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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » Variants

Subject: Upgrading Federation Exploration rss

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Zenvious
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This is a pair of mods that are NOT designed to be used with each other, but rather be alternatives to the Federation's starting advancement.

Why do the Federation need a modification to their starting advancement I may hear you ask (or at least thats what I'm hearing in my head... the voices... need to take my meds more often!)?

The answer is simple.

THE FEDERATION'S RACIAL BONUS IS TOO LUCK BASED TO BE TACTICALLY BENEFICIAL OR RELIABLE WHICH MAKES THEM ONE OF THE HARDEST FACTIONS TO PLAY.


Let me clarify my view so you can counter my argument and discuss this in a way I can either be (a) satisfied they are fine or (b) supported in my belief they need a buff to be balanced against their peers.

Without going into the issues of Culture generation or ways to solve it (which I addressed in my review here - #shamelessplugisshameless):

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/24367651#24367651

it still stands that the Federation's Culture-gaininging racial bonus is the most luck based, non-strategic, means of gaining Culture compared to their rivals (including the Cardassians and what we know of the Ferengi). Lets analyse the why before I go into my suggestion:

- The Klingons gain Culture when they defeat a rival Fleet (aka 3 ships).
- The Romulans gain Culture when they finish one of 9 advancements in their 14 Card advancement deck.
- The Cardassians gain Culture when the successfully invade a Colony
- The Ferengi gain Culture by spending 5 Production.

In all these cases, there is a tactical means of achieving these. While there is some degree of luck and circumstance (e.g.: Romulans may be bad on their research draw, enemies refuses to muster into targets for the Klingons to hunt, etc...), all of the above play into things that can be done fairly easy and under the basis of control. You feel you earned your Culture and you chose to gain it. You can get the ball rolling to achieve what you want, when you want, and feel your doing so was based on a thought - and not a hope.

Unfortunately, the Federation do not get this. Their culture gain happens when THEY (and ONLY they; not their rivals) discover Phenomena and/or Neutral Civilisations.

The problem in this however is that there is no guarantee of this happening, nor do they have any means to accelerate their chances of securing this culture over their rivals.

Keep in mind that, with the exception of racing your Starbases out, everyone will usually have the same amount of Commands...

... meaning everyone will be able to explore at the same speed...

... meaning if OTHER players race their exploration, which will match the speed that the Federation do theirs, they could be finding what you want to be the first to find - and by THEM finding it first, you lose potential culture (essentially hurting you without even directly intending to do so).

AND, once the exploration phase is basically done, you Racial bonus ends with it (since there is nothing left to discover).

Essentially, while the other factions can somewhat bide their time and be selective as to the opportune moment to start gaining their Extra Culture, the Federation are IMMEDIATELY in a race to explore as fast as possible or else lose out on their racial culture gains. Time is against them AS WELL as their own rivals (who aren't actively working against you - they are simply playing the game... explore, establish, expand, etc...).


Now I don't think the racial bonus itself should change for the Federation. I think it works well for their theme of being an early game superpower who should be at their strongest WHEN exploring the quadrant (as this invites them to be culled down by their rivals later on). Instead I want to encourage the Federation to explore and be the leaders OF exploration above all else.

To this I suggest the following two variant Advancements (made them myself - my photoshop skills are pretty 133t that these didn't take much effort for me to knock out) as alternatives to their initial Starting Advancement:

 


The idea in this does damage the Federation's weakness somewhat (they lose their Hegemony bonus), but in doing so their Exploration becomes a huge boost for them which really plays to their intended mechanic - a strong early game that drops fast in the mid and end game.

Of these I personally prefer the second as it gives a huge edge to the Federation flying around and creating the map/ board - making them the unrivalled 'explorers' of the game which may appeal to players who really like that aspect of the game.

It also ONLY benefits them in exploring since they still have to Exhaust a Command to exit warp into pre-placed Systems (such as that of your Rivals, or for when moving around in your own territory). This MAY feel a lil unthematic but, if you need justification in that direction, consider it the Federation being somewhat reckless in flying into the unknown (believing EVERYTHING to be uninhabitted and not needing as much care) compared to them going into populated areas and being considerate in doing so.

It also gives them an edge in finding Culture Node capable planets, which they can then secure, which in turns makes them HUGE targets for their rivals come the Mid-End game. And this plays again to what I feel is their intended style - powerful early game rush taking control of the Explore Phase, then use your surge of Culture and map-creation-control attempt a Diplomatic Domination in the mid game. Should they fail, they can retreat into the defensive and attempt a mid/late game Ascendancy while playing the defensive survivor in the inevitable explosive war (that typically hits at the end of the game).

