Zero-1 PBF

I will be GMing a PBF game of Twilight Impering 3rd Ed. with both Shattered Empire and Shards of the Throne expansions. The rules as written will be followed (including the latest FAQ) except where noted below. The GM will have final say for any rule disputes.

Players will be selected in a biased manner. (This is being done to insure the highest odds of getting players that will stay active for the duration of the game.) People I personally know to be active get first priority, followed by people vouched for by people I personally know, followed by everyone else. If you are in the last group, actively participating in the pregame rules discussion over several days is a good way to establish some forum participation credibility.


Still up for discussion…


The game will be played using Vassal on the Vassal forums. A thread will be created there when the game is ready to begin. Until then, all discussion should be done here.

For those of you not familiar with Vassal, it is a program that was made with the intent of live online play for a large variety of games. However, it does support forum play and will be used to see the state of the game in substitute of a web site.

Players will submit turns the same as a standard PBF game – forum post outlining the turn with no need to attach Vassal files. I will then update the Vassal file and post it. You will be responsible for downloading the updated files to see the state of the game. I’m using Vassal because I think it will be easier on my end to run the game rather than coding a web site from scratch. (Vassal forums because they allow uploading of that file type.)

Unfortunately, because it is optimized for live play, there are many ways in which cheating is possible if the GM does not exercise great care. I will be assuming control in such a way that there will be no need for an honor system and cheating will not be possible. All variables will be under my control, and no one else will have unfair access. Most variables (action card deck, political card deck, objectives deck, ect) will be handled in a separate master file that no players will have access to. In the files players will have access to these decks will be removed from the play area.

All action and political cards on Vassal other than the name of the card are blank. It is expected that you have copies of the base game and both expansions to play in this game. I will not tell you what cards do.


Players are required to complete their turn within 24 hours of their turn coming up. Exceptions will be made when properly communicated. This includes holidays, vacation, waiting on pertinent PM communication relevant to the current action, or any other reasonable need for extension. Just be sure to communicate with the GM.

In the case of extended absence, a deputy to take turns for you is recommended.

Please do not ask for a place in this game if you are not committed to keeping up with necessary activity.

While on the topic of time, players have 24 hours from the use of an action card to sabotage. If we need to roll back the game, we will. All actions made before a roll back are at the risk of those posting the action.


From base game: leaders

From Shattered Empire: variant strategy cards, race specific-technologies, artifacts, shock troops, the wormhole nexus, tactical retreats, custodians of Mecatol Rex

From Shards of the Throne: preliminary objectives, flagships, mechanized units, mercenaries, political intrigue


All public objective cards will be used when making the objective deck. The game will be to 10 points (not really a house rule, but good place to state this).

When a political card is drawn a player will also be given a trade good for each political card (this includes the initial two cards). Political cards may not be spent as trade goods.

In the last status phase of the game (in which a player reaches 10 points), other players with lower initiative may win if they can score more points. Example: Naalu has 10 VPs, N’orr has 11 VPs and the production strategy card, and Saar has 11 VPs and the technology strategy card – N’orr wins because while he claimed objectives after Naalu he has more points and while he is tied for points with Saar he has the higher initiative.

Other house rules may be proposed by players and can be voted on before the game starts – at least 4 votes in favor of a rule are required. The GM’s vote counts for 7.

Players in this game are:


Please check in here and propose any house rules you might like to play with. Space mines and facilities are out.

A method of galaxy creation needs to be decided on. This was going to be the rich center game, but after created the map as originally outlined it became obvious it wouldn’t work well - the center ring was amazing and the rest was almost a barren waste. The change I propose is a GM created “fair” map with emphasis on a healthy middle ring, but not foring all the good planets to be there. This is definately open to suggestion and input as you check in would be greatly appreciated.

Also, newbie GM mistake - race selection was going to be random draft of 3 per player, but then I remembered there are 17 races… I’m going to do random draft of 2 per player unless something better is suggested and agreed on.

For race selection, my FtF does a 2 round 2 draft pick. This adds a little time in a PBF, but gives 3 options total. Basically you get 2 races randomly, out of which you choose 1 and return 1 to the pool. The pool gets shuffled, and 1 race is dealt to everyone again. You choose which of those two you want (between your first choice and 2nd draw). Everything is done in secret. I’m up for anything though.

Checking in.

I know some of you by name from playing in the wiki site and look forward to playing with you.

I’m fine with all rules proposed. One question, will Assembly give the person control of speaker, 2 PC, and 2 TG?

