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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Is it possible that the game could not end? rss

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Christopher Halbower
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We played on Sunday. It was my first game. It was also the first play for another player but the 2nd play for our third player.

During the game it almost happened that we could not finish the game due to lack of culture. In order to win the game, you need 5 Ascendancy tokens plus control of your home system OR control of all home systems.

To get 5 Ascendancy requires 25 culture tokens. You start with one Ascendancy token and 3 culture tokens. Thus, you really only need 17 culture to win. But to get culture generally costs culture. Culture nodes give you 1 culture per turn but have an initial cost of 2 culture. In time, they pay off. But we found that the nodes were constantly getting destroyed during invasions. Even if you brought overwhelming force, you might take over the culture node without destroying it. But when I counterattack (because I can't let you keep collecting culture), my counterattack may not be "overwhelming"; it might simply be enough to destroy the culture node.

And thus, culture is removed from the game.

Although it was our first (or second) game, we figured our game couldn't be that far off from what is possible or even likely. You get culture from culture nodes; culture nodes cost 2 culture; you win with enough culture; you must destroy your opponent's ability to get culture to prevent him from winning. It seems like a vicious cycle of culture being removed from the game.

Yes, you can get culture from one other source. Each race can get culture in one other way. We prevented the Klingons from getting culture because we didn't have fleets of size 3+. The Romulans can get 9 culture by researching technology. But 9 isn't enough. The Federation can get culture from finding "civilizations". But there isn't enough to get you to 17. And remember: 17 is the MINIMUM amount of culture you need to procure to win. If you spent 1 culture to build a control node, 2 culture to build a culture node or spent 2 culture to hegemony a world, you actually need to procure greater than 17 to win.

Yes, you can also win by controlling all the home systems. This is what eventually happened. This wouldn't happen again if we were more experienced. Plus, you will often have to spend culture to "control" one of these systems because your invasion will destroy the control node. And if your invasion didn't destroy it, someone's counterstroke probably would.

I feel like the game almost needs a Jambo like mechanic. In Jambo you can spend 2 actions to get 1(?) gold. You almost need that here: exhaust 5 commands to get 1 culture. Because culture can definitely run out.

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Chris Schenck
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Interesting.

Yeah, I guess that's entirely possible. If you all blew your initial 3 culture tokens, then managed to destroy all of the culture nodes in play, there would be no quick way to create new culture nodes -- thus no way to reliably and steadily generate culture tokens. I guess at that point, it would come down to a pure Supremacy Victory, like you guys encountered.

I imagine this is most likely to happen when all of the players focus hard on weapon upgrades right from the beginning, and intentionally target the cultural infrastructure of the opponents. Then your collective firepower would make it much more of a supremacy game than a cultural development game. I'm not sure that's something that really needs to be "fixed" though. The victory condition changed to suit the style of play that you collectively engaged in. I think that's really cool, actually.
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Sebastian Adamiak
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For me in you've jumped into the Mirror Universe where cultural developement is no longer important. There is only war. No ascendency, no poetry, no art. Only war.
It's very thematic and cool. All of you were responsible for this. You should have never let your conflicts to escalate to that level of destruction .
And btw if you prevented Klingon from getting culture by destroying 3+ ships in battle why hadn't they simple created 10 ships fleet and wiped out whole galaxy one ship by another? It would be 10 vs 2 I guess in every battle. Kahless would be proud.
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Dustin Shunta
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cbs42 wrote:
Interesting.

Yeah, I guess that's entirely possible. If you all blew your initial 3 culture tokens, then managed to destroy all of the culture nodes in play, there would be no quick way to create new culture nodes -- thus no way to reliably and steadily generate culture tokens. I guess at that point, it would come down to a pure Supremacy Victory, like you guys encountered.

I imagine this is most likely to happen when all of the players focus hard on weapon upgrades right from the beginning, and intentionally target the cultural infrastructure of the opponents. Then your collective firepower would make it much more of a supremacy game than a cultural development game. I'm not sure that's something that really needs to be "fixed" though. The victory condition changed to suit the style of play that you collectively engaged in. I think that's really cool, actually.


