It seems like Fantasy Flight has done a lot streamlining of their systems the past couple of years.  Games like Fury of Dracula, Descent, Runebound, and Forbidden Stars took the previous gameplay and made it a bit simpler and faster without sacrificing depth.  Now FFG has announced that one of their most popular, but longest-playing games, is getting a new edition, Twilight Imperium.

For two decades, Twilight Imperium has defined the essence of epic in board games. Now, Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the next step in the game’s tremendous legacy: Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition, 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.

Twilight Imperium’s epic and engaging gameplay has enthralled players all over the world. Now, new players have the opportunity to dive into the modern classic with the most refined version of the game ever released.

Players will attempt to score victory points by completing both public and individual secret objectives that will see each of their factions maneuvering ships around an expansive and diverse galaxy, trading goods and commodities for favors and promises, claiming planets for their resources and influence, and politically maneuvering their way to glory. The first faction to ten victory points wins the game, but this is easier said than done.

At the start of each game of Twilight Imperium, players begin by creating their own custom galaxy. Each player is dealt a “hand” of galaxy tiles and takes turns placing them one at a time around Mecatol Rex, the center of the galaxy, until three rings are created, with their home planets occupying the outermost ring. This creates a strategic element to the setup of Twilight Imperium and ensures that no two games will ever be the same.

At the start of every round, players will select 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 will 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.

I think that this was largely unexpected, but with Gen Con coming next week you’d expect a few surprises the week before and the week of.  Since Twilight Imperium Third Edition and its expansions are difficult to find, those who have wanted to play this will welcome the Fourth Edition.  Just be ready to carve out a day to play it.