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Subject: Reports from Gen Con rss

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Nova Cat
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This thread is a place for people at Gen Con to post their gameplay experiences and observations, and for people who aren't at Gen Con to ask questions.

From the other thread (where it was somewhat off-topic for that particular thread):
Sassycat wrote:
I'll try and share as much info as I can, but I'm posting from my phone so please excuse the mess.

I played in a 4 player game with the 3 base factions + Cardassians. The game took around 3 hours, but once we had the hang of the rules it started picking up the pace much faster. I'm afraid I don't really remember the play-by-play, but I can give you some thoughts:

- The Cardassian weakness is quite painful. It really serves to hinder your initial production. However, they have some techs like Labor Camps that can make up for it once they get going.
- Trade agreements are quite strong and serve as a good incentive to get players to connect. The Federation and Romulans were isolationist at first, but once they saw the Klingons and I start pulling 3 extra production a turn, they immediately went to connect.
- Having fleets research anomalies really boosts your research speed, making them a significant point of contention.
- The fleet mechanic is really cool. All of us were impressed with it. It's just so cool to get these special abilities. Hunter-Killer can be quite devastating, especially if you have 2 HK fleets.

I'll give my impressions of each faction as well:

Federation: These guys don't really want to interact with you, they're happy just exploring the map. They can be quite the cultural powerhouse with the culture bonus for discovering civilizations and phenomena. They have a planetary defense grid tech that makes them quite good at holding on to planets
Coupled with a number of fleets that get fast colonization, they expand quickly and dig in. Although they have a tendency for isolation, the fact that they constantly want to explore will bring them into the galactic community.
Romulans: Research powerhouses. They have techs that let them gain bonus science when neighbors/trading partners? research techs. Their first strike ability is a huge advantage, but everyone seems to have a tech that nullifies Romulan cloaking technologies. However, Romulans have multiple technologies that exhaust enemy technologies, so they can still be tricky. They also csn retreat into warp and move through your ships with research, which makes them as slippery as you would expect.
Klingons: They want to smash their fleets into your face repeatedly. They don't really care if they lose ships, as long as they kill enough to get their free culture. They have a number of production bonuses that let them replenish their fleets quickly.
Cardassians: I sort of talked about them already - slow start, but they can make up for it later. They have a number of defensive techs that I was using to keep the other factions off my back while I caught up.


Other thoughts:
- There are a number of ambiguities in the rules, kind of like the Firefly rulebook. It's not the worst I've read, but I think a good FAQ is needed.
- The game was very well balanced. It was anyone's game at the end. (Except mine, but that was due to a few mistakes I made.)
- Each faction definitely has a unique flair and they feel right thematically. If you're a Star Trek fan, you'll love this game. If you're not a fan, you will still probably enjoy the game, as it's a nice streamlined 4X, but you'll be missing out a little.
- GF9 is very confident in the future of this game. I was told CBS is very happy as well and they are throwing their full support behind it. GF9 apparently had the next 3 years of content planned out.


I'll try to answer any specific questions you have, but I can't promise I'll get to them quickly. I also have pictures of the Ferengi expansion that was on display if people haven't already posted those.

EDIT: Put the Ferengi pics in the general thread.

More posts like this one would be wonderful.
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Nova Cat
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The question on my mind is, what is the ratio of planets to phenomenon in the system disc stack, and what's the ratio of different exploration cards?

And also, what is the material of the play mats they're using in the demos? Is it mousepad style, or vinyl? [Answered: Vinyl]
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Duane Crago
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Great idea and thanks for the extra info! Good to hear about the Cardies as they are one of my favorite. Can't wait to see how the future unfolds for the gam as it sounds bright. cool
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Michael Matecha
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The mat is vinyl
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Nova Cat
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Fallow wrote:
The mat is vinyl

I'm disappointed, but thanks for the info!
 
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Duncan Idaho
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I'm going to ask a very specific answer that I don't know if I'll get an answer to, so don't take it personally if I don't think you've answered it!

I'm specifically looking for some one who went in expecting this to not feel like a Star Trek game.

To me, Star Trek just doesn't align with 4X gameplay because what I like about the series has nothing to do with this type of game.

So is there anyone out there who expected to feel the same, and got in a demo? I'd love to hear if those feelings were confirmed or denied, as I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.
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Matt Steski
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Novacat wrote:
The question on my mind is, what is the ratio of planets to phenomenon in the system disc stack, and what's the ratio of different exploration cards?

And also, what is the material of the play mats they're using in the demos? Is it mousepad style, or vinyl? [Answered: Vinyl]


6/27 base system discs are phenomena, not counting home world's.

Exploration deck has 11 crisis, 11 discovery, 12 discovery and 10 virgin planets. The promo pack is 6/6/3/0.
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Nova Cat
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Sassycat wrote:
6/27 base system discs are phenomena, not counting home world's.

