As the great races of the galaxy clash amongst the stars, mysterious forces watch from a distance, waiting for their chance to join the fray. First, they may seek representation in the Galactic Council, approaching under a banner of peace. But as their ambitions grow, so too will their fleets. Soon, the ever-spreading Arborec, ethereal Ghosts of Creuss, and calculating Nekro Virus will reveal their true agendas: total galactic domination.

Shards of the Throne , the expansion for Twilight Imperium , will be on store shelves next week. Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen the double-dealing of the Political Intrigue option , the increased firepower of new Mechanized Units and Mercenaries , and even the complete game rules . Today, let’s take a look at the three new races joining the fight (including their special abilities and race-specific technologies), as well as some of the new Action cards that will soon be at your disposal.

New Races, Old Ambitions

The Arborec are a species of intelligent plantlike entities that collectively make up their own sentient ecosystem, and this remarkable advantage allows them a tight control over their ground forces.

Worlds inhabited by the Arborec tend to be lush and verdant environments, and aggressors unlucky enough to be fighting a ground war against them quickly find themselves combating the jungle itself. Arborec reinforcements can sprout up like weeds, rapidly surrounding interlopers. Their technology upgrade, Spore Acceleration , only serves to expedite their takeover of any planet they target.

The so-called Ghosts of Creuss only recently emerged from the depths of the Shaleri anomaly, an area of space blamed for so many unexplained events (including disappearances) that it’s spoken of in hushed tones by many a superstitious spacefarer. The Creuss themselves are in fact ethereal beings of energy and light, who wear massive metal frames carved with strange runes. Though seemingly benign, their off-putting behavior and mysterious origins prompt suspicion from nearly every other race.

Their apparent mastery of energy gives the Ghosts of Creuss an unsettling degree of control over Wormholes, and unwitting enemy ships have been known to suddenly find themselves at the mercy of a Creuss fleet that’s appeared from nowhere. Slave Wormhole Generator is a technology upgrade that ensures remarkable mobility to this mysterious, ethereal race.

The coolly lethal Nekro Virus was the product of an experiment by an extremist faction within the technology-obsessed L1z1x Mindnet. Seeking to perfect the L1z1x form, the faction’s leader pursued the perfect blend of biology and machine... then he lost control. Now, the entity known as the Nekro Virus has one goal: the utter elimination of all organic matter.

Although its inhumane, calculating persona limits its influence in galactic politics, the Nekro Virus is adept at quickly altering its programming. When the Nekro Virus destroys an adversary, it can assimilate that victim’s knowledge into its databanks. And with its Valefar Assimilator technology upgrade, the Nekro Virus can even copy any alien technology it observes.

Actions and Reactions

Injecting even more surprise tactics into your Twilight Imperium experience, Shards of the Throne delivers 34 new Action cards, some of which incorporate the new Mechanized Unit, Mercenary, and Political Intrigue options.

Geomagnetic Mines, for example, are potent explosives designed to debilitate opposing Mechanized Units. Or, If an opponent angers one of his Mercenaries with a failure to pay, you can “encourage” that disgruntled hireling to exact revenge with The Hand that Takes. Prefer less violent tactics? Give a Moving Speech on the Council floor to limit the potential voting power of your rivals! Better still, each of these versatile Action cards serves a dual purpose; if you’re not playing with the option that utilizes them, you can always spend these cards as Trade Goods.

Look for Shards of the Throne at your local retailer next week, and prepare for a new Age of Twilight!

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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