News for April 2011
Heavy Firepower 26
A preview of Shards of the Throne, the upcoming Twilight Imperium expansion
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?

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Comments (26)

Published: 4/27/2011 10:33:43 AM

 I think the flagship's text is very clear and self explanetory. It can carry 3 fighters, plus an unlimited number of ground units - which, no, isn't that overpowered considering you can only have one such ship and it cost as much as a war sun.  

Published: 4/27/2011 9:37:32 AM

Von Karma - "any number of ground troops" sound a bit overpowered to me. I'd guess it's your first alternative - three of each type.

Old Guard Trooper
Published: 4/27/2011 9:34:07 AM

My question about the Genesis I is what about the shock troop from Shattered Empire? Will they count on the capacity or benefit from the same "Does not count towards it's capacity" like the grounde force. After all, Shock troop are elite ground force.

Von Karma
Published: 4/27/2011 8:53:56 AM

 Wait, question about the Sol flagship; how many ground troops can it carry if they don't count towards its unit capacity? Would it be capped at three ground troops, but then could carry three fighters as well? Or could it carry three fighters and any number of ground troops?

Published: 4/27/2011 4:17:21 AM

What I wonder is how many kinds of Flagship card per race?

It will be awesome if they have more than 1 kind per race! : D


The tank is quiet so so... I think that they should have more effect than this but...

As I expect that it may turn out to be something like ground force.

Hey! may be they have some new Technolgy card for them? who know, right? : )

Published: 4/26/2011 8:06:59 PM

"if ever it is the only unit on a planet, that planet reverts to normal."

Is this a special function of the mercenary? Planets don't usually revert once empty of units. I hope we don't have to keep paying them if they're sponsoring rebellions on our planets!

Published: 4/26/2011 7:04:16 PM

Sirjonsnow-- yeah, I understand.  I was just commenting that on the actual Genesis I Flagship card, "Sustain Damage" is listed above the special ability text.  Looked like an error in that the title of the special ability text would/should be above it. 

For example, maybe the title should be Super Troopers (I kid) b/c that fits the ability.  But they may just not be giving the abilities titles and every Flagship card will have "Sustain Damage" above the ability text.  Although, I think the admin below was agreeing with me on BOTH errors.

Published: 4/26/2011 6:39:57 PM

Twentytwelve - sustain damage is the ability of all Dreadnaughts and War Suns to take a hit without being destroyed.  Mech units get it and I wouldn't be surprised if all Flagships do as well.

Published: 4/26/2011 6:27:10 PM

Oops, I missed that only the Primary player could hire Mercs!  I read too fast and combined that sentence with the previous one that applies to all players.

Published: 4/26/2011 6:26:49 PM

Wow! This looks great. Seeing all this really makes me wish the TI rpg had caught on. 

Published: 4/26/2011 5:54:36 PM

Perhaps Genesis I is the Sol's Flagship?  The name and ability fits it better.  Also, the Flagship's special ability name is "Sustain Damage" which is the same name for the Mechanized Units ability.  Seems like an error to me, as well.

[ADMIN: Yes, that was an error, and the Genesis is indeed Sol's Flagship. The article has been corrected. Thanks!]

Published: 4/26/2011 5:52:40 PM

can'y wait..but when is the release date?

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