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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Federation Broken? rss

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Matt Provisor

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First of all, I am a big fan of the game. I played a game of ascendancy yesterday as the Federation. It was a semi teaching game, so I wasn't as aggressive as usual. A few turns in the player using the Klingon attacked my home world and took it over. Normally it would not be a big deal, except I only had one culture node and he took it. I had just spent my last culture building a control node and every system had been explored. At this point I had 3 ascendancy. Am I right that because of the prime directive, i was unable to win? This seems like a huge thing the designers missed, this really makes the Federation super hard to play and a bit broken. Am I completely missing something?
 
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Zenvious
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Its not broken - its simply a legitimate weakness. The Federation are strong in the early game as their Colony fleet really only has most of its work then, and their culture bonus only comes when exploration is in play, but once first contact is made they tend to loose power as the game goes on.

On the otherhand, Klingons are BRUTES in the late game! Only their "Invasion" fleet has use prior first contact, and only againts neutral colonies. However their tech gives them free ships which becomes stronger the longer they develop their territory.

Inevitably, its an asymetrical game. Homeworld take-overs are nasty for sure. But you can fortify a Combat Fleet there and even give it a Starbase for extra damage. You can raise your shields so the Klingons ONLY hit you on 6's, and then raise your weapons so you are more of a beatstick then them.

It is possible for the Federation to be crippled if they spend their culture too recklessly, but thats part of their strategy. Learn from it, and keep 2-3 culture in reserve at all times (e.g.: don't gain +1 Ascendency unless you have stockpiled 7-8 Culture).

EDIT: After more plays, I'm leaning more towards your point of the Fed's being underpowered. Working on some ideas and mods to fix asap.
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Nova Cat
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zfairborn wrote:
It is possible for the Federation to be crippled if they spend their culture too recklessly, but thats part of their strategy. Learn from it, and keep 2-3 culture in reserve at all times (e.g.: don't gain +1 Ascendency unless you have stockpiled 7-8 Culture).

This right here is the lesson to take away from this experience. And it's not just the Federation. No one should ever spend their last culture token if there's any remote possibility of being reduced to 0 culture income.
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The Giant Inconvenience of Planet X
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heh.. I came into this thread to see people complaining about the Federation being broken as in two powerful!! lol

Expand aggressively at the start... open as much of the map as possible and you should gain TONS of culture at the start of the game through your special ability. The Federation should be way way ahead by mid game. Use your colony fleet to colonise with out paying costs and most importantly you can colonise during the command phase.

So.. send the science fleet out into deep space finding stuff. Tons of bonuses form the cards and tons of free culture points. Follow up with the colonise ships, then use the left over two ships to explore off that discovered node.

You should be well well WELL in front by mid game.. though there is the fear of over extension, but I feel this is how you are supposed to pkay them.. Focus on research and shields and tech... as by mid game you should be near 4 while everyone else is still on 2.
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Paul Ferguson
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The Feds aren't broken, this is a common complaint with any game that has asymmetrical factions. All 3 races have their weakness and strengths. All can be countered and all have a good chance of winning the game. The only thing about the game I see as an issue, is the 3 player count. A forth would balance a lot of the minor issues the game has at a 3 player count.
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Maldus Alver

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The only thing I thing that I think that is broken is the Hegemony "Invasions". And yes hegemony is an invasion. However with the Federation solely built upon Hegemony it does seem that the Federation would be broken.

I wished that hegemony took at least two turns instead of a single command action and 2 culture. That way it shows that politi-cultural take over being much slower than an invasion which would make more sense. (Bajor has still not accepted the Federation charter after all). I will admit Hegemony is the one weakness the game has but it is a mechanic that fulfills a function and does it rather well compared to other 4x take over mechanics.
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Zenvious
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Marinealver wrote:
The only thing I thing that I think that is broken is the Hegemony "Invasions". And yes hegemony is an invasion. However with the Federation solely built upon Hegemony it does seem that the Federation would be broken.

I wished that hegemony took at least two turns instead of a single command action and 2 culture. That way it shows that politi-cultural take over being much slower than an invasion which would make more sense. (Bajor has still not accepted the Federation charter after all). I will admit Hegemony is the one weakness the game has but it is a mechanic that fulfills a function and does it rather well compared to other 4x take over mechanics.


