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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Two Players is Probably Fine rss

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Dunnlang Cathail
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I'm in the middle of my first game of STA. It is only two players. As we are playing the game, I am realizing that there's nothing "wrong" by playing with only two players.

In a three player game, there are at least two scenarios that could lead to two player experiences:
1 - The third player turtles and never makes contact with Player 1 and 2.
2 - The third player is eliminated. The game continues with just 2 in that case.

What you loose in a two player game is the nuances of trade and potential friendly/hostile pressure on a second front. It might be possible for a turtling 3rd player to win without ever making contact with the other two players. In this case, we just ignore that possibility.

Our game is instantly violent on first contact (no Trade), but that's just fine. It's slightly different than three players, but not "wrong". Besides, it suits the Klingons and Romulans just fine.

Three players would be a different, and maybe better experience, but so far it has still been good with two.

Has anyone else tried just two players? Any other thoughts or observations?
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Marc Bennett
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i have played 2 players. it does play fine mechanically. trade is non existent. the other problem i noticed is it may be too easy to tell who is winning and there may be a runaway leader problem.

other than that it seems to play fine. not as fun as a 3 or more player game. i believe the sweet spot for me will be 5 players, preferably at a circular table.
 
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Barry Miller
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While at Gen Con, the helpers running the ST:A games were members of the GF9 staff and also playtesters. I too, was very curious about the viability of 2-player play. So to get two different opinions, I asked two different helpers (one of which was the lead playetester, I believe) for their thoughts on 2-player options.

They both gave me that pained look and frowned. In a nutshell, they both said that the game isn't designed for 2-player and doesn't work very well as a 2-player experience. They've tried to implement a 2-player variant, but haven't been able to make one work yet.

FWIW.

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Angelus Seniores
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mechanically it can play fine, but the issues are;

-an unlucky player during opening turns will doom the game for him right there.

-if there's a runaway leader, the other player is highly unlikely to be able to stop him on his own.

so depending how exploration goes/how fast either player grows his empire, the winner should already be clear by 2/3rds of the game, so little tension remains during endgame
 
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Grish
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I'd also like to add that if it's a two player game, Romulans vs Klingons is probably the best choice. I think the Federation would be at a disadvantage in a two player game.
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Mitch Lavender
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Completely agree that it can be done but will be a washed-out experience for reasons already mentioned in previous comments. I'm looking forward to the release of Cardassians and Ferengi expansions so there is the possibility of having more players.
 
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Marc Bennett
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R2EQ wrote:
I'd also like to add that if it's a two player game, Romulans vs Klingons is probably the best choice. I think the Federation would be at a disadvantage in a two player game.


you would think so, but both romulans and federation have a huge advantage over the klingons in that they both have an awesome early game fleet. mining fleet for the romulans and colonization fleet for the federation.
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Grish
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Klaxas wrote:
you would think so, but both romulans and federation have a huge advantage over the klingons in that they both have an awesome early game fleet. mining fleet for the romulans and colonization fleet for the federation.





Fascinating...
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Angelus Seniores
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the federation may seem at a disadvantage due to their relative lack of combat bonuses, but they are the fastest to explore the map and generally end up controlling lots of planets so they compensate with bigger production and faster research, pumping up shields and weapons relatively easy.
 
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Nathanael Robinson
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Klaxas wrote:
i have played 2 players. it does play fine mechanically. trade is non existent.

I don't see why this would be a major obstacle. Various types of exchanges can be made non-optional on the part of one or both sides, much as was done in the creation of the Catan Card Game.
 
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John Godwin
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Bad Thoughts wrote:
Klaxas wrote:
i have played 2 players. it does play fine mechanically. trade is non existent.

I don't see why this would be a major obstacle. Various types of exchanges can be made non-optional on the part of one or both sides, much as was done in the creation of the Catan Card Game.


He doesn't mean resource trading, he means trade agreement cards.
 
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Dave Summers
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My only concern with two player would be; if not for trade agreements, is there any benefit to making first contact at all? Maybe if you thought your opponent was running away with it and you needed to attack him, steal some planets......but if not, would simply exploring by yourself and laying down as many culture nodes as you could be viable? Would you end up ultimately playing two separate games of solitaire and simply racing to reach Ascendancy?
 
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Angelus Seniores
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the reason for contact besides trade agreements is to let you bid for turn order, also, military intervention is a good way to reduce/stop the other player's culture production.
the klingons get benefits for attacking so they have no reason not to seek out other players.
 
