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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » Reviews

Subject: ST:A - a great tribute, a good idea, an unfortunate mistake rss

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Zenvious
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You know, its been ages since I was actively excited about a game. Most of my recent purchases were impulsive "eh - this could be good?" but when I discovered this game shortly after its public reveal over in the USA, I was VERY intrigued.



I went out of my way to actively research the game, understand its mechanics, find out all I could from limited sources, and see what it was all about. I even started writing tactica's about it before the game arrived on what I could find so I'd be ready when they game came to have it REALLY go in hard and make the experience be as great as it could be.

AND... I wasn't even a Trekie! :)

Seriously! If anything THIS game got me to watch the entire ToS in a month, and I actively enjoyed it. True I had watched all of Voyager and even the majority of TNG, but I had ignored DS9 and Enterprize. I'd have barely considered myself a member of Star Fleet (and more a fan of traveling space-time via Damaged Chamelion Circuit Blue Box).

But the game got me interested. I wanted to learn more of the lore and the story and so forth.

First Impressions
Then the game came and it looked GREAT! The models were nice. The componets were good. The rules felt fairly streamlined, and the overall process was great. My studies had me recognize the Federation were strong in the early game and weak in the late, the Klingons were the opposite (weak in the early, strong in the late), and the Romulans were... well... sorta... everywhere? What can I say! They're Romulans! They like their secrets! :D

The factions seemed at first that they would fit nicely into each other. Even the early leaks of the rules for the Cardassians and Ferengi seemed appealing for variety (a Klingon vs Cardassian vs Ferengi would likely have a LOT of production nodes!) and their advancements felt true to their design. The Klingons were a war-engine, the Federation were negotiators, the Cardassians would be invaders, etc... Everthing felt true to the tribute of the universe it was based on.

I say it without any issue - this game was iconicly true to what Star Trek was. It was NOT a game of Risk with a Star Trek theme. It looked and felt like it would be Star Trek.

But then....

Gameplay Reflections
Ever had a game that looked good, seemed good, logically appears near flawless, and for all intent and purpose should have BEEN good... but then after playing it you were left wanting? And not in the good way?

ST:A did what it said it did. The game itself has great replayability even if there is a degree of predictability in how it would play out.

The Early Game = Exploration
The early game is exploration. You flip over 1 of 27 possible systems to see what you've found. That alone creates decent replayability as the "quandrant" would be different by its systems alone from this mechanic.

More exciting is the Exploration Deck, which made every system even MORE surprising. In one game you could find Sherman's Planet to be unihabited, only in the next game to find it taken and fully developed by a powerful neutral force (and in the game after that, find it being eaten by a giant robot space worm!).

This was a great mechanic with no issues at all. Discovering a system felt like a discovery with an immediate explosive effect, and an ongoing lasting element that would come into play later. Honestly the Exploration period is a great time and everyone at the table enjoys watching each other find new worlds and new civilizations to see what the map WILL be when they reach stage 2.

And then you meet your rivals...

The Mid Game = First Contact and War Preperation
With everyone expanding and the rules 'passionately' encouraging you to explore "towards" each other (something my group took in sincerity as we understood this was not a game for turtles), its inevitable contact will be made. And when it happens things do become interesting and even slightly tense. While words aren't exchanged, neutral zone's do manifest as a means to bide everyone time. Trade agreements are exchanged to give HUGE production boosts which many new players underestimate, only to see that handing over your 3-Production is giving your "inevitable foe" one new fleet every round!

The bidding war for Turn order comes into play and the resources you have become more thoughtful - can you afford to build another production Node, or would those extra 2 Resources be used better to assure you gain first strike this round?

Its during this time that Research starts to really gain some focus as people prioritize between gaining Advancements or maintaining strength in the Arm's Race (e.g.: Weapons/ Shields) as, with contact made, its inevitable war is comming soon. And frequently this results in a cold-war of building up your armadas and fortifying your defenses for the battle that WILL come.

And in the final stage, it all goes down...

The End Game = The War for the Quadrant
With people having holed up for most of the game, Ascendency starts to loom. And in doing so a huge rush happens to make sure you are the one who takes the victory. Alliances end, worlds stop developing, research becomes strained, and resources are stockpiled (so, if two players hit Ascendency 5, one will have more resources to bid to secure they act first and win the game).

