Maximum Firepower

Preview the Deadly Combat of Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition


A game of Twilight Imperium won’t be waged in peace. Even the best diplomat’s negotiations will break down. Truces are tenuous at best and the allure of alliances will soon give way to the greed of conquest. In other words, combat will occur on your way to galactic domination, and your foes won’t go down without a fight. Most will have to be taught of your dominance through the overwhelming force of your armada and the skill of your infantry.

Today, we’re previewing combat in Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition—for when diplomacy fails, there is nothing more comforting than a battle-ready fleet at your back.

Ships of Destruction

Space combat occurs during a tactical action—when you move ships into a system containing another player’s ships.

Combat sees players rolling ten-sided dice provided with the game. Rolling an appropriate value or higher translates to devastating hits to an opponent’s ships. Players will roll one die for every ship involved in combat and every ship has a “combat” value; if the corresponding die roll is equal to or higher than the ship's combat value, one “hit” is produced. After hits are totaled, each player assigns those they have suffered against their choice of ships within their fleet. Most ships will be wiped from the galaxy with one hit. Some, like the sturdy dreadnought and war sun, can sustain damage, and can be tipped on their side to cancel a hit. If one more hit is assigned to them, they are then destroyed.

In this round of combat, the red player rolls a seven while the yellow player rolls a five. Since cruisers have a combat value of seven, the red player gains one hit while the yellow player gains none. The yellow player is then forced to assign that hit to their cruiser, wiping their forces out of the system. 

After hits are assigned, a new round of rolling starts. However, at the start of a new round, players have the opportunity to announce a retreat. The round happens as normal, but at the end, anyone who announced a retreat may move to an adjacent system with other ships they control, ending the battle.

If no one retreats, battle continues until one of the sides is completely wiped out. If the attacker wins, they move on to the invasion step of the tactical action. If there are no enemy forces on the invaded planets, the player simply places his infantry into the system, claiming the planets for their own. If the enemy does have infantry on the ground, ground combat occurs. The active player’s larger ships get the opportunity to bombard the planet below, pummeling their opponent's forces before troops even land. Whoever is left standing engages in ground combat.

It's possible combat will end with every ship destroyed, leaving the cold silence of space in their wake.

Ground combat is similar to space combat, without the option of a retreat. Players will roll dice representing their infantry units, with rolls equal to or above the unit's combat value generating a hit, just like space combat. At the end of the round, hits remove ground units from the board until one side is completely wiped out.

Ground Forces have a combat value of eight or higher. In this round of combat, the red player has rolled two hits while the yellow player has rolled one, reducing both of their forces for the next round.


Supporting Fire

The Construction strategy card allows players to construct PDS units on their planets, units which allow for extra defense for the entire system. Prior to space combat, PDS units in the activated system get one free die roll against the active player; if the roll is equal to or greater than the combat value of the PDS, the invading player assigns one hit to their invading forces. Other means of defense include certain ships’ anti-fighter barrage, which allows you to roll hits against fighters before combat begins, and planetary shields, protecting your troops from bombardment.

Players can also use action cards during combat to influence the outcome. A player may choose to have a unit sustain damage to keep their forces at full strength, but must always be wary of a Direct Hit from their opponent. Furthermore, an attacking player should always be wary of a surprise Parley when they try to overrun a planet.

Your fleet will consist of cruisers, carriers, fighters, and destroyers, but few ships stand up to the outright devastation that can be wrought with mighty dreadnought. With a combat value of five, the dreadnought will consistently deliver hits while being able to sustain damage. It is also ripe for upgrading, with the potential to turn into a truly efficient weapon of war. Though they are expensive to construct, dreadnoughts provide the backbone of your fleet.

Of course no ship can come close to matching the power of the deadly war sun. Not only does the war sun have a combat value of three, making it the most consistent agent of destruction in the game, it also rolls three separate dice to determine hits. A single war sun can face down entire armadas on its own and come out victorious on the other side. There is one catch though—it must be fully researched using the Technology strategy card before it can be unleashed upon the galaxy, but the time and resources are almost always worth it.

While cruisers aren’t the deadliest ship in the galaxy, they start the game with a base movement value of two, making them excellent vanguards for your fleet. Carriers can bring the weight of attrition to bear; with a capacity of six, they can ferry ground units to planets ripe for the taking or swarm the blackness of space with lethal fighters.

Fighters have a high combat value of nine, but are cheap to produce and make for great fodder in large scale battles, keeping your larger ships safe for future combat rounds. Be on the lookout for destroyers though, whose anti-fighter barrage can help weed through squads of fighters to get to the larger ships of your fleet.

To build a successful fleet, these ships will be necessary to cover weaknesses and lead the galaxy into a new age of twilight.

The Fires of War

Combat is just one of the facets that will contribute to your faction’s unending march towards Mecatol Rex. Though diplomacy, politics, and technological research will be important, knowing the ins-and-out of combat is essential to dominating your foes. Build your fleet and prepare to overrun your enemies with military might! Be sure to pre-order Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition from your local retailer or here on the Fantasy Flight Games website for access to exclusive pre-order items!

Dive into war and purchase Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition (TI07) from your local retailer in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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