Hiya, I was the Klingon player in Halbower's game. I focused on weapons/shields almost the entire game. Toward the end of the game the Romulans and Federations each had many advances (Romulans had actually researched every single advance in their deck). I only had 4 advances researched, but my shields were at 3 and my weapons at maximum.

I just wanted to reinforce what Halbower said above - even the Supremacy victory condition requires culture because you need a control node on each of the home worlds in order to control them. And control nodes take a culture to build.

Our game could have ended hours earlier if the home world nodes weren't destroyed. I hate house rules and would not make one up, but I do wonder whether a simple change that your home world control node cannot be destroyed would help the game significantly. That way, the supremacy victory condition requires 0 culture and even if the culture generation in the game comes to a screeching halt - the other victory condition is always available.

Also, there were points in the game where if I was able to break up my ascendancy token back into culture I could have built a culture node and started to generate culture. As it was, at a certain point in the game, my only chance to generate culture was to take over one of the last two culture nodes on the board because I didn't have enough to build a control node let alone a culture node of my own.

 
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Christopher Halbower
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cbs42 wrote:
Yeah, I guess that's entirely possible. If you all blew your initial 3 culture tokens...


The game actually encourages you to blow through your culture tokens. You need to spend 5 to get an Ascendancy token. And you get bonuses for extra Ascendancy tokens. So you might spend 5 to get your second (or spend another 5 to get your third) Ascendancy token so you get +1 or +2 to your rolls. And since you cannot break an Ascendancy into 5 culture, you simply lose the culture.



cbs42 wrote:
I imagine this is most likely to happen when all of the players focus hard on weapon upgrades right from the beginning, and intentionally target the cultural infrastructure of the opponents.


We didn't focus on weapons. We mostly bought our tech decks instead. The thing is: the Klingons must destroy the nodes if they begin an invasion. Let's say the Klingons attack. They have need 3 hits to win everything. They have a decent chance of doing so, say 70% of getting 3 hits, 20% of 2 hits, 5% of 1 hit and 5% of 0 hits. They score 2 hits. Boom. All the nodes are destroyed. Now culture has been removed from the game. You must spend culture just to get control of the system. And you must spend 2 additional culture to place a node on it.

And even if the Klingons took it over, the Federation and Romulans must respond, else the Klingons win.

Also, there are techs that aggravate this. The Federation have a tech that cancels one hit each round of invasion combat. So in the above situation, the Klingons would need 4 hits to take the system over.








 
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Christopher Halbower
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I also want to clear up some confusion: if you focus on weapons and not on your tech deck, it actually makes taking nodes easier and thus makes destroying nodes less likely. You take control of nodes without destroying them if you score enough hits. Thus, the better your weapons, the easier this happens.
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David Jones
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I suppose you could also house rule something to the effect that if all three players have less than two culture, you are allowed to convert an Ascendency token back into five culture. This would get the culture you need to kickstart culture nodes back into the game. But then, if your game is that combat oriented, can you hold a culture node at least long enough to get your investment back?

The only thing that seems odd about this is that each player starts with a culture node on their home planet. It seems strange that all three of you would lose access to that node. At some point I would think at least one of you would figure out that you need to shore up your home defenses and keep that defended. (However, since I've only played three turns of one game, I don't really know how combat dynamics really work.)
 
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Dustin Shunta
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kaimada wrote:
For me in you've jumped into the Mirror Universe where cultural developement is no longer important. There is only war. No ascendency, no poetry, no art. Only war.
It's very thematic and cool. All of you were responsible for this. You should have never let your conflicts to escalate to that level of destruction .
And btw if you prevented Klingon from getting culture by destroying 3+ ships in battle why hadn't they simple created 10 ships fleet and wiped out whole galaxy one ship by another? It would be 10 vs 2 I guess in every battle. Kahless would be proud.


I did exactly that. The Federation was essentially wiped out. They had 5 ascendancy, but they lost their home system and were never going to get enough production to be able to take it back (unless we were asleep at the wheel).

The Romulans got every advancement in their deck, including Advanced Cloaking Devices. This meant that no matter what the Romulans can jump to warp when I attack them and cancel the battle, meaning I was never going to get any culture from the Romulans. Because the Federation and Romulans had destroyed all my production nodes, I was generating very little production each turn. This meant I had to be extremely careful because if I lost ships, it was difficult for me to build them back. Of course, my shields/weapons were great so really it was just Romulan disrupters that I had to deal with.