The first card was my original idea for this fix which was intended to play out the more 'story-based' feel of the Federation. They often discover great things, only to also find its under threat by something that needs resolving. However, this card can result in some convolutions (e.g.: what happens when you find two civlizations in the same system? Can you find yourself facing a Warp-6 capable civilization made up of two Warp-3 Civ's??). That said I figured it could be worth some idea for the brainpool on here, and maybe someone may like it.




EDIT: There is ONE last thought I have to this which came to me after hitting 'submit'. Modify the federation's Culture Bonus to read as such:

Take 1 Culture when you draw a Cilvilization Exploration Card, discover a new Phenomena, or successfully perform Hegemony a neutral race.

Agreeably this DOES make the discovery of Warp Capable Civilizations seem VERY profitable for the Federation, but if anything it helps offset their somewhat high culture costs by potentially gaining neutral races for free (i.e.: +1 Culture for finding the Warp Capable, spend -2 Culture to successfully Hegemony the Civilization, gain +1 Culture for the success = 0 overall Culture gain).

This would also give the some mid-late game power by collecting what neutral races their rivals have chosen to ignore.
 
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Maldus Alver

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Keep in mind Pre-warp are also civilization cards as well. So while the Federation might get an uninhabitable world with 2 production for someone else,they still get a culture from it.
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stephen biggs
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zfairborn wrote:

... meaning everyone will be able to explore at the same speed...



Unlikely. To use their racial advantage the Klingon's have to put orders into combat instead of exploring. The Romulan's will want to do more research actions to draw those 9 research cards. Aside from vital infrastructure builds the Fed's should do nothing except explore.

If the other players choose to match the Federations exploration rate they do so at the cost of not exploiting their own racial advantages. i.e. they will play a federation strategy without the federation bonus culture from it. In the early game turns when everyone needs to explore heavily. The Federation is gaining a free bonus in culture that the other races have no recompense for. Except to hope the Feds do not win before the later game advantages of the Klingons/Romulans come into effect.
 
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Zenvious
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Marinealver wrote:
Keep in mind Pre-warp are also civilization cards as well. So while the Federation might get an uninhabitable world with 2 production for someone else,they still get a culture from it.


Well aware that the pre-warps count for the Culture gain. However, there is no assurance of you getting it at all.

While math and statistics can be boring, they will help me explain my point further as to what the chances are the Fed's have of benefiting from their culture bonus. Note I am a teacher but math is not my main subject (though I do tutor it).

So here I go. Expect some mathmatical assumptions.

First of all the system you can explore. There are 27 system in the base game, of which 6 are phenomena (which the Fed's can discover for Culture).

However, when playing in the suggested confines of the board being essentially a 18" equalateral triangle (you can say you can play outside it, but my group BARELY does as it really adds to the interactive factor), typically only 21-24 systems will appear.

In the WORST case scenario, that means you discover all the 21 systems and none of the phenomena. Alternatively in the best case, you find all 6 Phenomena and 17 systems (going on my history of 24 systems discovered at max in a 3 player game).

So lets play for worst case here to prove my point a lil more - we go with the 21 systems and no phenomena at all. Each of these systems will get to draw an exploration card to find out what is on it.

Meaning at the MOST, 21 exploration cards will be drawn in a 3 player game.

The basic game has 45 exploration cards - of which 12 are civilizations (2 pre-warp, 10 warp capable), leaving behind 33 non civiliation cards. That means almost 70% of the deck consists on non-Civ cards*

Simplified down, that would mean an average of 1 Civilization will be drawn for every 3.25 non Civilization Cards Drawn. Add in the 15 bonus cards, which give +2 Civilizations and 13 non-Civ cards, this ratio becomes an even 3-1 divide (which makes things worse as the non-Civ cards now make up 75% of the overall deck!)

So lets clarify and summize:
- The most number of exploration cards that can be drawn in a 3-player game is 21 (absolute max in the base game).
- It is possible (though unlikely) to play a game with no phenomena appearing.
- It is possible (almost a 60% chance) no Civilizations Cards will be drawn in any game (you could draw all 21 cards from the 33/45 non-Civ cards in the deck).

So already the chances of these card types appearing is low.

Now lets add in the OTHER issue. Not only is the chance of drawing these cards low (i.e.: below 50% at almost anytime), but your RIVALS are drawing these cards too. Thus you are not just hoping YOU find the rare cards, but you are also hoping your RIVALS don't find them in the same race you're all in.

THAT is very luck based! Its certainly better odds than most gambling games, but its still well below a 50% chance of success for you.


Finally compare this again to all the other race's means of gaining Culture. ALL of their methods have a high chance of being available to be acted on by the players choice.