And inevitably that is its - Explore -> Communicate -> Prepare -> Exterminate.

At its core, its a decent game. There is tactics in it. There is strategy. There is interaction. There is a lot of good. Is this game worthwhile? Yes! Even if you're not a Trekie, if you enjoy your strategy games with a nice touch of story in its mechanics, it is DEFINATELY a worthwhile game that leans slightly towards the casual hobby gamer over the hardcore - leaving it open to a lot of people who don't care too much about rules but enjoy an afternoon of interactive game-based activity.

Summary
So then why, after all my praise for this game (which I stand by - it is a good game), do I have 'an unfortunate mistake' in the title?

Well... this game was close to being good. But it make some rather big flaws in my opinion. Frankly I feel Greg Lott (aka: ferris1971) summized
the production of this game perfectly in his review here:

Quote:
Designer 1: Lets have this fantastic exploration mechanic coupled with a gradual progressed tech tree. We'll reveal these cool exploration cards that remind of your favorite Star Trek episodes all the while giving you that feeling of wonder and excitement as you explore strange new worlds. We'll have some added diplomacy with trade negotiations. Whew, I'm beat! Thats it for today, I'll let designer #2 finish it tomorrow.

Next day, Designer 2: Lets make it a race for culture! Wrap it up, ship it out!!!

Next day, Designer 1: Nooooooo!!!!


https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1670235/biggest-gaming-disa...

I had to agree! It really felt like they had a great idea, and then rushed to meet the 50th anniversary deadline. Its disapointing, and if anything it feels like an odd numbered Star Trek Movie. We expected and hoped it would be good, and there were parts you could say were ok, but inevitably after the rewatch you cannot help but feel someone missed something in all of this.

How To Correct??

So I look over this game and I stare and think and wonder how could I fix this? I do a lot of mods for my group's games (Spartacus and Battlestar Galactica were HUGE overhauls for me!) with the goal of making the game interesting, more thoughtful, more interactive, while also trying to pull things back a LOT.

So far from what I've seen and feel there are some things that could be changed to better the game overall. I won't act on them until I've played all 3 races (a promise I made to my group who want to play the game enough to be satisfied with my prediction 'i can make it better!'), but until then I am toying with the following mods to overhaul the game to the next level of playability.

There is a bit, so hold your breath and here we go:

1) Less Culture Nodes; More Racial Culture Gain
Ascendency plays on the basis of the Ascendency victory being a countdown to an inevitable game end, creating a degree of urgency in its mechanic. I even wrote about this on this thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1671172/mechanics-ascendenc...

In it I didn't explain my thoughts for my own solution, but I did have one which I will now share. To correct it I feel two things need to occur:
1) Less places for Culture Nodes to Appear
2) More Reward for Racial Cultural Gain.

Let me clarify. At current there are 14 systems that can support a culture node (8 Culture spots, 6 open spots). In 27 systems you can explore, thats about a 50% chance you will find a place for a culture node every time you discover a new system. This mechanic ENCOURAGES turtling and culture production to an almost silly degree. Seriously - the Romulans who gain culture from research are more motivated to build Culture Nodes by this. The Klingons who should be wanting to harvest culture through combat are encouraged to sit in their side of the quadrant farming culture up.

Thus I feel the amount of culture nodes in the game should almost be halved (e.g.: 7 nodes in the base game). If they were all found, this would still create asymetry as the distrubution at BEST would be 3, 2, 2 (in a three player game). That in turn would lead to competition over the Culture Worlds for ascendancy - either to achieve it or deny it - which in turn would create a LOT more interaction encouragement.

Sadly, unless I learn how to print on card and make my own systems, this won't be happening anytime soon. Thus my best bet is wait for the expansions to come then try to filter them down towards the best outcome I desire.

