Build Your Fleet

Preview the Tactical Action of Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition


Mecatol Rex is yours for the taking. The very center of the galaxy, a symbol of control and domination is waiting to be claimed in your name. But it won’t come easy—other factions vie for control of the galaxy, and it will take careful strategy and a large armada to successfully defeat your foes.

Today, we’re previewing game setup, the strategy phase, and the tactical action of Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition. Mastering these concepts is vital to success, and will ensure your faction will reign supreme at the end of the game.

Create Your Galaxy

Before the game begins, players will first have to create their own galaxy using a combination of the 51 system tiles found in the game. The Learn to Play included with the game features pre-made setups for first time play that can be used as a quick start, but for a complete set up, players are dealt a hand of galaxy tiles to create their own custom galaxy.

With Mecatol Rex in the center, players take turns placing their tiles in rings around the center of the galaxy. These tiles include everything from resource-rich planets to dangerous ion storms. After three rings have been created, players will attach their faction's home system to the galaxy in front of you. Players will then fill out this final ring, placing harmful anomalies by their opponents' home worlds and plenty of bountiful planets around themselves.

During setup, players will take turns placing planet tiles in a ring pattern, creating their own custom galaxy.

You must also determine how factions will claim dominion over this galaxy through the use of objective cards. Five stage one objectives and five stage two objectives are randomly selected, with only two stage one objectives revealed at the beginning of the game. The rest will slowly be revealed as the game progresses. Each of these objectives provides victory points after they are completed, and the first player to ten victory points will win the game. Each player also receives two secret objective cards, choosing one to keep. This secret objective gives each player an individualized goal that no one else knows, and that helps drive the strategy they will adopt over the course of the game.

Other elements of setup include selecting faction and colors for each player, gathering starting planet cards and randomly determining a player to receive the speaker token. Once this has been done, the game begins in earnest.

Prepare for War

In the strategy phase, players will determine their faction’s specialty for the round by selecting a strategy card. Not only do strategy cards provide a unique ability to use during the round, but are also labeled one through eight to determine player initiative. Starting with the Speaker, players take turns selecting a strategy card for their own use.

Each strategy card also shows an initiative value which will determine turn order.

During the game, players will also receive powerful action cards that can be used to alter the way the game is played. One of these cards is Public Disgrace,  that allows you to deny someone a strategy card.

All Fleets Mobilize

Most the game will take place in the action phase, where players will claim planets, make trades, and even participate in deadly space and ground combat. In initiative order, players take turns performing one action by using command tokens from their faction sheet.

Actions come in three varieties, tactical actions, strategic actions, and component actions. Strategic and component actions will be explored in later previews. In this article, we will focus on the tactical action, your main method of moving, producing, and battling throughout the galaxy.

During your turn, you may use a tactical action by placing a command counter from your tactics pool on a system, “activating” that system. You then have the opportunity to move ships to that system, participate in space combat if another player’s ships are present, invade to claim planets for your own purposes, and produce new ships if one of your space docks is present.

The two command tiles found in the tactics pool can be used to take tactical actions during this player's turn. A small number of tokens are replenished at the end of every round.

You cannot activate a system you have already activated that round, and you are limited to the amount of command tokens you have in your tactics pool.

When determining what ships can move into a system, simply look at their move value on your faction sheet. This value represents the number of tiles this ship can move to get into an activated system. The number of ships that you can have in a system at any given time is determined by the amount of command tokens in your fleet supply pool. If any of your ships have a capacity value, like carriers, you may move ground forces with them to invade planets. When you invade an empty planet, you claim that planet by placing its exhausted planet card in front of you. Planets you own provide both resources to continue expanding your army and influence for the galactic council.

With a move value of two, the cruiser can move to an activated system from two tiles away.

Finally, if a space dock is in the activated system, you can expand your galactic armada by constructing more ships. From the smallest fighter to massive flagships, anything can be built if you have the resources for it. Every ship has a cost, which is how many resources you must use to place the ship in the current activated system. You use resources by turning planet cards you control facedown and gaining resources equal to the resource value found on the card. The more planets you have, the larger the fleet you can create.

The blue player exhausts Starpoint and New Albion to gain four resources, enough to build a dreadnought in the system just activated.

If enemy units are in a system you activate, combat occurs when you both move ships in and when you deploy ground units to a planet. Combat will be examined in depth during a later preview.

The tactical action is essential to conquering the galaxy. Many objectives will require you to claim a certain number of planets, or spend a certain amount of resources or influence that can only be accumulated by expanding your empire.  

Command Your Fleet

Mecatol Rex awaits! Will you be the one to claim the throne and rule the galaxy? Or will your species be among those lost to the annals of history, floating forgotten among the distant stars? Find out with Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition! Remember to pre-order from your local retailer or the Fantasy Flight Games website to get access to exclusive content, including a hardbound rulebook.

Command your fleet and purchase Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition (TI07) from your local retailer when it releases in the third quarter of 2017!

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