The ONLY way the Federation would be able to increase their odds would be for the Exploration deck to be RADICALLY filtered down in size so the chances of anyone finding a Civlization became significantly higher*. And frankly that would be kinda dull as you'd almost feel space would become "oh look another humanoid alien lifeform that looks like a human in a mask..."

... hmmm.... actually maybe that WOULD be more in line with Star Trek...

*: I did try to amend this slight for my own copy by removing 10 of the 11 virgin world cards from the deck, as it reduces the non-Civ cards to 23 vs the 12 Civ cards. However that still leaves the deck at about 60% non-civ cards.


XAos wrote:
zfairborn wrote:

... meaning everyone will be able to explore at the same speed...



Unlikely. To use their racial advantage the Klingon's have to put orders into combat instead of exploring. The Romulan's will want to do more research actions to draw those 9 research cards. Aside from vital infrastructure builds the Fed's should do nothing except explore.

If the other players choose to match the Federations exploration rate they do so at the cost of not exploiting their own racial advantages. i.e. they will play a federation strategy without the federation bonus culture from it. In the early game turns when everyone needs to explore heavily. The Federation is gaining a free bonus in culture that the other races have no recompense for. Except to hope the Feds do not win before the later game advantages of the Klingons/Romulans come into effect.


Thing is the Klingon racial advantage DOESN'T come into play in the early game at all (it may come into the mid game after first contact if the player is a bit more 'rush aggressive', but typically doesn't appear until the end game when fleets are lined up for defense or invasion). Thus saying they should look to combat instead of exploration is incorrect; in the early game their goal really will be to explore as well - thus Civ/Phenom they find is a Culture the Feds have missed out on.

The Cardassians are the same. They will be exploring to find people to invade for their Racial perk (neutral in the early, rivals in the mid onwards. So again, exploration will often be equalled at a similar pace with every Civ/Phenom stealing from the Fed's limited Culture pool gain.

The Romulans do have some degree of playing to their tech and biding time to research what they need. On that i can agree.

The Ferengi may be between the two - their goal is to farm production. Thus they want to explore systems fast, leave ships behind to setup colonies to develop the worlds in the production, then continue to rocket ahead with exploration.

I do see what you're saying and, at a glance, you'd be right. But in application the only way what you're proposing to occur with the Klingons would be if they DASHED across the board to make first contact asap with everyone AND that their rivals would create fleets early on (which can happen - just requires decent production and a reason for the fleet to be there).
 
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Zenvious
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Actually having done the numbers above as said, I am kinda blown away at just HOW bad the Federation do suffer in their exploration game!

I may actually have to rethink their starting advancement back to my original idea. That AT LEAST drew them a lot more exploration cards to help them get through the deck asap!
 
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I do not disagree with your thesis that the Federation Culture bonus has a life span.

I only recommend that as you do the analysis, you use the mathematics from the 3'x3' map with players starting 18 inches apart. On this surface, it is possible to get every single system disc in play--my gaming group has done it in the past two games.

The only reason I make this recommendation is that you have changed the conditions of the game, per your gaming group and have applied those conditions in a way that supports your argument and makes the Federation culture bonus even less reliable. Again...I don't disagree. Yes. The Federation Culture bonus is random and is not indefinite.
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Zenvious
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GreenMan2814 wrote:
I do not disagree with your thesis that the Federation Culture bonus has a life span.

I only recommend that as you do the analysis, you use the mathematics from the 3'x3' map with players starting 18 inches apart. On this surface, it is possible to get every single system disc in play--my gaming group has done it in the past two games.

The only reason I make this recommendation is that you have changed the conditions of the game, per your gaming group and have applied those conditions in a way that supports your argument and makes the Federation culture bonus even less reliable. Again...I don't disagree. Yes. The Federation Culture bonus is random and is not indefinite.


Fair call. But you may have missed again that my maths and thesis does take into account the scenario of all 21 systems appearing and attempts to run my theory on that as well. And even in THAT scenario, neutral races are rare - and that even when they do appear you are kinda playing at a 33% vs 66% chance you are the one who finds them (and thats in a 3 player match - it would drop to 25% in four players, and 20% with 5 players).

Thus yes our play of the 18" triangle does cut some stuff but, even in the best clustered scenario we have, the chances are still small given the entire odds.
 
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Chris Schenck
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By the time you're done modding this game, it's not even going to be recognizable. Zen, this game may not be for you.

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zfairborn wrote:

- It is possible (almost a 60% chance) no Civilizations Cards will be drawn in any game (you could draw all 21 cards from the 33/45 non-Civ cards in the deck).

This isn't the correct probability. To find the odds you need to account for making multiple draws from a dwindling pile of cards. With each draw the odds of pulling a civ card increase. It is in fact very unlikely that you would pull 21 civ cards in a row.

