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Red Imperium: 16-hour epic gaming hits the Saito Arcade

Red Imperium is an open source space-civilization game that uses the base mechanics from the utterly-epic 16-hour boardgame Twilight Imperium. As you can see from the screenshot below, the game has entirely new graphics (we think they look great!) a streamlined user-interface, and a provably-fair cryptographic backend like everything else at the Saito Arcade (

As fans of the original game and its brilliant design, our goal with Red Imperium has been to put something that can help teach newbies how to play, let us practice game strategies and faction rollout, and also just have a fun digital way to get a quick fix between our marathon in-person games. Having a computer automate movement and combat speeds things up to the point the experience is also quite different: a full game can be completed in 2-3 hours and played casually over the course of the day.

While one of our goals is faithfulness to the important game mechanics, we have deliberately changed some game structure to speed up gameplay and work around issues in the original game design. While we might enable a classic-mode in the future, key changes include:

  • players only select one strategy card first round. This makes card selection faster, speeds up resource accumulation and makes politics a slightly better initial pick.
  • scoring happens directly when the Imperial card is played. This adds a bit more strategic richness (stalling out others isn’t possible in all situations, and there are ways to get a point-ahead early-game if you time things right). Politics works similarly.
  • trade offers must be accepted or rejected in toto, so while complex negotiations are possible, once you make an offer and it is or isn’t accepted, you don’t get to adjust the terms and try again.

There are doubtless still have bugs lurking in the code, most of the work at this point is probably going to be flagging issues and fixing them, while fleshing out new factions / cards. As an open source and community-driven project, there’s no reason we can’t alternate decks, faction-specific objectives either. So if you are interested in helping to test please get in touch. And in the meantime? We hope you enjoy the game.

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