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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Looking from afar ... wishing on a star rss

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Doug Poskitt
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From the very start of the first Star Trek episode way back in the 6o's I have been in love with Star Trek and the Star Trek universe.

That love affair has stood the test of time, embracing not only James T Kirk and Spock, but also Picard, Janeway and Archer. I am just as fanatical about the Star Trek reboot of the recent past.

I have Star Trek Frontiers and Star Trek Fleet Captain et al (fell into my lap from an unhappy owner) and for sure they scratch my Star Trek itch. Frontiers is straight up great to play solo and with my own house rules I am perfectly happy boldly going where I have never been before with Fleet Captains.

I literally slavered like a Pavlov dog when I first heard of Star Trek Ascendancy. With a gradual exposure on YouTube and the web, I figured it might require some well thought out house rules if I were to attempt to play it solo, but in my ignorance and general Star Trek reverie I did not let that trouble me. To paraphrase Khan, "It tasks me, it tasks me ... and I must have it!"

This evening I sat down to watch the very thorough review by Drive-Thru on YouTube. As the clock counted down on that 45 minute review, my heart slowly sank into my boots as I came to understand that even house rules of epic proportions would not really make this possible to play solo.

I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad, and for this one, I will look on from afar. A 4X game that looks for all the world a really inviting experience is not one that looks in any way fitted for solo play ... no matter how much I might wish.

How many other solo Trekkies out there have the same disappointment?


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Nova Cat
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I've never played a board game solo, even those few I have which would support it. The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out. I mean, I can understand playing a solo board game occasionally, but to only get the game if it can be played solo? I don't understand that.
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John Godwin
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Yeah, I wish it was solo too, but if you what that experience then play Star Trek Conquest on the PS2 or Wii, or play Birth of the Federation on PC.
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Doug Poskitt
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Novacat wrote:
I've never played a board game solo, even those few I have which would support it. The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out.


Yes, many people have expressed such a sentiment to me. However, I must beg to differ. I get great joy from playing with others and playing solitaire. (Of course, that depends a lot on the game in question).
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Nova Cat
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John1701 wrote:
Yeah, I wish it was solo too, but if you what that experience then play Star Trek Conquest on the PS2 or Wii, or play Birth of the Federation on PC.

Birth of the Federation is probably the best Star Trek video game ever made.
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Joshua Nash
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Novacat wrote:
I've never played a board game solo, even those few I have which would support it. The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out.


Says the extrovert. Go check out 1 Player Guild for many dissenting opinions.

Yup, I was disappointed to hear the "3 player only" info when this game first came out. Even if if does "work" 2 player, I'm not sure it would translate well played solo.

But there again, I've played a couple of two-handed solo games of Eclipse just recently and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
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Nova Cat
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Keep an eye out for the Borg/Dominion expansions, which might introduce rules modules for 2P or 1P modes.
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Mitch Lavender
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I wish it supported more players out of the box, or at least had one of the player expansions available now - 3 players is very limiting.
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David Jones
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Novacat wrote:
I've never played a board game solo, even those few I have which would support it. The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out. I mean, I can understand playing a solo board game occasionally, but to only get the game if it can be played solo? I don't understand that.


Many people like solving puzzles, but most of the puzzle books or magazines you can buy at the bookstore tend to recycle the same puzzles over and over again (Sudoku, logic grids, Kakuro). Once you get the algorithms down, they can get rather boring. Board games are very much like puzzles, but offer other things like thematic immersion, the ability to beat your score (solve the puzzle in better way than you did last time), and mechanics like worker placement and random events are impossible to emulate on pen and paper. The standard response of course is to point to computer games, but they really are not the same. Most good "thinky" computer games ask you to commit several hours (civ builders) or are "twitchy" (RTS, time management, Zuma) or simply regurgitate the same puzzle repeatedly (Tetris, match 3, etc.) There aren't very many turn based computer games that give you a competitive/puzzle experience that can be played in 1-2 hours, with most of the exceptions being computer games that are trying to emulate board games. Board games provide a puzzle dynamic that really can't be found in other mediums (yet). I would always rather play with others than solo, but some nights there just aren't people to play with....
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Donald Jensen

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I am not as disheartened by the "no solo play" as I am by the no two player being officially supported. I don't really see the point to playing a board game solo to tell the truth.
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Doug Poskitt
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Though it seems to have died a death here on the BGG forumns, a game that plays well solo is Level 7: Invasion (imo, it can be said not to have succeeded in it's original intent as a semi-cooperative game); it can be tough on Hard Mode and I have had quite a few jousts with this game when playing solitaire.

