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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Star Trek Ascendancy: First Game rss

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Jon Snow
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STAR TREK ASCENDANCY GAME SESSIONS

By Chas


(The following summary was posted to the other players who would be in the Second Game a few days later).

Game One

The new game is most like Fleet Captains in the exploration, where anything can happen, and you have to deal with it. As the Romulans I ran into a "Phenomenon" (space terrain other than planets), and Matt managed to roll two sixes, destroying both my ships This very bad luck would plague me the entire game. When I rolled up a "lost Klingon colony" on the border near his Klingon territory, I noted how whenever that happens in a SciFi game (likeTwilight Imperium) the person whose race it is insists on claiming it, rather than letting it go. Whereupon, ignoring my warning, Matt connected our territories and sent ships there, offering peace and a trade agreement.

I accepted, but then immediately betrayed him on my turn, as I had the initial advancement Cloaking Device/First Fire, and blew his two ships away with my two. At this point he had no ships on the board, and should have been set far back, and away from me. But he built a star base because he controlled the Lost Colony planet (I had missed that possibility), and therefore built more ships there and wiped me out on his following turn Whereupon we made peace and never bothered each other again. My own territory was now very small and poor.

My only piece of good luck was finding The Horta, who boosted up my Production Nodes on her planet (this was probably one of the 50th Anniversary TOS cards). Another flavorful thing that happened in our first STA game is that the Organian Intervention Exploration Card showed up on the Sherman's Planet system disc. This surprised me, as it exactly followed the scenario created in the TOS episode "The Trouble With Tribbles," where no one was allowed to take over the planet unless they reached a high Ascendancy Level! So the game did “feel” like Trek, but at a strategic 4E level.

Meanwhile Nick as the Federation was using his culture boosting abilities and having good luck exploring, which gave him even more. Matt meanwhile kept finding civilizations so advanced that he couldn't Invade or Hegemony them. Not connecting to our territory at all, Nick as the Federation was looking to run away with the game. By the time we connected up to him, it was almost to late. Nick had even developed an Advancement which negated my Cloaking Device! (Yes, that's the kind of luck I was having--he'd only checked out about 4 of his 15 advancement cards, and that's one he got! Go figure!)

Then my only fleet,desperately trying to hook up my territory with the Federation, ran right into The Neutron Star, possibly the worst hazard in the game (its been duly noted on bgg as such; equivalent to the Black Hole in Star Fleet Captains). There went my fleet, with Matt rolling fatally as the neutral hazard once more, and so I lost my only outside chance of stopping Nick. Meanwhile the Klingons had connected to the Federation also, on the other flank, but not where Matt had his Klingon Fleet. So Nick, with three Fleets on the board (maximum faction fleet strength) proceeded to hand Matt's single ship their walking papers with one of his fleets.

Matt now had to leave unexpectedly, and we awarded Nick the game. The Federation had three Ascendancy out of the five he'd need to win, but we only had one each. We could have had two each, but needed the culture tokens for more mundane building uses. Nick also had a large three culture node income each turn, and we were both left too weak to do much about it over the next three or so turns he'd need to win.

We all enjoyed the game and would play it again. The rules went down pretty easily; we'd all looked at them before game day. There are many elements such as Exploration cards and faction Development (tech) cards we haven't begun to examine yet, so each game should be very different. I have a two page player aids for you someone just posted on bgg, and a bit of FAQ that came in handy. I also did a Table of Contents for the rules book, which proved so essential for Star Fleet Captains as well.

We played from 1:30-4:15 PM (Nick was late), and estimated that the game would have gone about 3 hour 45 min total to finish. 21 of the 30 systems were on the board when we broke, so only five were left. There was just about enough table space (using a 3' x 2' central play area) to put all the systems on the board, since you also needed room to place the sizable individual pIayer component areas! Nick was actually about to run out of table space on which to expand further! I note that in the back of the rules book there are a number of rules to shorten game length; but we wanted to try the standard game first.

Looking forward to Wednesday, when, with your permission, I'll try playing the Federation myself! Although Victor couldn't make Saturday as an extra player, we'll soon have a trained cadre of five players including me.

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Grish
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Fun read, thanks for posting
 
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Mitch Lavender
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Fun read. Thanks for posting it.

We also played our first game on Sunday, which went 4 hours before we called it. Federation and Romulan players had 3 ascension and the Romulans owned two homeworlds (theirs and Klingons), so we were probably an hour away from finishing but had to stop because real life responsibilities intruded.

We spent a fair amount of time in the rule book verifying rules (and still got a couple wrong). Also spent a lot of time negotiating with each other as is typical for this group of players.

I expect the next play to take about 3.5 hours with 3 players, another hour for each player added through expansions when they become available. This is assuming the standard rules. The appealing optional rules are getting an Ascension token for 4 Culture rather than 5, players starting with more initial resources and doing simultaneous build turns for the first turn.

We dig the game and it definitely has the Trek vibe but you are in for a long, thematic ride with proportionate down-time. I'll do that any time I get the opportunity. LLAP
 
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A. B. West
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Nice to hear how the game flows. I've still yet to manage the right group to play it - but hope to get it to the table before too much longer.
 
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Joe Maiz
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Thanks for the report! Sounds like you guys had fun. Remember, you can always start closer if you want a faster game.

I hope to have something in soon - Alas, I have a work trip next week, so it might be Labor day weekend when I finally get to bust this out.
 
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