However this reduction of culture would also slow the game down as Ascendency becomes significantly slower with less culture generated. To which I offer the compromise in part 2 of this mod:

"All Racial Culture Bonuses are Doubled"

This would thus lead to:
- The Federation gaining +2 Culture when they find a Civilization (enough to completely hegemony them into Starfleet)
- The Klingons would earn +2 Culture anytime they defeat an enemy Fleet
- The Cardassians would earn +2 Culture when they invade a Colony (if they don't build any Culture nodes, they can get to Ascendency 5 once they perform 10 successful invasions!)
- The Ferengi earn +2 Culture for each 5 Production Spent (raise +50 production and buy your victory)
- The Romulans earn +2 Culture for each specific Advancement (meaning their deck holds a total of +18 Culture instead of only +9).

The result of this is far more interaction and player policing. Romulan research and Ferengi markets become significant threats that must be shut down. The Klingons become more likely to perform raids in the midgame on ANY fleet they see instead of picking up culture scraps in the late game, etc...

Its a mod I can see many players disliking, but I see it as rewarding players who play for theme with explosive (but preventable) bursts of Culture gain.

You can still get luck with a Culture Farming exploration (at 7 nodes, its possible to have a distribution of 5/1/1 afterall!) but that will encourage interaction again to try and level the field outright (e.g.: if a player is clearly gaining an Culture farm, take em out!)

Things could be made more interesting again with Exploration cards here. For example, this quickly made mockup could cause a planet like Dakala or Exo III to suddenly become a second Risa (or have Risa come fully developed and awaiting coloniation):



Cards like this would shake up the game, creating less predictability, more thoughtful manuvers, and deeper gameplay. All bonus' I feel people would prefer in a game that has this type of depth implied in it.

2) Cheaper Weapons/ Shields; Faster Advancement Production

Currently the two main resources of this game are Production and Culture. Production gives you the numbers for your fleets to snowball the military needs, and Culture is essentially victory points you can spend.

Research DOES exist, but it feels very tertiary to the other two. The idea behind it is good - have Quality ships over Quantity - but its cost is HUGE.

Raising your Sheilds once costs 6 Research - enough to develop your highest Advancement and still have -1 left over. And thats level 1! To FULLY upgrade your shields costs 36 Research which is a HUGE amount.

Weapons are slightly cheaper but, again, getting them to 3+ costs you 10 Research (you could get a few Advancements for that!)

Due to this high investment, players often feel torn between three directions for Research - develop weapons, shields, or advancements.

Even if they do focus on advancements (like the Romulans) the process of gaining the new tech is soo long with the restricted "1 token per turn" that even a dedicated Advancement focus will rarely get 4-5 advancement out of their deck on the field.

And myself and my group feel disapointed by this. With exception to racial fleets, weakness, and culture generation, the Advancement Deck SHOULD be more exciting as it creates a clear personality for the Race that can be felt.

To solve this, i feel two things could be implemented:
1) Reduce the costs of weapons and shields by -2 per level
2) Increase the amount of Research placed on each Advancement per turn by +1 (i.e.: +2 per turn).

Unlike my culture modification suggestion, this buffs both things as I really feel Research is quite lacking. This modification does make things more active though.

First of all, by reducing the cost of weapons and shields, it becomes easier to upgrade them but ALSO reduces their hunger for Research tokens so they may be used in Advancements so more of them can appear.

Second, by being able to give 2 tokens per advancement, they become completed MUCH faster even without a Phenomena, to the point you may even have some developed prior first contact (as opposed to them appearing typically during the mid game).

The concern of this is that some would think it would give the Romulans an unfair advantage in getting the Advancements into play. To which I say "sounds like a good incentive for other players to raid the Romulan Outposts to me!" which, again, brings the game in line with more mid-game interactions.

3) Filter the Advancement Decks
My third and final improvement is still on technology as, AGAIN, I feel it was more tacked on. And this is Star Trek we're talking about! The science fictions how that inspired the development of the mobile phone, PC's, and even theories that led to the idea of Warp-Space technology that is being developed now.

Facts are there are a lot of pieces of tech that seem good, but rarely pay off. The Federation in particular seem somewhat dull. Stellar Cartography lets you connect extra space lanes, but often the map is cluttered that its VERY rare it will come in useful. Long Range Sensors sound awesome for early exploration to secure the Phenomena into your space, but by the time they are developed the exploration phase is almost done.

