Though millennia have passed since the Twilight Wars erupted across the face of the galaxy, their tragic scar remains. Centuries of war, followed by further centuries of xenophobic isolation, have left the once powerful empire little more than a distant memory. But even as the great races struggle to reclaim some semblance of their former glory, ambition grows unchecked in their hearts. Some are guided by a lust for power, others by a benevolent desire for peace. Ancient civilizations harbor ancient grudges, while newcomers to the galaxy work to further their own inscrutable agendas. But no matter their reasons, the horrors of the Twilight Wars have not deterred the great races from their prize; it has only delayed them. Whether by the power of a Dreadnought or the honeyed words of diplomacy, they all seek to claim the war-torn planet of Mecatol Rex... and with it, control of the galaxy.
Shards of the Throne is the second exciting expansion for Twilight Imperium , the epic board game of galactic politics, trade, and warfare! As existing powers gain access to devastating cutting-edge technologies, three enigmatic new races enter the struggle for control of the empire:
The Arborec, a species of intelligent plantlike entities that collectively make up their own sentient ecosystem, use the deceased carcasses of other races as hosts to communicate with the Galactic Council. But is this distasteful practice purely practical, or do they have another, more sinister agenda?
Somewhat less ambiguous are the intentions of the coolly lethal Nekro Virus, 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.
Finally, 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.
With the arrival of these mysterious newcomers, the battle for the galaxy’s limited resources can only escalate. Now, the leaders of the great races will stop at nothing, from hiring the most infamous mercenaries to launching their own massive flagships into combat, to claim the advantage they need over their foes.
But not all battles are fought with firepower. In the hallowed halls of the Galactic Council, representatives from dozens of systems passionately debate and quietly collude as they maneuver for political control over the struggling government. To make matters worse, rumors tell of trained spies that have infiltrated the Council, prompting many representatives to arm themselves against some unseen threat. It is a time of great uncertainty.
Treachery abounds in the Galactic Council and war rages across dozens of systems, but only one race will ultimately emerge to control the empire. Will you submit to defeat, or lead the galaxy into a new age?
The Galaxy Braces for Battle
Set the galaxy ablaze with the power of your mighty fleet! Shards of the Throne introduces compelling ways to claim the galaxy by force, with Mechanized Units, Flagships, hirable mercenaries, and dozens of new Technology Cards.
Like Ground Forces, Mechanized Units help you maintain control of planets. However, the thick armor and increased firepower of Mechanized Units give them a level of survivability that far surpasses their predecessors. Their ability to sustain damage lets them absorb a single hit before they are destroyed, and their increased offensive capabilities let Mechanized Units give as good as they get.
The battle for the stars is likewise even more dangerous than ever before. As Ground Forces and Mechanized Units contend over a planet’s surface, massive Flagships, symbols of their civilization’s might, exchange destructive volleys and carry out devastating planetary bombardments. Perhaps best of all, each race’s Flagship has its own unique capabilities, further differentiating each race’s individual personality and play style.
For those willing to employ the galaxy’s less savory element, the optional Trade III Strategy Card provides the ability to hire mercenaries - inexpensive and versatile units with a range of specialized abilities. Use them to supplement your forces in battle whether on the ground or among the stars... just be sure that you can pay them when the time comes.
A Contract Signed in Blood
The Galactic Council is a vitally important forum for anyone wishing to claim power, but this once honorable institution grows more perilous by the day. Featuring a new gameplay option called “Political Intrigue,” Shards of the Throne takes Twilight Imperium to new heights of tense negotiation, and it delivers an experience that’s sure to be fraught with paranoia and mistrust.
Using the new Political II Strategy Card (or the included Assembly II Card if you are playing with the variants from Shattered Empire ), the Political Intrigue options gives players a hand of Representative cards, which symbolize the various political agents you will send to the Galactic Council on your behalf. When resolving a Political card, each player chooses which of their Representatives will attend the Galactic Council, and can choose from three types: Spies, Councilors, and Bodyguards. Should you send your most capable orator, cementing your influence for the upcoming vote? Or is that exactly what your villainous foes expect?
For would-be allies seeking political favors, the uncertainty of non-binding agreements makes them an uncomfortable prospect at best. Why not put it in writing? Shards of the Throne ’s new Promissory Note Cards offer players a way to enforce an obligation after it’s been exchanged for a vote. Deals for these cards must be honored immediately, meaning that a recipient must vote in the manner agreed upon. After that, however, he receives a favor that can be called in any time he chooses. Just be careful to whom you sell your political soul...
An Empire Falls
While it enhances and expands the Twilight Imperium experience fans have come to love, Shards of the Throne also offers an entirely new way to play. With the included preset map, rules, and components, players can witness the fateful fall of the Lazax emperors (or prevent it) in a special historic campaign that takes place at the start of the Age of Twilight!
In Fall of the Empire , the included scenario, players are not racing to collect victory points. Rather, one player takes control of the once-powerful Lazax, ruling from the lush green paradise of pre-war Mecatol Rex. The other players take the roles of the remaining great races, fighting in the territorial disputes that hurled the galaxy into centuries of carnage. The Lazax are losing their grip on the empire. But will you serve them as a loyalist, or defy them for your own interests?
Special scenario-specific Agenda Cards replace the standard Political Cards, and new Scenario Objective Cards give each player their secret win condition. This, along with clandestine treaties and uncertain alliances, faithfully captures the intrigue and excitement of the Lazax’s tragic fall from power.
The Legacy Continues
It has been nearly fifteen years since Fantasy Flight Games first published Twilight Imperium , a genre-defining experience that has immersed and enthralled gamers for over a decade, letting them lead entire civilizations on a campaign of planetary control, political cunning, and epic space battles. With Shards of the Throne , the legacy continues.
The galaxy is yours for the taking. Do you have what it takes to lead your people to greatness?