Comprehensive Components Overview of Twilight Imperium REX: Final Days of An Empire
Fantasy Flight Games had just recently published it’s new game, based on the famous and out of print Frank Herbert’s Dune combined with the Twilight Imperium universe as it’s background story and theme. Still using the same mechanics and game system created by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge & Peter Olotka, Corey Conieczka and Christian T. Petersen tweaked the game rules and system to created more simplified, streamlined and balanced new game called Twilight Imperium REX: Final Days of An Empire.
This re-implement 6 players game has 6 different races to choose to, taken from the Twilight Imperium races which were more likely have the closest resemblance with the original Dune’s races / factions. These 6 races are Jol-Nar which represent Atreides, Letnev represent Harkonnen, Lazax represent Emperor, Sol represent Fremen, Hacan represent Guild and Xxcha represent Bene Gesserit. These races also apply one of the special powers the original races possessed.
Rex: Final Days of an Empire, a reimagined version of Dune set in Fantasy Flight’s Twilight Imperium universe, is a board game of negotiation, betrayal, and warfare in which 3-6 players take control of great interstellar civilizations, competing for dominance of the galaxy’s crumbling imperial city. Set 3,000 years before the events of Twilight Imperium, Rex tells the story of the last days of the Lazax empire, while presenting players with compelling asymmetrical racial abilities and exciting opportunities for diplomacy, deception, and tactical mastery.
In Rex: Final Days of an Empire, players vie for control of vital locations across a sprawling map of the continent-sized Mecatol City. Only by securing three key locations (or more, when allied with other factions) can a player assert dominance over the heart of a dying empire.
Unfortunately, mustering troops in the face of an ongoing Sol blockade is difficult at best (unless, of course, you are the Federation of Sol or its faithless ally, the Hacan, who supply the blockading fleet). Savvy leaders must gather support from the local populace, uncover hidden weapon caches, and acquire control over key institutions. Mechanically, this means players must lay claim to areas that provide influence, which is then “spent” to (among other things) smuggle military forces through the orbiting Sol blockade. Those forces will be needed to seize the key areas of the city required to win the game. From the moment the first shot is fired, players must aggressively seek the means by which to turn the conflict to their own advantage.
While the great races struggle for supremacy in the power vacuum of a dead emperor, massive Sol warships execute their devastating bombardments of the city below. Moving systematically, the Federation of Sol’s fleet of warships wreaks havoc on the planet’s surface, targeting great swaths of the game board with their destructive capabilities. Only the Sol’s own ground forces have forewarning of the fleet’s wrath; all others must seek shelter in the few locations with working defensive shields…or be obliterated in the resulting firestorm.
Although open diplomacy and back-door dealmaking can often mitigate the need for bloodshed, direct combat may prove inevitable. When two or more opposing forces occupy the same area, a battle results. Each player’s military strength is based on the sum total of troops he is willing to expend, along with the strength rating of his chosen leader. A faction’s leaders can therefore be vitally important in combat…but beware! One or more of your Leaders may secretly be in the employ of an enemy, and if your forces in combat are commanded by such a traitor, defeat is all but assured. So whether on the field of battle or the floor of the Galactic Council, be careful in whom you place your trust.
This time I am going to do a break down overview of the component of this little baby. Start from the box and to the rules to make an easier description for other gamers who need information for getting this game. By the look of it, I would say Fantasy Flight Games did it again. Not only they created such a great game, but they also produced extraordinary components one could expect from their games.
1. The Box
A simple medium box (Mansion of Madness, Chaos in The Old World size) with great and compelling artwork (yellowish tone colors in all sides), and like their other game boxes, it’s good quality linen finished which is awesome (you can tell by the visible linen texture). It’s quite heavy, 2 kg estimated weight. In the right bottom of the cover you can notice that there is a credit to the original designers of Dune (a good way to show appreciation and also a copyright thing). The lid cover was really fit and tight, it really need effort to uncover it, which has good and bad side. The good is, the game is quite tightly covered and you don’t have to worry that the game might spilled when carried around. The bad is, it’s quite difficult to open it and need extra effort to do so. But I guess, it’s a good thing, since I don’t mind the bad side and really vote the good side of it.
Inside the box, you can see the rules on the top with character sheets inside a zip lock bag (perfectly fit) and guess what, a piece of errata, the same one I found in Rune Age. Little bit a let down to have such an imperfect rulebook that you need to perfect it with an errata. But then again, it’s not really minor, only few corrections. Under those thing are the punch boards covered in shrink wrap the board and beneath it there laid the insert tray (thick carton) with miniatures in a baggie and set of cards with 2 sizes. The box dimension is 295x295x70mm.
