Twilight Inscription

Twilight Inscription

RRP: £64.99
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RRP £64.99
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Twilight Inscription takes the epic experience of the 4x behemoth Twilight Imperium and shrinks it down into a roll and write. That doesn’t mean this is a small game though. Twilight Inscription is an epic roll and write which plays 1-8 players, each of whom will have 4 dry erase sheets to fill in. These cover each of those 4 X’s; eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate.    …
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Category Tag SKU ZBG-FFGTIN01 Availability 3+ in stock
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Twilight Inscription takes the epic experience of the 4x behemoth Twilight Imperium and shrinks it down into a roll and write. That doesn’t mean this is a small game though. Twilight Inscription is an epic roll and write which plays 1-8 players, each of whom will have 4 dry erase sheets to fill in. These cover each of those 4 X’s; eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate.  

 

Players will be trying to stake their claim on Mechatol Rex, the now vacant galactic throne once held by the Lazax Empire. Nature abhors a vacuum, and a new ruler will rise from the ashes to take their place. Each round players will resolve an event card. These could allow players to expand and develop their empire, vote on laws in the galactic senate or even plunge the whole galaxy into war.  

 

Each of the four player boards has a different puzzle to be solved. Navigation has players drawing routes between different planetary systems and claiming worlds to add to their empire. With expansion, players will develop the worlds to produce more powerful resources that can be used to unlock new technology abilities 

 

Industry has players building up their factories to produce trade goods, the wild resource of the game, to strengthen their expansion. Lastly, with warfare players assemble their fleets and strike out at their neighbours around the table. There is also a battle to be the first to fulfil each of the four public objectives, one for each board, available each game. The galaxy is also littered with relics; Powerful forgotten objects that can be used to change the fate of your empire. 

 

 

There are 24 playable races, each with their own powers and abilities. There are also asymmetrical player sheets to further mix things up and keep it fresh. Grab your pen, select your faction and see if you have what it takes to lead your people to the ultimate victory across the galaxy. 

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • A big epic roll and write experience
  • Loads of variations of setup
  • High quality production
  • The Pens!

Might Not Like

  • It doesn’t quite capture all the goodness of Twilight Imperium
  • Can be a bit of a brain burner at first
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Description

Twilight Inscription takes the epic experience of the 4x behemoth Twilight Imperium and shrinks it down into a roll and write. That doesn’t mean this is a small game though. Twilight Inscription is an epic roll and write which plays 1-8 players, each of whom will have 4 dry erase sheets to fill in. These cover each of those 4 X’s; eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate.  

 

Players will be trying to stake their claim on Mechatol Rex, the now vacant galactic throne once held by the Lazax Empire. Nature abhors a vacuum, and a new ruler will rise from the ashes to take their place. Each round players will resolve an event card. These could allow players to expand and develop their empire, vote on laws in the galactic senate or even plunge the whole galaxy into war.  

 

Each of the four player boards has a different puzzle to be solved. Navigation has players drawing routes between different planetary systems and claiming worlds to add to their empire. With expansion, players will develop the worlds to produce more powerful resources that can be used to unlock new technology abilities 

 

Industry has players building up their factories to produce trade goods, the wild resource of the game, to strengthen their expansion. Lastly, with warfare players assemble their fleets and strike out at their neighbours around the table. There is also a battle to be the first to fulfil each of the four public objectives, one for each board, available each game. The galaxy is also littered with relics; Powerful forgotten objects that can be used to change the fate of your empire. 

 

 

There are 24 playable races, each with their own powers and abilities. There are also asymmetrical player sheets to further mix things up and keep it fresh. Grab your pen, select your faction and see if you have what it takes to lead your people to the ultimate victory across the galaxy. 

