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  • Podcasts & Videos
  • It Came From the Tabletop! - Star Trek: Ascendancy and Civilization: A New Dawn

It Came From the Tabletop! - Star Trek: Ascendancy and Civilization: A New Dawn

JL Updated
It Came From the Tabletop! - Star Trek: Ascendancy and Civilization: A New Dawn

Podcast Details

Episode
Star Trek: Ascendancy and Civilization: A New Dawn
Description
Join Josh and Al as they talk about what games they just played, going beyond mere reviews and into mechanics, genres and where games fit in the hobby itself.
Topics
Star Trek: Ascendancy, Civilization: A New Dawn, Trashfest Northeast 2018

There Will Be Games

As Josh and Al recover from a busy weekend of playing games, they talk about two of their favorite empire building/4X games.

 

Special thanks to the Minibosses.

If you like the show, give us a rating!  Spread the word!

There Will Be Games

Josh Look (He/Him)
Staff Podcaster

One night during the summer of 1997, Josh Look's cool uncle who owned a comic shop taught him how to play Magic the Gathering. The game set off his imagination in a way that he could not sleep that night, and he's been fascinated by games ever since. He spent many afternoons during his high school years skipping homework to play Dungeons & Dragons and paint Warhammer minatures, going on to discover hobby board games in his early 20s. He's been a writer for Fortress Ameritrash and is the creator and co-host of the geek culture podcast, The Wolfman's Lounge. He enjoys games that encourage a heavy amount of table talk and those that explore their themes beyond just their settings.

Articles and Podcasts by Josh

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disgustipater's Avatar
disgustipater replied the topic: #286117 13 Nov 2018 23:48
Nothing to add other than keep up the good work.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #286119 14 Nov 2018 07:28
Your enthusiasm is totally contagious. Quit making me want to add more and more games to my wish list :)
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #286122 14 Nov 2018 08:43
I got a strong scythe vibe from New Dawn the couple times I played it. Everyone sat in their corner trying to out efficient each other with their constrained action selections, and there was some interaction in the middle of the board but it didn't amount to much before someone anticlimactically hit the win condition. Granted I could see it playing out differently if people were good at it, but it didn't really catch anyone's interest enough to want to try to get there.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #286123 14 Nov 2018 09:07
The interaction in New Dawn is a lot softer than in other civ games; part of why I like it. Your cities can be taken over, but building a new one is not usually a big deal, other than the lost action. If you're looking for a full 4X experience, you'll be disappointed, but as I'm not looking for that I really like it and think it's been unfairly slept on.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #286124 14 Nov 2018 09:23

Ah_Pook wrote: I got a strong scythe vibe from New Dawn the couple times I played it. Everyone sat in their corner trying to out efficient each other with their constrained action selections, and there was some interaction in the middle of the board but it didn't amount to much before someone anticlimactically hit the win condition. Granted I could see it playing out differently if people were good at it, but it didn't really catch anyone's interest enough to want to try to get there.


I think a lot depends upon which civilizations and victory conditions are in the game. The set up of the map impacts the game as well. Some games lean more towards trade and development, others have folks messing messing with each other early and often.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #286128 14 Nov 2018 09:42
As I said on the show, that greatly diminishes with familiarity of the game. The core mechanic is personal and it’s very easy to get stuck in your own game which makes it a pure race. Once you get over that and become accustomed to just how little time you actually have in this game, you begin to recognize what you shouldn’t let people get away with. Even the game’s with less confrontational victory conditions are confrontational games, because nobody is going to be going purely for the top victory conditions. Building even one wonder makes you a target for attack.

It can feel at first like a game where the ending sneaks up on you. Games like this often fall flat with me and my groups, but luckily Civ has such a fun core mechanic that it just kept hitting the table and that went away. I’ve only had it for a couple months and I’ve played it over a dozen times with multiple groups.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #286214 15 Nov 2018 14:57

Ah_Pook wrote: I got a strong scythe vibe from New Dawn the couple times I played it.


