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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Mitigate Down Time and Swingy Luck? rss

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David Troutman
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I just watched The Dice Tower review of Ascendancy, and Tom and Jason both said the down time is crazy long, and the luck of card draw is ridiculously swingy.

I do not have this game, but I was considering whether or not to buy it. For those who have played this, do you feel that these issues are mitigable through house rules?




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Charlie Theel
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Downtime is not terrible if players are experienced and decisive. AP players will be very slow.

The swinginess of exploration is a necessity IMO to make exploration thrilling. If you tighten it up and constrict the possible results, it becomes less exciting. Once you play Ascendancy, compare the feeling you get from exploring in Eclipse versus Ascendancy. Night and day.

I think some of the luck of exploration is evened out long term by exploring more planets. Additionally, no planet or phenomena is useless.
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Grish
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charlest wrote:
AP players will be very slow.


What's an AP player?
 
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Alex Almond
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Analysis Paralysis. Means they get stuck thinking though all the possibilities slowing down the game greatly.


Ascendancy will never be a deterministic game, but yes there are steps you can take to reduce the swingy-ness.

It just depends how much your willing to tolerate house rules.

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Steve
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charlest wrote:
The swinginess of exploration is a necessity IMO to make exploration thrilling. If you tighten it up and constrict the possible results, it becomes less exciting. Once you play Ascendancy, compare the feeling you get from exploring in Eclipse versus Ascendancy. Night and day.

I think some of the luck of exploration is evened out long term by exploring more planets. Additionally, no planet or phenomena is useless.


Probably the reason they insist it's 3 players and not 2, also.
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Charlie Theel
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garysax wrote:
charlest wrote:
The swinginess of exploration is a necessity IMO to make exploration thrilling. If you tighten it up and constrict the possible results, it becomes less exciting. Once you play Ascendancy, compare the feeling you get from exploring in Eclipse versus Ascendancy. Night and day.

I think some of the luck of exploration is evened out long term by exploring more planets. Additionally, no planet or phenomena is useless.


Probably the reason they insist it's 3 players and not 2, also.


That's a good point. I think there is a healthy dose of expected social engagement in this game. If a player is doing well and has a culture engine, the other two should form a trade agreement and stop them. This is what has happened in my plays and it helps smooth out any disparity from early game luck.
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Mel Primus
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Even though I personally don't mind the downtime, as an experiment I tried house ruling to have players do a single command then passing the turn until all commands are exhausted.

Conclusion: It ruined the game. Opponent tactics became blatantly obvious. Invasions could be seen coming far in advance and it was easy to set up blockades (clogging up space lanes with single ships) to stall them. All the tension created by other players was lost. And though we quit only about halfway through a game, we could tell that the overall length of the game would actually increase. And it was not fun.
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Mel Primus
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charlest wrote:
That's a good point. I think there is a healthy dose of expected social engagement in this game. If a player is doing well and has a culture engine, the other two should form a trade agreement and stop them. This is what has happened in my plays and it helps smooth out any disparity from early game luck.

This for sure.
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Chris Schenck
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Forget the luck. If luck wins someone the game, it's because the other players failed to neutralize the common threat.

Do not play this game with each player in a vacuum. This is not a "multiplayer solitaire" eurogame. Negotiate! Deal! Have constant discussions about which player has the highest threat level.

Charlie is right. This is designed to be a socially engaged game. Do not let luck drive the game. If you do, the resulting runaway leader is your own fault.

Downtime? Well that sounds like the perfect time to negotiate with the other inactive players.
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Michael Gardner
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The criticisms they had of this game, can be attributed easily and ten-fold to Xia (which they both like/love) and Twilight Imperium. I think in this case, the theme hurt the game. Jason loves Star Wars, and clearly either doesn't like Trek, or knows very little about it. Tom says he likes Trek, and I think he does, but he's a casual fan to be sure. If it was a Star Wars game, I'm confident they would look past the downtime/randomness.
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Kirk Agathon wrote:
I think in this case, the theme hurt the game.


That's fair I think for most games. I bought Rebellion because it was dripping in theme, but I very much doubt a non-Star Wars fan would get half the enjoyment I do when playing it.

If Ascendancy was just a generic sci-fi skinned game, I wouldn't be buying it.

So maybe Rebellion and Ascendancy are more geared for fans of the franchises, and Tom does mention that if you are a Star Trek fan, you should buy Ascendancy.



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Is downtown as big a problem for those of you who have played it? How bad would downtime be in a 5-6 player game? How about a 10(!) player game?

Is it really that boring watching what another player does?
 
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Kain
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Card draw is only an issue if everyone experienced. If I'm not mistaken the back of the book optional rules say that once people are comfortable with the game, it's okay to allow for dedicated research. Meaning you pick a card from your entire deck. No randomness. But you still hide it until researched so it's still has an element of surprise.
 
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Alex Almond
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cbs42 wrote:
Forget the luck. If luck wins someone the game, it's because the other players failed to neutralize the common threat.

Do not play this game with each player in a vacuum. This is not a "multiplayer solitaire" eurogame. Negotiate! Deal! Have constant discussions about which player has the highest threat level.

Charlie is right. This is designed to be a socially engaged game. Do not let luck drive the game. If you do, the resulting runaway leader is your own fault.