Hedgemony can take longer than one turn, and even costly, if you don't succeed the initial roll. Any Hedgemony attempt costs -1 Culture and the need to Exhaust 1 Command. If it succeeds, it costs -1 more Culture to secure it. If you fail, you can try again but only by using ANOTHER Command and ANOTHER -1 Culture.

Just one failed Hegemony attempt can cost you 3 Culture and 2 Commands to secure a single colony. Thats more than half an Ascendency!!

However the positives of Hegemony are it doesn't matter HOW many ships are orbiting the target world, nor will it risk destroying the nodes. A single solitary ship can warp to a developed, unguarded colony and grab it for 2 Culture. If the Colony had 3 nodes on it, thats essentially turning 2 Culture into 3 resources on that one turn!


Compare this to Invasion. This won't cost any Culture, will cost only 1 Command (instead of 1+ Commands), but it:
- Requires a decent fleet to attempt (typically one larger than the number of nodes on the world)
- Runs the risk of you destroying nodes (which are worth 2-3 Resources each to replace/ rebuild)
- Can cost you in ship lossess (essentially -1 Production each).

Basically both have pros and con's. Its up to you to decide which is best for you!
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Matt Provisor

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So what I'm hearing is that the Federation have an extra way to lose built into the game for balance... that seemed like bad design at best.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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each player runs the risk of running out of resources, not just the federation, so its really a matter of paying attention to possible risks.

once the romulan has researched his tech, he may run out of culture as well if he loses his culture nodes
the klingon could also be hard pressed getting additional culture if the other players never let him face fleets of at least 3 ships etc.

even production could run out and other players refuse to trade to let you build new nodes.

a 4x is about managing resources, so its not bad design.
it increases the need to protect your nodes.
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Matt Provisor

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I understand all of that. What I'm saying is, the Federation have it the hardest. Klingon is low on resources he can go and blow up other people's stuff and take theirs, same with Romulans. It may be difficult, but still possible. If the Federation run out of culture nodes and culture they are instantly done. I understand everyone saying "be better" but it seems like bad design that one player has to rely on one resource so heavily. I've played them all, the other two only have the basic ways to loose, they can't be "effectively knocked out" and still forced to play. If the Federation gets some bad luck exploring and the Klingon go straight for them, they could make the Federation until able to win in two turns.
 
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I think the Federation is actually very strong. There is no way it is much weaker... in fact they should ALWAYS be well in front by mid game.

I think in general the game is very well balanced. First Strike is rather brutal in this game though...
 
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John Godwin
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MATTPROV3 wrote:
I understand all of that. What I'm saying is, the Federation have it the hardest. Klingon is low on resources he can go and blow up other people's stuff and take theirs, same with Romulans. It may be difficult, but still possible. If the Federation run out of culture nodes and culture they are instantly done. I understand everyone saying "be better" but it seems like bad design that one player has to rely on one resource so heavily. I've played them all, the other two only have the basic ways to loose, they can't be "effectively knocked out" and still forced to play. If the Federation gets some bad luck exploring and the Klingon go straight for them, they could make the Federation until able to win in two turns.



There are ways to effectively knock them out. Cutting off their research or production will severely hamper them. I was pretty much knocked out of a game but forced to play with the Klingons when my 2 best worlds were taken.
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Lou Lessing
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The federation is definitely fragile in this way. If they spend all their culture early and someone can rush them and stop them generating more except through exploration, they're going to have a very hard time.

You're not the only one who thinks Federation's got it the hardest. I've heard other people say that. I don't personally have an opinion, I've only played once. Also, I've only played once, so this is pretty much pure theory.

To an extent I think everybody is vulnerable to a rush shutting them out of a resource if they don't play around the possibility of that happening. Not having enough of a resource to build a new node, if you have no income of that type, is pretty bad for anyone, regardless of which faction they're playing and what resource they're being shut out of. (It's nearly impossible to shut someone out of production though.) A Federation player shut out of Culture on turn 2 has lost. A Romulan player shut out of Technology on turn 2 is merely losing badly. It definitely doesn't feel as bad when it happens to you, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's nearly as bad for your chances of winning. Honestly, I doubt any faction wins very often after losing their homeworld on turn 2, even if they're not out of a resource.