You need to come play with US! You have a standing invitation for Thursday nights.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #286215 15 Nov 2018 15:01

Ah_Pook wrote: I got a strong scythe vibe from New Dawn the couple times I played it.


You killed my enthusiasm
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #286225 15 Nov 2018 18:19
A New Dawn seems exactly what I'm hoping a board game would do: Clever streamlining. Added to wishlist!
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #286228 15 Nov 2018 19:40

Sevej wrote: A New Dawn seems exactly what I'm hoping a board game would do: Clever streamlining. Added to wishlist!


Let us know what you think if you end up getting it!
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #286231 15 Nov 2018 19:45
You're the only guys on the Internet talking about the spirit of games. That shouldn't be the case. Everyone else focuses on mechanical aspects or the pretty parts. To your credit you make this look easy, but apparently it's not because no one else has caught on. Even the big names like Vasel and his cohorts don't seem to get that.

I think it helps that you've just played and you let the experience of that particular session be a featured part of the conversation. It makes things feel more real.

Of course, you'll have the good taste not to mention that I said this to you. -- Blazing Saddles (A bit of a paraphrase.)
repoman's Avatar
repoman replied the topic: #286233 15 Nov 2018 20:34
I think part of the genius of the new Civ game is how it totally eliminates many of the crummy aspects of Civ VI the computer game and yet delivers the same sense of accomplishment you get from developing your civ.

For example, the city states in Civ VI do require a long time to woo to your side. You must send envoys and have more envoys than any other civilization. They then provide a benefit in terms of the currencies in the game (production/science/culture/etc) but is a long and involved process. In the board game, if you are one of the first two to get a trade unit to the city state you get a one time benefit in trade tokens but they also give you their "buddy card" which gives a slight permanent boost. It's quick and it's easy and it's great.

The military aspect of the game is also genius. Let's face it, in most civ games the military aspect is a big time and resource sink where you devote a lot of energy to it. It becomes one of the primary aspects of the game. However, in Civilization the board game, it's very abstract and fast. There is still tension but no long list of modifiers, unit differentiation, or other chrome that seem cool on the surface but add little value to the experience.

Also, there is no "feed your people" buzz kill as there has been in many civ games. Although, to be fair, I think most games have moved away from that horrible mechanism.

As to Star Trek Ascendancy, I agree with you guys that the map development is one of the coolest parts of the game. You're discussion of how there are "no hexes" got me to thinking. It's much more of a "point to point" movement system as seen in many card driven war games. There are the roads in between systems that can be used so the analogy isn't 100% but certainly the warp system draws much of its inspiration from that.
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #286235 15 Nov 2018 21:28
I've been disenchanted by Civ games lately. Mid-game/late-game is always a slog. Managing a city or two is fun. Managing 12 of them, and then acquiring 5 more through conquest, isn't quite enjoyable. This is in addition to almost a dozen of units you use for attacking...
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #286238 15 Nov 2018 21:54

Sevej wrote: I've been disenchanted by Civ games lately. Mid-game/late-game is always a slog. Managing a city or two is fun. Managing 12 of them, and then acquiring 5 more through conquest, isn't quite enjoyable. This is in addition to almost a dozen of units you use for attacking...


Yeah, you’re pretty much the target audience for New Dawn. Mid-late game is where it really picks up and amazingly enough, you’re really not dealing with any more shit than what you started with.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #286252 16 Nov 2018 09:49
New Dawn is also interesting in that it pushes you in a sort of Knizian way of having to develop a well rounded civ. You can't just hammer science or military over and over, and even if you don't want to care about sending out trade caravans, eventually your card will be in slot 5 and you'll want it out of there. In order for that to not be a wasted action, you want to use it in *some* way to improve your position. This appeals to me because, thematically, I want a civilization that actually provides things for its people instead of just pumping out archers or monuments over and over.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #286253 16 Nov 2018 09:54

Sagrilarus wrote: You're the only guys on the Internet talking about the spirit of games. That shouldn't be the case. Everyone else focuses on mechanical aspects or the pretty parts. To your credit you make this look easy, but apparently it's not because no one else has caught on.