27? I thought there were 30 in the base game. [EDIT: Oh, right, 30 including the home systems.]

Sassycat wrote:
Exploration deck has 11 crisis, 11 discovery, 12 discovery and 10 virgin planets. The promo pack is 6/6/3/0.

I assume one of those "discovery" piles is actually civilizations, but they're close enough that it doesn't especially matter which is which.

Geez, Sassycat. You've been so helpful and informative. You're the champion of we who can't be there. Have some more Geek Gold.
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Gabriel Conroy
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Idaho11 wrote:
I'm going to ask a very specific answer that I don't know if I'll get an answer to, so don't take it personally if I don't think you've answered it!

I'm specifically looking for some one who went in expecting this to not feel like a Star Trek game.

To me, Star Trek just doesn't align with 4X gameplay because what I like about the series has nothing to do with this type of game.

So is there anyone out there who expected to feel the same, and got in a demo? I'd love to hear if those feelings were confirmed or denied, as I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


Can't answer your question since I'm not at Gencon, but I agree with the sentiment. It's been surprising to me seeing people talk about this as a very thematic game, because most of what I've heard about it seems like a 4x game with Star Trek decoration.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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actually, the nr of phenomenon system discs was already shown in the rulebook, it shows the 6 discs you have to seperate during setup.

my guess is that every additional faction will come with 2 phenomenon as part of its 10 system discs, and 2 planets with hazards.

some questions;
-what is the ratio on the spacelane die? i think its 3 chances for 2-lane, 2 chances for 3-lane and 1 chance for a 4-lane?

-could someone post pictures of the full sets of advancements from klingon/romulan/federation?
 
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Yiannis Hadjikyriakou
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Idaho11 wrote:
I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


I'm curious to understand how you don't see ST as fitting into 4X. My take:

eXplore: "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before"

eXpand: The United Federation of Planets is all about expansion, trying to grow in size by adding new worlds. You don't get to 120-150 planets in size by accident! The Klingons are always conquering and subjugating. Cardassians. Everybody?

eXploit: Lots of mining colonies, for example:

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mining

Praxis went boom it was so exploited.

eXterminate: Read this as trying to conquer the other players' stuff: "Again with the Klingons?", Dominion, Borg, Mirror Federation (in fact Federation, they just do it by the back door).

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Will Baker
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Birth of the Federation is one of the best 4X games to ever come out on the PC. It had some issues. This is the tabletop version I hope!
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Jon Snow
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goo There certainly are/will be enough other types of Star Trek games out there if you want a different treatment. My personal favorite so far is Star Trek Fleet Captains.

As for the 4X theme in Trek, there is a great Klingon anti-Federation line in TOS, where one says something like: "We are hunters, Captain; we must hunt or die. Your Federation strangles us, and cuts off our vital trade lanes. We cannot allow it."

For anyone who hasn't figured it out, the honorable but battle obsessed Klingons are the stereotypical WWII Japanese, and the sneaky Romulans are the Germans of prewar spy films, in which they are always planning to sabotage us here in the USA (I live in Brooklyn on Long Island, where German submarines back then were lurking offshore, sinking merchant ships in deeper water, and occasionally landing spies on the coast line). It hasn't gotten more historically geopolitical (4X) here on Earth than during that worldwide conflict of not so long ago, out of which was born the United Nations (United Federation of Planets)!




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Keith Scholes
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Constans wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:
I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


I'm curious to understand how you don't see ST as fitting into 4X. My take:

eXplore: "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before"

eXpand: The United Federation of Planets is all about expansion, trying to grow in size by adding new worlds. You don't get to 120-150 planets in size by accident! The Klingons are always conquering and subjugating. Cardassians. Everybody?

eXploit: Lots of mining colonies, for example:

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mining

Praxis went boom it was so exploited.

eXterminate: Read this as trying to conquer the other players' stuff: "Again with the Klingons?", Dominion, Borg, Mirror Federation (in fact Federation, they just do it by the back door).


I suppose if you include the Ferengi you have a fifth X eXchange making it a 5X game.
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Shelby Babb
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achates wrote:

Can't answer your question since I'm not at Gencon, but I agree with the sentiment. It's been surprising to me seeing people talk about this as a very thematic game, because most of what I've heard about it seems like a 4x game with Star Trek decoration.


I think there's two things worthy of consideration:

1) the "decoration" is everywhere, and in everything. Including the mechanics. Could you reskin this to be a generic space 4X? Sure, but that generic game would still have "a warrior race", "a sneaky race", and "a diplomatic race" that would map pretty indistinguishably to the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation. That seems pretty thematic to me.

