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brian giese
United States
Wisconsin
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Hello

I wanted to write an initial review of the game. I feel I would need to play a couple more games before I get a more "complete" opinion on the game.

I am a fan of GF9 previous games, and I feel this game succeeds more then it stumbles.

Quick Summary if you don't want to read a lot - Overall I feel the game is a success in both game mechanics, and theme, but I believe it would be a better game with 4 or 5 players. 3 players allows for someone to try to turtle in their corner, and if they build outward just enough to build back in, a player could get lucky with planet selection and get systems with only a few connection and make it very hard for at least 1 of the 2 other players could get to them.

This game does have a moderate level of luck as well, much like eclipse with a bunch of rough system draws, or bad encounter cards, a player can fall behind. (I'm not really saying this is bad, but it is something to be aware of) I would say Fleet Captains added the same random element to some games, and I still really like that game.



Deeper thought


The game mechanics are enjoyable. Balancing command actions to explore, work on research is well done. Combat is straight forward and easy. As players gain more warp technology, the map does feel very small, and most fleets can travel very far, very fast.

There are 2 ways to win, and in our first game, we had the Klingons win via military win (conquer both opponents home territory) He was lucky enough to land on both other players, as they reached their 5 ascendant limit, but lost their home territory so could not win the game.

Moving Fleets around was also fun, and the mechanics for it worked well. Each faction has a good variety of research and it really feels natural for each faction. The game does move a bit quicker then I thought it would, and we didn't' get a ton of items researched before the game was near the end.


Upgrading both Shields and phasers is very important, and again with some bad luck, a player could get a bad draw of planets, and following behind on research and find this very hard to do.

Building the map is very easy and straightforward (and fun).

I do strongly feel this game would a lot more fun at 4 players. It keeps a person from being able to block themselves off so easily. It doesn't do anything to get rid of a bad start though.

Early game the turn order is random, but that changes as players make contact with each other and then bidding on turn order can become very critical. As a player does all their actions on their turn before the next player goes.

Like any war game, players need to sort of police each other in regards to not letting someone get to far ahead. Trade agreements between players that are behind are often helpful, and making sure not to give the "leader" any free resources with a trade agreement can become very important.

I believe if a player is willing to play a game with some luck involved and realizes a game every so often will be terribly bad just due to luck, but don't mind due to a good theme and game mechanics, the game can be enjoyed greatly, but I know some people don't like that luck element or random events from cards (exploring) impacting the game too heavily, and since the game can go 2 hours hours of more (and I expect most 4 player games to go 2 to 2 1/2 hours) I know many players also don't mind this either. I just think people should be aware of it.







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Tom Rose
United States
Hoffman Estates
Illinois
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I played a 4-player game at Gen Con, and you are correct. 4-player games make it hard for a player to turtle. We played with the Cardassians. They are defensive in nature but with some offensive fire power like a glass canon.

I also agree with your other assessments. I think it is a really fun game. I would say it is better than TI3. I can't wait to get it back out to the table.
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David Jones
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Wilsonville
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soul42 wrote:
3 players allows for someone to try to turtle in their corner, and if they build outward just enough to build back in, a player could get lucky with planet selection and get systems with only a few connection and make it very hard for at least 1 of the 2 other players could get to them.


I saw something in another session report that implied players with a trade agreement have a noticeable advantage over those who don't. I would expect that the counter strategy is for the other two players to trade with each other and cut out the turtle. Or is the trade advantage not that strong?
 
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brian giese
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Wisconsin
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In our 3 player game, the 2 people behind the first player had a 3 production trade agreement going with each other, and nothing with the leader, and it did impact the game.

In a 4+ game I would not want to be a player mid game being left out of trade agreements. It would have an impact.
 
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Tom Rose
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soul42 wrote:
In a 4+ game I would not want to be a player mid game being left out of trade agreements. It would have an impact.


This was me in our game. I was the Klingons, and I had a 2 trade agreement with the Cardassians. As a result, I was creating 5 production a turn early in the game, when I thought I could take advantage of my new ally. Well, it didn't work out for me. The Cardassians have a fleet formation where they succeed on their first attack, which combined with my terrible rolls, decimated my fleet. But, the bigger loss was the loss of the trade agreement. I was now on the outside looking in, as everyone else made trade agreements without me and began outpacing me badly in developing their races.
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Joe Maiz
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Palmyra
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Key note: you can always withdrawal your trade agreement at any time for no reason whatsoever... so wait till the last command to be played then ask for your trade agreements back... esp if you think the other player is going to gear up and attack you.

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John Fortune
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I played a 4 player game at Gencon as well. I agree with much of what has been said here.

Overall the game has many positive elements. It is such a glorious game of 4x. The engine building elements are not strong, but the feeling of exploring planets and meeting the enemy or making alliances is very strong and super fun.

A few minor quibbles.

- The game has way too much downtime for my taste with 4 players. I understand that you can do the build phase simultaneous rather than one at at time - this could help with my issues.

- There is some luck that could impact your game quite a bit - with the random draw of planets and explore cards.

- I wish there were more images of actual characters in the game. I do really like this game and it captures the explore and combat elements of star trek, but I wish the characters were somehow brought into this game a little more. I'm not exactly sure how I would do this, but it lacked a little personality for lack of a better word.

I purchased the game, and I am excited to play it again.

 
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Marc Bennett
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Striker511 wrote:
Key note: you can always withdrawal your trade agreement at any time for no reason whatsoever... so wait till the last command to be played then ask for your trade agreements back... esp if you think the other player is going to gear up and attack you.



i just woke up so i could be remembering wrong, but i thought you couldnt bring back youw own trade agreements you had to attack to cancel them. you could however return trade agreements you held to their owner
 
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Nova Cat
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Bakersfield
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Klaxas wrote:
Striker511 wrote:
Key note: you can always withdrawal your trade agreement at any time for no reason whatsoever... so wait till the last command to be played then ask for your trade agreements back... esp if you think the other player is going to gear up and attack you.



i just woke up so i could be remembering wrong, but i thought you couldnt bring back youw own trade agreements you had to attack to cancel them. you could however return trade agreements you held to their owner

It's the other way around.
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Joe Maiz
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I know there will be an FAQ very soon; Trading should be one of the questions there - trade and how to exchange it or withdraw it.
 
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Doug Fudd
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You can always ask for your own trade agreements back at any time, but in order to GIVE back an agreement of another faction that you hold, you must first betray them with an attack. Or in other words, once you attack someone, you void the agreement you hold.
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Tom Rose
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dfudd wrote:
You can always ask for your own trade agreements back at any time, but in order to GIVE back an agreement of another faction that you hold, you must first betray them with an attack. Or in other words, once you attack someone, you void the agreement you hold.


I spoke with one of the designers about this specifically. The above answer is correct.

The designer's explanation was that YOU own YOUR trade agreement, and therefore, you can ask for it back at any time. You cannot give back a trade agreement that you do not own. You can, however, betray (aka attack) someone you have a trade agreement with, which voids the trade agreement immediately.
 
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Steve Stanton
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Paoli
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To lessen down time, would you agree that each player alternating taking an action (command token) until exhausted work?
 
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Marc Bennett
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fiatkid55 wrote:
To lessen down time, would you agree that each player alternating taking an action (command token) until exhausted work?

i havent tried it but some people on the forums have said that it changes the game in ways that were not fun. i do plan on trying it at some point though, to get my own opinion
 
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