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The creative conquest of space will serve as a wonderful substitute for war.
—James S. McDonnell
The throne to galactic empire is empty and several alien races put forth bids for it. Your goal is to guide your race to meet the conditions necessary to claim the throne and take control on the known galaxy/universe.
Twilight Imperium (now in its third edition) is a tabletop/board game that uses hex map tiles to build a new map for each game. The setting takes place in a galaxy where a minimum of three players (and maximum of six, unless you purchase an expansion set) can choose from among ten different alien races (even more with the expansion sets). Gameplay strategies may include battles, trade, politics, and/or any combination of things. In fact, it is entirely possible to win the game without fighting a single battle, by earning points for accomplishing certain goals set by goal cards.
The game set includes the map, race sheets, ten-sided dice, several different types of cards (action, political, technology, and objective), plastic pieces, and many other extras. The ultimate goal of the game?
To conquer the universe! To destroy your enemies! To subdue your enemies? To get ten objective points.
Each player starts off with preset ships, resources, a home system, and certain special abilities. Markers dictate how many actions can be taken in a round, how many resources or strategies you may use, and how many ships may be assembled into a fleet. The players actually begin the game by creating the map. Through the use of these tokens the player can collect resources, move fleets, increase fleet size, or activate strategy cards. Objective points are collected by achieving certain goals or controlling certain systems
The Shattered Empire expansion set added several new races and enough plastic pieces to play the game with up to 8 players, along with lots and lots of cool optional rules.
The Shards of the Throne expansion added a few more new races, a few more cool new optional rules, and a scenario covering the end of the old empire.
This board game features examples of:
- All Planets Are Earthlike - Averted: Each planet has its own unique description.
- Though the description doesn't have much real affect on the game.
- Asteroid Thicket - Special technology is the only way to get through systems filled with asteroids.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning - You winning the game means you become The Emperor. Hopefully you're a good one.
- The Battlestar - The WarSun ship. Oddly similar to the Death Star from Star Wars.
- Most of the new race-specific Flagship units also qualify as Battlestars.
- BFG - Certain weapons upgrades.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies - The Sardakk N'orr
- Bilingual Bonus - The name used for the Earth - Jord - means earth in the Scandinavian languages. Not the Earth, mind, just earth.
- Binding Ancient Treaty - One of these falling apart is the background for the game..
- Bizarre Alien Biology - A few races qualify.
- Body Horror - The Cyborg race might count.
- The Arborec from the Shards of the Throne expansion definitely count. They're a race of sentient plants that infest the corpses of other races with their spores, turning them into zombies they can use to communicate. The race description suggests this practice has led to them developing imperial ambitions through osmosis.
- Brain In a Jar - The Hylar of the Universities of Jol-Nar. Or dare I say, the Universities of In-Jar?
- Casual Interstellar Travel - Played so straight it hurts. Also highly depends on how many parsecs per hex. Though one hex includes planets explicitly stated to be in different solar systems
- Cool Starship - The Dreadnought and the WarSun are both dreadfully awesome.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu - Inverted (mostly). More is nearly always better, except that a few Action cards that will have you shooting your own fighters and the like.
- Conveniently Close Planet - It would make playing the game rather difficult if this were not the case.
- Corralled Cosmos - Subverted if you have extra players using the expansion, but mostly played straight.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul - The L1Z1X Mindnet are a completely cyborg race that seem to have lost touch with their original race characteristics. Rather reminiscent of a certain Star Trek species...
- Cyborg - The L1Z1X.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy - You know that you can take advantage of fighting strength, political tactics, and trading to manipulate your opponents so that you get what you want and win the game. Your opponents know it too.
- Deflector Shields - Defense weapons that you can set up on captured planets double as shields to prevent bombardment.
- Divide and Conquer - A reasonable strategy if you control politics or trade.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe - Totally averted. The seat of the empire's throne lies on another planet called Mecatol Rex.
- Fantastic Racism - Almost every race has another race that they absolutely cannot stand.
- Though that's only in the background fluff. Anyone can ally with anyone in the actual game.
- Fantastic Science - Most acquired technology in the game.
- Fish People - The same race that count as Brain In a Jar.
- For Massive Damage - Most ships (except two) go down in one hit. Somehow a single shot from a fighter can take down much larger hits. Ouch.
- Of course, the fighter tokens may represent squadrons of fighters rather than just one.
- There are certain action cards that let you take down one of the two-hit ships in a single hit as well.
- Galactic Conqueror - One possible way to achieve victory.
- Gambit Pileup - Likely to happen with several opponents trying to out-think each other.
- Half-Human Hybrid - Averted: The cyborg race is actually completely non-human.
- Hive Mind - The L1Z1X Mindnet. MIND. NET.
- Humanoid Aliens - Most of the races.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet - Huma- I mean, Terran- erm, Those People From Jord are seen as latecomers to the galactic scene. They're pretty good at making lots of ground troops but don't have a whole lot of other advantages over other races.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy - Most of the smaller ships (and the regular ground troops) require you roll an 8 or higher on a d10 to obtain a hit on an enemy ship, especially when they haven't been upgraded. Be prepared to do lots of rolling before you hit anything.
