The Age of Twilight began with a small conflict over the Quann passage. What then seemed a minor dispute was to become the first drop in the flood of war. From Quann, a thousand skirmishes and disputes quickly erupted across the galaxy. The ruling Lazax desperately sought to maintain their disintegrating imperial authority, disbursing their forces far and wide. It was all in vain. Centuries-old secret ambitions and ancient grudges had finally found their outlet, as race rose up against race in the name of sovereignty, rebellion, and self-defense.
The final days of the Lazax Empire began in the seventy-third year of the Twilight Wars, when without warning, the Federation of Sol led a deadly assault directly on Mecatol Rex, the capital planet of the empire itself. A climactic struggle for control of the imperial city followed, fought as much with diplomacy and deception as with troops and starships.
This is the story of that struggle.
Rex: Final Days of an Empire is a board game of negotiation, betrayal, and warfare in which three to six players take control of great interstellar civilizations, competing for dominance of the galaxy’s capital city. Set 3,000 years before the events of Twilight Imperium, Rex tells the story of the last days of the Lazax Empire, while presenting players with compelling asymmetrical racial abilities and a myriad of opportunities for diplomacy and deception.
Negotiation, Betrayal, and Warfare
In Rex: Final Days of an Empire, players vie for control of vital locations across a sprawling map of the continent-sized Mecatol City. Only by securing three key locations (or more, when allied with other factions) can a player assert dominance over the heart of a dying empire.
Unfortunately, mustering troops in the face of an ongoing Sol blockade is difficult at best (unless, of course, you are the Federation of Sol or its faithless ally, the Hacan, who supply the blockading fleet). Savvy leaders must gather support from the local populace, uncover hidden weapon caches, and acquire control over key institutions. Mechanically, this means players must lay claim to areas that provide influence, which is then “spent” to (among other things) smuggle military forces through the orbiting Sol blockade. Those forces will be needed to seize the key areas of the city required to win the game. From the moment the first shot is fired, players must aggressively seek the means by which to turn the conflict to their own advantage.
While the great races struggle for supremacy in the power vacuum of a dead emperor, massive Sol warships execute their devastating bombardments of the city below. Moving systematically, the Federation of Sol’s fleet of warships wreaks havoc on the planet’s surface, targeting great swaths of the game board with their destructive capabilities. Only the Sol’s own ground forces have forewarning of the fleet’s wrath; all others must seek shelter in the few locations with working defensive shields...or be obliterated in the resulting firestorm.
Although open diplomacy and back-door dealmaking can often mitigate the need for bloodshed, direct combat may prove inevitable. When two or more opposing forces occupy the same area, a battle results. Each player’s military strength is based on the sum total of troops he is willing to expend, along with the strength rating of his chosen leader. A faction’s leaders can therefore be vitally important in combat... but beware! One or more of your Leaders may secretly be in the employ of an enemy, and if your forces in combat are commanded by such a traitor, defeat is all but assured. So whether on the field of battle or the floor of the Galactic Council, be careful in whom you place your trust.
All this, along with a host of optional rules and additional variants, means that no two games of Rex: Final Days of an Empire will play exactly alike. Contributing further to replayability is the game’s asymmetrical faction abilities, each of which offer a unique play experience.
Six Great Races, Six Vastly Different Experiences
Six great races vie for control of Mecatol City, each with its own agenda and strategies.
Ancient and benevolent founders of the Galactic Council and rulers of the galaxy for over 24,000 years, the mighty Lazax could not, for all their knowledge, foresee the Sol incursion that would herald their final days. Nevertheless, the established power of the galaxy and the masters of Mecatol Rex are not easily forced aside. Leaderless, under siege, their forces in disarray, the Lazax still claim substantial advantage in exploiting the influence and loyalty of their capital city. In this way, the Lazax player collects the most influence during the game, even receiving that spent by other players for certain cards. But will their considerable wealth and remaining influence over their own city prove enough to repel this assault and reaffirm their power?