Another is Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.

There is just as much enjoyment to be had from solitaire gaming as there is gaming with a group. A game that has a good solo mode - or a cooperative game that can be played solo - is no less a rewarding experience than a game that absolutely requires multiple players.

Certainly, there is room for both types of play in my universe.
 
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John Godwin
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Deep Space D-6 is a 1 player only game and it's a ton of fun!
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Jason Walker
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See the Legendary forums for monthly solo leagues!
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dougposkitt wrote:
That love affair has stood the test of time, embracing not only James T Kirk and Spock, but also Picard, Janeway and Archer.


I will defend your need for solo gaming, but I cannot defend the omission of Sisko.
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Matt Price
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Novacat wrote:
I've never played a board game solo, even those few I have which would support it. The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out. I mean, I can understand playing a solo board game occasionally, but to only get the game if it can be played solo? I don't understand that.


I'm with you here, and am surprised over and over again to see so many folks who enjoy soloing boardgames. Though I have tried, soloing is not my cup of tea.

But viva le differences! (brutally mangling several languages, I'm sure)

Check the variants forum for solo ideas. It wouldn't be too hard to implement solo options
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Grish
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TravelSized wrote:
dougposkitt wrote:
That love affair has stood the test of time, embracing not only James T Kirk and Spock, but also Picard, Janeway and Archer.


I will defend your need for solo gaming, but I cannot defend the omission of Sisko.


Also... Archer? He's not on the box for a reason!

We do not speak of that show just as we do not speak of the prequels.whistle
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Keith Scholes
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dougposkitt wrote:
This evening I sat down to watch the very thorough review by Drive-Thru on YouTube. As the clock counted down on that 45 minute review, my heart slowly sank into my boots as I came to understand that even house rules of epic proportions would not really make this possible to play solo.


I must say that I am surprised by your assessment, after watching the review and from what I have seen about the game it seems to me to be ideally suited to solo play. There seems to be very little hidden information, which is the usual impediment to solo play, and the player interactions such as trade agreements should be easy to handle with a bit of judicious randomisation in order that they are not completely predictable (*).

By suited to solo play I don't mean some rules bolted on to force the game into some sort of artificial solo play mode. Unless a game is designed from the ground up for solo play such rules often seem to warp (if you'll pardon the expression) into a less satisfying version of the original game. Rather I mean solo play where you as an individual play each side to the best of your ability and see where the game takes you. Alternatively choose a particular side and play that as best you can and use some sort of semi-random action system (*) to act as a kind of AI for the other sides.

Of course you won't get to play the game as a social event, or competitively (unless you are truly capable of splitting your personality) in the above way. There are however some compensations for playing solo in this fashion. Firstly you can treat the game as a puzzle or simulation where you are exploring the rules mechanisms and how they can be optimally played for different sides, again ST:A seems well suited to this mode of exploration as the factions seem quite asymmetrical. Secondly you can play the game with a view to the ST themes, and enjoy the unfolding story of how the civilisations interact over time, and when you are done replay the game and enjoy a completely different time line. In this case you could ignore specific victory conditions and just see how things play out until you have had enough. As a small bonus the AP problem mentioned in the review disappears in solo play as you are obviously not waiting on other players.

So if I were you I wouldn't despair just dive in and try the solo play as I have suggested and immerse yourself in the Star Trek universe. I for one can't wait to get my copy and all the expansions and spend a week immersed in a universe of 10 Star Trek factions.