The odds of the first draw being a non-civ card are 33/45 or 73.3%.
Then the next draw becomes 32/44 or 72.7%.
The one after that 31/43 or 72.1%

Do this procedure 21 total times then multiply all the odds together. These are the odds for not drawing a non-civillization card for the entire game.

0.000094%
 
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Kevin Smith
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I've played in a few games where the Fed have gotten fortunate with 4-5 bonus culture early. it can really snowball with their fleets and early ascendancy.

Have you considered what happens when the expansions come out? exploration phase could be extended significantly with the addition of ten or twenty more systems.


Also, your statistics would need updating.
 
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cbs42 wrote:
By the time you're done modding this game, it's not even going to be recognizable. Zen, this game may not be for you.
:D


:P

Sincerely though, when I did this whole thing to Battlestar Galactica and Spartacus for my own group, it was more like I had created a full "2nd Edition" instead of changing the game's image completely.

FYI there are things I think are great about this game. They include:
- Explore mechanic
- Aymetrical Factiona
- Thematic Factions
- Ability to 'spend victory points' (aka culture)
- Inbuilt game clock (ascendency victory)
- Simple but effective Combat
- The Fleet Mechanic
- Encouraged Interaction between players
- Minimal but present luck to make strategies unreliable

What I DISLIKE in many games is that they feel they had a great core component mechanic to begin with, but were rushed through playtesting to meet their deadline of release. And in those, it feels like I've been confronted with a machine that had an excellent purpose in mind, but was rushed to a "eh - its good enough" result.

I know its silly to be passionate over games to the point I almost see each one like a mechanical art piece or an old-school pocket watch - each component working with a series of numerous other gears and cogs to create almost a beautiful dance of machinery - cause in the end its not important. It is just a game. And I know it.

But in that same regard, it is something intended to give an experience that was unique to its players for its players for that moment. And if one of the major pieces is flawed in such a way it makes the others feel significantly superior - then I feel there is a problem that has been missed.
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Joel Tamburo
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GreenMan2814 wrote:
I do not disagree with your thesis that the Federation Culture bonus has a life span.

I only recommend that as you do the analysis, you use the mathematics from the 3'x3' map with players starting 18 inches apart. On this surface, it is possible to get every single system disc in play--my gaming group has done it in the past two games.

The only reason I make this recommendation is that you have changed the conditions of the game, per your gaming group and have applied those conditions in a way that supports your argument and makes the Federation culture bonus even less reliable. Again...I don't disagree. Yes. The Federation Culture bonus is random and is not indefinite.


This.

Effectively both the review and this thread are invalid because they are not based on playing the game according to the Rules As Written.
 
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Joelist wrote:
GreenMan2814 wrote:
I do not disagree with your thesis that the Federation Culture bonus has a life span.

I only recommend that as you do the analysis, you use the mathematics from the 3'x3' map with players starting 18 inches apart. On this surface, it is possible to get every single system disc in play--my gaming group has done it in the past two games.

The only reason I make this recommendation is that you have changed the conditions of the game, per your gaming group and have applied those conditions in a way that supports your argument and makes the Federation culture bonus even less reliable. Again...I don't disagree. Yes. The Federation Culture bonus is random and is not indefinite.


This.

Effectively both the review and this thread are invalid because they are not based on playing the game according to the Rules As Written.


I find this remark almost hopeful of disproving me wrong. It offers absolutely nothing productive beyond the idea of "the OP has made a mistake. I have found his error. And thus since he didn't do things this way, everything else he has said - no matter how much evidence he has presented - is pointless to listen to."

You are either a troll wanting attention, or are the type of player who is firmly stubborn on putting faith into designers being flawless and thus their products equally so.

Sorry but I posted this thread in the hopes of brain pooling a solution to what I saw to be an issue in a game I would really like to enjoy. And BGG seemed to be one of the more intellectual and appropriate forums to do so.

While some people have given constructive feedback, if this is the direction of unproductive comments this thread will head towards, I'll simply walk away and fix things on my own without running it by multiple views.
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Joel Tamburo
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zfairborn wrote:
Joelist wrote:
GreenMan2814 wrote:
I do not disagree with your thesis that the Federation Culture bonus has a life span.

I only recommend that as you do the analysis, you use the mathematics from the 3'x3' map with players starting 18 inches apart. On this surface, it is possible to get every single system disc in play--my gaming group has done it in the past two games.

The only reason I make this recommendation is that you have changed the conditions of the game, per your gaming group and have applied those conditions in a way that supports your argument and makes the Federation culture bonus even less reliable. Again...I don't disagree. Yes. The Federation Culture bonus is random and is not indefinite.


