 Fighters, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Gravity Drive + (Gen Synthesis OR Transfabrication)
- 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: 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: 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 Mentak Coalition
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Carriers, 2 Fighters, 1 Cruiser, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Antimass Deflectors + (Micro Technology OR Cybernetics)
- Trade Contracts: 1, 2
- Gain 1 Trade Good every time you acquire a new planet.
- Your Space Docks have a movement of 1, but may not build during the same activation in which they move. Your Space Docks are never placed on planets and have a production capacity of 4. Your Space Docks are destroyed if ever present with an opponent’s ship without any of your ships present.
- You may fulfill Objectives even if you don’t control your Home System.
- Racial Technology: Floating Factory (Cost: +3) - Your Space Docks have a production capacity of 5, a fighter capacity of 5, and receive +1 movement.
- Racial Technology: Chaos-Mapping (Cost: +2) - You may activate Asteroid Field systems. Your Fleet Supply limit in Asteroid Field systems is 3 (which cannot be modified).
- Flagship: Son of Ragh (Cost: 10) - Battle 6 (x3), Movement 1, Capacity 4, Sustain Damage - This ship rolls 4 dice for your anti-Fighter barrage.
Federation of Sol
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 3 Cruisers, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS, 4 Ground Forces
- Starting Technologies: Micro Technology + (Gen Synthesis OR Maneuvering Jets)
- Trade Contracts: 1, 1
- You start the game with one additional Command Counter in your Fleet Supply area.
- Before a Space Battle begins (in which you are participating), you may fire with up to two Cruisers or Destroyers (or a mix thereof). Enemy casualties are taken immediately, with no return fire allowed.
- During the Strategy Phase, you may take one Trade Good token from up to two different players. Each such target player must have at least 3 Trade Goods on his Race Sheet.
- Racial Technology: Salvage Operations (Cost: +4) - Gain 2 Trade Goods at the end of each Space Battle in which you participate. If you won the battle, you may build one ship in the system of a unit type that you destroyed during combat. You must pay the ship’s resource cost.
- Racial Technology: Mirror Computing (Cost: +4) - When you spend Trade Goods, each Trade Good counts as 2 resources or 2 influence (instead of 1).
- Flagship: Fourth Moon (Cost: 8) - Battle 5 (x2), Movement 2, Capacity 2, Sustain Damage - Opposing ships may not use the sustain damage ability in this system.
The Emirates of Hacan
- Starting Units: 5 Ground Units, 2 Carriers, 1 Destroyer, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Cybernetics + (Fleet Logistics OR Enviro Compensator)
- Trade Contracts: 2, 2
- As an Action, you may spend one Command Counter from your Strategy Allocation box to place two free Ground Units on any one Planet that you control.
- During the Status Phase, you receive one extra Command Counter.
- Racial Technology: Mark II Advanced Carriers (Cost: +4) - Your Carriers now have a capacity of 8 and gain the “sustain damage” ability.
- Racial Technology: Spec Ops Training (Cost: +5) - Each time you roll a 1 during Invasion Combat, you may reroll the die. You must use the second result.
- Flagship: Genesis I (Cost: 10) - Battle 5 (x3), Movement 1, Capacity 3, Sustain Damage - Ground Forces on this ship do not count towards its capacity.
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Units, 2 Carriers, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Sarween Tools OR Neural Motivator
- Trade Contracts: 3, 3
- Your trades do not require approval during Trade Negotiations.
- You do not need to spend a Command Counter to execute the Secondary Ability of the Trade Strategy. When you receive Trade Goods from one of your Trade Agreements, you receive one additional Trade Good.
- No player may ever, except for war, break a Trade Contract with you.
- During the Status Phase, you may trade Action Cards with other players.
- Racial Technology: Production Centers (Cost: +3) - As an Action, you may spend one command Counter from your Strategy Allocation area to gain 6 Trade Goods. You must then give 2 of your Trade Goods to one other player. You may only do this once per turn, and only if you have fewer than 6 Trade Goods.
- Racial Technology: Quantum Datahub Node (Cost: +5) - At the end of the Strategy Phase, you may trade one of your Strategy Cards with a Strategy Card belonging to one of your trade partners. The other player does not need to agree to this trade.
- Flagship: Wrath of Kenara (Cost: 10) - Battle 7 (x3), Movement 2, Capacity 4, Sustain Damage - When this ship is present, up to two times each combat round, you may spend 1 Trade Good to reroll one of your dice.
General Game Flow
At the start of the game, players each receive five system tiles for creation of the game map. Mecatol Rex is set at the center, with home system locations 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. The first player changes in each step of galaxy creation: the inner ring starts with player 1, the second ring starts with player 3, and the outer ring starts with player 5 - each round proceeding initially clockwise.
Once the game map has been created, players will conduct an auction for race, start location, and starting player (speaker token). Six races will be randomly dealt out for selection. Starting with player 1 and moving clockwise, each player will place a bid of trade goods (including zero) on a race, start location, or the speaker token. Players may take a claim away from another player by placing a larger bid on an item; if a player already has a claim on a race or starting location, they may not re-bid on a different race or starting location on their turn. Once all items have been claimed and all players have passed, bonus trade goods will be dealt out by summing the total amount bid by each player on their final claims, with each player gaining the difference between their bids and the maximum bid.
After race and start location selection, Custodians of Mecatol Rex tokens are placed on Mecatol Rex (see Odds and Ends) and the Public Objective and Preliminary Objective lines are created. Simultaneously, players place their starting units and select starting technologies. Players then receive 2 Political Cards (and 2 Trade Goods) and allocate 2 Command Counters to Strategy Allocation, 3 counters to Fleet Supply, and 3 counters to Command Pool. 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, and 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.