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Rating: 8.1 Very Good
Players: 3-6 players
Playing time: 240-480 minutes

Official Site: Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)

Created by: Dane Beltrami, Corey Konieczka, Christian T. Petersen, Scott Schomburg

Published by: Fantasy Flight Games, Asmodee, Asterion Press

Alternate Names: Twilight Imperium 4e Édition, Twilight Imperium: Cuarta Edición, Twilight Imperium: IV edycja


Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) is a game of galactic conquest in which three to six players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining.

Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. These seventeen races are offered many paths to victory, but only one may sit upon the throne of Mecatol Rex as the new masters of the galaxy.

No two games of Twilight Imperium are ever identical. At the start of each galactic age, the game board is uniquely and strategically constructed using 51 galaxy tiles that feature everything from lush new planets and supernovas to asteroid fields and gravity rifts.

Players are dealt a hand of these tiles and take turns creating the galaxy around Mecatol Rex, the capital planet seated in the center of the board. An ion storm may block your race from progressing through the galaxy while a fortuitously placed gravity rift may protect you from your closest foes. The galaxy is yours to both craft and dominate.

A round of Twilight Imperium begins with players selecting one of eight strategy cards that both determine player order and give their owner a unique strategic action for that round. These may do anything from providing additional command tokens to allowing a player to control trade throughout the galaxy.

After these roles are selected, players take turns moving their fleets from system to system, claiming new planets for their empire, and engaging in warfare and trade with other factions. At the end of a turn, players gather in a grand council to pass new laws and agendas, shaking up the game in unpredictable ways.

After every player has passed their turn, players move up the victory track by checking to see whether they have completed any objectives throughout the turn and scoring them. Objectives are determined by setting up ten public objective cards at the start of each game, then gradually revealing them with every round.

Every player also chooses between two random secret objectives at the start of the game, providing victory points achievable only by the holder of that objective. These objectives can be anything from researching new technologies to taking your neighbor's home system. At the end of every turn, a player can claim one public objective and one secret objective. As play continues, more of these objectives are revealed and more secret objectives are dealt out, giving players dynamically changing goals throughout the game. Play continues until a player reaches ten victory points.

Retail Price:$164
Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game Nominee 2017
Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game Nominee 2017

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Object of the Game

Throughout a game of Twilight Imperium, players will barter, plot, and wage war upon one another to complete objectives. The first player to accumulate 10 victory points claims the Imperial Throne and wins the game.


  • 17 Faction Sheets
  • 6 Command Sheets
  • 51 System Tiles
  • 354 Plastic Units
  • 8 Strategy Cards
  • 8 Ten-Sided Dice
  • 1 Victory Point Track
  • 59 Planet Cards
  • 40 Objective Cards
  • 80 Action Cards
  • 50 Agenda Cards
  • 41 Promissory Note Cards
  • 1 Speaker Token
  • 122 Technology Cards
  • 1 Custodians Token
  • 62 Unit Upgrade Technology Cards
  • 2 Creuss Alpha/Beta Wormhole Tokens
  • 1 Naalu "0" Token
  • 2 Nekro X/Y Assimilator Tokens
  • 48 Trade Good and Commodity Tokens
  • 272 Command Tokens
  • 289 Control Tokens
  • 49 Infantry Tokens
  • 49 Fighter Tokens


During a game of Twilight Imperium, each player's units are represented by plastic figures. There are three types of units: ships, ground forces, and structures. …

This section contains detailed rules for performing a tactical action. To perform a tactical action, players follow these steps in order:

  1. Activation
  2. Movement
  3. Space Combat
  4. Invasion
  5. Production

These steps are described in detail in the following sections:

1. Activation

The active player must choose one system that he would like to make the focus of his tactical action. He activates that system by taking a command token from his tactic pool and placing it on that system.

That system is the active system for the remainder of the tactical action. A player cannot activate a system that already contains one of his command tokens, but he may activate a system that contains other players' command tokens. A player also cannot activate a system if he does not have any command tokens in his tactic pool. …

This section contains additional rules that players need to understand to play their first game.

Action Cards

Throughout the game, players will accumulate action cards. Players can use action cards to resolve powerful one-time abilities. Each player can have a maximum of seven action cards in his hand. If a player exceeds this number, he must choose which seven cards he wishes to keep and discard the rest.

Each action card indicates when it can be used at the top of its card. When an action card is used, the player using it reveals the card, resolves its effect, and discards the card. …

This section contains rules for the agenda phase, which is added to the game after a player gains control of Mecatol Rex. The agenda phase involves heavy negotiation and political maneuvering.

Custodians Of Mecatol Rex

The custodians token represents the caretakers that safeguard Mecatol Rex until one of the great races can claim the throne.

Players may freely move units into the Mecatol Rex system, but cannot land ground forces on the planet while the custodians token is present.

To remove this token, the active player must spend six influence immediately before landing ground forces on the planet. If the player cannot spend six influence, he cannot land ground forces on the planet. …

After players have played their first game, they should use the advanced rules found in this section.

Complete Setup

This booklet contains rules for an abridged "First-Game Setup" to facilitate players' first time playing the game. During setup for a standard game, players have a wider array of factions to choose from, many of which are more complex than the factions suggested in the "First-Game Setup".

During setup, players are dealt a hand of system tiles to create the galaxy instead of using a preset map. Full rules for setup can be found in the "Complete Setup" section on page 2 of the Rules Reference. …

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