2) while classical Star Trek is about individuals doing stuff, this game is about Star Trek -civilizations- doing stuff. I can totally respect how someone wanting a game about Picard telling Scotty to help T'Pau get something done would be disappointed with this game, but the focus is at a level more zoomed out than that. Individual ships are barely worth notice, let alone individual people, and I can see how that would seem fairly "anti Star Trek" to some people.
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Alex Almond
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keitharchaeologist wrote:
Constans wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:
I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


I'm curious to understand how you don't see ST as fitting into 4X. My take:

eXplore: "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before"

eXpand: The United Federation of Planets is all about expansion, trying to grow in size by adding new worlds. You don't get to 120-150 planets in size by accident! The Klingons are always conquering and subjugating. Cardassians. Everybody?

eXploit: Lots of mining colonies, for example:

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mining

Praxis went boom it was so exploited.

eXterminate: Read this as trying to conquer the other players' stuff: "Again with the Klingons?", Dominion, Borg, Mirror Federation (in fact Federation, they just do it by the back door).


I suppose if you include the Ferengi you have a fifth X eXchange making it a 5X game.


Covered under eXploit really.
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Constans wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:
I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


I'm curious to understand how you don't see ST as fitting into 4X. My take:

eXplore: "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before"

eXpand: The United Federation of Planets is all about expansion, trying to grow in size by adding new worlds. You don't get to 120-150 planets in size by accident! The Klingons are always conquering and subjugating. Cardassians. Everybody?

eXploit: Lots of mining colonies, for example:

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mining

Praxis went boom it was so exploited.

eXterminate: Read this as trying to conquer the other players' stuff: "Again with the Klingons?", Dominion, Borg, Mirror Federation (in fact Federation, they just do it by the back door).




Yeah, I can't see Star Trek species as anything but a 4x except for maybe an RPG to get more of a TV show crew feel.
 
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Duncan Idaho
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Constans wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:
I love 4X games, and I love Star Trek, but I can't see them merging in a way that makes it feel true to both.


I'm curious to understand how you don't see ST as fitting into 4X. My take:


I'm not saying that the elements that go into the universe don't have aspects of 4X into it. But what I like about Star Trek isn't stories of the political expansion of the Federation and Klingons. It's the 1-to-1 interactions, the away teams, the crazy aliens that show up, and the moral dilemmas. That's what the shows and movies focus on. There's some political intrigue that goes into the political expansion, but those stories are told from the perspective of small elements fighting/negotiating inside of it.

You seem to play the "leader" of the factions in the game. In the show, the leaders would make suboptimal decisions, and the interesting part was how the individuals in the show who were affected by those decisions dealt with them, and rallied against them at times.

So my agency in this game, and in any 4X game that is set in the Star Trek universe, is the exact opposite of what I'd normally want out of a Star Trek game. That's why I'm saying they don't align in my head, not because I don't think the 4X elements don't exist in the universe.
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Nova Cat
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You don't have to justify your opinions, Idaho11. We all have our own reasons for liking Trek. I think you might be in the minority for not being drawn in by the setting itself, but that's OK.

That said, you might find it difficult to find people who are (a) enthusiastic enough about Ascendancy to go play it at Gen Con, and (b) share your opinion on this topic. That seem like a very niche demographic.
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Gabriel Conroy
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I think this looks like a good 4x game and I'm very interested in how it plays; may well pick it up. But the warp lanes concept, which is key to the game and which I particularly like both as a mechanism and as a sci-fi idea, has little basis in the source material.
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Nova Cat
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achates wrote:
But the warp lanes concept, which is key to the game and which I particularly like both as a mechanism and as a sci-fi idea, has little basis in the source material.

It has a basis in reality. Different systems are not all the same distance from each other. When traveling at warp, the difference becomes less important, so their relative length doesn't even matter except at impulse speed.
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Gabriel Conroy
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That would be an argument for having all systems accessible from each other. I can't think of any situation in the source material where eg to travel between two systems you must pass through another.
 
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achates wrote:
That would be an argument for having all systems accessible from each other. I can't think of any situation in the source material where eg to travel between two systems you must pass through another.

The Borg Cube traveling to Earth had to pass through Wolf 359, where the Federation defense fleet had gathered to try to slow it down.
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Gabriel Conroy
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That's a good example. Like I said above, I actually prefer the jump route model for FTL travel and remember watching that episode and thinking it was more like how I wished trek typically was. The rest of the time they essentially travel at will as if on a vast ocean. Even in that episode, I don't think it was explicitly stated that the only route to earth was via wolf359, rather that they had chosen to concentrate their last line of defence there.
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San Dee Jota wrote:
I can totally respect how someone wanting a game about Picard telling Scotty to help T'Pau get something done (...)

I don't think any fan wants Picard, Scotty and T'Pau in the same game. Some may tolerate or don't mind that, but I assume everyone prefers to keep different eras separated.
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