Some feel like missed opportunities to play to the theme. The Federation (again) have a weakness that was pointed out they can be forced into a no win scenario if their culture production is demolished outright. Why not an advancement to give them a way out of it? Something like this mockup (heck you could use this to replace the Sensor Arrays as they cost the same!):



Others seem almost inappropriate to their factions theme. Yes the Klingons have culture and poetry and such, but Militarized Industry encourages you to build and control Culture Nodes which is useful sure, but feels off when you think 'this faction should be production focused to be the warriors they are - destroying culture nodes; not securing and protecting them.'

And then there are others like the Cardassian Mine Field which becomes redundant as soon as EVERYONE raises their shields to level 2 (which can be a nice controlling element for sure, but the still stand your investment in research can result in useless technology).

For this one there really is no immediate solution beyond really looking at the cards and asking what is good and should be kept, and what should be replaced for something just as worthwhile.


Final Reflection
As I have said, I think the mechanics of this game are good. The figured are good. The designs are good. But the stuff that sways from those core rules felt rushed and added on. Culture needs to be important, but it needs be done in a way that the players interact with one another. Board-games are inevitably for that purpose - a social interaction via a shared unique experience. As soon as a game throws in a mechanic where players camp in their corner, raising defenses, and sees it as THE way to win - forcing others to interact with them - the game has swayed on that part.

Games should also have choice as much as luck. Advancements should be important and if anything should be the main focus of early-mid game research, replaced with weapons and shields in the later 'warfare' (with some exceptions of course).

I don't think ST:A is a bad game. There are WORSE games out there for sure. As it is, its playable even by someone as pedantic as myself to an acceptable level. I just feel it had the potential to be soo much more, and we were let down in the end result.
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Tommy Roman
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Interesting thoughts, and I appreciate how you explained your proposed solution to each issue.

I agree with your view regarding the disproportionate cost of shield and weapon upgrades. In my group, most of us don't really bother wasting research on these items because of the opportunity cost in attaining research advancements that might be more useful. If few people bother with shields and weapons, then it becomes a missed opportunity in terms of game design.

I like your idea about raising the culture reward while reducing the number of available culture nodes. Might be worth trying a game with that system.
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Jeremy Scranton
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Nice review. Thanks!

I highly recommend watching DS9. It is my favorite trek series, especially from season 3 on. Seasons 1 & 2 are very watchable but not as awesome as the later seasons.
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Chris J Davis
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I too am thinking of modding this game to some (probably quite heavy) degree. I really like your idea of doubling the culture income of faction abilities! I may incorporate that.

My own idea to deal with the slow advancement of tech is this: as an action, a player may place 1 research on whichever of his advancement cards has the *fewest* research tokens on it.

This still keeps phenomena relevant, as with those you can put the research on any advancement.
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Zenvious
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jeremy6801 wrote:
Nice review. Thanks!

I highly recommend watching DS9. It is my favorite trek series, especially from season 3 on. Seasons 1 & 2 are very watchable but not as awesome as the later seasons.


Glad you liked it! I am watching DS9 these days. Have gone through S1. Really Quark and the Engineer (can't recall his name) are the only ones I lock onto, though the rest are ok, but I am looking forward to a certain Klingon joining up eventually (as my friends have spoiled for me to keep me in :D ).

Ty for the recommend!



tommygunn2011 wrote:
Interesting thoughts, and I appreciate how you explained your proposed solution to each issue.

I agree with your view regarding the disproportionate cost of shield and weapon upgrades. In my group, most of us don't really bother wasting research on these items because of the opportunity cost in attaining research advancements that might be more useful. If few people bother with shields and weapons, then it becomes a missed opportunity in terms of game design.

I like your idea about raising the culture reward while reducing the number of available culture nodes. Might be worth trying a game with that system.


Appreciated :) I don't like just saying "hey lets try this" without the full vision of why I'm suggesting it. Comes from being a teacher where my focus is more on the working out than the result. I like to see where thoughts come from more than what they result into.

The Culture factor was really designed to make the racial culture gain worthwhile. It really is the most valued resource in the game and I find explosive gains of it are more engaging and unexpected that the predictable grind of the Culture nodes.