This.

Effectively both the review and this thread are invalid because they are not based on playing the game according to the Rules As Written.


I find this remark almost hopeful of disproving me wrong. It offers absolutely nothing productive beyond the idea of "the OP has made a mistake. I have found his error. And thus since he didn't do things this way, everything else he has said - no matter how much evidence he has presented - is pointless to listen to."

You are either a troll wanting attention, or are the type of player who is firmly stubborn on putting faith into designers being flawless and thus their products equally so.

Sorry but I posted this thread in the hopes of brain pooling a solution to what I saw to be an issue in a game I would really like to enjoy. And BGG seemed to be one of the more intellectual and appropriate forums to do so.

While some people have given constructive feedback, if this is the direction of unproductive comments this thread will head towards, I'll simply walk away and fix things on my own without running it by multiple views.


What the remark actually is doing is stating a simple premise - that you need to play a game as designed before claiming faults needing a fix. As such, instead of being antagonistic engage what was said. I'm challenging your premise because my game experience with STA has not borne it out.

In our games, the Federation has had little trouble exploring like a maniac and indeed the other players wind up being forced to play to reign the explo-mania in. It isn't just the Culture bonuses - the Federation Projects are also designed to reward a lot of exploring. Then there is the bonus on Hegemony they receive which also creates a lot of fun.

Also, it isn't up to you what productive and unproductive posts are. Part of the "sausage making" of a forum looking at a variant is questioning and verifying its premise - especially if the variant is claiming a flaw in a game. So let's make sausage!
 
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Joelist wrote:
What the remark actually is doing is stating a simple premise - that you need to play a game as designed before claiming faults needing a fix. As such, instead of being antagonistic engage what was said. I'm challenging your premise because my game experience with STA has not borne it out.

In our games, the Federation has had little trouble exploring like a maniac and indeed the other players wind up being forced to play to reign the explo-mania in. It isn't just the Culture bonuses - the Federation Projects are also designed to reward a lot of exploring. Then there is the bonus on Hegemony they receive which also creates a lot of fun.

Also, it isn't up to you what productive and unproductive posts are. Part of the "sausage making" of a forum looking at a variant is questioning and verifying its premise - especially if the variant is claiming a flaw in a game. So let's make sausage!


The problem is your challenge wasn't a challenge at all. Your exact phrasing was (and I quote):


Joelist wrote:
Effectively both the review and this thread are invalid because they are not based on playing the game according to the Rules As Written.


Best I can read and re-read, this simply agreed with one person's comment in such a way it sounds near adamnant and absolute.

Furthermore, if you are suggesting the variant we use of sticking to our triangle (circle actually if you want specifics) is not how the game should be played, then I ask you "why?"

Satisfy me with an answer for that, why playing on a square is more balanced and fair than a circle triangle, if that is your reasoning for why everything in "the review and this thread are invalid."

If that is the hiccup you want to grab onto, then at least express your and justify why that is important for everything else to make sense. Because as it stands, your original comment does not ex[lain any of this nor bring any new productivity to the brainstorm beyond an attitude of "eh - don't worry about it - the game is fine as is."

I do appreciate people who challenge me by pointing things out for the purpose of achieving a goal that is beneficial to all angles. But so far the "No you're wrong" summation has really offered me nothing.

Thus I ask, clarify your reasoning, show your thoughts behind your words, and then I'll be a bit more appreciative to what you offer.

Or don't. We live on opposite sides of the world and, from reading your reivews, it seems we have very different views to what makes a game fun. In that case maybe we should just avoid the head clash and leave it be.
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I'm not proficient in drawing shapes in the BGG interface, but all you need to do is look at the 36 inch square the rules prescribe - it offers rather a lot more room to maneuver in.

The Federation benefits from that room as what they want to do early is explore without necessarily making First Contact until they have their ducks lined up for it. Making the board triangular forces their play flow directly towards the other players, thus both reducing the amount of exploration they can do (lack of space as others get there first) and forcing them into early First Contact.

When we play Federation, our tendency is to start by going up the sides AWAY from the other players, in order to create more space to look for worlds. In a triangle that cannot be done.

As to my original statement, it still stands. None of these variants or other such have validity when they are in response to issues seen playing the game in a manner other than how it was designed. You need to show your issues exist in the game as designed. It's that simple.
 
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Ryan Hanson
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I'm actually surprised at how many systems you can fit onto the 36x36 board. You can fit all the system discs that the base game comes with and there is still room for more. Of course the exact amount varies from game to game based on how things get set up and what lengths get rolled for space lanes.

Once you add in a 4th player and 1 or more expansions it will be a bit different though, and there might be a small amount less for the Federation to explore and use to claim culture with. Honestly though I'm not too worried about it, the game already has so many other ways for players to balance these things out.

