Twilight Imperium 4th edition
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. This is a 4th edition game, using the following variants and options
Rules and Utilities
Learn to Play Rulebook
Rules Reference Rulebook
- First-game pre-made galaxy.
- Snake draft for position and race.
- No promissory notes will be in play.
- For expediency of play, some resolutions such as combat die rolls will be performed simultaneously.
Other / Previous TI4e Games on PA: Game I
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 Learn To Play rulebook linked above for starters. You might also want to look at other or 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 initiated by the host, all 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). 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. VP are generally earned by fulfilling Objective cards, which include two types: Public and Secret.
Races and Special Abilities
The Public Objective line is comprised of 5 Stage I cards and 5 Stage II cards. Two Stage I objectives are publicly revealed at the start of the game, and one Public Objective is revealed towards the end of each round. If there are no more Objective cards to reveal when one would be revealed, the game ends instead and the player with the most victory points wins. In case of a tie, the player who has the earliest (lowest) initiative value wins.
Each player has a hand of Secret Objective cards, drawing one at the start of the game. Secret Objectives may only be fulfilled by the holding player. A player can have at most three Secret Objectives, and must return an unfulfilled Secret Objective to the deck if they draw a fourth.
A total of seventeen races are available for play, of which six were randomly drawn:
- Home System: Winnu (3R, 4I)
The Emirates of Hacan
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 2 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS
- Flagship: Salai Sai Corian: Combat Value 7 (x?), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. When this unit makes a combat roll, it rolls a number of dice equal to the number of your opponent's non-Fighter ships in this system.
- Starting Technology: Choose any technology that has no prerequisites (Neural Motivator, Antimass Deflectors, Sarween Tools, Plasma Scoring)
- Racial Promissory Note: Acquiescence: At the end of the Strategy Phase: Exchange 1 of your Strategy Cards with a Strategy Card that was chosen by the Winnu player. Then, return this card to the Winnu player.
- Racial Technology: Lazax Gate Folding (Blue, requires 2 Blue): During your Tactical Actions, if you do not control Mecatol Rex, treat its system as if it contains both an Alpha and Beta wormhole. Action: If you control Mecatol Rex, exhaust this card to place 1 Infantry from your reinforcements on Mecatol Rex.
- Racial Technology: Hegemonic Trade Policy (Yellow, requires 2 Yellow): Exhaust this card when 1 or more of your units use Production; swap the resource and influence value of 1 planet you control until the end of your turn.
- Commodities: 3
- Blood Ties: You do not have to spend influence to remove the Custodians token from Mecatol Rex.
- Reclamation: After you resolve a Tactical Action during which you gained control of Mecatol Rex, you may place 1 PDS and 1 Space Dock from your reinforcements on Mecatol Rex.
- Home System: Hercant (1R, 1I); Arretze (2R, 0I), Kamdorn (0R, 1I)
The L1z1x Mindnet
- Starting Units: 2 Carriers, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 4 Infantry, 1 Space Dock
- Flagship: Wrath of Kenara: Combat Value 7 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. After you roll a die during a Space Combat in this system, you may spend 1 Trade Good to apply +1 to the result.
- Starting Technologies: Antimass Deflectors, Sarween Tools
- Racial Promissory Note: Trade Convoys: Action: Place this card faceup in your play area. While this card is in your play area, you may negotiate transactions with players who are not your neighbor. If you activate a system that contains 1 or more of the Hacan player's units, return this card to the Hacan player.
- Racial Technology: Production Biomes (Green, requires 2 Green): Action: Exhaust this card and spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to gain 4 Trade Goods and choose 1 other player; that player gains 2 Trade Goods.
- Racial Technology: Quantum Datahub Node (Yellow, requires 3 Yellow): At the end of the Strategy Phase, you may spend 1 token from your Strategy pool and give another player 3 of your Trade Goods. If you do, give 1 of your Strategy cards to that player and take 1 of his Strategy cards.
- Commodities: 6
- Masters of Trade: You do not have to spend a Command token to resolve the secondary ability of the Trade Strategy card.
- Guild Ships: You can negotiate transactions with players who are not your neighbor.
- Arbiters: When negotiating a transaction, Action Cards can be exchanged as part of that transaction.
- Home System: [0.0.0] (5R, 0I)
The Embers of Muaat
- Starting Units: 1 Dreadnought, 1 Carrier, 3 Fighters, 5 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS
- Racial Unit: Super-Dreadnought (Dreadnought): As Dreadnought, but Carry Capacity 2.
- Flagship: [0.0.1]: Combat Value 5 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 5. Sustain Damage. During a Space Combat, hist produced by this ship and by your Dreadnoughts in this system must be assigned to non-Fighter ships if able.
- Starting Technologies: Neural Motivator, Plasma Scoring
- Racial Promissory Note: Cybernetic Enhancements: At the start of your turn: Remove 1 token from the L1x1x player's Strategy pool and return it to his reinforcements. Then, place 1 command token from your reinforcements in your Strategy pool. Then, return this card to the L1z1x player.