Perhaps with more experience we all could have made better strategic choices to end the game earlier, but we certainly were just a few dice rolls away from getting to a spot where there was zero culture generation possible and noone had enough culture to build a control node on a home system, making both the Supremacy victory condition impossible.

Thematically speaking, I enjoyed the narrative arc, it's just that the game took too long. We have played games of Twilight Imperium 3 at 8 players that were shorter.
 
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Chris Schenck
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halbower wrote:
We didn't focus on weapons. We mostly bought our tech decks instead.


Your Klingon buddy is saying the opposite:

Jimb0v wrote:
I was the Klingon player in Halbower's game. I focused on weapons/shields almost the entire game. Toward the end of the game the Romulans and Federations each had many advances (Romulans had actually researched every single advance in their deck). I only had 4 advances researched, but my shields were at 3 and my weapons at maximum.


In any case, I still think this is more of a result of your playstyle. Others here have played hundreds of collective games so far, and we've not heard anyone else talk about this.

Obviously it happened, but I'm just wondering if it's either an extremely rare situation, or maybe that you guys just played in a very unconventional way. Still, very fascinating.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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it sounds strange to reach that situation.

normally, it takes a few turns before you come into contact with the other races (around turn 5), all the while developing new colonies. some of the players might have 3-4 culture nodes by the time of contact.

so generally, there should be several colonies you control before the fight starts. its impossible to invade lots of planets on a single turn, 1 or 2 at most if your fleet is already present.

the federation should mostly hegemonize other player's planets so no nodes get destroyed and they dont spend much culture in the process.

do all players simply chose to destroy the culture nodes as quickly as possible? as taking over the planet with the culture node intact is more useful so it produces for you. at least the last player in the turn should rather take them over instead of destroy them so it generates culture during resource generation.

given the number of planets with culture/open nodes it takes several turns to invade each of these planets.

certainly, given there are likely only a few connections between players, players will generally be competing over the same planets while the further planets stay relatively safe.

i wouldnt bother in the mid-endgame to rebuild the culture nodes if they're being targeted so intensely, just protect 1 or 2 and keep the culture for ascendancy. only rebuild on far planets that others cant reach easily.

the romulans have an easier time to get culture late game from research. so once they have collected 8-10 culture from the nodes during the opening turns/midgame (the moment they should still have their nodes intact), they can simply concentrate on their research to collect the remaining 9 culture from tech and thus reach ascendancy level 5
 
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Chris Schenck
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halbower wrote:
I also want to clear up some confusion: if you focus on weapons and not on your tech deck, it actually makes taking nodes easier and thus makes destroying nodes less likely.

Only true if you have large fleets where you'll get a lot of successes. You said in your initial post that you guys didn't have fleets of 3+.

When a fleet of 2 or 3 with heavily upgraded weapons attacks a full system, the result is that nodes are very frequently destroyed.
 
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Dustin Shunta
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davypi wrote:
I suppose you could also house rule something to the effect that if all three players have less than two culture, you are allowed to convert an Ascendency token back into five culture. This would get the culture you need to kickstart culture nodes back into the game. But then, if your game is that combat oriented, can you hold a culture node at least long enough to get your investment back?

The only thing that seems odd about this is that each player starts with a culture node on their home planet. It seems strange that all three of you would lose access to that node. At some point I would think at least one of you would figure out that you need to shore up your home defenses and keep that defended. (However, since I've only played three turns of one game, I don't really know how combat dynamics really work.)


In my view it was a bit of a quirk of Advanced Romulan Cloaking. Once that technology is in play, it is very difficult to defend your home world because you can't block Romulan movement. Also keep in mind that Romulans have first strike, so playing defense is just a fool's errand. Even if the Federation or Klingon have a full fleet on defense, if the Romulan comes with equal or even lesser force they often will have the advantage.
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Sebastian Adamiak
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Still:
 
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Christopher Halbower
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cbs42 wrote:


halbower wrote:
I also want to clear up some confusion: if you focus on weapons and not on your tech deck, it actually makes taking nodes easier and thus makes destroying nodes less likely.