While it is more than likely not the biggest box in my collection anymore, Twilight Imperium still holds an enormous weight to it. It’s that game that people talk in hushed tones about how it can take all day to play and has hundreds of little plastic spaceships. And it does deserve that reputation. And while I now own bigger games, this is the only one we make sure to schedule in at least 2 plays a year. It’s a real event where we sit around and eat and drink and be merry and we’re all ready for bed by the time it’s through. It’s like Christmas, but with War Suns and trade embargoes. But now Fantasy Flight Games has released a new box of bits into the board gaming world. Twilight Inscription

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Twilight Inscription aims to capture all that makes Twilight Imperium great and condense it down into a roll and write game that plays in under 2 hours. This is no mean feat! There are plenty of big box games that get the roll and write treatment. Roll and write versions of Isle of Cats, Dinosaur Island and Dice Hospital are all within arm’s reach of where I’m sat writing this. This one seems to really have captured a lot of people’s imaginations. So, what’s it like? Is it any good? And possibly most importantly, does it feel like Twilight Imperium?

Well, straight out of the gate, it plays up to 8. That is a great start. It also plays well solo too so that’s a neat bonus. As for the generally epic scale of things, that gets a tick too. Each player will be filling in 4 different boards. These are not small boards either. And they’re double sided too. You can set it so all players are playing on a copy of the same board or you can go hog wild and play on completely different boards. There is also a 5th, shared board that sits in the middle of the table too. There are 24 asymmetric factions in the box, each with their own twist to make them a little bit unique. That definitely sounds pretty epic to me.

Twilight Inscription uses the same story and set dressing as Imperium. The Lazax empire, who once ruled the galaxy, have fallen and created a power vacuum. It is now up to the many factions of the known galaxy to try and prove themselves worthy of the throne. You do this by the only real metric that matters, victory points.

The way most of the game works is that 6 dice are rolled each round. You get the 3 black dice for free, but you need to unlock the 3 colourful dice to be able to use them. You then get to choose one of your 4 sheets to be your active sheet. You then use the icons rolled on those dice to fill in various bits of your boards to help develop your holdings. The 4 boards are themed around different areas of your empire. Exploration allows you to take your ships to the stars and go off colonising the planets you find. It also allows you to create links to the systems of the players sat on either side of you at the table.

Phasers On Standby

Does this feel like full fat Twilight Imperium? To me, absolutely. You’re heading out trying to expand your empire with the main goal being trying to get to Mechatol Rex. Some planets can be colonised, some offer resources, some may even hide awesome relics which you can use to swing the tides of fate in your favour. So far, so Twilight Imperium.

Next up, we’ve got the expansion board. Here you’re playing a sort of bingo game where you’re trying to cross off rows and columns to unlock rewards. This feels very much like something you’d find in Ganz Schon Clever or one of its two sequels. Filling up these rows and columns represents you developing your planets. You only unlock a new planet choice when you manage to colonise a planet on the navigation board. It’s a nice bit of theming and I like when choices on one board leak over onto another. You’ve also got a population track that the further up it you manage to get, the more points it’s worth. Standard Roll and Write stuff.

Warfare is where most of the player interaction in the game is found. Here you’re playing a sort of Tetris game to try and fill in as much of a grid as you can. Filling in certain spaces gets you a bonus whereas others can’t be filled in at all. At 4 points during the game war will break out. Now you compare your warfare score to the players on either side of you, think 7 Wonders. If you win you get a bonus, if not you lose a few points. Whenever I’ve played Twilight Inscription, I’ve gone fairly heavy into warfare as I really like the puzzle and there are some great rewards up for grabs.

We’re In For Some Chop

The last board is industry and there is a lot going on here. The main event is a big honeycomb like array of different resources you can claim. These resources can then be used to unlock trade goods which can be spent as wild dice faces on any other board. You’ve also got a lot of opportunities to unlock the focus you need to use the locked dice. The number of votes your empire can cast is also found on this card too.

Voting brings me crashing into what I feel is the weakest part of the game though. At a few points during the game an agenda will be revealed, and players will get to vote for or against it. So far, so Twilight Imperium. The thing is though, in Imperium this is a chance to negotiate. It’s a time to make bargains and promises to try and get people to vote your way. It’s a genuinely brilliant experience when a group of players really get into it and make whatever deals need to be made to get the best outcome for their faction.