(*)My favourite method of doing this (not my own invention I should point out) is at each non-trivial decision point choose (say) three possible actions arrange them in assessed order of likelihood and roll a dice:

654 = most likely choice
32 = middle choice
1 = least likely choice

Of course there are other possibilities with greater or fewer choices, altered probabilities, cards rather than dice, etc. Just use your own imagination and ingenuity.
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Barry Miller
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Novacat wrote:
The hobby is an inherently social one, and playing a game by yourself strips all the joy from board gaming out.

Oh, Novacat! You knew you were going to open a can of worms with that post!

The portion I quoted above is really only your opinion, isn't it? OK, that's fine. But it's the implied tone of your post that sort of crosses the line into arrogance. I have no clue if you're an arrogant person, or not. Given the semi-inquisitive style in which you crafted your post, I assume you're not.

But still, your words imply that no one should ever get any enjoyment from a solo game, and if they do, it's beyond comprehension. That's the arrogant part.

So here's the question: Have you ever in your life done a crossword puzzle, a Sudoku puzzle, etc? Ever? This is where you'd expect me to say that solo gaming is no different. And you'd be correct. Except it's more challenging. It exercises more of your brain, provides tactile input for your senses, and creates a space for you to indulge yourself with themes that perhaps your friends aren't interested in.

Yes, your comment that gaming is a social activity is very correct. But it doesn't have to be in order to be satisfying to even the most extroverted person!

One last thing... perhaps you've missed it, but solo gaming is most definitely on the rise! Superb solitaire games are coming out every month, and new popular games are coming out with solo modes. You don't think Scythe includes an Automa just for the hell of it, do you? Seriously? You don't think that FFG included a 1-player mode for the new Mansions of Madness for the hell of it, do you? Or how about the compulsion that Days of Wonder felt to release an official solo variant for Five Tribes? And I'll wager that just as many people play Robinson Crusoe solo as play it multi-player.

Except that your post declares that all these games are joyless, and hence implies the conclusion that the people playing them must be joyless as well. That's the part I found to border on arrogance.

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Nova Cat
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I never said there's anything wrong with playing solo. Get off your soap box. I said I don't understand *requiring* solo play in order to buy a game. The mentality that a game *must* support solo play for the OP to purchase it is strange to me.
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Mattias Elfström
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Although I have played a lot of games I have only found very few solo games that are really good and worth investing the time in. Have a look at "Raid on St Nazaire".
 
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Jon Snow
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arrrh People have always had these different takes on solo play, if a game does not officially have a solo mode. Of course, if you'd like to read my session report on STA where I play solo, you can. It worked for me without any modification, and I'm sure to do it again, to experiment with some of the Optional Rules.

Yes, the NPC factions when introduced might give just this type of official solo option--that wouldn't surprise me a bit. Like Firefly was, the core game is playable, but incomplete right now in this sense, as that other game was in different aspects.

 
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Kain
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True.
I would not put past them giving you solo options alongside of a born expansion.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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there are several reasons for soloplaying;

-either there are little other boardgame enthusiast in your neighborhood.

-you want to play games that others dont, or doesnt fit them

-just to learn how the game works

-or because its specifically designed for solo play
 
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Scott Fuller
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I'm a huge Trek fan and will have little opportunity to play with friends, yet I'm still gonna pick this up. I can definitely see scope for playing each side in turn.

I can even see myself just playing as one faction and going out and exploring the galaxy. I recognise a lot of the planet names from the shows, and there's a story/RPG element that I can see playing out in my mind as I discover these worlds.
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Jason Preder
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If you add the Han Solo figure from Imperial Assault to your ST:A game, it will work just fine.
 
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Charlie Theel
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There is no hidden information in this game and I think it personally plays solid from a solo perspective of playing all three sides. You don't have hands of cards or other fiddly components to manage, you just need to work out what you're buying and what your orders are.

Trade Agreements require a bit of finagling but you can make do and either roll to see if both sides accept or try to get into the head of the phantom player.
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