Only true if you have large fleets where you'll get a lot of successes. You said in your initial post that you guys didn't have fleets of 3+.

When a fleet of 2 or 3 with heavily upgraded weapons attacks a full system, the result is that nodes are very frequently destroyed.



I think there is some misunderstanding. We kept fleets below 3 when our turn ended. The turn structure in Star Trek Ascendancy allows you to have massive fleets, attack your rivals, then with one command you send that fleet into warp where it is invulnerable.
 
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Dustin Shunta
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Angelsenior wrote:
it sounds strange to reach that situation.

normally, it takes a few turns before you come into contact with the other races (around turn 5), all the while developing new colonies. some of the players might have 3-4 culture nodes by the time of contact.

so generally, there should be several colonies you control before the fight starts. its impossible to invade lots of planets on a single turn, 1 or 2 at most if your fleet is already present.

the federation should mostly hegemonize other player's planets so no nodes get destroyed and they dont spend much culture in the process.

do all players simply chose to destroy the culture nodes as quickly as possible? as taking over the planet with the culture node intact is more useful so it produces for you. at least the last player in the turn should rather take them over instead of destroy them so it generates culture during resource generation.

given the number of planets with culture/open nodes it takes several turns to invade each of these planets.

certainly, given there are likely only a few connections between players, players will generally be competing over the same planets while the further planets stay relatively safe.

i wouldnt bother in the mid-endgame to rebuild the culture nodes if they're being targeted so intensely, just protect 1 or 2 and keep the culture for ascendancy. only rebuild on far planets that others cant reach easily.

the romulans have an easier time to get culture late game from research. so once they have collected 8-10 culture from the nodes during the opening turns/midgame (the moment they should still have their nodes intact), they can simply concentrate on their research to collect the remaining 9 culture from tech and thus reach ascendancy level 5


Well, this is a super complicated game with a lot of moving parts. As the Klingon I built 1 control node and 3 research nodes the entire game. Everything else, I took by force.

The Romulans had one open node in the early game and they filled it with research. The Federation i believe had a total of 4 culture nodes by the mid game. Both me (Klingons) and the Romulans focused on trying to take those over. I attacked with 6 ships against a control/culture node and got total annihilation.

Anyway, I could go on and on, I'm practically getting to the point where I'm giving a session report from memory, which is difficult. The point I'm trying to make is that I didn't build culture nodes early because my strategy going in was going to be to get Romulan cloaking technology and then take things by force.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but people keep talking about "protecting" a culture node. How are you supposed to do that? The Federation realistically could not protect his culture nodes when both the Romulan and Klingon have First Strike. He spread out his ships to try and put tons of roadblocks out, which worked until the Romulans got Advanced Cloaking and the Klingons got the tech that lets you un-exhaust a command when you win a battle without losses.

In my view, the game is not set up for defense.



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Remember, you don't have to destory nodes in reverse priority order. You could leave the culture node in tact and destory the rest.

If we got in this position I would say that if one player totally razed the homeworlds and held them with thier fleet in orbit through the end of the round, that would be enough the satisfy the control requirements. That being said, it is surprising that the Klingons weren't able to get culture with thier special ability. It's pretty amazing that you were able to hold out with 2 ship fleets.
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Christopher Halbower
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John1701 wrote:
...That being said, it is surprising that the Klingons weren't able to get culture with thier special ability. It's pretty amazing that you were able to hold out with 2 ship fleets.


As I said: the Federation could escape at the end of their turn by going to warp. The Romulans can simply say, "No. This battle is cancelled" when they get Adv. Cloaking.

Thus, everyone has 3+ fleets but the Klingons are not allowed to engage them.
 
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John1701 wrote:
Remember, you don't have to destory nodes in reverse priority order. You could leave the culture node in tact and destory the rest.

If we got in this position I would say that if one player totally razed the homeworlds and held them with thier fleet in orbit through the end of the round, that would be enough the satisfy the control requirements. That being said, it is surprising that the Klingons weren't able to get culture with thier special ability. It's pretty amazing that you were able to hold out with 2 ship fleets.