Another note, At the moment there is a glitch in the transfer section. So when the GM puts a card in your private
area, you will be able to move it, but won’t be able to view it. To fix this, move the card to the setup under search-able.
It might work in other places, but that is the only place I’ve tested it. If it gets moved to transfer, anyone can touch it.
Once you move it to search-able, you can see what it does. Since you should have your own logfile and you won’t be submitting
them to other people, no one else should be able to see the card.

As for races, maybe it might be nice to have everyone submit there top 3 choices?

Aweberman checking in. Thanks for the spot, AZ.

My personal list of house rules is so extensive that I’m hesitant to suggest any of them for fear of running amok. That having been said, I will suggest an altered version of Bureaucracy, adjusted to work with the old Age of Empire variant from the base game. Essentially, all the Public Objectives are face-up from the beginning of the game, but all but the first are “locked” when the game starts. (I’m kicking myself for not using this option in the latest PBF I’m GMing.)

I vote “no” on Space Mines and Facilities.

I’m easy when it comes to race selection. I usually just take a random one when playing FTF.

Correct, but the only way you are getting rid of one of those political cards is if it gets picked to be voted on. The idea is to increase the pool of political cards in hopes of increasing the frequency of meaningful laws getting voted on while also keeping people from throwing away very fun laws because they want the extra production.

JP is right about the transfer section. Once we get past fine tuning of rules I’ll have a post about the things people need to know - Vassal isn’t perfect for this, but it is pretty easy to use, especially for the GM!

I would also remind people that there is a hand limit of 5PC, according to the SE rules. This seems to get overlooked sometimes.

Checking in. The proposed rules look fine to me.

Your idea of trying to make a ‘fair’ galaxy seems good. Are we determining start positions randomly then? or doing some kind of bid?

I was also wondering if we were sticking to the PC card limit of 5 with this variant.

Looking forward to this :slight_smile:.

Seating will be random unless there is a push for bidding or something else.

I totally forgot about the 5 card limit, but we’ll stick with that. Should you go over 5 you’ll just discard whichever you want to get rid of.

Howdy ya’ll,

The rules as of right now are fine to me.

I think the GM created galaxy is fine and will let the game start faster.
I also think 2 random races per player is great and will let the game start faster.
Furthermore, I am fine with random seating since I don’t know anyone’s play style.
Additionally, I am fine with the currently proposed house rules for Political Cards giving TGs when dealt.

As for additional house rules, I am partial to just playing the game RAW since my FtF playgroup enjoys a healthy splash of house rules all the time.

My only question is how will we receive each updated vassal game file?


I will attach the file to posts. We switched to these forums instead of bbg because these forums allow Vassal file uploads.

Hey AZ. K_kid checking in. Thanks for the spot much appreciated. The race draft seems cool, I think I’ll use it in my ftf today. Monkeyed around with VASSAL a bit yesterday might take me a bit to work out the details, I’ll spend some time on it this weekend.
As for galaxy creation I am easy with whatever happens, I just like there to be good reason for expansion.

Everyone has checked in. The map is ready.

I like the draft idea for races, so you’ll get 2 at random to pick from. You reply with which you will keep and which you will discard. Once everyone has replied I’ll shuffle and send your 3rd option.

Only one house rule up for vote:

I assume you unlock the objectives in the same way they would be flipped. If you have the Bureaucracy card, instead of drawing the top two you would pick which of the next two in line become unlocked?

I lied - one more thing to vote on…

RAW artifacts or place all 8? If it’s 8 I’ll have each of you place one and I’ll roll a die with some way I think up to determine where the last two go.

I vote RAW for beauro. Having all POs revealed at the beginning takes alot of the value out of picking the beauro card IMO.
I vote RAW for artifacts.

Edit: Also, with Promissary notes in, that shortens the number of game turns anyway, so (IMO) the AOE/Artifact type of game accelerators do not have the same value.

One more thing - the other game (Zero-2) has an MIA player. He’s got a little more time to show up, but there may be an empty seat. PM me if you are interested in being in that game as well.

My vote for the 2 house rules:

Artifact placement: I vote RAW.

Public Objectives: I vote RAW.

Here’s a link to my printable image for “Bureaucracy II”: … _front.jpg

I don’t think of Age of Empire as a way to shorten the game; I think of it as a way to eliminate randomness from the game. I’m all about that. But I will refrain on voting on that house rule, since I suggested it.

I vote that we have all 8 Artifact tokens on the board, for much the same reason that I suggested the other house rule: Knowing that all 4 Artifacts are definitely out there eliminates some randomness.

I vote normal artifact rules and normal Bureaucracy rules.

I vote for RAW Bureaucracy. I like the mystery of what will be revealed and how you have to adapt to it.
I also vote for all 8 artifact tokens(or at least all 4 artifacts and as many blanks as we can legally place).