It was the Federation of Sol that fired the famous first shot in the Quann conflict, ushering in the Age of Twilight. Now, seventy-three years later, it is the Federation once again who leads the direct blow against the heart of their imperial masters. Versatile and ambitious, humans represent the most numerous and diverse species in the galaxy, and they have brought their considerable resources and daring to bear in their attack of Mecatol City. Since Sol forces continue to land throughout the assault, they can reinforce more readily than any other race. What’s more, the humans alone boast protection against the constant bombardment of their orbiting fleet.
The gatekeepers of science and technology, the Jol-Nar hold a subtle, but increasingly ambitious, power over the Imperium. Many of the most advanced technological devices in the galaxy have components conceived in Jol-Nar laboratories, and only their inventors fully understand the complexity of some designs. Historically, the Hylar had employed a subtle, nuanced passivity to the political machinations of the empire. Yet, in recent centuries, their territorial ambitions and pride has grown. Despite their professed allegiance to the Lazax, only the Jol-Nar could have, in direct violation of Lazax directive, provided Sol access to the advanced mass-drives that powered the attacking fleet. Other than the Lazax planetary defense forces, only the Jol-Nar would have had limitless access to the thousands of planetary shield-systems that failed just prior to the attack. With Mecatol City in a state of political and military upheaval, the Jol-Nar find themselves in an intriguing position; they are masters of information, and wield their authority over all things technological to whatever ends they desire. With this insight, the Jol-Nar have advance knowledge of upcoming opportunities, the best locations to gain influence, and even the military decisions of their opponents!
Once a race of impoverished and disorganized tribes, the Hacan people have since grown to establish the most advanced commercial infrastructure in the galaxy. Shrewdly identifying an opportunity and seeking to further advance their trade interests through political leverage, the Emirates of Hacan negotiated a tentative alliance with the Federation of Sol, agreeing to support the humans in their assault of Mecatol City. Even as this strained relationship deteriorates, the Emirates’ authority over transit gives them unsurpassed logistical capabilities, and the chance to make significant profits in supplying and reinforcing the factions fighting on the surface of Mecatol Rex.
The wise and peaceful Xxcha mustered all their diplomatic energies to avoid to the outbreak of the Twilight Wars, but in the wake of pent-up aggression and ambition among the great races, their efforts proved tragically futile. Now, with war and devastation engulfing the heart of the empire, the Xxcha must look towards the future, to a time when they can offer their counsel to a new galactic leader...or perhaps lead themselves. Their ambassadors must now focus on building a relationship with the faction most likely to achieve victory. But in such an uncertain and multifaceted conflict, how can the Xxcha possibly predict a winner?
The proud cruel Letnev have always been the most vocal dissenters to imperial control, and it was their blockade of the Quann wormhole that ignited the Twilight Wars. Even as their bellicose cries for territory and due tithe is heard across many a sector, and as their black warships bristle with hostile intent on the borders of frightened freeworlds, the sly Letnev maintain one of the most efficient spy and assassin networks in the galaxy. It was from their own spies the Barony learned of the daring Sol plans to attack Mecatol attack with Jol-Nar assistance. From their shadowy chambers deep beneath the blackened surface of Arc Prime, the Baron and his councillors set to work in secretly paying bribes and amassing weapons on Mecatol Rex, readying themselves for the days of chaos for which they had so long awaited. As Sol forces finally struck, two entire divisions of Letnev warriors emerged to seize control of the Mecatol Shipyards, where they has been secretly hiding in bulky merchant ships, awaiting the day of doom to come. Now, with the Sol offensive of Mecatol City in full force, the Letnev are well placed seize power for themselves.
The emperor is dead, and the final days of the Lazax empire seem at hand. Surely, the one who controls the capital will influence the fate of the galaxy in the dark years to come. Will you seize the shining opportunity that lies among the chaos and ashes? Will you emerge to control what was once the heart of the empire, and surely will be again?
|14+||3 - 6 ||2-3 hrs |
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The copyrightable portions of Rex: Final Days of an Empire are © 2012 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Twilight Imperium and Rex: Final Days of an Empire are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.