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 UtilitiesLearn to Play RulebookRules Reference RulebookLiving Rules Reference v1.1
- Alternative Diplomacy Primary Ability, Magen Defense Grid Technology, and X-89 Bacterial Weapon Technology
- 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 FAQsGeneral Technologies
Other / Previous TI4e Games on PA: Game I
, Game II
, Game III
, Game IV
, Game V
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.
The Ghosts of Creuss
- Home System: Creuss (4R, 2I)
Universities of Jol-Nar
- 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: Jol (1R, 2I), Nar (2R, 3I)
The Naalu Collective
- 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.
- Home System: Druaa (3R, 1I), Maaluuk (0R, 2I)
The Nekro Virus
- 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. When combat ends, return those units to the space area.
- Starting Technologies: Neural Motivator, Sarween Tools
- 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.
- 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.
- Home System: Mordai II (4R, 0I)
Federation of Sol
- Starting Units: 1 Dreadnought, 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 2 Infantry, 1 Space Dock
- Flagship: The Alastor: Combat Value 9 (x2), Movement 1, Carry Capacity 3. Sustain Damage. At the start of a Space Combat, choose any number of your ground forces in this system to participate in that combat as if they were ships.
- Starting Technologies: Dacxive Animators, Valefar Assimilator X, Valefar Assimilator Y
- Racial Technology: Valefar Assimilator X (colorless): When you would gain another player's technology using 1 of your faction's abilities, you may place the "X" assimilator on a faction technology owned by that player instead. While that token is on a technology, this card gains that technology's text. You cannot place an assimilator token on technology that already has an assimilator token.
- Racial Technology: Valefar Assimilator Y (colorless): When you would gain another player's technology using 1 of your faction's abilities, you may place the "X" assimilator on a faction technology owned by that player instead. While that token is on a technology, this card gains that technology's text. You cannot place an assimilator token on technology that already has an assimilator token.
- Commodities: 3
- Galactic Threat: You cannot vote on Agendas. Once per Agenda Phase, after an Agenda is revealed, you may predict aloud the outcome of that Agenda. If your prediction is correct, gain 1 technology that is owned by a player who voted how you predicted.
- Technological Singularity: Once per combat, after 1 of your opponent's units is destroyed, you may gain 1 technology that is owned by that player.
- Propagation: You cannot research technology. When you would research a technology, gain 3 command tokens instead.
- Racial Promissory Note: Antivirus: At the start of a combat: Place this card faceup in your play area. While this card is in your play area, the Nekro player cannot use his "Technological Singularity" faction ability against you. If you activate a system that contains 1 or more of the Nekro player's units, return this card to the Nekro 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: Winnu (3R, 4I)
- 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 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.
- 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.
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:
Strategic Action and Strategy Cards
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.(1) Leadership
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 Mecatol Rex that contains a planet you control; each other player places a Command token from their reinforcements in the chosen system. Then, ready up to 2 exhausted planets you control.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to ready up to 2 exhausted planets you control.
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.
Primary Ability: Remove 1 of your Command tokens from the game board; then, gain 1 Command token. Redistribute any number of Command tokens on your command sheet.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to use the Production ability of one of your Space Docks in your home system.
Notes: When the secondary ability is used, note that the home system does not need to be and is not activated. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (6) Warfare Strategy Card, removing a Command token from the Centauri-Gral system and allocating it to Tactic pool.
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool counter and exhausting Vefut II (2R) to produce 2 Destroyers (2R) in my home system.
: Research 1 technology. You may then spend 6 resources to research 1 technology.Secondary Ability
: Spend 1 token from your strategy pool and 4 resources to research 1 technology.Notes
: Common technologies are divided into five categories and organized into a loose tech tree. (Tech Tree
) Most technologies have prerequisites, requiring a certain number of colored technologies in order to research. Note that unit upgrade technologies are colorless and do not satisfy any prerequisites. Certain planets with technology specialties can be exhausted to skip over one prerequisite of the matching color. Each race also has two Race-Specific Technologies only they may purchase. These technologies have their own prerequisites. Usage examples:I activate the primary ability of the (7) Technology Strategy Card and exhaust Wellon (Yellow Tech) to gain "Graviton Laser System".
(Graviton Laser System requires 1 Yellow technology as a prerequisite.)I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool counter and exhausting Resculon (2R) and Saudor (2R) to gain "Antimass Deflectors".
Primary Ability: Immediately score 1 Public Objective if you fulfill its requirements. Then, gain 1 victory point if you control Mecatol Rex; otherwise, draw 1 Secret Objective.
Secondary Ability: Spend 1 token from your Strategy pool to draw 1 Secret Objective.
Notes: Each player can hold a maximum of 3 Secret Objectives. Drawing a fourth requires that an unfulfilled Secret Objective card be shuffled back into the deck. Usage examples:
I activate the primary ability of the (8) Imperial Strategy Card, fulfilling "Intimidate Council" and gaining 1 victory point for controlling Mecatol Rex.
I PLAY the secondary ability, spending a Strategy pool counter to draw one Secret Objective.