But probably, the federation's the weakest to a rush, and the weakest to resource denial in general. On the other hand, the federation's early game seems pretty strong to me. They get the most out of their culture generating ability of the three factions in the early game (and the least in the late-game.) Hegemony is very cheesy against smaller colonies and colonies without ships in orbit, which it seems like there should be more of in the early game. And because they have all their eggs in the culture basket, they don't have as many tradeoffs to make. Pursuing Ascendancy doesn't come at the cost of improving their firepower, Ascendancy is their firepower. This last one, I think, is the most important -- it means that, going into the mid-game, if everyone's played their civilization well and nobody's gotten especially lucky or especially unlucky, the federation should be winning the Ascendancy race by a good bit.
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Aaron Bevan
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MATTPROV3 wrote:
I understand all of that. What I'm saying is, the Federation have it the hardest. Klingon is low on resources he can go and blow up other people's stuff and take theirs, same with Romulans. It may be difficult, but still possible. If the Federation run out of culture nodes and culture they are instantly done. I understand everyone saying "be better" but it seems like bad design that one player has to rely on one resource so heavily. I've played them all, the other two only have the basic ways to loose, they can't be "effectively knocked out" and still forced to play. If the Federation gets some bad luck exploring and the Klingon go straight for them, they could make the Federation until able to win in two turns.


you hear us but I don't think you understand. what was so important about that third ascendancy that you bet the farm on it? This isn't a problem with the federation.
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Matt Provisor

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That again is a strategy issue. You can't plan for everything and stock piling only works for so long. My point is that the Federation are the only race that can have tons of research and production and still have no way of getting culture. Culture is the only way to win and 1/3 of the normal ways to get it are not available. The other two races always have a chance since you can't go below 5 commands and can always just attack other players and wipe them out.
 
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Daniel Grant
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MATTPROV3 wrote:
That again is a strategy issue. You can't plan for everything and stock piling only works for so long. My point is that the Federation are the only race that can have tons of research and production and still have no way of getting culture. Culture is the only way to win and 1/3 of the normal ways to get it are not available. The other two races always have a chance since you can't go below 5 commands and can always just attack other players and wipe them out.


I think the issue was that the player playing the Klingons was playing optimally. The Federation can acquire monstrous amounts of culture if left alone. The key for the Klingons is to rush the Federation and destroy the Federation's culture nodes (or take them over) with as little of investment as possible.

The Federation should try to either 1) Cut a deal with the Klingons to get them to focus on the Romulans instead or 2) Convince the Romulans to sneak attack the Klingons to divert some of the aggression away. Negotiation and diplomacy are key. The Klingons don't gain from a protracted battle with the Federation that leaves the Romulans time to science up. Offer the Klingons the 3 Production Trade Agreement to leave you alone. And by Merciful Tehlu, protect your Culture Nodes!!!!
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Marc Bennett
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MATTPROV3 wrote:
That again is a strategy issue. You can't plan for everything and stock piling only works for so long. My point is that the Federation are the only race that can have tons of research and production and still have no way of getting culture. Culture is the only way to win and 1/3 of the normal ways to get it are not available. The other two races always have a chance since you can't go below 5 commands and can always just attack other players and wipe them out.


the federation can still win by taking over 3 homeworlds with hegemony. of course you still have to have your own for that.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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The Federation is just fine.

As others have stated, don't spend yourself dry on Culture early. It really is that simple, and the Feds have other advantages which support their unique play style. These include advancements to their defense, ability to glean Culture from exploration coupled with advancements that let them DO more exploring than the other players (like the extra connection and looking at two planets and choosing one) and even that on average they will have more Warp symbols on their research cards.

Also, remember that the Federation spends less Culture as once they research it they don't pay the additional Culture when taking a system by Hegemony.

This game really pushes players to shape their play style to the asymmetric power they are playing.

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Aaron Bevan
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MATTPROV3 wrote:
That again is a strategy issue. You can't plan for everything and stock piling only works for so long. My point is that the Federation are the only race that can have tons of research and production and still have no way of getting culture. Culture is the only way to win and 1/3 of the normal ways to get it are not available. The other two races always have a chance since you can't go below 5 commands and can always just attack other players and wipe them out.


Still didn't answer the question, with only one culture node that was not well defended you decided to spend all your culture for a third ascendancy, what was the urgency?

Even if your homeward was not taken you would not have been able to Hegemony or build a culture node on your next turn which given your circumstance seems like a better use of your culture.

Your pointing out the situation as flaw when in fact it was a bad decision.
This is not the only situation that can take players out of the game so its not like this is an outlier to feds only.
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George
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I haven't played yet and didn't quite realize that the Federation can't even fight to take back ("invade") their own home world back.

