We resumed our game and I will resume discussing the game. When two fleets (fleet defined as one or more space ships-carrier, cruiser, destroyer, or dreadnaught) are in the same hex (system) they fight. Fights are divided into several phases and completion of the phases is one turn of fighting. Space battles continue until one side is defeated or retreats. In our game there was a lot of talk of “kicking your ass,” but there was only one space battle which went like this:
- our boy with a dreadnaught and destroyer entered a hex containing a carrier and four fighters of Barb’s. The destroyer attempted to kill off some fighters before the battle started (an ability of destroyers) and failed. Then the battle started, our boy killed one fighter and Barb’s forces with some lucky rolls and an Action Card, destroyed our boy’s fleet.
There were no planetary invasions. Board set-up is going to determine a lot of the “action.” With the exception of the our boy, each us had dense layers of planet filled hexes between each other. This meant instead of having to go look or fight for resources three of us spent our time and resources securing the planets. In effect, a land grab. By the time we meet each other our borders were secure and trade agreements established which de-incentivized warfare.
If there was no war, how did I win? Good question. Before the game starts each player is dealt a secret objective, complete this objective and collect the victory points. For example mine: Capture/Own Mecatol Rex (hex in the center of ALL boards), own three space docks and 5 dreadnaughts; collect 2 Victory Points. During each round of play a public objective card is revealed and as long as you meet the requirements, collect the victory points. Finally, the Imperial Strategy card gives you 2 victory points. First one to 10 victory points at the end of a round wins.
Away from Victory Points, is the political action. Each turn a political card is drawn. For us this resulted in each player voting for or against a law or position. To vote, exhaust (tap) a planet and the influence of the planet is the number of votes OR spend trade units for influence (1 for 1 ratio). Laws in our game ranged from, one person gained a bonus to fighter combat as long as they produced fighters every turn, that did not last long. Another law, made new action cards public and the person with the highest influence chose the one they wanted on down the line of influence.
Roughly 1,00o words later and I have only scratched the surface of what can be done in a game of Twilight Imperium. Because there are 8 species to choose from the way a game plays is going to depend on who is in play. In our game I was the Federation of Sol (humans), species ability: produce ground troops and 1 extra command token each turn. Our girl was the Hacon, species ability: trade action cards, rarely if ever lose a trade agreement. Our boy, the Jol, species ability: -1 to combat, but gain technology at twice the rate of other species. Barb, the Naluu, species ability: always go first. Just imagine if there had been a warrior species involved in our game.
So how did I win? I did not, I was given the win. Seriously. I completed my secret objective, played the Imperial Strategy Action, and qualified for four public objectives. This left me at 8 victory points. However, I was nowhere near completing any other public objectives and as long as they kept the Imperial Strategy Action out of my hands I could not use that to win. They did not. It passed into my hands, much to my surprise and the Federation of Sol won.
Final word: Twilight Imperium is a deep game. Not a complex game, each of the mechanics is easy to complete and the rules are very clear. The biggest issue is how much you can do and planning each turn and two turns ahead to be able to do them. Our children 10 and 7 did not have any problems completing individual actions, such as purchasing units or moving ships. They struggled with the length of play (we broke our game into two round sections-two rounds then take a break) and they struggled with the immense amount of actions they had available. With some guidance, they did fine and made their own way through the game.