Twilight Imperium: 4th Edition (engl.)
Mecatol Rex. The center of the known galaxy and seat of the former Lazax Empire. Scarred by the flames of betrayal, Rex is a specter of a fallen empire and of ages long forgotten, yet it remains an object of reverence—and desire—in a galaxy of conflict and uncertainty.
Once, the great city that spanned its surface was the pinnacle of civilization. Today, Mecatol City is naught but a blasted shell of its former glory, a grim respite in the toxic Sea of Desolation that covers the majority of the planet.
Even so, its parabolic history of decadence and destruction does little to deter those who would seek to harness its power. The Winaaran custodians who dwell within the remnants of the city maintain what is left of the former capital, waiting for one of the Great Races to step forward and take up the mantle of the former Emperors.
But who among the races of the galaxy could fill the void left by the Lazax? To lay claim to the throne is a destiny sought by many, yet the shadows of the past serve as a grim warning to those who would follow in their footsteps...
A Galaxy at War
For two decades, Twilight Imperium has defined the essence of epic in board games. Now, Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the next step in the game’s tremendous legacy: Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition, a game of galactic conquest in which three to six players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining.
An Historic Conflict
Are you a Twilight Imperium veteran? Click here for information on key differences between the Third and Fourth Editions!
Twilight Imperium's epic and engaging gameplay has enthralled players all over the world. Now, new players have the opportunity to dive into the modern classic with the most refined version of the game ever released.
Players will attempt to score victory points by completing both public and individual secret objectives that will see each of their factions maneuvering ships around an expansive and diverse galaxy, trading goods and commodities for favors and promises, claiming planets for their resources and influence, and politically maneuvering their way to glory. The first faction to ten victory points wins the game, but this is easier said than done.
At the start of each game of Twilight Imperium, players begin by creating their own custom galaxy. Each player is dealt a "hand" of galaxy tiles and takes turns placing them one at a time around Mecatol Rex, the center of the galaxy, until three rings are created, with their home planets occupying the outermost ring. This creates a strategic element to the setup of Twilight Imperium and ensures that no two games will ever be the same.
At the start of every round, players will select one of eight strategy cards that both determine player order and give their owner a unique strategic action for that round. These may do anything from providing additional command tokens to allowing a player to control trade throughout the galaxy. After these roles are selected, players will take turns moving their fleets from system to system, claiming new planets for their empire, and engaging in warfare and trade with other factions. At the end of a turn, players gather in a grand council to pass new laws and agendas, shaking up the game in unpredictable ways.
The heart of your empire resides on your unique faction and command sheet. While the command sheet will give a brief overview of options available to you during your turn and house your command tokens, your faction sheet not only includes an overview of your faction’s special abilities, but details the capabilities of each ship in your fleet. Carriers ferry your infantry from system to system, the mobility of Cruisers makes them perfect for exploring new systems, Dreadnoughts provide heavy firepower for your fleets, Destroyers are perfect for picking off enemy fighters, PDS units defend your systems, and the mighty War Sun's devastating firepower is unrivaled in the galaxy. Additionally, each faction comes equipped with their own unique flagship that synergizes with their unique abilities.
Through researching new technologies, each of these ships can be powered up in significant ways. Should these ships be upgraded by a technology card, you simply place the card representing the new version of the ship over the old one, making upgrades easy to track.
Players then take turns performing actions, which can come in a number of ways. Primarily, they will be moving fleets throughout the galaxy using a limited supply of command tokens. Moving ships into an unoccupied system allows your transported infantry units to claim planets, which provide valuable resources and influence. If the system is occupied by another player, a battle will occur that will end in either utter destruction or retreat for one side. Instead of moving fleets, players may also use the actions provided by their strategy cards.
Every strategy card not only provides a primary ability for its owner, but a secondary ability for every other player, keeping them engaged even when it is not their turn. For example, the Leadership strategy card allows its owner to gain three command tokens, and then spend any amount of influence to gain an additional token for every three influence spent. Other players will also get the opportunity to spend influence to gain command tokens as well, improving their ability to move ships throughout the galaxy, build larger fleets, or activate other powerful secondary actions of their opponents' yet unused strategy cards. While they miss out on the three "free" tokens provided with the primary ability, your opponents can still reap a benefit while holding on to their own powerful strategy cards. The careful timing of these cards is integral to the strategic and measured play of Twilight Imperium.
After every player has passed their turn, players move up the victory track by checking to see if they have completed any objectives throughout the turn and scoring them. Objectives are determined by setting up ten public objective cards at the start of each game, then gradually revealing them with every round. Every player also chooses between two random secret objectives at the start of the game, providing victory points only achievable by the holder of that objective. These objectives can be anything from researching new technologies to taking your neighbor's home system. At the end of every turn, a player can claim one public objective and one secret objective. As play continues, more of these objectives will be revealed and more secret objectives will be dealt out, giving players dynamically changing goals throughout the game. Play continues until a player reaches ten victory points.
Finally, if a player has taken control of the Mecatol Rex system at the center of the galaxy, the agenda phase begins. This phase sees players revealing the top card of the agenda deck and voting on it. These agendas can be anything from electing a player to receive a victory point to restricting the use of powerful War Suns. Players use the influence values on their planets to vote, but must weigh how much they wish to use very carefully. After the first agenda card is voted on, the process begins again with a second card and a second vote, and players who used all their influence on the first vote may not have a say in an important galactic decision.
Claiming victory in Twilight Imperium will require careful negotiations with fellow players, offering them boons they might not find elsewhere. Among these are the new commodities; each faction produces commodities using the trade strategy card. These commodities do nothing on their own, but become trade goods when traded to another player. These trade goods can be used as resources to build ships, influence votes, or even as a way to score certain objectives. Having a healthy supply of these goods may be essential to your faction's ascension as rulers of the galaxy. However, trading with other players can be a risky proposition, and encourages factions to toe the line between friend and foe, as you may only trade with your neighbors. A neighbor is defined as any faction who has ships or claimed planets in a system adjacent to your own. While this may put you in a vulnerable position, as these trade lines may disintegrate into open battle at any time, true masters of trade will keep their neighbors happy and dominate the galaxy with their economic superiority.
However, victory cannot be claimed through the careful manipulation of the galactic economy alone. Your civilization will have to push its supremacy forward through discovering the lost technologies used freely during the reign of the Lazax Empire. Whether it's the ability to travel through an asteroid field or construct powerful War Suns, new technologies will be vital in the race for galactic superiority. The technology strategy cards allows you to research a technology from your personal technology deck, and collecting various types of technology will not only give you significant advantages throughout the game, but may also be the key to scoring certain objectives.
In Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition, the most powerful technologies will require other technologies of that color to be known before they can be researched. However, upgrading ships will often require technologies of various colors, meaning you must diversify your research if you want a fleet that will make whole worlds tremble.
Players may also own planets that include a technology specialty. These planets are valuable resources that may be used to ignore a prerequisite on a technology currently being researched, letting players advance their tech trees quicker than would normally be possible.