I've looked in on other gaming communities and they mostly make me think of this:



Just rattling off stats, checking the "played" box, and then moving on. At most you get "I had fun" or "tough decisions". Very few actually make me think it makes any difference what they're playing and that this could easily have been anything else.

This podcast is a godsend for that.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #286375 18 Nov 2018 16:02
We've just had a 4-player game of FFG's Sid Meiers Civ with both expansions, it took about 6 hours with a few breaks but was enjoyed by all. I couldn't imagine doing a Civ in a couple of hours - but horses for courses,
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #286710 22 Nov 2018 23:15
Found a like new copy of Star Trek:A for 25. Going to pick it up tomorrow.Expansions, do I need any particular ones?
repoman's Avatar
repoman replied the topic: #286712 23 Nov 2018 07:09
You don't NEED any of the expansions unless you plan to play with more than 3 people. I don't mind the higher player count but some do due to increased down time and a much tighter playing area/map.

That being said, both Ferngi and Cardassians are really well done and well thought out factions and if you like the game you won't be sorry that you bought them. The Borg I have not played with. I don't think the game needs an NPC "jam car" but that's an opinion formed by reading not playing.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #286713 23 Nov 2018 07:09

WadeMonnig wrote: Found a like new copy of Star Trek:A for 25. Going to pick it up tomorrow.Expansions, do I need any particular ones?


Its only 3 players without an expansion so you'll need one if you want to play with 4.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #286714 23 Nov 2018 10:27
The Ferengi and the Cardassians are 100% worth it, even if you don’t want to play with more than 3.

Also, don’t go out of your way to play with more than 3. 4 at the most, but only once you’re pretty experienced with the game. Never 5. NEVER FIVE.

The Borg are cool but they’re better once you’ve played a bunch. You have a few options on how you use them and it’s kind of preference on what kind of game you want, so again, something you’ll only want once you know the game. I find them to be best when they aren’t the focus of the game. If your go for the option where they start out on the table, the whole game is about the Borg. On the other hand, the threat of potentially running into them is amazing and everyone putting aside differences to deal with them is a really interesting thing that can happen.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #286719 23 Nov 2018 13:09
I was...er...drinking last night and misread that Vulcan High Command was out. I was like, Damn, they didn't mention this one, I wonder how good it is. You guys did a great job of describing the other races in the pod cast. I'd love a 4th player and was looking at the "escalation packs" about adding moar stuff to the base. Don't drink and shop kiddos.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #286722 23 Nov 2018 13:25
I did the escalation packs because we've actually run out of Klingon ships before, so I figured I'd just cover my bases with the other four races, too. And, because I had the money, I went on the dice, too. It's pretty cool to be able to roll your Cardassian or Romulan dice against your opponents. The only thing I haven't gone for is the space stations, which are VERY cool, but a number of people on BGG have complained about poor resin casts, so I'm holding off for a while. Just waiting on Vulcans and Andorians...
disgustipater's Avatar
disgustipater replied the topic: #286726 23 Nov 2018 13:43
So, extra starting resources.

Yay or Nay?
repoman's Avatar
repoman replied the topic: #286731 23 Nov 2018 16:12
I don't think extra starting resources are needed. In some games, which take a much longer time, I get that you want a "fast start" which cuts out 3 or 4 turns of what is essentially solitaire exploration or where the first turn or two is pretty scripted. I think Star Trek Ascendancy is fast enough that it's not needed.

The extra ship packs, I'm philosophically opposed to. I think the hard limit on ships sort of forces players to act rather than to turtle and build enormous amounts of ships. Like "free parking" rewards in Monopoly they would prolong the game rather than enhance it. That being said, playing as Cardassians, it's a big drag to run out of ships because you've got yoru slave masters watching over your lazy subjects.