Twilight Imperium Strategy Guide Preview

[Editor’s note: Dusty has been working on a complete strategy guide for Twilight Imperium 4. His thoughts on the game carry considerable weight since he is the winningest player of TI3 in our group.¬†While he promises his full strategy guide is currently in development, we can get a taste of what’s coming from the following preview…]

Twilight Imperium Strategy Guide Preview

Preview 1: Should you score a public objective on round 1?

Muskegon loves Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
Twilight Imperium 4th Edition from Fantasy Flight Games

I believe most players agree that the best way to win Twilight Imperium is to heavily focus on scoring objectives, basically at all times.

On round 1, however, I believe you are better off focusing on military, expansion, or a race specific strategy. This is because by and large scoring a victory point on round 1 will stunt your growth in these fundamental areas.

Here are the 10 possible stage 1 objectives:

“Erect a Monument – Spend 8 resources”

This has to be the most difficult objective to justify scoring on the first turn. Scoring this objective means you wont be doing much else. Probably no technology and few, if any, additional units will be purchasd.

I’m hard-pressed to imagine a legitimate strategy that includes scoring this on round 1.

“Sway the council – Spend 8 influence”

About the only time I could see scoring this on turn 1 making sense is if you have a couple of influence heavy planets adjacent to your homeworld and you are able to use diplomacy effectively. Even then, my hunch is that you would be better off using diplomacy to access additional resources or using that influence to purchase command counters.

“Found research outposts – Control 3 planets that have technology specialties”

It probably makes sense to score this turn 1 if you can. That being said, it’s probably not practical.

First off, the chances that there are three tech specialty planets in range is extremely low.

Second, all 8 of the technology specialties are in different systems. That means that everyone but the XXcha will require 3 carriers to accomplish this on the first turn. That is a tall order.

Third, even if you could do this on turn 1, it likely would stunt your growth relative to other moves you could make. All of the technology specialty planets are low resource planets (all of them have a 0 or 1 resource value).

“Negociate Trade Routes – Spend 5 Trade Goods”

This is not too difficult for the person with the trade strategy card to score. However, it means you are spending 5 resources on turn 1 to score a victory point instead of using those resources to build your fleet or technology infrastructure.

“Intimidate the Council – Have 1 or more ships in 2 systems that are adjacent to Mexatol Rex’s system”

This is doable on turn 1 in the right circumstances. However, it probably stunts your growth to do so. I believe this requires you to have gravity drive and to spend a command counter on turn 1 that is not capturing planets or building. This means unless you have the leadership strategy card, its very unlikely you are going to expand to two systems and build in your home system (which is probably the most typical start).

Even with the potential stunt to growth, this is one of the first objectives where scoring it later could become significantly more difficult. If you can get this out of the way turn 1, it could save you the headache of having to jockey for position in later rounds.

“Expand borders – Control 6 planets in non-home systems”

If you can score this round 1, you should. The chances that you have 6 planets in range and have access to three carriers is practically zero though.

“Diversify Research – Own 2 technologies in each of 2 colors”

Scoring this turn 1 is a pain for everyone except the Jol-nar. There are 6 races that start with two technologies. Theoretically any of them score this turn 1 with the Technology strategy card. Should they? Probably not. The only way it might make sense is if those two technology purchases play into a specific strategy, otherwise spending 6 resources turn 1 is going to stunt your growth.

“Corner the Market – Control 4 planets that each have the same planet trait”

This has to be one of the best objectives to score on turn 1. Of course, most times it won’t be possible. This objective is one of the most important to pay attention to during galaxy setup. If you can make it so that this objective is scoreable on turn 1, it will be a big boost.

“Develop Weaponry – Own 2 unit upgrade technologies”

This is practically impossible for everyone but the Jol-nar to score turn 1. Frankly, most races will have difficulty scoring this on turn 2 as well.

“Lead from the front – Spend a total of 3 tokens from your tactic and or strategy pool.”

This is the easiest and worst objective to score round 1. If you do not have leadership and you choose to score this round 1 you are going to be handicapped during the entire early game. I have a hard time believing there is a coherent strategy that involves scoring this turn 1 – if you win after doing so, I think most of the time it will be despite scoring this turn 1, not because of it.


Arborec Early Game Strategy – Sarween Seed

Arborec (TI4)
Arborec (TI4)

Twilight Imperium early game strategies are difficult to develop because there are a lot of variables (galaxy setup, neighbor races, starting public objectives, trade metagame, strategy card, etc.). However, I believe they are useful because they can highlight how powerful a particular race can be in the right circumstances.

Here is my early game strategy for the Arborec, I call it the Sarween Seed.

Galaxy Setup

Galaxy setup is basic general strategy.

Strategy Card


This strategy starts with the Arborec selecting the Warfare strategy card. In my view, Warfare is the best strategy card for the Arborec generally because it allows them to expand quickly, either spreading out to take over a massive amount of territory, or amassing a huge ground force to take and hold Mecatol Rex.

It is essential for this particular strategy.

Turn 1
Move carrier, 4 infantry to adjacent system. Take control of planets. For this to work you need one of those planets to be worth 1 resource. Preferably you want high influence planets.

Exhaust home system to build second carrier in that system.

Diplomacy Secondary
You need the diplomacy secondary to trigger after turn 1 and before Technology. This shouldn’t be too out of the ordinary because most players with Diplomacy strategy card will take a system round 1 then use Diplomacy to refresh those planets turn 2 so they are available for them to use during a Warfare or Technology secondary.

Refresh your homeworld and a 1 resource planet.

Turn 2
Warfare Primary – pick up command counter from turn 1 unlocking your two carriers and 4 ground forces for additional expansion opportunities.

Technology Secondary
You need the technology secondary to trigger before turn 3 and after diplomacy.

During the technology secondary, purchase Sarween Tools.

Turn 3

Move one carrier and 2 ground forces to take over planets in an adjacent system. Use the one free resource from Sarween Tools to build 2 ground forces.

Turn 4

Move one carrier and 2 ground forces to take over planets in an adjacent system. Use the one free resource from Sarween Tools to build 2 ground forces.

At this point, your command counter configuration is 1/3/0 and you are ready to pass. This provides a great setup going into round 2. You will be in a good position to expand further and/or take over Mecatol Rex with a sizeable ground force (assuming you have the influence).

You could potentially increase the potency of this strategy with trade.


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