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Nathanael Robinson
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John1701 wrote:
Bad Thoughts wrote:
Klaxas wrote:
i have played 2 players. it does play fine mechanically. trade is non existent.

I don't see why this would be a major obstacle. Various types of exchanges can be made non-optional on the part of one or both sides, much as was done in the creation of the Catan Card Game.


He doesn't mean resource trading, he means trade agreement cards.

I have some rudimentary knowledge of the game and I know that it is not a Catan clone.angry
 
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Jim Johnson
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My friends and I finished our first game last night. On the drive home I was thinking about how to make it work two-player to make it palatable for my spouse to play, and I was thinking maybe trying to hack out some sort of AI for the third faction so that it can be set up and run while the other two players are playing. No great insights, but the gears are turning.
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Jon Snow
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The interesting thing to me is that while GF9 reps and Con Demoists avow that it won't work, everyone who has tried it seems to think it works just fine (without trade agreements)! Theorists seem to be concerned, but then, they always are...

I expect, as someone who usually solitaires one game of a new acquisition just to learn the rules (Hey, that makes them The Rules of Acquisition!)--which I didn't even get a chance to do with this design--I'll eventually try a 2 Player out on the first day I can't get a third player to appear. (I'm playing a second 3 Player game later today, after which I'll schedule two more).

The Luck of Exploration seriously affecting the progression of a game is the same in Star Trek Fleet Captains. That's just how it is.
 
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Dunnlang Cathail
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I watched some of this live, but not much, so I can't speak for how good it is. It is the only full play through I know of and he uses multiple cameras.
https://www.twitch.tv/angryjoeshow/v/82889197
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Angelus Seniores
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i guess it will be some time before we get one that actually uses correct rules.
 
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Jon Snow
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goo I've now tried it with two. It worked, and only took about two hours! I think it depends what you want to get out of it. But the rules are easily adjustable. (I'm now doing my first solitaire, and having fun at that too!)
 
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Pat Doyle
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I've played 2 Klingon vs Fed games and they worked out fine. I think trade is silly in a 2 player game. It seemed to me that its simply understood that you are essentially at war.
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John Godwin
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traveller724 wrote:
I've played 2 Klingon vs Fed games and they worked out fine. I think trade is silly in a 2 player game. It seemed to me that its simply understood that you are essentially at war.


That's a very interesting way to think about it.
 
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Dave Summers
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traveller724 wrote:
I've played 2 Klingon vs Fed games and they worked out fine. I think trade is silly in a 2 player game. It seemed to me that its simply understood that you are essentially at war.


Which brings me back to my earlier post, would it not be better for the Fed player to intentionally never make contact and just churn out culture by himself? I guess it'd be hard, but if you lucked out with 2 lane systems that you could quickly arc back so they were locked off, you're essentially in your element (peaceful exploration) while the Klingons aren't.
 
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Marc Bennett
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DaveSumm wrote:
traveller724 wrote:
I've played 2 Klingon vs Fed games and they worked out fine. I think trade is silly in a 2 player game. It seemed to me that its simply understood that you are essentially at war.


Which brings me back to my earlier post, would it not be better for the Fed player to intentionally never make contact and just churn out culture by himself? I guess it'd be hard, but if you lucked out with 2 lane systems that you could quickly arc back so they were locked off, you're essentially in your element (peaceful exploration) while the Klingons aren't.


in practice this would be very hard, your homeworld has 4 connections so the klingons might be able to loop around. also if you are stuck on just a couple worlds, the klingons could still explore in the larger area building culture nodes and out culture you. not to mention the federation gets bonus culture from exploring so your main source of extra culture is cut off just as much as the klingons.

so really i dont think its feasible.
 
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Nick Schian
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If you are playing 2-player, I advise going for a larger play area, and imposing a mandatory barrier before contact (either you can't go over 2 Ascendancy (& a set number of hoarded culture), or you must have explored X systems (number TBD). Otherwise, you get one player that nails a couple high production planets, and one that doesn't and is at an immediate advantage, and just steamrolls that on to victory.

With a larger galaxy (play area), and a mandatory barrier before you can link up, it garners both players a more equal footing by the time that contact is actually made.

I've only played a handful of times in this manner, but the theory has proven out a better experience than the base rules (3'x3' galaxy, and no barriers for contact). Most of our games have been 3 player.

As such, we've only just begun to refine the rules enough to allow for a good 2-player experience. Just our initial passes at it.
 
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