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
Living Rules Reference v1.1
- Lodor and Quann (planet+wormhole systems) forced to be in galaxy.
- Snake draft for position and race after galaxy creation.
- For expediency of play, some resolutions such as combat die rolls will be performed simultaneously.
- Ownership of all Promissory Notes is public information.
- official revisions and clarifications to the Rules Reference and FAQs
Other / Previous TI4e Games on PA: Game I
, Game II
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 and drafted.
- Home System: Tren'lak (1R, 0I), Quinarra (3R, 1I)
The Emirates of Hacan
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Home System: Hercant (1R, 1I); Arretze (2R, 0I), Kamdorn (0R, 1I)
The Ghosts of Creuss
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Home System: Creuss (4R, 2I)
Federation of Sol
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 2 Destroyers, 2 Fighters, 4 Infantry, 1 Space Dock
- Flagship: Hil Colish: Combat Value 5, Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. This ship's system contains a Delta wormhole. During movement, this ship may move before or after your other ships.
- Starting Technology: Gravity Drive
- Racial Technology: Dimensional Splicer (Red, requires 1 Red): At the start of Space Combat in a system that contains a wormhole and 1 or more of your ships, you may produce 1 hit and assign it to 1 of your opponent's ships.
- Racial Technology: Wormhole Generator (Blue, requires 2 Blue): At the start of the Status Phase, place or move a Creuss wormhole token into either a system that contains a planet you control or a non-home system that does not contain another player's ships.
- Commodities: 4
- Quantum Entanglement: You treat all systems that contain either an Alpha or Beta wormhole as adjacent to each other. Game effects cannot prevent you from using this ability.
- Slipstream: During your Tactical Actions, apply +1 to the movement value of each of your ships that starts its movement in your home system or in a system that contains either an Alpha or Beta wormhole.
- Creuss Gate: When the board is created, the Creuss Gate is placed where your home system would normally be placed. The Creuss Gate system is not a home system; your home system is placed in your play area.
- Racial Promissory Note: Creuss IFF: At the start of your turn during the Action Phase: Place or move a Creuss wormhole token into either a system that contains a planet you control or a non-home system that does not contain another player's ships. Then, return this card to the Creuss player.
- Home System: Jord (4R, 2I)
- Starting Units: 2 Carriers, 1 Destroyer, 3 Fighters, 5 Infantry, 1 Space Dock
- Racial Unit: Advanced Carrier (Carrier): As Carrier, but Carry Capacity 6.
- Racial Unit: Spec Ops (Infantry): As Infantry, but Combat Value 7.
- Flagship: Genesis: Combat Value 5 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 12. Sustain Damage. At the end of the Status Phase, place 1 Infantry from your reinforcements in this system's space area.
- Starting Technologies: Neural Motivator, Antimass Deflectors
- Racial Technology: Spec Ops II (unit upgrade, requires 2 Green): As Infantry, but Combat Value 6. After this unit is destroyed, roll 1 die. If the result is 5 or greater, place the unit on this card. At the start of your next turn, place each unit that is on this card on a planet you control in your home system.
- Racial Technology: Advanced Carrier II (unit upgrade, requires 2 Blue): As Carrier, but Movement 2, Capacity 8. Sustain Damage.
- Commodities: 4
- Orbital Drop: Action: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to place 2 Infantry from your reinforcements on 1 planet you control.
- Versatile: When you gain command tokens during the Status Phase, gain 1 additional command token.
- Racial Promissory Note: Military Support: At the start of the Sol player's turn: Remove 1 token from the Sol player's Strategy pool, if able, and return it to his reinforcements. Then, you may place 2 Infantry from your reinforcements on any planet you control. Then, return this card to the Sol player.
- Home System: Nestphar (3R, 2I)
Universities of Jol-Nar
- Starting Units: 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 4 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 1 PDS
- Racial Unit: Letani Warrior (Infantry): As Infantry, but Production 1.
- Flagship: Duha Menaimon: Combat Value 7 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 5. Sustain Damage. After you activate this system, you may produce up to 5 units in this system.
- Starting Technology: Magen Defense Grid
- Racial Technology: Bioplasmosis (Green, requires 2 Green): At the end of the Status Phase, you may remove any number of Infantry from planets you control and place them on 1 or more planets you control in the same or adjacent systems.
- Racial Technology: Letani Warrior II (unit upgrade, requires 2 Green): As Infantry, but Combat Value 7. Production 2. After this unit is destroyed, roll 1 die. If the result is 5 or greater, place the unit on this card. At the start of your next turn, place each unit that is on this card on a planet you control in your home system.
- Commodities: 3
- Mitosis: Your Space Docks cannot produce Infantry. At the start of the Status Phase, place 1 Infantry from your reinforcements on any planet you control.
- Racial Promissory Note: Stymie: Action: Place this card faceup in your play area. While this card is in your play area, the Arborec player cannot produce units in or adjacent to non-home systems that contain 1 or more of your units. If you activate a system that contains 1 or more of the Arborec player's units, return this card to the Arborec player.
- Home System: Jol (1R, 2I), Nar (2R, 3I)
- Starting Units: 1 Dreadnought, 2 Carriers, 1 Fighter, 2 Infantry, 1 Space Dock, 2 PDS
- Flagship: J.N.S. Hylarim: Combat Value 6 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. When making a combat roll for this ship, each (pre-modified) roll of 9 or 10 produces 2 additional hits.
- Starting Technologies: Neural Motivator, Antimass Deflectors, Sarween Tools, Plasma Scoring
- Racial Technology: Spacial Conduit Cylinder (Blue, requires 2 Blue): You may exhaust this card after you ativate a system that contains 1 or more of your units; that system is adjacent to all other systems that contain 1 or more of your units during this activation.
- Racial Technology: E-Res Siphons (Yellow, requires 2 Yellow): After another player activates a system that contains 1 or more of your ships, gain 4 Trade Goods.
- Commodities: 4
- Fragile: Apply -1 to the result of each of your units' combat rolls.
- Brilliant: When you spend a command token to resolve the secondary ability of the Technology Strategy card, you may resolve the primary ability instead.
- Analytical: When you research a technology that is not a unit upgrade technology, you may ignore 1 prerequisite.
- Racial Promissory Note: Research Agreement: After the Jol-Nar researches a technology that is not a faction technology: Gain that technology. Then, return this card to the Jol-Nar player.
General Game Flow
At the start of the game, players each receive five system tiles for creation of the game map. Two of these will be empty or special red-bordered systems, while three will be systems that contain at least one planet. 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 unless there is no other option.
- Systems with wormholes of the same type may not be placed adjacent to one another unless there is no other option.
Six races will be randomly dealt for selection at the same time as tiles are given to players (i.e. before map creation). Once the game map has been created, players will perform another snake draft to select race and starting position. Each player may select either a race to play, a start position on their turn, or the Speaker Token (only selectable once); the draft order will be re-randomized for the race and start position draft.
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. 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:
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.