Based on the hit cancelled
show, The Expanse combines the card system of Twilight Struggle (use either the action points on a card or the event text) and Through the Ages (available cards for purchase move down a track with newer cards costing more) as up to 4 players place influence on the board. 6 scoring cards will come up throughout the game and player's will score points for most control of the region like Twilight Struggle. The twist is that the player who takes the scoring card secretly gets to decide which region is being scored (max twice each region per game) as everyone gets the opportunity to play one more card before scoring happens. Highest score after the 6th score card wins!
Bases- The "land" areas of planets and asteroids (ex. The Eurasia, Africa, and Luna spaces on Earth). All marked with a resource symbol in the top right. This is where influence will be placed. Similar to regions in Twilight Struggle.
Orbitals- The orbital space around each planet or asteroid. This is where fleets are placed instead of influence. The fleets themselves do not count as influence, but you may only place influence on bases where you have at least 1 fleet in orbit. In addition, the player with the most fleets in orbit during scoring gets a +1 bonus when determining influence on EACH base underneath that orbital (must have at least 1 influence on the base to get the bonus).
Sectors- There are 3 sectors: inner planets (Earth + Mars), the belt (5 asteroids with 1 base each), and the outer planets (Jupiter + Saturn). Sectors only come into play during scoring. Having the most influence on a base during scoring is usually only worth 1 "control point" (victory point). Bases within the chosen bonus sector for that scoring are worth more points for 1st/2nd/3rd place. Values listed on the top right scoring table, with the values increasing for each of the 6 score cards played during the game.
Bands- The map is divided into 4 "bands" (inner planets, the belt, then one band each for Jupiter and Saturn). Bands are only used as movement spaces when moving fleets around (1 action point to move a fleet group from one orbital to another up to 1 band away).
The Rocinante- The ship flown by our plucky protagonists! The Millennium Falcon meets the Serenity meets Jefferson Clay's Dreadnaught (major bonus points to anyone who gets that reference). The player who currently controls it gains access to special actions. Control is first given to the player who goes last, then transfers after every scoring event to the player with the lowest score. Basically a catch up mechanic.
On a player's turn, they have 2 options.
1. Buy a card from the track (right most side of board).
2. Play an event from a previously stored card
Buy a card
Pay the card's control point cost (yes, you pay with VP) listed on its track position (topmost card is free, next two cost 1, last two cost 2). Cards are slid up towards the zero space to fill any gap. Draw a new card to place in the bottom empty spot.
Using a card
A score card immediately triggers the next scoring event.
For all other cards, the player may:
A. USE THE EVENT
B. USE THE ACTION POINTS
A. USE THE EVENT
This option may only be chosen if the current player’s Faction Icon is on the card. Simply follow the text, then discard the card
You may pay 1 additional control point to store the card in order to play the event on a future turn (no limit to stored cards).
B. USE THE ACTION POINTS
Similar to the op points in Twilight Struggle. Receive the number of action points listed in the top right of the card.
Each action point can be used to:
• Move- Move a group of fleets on the map from one orbital to another orbital up to 1 band away.
• Influence- Place an influence cube on a base where you have at least 1 fleet in orbit.
• Build- Place a fleet on your faction's home orbital (UN: Earth, MCR: Mars, OPA: Tycho, PG: Thoth). Each faction starts with all fleets in play, but fleets can be removed during the game.
After the player has used all the action points, other players have the option of using that card's event (if able). Going initiative order, each player can use the event or pass. If a player uses the event, carry it out, then that player moves to the bottom of the initiative track and everyone else moves up a space.
When a score card is purchased by a player.
1. Active Player secretly selects the Bonus Sector
Each sector has 2 tokens, meaning each sector can at most be selected as the bonus twice in one game.
2. Each player has the option to play one Kept Event or a Rocinante Event.
Starting clockwise from the active player, everyone may play one Kept or Rocinante event.
3. Score each base
1 control point for having the most influence in a base. Bases in the bonus sector go by the current value listed on the
scoring chart depending on how many score cards have been played already. If a base has one of the two resource
symbols listed on the 1st place player's faction sheet, they receive 1 additional control point.
4. Gain new Faction Abilities
Each player receive's their faction's “I” tech card after the first Scoring Round. “II” after the second, etc.
5. Build one fleet
Each player who has any fleets off the board may place one on their home Base (OPA Scrap Ships may not be placed
6. Determine Rocinante control
The ROCINANTE card is given to the player with the fewest Control Points. If two players are tied, then it goes to the
player who is lowest on the Initiative track.
The Rocinante is always controlled by a player. At the start of the game it is controlled by the player who goes last, and then after each scoring round control is given to the player with the fewest Control Points. When the Rocinante
Final scoring and victory
changes hands the fleet is not moved on the map. It remains in its current Orbital. The Rocinante mat is given
to the player, both to show who is controlling it, and the special abilities. Controlling the Rocinante gives two advantages:
1. It counts as a fleet for all purposes, except that it may NEVER be removed. Any effect that removes a fleet cannot be used against the Rocinante.
2. During a Scoring round, instead of playing a Kept Event, the controlling player may select one of the four special abilities, as noted on the mat:
• James Holden- Place 1 influence anywhere
• Naomi Nagata- Move the Rocinante 1 band, and remove 1 opposing fleet in the destination
• Alex Kamal - Move the Rocinante anywhere
• Amos Burton- Remove 1 opposing fleet in the Rocinante Orbital for each friendly fleet there (including the Rocinante).
As soon as the sixth SCORE card is drawn from the deck the game immediately proceeds to the Final Scoring turn. The sixth SCORE card is not selected by a player. The game just ends immediately when it is drawn at the end of a turn.
Special stuff (battleships and scrap ships)
If there are any SCORE cards on the Action Track they are discarded and not scored. This means that there may be fewer than five Bonus Sectors selected.
When the game ends, the players do Final Scoring using the normal Score procedure, except that no Bonus Sector is selected.
The player to the left of the player holding the Rocinante card must decide if they will use a Kept Event first. So the player holding the Rocinante will get the last chance to play a Kept Event or use a Rocinante ability before scoring.
After each player has a chance to play an Event, ALL BASES are scored for 5/3/1 points for first/second/third regardless of what Sector they are in. The Critical Resource bonus can still be earned as normal.
The player with the most Control Points wins the game. If there is a tie, then the player that is higher on the Initiative Track is the winner.
Battleships and scrap ships are available to certain factors. They function exactly as a fleet, only their strength values during scoring are 2 and 1/2, respectively.