 
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Joelist wrote:
I'm not proficient in drawing shapes in the BGG interface, but all you need to do is look at the 36 inch square the rules prescribe - it offers rather a lot more room to maneuver in.


I can see the problem here is that you think the setup shown is THE setup that should be done, Your use of the word prescribe suggests you think this is the way it should be done.

So then - lets look at exactly what is said from the rulebook itself to read how its MEANT to be done:

ST:A Rulebook wrote:


pg 3: SUGGESTED GAME LAYOUT

Depending on what type of table you're playing on, distances
between the Home Systems and table edges will vary.
The Important thing is for Home Systems to be about the same
distance from each other and the table edge.


pg 4:

Star Trek: Ascendancy uses an organic, growing map that can be
played on any shape of table. Before the game begins, agree on
what part of your game table is usable- can you build right out
to the edge? Up to a certain distance from the edge?


Each player starts with their Home System, separate from the
other Civilizations. As you play, you'll discover strange new
worlds, explore interstellar phenomena and uncover unknown
civilizations. The game board is made up of round System
Discs connected to other Systems via Space Lanes of different
lengths. When moving through the map, each System Disc
counts as one Sector; Space Lanes contain between two and
four Sectors.


A 3'x 3' area works well, with Home Systems placed such that
each Home System is an equal distance from two other players

and about 5 inches from the edge of the play area.

If you place your Home Systems closer together, you'll come
into contact much faster, allowing earlier trading but creating
more competition for new Systems. Placed farther apart, players
will have more time to discover new worlds and develop their
Civilizations before connecting with the other players' Systems.



First of all the big writing above the box diagram says VERY CLEARLY this is only the SUGGESTED layout. It is not THE Layout for how the game should be.

Second it points out the importance of the setup come down to only one thing - all Homeworlds start approximately the same distance apart and for them to be similar in distance to the game's decided border. Thus, for absolute fairness, this would mean playing in an equallateral triangle or circle for 3 players, SQUARE FOR 4 PLAYERS, a pentagon for 5 players, etc...

Third plays into the second point, aka:

ST:A Rulebook wrote:
Before the game begins, agree on what part of your game table is usable- can you build right out to the edge? Up to a certain distance from the edge?

If you place your Home Systems closer together, you'll come
into contact much faster, allowing earlier trading but creating
more competition for new Systems. Placed farther apart, players
will have more time to discover new worlds and develop their
Civilizations before connecting with the other players' Systems.



This states quite clearly that the way you setup is to YOUR CHOICE; that the square is only one solution and is NOT how the game SHOULD be played. Not once does the game say anywhere that the square board is adamant. At most its one of their most basic and earliest optional rules. Thus for you to say that this 'square' is the way the game was designed to be played, and that if anyone plays it differently they are not playing how the game was designed, then they are not playing the game as it was intended and any ideas they have from that are based on false information.

Joelist wrote:
The Federation benefits from that room as what they want to do early is explore without necessarily making First Contact until they have their ducks lined up for it. Making the board triangular forces their play flow directly towards the other players, thus both reducing the amount of exploration they can do (lack of space as others get there first) and forcing them into early First Contact.

When we play Federation, our tendency is to start by going up the sides AWAY from the other players, in order to create more space to look for worlds. In a triangle that cannot be done.


So you're saying the Federation should always get the side and the other get a corner? Please show me the exact rule for why that should be. I'd like to see it. Afterall if the rule book says that is how it should work, then I will back down and agree that is how the game was designed.

If its NOT there however, it is then an assumption you or your group made (aka an unoffical optional rule) which is not how the game was designed - meaning YOU have been playing this game wrong.

Besides why should the Federation get that extra exploration space? Why should they get the side and not a corner? Why not the Klingons? Why not the Romulans?

A square field with 3 players will always give an advantage to one of the players. A triangle or circle removes that unbalance and makes the game setup fair and equal everytime.

Or maybe you'd like to contest that. In which case educate me - how does playing in a circle or equallateral triangle make the game unfair for the players? I'm not asking you to say "its not in the book" cause that seems to be your default defense; I'm asking YOU to educate ME - how is my way of setup damaging to the game design, while yours is balanced and fair for all parties?

Joelist wrote:
As to my original statement, it still stands. None of these variants or other such have validity when they are in response to issues seen playing the game in a manner other than how it was designed. You need to show your issues exist in the game as designed. It's that simple.


If I WAS playing the game incorrectly (e.g.: flip your top advancement card and use its value instead of rolling a dice when meeting a Hazard) then yes, I would need to be educated of their mistake and asked to go back and try it correctly before assuming judgement.

