Do you have to send a representative to the galactic council if you do in fact have a viable option? Can you refrain from sending one if you think people are just going to try and kill you?
Good question. Upon reading your question I was at first certain that you would be forced to send one, as we had that question pop up recently. I recalled it as being stated clearly in the rules, but after some searching I realised that I was confusing it for a question regarding leaders in the other Twilight Imperium-themed game Rex.
As far as I can see there is no official ruling on this nor is it found in the consolidated FAQ (a collection of responses on rule questions to the developer) at http://boardgamegeek...ht_Imperium_FAQ
In other words it is house rule territory. While thematic to boykott the galactic assembly I would personally find it problematic in terms of gameplay to allow for players not sending a representative when able to. If you do allow it, though, do not forget that a player without a representative cannot vote on the agenda.
When you resolve a representative’s spy ability can you target a face up representative or does it have to be a face down one?
Yes, you can target any representative, whether open or not. This as been reaffirmed by the developer in the consolidated FAQ. Being closer to the Speaker when revealing spies gives you the benefit of being a first-mover, however, being further from the Speaker gives you the benefit of having more knowledge when you target with your spies.
By the way this is one part of the rules where I most often see people having adopted non-RAW practices and I'm not always sure whether it stems from a conscious choice or a misreading of the rules. Particularly the bit that revealing and activating of spies must happen one at a time, starting with the Speaker and going clock-wise (some groups seem to reveal them all at the same time, making it a bit chaotic as well as changing the 'information' game from the RAW substantially).
When using the Political II strategy card you get to choose who gets the speaker token. Can the token stay with the person who already has it or must it change hands? The only rule I can see governing this is that the person who is chosen to resolve a political card can not receive it. However looking at the rules for the Political strategy card it says that you can not give it to the person who currently holds it.
The Political II Strategy Card never allows for you to change the Speaker. It's always meant to be used with the Initiative Strategy Card (the Initiative Card is then the one to change the Speaker) and to allow you to combine the Strategy Cards from the base game with the Political Intrigue option from the Shards of the Throne expansion. Neither the Political I or Political II Strategy Cards allow for changing the Speaker.
If you meant to ask concerning the Assembly II, then you are allowed to keep the Speaker token, as long as you pick someone else for playing the agenda Political Card.
Edited by Cremate, 07 March 2014 - 04:46 AM.