So I have started my first game of this with the wife. Started is the key word as we have yet to finish.
Edit: FINISHED - see updates below.
It isn't that this game is noticeably clunky or anything, its just that we are taking our time with the rules and making sure we understand the technologies. This is also our first foray into 4x board games. We enjoyed Quantum but that is a much more abstracted and tactical space game. We are generally used to medium to heavy weight games(We enjoyed Pret a Porter and Mage Knight).
The first night involved the construction of the known universe, and all the bits we needed. I start with green and she's red. She has 4 CP planets close to her while I have 1 of each near me.
I started as Chancellor and we voted on Military Tech Law. After choosing the bonus action, I was reelected with no opposition.
This turn was a very basic turn, consisting of getting to know the different technologies and what each resource was good for. We both took an additional planet in our first movement phase. I decided to test my luck and expand into a planet with a level 2 Resistance ship with my battle cruiser and 2 cubes aboard. The ship and its population were decimated.
It took about an hour an a half to complete the first turn. Much of it was spent looking up rules clarifications.
The second night, involved a refresher on the rules and we jumped in quick. This time much of the time went into analyzing the technologies and figuring out our strategies.
I was able to get the Chancellorship once again and proceeded to build and upgrade a battle cruiser and a fighter. Within a turn I was back on track and took out a level 2 resistance with much luck(it took 3 rounds and not a single hit on me). Red, meanwhile had been banking it with her 3 CP planets. She easily afforded cloaking and was able to expand with no resistance.
At the end of turn 3, I had taken out another resistance ship but lost my fighter and poised to expand to 2 more planets. I also have control of the Council. Red continues trading, research, and expanding. She has pushed a fighter to my end of the board. At this point she has a large store of resources and CP.
Night 3 begins normally. I retake the Chancellorship after losing it at the end of the last session. I begin to upgrade my ships with plasma cannons and MPGs. Red is now building more ships, upgrading, and expanding like crazy. She is easily banking tons of CP and with the advanced trading research she has no problems getting hold of the other resources.
At the end of this session we have two shared planets on my end of space, and she has a pretty formidable fleet and she has taken control of the Council hex.
Here is the status at the beginning of turn 6.
The final turns involve us doing nearly similar actions. We both decide to research and upgrade. I put out my biochemical rocket in the hopes of bringing down some of her population in high scoring planets. She researches 2nd tier shields and upgrades all of her ships. My fleet moves in to destroy another resistance ship and Red takes out two on her turn. My final move takes of this turn allows me control of the council hex.
In the final turn, I bring out another battle cruiser and war cruiser. And equip all ships with fusion drives. Red builds the rest of her ships as well. As we move, I push the remaining ships into the council hex, except for 1 battle cruiser which drops of populations to nullify one of her high scoring planets and to take control of another one of my planets. Red meets me with her fleet in the Council Hex.
Battle commences. My total attack power was 15, red is 27. It was a blood bath. In two rounds, she destroyed my entire fleet which scored her 12 VP.
The final scoring was 28 to 43. That battle was key. Had I avoided her fleet and focused on displacing her population with mine in another planet, I could have won the game.
- The phases in each turn go pretty smoothly. I imagine if we memorized the stages, things would go much quicker.
- CP planets close to the home planet is a big advantage. There's no need to trade right away and most upgrades only require 1-2 green resources. CP Planets are also worth 4 VP each. Non-CP planets are only 2VP. You can immediately start researching with money gained during upkeep, instead of wasting actions towards banking or trading.
- The rules seem to be pretty straight forward. So far I think we've followed them pretty well. We are known for missing a handful of rules on our first couple games.
edit: we did miss some rules.
-We forgot to roll to put population out on some planets.
-In battle, we allowed each other to allocate hits. I doubt the battle would have fared differently due to the firepower difference.
- The bidding process has been cheap for us. Unless I really need to trade I don't mind going second. In our game so far, I found that the politics cards generally help both of us. We have bid separately on a some but they didn't help me enough to justify having to spend too much on them. Also I was broke for much of the time, and in order for me to get the proper research or upgrades without spending additional actions, I had to save my money.
-Movement is fiddly. It isn't so bad when its just a ship or two and they don't have upgraded drives. When you have a bunch of ships, it's tedious. I'll have to use pen/paper next time.
Mechanically, from a 2 player standpoint, everything works great. The council stage works well. The blind bid voting for politics cards scales well for 2 players. The VC choosing 3 bonus actions and the Chancellor choosing the 1 or none also feels thematic politically. The only thing I see missing may be the negotiation that could be involved in having the chancellor break ties.
The simultaneous action selection is a great idea and saves time in having people second guess their decisions. It may get bogged down during the reaction phase though, as players check for available reactions and analyze it with their second action.
Research and upgrades took us longer to think through since we had to look up some of the powers and definitions, but its something we should have planned for. The rest of the actions were generally quick.
WMD stage wasn't a huge factor in time for us. I used it twice the whole game and both distance rolls were under 3.
Movement can also be a time burn just due to analysis and finding the tokens and revealing them. The simultaneous reveal and movement is great though. The combat itself is also very straight forward, but with multiple conflicts to resolve, this will start to take a long time.
That's all for now. We are enjoyed our first game. I can probably see it taking 45 minutes per player since each phase is pretty simple. As we got used to the stages, it went by much quicker. The final turn was probably 15-20 minutes. I knew at this point the actions I needed to take.
- Last edited Fri Jun 6, 2014 12:53 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jun 5, 2014 4:28 pm
Did you like it as a 2-player game?
Yah- so far it seems to work, but we aren't really optimizing our actions very well and with both of us sticking with our own strategies it has kept us from doing any PVP combat so far.
None of the Stages seem to suffer from having just 2 players. In the council stage, the chancellor breaks ties as long as its not in his favor. So there really isn't much in the way of tie breaking in 2 players so being the Chancellor isn't a huge advantage. With higher player counts, you get to choose which can give you leverage in some meta-gaming negotiations.
I think you'll get a more "epic space civ" game with higher player counts. With two players it feels more like an area-control/war game with light politics and a tech tree.