Twilight Imperium: The Universities of Jol-Nar

From the strategy guide written by Stefan Sasse

Racial Ability:

  • You receive -1 to all combat rolls.
  • You may spend aCC from SA to immediately reroll any dice roll.
  • When executing the Secondary of Technology, you may additionally use the Primary.

Starting Techs:

  • Hylar V Assault Laser
  • Antimass Deflectors
  • Enviro Compensator
  • Sarween Tools

Leaders:  Scientist, Scientist, Admiral

Representative 1: Yaluga Huin (B, C)  +1.   Cannot be killed.

Representative 2: Ta Zern (C)  +2.   Gain +1 vote for each Technology.

Representative 3: Deluin Fillac (S, C)  +3.   Choose unrevealed Representative. You may force player to choose another one.

Racial Tech 1 : Spatial Conduit Network (6)  Once per round you may move from any system you control to any other system you control as if they were adjacent.

Racial Tech 2: Electro-Resonance Turbines (2)  When an opponent activate a system you control, gain three Trade Goods from the Trade Supply.

Starting Units:

  • 2 GF
  • 2 Carriers
  • 1 Fighter
  • 2 PDS
  • 1 Dreadnought

Trade Agreements:  3,1

Homesystem:  Jol (1/2), Nar (2/3)

Flagship: J.N.S. Hylarim (10 / 2×2 / 2 / 2)  Each natural 10 rolled by this ship during Space Battle counts as three hits (instead of one hit).

The Hylar are basically a race of humanoid fish, living on the twin planets of Jol and Nar. Without water they can’t survive, and so they need high-tech enviro-suits to compensate for this, resulting in legendarily bad fighting skills. Their big, soft heads contain more synapses than any other race, on the other hand, so they are the best scientists to be found in the universe. Both traits are represented in the racial abilities of this race.

The abilities boil down to three: the first simply gives you a -1 penalty on any combat roll. This means that you are in a great disadvantage in combat compared to any other race. Your Carriers and Fighters are near to useless, your Destroyers severely crippled, and even your War Suns miss more often than those of other races. You are a lame duck in combat.

This is only compensated a bit by the often overlooked and foregotten ability to reroll crucial rolls by spending a CC from SA. Don’t ever think to reroll a die that has a hit number of 9 or less. This is a wasted CC. Instead, reroll such rolls that should have hit like the War Sun’s if you feel it’ll make a difference.

The third ability is the strongest the Hylar can offer. Whenever using the Secondary of Technology, you also use the Primary. Arguably, this has been weakened a bit with the introduction of Technology II, but with an immense investment of resources you can research even three techs per round. It is important to note that neither should you take Technology yourself because then you rid yourself of one possible tech (since you can’t use your own Secondary) nor should you forget that you don’t need to actually purchase a tech when activating the Secondary. This means that you can get a free tech without actually purchasing one with the Secondary first, a fact that is sometimes misunderstood but is crucial in the first rounds.

The starting fleet of the Hylar shows that they really lack some military talent. They are decent ships, no doubt, but put together in a way that a housewife might do when sitting in front of a fashion catalogue. Two GF is not enough to make a decent expand, but some great Hylar commander obviously recognized that having two Carriers is cool even if you don’t have the GF to fill it. So your first priority is to get GF in those Carriers instead of letting them sit around useless. They also got one single Fighter, as if some technician wanted to do some action before work’s end. Two PDS speak of “don’t attack us, we’re scared”, and the Dreadnought is a schoolboy’s attempt to show some balls where he clearly lacks them. So, all in all, what derives from such a fleet? Get it working. More GF for the Carriers, Destroyers and Cruisers to bolster up the forces a bit and some Fighters to soak hits. After that, you still suck at combat, but at least don’t make an utter fool of yourself doing it.

Let’s have a look at the starting techs. Not surprisingly, here the Hylar shine in a way only the L1z1x can hope to match a bit. It is basically a collection of prerequisites just lacking a green tech. You can go anywhere from there, which is just fitting a scientist race. Don’t hesitate to do so. Considering how your fleet sucks, you need at least some shiny tech to make this up, and the Hylar are the only ones that can realistically hope to get several techs way down in the tech tree. I once researched everything there was, just because I could. Schoolboy behavior, I mentioned it.

The first racial tech, Spatial Conduit Network, isn’t one of the most obvious techs to take. Unless you have to cover great distances between your main production line to the front, want to reinforce MR desperately or fighting at two fronts, I don’t see a reason to take this. It’s very expensive and highly situational. The second one, Electro-Resonance Turbines, is much more efficient. It pays itself off quickly and, more importantly, offers a deterrent to other players. This is especially crucial when playing with the Nekro Virus, since you can threaten some serious payback with this tech (the Nekro will want to activate systems you control all the time). In that case, you can even manage TG rates similar to the Hacan.