- Racial Tehcnology: Inheritance Systems (Yellow, requires 2 Yellow): You may exhaust this card and spend 2 resources when you research a technology; ignore all of that technology's prerequisites.
- Racial Technology: Super-Dreadnought II (unit upgrade, requires 2 Blue and 1 Yellow): As Dreadnought, but Combat Value 4, Movement 2, Carry Capacity 2. Sustain Damage, Bombardment 4. This unit cannot be destroyed by "Direct Hit" Action Cards.
- Commodities: 2
- Assimilate: When you gain control of a planet, replace each PDS and Space Dock that is on that planet with a matching unit from your reinforcements.
- Harrow: After each round of Ground Combat, your ships in the active system may use their Bombardment abilities against your opponent's ground forces on the planet.
- Home System: Muaat (4R, 1I)
The Naalu Collective
- Starting Units: 1 War Sun, 2 Fighters, 4 Infantry, 1 Space Dock
- Racial Unit: Prototype War Sun (War Sun): As War Sun, but Movement 1.
- Flagship: The Inferno: Combat Value 5 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. Action: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to place 1 Cruiser in this unit's system.
- Starting Technology: Plasma Scoring
- Racial Promissory Note: Fires of the Gashlai: Action: Remove 1 token from the Muaat player's Fleet pool and return it to his reinforcements. Then, gain your War Sun upgrade technology card. Then, return this card to the Muaat player.
- Racial Technology: Magmus Reactor (Red, requires 2 Red): Your ships may move into supernovas. After 1 or more of your units use Production in a system that either contains a War Sun or is adjacent to a supernova, gain 1 Trade Good.
- Racial Technology: Prototype War Sun II (unit upgrade, requires 3 Red and 1 Yellow): As War Sun, but Cost 10, Movement 3.
- Commodities: 4
- Star Forge: Action: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to place either 2 Fighters or 1 Destroyer from your reinforcements in a system that contains 1 or more of your War Suns.
- Gashlai Physiology: Your ships can move through Supernovas.
- Home System: Druaa (3R, 1I), Maaluuk (0R, 2I)
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 3 Fighters, 4 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS
- Racial Unit: Hybrid Crystal Fighter (Fighter): As Fighter, but Combat Value 8.
- Flagship: Matriarch: Combat Value 9 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 6. Sustain Damage. During an invasion in this system, you may commit Fighters to planets as if they were ground forces. After combat, return those units to the space area.
- Starting Technologies: Neural Motivator, Sarween Tools
- Racial Promissory Note: Gift of Prescience: At the end of the Strategy Phase: place this card face up in your play area and place the Naalu "0" token on your Strategy Card; you are first in initiative order. The Naalu player cannot use his "Telepathic" faction ability during this game round. Return this card to the Naalu player at the end of the Status Phase.
- Racial Technology: Hybrid Crystal Fighter II (unit upgrade, requires 1 Green and 1 Blue): As Fighter, but Combat Value 7, Movement 2. Does not need to be Carried; each Fighter in excess of your ships' Capacity counts as 1/2 of a ship against your Fleet pool.
- Racial Technology: Neuroglaive (Green, requires 3 Green): After another player activates a system that contains 1 or more of your ships, that player removes 1 token from his Fleet pool and returns it to his reinforcements.
- Commodities: 3
- Telepathic: At the end of the Strategy Phase, place the Naalu "0" token on the Strategy Card; you are first in initiative order.
- Foresight: After another player moves ships into a system that contains 1 or more of your ships, you may place 1 token from your Strategy pool in an adjacent system that does not contain another player's ships; move your ships from the active system into that system.
- Home System: Tren'lak (1R, 0I), Quinarra (3R, 1I)
- Starting Units: 2 Carriers, 1 Cruiser, 5 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS
- Racial Unit: Exotrireme (Dreadnought): As Dreadought, but Bombardment 4 (x2).
- Flagship: C'morran N'orr: Combat Value 6 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. Apply +1 to the result of each of your other ships' combat rolls in this system.
- Starting Technology: (none)
- Racial Promissory Note: Tekklar Legion: At the start of an Invasion Combat: Apply +1 to the result of each of your units' combat rolls during this combat. If your opponent is the N'orr player, apply -1 to the result of each of his unit's combat rolls during this combat. Then, return this card to the N'orr player.
- Racial Technology: Valkyrie Particle Weave (Red, requires 2 Red): After making combat rolls during a round of Ground Combat, if your opponent produced 1 or more hits, you produce 1 additional hit.
- Racial Technology: Exotrireme II (unit upgrade, requires 2 Blue and 1 Yellow): As Dreadnought, but Movement 2, Bombardment 4 (x2). This unit cannot be destroyed by "Direct Hit" action cards. After a round of Space Combat, you may destroy this unit to destroy up to 2 ships in this system.
- Commodities: 3
- Unrelenting: Apply +1 to the result of each of your units' combat rolls.