Twilight Inscription just doesn’t have that. There is nothing to barter and there aren’t really any long term effects of whatever it is you’re voting on. It generally comes down to being given 2 bad things that can happen and whoever has the most votes gets their way. If you’ve not got the votes, there is nothing you can do or say to swing the result your way. And that is really disappointing. I think I’d be a lot less bothered by this if it wasn’t so directly comparable to Imperium. If this was just some action you could spend resources to activate an event, I probably wouldn’t mind as much. But the comparison between the two games is there and, for me, Twilight Inscription falls really short at this hurdle.

Going back to the good stuff, there are a lot of interesting decisions to be made in this game. My problem is that those decisions tend to be on the boards that reward you the least. My two favourite boards were Navigation and Expansion. I liked exploring, colonising new worlds and then developing them to get rewards, brilliant stuff. The problem is that doesn’t really score you many points. Whereas the Industry board has, in my mind at least, the weakest mechanisms but the highest point returns. You sort of feel like you need to play that board so you can earn a few turns playing on the more fun boards. And that just sounds like a job to me.

Getting Back On Course

I feel like I’m being a bit overly harsh here. 3 of the 4 boards are excellent and the last one is OK. Each of the boards has 2 technologies to research on them. This lets you to unlock new abilities. The different faction abilities are a lot of fun to try and the different powers the offer feel really unique. You’ve also got end game scoring objectives which give you some interesting goals to aim for. I’ve not tried all the asymmetric boards but the ones I have played have been nice and fresh. It’s worth noting that they can be played in any combination too, so there is the one basic setup and 4096 different combinations of asymmetric boards. That’s bonkers.

Regarding boards and production in general, this is a very nice box of bits. The boards are all dry wipe and very legible. The dice are big and chunky. The cards are all very nice. But the pens, oh the pens! These are some of the nicest pens I’ve ever used in a Roll and Write. They are bright orange chalk pens and they are fantastic because they don’t smudge or anything. The manual is good and there is an excellent learn to play guide included. It’s a fantastic experience and a really nice production overall.

This is a very good roll and write game. I almost feel that the Twilight Imperium theme is going to be a bit of a blessing and a curse for some. On the one hand you’re going to have a lot of people try it because of the theme, but I feel some of those people are going to be disappointed by their experience. Twilight Inscription is not Imperium, of course it isn’t it plays in less than a quarter of the time. But I also imagine some people are going to be put off because of the theme, and I feel like those people are also missing out on a very good Roll and Write game.

Approaching The Dock

I’m not sure if this is my favourite heavy roll and write game. Hadrian’s Wall is excellent and I really enjoy Rome and Roll too. I think Twilight Inscription needs you to strategize more when you play. Those other two games I’m very much thinking, what is the best thing I can do this turn? Twilight Inscription has me thinking more about the bigger picture and about how these choices are affecting my path in general. I also feel like Twilight Inscription plays better with other people. A lot of Roll and Writes play well, if not at their best, solo. Twilight Inscription has a good solo mode, which is also used in a 2 player game, but the game absolutely shines with 3 or more players. That said, beyond the Warfare events, player interaction is pretty minimal. This is a mostly heads down, solo experience.

That’s sort of where I land, I guess. If you want to try it because of the theme, you absolutely should, it’s a good game. Just go into it knowing it is not the whole Twilight Imperium experience condensed down. But similarly, if you’ve been a bit put off thinking that this is going to be some absolutely massive unmanageable beast of a game you’ll get to play once a year if you’re lucky, you should give it a try. The theme is there, but you don’t need to get into it to get the most of the game.

While the first game will likely have your mind a little bit blown, after that first game things begin to click, and starts to get easier to see a good path as you chart your way between the stars.

That concludes our thoughts on Twilight Inscription. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Twilight Inscription today click here!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • A big epic roll and write experience
  • Loads of variations of setup
  • High quality production
  • The Pens!

Might not like

  • It doesnt quite capture all the goodness of Twilight Imperium
  • Can be a bit of a brain burner at first