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
- Wormhole Nexus; modified preset galaxy creation
- Modified starting location and race selection
- Strategy card set from Shattered Empire with modification to Warfare II
- Modified starting Secret Objective selection and completion
- Mixed Public Objective deck from base set and Shattered Empire with modifications
- Action Card deck cut from combined 170-card deck to 101 or 120 cards
- Political Card deck cut from combined 110-card deck to 50 or 60 cards; Political cards cannot be spent as Trade Goods
- Racial Technologies, Flagships, Mechanized Units with modification
- Tactical Retreats
- Custodians of Mecatol Rex
Previous Games on PA: Game I
, Game II
, Game III
), Game IV
, Game V
, Game VI
, Game VII
, Game VIII
, Game IX
, Game X
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 9 victory points (VP). VPs are earned by fulfilling Objective cards, including both Public Objectives and Secret Objectives. 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.
At the start of the game, each player starts with two Secret Objective cards in hand. When a player completes a Secret Objective, all remaining Secret Objectives in their hand (even if they have drawn additional objectives) are returned to the Secret Objective deck and the deck shuffled.
The Clan of Saar
The L1z1x Mindnet
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Forces, 2 Carriers, 2 Fighters, 1 Cruiser, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Antimass Deflectors, XRD Transporter
- 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.
The Emirates of Hacan
- 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: Dreadnought Invasion Pod (Cost: +2) - Your Dreadnoughts may now carry 1 additional ground Force unit.
- Racial Technology: 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).
- Starting Units: 4 Ground Units, 2 Carriers, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Enviro Compensator, Sarween Tools
- 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.
The Yin Brotherhood
- Starting Units: 5 Ground Forces, 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 1 PDS, 1 Space Dock
- Starting Technologies: Hylar V Assault Laser, Deep Space Cannon
- Trade Contracts: 1, 2
- You receive +1 on your Combat Rolls.
- Racial Technology: Valkyrie Armor (Cost: +3) - At the end of a round of Invasion Combat, roll one die for each casualty you take. For each 10 you roll, your opponent must immediately take 1 additional casualty.
- Racial Technology: Exotrireme (Cost: +4) - At the end of a round of Space Battle, you may destroy 1 of your Dreadnoughts present to destroy 2 present enemy ships of your choice.
- Flagship: C’morran Norr (Cost: 10) - Battle 5 (x3), Movement 1, Capacity 2, Sustain Damage - You receive +1 to your space combat rolls in this system.
The Mentak Coalition
- 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: Fanaticism (Cost: +4) - You may use your race’s special ability twice at the start of each Invasion Combat.
- Racial Technology: 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.
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 3 Cruisers, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS, 4 Ground Forces
- Starting Technologies: Hylar V Assault Laser, Enviro Compensator
- 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.
General Game Flow
The game map will follow a preset arrangement according to the template found here
. In the preset map, most systems will be filled with randomly selected systems of the indicated type.
Once the game map has been created, players each draw two Secret Objective cards, and the Public Objective deck is created with the top card immediately revealed. Six races are randomly dealt out for selection. Players will conduct a snake draft for starting location, race, and speaker token. Each player will, on their turn, select a race, starting location, or claim the speaker token. Only one person may claim the speaker token: if taken, that player automatically takes the final choice of race or starting location. If no players claim the speaker token, it is given to the first player in the order.
After race and start location selection, Custodians of Mecatol Rex tokens are placed on Mecatol Rex (see Odds and Ends). Simultaneously, players place their starting units and receive starting technologies. Players then receive 2 Political Cards 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.