2. The Punch Boards
Major components on this game are tiles. These tiles were came from the punch boards (4 punch boards with different set of tiles). The punch boards were sealed together with a shrink wrap. Good thing that they thought over this. So the tiles won’t fall apart while being transported or delivered. This [prove quite a bit annoying in some other cases, with you unboxing a game and you find out that some of the tiles were already fall out of the boards. With a shrink wrap, the tiles are safely and perfectly stay on place. The punch boards are thick enough with linen finished, easy to punch with no left over tear on the print papers. The problem with these thick punch boards, once you punch them all, what will be the fate of them? Straight on the trash can or else? Well, this create another problem with component storage. In the first place, these thick punch boards give the box, depth and perfectly fit. Once they are removed from the box, you will find a gap inside the box which lead into displacement of components inside while handled. I suggest you don’t throw away the used punch boards and place it under the insert tray, to fill in the gap.
3. The Board
Huge board (Chaos In The Old World size) with 4×2 folds. Linen finished print out with black linen on the other side. Great quality print and artwork. The map shows the places of interest in Mecatol Rex, 28 key spaces with connectors to other spaces. The arts are stunning, but overall it’s look alike the map of Arkham Horror with circular frames around space illustrations. In the right side of the board you can find Influence Pool, Strategy Deck, Influence Deck and Casualty Pool spaces. Nice decision from Fantasy Flight Games for using a ziplock bag to store the board, so it’s stored neatly and easily and also protected from scratch and friction inside the box.
4. Character Sheets
You can find the character sheets inside a clear transparent ziplock baggie which perfectly fit the size of the sheet. Quite neat but you need to carefully take the sheet out of the bag, cause it’s very tight. There are 6 character sheet, each represent one of the 6 races available (Lazax, Hacan. Letnex, Sol, Xxcha and Jol-Nar). The front side of the sheet consist of basic information for each race, advantages and setup. The other side contain a background story of each race, very useful to create thematic experience in the game. Players are suggested to read this first too understand their significant role in the theme and the game itself.
5. The Miniature
Well, it’s not a miniature game, so you must well aware that there’s only one (kind of) miniature plastic figure on this game. It’s Sol’s Dreadnaught Fleet, which consist of 5 dreadnoughts assembled into one fleet. It’s unpainted (so you need to paint it if you want to get serious into the theme and story). It’s come with plastic stands to create flying effect while placed on the board. The dreadnoughts were highly detailed sculpted and even though it’s the only miniature, it’s really eye catching. Guaranteed, every eyes will look at your direction just for having this miniature displayed in front of you. Need to spare my time to paint this badass.
6. Battle Dials
Now, this make the components quite special. The battle dials are rather unique, by using thick card board as dial and at the right side were placed a slot for leader tiles. This is unique and cool but the downside is that the slots are kinda hard to place the tile on. Which need extra effort and pressure to make it fit right into the slots. There also a problem on how to remove it, for you need another extra effort and energy to pull of loose. This will surely wear of the slot and eventually it will loosen up. By that time, it’s gonna be such a waste of components for not working as they’re supposed to. The leader slots are used for units reinforcement during battle and also a means for using the strategy cards. When I assembled these dials, there was difficulty on applying the plastic connectors through the wheels. Since the hole aren’t the same size with the other hole on the back plates, it’s smaller. So need extra caution when apply more power to pushed it fit.
7. First Player Marker
This large circular shape marker from thick board is used as a first player marker. The artwork is quite the same at the cover of the box and it is kinda over sized. But it’s good nevertheless. Though it’s not necessarily important (you can use any other component as marker) but it is a nice addition to the game.
8. The Influence Tokens
Influence is the only currency in this game, and it comes in 3 denominations (1, 2 and 4) with unusual geometrical shape. Each denominations are mark by different color lines (green, yellow and blue) quite a thin line but somehow it’s easy to spot on with the color lines and big number on the center of the token and it’s also double sided.
9. The Unit Tiles
Each race has unit tiles in different colors and each logo on it (hexagonal shaped). Printed double sided to make the application easier to recognized during the game. These tiles will often come in and out the board during a game, for these unit tiles represent each race military power. While each race logo is shown, the tiles are color coded to each race, which make it easier. Hacan has yellow color tiles, Jol-Nar is purple, Lazax is red, Xxcha is green, Sol is blue and Letnev is white. Special for Lazax, there are 4 bigger unit tiles which are counted as 2 strength unit each (mechanized).
10. The Leader Tiles
Each race has 5 leader tiles with different title and strength. These tiles are shaped uniquely so they can be placed on the battle dial slots. Each tiles has it’s own name and different strength. Each race also has different set of strength leaders. This ensure variable player powers element in the game. For example, Xxcha’s leader tiles have the same amount of 5 strength, which are easier to guess but this don’t let others easily use the traitor cards on it.