Control is clearly defined in the rulebook as having a control node.
 
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halbower wrote:
John1701 wrote:
Remember, you don't have to destory nodes in reverse priority order. You could leave the culture node in tact and destory the rest.

If we got in this position I would say that if one player totally razed the homeworlds and held them with thier fleet in orbit through the end of the round, that would be enough the satisfy the control requirements. That being said, it is surprising that the Klingons weren't able to get culture with thier special ability. It's pretty amazing that you were able to hold out with 2 ship fleets.


As I said: the Federation could escape at the end of their turn by going to warp. The Romulans can simply say, "No. This battle is cancelled" when they get Adv. Cloaking.

Thus, everyone has 3+ fleets but the Klingons are not allowed to engage them.


If at least 3 ships run, that's considered a Klingon victory. The Roms advancement doesn't give them a bonus, but they still should have been able to get it at least a couple of times on the Federation. Even if you or the Roms attacked them. If they destroyed at least 3 Rom ships and the Roms then used the canceled cloak, then it still counts because they destroyed 3 ships before it was canceled.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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John1701 wrote:
If at least 3 ships run, that's considered a Klingon victory...


The technology specifically says the battle is cancelled and your opponent's command is refreshed. I think it's clear that this is not considered a Klingon victory since the battle was cancelled.

John1701 wrote:
The Roms advancement doesn't give them a bonus, but they still should have been able to get it at least a couple of times on the Federation. Even if you or the Roms attacked them. If they destroyed at least 3 Rom ships and the Roms then used the canceled cloak, then it still counts because they destroyed 3 ships before it was canceled.


The Romulans have pre-combat shots when they attack. The Romulans would simply attack with the same or larger force and wipe out the Klingons. This is a easy win for the Romulans.
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Also, the Fed player could have exhausted the cloak to give the Klingons a chance to attack and then later Take thier planet for the culture node. It would be risky, but would be a way to end the stalemate.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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John1701 wrote:
Also, the Fed player could have exhausted the cloak to give the Klingons a chance to attack and then later Take thier planet for the culture node. It would be risky, but would be a way to end the stalemate.


Except the Romulans had the technology that turned THAT technology off.

The tech decks are a big problem for me. I hate silver bullets. And the tech decks are filled with them. But I don't want this conversation to be about the tech decks but rather about how often a game could be a stalemate.
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halbower wrote:
John1701 wrote:
If at least 3 ships run, that's considered a Klingon victory...


The technology specifically says the battle is cancelled and your opponent's command is refreshed. I think it's clear that this is not considered a Klingon victory since the battle was cancelled.

John1701 wrote:
The Roms advancement doesn't give them a bonus, but they still should have been able to get it at least a couple of times on the Federation. Even if you or the Roms attacked them. If they destroyed at least 3 Rom ships and the Roms then used the canceled cloak, then it still counts because they destroyed 3 ships before it was canceled.


The Romulans have pre-combat shots when they attack. The Romulans would simply attack with the same or larger force and wipe out the Klingons. This is a easy win for the Romulans.


Yes, I said that the Rom tech does that, but if the Federation runs, it still counts as a victory.

The Klingons could use covert saboteurs to exhaust and then temp them to attack and then use cult of Kahless to destory at least 3 ships.

It isn't easy but there are ways around it!
 
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halbower wrote:
John1701 wrote:
Also, the Fed player could have exhausted the cloak to give the Klingons a chance to attack and then later Take thier planet for the culture node. It would be risky, but would be a way to end the stalemate.


Except the Romulans had the technology that turned THAT technology off.

The tech decks are a big problem for me. I hate silver bullets. And the tech decks are filled with them. But I don't want this conversation to be about the tech decks but rather about how often a game could be a stalemate.


Rarely.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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Yes, if the Federation runs, it's a Klingon battle victory. But the Federation needn't run. They can enter warp with their huge fleets during the Federation's turn.

Command 1: move huge Federation fleet into warp
Command 2: move Federation fleet out of warp
Command 3: attack smaller Klingon fleet (and win)
Command 4: move huge Federation fleet back into warp

So for four commands, the Federation can use hit & run tactics and attack the Klingons only when they want there to be an attack.
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