After my walk, after the kids got home from school, we began our first game of Twilight Imperium. Twilight Imperium is an Axis & Allies in scope game where each player is in control of a race that is attempting through various means to prove that they should be in charge of the galaxy. How do they do this? Victory Points, the first to 10 victory points wins the game. Victory points are accumulated through…well follow along.
Twilight Imperium is played in rounds where each player will have one or more turns. Follow that? A round is a series of player turns. When all of the players have passed a round is over and new round can begin. A round begins with each player choosing one or more strategy cards. There are 8, each one representing a broad theme-military, technology, trade, etc. A strategy card has a primary ability which the player who chose the card must use and a secondary ability which the other players can pay to use. Strategy cards also determine turn order. In a four player game everyone gets two strategy cards.
During a round, each player takes an action and then play moves to the next player. Players continue taking actions until all players have passed. A player can pass ONLY after they have used an action to play or enact their strategy card. Once a player passes they cannot take any actions until a new round begins. With an action a player can play their strategy card, move ships and troops around, go in battle, take over planets, play action cards, and purchase units. The limit to what a player can do is the number of command tokens they have in their command pool.
On each species card are the details about the species, summary of a turn and battles, and a command pool area. The command pool is divided into three areas: strategy, fleet, and command. Command tokens are placed into each area; for the strategy and command areas these tokens represent the limit of actions a player can take. For the fleet area, the tokens represent the maximum number of space ships (not including fighters) a player can have in one hex (a giant hex is called a system).
To move ships, place a token from the command area where you want the ships to move TO. To build units, place a token from the command area where the ships will be produced. A token does the following: lets everyone know where you are working and any ships in that hex cannot move again or be used again during the round. To use secondary abilities on strategy cards, use a token from the strategy area. As you can see, the amount of tokens and how they are allocated by a player determines a lot of what a player can do. However, there is a limited number of command tokens, which further restricts the amount of choices.
Here is an example from our game, Barb (purple pieces in picture) hordes her command tokens. Most of her tokens are on her species card in the strategy and command areas. She has the option to do a lot each turn, however because her fleet token area only has three tokens her fleets are small restricting her ability to transport large amounts of troops and bring force to bear. Our boy (red pieces) focuses on the command area, meaning he cannot use the secondary ability of any strategy card, but he can move and build his fleets. Our girl (blue pieces) has a balanced spread of tokens in her command pool, she can do what she wants, has a good size fleet, and can use secondary actions when she wants. I (black pieces) have a large fleet, seven ships, my command area allows me to move my large fleets and build, and the rest of my tokens are focused in the strategy area to use the secondary abilities on strategy cards.
I have not even discussed space battles, ground battles, the political actions, or objectives and you should be able to tell that Twilight Imperium has a lot to offer each player. Next post, the action from our game, and other elements of the game.