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Twilight Imperium: Shattered Empire
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Twilight Imperium: Shattered Empire

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Product Awards:  
The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Expansion Nominee, 2007

Ages Play Time Players
14+ 180-240 minutes 3-8

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To play this game, you must have:

Twilight Imperium 3rd edition

(28% savings!)

Product Description

Welcome back to the Twilight Imperium universe. In the Shattered Empire expansion, the galaxy is larger and more dangerous -- and the glory of conquering it is greater than ever before. Now four new races enter the struggle for the Imperial Throne, and up to eight players can vie for control of the galaxy. There are new planets to conquer and new spatial anomalies to contend with, but there are also new technologies to aid each race. As war rages across dozens of systems, the question remains: Who will unite the pieces of this shattered empire and lead the galaxy into a new age?

In addition to new plastic pieces, new race sheets, and new system tiles, this expansion also adds new Strategy Cards, Political Cards, Action Cards, and Public Objectives, as well as many new optional rules.

Product Awards

The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Expansion Nominee, 2007

Product Information


  • 28 system tiles
  • 8 variant strategy cards
  • 1 variant Imperial Strategy card
  • 4 race sheets
  • 116 plastic pieces
  • 64 command counters
  • 88 control counters
  • 22 domain counters
  • 12 more trade goods
  • 8 trade contracts
  • 28 objective cards
  • 12 shock troop counters
  • 2 Mecatol Custodians tokens
  • 12 fighter counters
  • 12 GF counters
  • 12 space mine tokens
  • 12 leader counters
  • 8 artifacts
  • 16 facility cards
  • 1 high alert token
  • 40 action cards
  • 32 political cards
  • 98 technology cards
  • 28 planet cards
  • 14 race-specific technology cards
  • 8 unit reference cards
  • 3 wormhole tokens
  • rules
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.8 in 2 reviews

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November 02, 2007

One way to make a great expansion is to simply add one or two rules that have a nice yet simple change to the game, adding to its playability without wreaking havoc with the original game. Another way is to

Add 689 pieces,

And fifteen different options, all of which can be added to the base game.


Really, Shattered Empire (Fantasy Flight Games, 2006 – Christian Petersen and Corey Konieczka) adds so much to the basic game that I cannot imagine any fan of Twilight Imperium 3 disliking it. With tons of components, neat new rules that add to the effects of the game, and more races and players Twilight Imperium is simply getting bigger and better. One might think that all of this expansion stuff would tend to make the original game become a bloated cow; but if anything, TI3 now is now more epic, more grandiose in scope. Shattered Empire is one of my favorite expansions, adding variety to an already great, varied game.


  1. Races: Four new alien races are added. The Clan of Saar gets one trade good every time they acquire a new planet, but their true power is their mobility. Their space docks can actually move and have a production value of “4”, severing their need for any one particular planet. I enjoy their ability to migrate easily, made even more possible by the fact that they don’t even need to hang onto their home world! The Winnu aren’t anything exciting, they seem to be the “Jack of all Trades” race. They can always use their home planet’s influence in elections, they are immune to a powerful action card, and they have a slight edge in technology. This is all well and good, but I like aliens with an edge. The Yin Brotherhood has that edge, as they can take control of opponent’s ground forces when invading, send their destroyers and cruisers on suicide missions, and reverse the influence and resource values of one planet once per turn. This makes them a trickier race to use, but tremendously fun and thematic – the nation of telepaths. The Embers of Muaat are likely to cause ire when they first show up in a game – they start with a War Sun! This sounds overpowered – and make no mistake, it IS powerful – but while their entire strategy revolves around the use of War Suns, they are perceived as a threat because of this. This really puts them at a disadvantage in the metagame, but a good player can overcome this. Every game I’ve played with the expansion has seen these guys in play, but I’ve yet to see them win. Still, they start with a War Sun!

