Twilight Imperium III

Crash Course
(press SPACE a lot)


Score VPs

10 Wins.
Unless the game ends earlier (then most VPs wins)

Complete objectives for vps


Players can only earn each objective once

Public Objectives:
1 or 2 points
Anyone can qualify for them

Secret Objectives:
2 points
Must remain secret until you claim it


In order to complete objectives, you'll need a 






Board Tiles


0, 1, or 2 Planets
- Green Number:  Cash
- Red Number:  Influence
- Colored Sigil:  Tech Discount




other tiles

Yellow Borders: home systems. Usually pretty good.

Red Borders: obstacles
  • Asteroids: Can't stop here. Can pass thru with a certain L1 tech.
  • Nebulae: Stops movement. +10% hit chance for defenders in Nebulae. Can only move out of by 1 space
  • Supernova: Impassable always

Wormholes: connected, considered adjacent

Mecatol Rex: Big planet in the middle. Pretty important.

more components

Ships 'N' Stuf
(image from BoardGameGeek)

war sun

That's no moon.

Requires some research to build.

(It's bad ass)


Can take 2 hits
Can bombard planets (helps invasions)
High hit %
L1Z1X (Evil Space Cyborg Remant) get a discount (or maybe a combat bonus, I forget)


Solid all-around ship.

Mentak Coalition (Space Aussie Pirates) get a special sneak-attack with them


Kinda crappy. But cheap.

Extra bonus attacks against fighters (useful)


Worthless in combat.
But they carry/support fighters, ground troops and/or planetary defenses.
So they're pretty fetch.


Pretty shitty. SUUUPER cheap. Swarms are deadly.

Naalu Collective (Beautiful? Psychic/Prescient Space Lizards) get +10% hit chance

ground troops

Pretty worthless. But so are everyone else's.

Whatevs. You need them to capture planets.

space dock

If you want to build something that's not a space dock, you have to do it at a space dock.

They orbit planets, and their capacity is based on the planet's industry (green number)

planetary defense system (pds)

Only work when on a planet.

Take pot-shots at other ships, without declaring war
Defend against dreadnought bombardment.
Fight against invading troops.

double tokens all the way oh my god

trade goods

<Circles with crates on them>

These are the shit.

Stockpile them.
Spend them like cash.
Or influence (sometimes).
Trade 'em
Bribe with 'em
Steal 'em


These are IMPORTANT.

A big part of the game is managing your TRIANGLES.

You have to spend them, and getting them back is hard.

Triangles let you:
  • Mass ships
  • Move, Build, Wage War, Conquer, etc.
  • Take special strategic actions

oh also, races

They're all kinda different:

  • special powers and bonuses
  • starting techs
  • starting units
  • starting planets/homeworld
  • trade profitability

You'll get one randomly.

races, yo

Name Space Description Powers and Bonuses
Hacan Space Arab Lion Traders trade, oh so much money
Jol'Nar Space Jellyfish Brain-in-a-vat Thing Tech. -10% combat. pay to reroll
Letnev Blue Space Nazis industry. pay for +combat%
Sardakk Generic Space Buggers +10% combat
Xxcha Peaceful Space Turtles turtling. politics
L1Z1X Evil Space Cyborg Remnant dreagnoughts. invasions
Sol Space ... Humans conscription. extra TRIANGLES
Mentak Space Aussie Pirates sneak attacks. piracy
Naalu Psychic Space Snake-Newts? initiative. fighters
Ysarril Space Chameleon Spy-Gollums action cards. delays. spying

cards, cards, everywhere

Action Cards - Hand limit. These give all sorts of pretty powerful instant effects (some are interrupts, some aren't).

Politics Cards - Change rules of the game by establishing laws. Consequences for both enacting and passing on laws

Technology Cards - Unlock combat bonuses, special abilities, and discounts

(more cards, a little less exciting)

Trade Cards - Establish Trade Agreements, giving you and an Ally Trade Goods

Objective Cards - We saw these earlier: Score Points

Planet Cards - Tap to spend a planet's cash XOR its influence. They periodically refresh.


OMG it's time to play!

Players create the board.

Starting from Mecatol Rex and working out.

You'll take turns.

tile placement tips

  • Nebula and Asteroid fields make great places to attack from/through
  • Red-bordered tiles can't be adjacent
  • Double-planet systems are super valuable
  • Wormholes are a double-edged sword
  • Consider putting good stuff between neighbors, to make them fight
  • Don't let others surround you with trash tiles. Defending empty space (and not having planets) is the worst.
  • Don't fuck yourself. You will have a bad day.

the game round

Setup/Strategy Phase

Action Phase (the one where shit happens)

Clean-up Phase

strategy phase

Everybody picks a strategy card

The cards do 3 things:

  • Determine play order for action phase
  • Give you a special action
  • Give everyone else the option to pay to take a related secondary action, when you take your special action


Turn Order# Name - Primary Ability | Secondary Ability

1 Initiative - Pick first next round | No Secondary
2 Diplomacy - Cease Fire | Untap Planets(!)
3 Political - Get Action Cards. Have a Vote | Get Action Card
5 Trade - Make Trade Agreements, Get Paid | Get Paid
6 Warfare - GET TRI TOKEN BACK | Move a ship or 2
7 Technology - Get a free tech | Buy a tech
8 Imperial - GET 2 VPS | Build as free action(!)

action phase

Players take turns taking Actions until everyone passes.
The actions are:

  • Strategic. From your strategy card (everyone else can pay a TRIANGLE TOKEN to take the secondary action when you use it)
  • Action Card. Some action cards count as an entire action
  • Pass. After taking your strategic action, you can pass to stop playing this round.

  • Tactical Action - The heart of the Action Phase. Uses TRIANGLE TOKENS

tactical action

All steps are optional (you can just spend TRIs to delay if you want--sometimes going last is advantageous)

  1. Activation (spend a TRI, put it on a hex)
  2. Movement (move ships in)
  3. PDS Fire (take pot shots)
  4. Space Combat (until a side is destroyed or retreats)
  5. Planetary Landing / Ground Combat (no retreat)
  6. Build Shit (build shit)

actions, cont.

There's also some bullshit semi-tactical action about peacefully moving ships between two adjacent tiles you control, but it hardly ever comes up.

Also, the Ysarril (Space Chameleon Spy-Gollums) can take a "delay" action, which is like a pass that doesn't remove them from the round.

A round goes to phase 3 when everyone has passed.

cleanup phase

It has some other name, but whatever. It barely counts as a phase. You're just resetting everything and getting ready for the next round.

  • Qualify for 1 Public Objective
  • Claim Private Objective
  • Reset stuff: clear away TRIs on board, untap planets, etc.
  • Get 2 TRIs back on your board, rearrange TRIs on board.

that's it.

Good Luck, Emperor!