The research view has been somewhat conflicted with my group. I feel weapons and shields are certainly important, but if the arms race goes too crazy there, you are giving up a lot of the thematic value of the advancements.


bleached_lizard wrote:
I too am thinking of modding this game to some (probably quite heavy) degree. I really like your idea of doubling the culture income of faction abilities! I may incorporate that. :)

My own idea to deal with the slow advancement of tech is this: as an action, a player may place 1 research on whichever of his advancement cards has the *fewest* research tokens on it.

This still keeps phenomena relevant, as with those you can put the research on any advancement.


Just make sure you limit the culture gain elsewhere! You don't want the culture boom to go too crazy!! :D

I do like your idea on the slow advancement of the tech as a command action. Gives more option to the Command useage. May look into the idea more actually! Thanks.

I assume in the case of a tie (e.g.: two advancements with 1 research each) you can choose one or the other?
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Geoff Conn
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I like reading reviews like this, very thoughtful.

Please post and test your variant rules.
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I agree Talonz, a very thoughtful review.

You've got a lot of ideas in there Zen. Everything you said sounds reasonable on paper, but the trick is playtesting something to death to really figure stuff out.

If you do end up thoroughly playtesting your ideas, and hopefully getting others to do it with you for more data, I hope you share your results with us.

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Duncan Idaho
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Great review, and those were my thoughts, largely, after playing the first game. I had issues with the game not feeling too Star Trek-y, but I think ramping down the culture on planets and ramping it up on the asymmetric bonuses might help with this and make players play their factions more in line with the source material.

Quote:
At current there are 14 systems that can support a culture node (8 Culture spots, 6 open spots).

Thus I feel the amount of culture nodes in the game should almost be halved (e.g.: 7 nodes in the base game).


Seems like a simple solution might be:
An open node can only be used for a Production or Research node. That wouldn't require printing new tokens.

I'd love to hear how this plays out, if someone tries it!
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Nick Szegedi
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Yeah....nice review! We actually like and use many of the variant ideas in the back of the rules which help a lot!

Here are the ones we use and some other ones we implement:

4 Culture Nodes to make an Ascendancy token (still need 5 to win)

We start with more resources up front (8 Red/ 6 Blue /4 Yellow)... so 1st Turn you can buy more ships... buy an Ascendancy... and buy a Shield upgrade which I always recommend you do!)

We use Yellow as wild for anything except can't be spent for Red to buy ships! But helps raising shields and weapons too!!!

We hate bidding with resources... we roll a d6 and add your Ascendancy tokens if it's a tie the player with a higher Ascendancy count would dominate! (Would help reward those who gain Ascendancy!

Also...don't forget exploring phenomenon
/nebulas and braving the Hazards of them grants you a production and with a Science fleet and upgraded shields usually makes it automatic... which can speed up research on advancement cards!

About turtiling... we are usually aggressive players, we build many ships and fleets and usually protect our resources or even draw the enemy back if they get too close...which you will have to be on your toes constantly!!! With these variants we use in our games now, we Love this game and looking forward for the expansions as well!!!
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Chris Schenck
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R2EQ wrote:
You've got a lot of ideas in there Zen. Everything you said sounds reasonable on paper, but the trick is playtesting something to death to really figure stuff out.

This echoes my thoughts as well. The proposed changes contain a lot of moving parts, which might not work together as anticipated. I look forward to hearing more details once a few plays are completed with these changes.

I also can't help but wonder whether there's some group-think involved in the perceived shortcomings. I personally enjoy the pacing of the game, and think they made the economy pretty well balanced. If I had to pick one of the issues I agree with the most, it would be that the pace of advancement cards is a little lethargic. I wholly disagree with the idea that weapon and shield upgrades are too expensive though. It looks expensive on paper, but after you get fleets devoured by an enemy that has just a couple of these increases, it becomes apparent that they're totally worth the cost. The problem (if indeed there is a problem at all) is that these come at the cost of slowing your normal technology card advancements. If you're upgrading weapons and shields while I'm tinkering with advancement cards and ignoring weapons/shields completely, you're going to tear me up when we meet. That's a good indication right there that the upgrades to weapons/shields are worth more than the equivalent research put toward cards. Maybe the real way to address this might be just to make the card advancements slightly cheaper.

