At the Heart of the Galaxy
Announcing Rex: Final Days of an Empire, a board game of negotiation and conquest
It was the seventy-third year of the period that historians call the Twilight Wars. The conflict, which had thus far been a string of territorial disputes and border skirmishes, was about to enter a far more deadly phase.
Complacent by their age-old imperial rule, the Lazax had mortally underestimated the severity of the unrest. Failing to heed the true state of affairs, imperial forces had arrogantly been disbursed across the galaxy, engaged in thousands of peacekeeping and policing missions; their strength stretched increasingly thin.
Then, one fateful evening, the Lazax found themselves betrayed. A great Sol fleet, equipped with secret technology, struck violently at the heart of the empire, at the planetary seat of the emperor himself: Mecatol Rex.
With its planetary-shield network compromised by sabotage and centuries of underfunding, with the bulk of its home fleet dispatched to quell a nearby uprising, Mecatol Rex had little protection against the slaughter and devastation that would follow.
The last Lazax emperor and his family were among the first casualties of the Sol bombardment. The methodical destruction of imperial institutions and the vital infrastructure followed in the months thereafter. Throughout the continent-sized city, the ambassadorial contingents of great races quickly entered the fray to further their own interests. Secret caches of arms were opened, and special forces mustered into action. From outsystem, Hacan trading lords deftly flouted the Sol blockade, bringing reinforcements to any surface faction with sufficient coin or influence. Fierce fighting erupted as the convergence of powerful ambitions sought to control the influential real estate of the vast city.
What was once a splendid jewel of civilization and empire would soon dissolve into a smoking nightmare of armed conflict and destruction. It was a dramatic microcosm of the great fire that would engulf the galaxy in the years that followed.
Fantasy Flight Games is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Rex: Final Days of an Empire, a board game of negotiation, betrayal, and warfare. Three to six players will embark to take control of ancient interstellar civilizations competing for dominance of the galaxy’s crumbling capital. Set 3,000 years before the events of Twilight Imperium, Rex: Final Days of an Empire tells the fateful story of once-proud Mecatol City in the months and years following the death of the last Lazax emperor.
A Re-imagined Classic
Rex: Final Days of an Empire is based on a game system originally designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, and Peter Olotka (Cosmic Encounter) and redeveloped for a new audience through the collaborative efforts of Christian T. Petersen (Twilight Imperium, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game), John Goodenough (Tide of Iron), and Corey Konieczka (Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, Runewars).
The original mechanics have been celebrated by the hobby games community for over thirty years, having first appeared in the ancient-Roman themed game Tribute. However, hobby game enthusiasts are more likely to recognize Rex’s core mechanics from Dune, the 1979 Avalon Hill board game based on Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction masterpiece.
A few years ago, when FFG first acquired the rights to this amazing game system (tersely called the “Simultaneous Dial Based Order System”), we sought to also acquire the Dune literary license, in order to create a new edition of the classic Avalon Hill implementation.
However, despite significant effort and outreach, it was not possible for FFG to acquire this license, so instead we decided to use the game system in our own popular Twilight Imperium universe.
From the outset, we did not want to invent a sand-planet in the Twilight Imperium IP nor create a thematic substitute for Dune’s all-important “spice.” In other words, we didn’t want to force-fit the Avalon Hill classic game in our setting. Not only is there no substitute for the wonderful background and qualities of Herbert’s Dune novels as portrayed in Avalon Hill’s Dune game, but we were intent not to force contrived or comprised elements into theTwilight Imperium IP.
Instead, it was important to find a context that would work for Twilight Imperium, one in the which the core game mechanics of the “Simultaneous Dial Based Order System” would be thematically evoked within the TI setting in a natural way.
This was not a difficult challenge. In fact, the system seemed ideal to retell one of the major dramatic narratives of Twilight Imperium: The fall of Mecatol Rex after the last Lazax emperor, and the power struggle for the imperial city that followed. This epic phase in Twilight Imperium history brought all the elements needed to honor the pace and intent of the “Simultaneous Dial Based Order System” and its previous implementations: A nexus of politics and intrigue, an environment of warfare and conflict, bombardments, the struggle for limited resources, and so on.
As the theme for our game quickly crystallized, so did the fact that Rex: Final Days of an Empire would not seek to become a replacement or a “new edition” of its classic predecessor, but a different game, one based in the same core mechanics, one inspired by, but not replicating or replacing, Avalon Hill’s classic Dune.
We hope players will agree we’ve succeeded.
Control the city to rule the galaxy
Rex: Final Days of an Empire begins with the devastating Sol bombardment already in full force and the imperial palace in ruins. Players must quickly seek to control the vital areas of Mecatol City for the advancement of their own civilization. To do so, they must marshal their forces quickly and seek the the support of influential citizens, access to hidden weapon caches, and control of local institutions. They need to muster influence and wealth to smuggle additional troops through the orbiting blockade, to acquire the latest weapon technologies, and to seek support from the rival factions across the content-sized metropolis.
While the orbiting Sol fleet bombs the city relentlessly, players must balance their need for shielded locations with their desire to capture resources, wealth, and control of the city. For millennia, the fate of a million worlds were decided in the hallowed halls of Mecatol Rex. The one to capture the heart of the empire will surely emerge as a great power in the new age ahead.
Rex: Final Days of an Empire offers engaging opportunities for diplomacy, dealmaking, and even betrayal! Players can enter alliances with each other, and each unique race has access to a special abilities that can be of help in such partnerships. But beware: Victory from within an alliance is more difficult to achieve than that of a single player, and a timely betrayal by an ambitious former friend could leave you out in the cold. What’s more, your Leaders may secretly be in the employ of an opponent, so whether on the field of battle or in clandestine negotiations, be careful who you trust.
For more on Rex: Final Days of an Empire, including an overview of its six playable races, visit our Rex: Final Days of an Empire website. Keep checking back in the coming weeks as we offer in-depth previews.