Most apparently, Rise of Ix comes with two additional boards. The first is an overlay for the Landsraad and the Choam area in the top-right quarter of the board and the second is the eponymous planet Ix which sits alongside the upper right side of the mainboard.
The overlay has a freighter track and once placed each player then puts one of the new extra cylinders in the bottom space of the track. There are spaces for the new technology tiles; once punched, they need to be divided into three equal piles, each pile placed in one of the marked spaces and the top tile on the deck turned over, face up.
Additional cards need adding to their respective decks: the main Imperium deck, intrigue deck and conflict deck. Dreadnought meeples need adding to players’ supplies and the additional House cards can be added to the range for dealing out / selection. If you are playing with one or two players, you need to add the new cards, but to be honest I’d just use the updated phone app to remove the need.
The CHOAM overlay has simplified the Landsraad section and reduced it to High Council, Mentat and Sword Master, but no rules change for any of these. More significantly, it has completely re-engineered the CHOAM spaces, so the easy spice to solari trade is gone. Instead, there are two Dune suit spaces that allow you to interact with the three-tier freighter track.
Each freighter symbol on a space allows you to either move your cylinder up a tier on the track or remove it from the track and gain the current, tier reward. Tier one, gain 2 spice or gain 5 solari (while all other players gain one each); tier two, add two troops to your garrison and increase one faction influence marker one tier; and tier three, buy a technology tile with the cost reduced by 2 spice.
Onto The Board Of IX
With its three stacks of technology tiles. This has two spaces: once costs 3 solari to build a dreadnought in your garrison, and also gives you the option to buy a technology tile for its displayed spice cost. The second gives you 1 influence that turns and also allows you to either buy a technology tile for 1 fewer spice or move a troop cube to the tech negotiation area on the board.
Here they will stay until you choose to use one or more in a future technology buying action at which point they discount the cost by 1 spice per cube used with the cubes returning to your supply.
A great addition to the combat mechanic. You can buy up to two dreadnoughts from the Ix and once purchased they are deployed to your garrison. When you deploy a troop to combat you may choose a dreadnought meeple instead, and these will each provide the strength of 3 in the combat phase.
Should you still lose, the dreadnought is returned to your garrison rather than the supply. However, if you win you must move the dreadnought to one of the command spaces on the board for the duration of the next round, where it supersedes any command flags for that time and diverts the command bonus to the dreadnought’s owner.
The other principle of mechanical additions is some of the rules on the new cards. There are three modifications. One is the inclusion of a shadowy figure next to the faction/location symbols on the left-hand edge of some cards, which signifies that for this location a player’s agent may be moved to that location even if an enemy agent is already present.
The second is the addition of a discard icon, usually as a cost to be paid as part of the work placement consequences. Finally, there are unload symbols at the bottom of some cards which indicate that if the card is discarded or trashed the player gets the same benefit as they would have done were it played normally in the Reveal phase.
The expansion provides for an Epic game mode, with a 12 VP target, 5 garrisoned troops, a starting influence card and 5 tier II and 5 tier III conflict cards. It also replaces one of your starting deck with an upgraded alternative, which includes a trashing mechanic.
I am hugely impressed with Rise of Ix, although it breaks my usual maxims for what makes a great expansion. I think that the removal of the original CHOAM mechanics makes the game far more nuanced.