Twilight Imperium: Political Cards

When Assembly is played, players inevitably have to vote on an agenda. This agenda is most times picked by a player. Now, what criteria apply to choosing the agenda? Many players are tempted to play an agenda that doesn’t hurt anyone, things like “Open the Trade Routes” that give every player 2TG. There are certain agendas, however, that have really gamebreaking effect. “Closing the Wormholes” would be one of them, altering the rules for the rest of the game entirely. You should closely consider when you propose this who will benefit, who will lose and how you will fare in this.

That means time. Don’t rush through the agendas (except you don’t want the other players to think). Debate, try to win over people, carefully consider what will happen if a certain law is applied or not. Note that there are some laws that require election of a player or planet – here a result will be achieved all the time! Make sure it’s not you who suffers from it.

Always remember the option to abstain. If the vote is nothing to you and several people battle over your vote, but you don’t want any of them as an enemy and they don’t bribe you accordingly – abstain. That’s better than making enemies you don’t want.

The time of voting oftentimes is significant, too. If you hold Assembly and want a certain agenda to pass, it is often much easier to wait to play it until the other players have spent their planets on Leadership and Production. Perhaps you can even stall, waiting to play Assembly for so long that many others already have passed, since it’s very seldom that people will do that with many unexhausted planets. This way, you can ensure voting victories even when your total votes seem not be enough.

In the following I will explain some agendas with implications that are perhaps not immediately obvious or which are especially complicated.

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Aggressive Strategy
That agenda puts you before an oftentimes painful choice: either every player may immediately for free use his own Secondary, or no one uses Secondaries this round. You have to carefully weigh the game situation: which Secondaries have already been used (hence, the block won’t affect them), and are there some still active that you want to use? If you own Production, it may be much more beneficial to block the Secondary for all others than to use it yourself. When this agenda comes up, really carefully consider which benefits other players will gain from Secondaries and make your choice accordingly.

Checks and Balances
This law essentially messes up the Strategy Phase since you can’t choose your own SC anymore. You should make your voting on this card dependend mainly on your playstyle and of course the game situation. The latter first: if a player is Speaker and about to win, vote for shifting SC, so he has no chance to pick what he wants. If your gamestyle in general favours thriving on chaos and if your fellow players have problems with it, you may opt for this as well. In the other cases, it might be better to remain a game which can be calculated.

Closing the Wormholes
This agenda has a huge impact on the game. It changes a major part of the game board that surely was anticipated when building up the galaxy. Since it is very difficult to repeal laws once voted for, choose carefully. No one will be allowed to travel through wormholes anymore! If you play with the Wormhole Nexus, the current keeper will keep Mallice forever! Before voting for this law, make sure you have fully understood how you and your opponents will be affected by this law. Never care about the ships lost in wormhole systems when the agenda is voted down; that doesn’t matter. What’s important is whether you profit from closing the wormholes or not, and for that you need an understanding about chances that lay within the gameboard.

Compensated Disarmament
Every GF on one planet is destroyed; the owner keeps control and gets 1TG per GF.  Don’t see this merely as an instrument to prepare an invasion. Yes, it can fulfill this purpose, but it also gives the owner much TG, perhaps even more than a certain planet is worth. You can even consider to elect your own planet if you need the money and there is no invasion to be expected. Just think in both directions when this agenda comes up.

Core Stability
All AC in Status are drawn openly and distributed by influence. This is a perfect measure against AC-heavy races like the Yssaril. Make sure they don’t have too much influence and one of their big advantages loses value rapidly. Even if they are amongst the first to choose, you still have the advantage of knowing all their hands.

Diversified Income
The perfect weapon vs. Hacan. The law doesn’t affect TA, so their racial abilities won’t help them, and since they are basically the only race to stockpile TG under normal circumstances, this law seriously hurts them by drawing an upper limit that all the other races won’t reach anyway.

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Forbidden Research
This law effectively pulls the Technology SC out of the game for several rounds. If you are not interested in a tech-heavy game, say because you play Letnev or Mentak or a similar early aggressive race, then is is the law for you.

Glory of the Empire
This law enhances the VP value of SO by 50%. If you want to vote for this law, consider two things: a) Is it realistic that you will fulfill your SO? b) How big is the danger that the gameleader(s) fullfill their SO? The SO is always a thing you can’t really put in your considerations and which is difficult to track. 2VP out of nowhere contributing to a bubble victory is bad enough, but when there is a chance another player might pull 3VP out he is much closer to victory, so choose carefully.

Imperial Mandate
This agenda immediately grants every player 2VP. If you can end the game with this and happen to have the “Determine Policy” AC on your hand, take Assembly and wait until the other guys have wasted their influence. Then vote them down and win the game.

Imperial Peace
No one may invade MR. That’s great when you already own it, but it is very tasty choice for everyone whose SO doesn’t require him to take the big planet. Even if you have no chance to go through with it, have a look who votes for and who votes against this law. It’s essentially a big announcement who has which SO.

Investigate Spatial Anomalies
Like “Closing the Wormholes” this agenda changes the gameboard radically. Nebulas and Ion Storms effectively change into empty space, and whoever planned on using them has his planned fouled up. Again: consider carefully how changes will affect you and your opponents before you vote.

Limits to Individual Power
The limitation of AC hand and discarding down to three may seem like it hurts the Yssaril real bad. The opposite is true. First, it is a common mistake to think that their indefinite handsize is affected; it’s not. They just discard down to three like the rest. This may seem as a big blow for them, but until late in the game it isn’t. In the opposite, it will increase the advantage the Yassaril have since the other players aren’t allowed to have but a fraction of their card hand.

Mutiny
This is a dangerous agenda. If it passes, every player voting for it gains 1VP, but if it fails, the same players lose one. Lucky is the holder of Assembly, as he knows what to vote, but the first to vote really has a tough choice. If this player is your enemy and you have the choice of PC, then consider getting him in difficulties with this agenda.

Regressive Rhetoric
Like “Forbidden Research”, this agenda reduces the numbers of researches done. If you are interested in a low-tech game or playing Jol-Nar, consider going for this agenda.

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Research Grant
If you really want to have the techs flowing, vote for this one. Essentially, techs will become gratis with this. But I recommend to always vote this one down. In my opinion, it destroys much of the game experience with its tech inflation.

Technology Tariffs
This agenda only increases cost for red techs, which is a powerful tool early in the game to seriously block off efforts of races that need certain red tech. But it also fires in the other direction: warlusty races that already have the important red techs and want to have a bite off easy prey like Sol or others lacking Hylar V Assault Laser in the beginning will have a difficult time then and perhaps be deterred from red techs altogether.

War Funding
In the Action Phase, there is no FS. This drastically changes how fleets are used and the overall combat strategy. With such big fleets, races like Letnev that can easily replace them gain serious advantages, and everyone NOT relying on Fighters too since it is no problem anymore to bring the Destroyers along to cope with them.