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Subject: Gale Force Nine at BGG.CON playing Star Trek: Ascendancy rss

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Gale Force Nine LLC
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This week Gale Force Nine will be at BGG.CON in Dallas, TX. Come visit us at booth 810 in the Aviators Hall where we’ll be playing GF9 games all day long.

Thursday – Friday – Saturday

10AM – Star Trek: Ascendancy – previewing the Cardassian Union & Ferengi Alliance Player Expansions

1:30 PM – Tyrants of the Underdark – previewing the Aberrations & Undead Expansion Decks

3:00 PM – Firefly: The Game – previewing the Crime & Punishment Game Booster

Sunday

We’re keeping the schedule open on Sunday to see what people would like to play.

Seating will be limited and we’ll have sign-up sheets in the booth.

If you’re at the show, come by and say hi and feel free to ask us questions about your favorite GF9 games.
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Jeffrey Spenner
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Will there be information about the upcoming Doctor Who game?
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Gary Neumann
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This sounds great! I hope some BGGers can go and tell us about these great new interactions. I really want to hear more on how the Ferengi interact with every other civilization.
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John Godwin
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Will the Star Trek expansion be on sale there?
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Jon Snow
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meeple Expansions that is. We wonders, yes we does, Gollum. As the Ferengi first appear at a Con...

Street date! Street date!

***

As for Firefly:

You can take my life, take my land
Put expansions on the stand
You can't keep the cards from me
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Matt Provisor

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When do the expansions FINALLY come out?
 
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Todd Warnken
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Any pictures of the Ferengi advancements?
 
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Daniel Grant
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Any pictures from the con?
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Here's one from one of the Friday (I think... days blend) 10am demos:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BM9fvi1DUYj/

To answer the most frequent question: they're not selling that giant play mat that they demo on, but they might in the future.

I was playing the Cardassians. My friend at the other table was Ferengi.

I hadn't actually heard of the game before the con so it was an extremely pleasant surprise to find this game. We also played later in the day with a library copy (the library copies had no expansions). I do have to say that I'm not interested in the politics of a 3-player 4X game, but when the expansion races are at retail this game will be a must buy for me!

The Cardassians play much like the other races, but have a couple of quirks (notably that they start the game with one extra command counter, but they must leave a ship in every system from which they want to collect red resources). The Ferengi, however, play differently (my friend explained it to me but I didn't retain the details), so I expect while I'll get both the Cardassians will be the first race we mix in.

All in all, the demo staff was great and we had a very fun demo experience!

EDIT: Oh! And they added in the Exploration cards from the Cardassian set to our demo. On round one the Romulans got an expansion card that allowed them to discover a Federation world. The resulting trade agreement meant that the game was unquestionably between those two races while we were ROUNDS behind at setting up our production engines on the other side of the table. I gave feedback that something that unbalancing shouldn't happen. My recommendation would be that if you're going to play those cards, make sure none of them are near the top of the deck: give the races time to touch naturally so that they're not game breaking.
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Tim Earl
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jsciv wrote:
To answer the most frequent question: they're not selling that giant play mat that they demo on, but they might in the future.


If they recommend a 3x3 surface, even for 4 players, and sell a mat for that purpose, why do they demo it on such a large mat?
 
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George
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cheng wrote:
jsciv wrote:
To answer the most frequent question: they're not selling that giant play mat that they demo on, but they might in the future.


If they recommend a 3x3 surface, even for 4 players, and sell a mat for that purpose, why do they demo it on such a large mat?


If they are the same as at Gen Con then the playable area is probably around 3' x 5' which is larger, but not super huge, especially for 4 player. More space probably means more development before you come into conflict, which might be good for a learning/demo game.

Even the rules say 3' x 3' is only a suggestion. When I talked to them at Gen Con they said a bigger area would result in longer games and you can pretty much pick any size you want depending on your taste for conflict, game length, etc.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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cheng wrote:
jsciv wrote:
To answer the most frequent question: they're not selling that giant play mat that they demo on, but they might in the future.


If they recommend a 3x3 surface, even for 4 players, and sell a mat for that purpose, why do they demo it on such a large mat?


The edges of the mat have play areas printed around the table so that players have spots to put everything. You can see the text for Completed Advancements below my character card. Honestly, you'd only be able to use that giant mat in a con sort of setting, but it's still cool.

As to the link not working: my instagram is set to public so I'm not sure why the link isn't good for you Grish.
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Daniel Grant
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soosy wrote:
When I talked to them at Gen Con they said a bigger area would result in longer games


I don't believe this would necessarily be true. In fact, it could be the opposite. If a player is able to turtle up with a good Culture engine, Ascendancy could be attained before any of the other players can get to and conquer the player's homeworld.

 
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Jeffrey Spenner
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Jatta Pake wrote:
soosy wrote:
When I talked to them at Gen Con they said a bigger area would result in longer games


I don't believe this would necessarily be true. In fact, it could be the opposite. If a player is able to turtle up with a good Culture engine, Ascendancy could be attained before any of the other players can take get to the player's homeworld.



Agreed. This is even what happens in a 3x3 game where people are hesitant to contact each other. I played with two very competitive gamers and they both went to great lengths to avoid everyone for just this reason. I'm wondering if there could be a mechanism for forced contact...maybe when a system is close enough, roll a die to see if contact is automatically made? It'd probably have to do away with the "no floating space lanes" rule, though.
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Grish
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jsciv wrote:
As to the link not working: my instagram is set to public so I'm not sure why the link isn't good for you Grish.