  2. Players: Two new colors of units are included, gray and orange. While the extra color options are nice, what’s really impressive is that a seven or eight-player game is now possible. This may be too epic for many people, but an eight-player game is really impressive, and enough hexes are included to add another ring to accommodate this massive game. I still think the game is best with six, but why should the game be discarded when there are eight around?

  3. Action and Political Cards: In the spirit of diversity, a pile of new action cards and political cards are included. The action cards help add some action to battles, something that makes them more exciting. Examples include:
    • Direct Hit: destroys an opponent’s damaged ship. No longer will players glibly take a hit on their dreadnaughts!
    • Courageous to the End: Allows a ship to fire off two shots when destroyed.
    There are also several new politic cards that add more variety to the deck.

  4. Technology: First of all, there are several new technologies added to each player’s deck. The best, I think is the Automated Defense Turrets, which gives Destroyers a +2 and an additional die on their anti-fighter barrage. This helps offset the powerful fighter strategies that some take – you see a lot more players stocking up on the destroyers now. Nano Technology is also important, as it keeps War Suns and dreadnoughts from being targeted by action cards. (Not the Direct Hit card above). But better than these new technologies (far better!) are the race-specific technologies. These technologies are expensive, costing an additional amount of resources above the normal cost; but they have no perquisites and are quite powerful. They also help further differentiate between the races. Examples of the race-specific techs are:
    • Hacen: They can spend one command counter a turn to gain six trade goods, then give two to another player.
    • Sardakk N’orr: They can roll one die for every casualty, killing two opponents for each “10” rolled.
    • Saar: Their Space Docks have their production capacity increased to five, along with a fighter capacity of five and one extra movement point.
    Players can ignore their special techs, but most players I’ve seen build them as quickly as possible, since they basically add another "power" to the race – often a quite useful one.

  5. Artifacts: If players choose to play with these, eight artifact tokens are shuffled face down and placed on different planets. When a planet is captured, the tokens are revealed. Four are worthless and discarded when drawn; the other four make that planet worth one victory point. As you can imagine, this causes players to fight ferociously for these planets. I almost always include them in games, simply because they cause more fighting and action, and keep players from sitting in their zones contentedly.

  6. Shock Troops: A repeated novelty from an expansion to the second edition, shock troops are included, coming from two sources. Any regular ground force that rolls a “10” in battle is upgraded to one if they survive; and the planet Hopes End can produce them, which makes it one of the most contested planets. These troops are massively powerful (hitting on a “5” or higher) but also must be taken first as casualties. Still, their presence means that more ground assaults will likely occur, as these elite soldiers can really dent a player’s forces.

  7. Custodians of Mecatol Rex: This option is easily a “must”, in my opinion; as it places some automatic forces on Mecatol, forcing anyone who wants the planet to fight dearly for it. Since Mecatol Rex is important for many objectives, this keeps the first player to snag it from having too great an advantage, since they now must build up a bulkier force to capture it.

  8. Facilities: For one resource, a player may add a colony (+1 influence) or refinery (+1 resource) to any planet. Planets can only have one, but it’s a nice way to spend an extra point to improve during the game. Refineries are built quite a bit more than colonies, as players are often struggling to get every resource they can.

  9. Simulated Early Turns: TI3 can take a great deal of time to play – much of it in the first few turns, which can be really long with little excitement. This variant allows you to skip that and basically play the first two turns simultaneously, allowing players to take over nearby planets and build up a little. This is highly recommended, as it allows a game to “get to the good part” faster.

