|Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition | Published 26 April 2011|
As the war for the galaxy continues, the great races will stop at nothing to claim dominance. Massive Flagships patrol the stars, symbols of their creators’ might and defenders of their interests. On the surfaces of dozens of planets, cutting edge Mechanized Units carry out a never-ending ground war for the resources to sustain their military operations. As the galaxy’s leaders become desperate for anything that will help them gain an advantage, they turn to a last resort: opportunistic mercenaries loyal to no one but themselves. The echoes of a fractured empire resound throughout the stars, but only one race will muster the strength to unite it again.
Shards of the Throne, the upcoming expansion for Twilight Imperium, will soon make your battles for galactic supremacy more epic than ever before. In our last preview, we looked at the optional rules for added political intrigue, and we saw how your choice of a political representative can make all the difference in your dealings with the Galactic Council. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new military units arriving in this versatile expansion, including the lowlife Mercenaries who sell their services to the highest bidder.
On the surface and in the stars
Shards of the Throne features two exciting new units to help you claim the empire. With pieces included in all eight colors (even the grey and orange pieces necessary for compatibility with the Shattered Empire expansion), Mechanized Units and Flagships will bring new strategic options to the war.
Mechanized Units function very much like Ground Forces, but provide a good deal more survivability. Like Ground Forces, they may be transported during the Planetary Landings step and used to control planets. Unlike Ground Forces, these defensive powerhouses have the “sustain damage” ability, allowing them to absorb a single hit before being destroyed!
Flagships, powerful starships with a variety of benefits, represent the pinnacle of a race’s technological abilities. But use yours wisely: not only can each player have only one in use at a time, but every Flagship is different, and has abilities that further differentiate the unique play styles of each of the great races. All Flagships also have varying values for Battle, Movement, and Capacity. The Federation of Sol’s Genesis I, for example, excels at transporting Ground Forces, but its limited movement and below-average Battle rating can leave those forces vulnerable.
To the highest bidder
The new Trade III Strategy Card is designed to replace the Trade or Trade II Strategy Cards, and it brings Mercenaries to your galactic struggle. These freelance captains can lend their skills to your ground forces or your fleet, for a price – the Trade III Strategy Card also requires that each player employing mercenaries pay one Trade Good to keep each Mercenary. But what will you get for your money?
Mercenaries have their combat values, movement, and unique special abilities printed on their individual cards, and their matching double-sided tokens indicate whether they are in space or on a planet’s surface. Their offensive power can be added to that of your other forces when they participate in a Space Battle or Invasion, but a Mercenary cannot defend your claim to a planet alone – if ever it is the only unit on a planet, that planet reverts to normal.
But these cunning captains haven’t survived the war this long by being reckless. All Mercenaries have a new ability called Evasion, a number that represents their ability to avoid incoming attacks. When a player assigns a hit to a Mercenary, he must roll a die. Only on a roll of less than that Mercenary’s Evasion value is the attack successful. Likewise, a Mercenary’s loyalty to his own wallet means he’ll never put himself in harms way just to be a hero. When assigning hits, players must destroy their own units before damaging these self-serving scum!
A leaderless empire is crumbling beneath the weight of ambition and greed. Who will fill the void left by the ill-fated Lazax? Keep checking back for more, and look for Shards of the Throne on store shelves later this quarter!
Twilight Imperium is a board game of galactic politics, trade, and warfare. 3-6 players each control an acclaimed civilization, vying for galactic supremacy through any means necessary. Each civilization provides an entirely different experience with their own individual abilities and play styles. Are you ready for another Age of Twilight?
The text says that flagship is for the Barony, but the symbol on the text side is for Sol. As for Trade 3, again it seems like a card that discourages a player from wanting the primary. Love the council cards and flagships look great, but the Strategy Card options so far are disappointing.
Brings so much more texture to the TI universe. Epic.