News for January 2012
How The Mighty Have Fallen 25
A preview of Rex, a board game of diplomacy, conquest, and betrayal
Rex: Final Days of an Empire | Published 11 January 2012

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. But will their considerable wealth and remaining influence over their own city prove enough to repel this assault and reaffirm their power?

In August, we announced the upcoming release of Rex, a board game of negotiation, betrayal, and warfare for three to six players. Set 3,000 years before the events of Twilight Imperium, Rex tells the fateful story of once-proud Mecatol City in the months and years following the death of the last Lazax emperor.

Although the ferocity and swiftness of the Sol assault took them by surprise, the well entrenched Lazax were able to muster considerable political and military support for a subsequent resistance. Today’s preview will examine some of the core mechanics of Rex, and how its warring factions struggle to acquire much-needed influence in the midst of a chaotic urban conflict. And while Rex’s six unique races feature special abilities that make each a viable candidate for victory, we will focus on the benefits of the Lazax. Their centuries-old mastery of the city makes them the faction best suited to accumulate and wield influence, even as they desperately cling to power.

The support of a city

Influence is a game currency that represents hidden weapons caches, political support, and other resources (both tangible and intangible) as found in Mecatol City. In the context of the game’s mechanics, influence is essential; it is used to “purchase” a wide range of necessary assets:

  • Early in each round, players bid influence to acquire Strategy cards. These weapons and tactics provide a variety of bonuses and are often used during battle.
  • Given the Hacan-enabled blockage in the airspace over Mecatol City, troop deployment demands a considerable commitment of resources. Influence must be spent whenever a player wishes to move units from his reserve onto the board.
  • Over the course of the game, dozens of destroyed leaders and units will be sent to the casualty pool. Influence can be spent to recruit their replacements.

Future previews will provide details on Strategy cards, combat, and troop deployment. For now, suffice it to say that influence is a vastly important element of Rex. Players will want to acquire it whenever possible, as running out will bring a faction’s military endeavors screeching to a halt. But how does one go about accumulating the most influence?

The spoils of war

The moment the dust from the Sol fleet’s opening salvo settled and the bleak recognition of its implications set in, the savviest leaders in Mecatol City started planning. In the confusion, which of the city’s remaining locations would be safest? Most profitable? Most politically vital? With each faction seeking to further its own agenda, the struggle ensued for dominance of the city.

Gaining influence in Rex is a matter of controlling influential locations. The icon to the right indicates an influence-producing area, which can potentially generate these all-important tokens based on the results of a card draw at the start of each round. By maneuvering into an area in which influence has been placed (then surviving any subsequent battles against contenders for the area), a faction can lay claim to two influence per unit controlled in the area, per round.

But beware! The Sol dreadnought fleet continually sweeps Mecatol Rex from orbit, systematically bombing entire sectors of the city and annihilating unprotected armies and influence alike with impunity (Check back to learn more about this relentless bombardment in a future preview). This creates a unique challenge: how can a faction collect the most influence while simultaneously avoiding the fiery wrath of the orbiting attackers? Leaders must maneuver their forces out from under the protection of shielded districts, engage their enemies in combat, lay claim to whatever resources they can, and escape back to safety, all before grim death rains from above!

Influence cards like the one on the left are drawn at the start
of each round, instructing players to place Influence tokens on
one or more of the board’s areas, like the one on the right.

Paying them their due

Given these obstacles to wealth, it is helpful to have additional means of income. The Lazax maintain substantial political clout, as exemplified by a special ability that ensures that they seldom lack influence. Whenever another player wins a bid for a Strategy card (a process we will examine more closely in our next preview), he must pay the Lazax player rather than returning the spent influence to the influence pool.

The Lazax Empire’s Race sheet.
Click to enlarge.

Not only does this mean a healthy influx of resources, but it gives the Lazax player plenty of leverage when bidding for new technologies or tactics. The wealthy Lazax player can confidently “bid up” the price for a Strategy card, satisfied in the knowledge that his position is win-win. Either he wins the card he was after, or he loses the auction... but collects valuable influence from the winner.

