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Subject: Fourth Game (First Solitaire) rss

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Jon Snow
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Game Four (Solitaire)

I usually play a new game solitaire to check out the rules and game balance, but this time I didn't have a chance to do it before live games. At first it seemed that it would be too much work to run three factions, but once you have the rules pretty much down, its quite easy!

This was my first opportunity to deploy my newly glued and painted resin Star Bases for the first time, and the looked great on top of the cardboard you get with the game, as the Ascendancy symbols and faction outlines peer out of the edges and make the model, which seems to be floating due to black bases, illuminated in space!

Turns 1-5

The Federation's explored territory was at first hindered by being broken up by hazardous planets and phenomena. So they were slow to develop nodes. The Klingons had the best income, with two of each node built on various worlds. The Romulans had the second best income early on.

Contact between the Federation and the Romulans was blocked by the Stgellar Nursery. The Klingons and Romulans came close, rushing fleets and Star Bases tot he nearest approaches. The Klingons would have been overwhelmed by the Romulan First Strike ability between equal fleets. But getting to move first allowed the Klingons to bring in a second fleet and avoid an attack.

Turns 6-10

All factions reached Two Ascension. The Federation discovered Warp Capable Civs. The Feds had now discovered 9 systems to the other rivals having 5 each. All preferred not to connect their zones for now. With some help from The Traveller, the Klingons now filled in the border with planets, so that the Romulans could not connect up to their worlds! Nodes developed now: Fed: 11 Klings 9 Roms 10. As the Romulans shifted some ships over to their border close to the Federation, everyone had improved their weapons and the Federation even their Shields (the first time for doing so in my first series of games) The Klingons and Romulans began to demobilize their tense border, now that connection there had become impossible.

Turns 11-15


The Federation now invented what I now call The Shut Down Maneuver. Having no one take the usual hazardous ship losses and so feeling good, they now explored the last three systems, ensuring that no one would be able to connect their territory at all (the first time that this happened in a game here! The game now shifted into a totally different play style, as the race for Ascendancy swung into high gear. The Feds had as a final count 13 systems, Klings 9 Roms 8. The Feds only had 3 Culture Nodes to the Klingons and Romulans 4 apiece. But the Feds had two possible Culture Node developments to the Kingohons 1 and Romulans 0! So the final count would be Feds 6 Klings 6 Roms 4.

Everyone was still at 2 Ascendancy. Would the Romulans be left behind in the dust, even though they were ironically the first to hit 3 Ascendancy? Not necessarily. Since moving, combat, and certain types of building was now pointless, the Romulans decided to cycle their tech to develop through research more culture tokens! And they discovered two with culture icons that only cost three each. The Romulans, who had been so unlucky in the first two games, were still in it.


The Romulans hit 4 Ascendancy as the others hit 3. The Feds discovered they could not build their 6th Culture Node or they would fall behind, needing their 5 per turn for Ascendancy tokens! It was so close that everyone got to 4 Ascendancy before the final turn, with the ability to build another. So it all came down to a still random distribution of the Turn Order Markers! And although the Romulans were limping along, they picked Card One and WON THE GAME. Whew—that was close. They would have fallen behind the next turn, as their Culture token income was only four! It was a near run thing.

This was the first time all 30 systems hit the table. In general, it seems that relatively few Advancement Cards (or of course Exploration Cards), Weapons and Shields Upgrades, or Ships actually get into any one game of those available. The game length and starting components can be varied by the Accelerated and Advanced Rules, and this, after a few more standard plays, will be The Final Frontier—until expansions come out in October, with a number of game changing additional elements.
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Michael Lemick
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How long did it take you to play the game?
 
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Jon Snow
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Sorry, there's no way to tell accurately. When I solitaire I play off and on, perhaps over a day and a half or so. That's why, unlike my other session reports, I give no time. Naturally, it takes much longer than a game with live players. I place a red poker chip on a turn card to remember where I left off when I take a break or get interrupted! As a very rough estimate, I'd say five hours or so.

Not to mention that I'm also busy taking notes during the game for these reports.
 
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Grish
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chas59 wrote:
This was my first opportunity to deploy my newly glued and painted resin


Post some pics so we can see how they look, if it's not too much trouble.

btw, thanks for your efforts (note taking during gameplay and posting) which gives all of us without the game something to read and think about before we get it.

Quote:
With some help from The Traveller, the Klingons now filled in the border with planets, so that the Romulans could not connect up to their worlds!


What does that mean? How did the planets stop the Klingons from connecting?

Quote:
everyone had improved their weapons and the Federation even their Shields (the first time for doing so in my first series of games)


I bet after many plays people will break down the game and see what's worth developing. If average games take 15 turns, you only have so many resources, so therefore you will always develop lvl 1-2 weapons and never shields (or something to that effect).

Just looking at research costs, shields lvl 2 cost 8 research. Is it better to have that or two advancement cards?

Quote:
The Federation... explored the last three systems, ensuring that no one would be able to connect their territory at all (the first time that this happened in a game here!


So the way you connected the map meant all three races played solitaire games? With future expansions, will they allow more system discs to be used or will the number always be limited to 30 in a 3 player game?

Quote:
In general, it seems that relatively few Advancement Cards (or of course Exploration Cards), Weapons and Shields Upgrades, or Ships actually get into any one game of those available.


If that will be the case, will some advancements rise to the top? Will we get to a "meta" where you have to cycle your deck to get certain advancements? Or, is wasting activations on cycling the cards too costly?
 
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Jon Snow
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1. Sorry, I don't do pics. I'm sure someone will paint their star basea and post them up soon.

2. Ironically, if there are too many planets in the space so that they are too close together to connect with space lanes, then you can't connect them physically at all!

3. Yes, some of those people totally disagree with my initial findings. For example, I just read that "its easy to cycle through your advancements and get what you want."

4. Re: What is better to take? Guess it depends on your play style or game plan.

5. It will be interesting to see how the expansions change the rules, if they do. Of course, I have no idea yet. But since some people will be experimenting with various House Rules, having more than 30 systems will give you more to try out. Right now, I'm thinking that I'll take out the home planets of factions not being used and just add the rest to the systems stack for random exploration, rather than adding more systems to a game (unless I'm adding factions also. Space on the table, and mine is pretty large, limits what you can use in one game.

Will expansions come with new rules and components? GF9 on another thread already showed us that Bajor, a planet in the Cardassian expansion, will be the first planet with a culture node and an open node! That's different. With Firefly expansions, they added new components and rules for them, while also adding more of the same types of cards already in the game.
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Pat Doyle
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Regarding new components, yes. Gale force 9 did reply on a thread and said that the expansions will come with 10 system tiles, the home planet and 9 others. The Cardassian expansion includes Bajor which has a Production slot, a Culture slot and an Open slot...meaning Bajor could potentially have 2 culture. Its intended to be a provocative flashpoint since no one will want another empire to have a system with 2 culture. (In DS9, the Federation "hegemonied" Bajor from the Cardassians, can have evil cardassians gaining 2 culture per turn. I'm certain it will include additional counters and such.
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Jon Snow
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By "new" components here, I was mainly thinking of new types of components, rather than variations on old ones. But yes, I mention Bajor above.
 
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John Tessier
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I believe their are advancements like Stellar cartography that permit exceeding the star lane limits and that could open an invasion path. So the Solitaire strategy can potentially be overcome.
 
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