All good now. Great pic!
 
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Grish
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HvKjr wrote:
I played with two very competitive gamers and they both went to great lengths to avoid everyone for just this reason.

I'm wondering if there could be a mechanism for forced contact...



A Klingon not bashing people is not playing optimally. He needs to force contact early. The trick is not pissing everyone off to bash him back.

Competitive smart players will read the board and then try to talk another player into attacking the leader when a good culture engine is up and running.
 
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James J

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jsciv wrote:
I do have to say that I'm not interested in the politics of a 3-player 4X game,


jsciv wrote:
The resulting trade agreement meant that the game was unquestionably between those two races while we were ROUNDS behind at setting up our production engines on the other side of the table. I gave feedback that something that unbalancing shouldn't happen.


I do believe these two comments are related. cool

The politics are what keeps things from getting unbalanced (from things like early contact and extremely good/bad exploration). One of those two players should have sought an alliance with you, or you with them.
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Joseph Cochran
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japester1 wrote:
jsciv wrote:
I do have to say that I'm not interested in the politics of a 3-player 4X game,


jsciv wrote:
The resulting trade agreement meant that the game was unquestionably between those two races while we were ROUNDS behind at setting up our production engines on the other side of the table. I gave feedback that something that unbalancing shouldn't happen.


I do believe these two comments are related. cool

The politics are what keeps things from getting unbalanced (from things like early contact and extremely good/bad exploration). One of those two players should have sought an alliance with you, or you with them.


Maybe I didn't explain properly:

In ST:A, you must be plastic bit to plastic bit in order to form a Trade Alliance. Normally, this requires first building a route to the player with whom you're going to form the alliance. Due to this card, the Federation and the Romulans were put into contact on turn 1, thereby allowing them to establish their relations and EACH gain 3 extra production resources from TURN 1.

Meanwhile, the Klingon and I were COMPLETELY UNABLE to form an alliance because no such card randomly connected us, so we had to spend turns exploring toward each other in order to connect up while the other two had their extra resources starting the production snowball that is typical of a 4x game.

There's no "should have" there: the game rules expressly forbade us from aligning. The card let the other two break the rules early and gave one of them the win. Period. Doesn't matter what the Klingon and I "wanted", there was no counter to that.

That's why I'm saying that (like the unexplored planet stack where you build it such that the first few draws are planets) the Exploration deck needs to be built with cards that can allow unexpected contact later in the deck to avoid this game-breaking situation.

And we were in a 4-p game, which are the BETTER politics in general to me.
 
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James J

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I missed the 4p aspect, but I am familiar with the game. In fact, the exact same thing happened to me in a 3p game. About 1 turn in, the Romulans were thrown next to the Federation (me) by the Q. And after tense negotiations (I considered simply blowing them up), we traded. The isolated Klingons still eventually won, despite our alliance, due to a very good draw of planets and cards.

ST:A does depend on people knowing how to play, which is a weakness. Players who turtle or who exchange the most lucrative trade cards right from the start can unbalance things. It doesn't have any systems in place that will force players to play smarter. In your case, I don't know how big your play area was, but there was still an option for you and the Klingon to either rush a First Contact between each other or between the other two players.

My point is that the "politics" is a balancing mechanism in the game. People who are far ahead should be prime targets for anyone else at the table.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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japester1 wrote:
In your case, I don't know how big your play area was, but there was still an option for you and the Klingon to either rush a First Contact between each other or between the other two players.

My point is that the "politics" is a balancing mechanism in the game. People who are far ahead should be prime targets for anyone else at the table.


There was not a rush option: or more correctly, we worked toward it as quickly as we could, but that was still two more turns. you can see in the picture how big the area was.

My point is not contradictory to yours. I'm saying that those cards need to not be game-breakingly early in the deck, that's all. Politics are still going to be necessary, but direct contact that far out of proportion is a problem.
 
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Daniel Grant
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Regarding the first turn Trade Agreements between Federation and Romulans:

I thought First Contact always required connected systems. GF9 has reiterated that in errata here on BGG. I looked at your pic and didn't see connected systems. Was the game overseen by GF9? Could this have been a rule mix up?
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Jatta Pake wrote:
Regarding the first turn Trade Agreements between Federation and Romulans:

I thought First Contact always required connected systems. GF9 has reiterated that in errata here on BGG. I looked at your pic and didn't see connected systems. Was the game overseen by GF9? Could this have been a rule mix up?


Yes, this was a ruling made by the GF9 people at the booth (they even had a sidebar about it). By the rules, all you need for a Trade Agreement is touching pieces. Prior to the Cardassian expansion it was apparently impossible to do this without actually connecting up systems: the new cards change that. That's why my suggestion for deck stacking. But maybe they'll do errata on it, who knows?
 
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James J

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Jatta Pake wrote:
Regarding the first turn Trade Agreements between Federation and Romulans:

I thought First Contact always required connected systems. GF9 has reiterated that in errata here on BGG. I looked at your pic and didn't see connected systems. Was the game overseen by GF9? Could this have been a rule mix up?


First Contact is required for bidding on turn order.

Adjacent ships/nodes are required for initiating trade.

First Contact will normally precede trade, but it definitely isn't a prerequisite for it.
 
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Daniel Grant
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Thanks for the update. Based on your experience, I agree with your assessment that they should rebalance this scenario. Maybe limit any exchange of Trade Agreements to the 1 Production cards.
 
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