News for April 2011
Reconvening the Galactic Council 18
A preview for Shards of the Throne, an upcoming Twilight Imperium expansion
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition | Published 04 April 2011


The shouting reached a deafening clamor in the chamber of the Galactic Council, and representatives from across the galaxy could be seen gesticulating wildly as they struggled to be heard above the noise. At the center of the room stood the distinguished councilor from the Mentak Coalition, stifling a smug grin. It was his inflammatory speech that had ignited the room’s outrage, exactly as he had planned. His diversion was flawless; not even the futile banging of the Speaker’s gavel could be detected above the ruckus. How, then, could anyone have heard when the hired assassin made his move, or heard the pained scream of his dying rival?

As the war for galactic domination grows ever more dangerous, so too does the once civil discourse of the Galactic Council. Prepare yourself for tense negotiation, shady compromises, and underhanded backstabbing. Welcome back to the Twilight Imperium!

With the recent announcement of Shards of the Throne, the upcoming expansion for Twilight Imperium, the Galactic Council will reconvene in an atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust. War is escalating all across the galaxy, and there are important matters to attend to. However, the council is quickly becoming a deadlier battleground than the war-torn stars above. Today, we’ll take a look at the new political procedures put into place with Shards of the Throne.

Have a Seat, Councilors

Shards of the Throne introduces several new concepts to the political system of Twilight Imperium. Players looking for even more opportunities for negotiation will find plenty of welcome additions when using the new Political Intrigue option.

The first main addition Shards of the Throne adds to this phase of the game is the alternate Political II Strategy card (or Assembly II if using the Variant Strategy cards from Shattered Empire). When using this new Variant Strategy card, players begin the game with their respective Representative cards and Promissory Note cards (as discussed below). When resolving the primary ability of the Political II Strategy card, the active player chooses an available Political card to resolve, and then each player performs the following:

  1. Choose Representatives
  2. Resolve Spies
  3. Resolve Bargaining and Promissory Notes
  4. Resolve Voting and Outcome
  5. Draw new Political card (active player only)

Bargaining and Blades

Each of the seventeen races (including those from the Shattered Empire expansion) will receive three Representative cards to use with the Political Intrigue option. These Representatives can provide players with bonus votes when they are sent to the Galactic Council. They may also have one or more of the following traits:

  • Spy: Spies are revealed before other Representatives, and resolve their abilities during the Resolve Spies step. Spies target other Representatives with assassinations and other game effects.
  • Bodyguard: Bodyguards cannot be assassinated and often have certain effects when targeted by a Spy.
  • Councilor: Councilors are Representatives sent to vote in the Galactic Council. They generally have more bonus votes than Spies or Bodyguards, but are more vulnerable to agressive cards and abilities.

Choosing the right Representatives for your political goals is essential for a successful political maneuver. While Councilors offer those tempting bonus votes, they can easily be silenced by a cleverly deployed spy, permanently eliminating them from the game. How much do you trust your fellow politicians?

Promises, Promises

In addition to these crafty Representatives, players are also armed with Promissory Notes, which can be used to sweeten whatever deal they are offering their opponents.

Whereas deals in Twilight Imperium (for Trade Goods or other favors) are generally non-binding, Promissory Note cards represent contracts that force the recipient to vote in favor of the player giving the note. Promissory Notes can be played later by the recipient, compelling the giver to abide by whatever “favor” is printed on the card. These favors range from forcing the original owner of the Promissory Note to retreat from a battle with the recipient, to handing over all of his Trade Goods. Clearly, Promissory Notes can haunt you for the rest of the game, so be careful with whom you deal!

But even as a race’s councilor offers his hand in peace and friendship, his planet’s interstellar fleet, led by a massively destructive flagship, can wreak havoc in the stars above. Check back next time when we look at some of the new units in Shards of the Throne.

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?