The problem is that your fleet sucks but with that impressive amount of techs you actually look like someone being aggressive. So you want to soothe at least one neighbor while trying to beat the other one up. For this, you have a 3TA. This helps you a lot in terms of getting peace at one front. You cannot afford to be greedy. Don’t ever trade with another 3TA, just give it to the greatest danger in exchange for a meager 1TA. He will always want to keep it, and you’re the safer from him by it. It hurts to lose the money, but loosing planets and fleets in an unnecessary war hurts more. At this point we should take a look at the HS, too. Both planets combine low resource with high influence values. That’s bad, because you want to use the resources only when the vote’s already done, and most of the times Leadership Secondary will be tempting. The latter is not so much of a problem since you shouldn’t be too low on resources normally, but the first can limit your options.

So, how do you go from there? Your number one priority in round 1 should be acquiring the Trade SC. Not only can you make some friends here and guarantee that your 3TA finds the hands it’s made for, but more importantly you gain three TG. Now we make a basic calculation example: 3TG+3 resources from starting planets results in 6 resources available, which is just the cost for the Technology Secondary. The Trade SC has a lower initiative number than Technology, so it gets played before. Coincidence? I think not. Two techs in round one are yours.

You might wonder now how this fits the bill I opened before when I talked about getting more GF since spending a CC for the Production Secondary just to buy a meager GF with the Sarween Tools seems a bit wasted. Well, for starters, it’s not, and second, it depends on the techs you buy. I recommend a set I call “the expansionist fish”: Micro Technology and Nano Technology. Now you not only gain more from the TA you just gave out freely, but you also gain every planet you take unexhausted beginning day one. Isn’t that a great advantage that results in many, many resources and pays itself off quite fast? Thought so too. This opening move is a first challenge for your diplomatic skills: if you manage to persuade the guy with Technology to use it in round 1 and the guy with Production to use it in round three, you can buy the techs, take all starting GF with the first Carrier and then use the Secondary of Production before moving out the second Carrier.

From there you can take virtually any route. Try to get techs like X89 Bacterial Weapon and other stuff like that that opens you options in combat, since you desperately need them. The Hylar aren’t a race for a long game. The longer the game lasts, the less advantage they draw from their techs, because the other races get what they need, too. So play aggressively to end the game ASAP. Keeping Bureaucracy in play is an important step for this, and with Nano Tech researched you should have a much easier time with those economic objectives than most others. Since there is a number of agendas that can seriously constrain your ability to research cheap, you should try to have an AC ready with which you can either cancel or win the vote. It is not surprising that the Hylar have two Scientists in their team; use them as much as possible by moving them around, reducing the cost of SD, making techs even cheaper (in many cases nearly gratis) and to defend important planets with a Scientist, a PDS and several GF in the later game.

The representatives of the Hylar are defensive in mentality. You seldom really piss another player off. One of them is totally invulnerable, making voting much safer, and the others offer rich bonus votes or allow you to interfere with the plans of other players without crippling them.

The flaghip of the Hylar is only worth the resources if you really drown in them. It’s more or less a mediocre Warsun without Fighter protection, and its ability is too luck dependent to be of any value for strategic planning.

5 thoughts on “Twilight Imperium: The Universities of Jol-Nar

  1. Really good explanation of the races.

    Played the Hylar a bit differently than you suggested. Of course, it was the Lazax scenario, so that was a big difference. Basically, as soon as I got warsuns (turn 2 or 3, can’t remember), I started playing the protector/mercenary (not a standard role for the Jol-Nar). Hacan was scared of the Lazax, so I offered to help him (and not attack him) for his trade goods so I could build a second war sun. The Lazax were breathing down his neck hard, so he accepted, which got the Lazax to back off (He had a good fleet, but warsuns). Everyone gets scared when they see warsuns, so I used that to expand my influence. The Lazax got scared that someone else was about to take Quann and win, so he hired me (with trade goods) to take care of them. Even with the negatives to combat, having warsuns and lots of tech (that I bought with the trade goods they spent to get me to do what they wanted) balanced that out nicely. Since my objective was to take Mechatol Rex to win (not exactly the best objective for the Hylar, but I had to deal with the cards I was played), I used the resources to make my racially weak fleet powerful, such that if the Sol player hadn’t been lucky to have the “Control another player’s home system to win” card, AND be next to the Xxacha, who hadn’t bothered much with diplomacy OR fleets, I could have taken Mechatol Rex that turn (if things went according to plan).

  2. 6 resources? not 8?

  3. thanks for the review, really helped me out yesterday 🙂

  4. oh, and tech that allows you to take planets unexhausted is rediculous if you get it on turn 1. it’s reward decreases very rapidly as the game continues, so don’t bother getting it after turn 2 🙂

  5. Of course, you can go wherever you want on the tech tree with the Jol-Nar. After you’ve (hopefully) pulled off the Nano Technology gambit described above, I would strongly recommend going into War Suns. These are the work horses that even your feeble flippers can annihilate the enemy with, and thanks to Nano Technology they can’t be targeted by enemy action cards. After War Suns, I would invest in mobility–the Gravity Drive, the Light/Wave Deflector, and whatever else you can get your hands on. With these two techs Warfare, your War Suns and escorts have a range of 4 and can fly right through the enemy line to their soft underbelly. Bide you time, look as innocuous as possible, and you may be able to suddenly and unexpectedly grab someone’s home system before they know what’s happening. Or perhaps, use the threat of this kind of attack to provide the dogpile that sometimes lands on the University in the mid-game.

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