I still haven't played enough games to feel that I need to tinker with the economy, but I'm glad there are folks out there who are doing it. I'm interested to hear how these experiments pan out. Please keep tinkering and reporting! This is fun stuff to keep an eye on.
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Chris J Davis
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zfairborn wrote:



bleached_lizard wrote:
I too am thinking of modding this game to some (probably quite heavy) degree. I really like your idea of doubling the culture income of faction abilities! I may incorporate that.

My own idea to deal with the slow advancement of tech is this: as an action, a player may place 1 research on whichever of his advancement cards has the *fewest* research tokens on it.

This still keeps phenomena relevant, as with those you can put the research on any advancement.


Just make sure you limit the culture gain elsewhere! You don't want the culture boom to go too crazy!!


I was actually wondering whether one way to deal with that (without having to spoil my system tiles) would be just to use the variant rule of starting with zero Ascendancy (and maybe zero culture). I would be hesitant to try it in a normal game, but with doubled faction income it may help balance it without having to mod too many components.

Quote:
I do like your idea on the slow advancement of the tech as a command action. Gives more option to the Command useage. May look into the idea more actually! Thanks.

I assume in the case of a tie (e.g.: two advancements with 1 research each) you can choose one or the other?


Exactly.
 
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Pas L
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This review covers my concerns with the game also. I'm not sure if the proposed solutions are the best, but I think it likely that something of the sort would be needed to truly make the game shine.
 
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Paul Ferguson
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I have played STA twice, and it just feels a bit to sterile. It doesn't have a lot of hidden layers.
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Chris J Davis
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It's just occurred to me that the easiest way to stop culture getting out of control if you increase the faction culture income is just to increase the cost of buying Ascendancy tokens.
 
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Guðmundur Skallagrímson
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Very nice review and suggestions. I've been waiting for some well thought out variants to get me thinking about how to get excited about the game again. I like the doubling race bonuses, I might restrict 'open' slots to red or blue only, and I'm still working on a tech variant I like. Treating projects like ships at warp where they research themselves seems way too powerful, but it would leave all your tokens for weapon/shield choice, and phenomena would still speed up the progress.

The best success I've had with mods is assigning points to the various activities. Player with most Ascendancy, most ships, most control nodes, most researched projects, etc, would get points after the 5th Ascendancy is achieved. Players also have a hidden objective card indicating extra conditions for bonus points to stop players from calculating the leader exactly, and that knowledge is pretty handy to offer as part of a trade deal.

Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts and the way you presented your opinion of this game.
 
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Zenvious
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The "Red/Blue" on open nodes is a decent and quick fix for sure. It will pull the total amount of Culture nodes down to 8 (or 11 if you include the Homeworlds). And it would work for a lot of the systems on the sake of balance.

The only issue that would appear is a missed opportunity on Bajor (Cardassian Expansion) as I believe it is the only system capable of having 2 Culture nodes (aka it has both a Culture and Open spot) which i believe was done so it would be a hotly contested system once developed. Restricting to be a Research/ Production only would make it less impactful when it appears. However its one system and I think the Blue/Red variant could work.



I do like the idea of Culture nodes costing more to reduce their spamming. I think there is decent merit in that idea. I will look into it.


 
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Sounds like some good ideas to put on a "variant" rule set. To be honest IMHO for me the games feels rather incomplete. I am sure it will be much better when the expansions arrive (sometime next year I guess). So once those come out and it goes from 3 player only to 3-5 player then I believe i would have a better feel for the game to give a proper critique.
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zfairborn wrote:
I do like the idea of Culture nodes costing more to reduce their spamming. I think there is decent merit in that idea. I will look into it.

Here's what's confusing me about this whole topic. As I read back over the posts in this thread, I'm seeing proposed variants to both increase the supply of culture, side by side with proposals to increase culture costs of various things and/or limit culture nodes.

So I have to ask: What's the point of increasing both the supply and demand of culture? It's like suggesting printing more money along with making things more expensive. To me, that just seems like inflation with no real purpose.
 
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cbs42 wrote:
zfairborn wrote:
I do like the idea of Culture nodes costing more to reduce their spamming. I think there is decent merit in that idea. I will look into it.

Here's what's confusing me about this whole topic. As I read back over the posts in this thread, I'm seeing proposed variants to both increase the supply of culture, side by side with proposals to increase culture costs of various things and/or limit culture nodes.