This game will use the first-game galaxy setup as described on page 23 of the Learn to Play rulebook. Unlike the standard rules, a draft will be held to determine races and start position. Starting from the first player a snake draft (first to last, then last to first) will be performed to select race and starting position. Six races will be randomly dealt for selection; each player may select either a race to play or a start position on their turn.
General Game Flow
Once all players have a race and start location, the Custodians of Mecatol Rex token is placed on Mecatol Rex (see Odds and Ends) and the Public Objective line is created. Each player receives 2 Secret Objective cards and chooses 1 to keep; the other Objective card is shuffled back into its deck, unrevealed. Players place their starting units, and starting technologies. Players then allocate 3 Command Counters to Tactic pool, 3 counters to Fleet pool, and 2 counters to Strategy pool. A random player will be selected to be the first speaker. The game begins with the first Strategy Phase.
The game is played over a number of rounds, typically 5-9 in total. Each round is divided into four parts: the Strategy Phase, the Action Phase, the Status Phase, and the Agenda 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. Finally, the Agenda Phase is where players vote on political agendas that will affect the board and gameplay rules. The Agenda Phase is only performed after at least one player has taken control of Mecatol Rex.
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 Trade Good will be added to each card as incentive for selection in future rounds. A player selecting a Strategy Card with Trade Goods on it gains those Trade Goods.
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 three different types of actions that players can perform: the Strategic Action, Tactical Action, and Component Actions. Details about the first two actions are contained in the following sections. Component actions can be found on various Action cards, Technology cards, and faction abilities: the acting player declares the card they wish to play in bold dodgerblue, noting its effects. Example:
Strategic Action and Strategy Cards (1~5)
I play an Action Card: Focused Research.
I spend 4 Trade Goods to gain the technology Sarween Tools.
If a player does not wish to or is unable 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.
With a Strategic Action, players activate the ability specified on their chosen Strategy Card. After executing the primary ability, all other players, including players who have already passed their turn, will have a chance to make use of the secondary ability listed on the card by spending a Command Counter from their Strategy Allocation. Normally, players make their choices clockwise from the primary player, but for the purposes of the forum game environment, players may choose to pass or play on a secondary ability out of order if they wish. Text of each card and a short explanation and example for each follow below. Generally, use of a Strategy Card ability is noted in bold dodgerblue
. Usage example:
I activate the primary ability...
I PLAY the secondary ability...
I PASS on the secondary ability.
Primary Ability: Gain 3 Command tokens. You may then spend any amount of influence to gain 1 Command token for every 3 influence spent.
Secondary Ability: Spend any amount of influence to gain 1 Command token for every 3 influence spent.
Notes: Unlike other Strategy Cards, there is no need to spend a token from your Strategy pool to use this card’s secondary ability. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (1) Leadership Strategy Card and exhaust Rarron (3I), placing 2 counters into Tactic pool, 1 into Fleet pool, and 1 into Strategy pool.
I PLAY the secondary ability, exhausting Mehar Xull (3I) to place 1 Command token into my Tactic pool.
Primary Ability: Choose 1 system other than the Mecatol Rex that contains a planet you control; each other player places a Command token from their reinforcements in the chosen system. Then, ready each exhausted planet you control in that system.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to ready up to 2 exhausted planets.
Notes: The primary ability protects a system from interference by other players; if they have no counters in their reinforcements they must take one from their race sheet if possible. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (2) Diplomacy II Strategy Card, targeting the Abyz-Fria system. I ready Abyz and Fria.
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool token to ready Quann and Starpoint.
Primary Ability: Choose a player other than the speaker. That player gains the speaker token. Then, draw 2 Action cards. Finally, look at the top 2 cards of the Agenda deck. Place each card on the top or bottom of the deck in any order.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to draw 2 Action cards.
Notes: Two Agendas are resolved in each Agenda Phase, which follows the Status Phase if at least one player has previously taken control of Mecatol Rex. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (3) Politics Strategy Card, claiming the speaker token. (The host will then note when the remainder of the ability has been resolved.)
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool token to draw 2 Action cards.
Primary Ability: Place 1 PDS or Space Dock on a planet you control. Then, place 1 PDS on a planet you control.
Secondary Ability: Place 1 token from your Strategy pool in any system; you may place either 1 Space Dock or 1 PDS on a planet you control in that system.
Notes: The Construction Strategy Card is the primary means by which structure units are placed on the game board. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (4) Construction Strategy Card, placing a Space Dock and a PDS on Zohbat.
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool token to place a Space Dock on Lodor.
Primary Ability: Gain 3 Trade Goods and replenish your Commodities. Then, choose any number of other players. Those players use the secondary ability of this Strategy Card without spending a Command token.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to replenish Commodities.
Notes: Each faction has a maximum number of Commodities that they can hold. Commodities do nothing for the player holding them, but they can be traded to other players, which converts them into Trade Goods. See the Odds and Ends below for more on Commodities and Trade Goods. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (5) Trade Strategy Card, receiving 3 Trade Goods and replenishing 3 Commodities. I select Sol and Jol-Nar to make use of the secondary ability.
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool token to replenish 3 Commodities.