  10. Variant Strategy Cards: Nine new strategy cards are included, which allow a player to switch them out with the originals. One can use only new card or mix and match them out if they want. Here are my thoughts on each.
    • Leadership Strategy (1): This allows players to get command counters, which is useful; but I found the original card better, if only because it allowed the taker to use secondary abilities for free.
    • Diplomacy II (2): This one is a hard choice from the original card. The first forced a single race to be at peace with you. The second forces a single system to be a piece. I’m almost of the mindset to keep both in a game and allow the chooser to pick which one they want, as they are both viable in different situations.
    • Assembly (3): This one is light years better than the original Politics card. Players, when using this card, now keep a hand of politic cards and can play agendas that suit them when choosing the card. This makes the game much more fun, adding quite a bit of negotiation.
    • Production (4): This allows the player to build twice in one system. This is convenient, especially for those who enjoy massive armies, but I think I liked Logistics better.
    • Trade II (5): This gives a player three trade goods OR they can cancel two trade agreements. Everyone then receives trade goods for their trading agreements, but one less, if they aren’t the active player. This card is very similar to Trade I, with open negotiations, but it allows goods to get to the table quicker, so I prefer it.
    • Warfare II (6): This allows a player to place a token in a system, giving all their ships +1 movement and +1 combat. This seems to be more fun and effective than the “move and attack twice” of the original card, but I could use either one in a game and not mind.
    • Technology II (7): This allows a player to take a tech for free then purchase an additional one for eight resources. Everyone else can build one for six resources. This is a very nice replacement for the first one, as it encourages more tech. And with all the new technology in this game, that is a must!
    • Bureaucracy (8): This card allows a player to pick between the two top objective cards on the objective deck. Big deal. I’ll never use it.
    • Imperial II (8): Instead, I’ll use this one, which gives a point to the player who controls Mecatol Rex, and allows players to build at Space docks they’ve already activated. Now, I never had a problem with the original Imperial card – I liked the timer it added to the game, but this should satisfy those who don’t like it.

  11. Space Mines: Tired of pesky ships coming through your system? Players can now use cruisers to lay space mines for one resource in a system. Ships that come through that system now take a hit on a roll of “9” or “10”. While not powerful, it does add more variety to the game; and those who like defensive systems may find themselves using these along with their PDS.

  12. Refresh: Some planets, such as Hope’s End, have a refresh ability that allows a player to exhaust them to gain something. Usually this is better than using the resources of the planet (like two free ground forces or two fighters) and causes these planets to be contested. There are also two trade stations included, which cannot be captured by invasion, instead defaulting to the player who controls the system.

  13. Size: There is more included with the game that I haven’t mentioned: new objective cards, a wormhole nexus, etc., but I think this should you give you a basic knowledge of what is in this expansion. Even if a player only used a few of the available options, they should be quite content with the contents. Everything manages to fit in the original box, although it’s quite heavy now; but you might find that setup takes a lengthy time at this point.

I adore the original TI3, although I think that it can be quite lengthy; and each game is an “event”. This expansion is exactly what the doctor ordered, however; as it addresses many of the perceived problems in TI3 (“fighter power”, “turtling”, “Imperial card”) and allows players so many choices that it can all be a bit overwhelming. I use thirteen of the fifteen options, and sometimes introduce them to new players. (Why not go all the way?) But really, the game is incredibly fun without the expansion. With it, it’s nigh perfect.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

by Vasel
July 04, 2007

Wow. This game delivers. As an expansion of the amazing original, this adds so much more. Twilight Imperium is one of the only games out there that makes playing each race a completely different experience, and the four new ones presented here are no exception. Although the The Ember of Muaat is quite n00bish, they remain enjoyable to play (nothing says "bitchin" quite like a 2+, mobile Warsun). The clones are always intimidating to face, and the Clan of Saar perfectly fits my roaming nomad style of play (Finally, a race that lets me relentlessly assault my opponents without wasting units defending my home world). The racial descriptions add tons of flavor, and the new shock troopers make Sol just that much more stompy.

My only complaint: the learning curve. It takes new players even longer to learn all of the rules, now that there are more of them, but for a game this good, it's worth suffering through a few crushing defeats to learn such a tremendous game. Just make sure you have plenty of free time. This game is no "Samurai and Katana" when it comes to fast matches.

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