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Star Trek: Ascendancy

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14 Aug 2016 02:32 #231955 by Michael Barnes
I'mma cuss...GOD DAMN this game is GOOD.

I got it today from GF9 (they sent me the big 3'x3' player mat too). I was going to do another Mansions of Madness solo game tonight but set this up instead and actually played a full game (Romulans won). It is freaking great. Those of you who were bummed out by Scythe's 4x-esque gameplay, check this one out.

Some observations-

- It is way less complex then you might think. It's actually quite easy to get a handle on, and there is some brilliant streamlining going on. For example, there is only one kind of ship, but if you group them in one of your three fleets you get a special bonus- science, mining, assault, etc. The combat couldn't be easier- every ship throws a die, you start out hitting on sixes and as you upgrade that goes down. There is no fucking card play to slow it down.

- Map system is NUTS. The way the space lanes work in conjunction with finding planets, warp or impulse movement and establishing proximities is fluid and innovative.

- The factions have two specials, three fleet types and a unique advancement deck to distinguish them. They play about like what you'd expect- for example, the Federation had to follow the Prime Directive- no messing around with pre-warp planets. They also gain culture for exploring.

- It has the trade agreement thing from TI3, which is always a good, simple way to build a diplomacy base. I can clearly see where you might get into situations like where you might have a technologically superior Romulan force hitting on 1+ with first strike (yep, cloaking device) bearing down on your frontier and they strongarm the three production agreement out of you in exchange for not crushing you. That's going to be fun.

- It is truly 4x...and the exploration part of it is among the best I have ever seen. Lots of adventures from the franchise and the 50th anniversary special cards bring in lots of fan favorite materials.

- If Rebellion didn't have that lame ass combat, it would be on par with this. But it does, and that makes this the better game.

Now, what blows is that it is three players only right now. That may be terminal for some folks. I'm going to have trouble tabling it because when I can get 3-4 hours to play, it's usually with a group of 5-6. But it is probably worth telling 2-3 players to go play another game. New factions will add players, sure, but not today.

I'm thinking that may happen tomorrow night when we have 5 looking to play Mansions of Madness. Might have to just hand them that and say "have fun with that".

Kind of blown away by it. Pretty certain it is the best Trek game ever made. Could be GF9's best to date. We'll see!
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14 Aug 2016 06:09 #231956 by southernman
Replied by southernman on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
Great to hear, it sounded just what I wanted from an interview with the designer and the normal game description blurbs (and my AT group only is down to just three regulars) but if it also comes with the 'MB Must Buy' stamp well I may just have to ink it in on my pencilled-in list.

Have you reviewed or played the other ST one, Frontiers ? Sounds a bit more like a co-op missions type game which I don't mind but they can stall if not done well.

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14 Aug 2016 10:01 - 14 Aug 2016 10:03 #231959 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
Very exciting! I will keep my ears open, makes me so happy there's a legit 4x trek game. Love to hear other's impressions too. And one of these days I might bring it in the door here.

I'm in a weird position of three players being about the most I could muster for this, so... so do you see any time or other problems that would make it okay worse with more than 3 or just a components/sell expansions issue?

So many good games coming out. Great year.
Last edit: 14 Aug 2016 10:03 by Gary Sax.

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14 Aug 2016 10:07 #231961 by Black Barney
Replied by Black Barney on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
New Star Wars trailer was great. Can someone post it so we can talk about it here, in this thread ?

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14 Aug 2016 10:23 #231962 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
Next planned small box expansions are the Cardassians and Ferengi, says BGG.

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14 Aug 2016 10:43 #231963 by Michael Barnes
Tholians are definitely coming too, they are referenced as a player faction on a card I saw. There are apparently 9 expansions planned including some NPC groups (The Borg!). I can imagine this game turning into a truly massive, epic experience. Right now it is about an hour per player, and I think that is totally reasonable even with 4-5. It's just so much FUN to play, the rules are just incredibly smooth and the setting is perfectly expressed.

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14 Aug 2016 11:00 #231964 by Disgustipater
Replied by Disgustipater on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
I'm really looking forward to it, and I've already pre-ordered it along with both expansions. I am sad that it was pushed back to late September from a July release though.

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14 Aug 2016 11:18 #231965 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
I know people don't like expansion bloat, but I LIKE making a lean, tight experience to start and then inflating it (sometimes to bursting) for big fans over time. That model makes sense to me. It's the same model Paradox uses for its computer games. As long as that original game is not a hacked up incomplete thing I strongly support it.

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14 Aug 2016 12:05 #231966 by Michael Barnes
It is complete out of the box- for three players. I don't feel like anything is missing at all, it's very comprehensive. But you can see possibilities, like faction specific character tokens that you could place in fleets or on planets for various effects. Put Spock on a phenomenon, it earns an extra resource. Put Kirk in a fleet, it gets a reroll.

I would caution GF9 against over-extending it though. Extra races, planets, exploration cards are fine. I would just prefer that anything does not adds the kind of complexity that could make it overbearing...if we wind up with 10 decks of cards (right now there is only one and one per faction), a doom track, a hidden traitor mechanic, a worker placement sideboard and all of that it will be going in the wrong direction. The real value of this game is that it is a very playable, very accessible 4x space epic.

Time to put that old TI3 coffin box in its grave.

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14 Aug 2016 14:22 #231970 by Da Bid Dabid
Replied by Da Bid Dabid on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
MB - Dibs on this one in a week or two when you are finished.
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14 Aug 2016 14:45 #231971 by cdennett
Replied by cdennett on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
Ugh, my first attempt at writing this got eaten by the site, so here's an abbreviated version...

Got to play most of a 4 player game at Gen Con (with the "Beta" Cardassians faction), and the game is pretty damn good. I think an hour per player might be possible once rules are down, but you still need to have players that are on the ball, as there is *no* turn overlap at all. Basically one faction does their whole turn before the next goes. The map we played on was huge, and so I, The Federation, was able to explore my little corner and avoid most contact. It helped that the others were doing the same when they really should have been looking for combat. I was 3 turns away from victory when we quit, provided my front-lines would hold (at the time they literally couldn't touch me do to my upgraded shields).

Will try and upload photos in another post, this one keeps failing...
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14 Aug 2016 14:46 #231972 by cdennett
Replied by cdennett on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
Where it all begins...
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14 Aug 2016 15:42 #231973 by cdennett
Replied by cdennett on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
And here's how things ended:
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14 Aug 2016 15:43 #231974 by Josh Look
Replied by Josh Look on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
I have this preordered. It's not shipping until late September, apparently.

I want a Mirror Universe Federation faction.

I don't want the Borg.

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14 Aug 2016 16:57 #231975 by Disgustipater
Replied by Disgustipater on topic Star Trek: Ascendancy
I ordered the two expansions for variety as much as extra players. I like that it does 3-players well.

I can't wait for the NPC Borg faction.

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