This design notes article for Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition dates back to January 2003, when development on the game was just beginning.
Beyond the roughwarri starcluster.
Far beyond the borderlands.
In the far reaches of the outer rim.
In a forgotten corner of the Serpent’s Eye void.
Below the wastes of a dark and windswept old planet.
Here lies a secret, long buried but not forgotten.
And now it has been found.
An age of twilight shall once more spread across the galaxy. A broken empire shall once more be re-forged. Hidden powers from dark space shall come forth to make an ancient claim. War shall rage across space. Secret treaties, political whispers, and devious murder shall again echo through the halls of the imperial city on Mecatol Rex.
In the late summer of 2004, a Twilight Imperium will rise again.
It has been almost eight years since I published the first edition of Twilight Imperium and with it the kickoff play for Fantasy Flight Games (TI was our first gaming product). To our luck and great fortune, TI came to the gaming market at a time when few board games were being published, and my epic sci-fi conquest-and-politics board game was received in the gaming market like rain in a desert.
The early success of TI is the foundation of all that is FFG today. In our offices, its name is spoken of with respect, and for my part, gratitude.
The first edition would receive the support of three expansions sets: Borderlands, Distant Suns and Twilight Armada. We would go through two printings of the first edition, and as the expansions started selling out, we would start the planning of an ambitious second edition. After much work and redesign, TI2 was finally shipped to the market in the fall of 2000. TI2 instantly became a rock-solid product for FFG. We printed the expansion Hope’s End to support the new edition. Hope’s End is now very difficult to find (I saw a copy being sold on ebay a few weeks ago, and it went for more than $150). As the last of the TI2 inventories were finally depleted in the summer of 2003, we faced a dilemma. What would be the future of TI?
For both financial and creative reasons, a reprint of TI2 was not realistic. Yet I was not about to let our flagship game slip into the graveyard of dead games. TI had maintained a surprisingly strong following through the years, and as soon as TI was sold out, we started receiving emails and phone calls from retailers, distributors and gamers, asking (and sometimes demanding) that we put TI back in print.
Yet I had another plan, a secret plan.
Throughout the last seven years, FFG has sought to improve itself constantly. I hope that this does not come across as a cliché, but we have always sought to make better games, make better components, and create better value for the gamer. This has become especially important with the influx of all the great and popular board games from Germany over the last few years.
With our manufacturing knowledge, skilled staff, and great experience, FFG is positioned to make the definitive edition of Twilight Imperium. Frankly, I am very excited. At last I have within my reach the means and skills to create a version of TI that will equal the vision for the game I had long ago. To me, the design, components, and visuals of TI3 will be a game production for the ages.
So I am hereby proud to announce that in the late summer of 2004, led by myself, FFG will publish a massive new edition of Twilight Imperium. In other words:
Twilight Imperium Third Edition is COMING! [And across cyberspace much excitement was had…]
Into this edition, I will place all my power, all my knowledge, and all my will to dominate all gaming things.
What will be in TI3?
Well, I am glad you asked. The development of TI3 is happening right now, and I do not expect to finish the development and engineering of this game until sometime in April of this year. Here are some of the things that I am working towards (and hope) to put into TI3. Please note that anything mentioned below is a work-in-progress, and will not necessarily be in the final version of TI3.
Further development of the Tech-Tree components and system (from TI2).
Additional flavor and new ways to implement more dynamic racial abilities for each race.
New plastic miniatures. Although the plastic in TI2 was passable, I feel strongly that the plastic spaceships and other components in TI3 need to be of top-notch quality, engineering and design - matching or exceeding anything on the market today.
Better cards. Both TI and TI2 used a non-standard card format with one-color printing.
TI3 will have
1) more cards,
2) full-size cards, and
3) color cards.
Bigger, and more, hexes. I always wanted bigger hexes so that you could fit more units on a hex without it getting cluttered. I also want to include enough hexes in TI3 so that a “5th ring” – and thus an 8 player game – could be played.
Everything included. Races, cards, and rules. As we do not plan any expansions to TI3, I want to include ALL 10 TI races (the original six races plus the Mentak, Yssaril, L1z1x, and the Naalu), as well as all the great optional rules that were found in various expansion sets (including Mines, Distant Suns, Leaders, Capital Planets, assassins, etc).
Some new rules. Over the years I have had a chance to think much about TI as a game, and I plan to change/add a few rules that will make the game better and more streamlined.
New special options. The specifics are secret for now, but I plan to add some new features to TI3 in the form of new options and units. These include new plastic units (the Destroyer and the War Sun), as well as new special rules, and other new components.
Note that this wish-list was outlined before the development of the game was completed and that the final product varies from some of the points above.
This above list gives you an overview of some of the changes that will be finding their way into TI3.
I will try to add design notes, previews of artwork, and other news to this site as often as possible over the next 3-4 months.