You seemed fixated that game setup was my mistake but, as I have now gone into decent depth, you may realize its actually YOU who have missassumed the game's design and that you have been playing incorrectly thinking your way was the ONLY way this game could be played (when the rule book never once says that).

However, since setup is optional, we have both played the game as designed in that there is no correct way to setup the game. The only difference between the two of us is that I chose the most balanced setup where no-one has a clear advantage (all rivals start with the same exploration space to check out), while you chose one where exploration is favoured by one player over their other two due to the extra room.

And that is where the argument stands. You have plenty of questions to answer in regards to a point you made that has gone completely off topic (which may have been your original idea - and if so then sorry but I'm a teacher. I'm used to students trying to distract me from my original lesson. You'll need to try a lot harder).

So yes. You are right. It is that simple. My point still stands - so far you have offered nothing productive to contribute this line of thinking, beyond allowing me to point out your own flawed assuptions, which in turn points out the flaws of the game's design again.

If anything, thankyou for helping me to continue to point out lazy game design choices leaving a game that could have been incredible somewhat wounded and underwhelming for the hardcore hobbyist gamers.
 
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Zenvious
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Hansolo88 wrote:

Once you add in a 4th player and 1 or more expansions it will be a bit different though, and there might be a small amount less for the Federation to explore and use to claim culture with. Honestly though I'm not too worried about it, the game already has so many other ways for players to balance these things out.



4 players on the 3x3 board would be the most fair way for the game to be setup for FOUR players. Thus for people who liked the idea of not unnessicary advantages given, I think we will all be in agreement at using that setup.

The problem with the Federation gaining culture as I've tried to repeditively say is that it is too luck based. For them to gain it they have to:

1) Get lucky in their card draw they find a Civ/ Phenomena.
2) Hope their rivals get unlucky in NOT finding a Civ/ Phenomena.

And currently there is no way for the Feds to mitigate this beyond prioritising EVERYTHING into exploration and HOPING their scouts don't blow up when flying into a Hazard.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, I named this THREAD after it - the Federation need something of an overhaul for the Racial Culture gain to be balanced in probability and control compared to their rivals for them to be a faction that can win without relying on luck (unless you want a player who is the most skilled to be handicapped by a somewhat weakend faction to try and balance out the overall game skill/experience level).
 
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Joel Tamburo
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Let's see, where to start.

The rulebook does say suggested. It also specifically shows the layout and says it is suggested, and indeed the Ascendancy Play Mat is made for this exact layout. Also the possibility of other shapes is a brief, almost throwaway mention in one sentence. Plus they also explicitly state that a 3' x 3' play area works well (a.k.a intended). So it's pretty safe to say it is the layout they had in mind.

As to the Federation play style, it does not matter if they start in a corner or middle edge. This is basic geometry. Side or corner does not matter at all - it is making the whole universe shape different that does. In a 36 x 36 play area no matter where they start there is enough room for them to explore like crazy - which is how they win. This goes to your question - shaping your table like you do reduces the exploration room. This specifically disfavors the Federation who are more the "explorer" power than the others.

So, do what you said you would do in the other thread. Play the game as intended and suggested (GF9 is notorious for wording their rules in a soft, conversational style - Firefly caused a lot of rules questions early on because of the "folksy" style). Be the Federation. Build up data in THAT setting. I think you'll discover (as a lot of us have) that the Federation win a lot and have no issues with Culture acquisition.

Also, I don't know if it is geography speaking or other such, but you are coming across in something of a condescending manner. I hope very much it is unintentional, as talking down to people is not good.

 
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Saying works well doesn't automatically default to "intended". At best it can default to "this way works" which leaves it open to "other ways work too - but this is the simplest solution". So no. Your "aka intended" is as much an assumption as you have been making with everything else intended. It comes across as you saying "this is how I read it - this is how i translated it - anything that contradicts that idea therefore is wrong."

Saying its "safe to say" is also wrong. Sure its safe to say anything. But does it then mean its correct or fixed? Not at all.

Indeed I can play the exact same game of "its safe to say that the Klingons are the most powerful force in the game." If I give enough evidence to support that idea, people may consider me right. But it won't mean I am. It simply means I've drawn your attention to points that support my argument to the degree you refuse to see anything that suggests it opposes it.

So no. Its not safe to say that had that layout in mind. If they HAD that layout in mind, they would have been more adamant about it in the rulebook (i.e.: setup is as follows. Create a square. Play in it). They didn't. They left themselves enough room to be open to interpretation to prevent people like yourself saying "there is only one right way to play this game." Unfortunately you seem to overlook that and are fixated in the headspace this is HOW the game is to be played, and are now seeking any evidence to support your side... compared to my approach of seeing what the game is, and then deciding if that approach is best or if an alternative should be considered.