- Intrepid Trader - the Hacan (Lion guys) have this as their hat.
- Kill Sat - The WarSun type ship.
- Landfill Beyond the Stars - One of the homeworlds is described as this.
- Loads and Loads of Races - Ten in the regular game, four more in the first expansion, and four more in the second.
- Lost Colony - A few of the planets that are unclaimed when you start the game are said to have belonged to certain races at some point in history.
- Mechanical Monster - The Nekro Virus is an offshoot of the L1Z1X Mindnet obsessed with rendering all organic life into a fine paste, then dumping the paste into a gravity rift.
- You Will Be Assimilated applies as well, but only for tech — if the Nekro Virus player blows up an enemy unit in battle he gets to copy a technology belonging to the unit's owner.
- Melee a Trois - Requires at least three people to play.
- Mental Fusion - The L1Z1X Mindnet, a race suspiciously similar to the Borg from Star Trek.
- More Dakka - Several ship types and ground troops (especially if you are playing as
humansTerrans) seem to encourage you to make as many as you can.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning - since each race has a limit on the number of each type of ship they have on the board, a resource-rich race which has all of their ships of one or more types on the board, but poorly placed, may deliberately get into battles just to destroy some of their own ships (or even, in extreme cases, scuttle the ships without getting in a battle) just so they can rebuild them at a more advantageous location.
- Naming Your Colony World - Although the game makers were nice enough to name all the planets for you, they certainly used several of the methods here.
- Nightmare Fuel - Different races... Your Mileage May Vary.
- Not Worth Killing - Probably a good idea if you don't want to start a war with everyone. Unless you like that sort of thing.
- "No Warping" Zone - Certain map hexes restrict movement of ships.
- Numbered Homeworld - The L1Z1X Mindnet have their homeplanet numbered as the galactic center: "[0,0,0]".
- One Federation Limit - With enough expansions, you can have an Empire, Barony, Federation, Emirates, Universities, Mindnet, Kingdom, Coalition, Collective, Tribes, Clan, and Brotherhood - although not all of these will be in play in single game.
- One-Hit Kill - With a few exceptions, most units need to only take a single hit to be destroyed.
- Our Vampires Are Different - The Barony of Letnev race look suspiciously like vampires. They even have super-strength and the aristocratic air to them. And they're pale!
- Our Wormholes Are Different - Yes. Wormholes.
- Playing Both Sides - Very probable to happen.
- Proud Merchant Race - The Hacan.
- Recycled in Space - Duh.
- The Reptilians - Actually more like snapping-turtle-folk. But they're in there. The joke is that the name of their race (Xxcha) is actually just the sound of a jaw chomp transliterated into English letters.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies - Averted. It's actually very difficult to completely wipe out another race in this game.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens - The Yin Brotherhood, a group of religious fanatic clones. They can convert others and employ suicide ships.
- The Nekkro Virus as well.
- The manual has several to well-known sci-fi authors and entrepreneurs.
- The ship pieces are obvious shout-outs to older sci-fi ships. There's a Death Star, a Corellian Cruiser, a Tie Fighter, a Star Destroyer, the Battlestar Galactica, and Deep Space Nine.
- Small Universe After All - See Conveniently Close Planet above. A three player game will only feature 27 systems, and some of those will be empty. It's still called a galaxy though.
- Space Cold War - Pretty much the point of the game. But Your Mileage May Vary depending on how you play.
- Space Does Not Work That Way - Map edges. But it is a tabletop game, after all.
- Space Fighter - Check.
- Space Marine - Human ground troops. Surprisingly useless for space battles.
- Space Pirates - The Mentak Coalition race.
- Space Station - Certain expansions have a few of these built into the map hexes.
- Although the spacedocks look like DS9 they are actually supposed to be on a planet's surface.
- Standard Sci-Fi Fleet - There are the standard types here, but you won't necessarily have all of them depending on how you decide to play.
- Starfish Aliens - There's the Arborec (sentient plants), the Nekro Virus (insane machines), the Ghosts of Creuss (other-dimensional energy wisps) and the Embers of Muaat (living flame).
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien - A few races start off with more technology bonuses than others. One race gets bonuses for the acquisition of technology.
- Teleporters and Transporters - Certain technology allows you to create ground forces on one planet, then transport them to another.
- That's No Moon - The WarSun.
- Trigger Happy - A few races seem to be intended for war over politics or trade.
- 2-D Space - Kind of required, what with the whole board game thing.
- Utopia Justifies the Means - Slaughter, trick, or trade with your opponents so that your race controls the throne of the galactic empire. Then everybody is happy!
- We Have Reserves - If you have sufficient resources, you may be tempted to use this as a tactic.
- Xanatos Gambit - You might want to be capable of this (or even more) if you plan to win.