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A lot of space out there redux!

Mike Ricotta
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
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So, one of the earlier posts on this collection of malarkey some might call a blog was about the plethora of outer space games that were set to come out. Well some time has passed and I have even played some of them. So in a rare moment I can go back and use actual play experience to counterpoint my rambles! Go me!

Battleship Galaxies: The Saturn Offensive

So I played the first scenario in the book with the stores demo copy. I was fairly excited about it as the ships look even better in person. The components all look good at first glance. As the game starts out I do like some of the things. The energy management part is great. There is no way you can get everything done in a turn that you want to. Do you launch new ships or fight with the ships you have? A lot of good tough choices here. Sadly this end the what I liked section.

The what I didn’t like section starts now. First off the little pegs you use to track shields and damage are annoying. It’s hard to tell how much damage you have left (well to me it was) if you stack them up, if you don’t stack them there isn’t enough holes. I understand they wanted a connection to battleship but I just didn’t care for it. Secondly the dice are fun B6, hit, and so on, but there needs to be some more special damage parts! It turns out there is only one special damage zone, and it just blows up the ship. What about a weapon damage zone? Something else was needed. It seemed that the most effective ships I had were the fighters. I dunno, perhaps it was lack of experience on our part but the dang fighters are tough. They are hard to hit, fast, and do decent damage in a pack. Hard to say after one play really. Next, as I recall (and perhaps I’m wrong) but all or most of the exploration tiles were good things! I want some danger! A minor gripe I suppose but still. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as the game progressed it ended up with all the ships at the best combat range they could achieve and just shot at each other until something blew up. Movement took a back seat to dice rolling. Not good, not good at all. Perhaps this changes as people get to know the rules better but I really don’t see it. This is what really killed the game for me. I hate it when a game just dissolves like this.

Now a few things that would make the game better, but I can understand why they were left out. First, there are no facing rules. Weapons fire 360, movement is 360, so it doesn’t really matter which way the ship faces. Just seems silly. Momentum. It’s space you should drift around a bit. Tacos? Everyone loves tacos…

Am I glad I played it? Yes. Would I pay MSRP? No. What would I pay? $30.

Eclipse

I haven’t seen it or played it. Although I have been corrected about some misconceptions by the designers/fans. So it moves up a bit in my desire to play list but I haven’t had the opportunity. I don’t even know if it’s out. Not everything works out eh?

Will I try it? Perhaps Is it still expensive? As far as I know…

Battle Beyond Space

Again I haven’t had the chance to try it out probably since it isn’t out. I’m still interested though. Perhaps even more so since Battleship fell flat for me. On the bonus some discussions say that the MSRP will be less than $60. I guess it’s to late to dream of Christmas. Ahh well…

Will I try it? I hope so! Is it still expensive? Seems less so!

NOW we finally get to some more meat, I did play the last two games. See I preserved the order from the first entry to seem cool.

Ascending Empires

Holy Guacamole! I got this game a while back and have played it a bunch. I’ve played it with gamers and non-gamers. I really like this game! Most people I’ve played with do! Fears that the flicking would be to powerful are gone. While flicking is important it isn’t overly so. Most flicks are short enough that it’s hard to really mess up (but fun when someone does!). A long shot doesn’t happen all to often but when it does it’s a great moment. The Empire building part is fairly interesting as you really can’t research the whole tech tree. In fact it’s impossible. You really need to pick what you want to go for! Each tree has interesting and powerful things in it and you’ll want it all. It’s agonizing to pick what you want. Same thing with the cities. You only get 4 of them, do you place them on important planets due to their good defense level or do you spread them out to get bonus points! (I always try for bonus points, it doesn’t always work)

Ok, so there are a few down points, not deal breakers though. The exploration is a bit dull, I mean the only thing you find is the color of the planet and as stuff gets revealed it’s easy to guess what color a planet will be. Sometimes though you really need that orange planet and you can’t find it! The board is another issue. It isn’t perfect. Sometimes you have to hold down the junctions to get a smooth flick. I keep it in a plastic bag with some descant packs to decrease the chance of warping.

Am I glad I got it? You know it!

And finally

Space Empires 4x

The pre-order finally came in (dang delays)! I’ve gotten two games in one 2 player (small map, no advanced rules) and one 3 player (regular map, with advanced ships). I don’t do solo games, I own a computer. First off I really think the game needs the advanced ships. They add so much variety! Without them I think each fleet is going to look similar, with them I think there will be a lot of variety. The exploration is fairly mundane in your home region and fairly horrific in deep space. As it should be. The tech tree is big enough (and expensive) that you can’t even begin to get everything. I think you really have to make a plan with how you want your fleet to look. Combat is quick and effective. The hidden information is nice, but I’ve often accidently sent my shipyards off exploring. Not really legal per say. Initially I thought that keeping track of the fleets tech level would be onerous but in practice it doesn’t seem like it. I think as I play it more I’ll get a better feel for how to develop an empire. As it stands most games end after a few battles. I think we get all excited about the violence we forget about the defense. But I do love the violence!

On the downside it is a bit overwhelming for new players. There is a lot going on. Although the rules aren’t to bad it’s just a lot to take in. One of my counter sheets was misprinted on the back side. Didn’t make the game unplayable but it isn’t pretty. GMT has promised me a replacement though. I’m sure it will all work out in the end (if it doesn’t I’ll use the awesome power of my blog).

So I really like the game and would endorse it, and overall I think most of the players also enjoyed it. I did collect a few negative comments though. “The economic phase feels like doing your taxes” "to much math" “The combat needs tactical choices” “I don’t understand what I did wrong”

Am I glad I got it? Sure am!

So here ends the redux. Perhaps some day I can fill in the last two gaps. This space still available to shill your game. (No takers yet)
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