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Comments (18)

Published: 5/11/2011 3:41:58 PM

 I love how they're making each race more unique with reps, techs, and flagships. It's nice to have something the guy next to you doesn't. 

Published: 4/15/2011 10:27:40 PM

It looks like the game will have somekind of a set of politics to be chosen from.. and also theres a good posibility thats you are going to buy something around 3 politics and choose one of them.This way this card could be better, and also , with the other races having a chance in politics with the "emissaries" .

Another point it looks missing is the use of the emissaries , for me they should be used once until the 3 are used, unless the politic will be less predictable.

Published: 4/7/2011 2:12:22 PM

Loooks like it will be a set of political cards to be chosen everytime, and by the way it looks .. also when drawing a new politic card is going to be with choices(may be something like draw 3 and choose one) . Making politics more strategic.... the drawback is that the emissaries should make races that usually arent good to the politics participative. In on point of view , this could mean that for the more political races having somekind of balance in the battlefields (may be the capital ship do the job).

Anyway i already pré-ordered it :p

Fabricator General
Published: 4/6/2011 9:32:57 AM

I'd like to see the text on the Assembly II card as it is sure to be more robust and engaging than this Political II card shown on this news item. 

I like the direction and new challenges that Shards will bring to the game.  It can't be released soon enough!

We play with the SE strategy cards and they make the game much more tense and engaging.   The last game we played, there were only 2 combats, but we spent half the time politiking with our neighbors.

Published: 4/5/2011 9:38:08 PM

Im looking foward for assembly II , since i only play with the cards from the expansion :-) The only drawback is the time it puts in one already long game... but only playing to see how mutch  it changes the game.

Published: 4/5/2011 9:36:18 PM

I wait foward to see Assembly II  since i always play with the politics from de expansion... The only drawback of this, is put more time in the game. Even looking that politics been more present with that.. maybe some new politic cards to change the ones already existing can be a great addiction!

Anyway i cant wait for this expansion!! Since theres a lot of friends wanting to play it .. :-)

Published: 4/5/2011 7:08:55 PM

""I don't know why you'd want to choose this SC. Getting to pick which political card is voted on is nice, but Assembly does that with other bonuses. Original Political you get bonuses and get to pick the *next* card voted on. I love the new mechanics it adds, but there's pretty much no incentive to pick this SC until there's several bonus counters on it. Unless there's something left off this preview, my group will have to make a house rule for a little incentive, or there will only be 1 or 2 votes in a game.""

My thoughts exactly...I see us using the old cards with the "new Representative" system. Or some remodelling should be in order...Also there will be a slight problem with ppl using the classis strategy cards. Since the only SC's that provide CC's are Political and Logistics

Published: 4/5/2011 5:40:48 PM

I don't know why you'd want to choose this SC.  Getting to pick which political card is voted on is nice, but Assembly does that with other bonuses.  Original Political you get bonuses and get to pick the *next* card voted on.  I love the new mechanics it adds, but there's pretty much no incentive to pick this SC until there's several bonus counters on it.  Unless there's something left off this preview, my group will have to make a house rule for a little incentive, or there will only be 1 or 2 votes in a game.

Published: 4/5/2011 2:21:09 PM

 So, the apparent bonus of the player who selects the diplomacy strategy card as it's primary for this turn is to pick the political card... but if you open a card after every turn, that's not a significant advantage. Can you elaborate on the mechanics? Are we going to open several cards at the start of the game? Is there another mechanic that you didn't go into? As it stands, by itself, it seems a rather weak choice as a card.

Published: 4/5/2011 10:03:15 AM

HOT!! The most important question: when will it be on sale? Because I need it!

Published: 4/5/2011 6:04:14 AM

This is awesomeness on a whole new level.

Published: 4/5/2011 5:09:37 AM

I have just read this and nearly had some kind of episode!

Just when I thought my wallet wouldn't have a Fantasy Flight receipt in it for a month or two... damn you and your addictive games!

Hurry up and release it already!

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