Twilight Imperium is a 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) tabletop game with a history stretching back over 20 years. The Third Edition of the game released over a decade ago and has had several expansions over the course of its life. Players take on the role of one of seventeen distinct factions in a hex-based galaxy map in a quest to be the first to reach ten victory points by completing objectives.
The base game of Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition makes for quite a hefty box. It includes 50 plastic units, 51 system tiles, 561 command and control tokens, 80 action cards, 50 agenda cards, 40 objective cards, 59 planet cards, 184 technology and technology upgrade cards, 41 promissory note cards, and more. These various bits and pieces are used by 3-6 players, each of whom takes command of one of the game's seventeen unique factions. Each faction has its own distinct abilities that make for varying styles of gameplay.
Twlight Imperium Fourth Edition makes use of a hex-based map to represent a galaxy where players will be moving around. You can colonize planets, organize trade deals, research technology, mobilize your fleets, and complete a number of other actions in your quest to attain victory. Much like any 4X game you would play on a PC, Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition requires a careful balance of diplomacy and hostility with your fellow players. It may be advantageous to help someone one turn and even more advantageous to stab them in the back the following turn.
Victory is achieved by accumulating ten victory points; these are awarded by completing objectives. At the outset of a game, ten public objectives are placed on the table. Most of the public objectives are hidden at the outset of the game; the remainder of the cards are revealed during successive turns. Players will also begin the game with two secret objectives that are known only to them. A player may claim one public objective and one secret objective per turn. A game of this complexity might mean that certain situations are untenable, and that difficulty is countered nicely by the gradual addition of more secret objectives throughout the course of the game.
We've only touched on the broad strokes of the complexity of the game; there's much more to it including researching technology, discovering lost relics, and trying to reclaim the seat of the lost empire of Mecatol Rex. Veterans of the franchise are directed to the product page of the game by Fantasy Flight Games to get an idea of the changes (although, at the time of publishing the information has not yet been filled out in detail). Fantasy Flight Games states that Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition is aiming to be the "most complete version of the game ever printed."
Pre-orders for the game are available right now via Fantasy Flight's official website or your local tabletop retailer. The pre-order version of the game will have some nice bonuses as compared to the retail version: The rule books will be bound into a single hardback volume and you'll also receive two 11" x 17" art prints. Pre-order copies are limited in supply, so if you want to get your hands on one it's best to act fast. Fantasy Flight Games will also be present at Gen Con 50 where players will be able to get their first look at the latest iteration of this 4X game - and some lucky players will even be able to demo it.
Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition will release sometime in the fourth quarter of 2017 for $149.99 or your regional equivalent.
What do you think of Fantasy Flight Games finally announcing Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition? What changes and improvements do you hope the latest edition of the game will be making? Will you be pre-ordering the game or will you wait to pick up a retail copy? Let us know in the comments below!