So I have to ask: What's the point of increasing both the supply and demand of culture? It's like suggesting printing more money along with making things more expensive. To me, that just seems like inflation with no real purpose.


The point is that you're increase the culture income from faction abilities to make them (rather than culture nodes) the primary source of culture income for each player. However, if the culture income is increased then you also have to increase the cost of things that take culture, otherwise the game will end far too soon.
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Does it matter where the culture comes from? The end result of the proposed variant is that the players will be generating more culture tokens, which necessitates increasing prices to keep thing balanced.

It seems like if you didn't increase culture, you wouldn't need to increase prices, and you'd have roughly the same supply/demand balance for culture. That's why I said it seems like inflation just for inflation sake.

I'm probably not understanding properly. I'm certainly not bashing the idea. I just want to understand the motivation, and why the game would be better for it.
 
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cbs42 wrote:
Does it matter where the culture comes from?


Yes. Increasing where you get culture from alters your behavior - if I'm Romulans, I'm going to start researching more; Klingons, attacking more; Federation, exploring more. That creates a game more in line with what I'm expecting than the current game, where those differentiators take a back seat to everyone doing the same thing, more or less - trying to find and hold onto planets with Culture nodes. The source material features very asymmetric factions; the game, despite being billed as such, minimizes the differences because of the win condition, described here and in other places as a race to culture. Since the race is largely won by all factions doing the same thing, this variant is designed to split up how each faction will achieve the win condition, thus creating a different feel for each one.
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Ahh, ok. I can see the justification now. That makes sense, and does sound very promising. Thanks for the clarification!
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Idaho11 wrote:
cbs42 wrote:
Does it matter where the culture comes from?


Yes. Increasing where you get culture from alters your behavior - if I'm Romulans, I'm going to start researching more; Klingons, attacking more; Federation, exploring more. That creates a game more in line with what I'm expecting than the current game, where those differentiators take a back seat to everyone doing the same thing, more or less - trying to find and hold onto planets with Culture nodes. The source material features very asymmetric factions; the game, despite being billed as such, minimizes the differences because of the win condition, described here and in other places as a race to culture. Since the race is largely won by all factions doing the same thing, this variant is designed to split up how each faction will achieve the win condition, thus creating a different feel for each one.


This! :D

This is BASICALLY my entire argument for the whole culture thing. Well summized! Excellent work. Here is some coin for you ;)
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Good review. I do not personally feel that the game needs fixing at this point, and am generally hesitant towards efforts to fix games too early in their existance. It seems to accomplish what it wants (read about Ethics under winning).

My understanding is that the Ascendancy victory, using culture as the only currency is the game's clock, so that the fight for military conquest will not go on forever. The perceived problem (I think) is that it is too easy to build a lead in culture creating a too predictable game play (either I hold on to the culture lead or the other two eradicate me).

One very easy way to solve this would be to create a random element in the Ascendancy victory game end. When someone has 5 tokens, you introduce a die roll of x or less to see if the game really ends (3 or less?). If not, the game continues another turn, possibly for several turns.

This would tone down the effect of a perfect strategy to max out culture quickly enough to secure the win before people have time to interfere.

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Delirium_EU wrote:
Good review. I do not personally feel that the game needs fixing at this point, and am generally hesitant towards efforts to fix games too early in their existance. It seems to accomplish what it wants (read about Ethics under winning).

My understanding is that the Ascendancy victory, using culture as the only currency is the game's clock, so that the fight for military conquest will not go on forever. The perceived problem (I think) is that it is too easy to build a lead in culture creating a too predictable game play (either I hold on to the culture lead or the other two eradicate me).

One very easy way to solve this would be to create a random element in the Ascendancy victory game end. When someone has 5 tokens, you introduce a die roll of x or less to see if the game really ends (3 or less?). If not, the game continues another turn, possibly for several turns.

This would tone down the effect of a perfect strategy to max out culture quickly enough to secure the win before people have time to interfere.



No, that's not it at all. The problem being spoken about is that the basic strategy is the same for everyone - just a rush for culture nodes. The idea is designed to make each race play differently, not to prevent a "perfect culture rush".
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