Downtime? Well that sounds like the perfect time to negotiate with the other inactive players.


To be fair there can be a snowball effect that if 2 players do badly, even with trade they are no match with the other player, especially if he's in the lead with weaps&shields.

More players counters this a lot but downtime between turns increases accordingly.

No games perfect, it's just whether your tastes mean you over look the problems or not.



 
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Angelus Seniores
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Darkmancer wrote:
cbs42 wrote:
Forget the luck. If luck wins someone the game, it's because the other players failed to neutralize the common threat.

Do not play this game with each player in a vacuum. This is not a "multiplayer solitaire" eurogame. Negotiate! Deal! Have constant discussions about which player has the highest threat level.

Charlie is right. This is designed to be a socially engaged game. Do not let luck drive the game. If you do, the resulting runaway leader is your own fault.

Downtime? Well that sounds like the perfect time to negotiate with the other inactive players.


To be fair there can be a snowball effect that if 2 players do badly, even with trade they are no match with the other player, especially if he's in the lead with weaps&shields.


the chances for a snowball effect are very low as there is no exponential advantage to be had, you are still limited to your nr of commands and weapons/shields become more expensive with each higher level.
if players let one increase his shields & weapons without trying to match him, thats simply a bad choice, best is to forego other projects research if necessary unless the project gives a more valuable bonus. you can increase your research generation through the phenomenon if your planets dont support enough research.
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Dark63 wrote:
But you still hide it until researched so it's still has an element of surprise.


Since when are Advancements researched face down?

All the pictures in the rulebook show Advancements face up with research tokens on them. For example,

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Kain
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Hey. Double checked and you're right. Weird. I think DriveThroughReviews gentleman said it's satisfying to complete a research and flip it up and surprise your opponent.

That said. Nowhere in the manual does it say it needs to be public knowledge what you're researching. This could be an important clarification for me to have.
 
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Dark63 wrote:
Nowhere in the manual does it say it needs to be public knowledge what you're researching.


I'm not sure it needs a clarification. The rulebook doesn't say to place them face down, but instead shows them face up in many places.

I think it would be more fun with "secret Advancements" but I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be researched face up.

You can always house rule it though.

Still, I could see an Advancement breaking the game if the other factions had to search their decks (multiple commands) and spend turns (4 or so) to research something as a counter once a card is revealed. It might take too long for players to adjust.

I read reports from Jon Snow here on BGG where they were playing Advancements incorrectly. They didn't know they could discard cards and search their decks for a card. When the Romulan drew Advanced Cloaking Device the other players pretty much gave up at that point.

So knowing what's coming can help you prepare and stop a huge power shift from an opponent.

The problem could get worse with multiple factions too. Just food for thought.
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Jon Snow
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goo I think researching face up is crucial for allowing other players to start working up counters in their own research. (We did understand the concept, we just thought you could only spend 1 Command on it per turn. Its much better the right way).

Researching face down would ruin the entire game balance, making things like Romulan Advanced Cloaking too powerful all over again!
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Three player only makes this a nonstarter regardless of the other issues.
 
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Tokhuah wrote:
Three player only makes this a nonstarter regardless of the other issues.

How do you mean?
 
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Angelus Seniores
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Tokhuah wrote:
Three player only makes this a nonstarter regardless of the other issues.

just wait for the race expansions, once they are available the game will be that much better
 
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Jon Snow
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I think it depends what you want out of the game. I don't have a problem with these aspects. Tom doesn't like long games (but he loved Star Trek Fleet Captains, which is just as swingy in Exploration). STA is actually relatively short for a 4X game, and there is plenty to think about between turns. Not to mention that you may be involved with what the other player is doing on his/her turn!

Marco's video is a good different take from Tom's (see Video section).
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Charlie Theel
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Angelsenior wrote:
Darkmancer wrote:
cbs42 wrote:
Forget the luck. If luck wins someone the game, it's because the other players failed to neutralize the common threat.

Do not play this game with each player in a vacuum. This is not a "multiplayer solitaire" eurogame. Negotiate! Deal! Have constant discussions about which player has the highest threat level.

Charlie is right. This is designed to be a socially engaged game. Do not let luck drive the game. If you do, the resulting runaway leader is your own fault.

Downtime? Well that sounds like the perfect time to negotiate with the other inactive players.


To be fair there can be a snowball effect that if 2 players do badly, even with trade they are no match with the other player, especially if he's in the lead with weaps&shields.


the chances for a snowball effect are very low as there is no exponential advantage to be had, you are still limited to your nr of commands and weapons/shields become more expensive with each higher level.
if players let one increase his shields & weapons without trying to match him, thats simply a bad choice, best is to forego other projects research if necessary unless the project gives a more valuable bonus. you can increase your research generation through the phenomenon if your planets dont support enough research.


Just wanted to chime in and wholeheartedly agree. From my experience, randomness will not set you far behind in this game (it can set you behind, but not substantially so). Every single planet/phenomena you discover is useful and you have a limited number of actions/resources to obtain, so I don't see how snowballing is really a thing. You can't become better at extracting resources so as long as all players are competent, you will be within striking distance of a comeback.
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Igor Horvat
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Maybe if first all go with building phase.

And then everyone go with command phase in turn order.

Also one starting picked advancement completed and one started and picking advancements in-game would reduce the luck factor a lot.
 
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