Twilight Imperium review

Twilight Imperium

What a wonderful day to make a trip into the space, another planet or even another galaxy! In previous articles we experienced a lot of realistic and historical strategies like «Twilight Struggle» and many other board games. Prepare yourself for a new adventure!

The «Twilight Imperium: 3rd edition» has been published by a well-known game developing company «Fantasy Flight Games». As you remember, this company published and designed «A Game of Thrones: Board Game».

This game was designed by Christian T. Peterson. He also was a main designer of «A Game of Thrones» and many other projects.

As you may notice, every board game (especially if it is fantasy genre) needs very good illustrations. This game was illustrated by three main artists:

Scott Schomburg is known for such project as «Midnight: City of Shadow»;

Tyler Walpole is a good fantasy artist. He took part in Palladium Books and Dungeons & Dragons projects;

Brian Schomburg worked for Fantasy Flight Games since 1999. He worked on many «Star Wars» books between 1994 and 1998.

Twilight Imperium Gameplay

Inside the Box

As in many other board games in fantasy or strategy genre we can see a lot of components inside the box. Let’s take a look at them attentively inside the box of «Twilight Imperium: the third edition» …

  • One hundred Technology Cards (twenty four each in six decks separated by color);
  • Fifty one Planet Cards;
  • One hundred three Action Cards;
  • Sixty Political Cards;
  • Thirty Objective Cards (Secret and Public);
  • Twenty Trade Cards (two each for ten races);
  • Ten Race Sheets;
  • Thirty Leader Counters;
  • Eight Cardboard Strategy Cards;
  • One hundred sixty Command Counters (sixteen each for ten races);
  • One hundred fifty Control Markers (fifteen pieces each for ten races);
  • Eight Bonus Counters;
  • Forty Trade Goods Counters;
  • Twenty three Fighter Supplement Counters;
  • Twenty three Ground Force Supplement Counters;
  • One Speaker Token;
  • One Victory Point Track;
  • Forty three Hexagonal Board Tiles;
  • Rules booklet;
  • Four ten-sided dice (note that in «Twilight Imperium», the “0” result represents the number “ten”);
  • Forty four Domain Counters;


«Twilight Imperium: 3rd Edition» is a very special game about intergalactic conflicts and fighting for power. In this game, players can play as galactic civilizations. All of them are trying to take over the imperial throne through war, diplomacy, and technological inventions.

Christian T. Petersen took the best features of other popular games to develop the game-play of this board game.

It is played by at least three players. Also, there are ten alien races to choose, each with their advantages and features. In the expansion packs you will experience more races of aliens but we will speak about it later.

Twilight Imperium War Building Fleet


Firstly, let’s take a look at the card system in this game and then round phases and rules.

The Action Cards

The Action Cards give a variety of useful events, maneuvers, bonuses, and other advantages.

The Trade Cards

Each race has two Trade Contract cards. They can be used to make trade agreements with other players.

The Political Cards

The effects of these cards can differentiate from a minor to a major change in the game structure. They are connected with votes and political situation in the galaxy.

The Technology Cards

At the game start players receive Technology Deck (differentiated by colors). It consists of 24 variants of technological evolution. Player buys a technology and then corresponding Technology Card should be taken from his deck and placed face up before him.

The Strategy Cards

During the Strategy Phase of each game round player select one Strategy Card and he must use its primary ability.

The Objective Cards (Public and Secret)

Players need to gain 10 victory points. The first way for players to receive them is qualifying for the requirements of an Objective Card.

The Control Markers

They represent a race on the Victory Point Track.

Twilight Imperium War

Game Phases

«Twilight Imperium» is played over a several rounds which represented by years in the game. Round consists of the following phases:

1) The Strategy Phase

Each player must choose one available Strategy Card from the common play zone.

2) The Action Phase

The Action Phase makes the essence of this game. During this phase players perform the special abilities of their Strategy Cards. Also, they produce new units.

3) The Status Phase

Many of the game functions are “reset,” such as players refreshing Planet Cards, discarding Command Counters from the board, etc.

Winning the Game

When a player’s Control Marker reaches the 10th step of the Victory Point Track, he has the power needed to take over the Imperial Throne.

Expansion Packs

This game has a two major expansion packs. Let’s take a look what’s interesting inside of them…

«Shards of the Throne»

Twilight Imperium Shards Of Throne

This is expansion for «Twilight Imperium». Here we can see new races, units, and etc. These units give players more options for their army.

«Shattered Empire»

Twilight Imperium Shattered Empire

It includes four new races that were not presented in previous editions, also Strategy cards with more balance and etc. Also, here you can play from 3 to 8 players.

Similar Games

Here we will speak about board games like «Twilight Imperium».

Sometimes it’s hard to play in «Twilight Imperium» not less than 4 hours or even more… So, lots of players are seeking board games which can be much less to play but the settings are similar. For example, it can be «StarCraft: The Board Game». Also, it’s good to play in «Galactic Emperor». It’s shorter too but it has more aggression in game play because there is no trade or politics element. If to compare «Twilight Imperium» vs «Eclipse» many people say that it has much easier game mechanism and you will have much fun when you play with two players which is not quite possible if you play in «Twilight Imperium». Also, trading features are more balanced in «Eclipse».

Twilight Imperium Epic Game


In this section we will take look at the most frequent asked questions on the internet about the «Twilight Imperium». We will cover up some themes about cards, unit production and etc.

Q: When the Action Cards deck is empty is it possible for me to mix the discarded Action Cards into new deck?

A: It is possible.

Q: If we play an Action Card which prescripts me to make a choice should the opponents play “Sabotage” cards before or after I make my choice?

A: “Sabotage” cards are used after you reveal the card you wish to resolve.

Q: Do two Fighters count as one unit since I buy them both?

A: No. Each Fighter and Ground Force are as one unit for the purposes of production limits.

Q: How many dice may be rerolled with the Jol-Nar special power? Just one per Command Counter or one throw of the dice? Can I use this ability again on a single roll?

A: The Jol-Nar player may reroll one die per Command Counter is spent.

Q: Is landing on a neutral planet considered an invasion for the purposes of “Imperial Peace”?

A: Yes. Planetary landings on neutral planets are considered invasions for the purposes of Action and Political Cards.

Twilight Imperium 4 Players Game


So, what do we have now about this game? Yes, it’s rather difficult to play because you have to spend more than 4 hours to play it and even more time to learn the rules but still it’s an epic game which will be loved by generations through many times. Of course, there are many games that are easier in mechanics, but they don’t have a good trade and political features that «Twilight Imperium» has! You will absolutely love this game! You can buy it on Amazon.


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