If you also think the setup of the corner or edge doesn't matter, I say then put the federation in a corner for the rest of your foreseeable game future and see how it plays out in your 3 player games.

As for my "condescending" - it is specifically at you. You opened into this thread by basically saying "you're doing in wrong - therefore you are wrong" which I found to be quite condescending which you are well aware of. But instead of being an adult and talking to me with respect, you continued to stick to your stance of "I know better than this guy" and went so far as to take action against me without any mediation process.

As far as I can see, you don't want to see my view. You simply dislike it and want to protest against it. You aren't trying to see where my ideas are comming from; you just don't want them to exist because they challenge your own preconceptions of what this game should be.

If you look at any of my posts and replies, you will notice there is clear difference between how I speak to other people and how I speak to you. That is because all of them have offered thoughts and ideas to challenge me, while your approach remains focused on being right at any cost (aka either prove you are correct, or prove I'm wrong).

If you do not want me to be condessending to you, then show me you are willing to see my point of view and question it instead of outright objecting to it. You set the terms for this conversation in your opening message, I made it clear I was going to avoid it, but you have kept poking. As a teacher I despise close minds and people who favor ignorance and blind trust, compared to those who are open to listen, reconsider, learn, and make their own decisions on what is found out.

Again, if you don't like what I'm saying, you can hide me and ignore me and I won't follow. I have better things to do then try to educate someone who doesn't want to learn.

But if you think you have to continue on this path of trying to discourage me from doing what I'm doing, then prepare to be ignored outright. Your attitude and view won't stop my thinking, it won't stop me proposing ideas, it won't shut my mind down to analyse games and find their flaws and then conceive of ways to then correct it. That is who I am.

And if you don't like it, I suggest you pretend I don't exist. Because you will certainly not stop me from being an individual who questions all I see in the search to gain information, learn from it, and then act on what I have found.

So on that note - good day to you sir. This is my last public post you will receive from me as I have clearly seen you will not be convinced to look beyond your own preference and opinion, and I have my own life to lead. You may politely stay out of it while you maintain your own position of apparent arrogance and assumptions.
 
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Kelly Scholten
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I have been watching and reading this thread for a couple of days now, and I am now ready to give my opinion based on the research and understanding I have of gameplay. The fact is, given their racial qualities, the federation don't really get much of a payout for playing to their strengths, unlike the Klingons and the romulans (even the romulans have somewhat of a disadvantage).

Let's use a real world scenario for a moment. Me, a WHITE woman of European descent has certain advantages over a female person of colour. Is this right? No! Does it need to change? Definitely! Do/have LAWS/RULES changed to make this happen? Yes, and they should have.

JUST because something is in the rules, doesn't make it right. Just because it was LAW in German occupied Europe during WWII to murder Jews DOESN'T make it right, and many risked their lives trying to save them.

From the way I see it, all the OP is trying to do is level the playing field. If it doesn't adhere to the current rules that others choose to play by, then maybe those rules are meant to be broken. Although the way I see the rules, they aren't being broken so much as reorganised. If you don't want to change the game and are happy playing as is, then that's fine, but don't dis others on the basis that they can see a method of improvement that requires it.
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Zenvious
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Thankyou Kelly. That really does summize the crux of my frustration in regards to him.

For me I feel this game has potential and the potential was missed. My aspiration was to fix that lost potential. Some have challenged me by asking questions to check if I knew everthing, to which I have been able to respond in kindness and respect that their goal was to make me think and question - both of which i appreciate because only by being made to think can you conceive of new solutions to problems.

But when someone basically writes "you're wrong. The game is fine" its like working with one of my lower year trouble students who don't want to learn - they just want to be right. And while I will talk to them in hopes of making them see the point of what I'm saying, I will give up on what I see as a lost cause after multiple attempts of various approaches.

Inevitable the Federation are designed to be strong early game, but mechanically that strength comes from luck. And in a game that promotes itself as strategy first/ luck second, it feels like it was either overlooked or left on the basis of lazyness (aka "eh it needs to go to print to be on schedule. Maybe no one will notice. The casual ones will prob ignore it oughtright afterall").
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Kelly Scholten
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Exactly how I saw it, btw, most of what has been used to counter your argument, is completely OT and has no point. If people can't even stay on topic to make their point (or at least use them as illustrations rather than part of the argument), then they don't even really make any sense in my opinion. This is really only making the proposal of a change of starting advancement for the federation to level the playing field (especially given that is supposed to be their strong game.
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Guðmundur Skallagrímson
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Hey, do we know if the expansions will further dilute the deck making it even less likely to pull a civ card?
 
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