As the Lazax race sheet also indicates, these ancient leaders of the galaxy have access to another unique asset: Mechanized units. With double the combat effectiveness of standard units, Mechanized units provide a indisputable advantage on the battlefield, and with the resources to field them quickly, the Imperial Lazax remain a forced to be reckoned with.

Check back for more on Rex in the coming weeks, and look for it to bombard your local retailer in the first quarter of 2012!

Rex is a board game of diplomacy, conquest, and betrayal in which 3–6 players take control of great interstellar civilizations, competing for dominance of the galaxy’s crumbling imperial 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 exciting opportunities for diplomacy, deception, and tactical mastery.

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Comments (25)

Published: 1/31/2012 6:29:48 PM


I find the Twilight Imperium setting the most interesting also for an RPG.  I'd love someone to write a TI sourcebook for GURPS.

Published: 1/31/2012 6:22:40 PM


I did, too.

Ajax/Hesh 60563.3791.34321
Published: 1/16/2012 10:35:28 AM

What's bad in negativity and evilness? ^_^

Beside of  personal tastes, I'm really glad to know Rex is alive and on its way to us all. I'm also a little bit frightened by FFG latest exploits related to the TI setting (Shards of the Throne turned out to be quite disappointing), but let's wait for the Official Rules before giving up hope.

About the RPG: I've got a suggestion. Run a Dark Heresy/ Deathwatch campaign, stumble into a couple of Xeno Civilzations of your choice (the Emirates of Kittens are a good option, even if I personally despise the Goblin Tribes) and just kick the crap out of them all. Xenos dead, shake hands, end of it all, hurray!

Published: 1/15/2012 5:33:34 AM


yes. a rpg would be fine. IMO the grafic layout of the TI setting is vagule inspired by famous Mobius and other french comic book artists, so it really appeals to me. I wish I had the opportunity to buy the old rpg, but its nearly impossible to get one nowadays. The only book to buy is a sourcebook about metacol rex. I would really love to see a new edition of the setting with details of the colourful planets and races of TI. At the moment its theoretically the most interesting Scifi setting out there for me. WH40k is too negative and evil, Star Wars is too childish, Traveller is too "technical" etc. Only Twilight Imperium has the right mix.

Published: 1/14/2012 6:09:04 PM


There has been at least one book if not more out for a Twilight Imperium Roleplaying Game for a looooong time. Though I haven't seen them since, but I got a copy off eBay. But I guess it's not unlikely that it could be reinvented. Would be awesome with some serious source material and the artwork FFG can afford nowadays.

Published: 1/13/2012 1:50:51 PM

It's hard to say what the board will look like art wise from the small shots we've seen of it. All the artwork we've seen so far looks amazing so I'm guessing the board won't disappoint.

The different pathways on the board will sure to lead to some interesting tactical choices during game play. 

I'm really looking forward to this, it's definitely at the top of my list!



Published: 1/13/2012 10:55:41 AM


Have been looking forward to this game, but for a board where you have to place units, the AH map is terrible.  Especially with the asymetrical/wonky layout.

Seriously.  It's SciFi.  Where's the theme?  Surely there's no licence on having a giant planetary map.

So sad :( Was looking forward to this.

Published: 1/13/2012 10:43:26 AM

The setting background is fleshed out more and more. When does the Twilight Imperium: The roleplaying game, come out? Would be interesting for many people.

Published: 1/12/2012 5:40:56 AM

I, for one, love the map.

Published: 1/12/2012 4:30:07 AM

Map reminds me a little bit of the galaxy map of "Emperor of the Fading Suns".

Published: 1/12/2012 2:34:32 AM

I'm agree with the comment below Torquato.

The layout of the map remind me Arkham Horror, and it layout is the only thing I don't like about this game now.

It look messy with a lot of line that connect to each other in a confusing way, even the line itself feel unstable and shift somewhere to be noticeable, and of all above it look CHEAP.....(which I don't think it should not happend anymore for any of Fantasy Flight Game now)

The other artwork is fine and impressive for me,

somehow I kind of sad that they don't show the picture of military unit first l ; P

Published: 1/12/2012 2:25:08 AM

 Did anybody else thought that they mixed up the picture of the board with a picture of a Arkham Horror Extension? I know, a graph is a graph, no matter how its layout is, but a real map would feel more wargame like.

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