11. Demolished Location Marker Tiles
This huge tiles is used only in special circumstance which is when playing with 4 or fewer players to prevent units from entering Mecatol Power South space of the game board. Very nice looking artwork.
12. Destroyed Shield Token
This small circular token is placed on the board by a certain strategy card. While on the board, it negates the presence of a shielded icon. The thing is, this token is so small and being the only one token that doesn’t have companion makes it a bit hard to store. You need extra small bag for storage, which still can be lost. Or if you put it with other tokens, you might also lose it during the game. But, I guess it’s still not a big deal.
13. Prediction Tokens
This tokens are used only for Xxcha to predict the game play which also as another means of stealing victory from other race if the prediction was true. There are 13 tokens, with 5 of them show the 5 race logos and the rest of 8 tokens are numbers based on the game round. Xxcha player use this tokens to predict who’s gonna win the game and in what round. When the game ends and it’s won by other race, Xxcha player can steal the victory if he’s prediction is shown to be true. What a unique idea and to be honest though it’s hard to predict anything before the game starts, it sure looks fun!
14. Influence Cards
The size of these cards is 57.5x89mm (I used Chimera sleeves from Mayday Games) which contains 16 cards. Other than to determine where and how many new influence tokens are generated on the board, it also used to mark the game round (8 rounds). These influence cards has different type of cards, Normal Influence, Temporary Ceasefire (time to form new alliance or break alliance and trade influences) and Sol Offensive cards (while this card is played, The Sol’s Dreadnaught Fleet will move to bombard every locations on it’s route). Sol Offensive card doesn’t count as round marker, since after drawn and resolved it’s effect, the card is discarded and another Influence Card is drawn.
15. Strategy Cards
With the same size of the Influence Cards, these cards (42 cards) are played during the bidding phase. Each player will want to get these, since this will help them during the game a lot (especially during battle). At the bidding phase Strategy cards drawn based on the amount of players, and start from the first player, choose the card he wants (Jol-Nar can look at this card first before the bid start due to it’s race advantage) and start the bid with influence. The winner pays the influence to Lazax (due to it’s race advantage) except Lazax must pay the cost to the influence pool. These cards has 3 types, Offensive, Defensive and also Normal Strategy cards. Offensive and Defensive cards are played during battle with the presence of a leader tile attached to one of the battle slots. The Normal cards are used situational mentioned on the texts of the card.
16. Ally Advantage Cards
Also with the same size of the Influence Cards, these cards are used to track which players are in an alliance together and provide special abilities to the allied player. Each race has 2 Ally Advantage Cards (total 12 cards), that can be exchanged during the Temporary Ceasefire to form diplomatic relation and alliance with other races. The front side of the card is the text describing the alliance advantage achieved for being an ally to that race and the back side is the illustration of each character’s race.
17. Betrayal Cards
There are 8 Betrayal Cards with the same size of Influence Cards. These cards are used to steal victory away from a player’s allies under specific condition mentioned on the card. This cards also optional during the game, which comes the variant play into the table. So different game modes to choose is always an interesting idea.
18. Reference Cards
Same size as the Influence Cards and each player get one of this to helm them during the game. The 2 sides have different information. The first side has the game round broke down in phases, and there are leader strength list of each race at the bottom. The back side shows the list of which Offensive Strategy Cards and negated by which Defensive Strategy Cards. A very useful during the game, especially the leader strength lists and the Strategy Cards list for new players.
19. Traitor Cards
The traitor cards (30 cards) has the size of a Mini USA cards which is 41x63mm (Should fit with Mini USA Card Sleeves from Mayday Games). These cards are given 4 for each player randomly and they must choose one and discard the rest (except for Letnev, due to his race advantage, he keeps all the four cards). There is a leader image with it’s corresponding name, race logo and leader strength at the front side of the card. This card is used during battle against that specific race. Of course there is a gambling element to guess which leader your opponent is gonna use, but it;s better than nothing. Another innovative idea which I don’t know if this was used in Dune or not.
20. Bombardment Cards
With the same size as the Traitor Cards, these cards (6 cards) are used only by Sol player, to determine the movement spaces of the Dreadnought Fleet during Sol Offensive. Which Sol’s race advantage is to look upon the next bombardment card before the round begins and also, Sol units are not affected by the bombardment. The value of the cards are range from +1 to +6.
21. The Rulebook
Fantasy Flight Games always provide their games with stunning rulebook. Mostly known as Ameritrash games developer, they create comprehensive rulebook (even this mean thick rulebook and heavily barred with texts) to support the game play. And their rulebooks are great visually with stunning thematic artworks and layout designs. This one is no exception, a top notch, 32 full colored pages of rules with 210x280mm dimension, but they screwed up with the existence of the errata.
Overall, I valued the game components. All the components are in great quality, a benchmark for other publishers to give a chrome presentation to their games. I have one word, SATISFIED. Great job guys!