I remember some talk of a variant of being able to split an Ascendency token back down to 5 culture. That would help but not foolproof the situation. Or you could house rule that the Fed can invade Earth to take it back. But that still wouldn't foolproof the situation if the Culture node got destroyed.

I agree it seems really weird that only the Federation can get stuck in a situation where no culture income means no way to win at all. It's more than just bad player strategy imo. The other factions can similarly play bad but they still have a chance at winning because they can invade.

So, if this happens, what do people recommend? Can the Federation player withdraw from the game because they are basically eliminated, or do they have to keep playing with no hope of winning? And then kingmaking?

Maybe this is actually a pretty rare occurrence once people know it can happen so not a big worry? How often does "every system get explored"? The Federation has a chance at some Culture as long as that isn't the case.
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Daniel Grant
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I haven't seen an image of a game yet where the Federation couldn't squeeze in additional systems and space lanes. The Federation should continue to explore throughout the game until the table is literally covered with lanes and systems.
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Angelus Seniores
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given the federation's ability to grow/explore rapidly early on, if you get in a position where you lose your last culture node/last token, thats not by some bad luck but you are simply losing the game at that point.
so even if there is a rule that allows to get additional culture somehow, they will still be unlikely to rebuild their culture generation significantly and win the game from there on.

such a situation would only occur around rounds 7-9 so there's very few time left to catch up before another player wins.

a typical federation play is to grab as much planets in rounds 1-5, and from round 6 on you mostly focus on maximizing your resource generation (ie filling the empty node slots on your planets) and defending the planets you have/boost weapons&shields until you accumulated enough culture to reach ascendancy level 5.
you should have 3-5 culture nodes by round 6-7 to have a chance to win.
depending how things turn out, you might be more aggressive but defense is most important. you definitely need to retake any lost planets when possible but otherwise dont take too many risks.
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George
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Angelsenior wrote:
given the federation's ability to grow/explore rapidly early on, if you get in a position where you lose your last culture node/last token, thats not by some bad luck but you are simply losing the game at that point.
so even if there is a rule that allows to get additional culture somehow, they will still be unlikely to rebuild their culture generation significantly and win the game from there on.

such a situation would only occur around rounds 7-9 so there's very few time left to catch up before another player wins.

a typical federation play is to grab as much planets in rounds 1-5, and from round 6 on you mostly focus on maximizing your resource generation (ie filling the empty node slots on your planets) and defending the planets you have/boost weapons&shields until you accumulated enough culture to reach ascendancy level 5.
you should have 3-5 culture nodes by round 6-7 to have a chance to win.
depending how things turn out, you might be more aggressive but defense is most important. you definitely need to retake any lost planets when possible but otherwise dont take too many risks.


That's good to hear. Much less worried if it only happens late in the game and then only if you've been playing poorly.
 
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Grant Whitesell

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The Federation are FAR from broken. Not even close.

Their strength is in early exploration and colonization. Once you get close to the Tipping Point of generating 4 culture per turn, you will get violently dashed down if the other players are paying attention.

So don't build that fourth or even third culture node until you have both the production and research to make you a less appealing target by buffing both your shields and weapons.

Use Hegemony offensively in the midgame once you get to the tipping point and the alliances invariably swing against you.

The Klingons aren't so smug when Gowron comes back from deep space marauding and discovers they're wearing chinos and polo shorts on Kronos.

Do not forget your research projects - Bureau of Security, Tachyon Grid, and your planetary defense tech are some of your best. Get two phenomena back to back and park a science fleet there, effectively cranking three research a turn to your projects, two of which you don't even generate.

Last thing - USE YOUR ALLIANCES. Klingons do not have the Mining Fleet, so it's a little harder for them to get footing early on. If you help them get to their midgame - they're still going to turn on you, but that extra production can help you tremendously especially if the Romulans are shut out.

The Federation is very, very powerful in that you appear to be a safe trading partner for alliances. Use that. The Federation can shut the game down in the midgame stage by executing hegemony on both enemy homeworlds if you go last and the door is left open for you.
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Craig Sanderlin
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The feds will typically win, and rather quickly, if no one stops them or slows them down. It is just vital to defend their territory as best they can from the attack. The "weakness" of being nice by not attacking planets or colonizing primitives is a balance mechanism that in place so they aren't overpowered.

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