Played my first four player game yesterday, it was pretty fantastic.
2 of the players had never played before so we spent a little while answering questions.
We played with the following Optional/Altered Rules:
1. Extra Starting Resources
2. Safe exploration (2 planets per player however we dealt the planets to each player face down and they used them first, due to the Ferengi & Cardassians both having the ability to get to more than 2 systems on their first turn.
3. Shield + Weapon Upgrades must be =< number of completed Advancements (including Starting Advancement)
Factions Played: Romulan, Cardassian, Klingon, Ferengi.
Game Length 4.5 hours (including some downtime for a short break and lots of questions early game)
Next time we would do Simultaneous first rounds, but since 2 were new we did not.
Round one the Klingons and Ferengi made efforts to make contact and succeeded, starting a trade Alliance, Ferengi getting the 2 trade agreement from them. The Romulans & Cardassians kept to themselves the first round.
The Ferengi moved ships into orbit of 2 of the Klingon worlds on the second round and profit was had. The Cardassians had some poor draws and kept finding level 3 warp civs, making planetary invasion / hegemony near impossible for them early game. They did manage to get a couple of good systems under their control. By the end of round two they had connected with the Romulan Empire.
Rounds 3-4 The Romulans kept to themselvs, the Cardassians kept exploring, and slowing turning systems to their aid, the Ferengi completed a couple of advancements, and had a couple of new systems under their control. They made plans to assist the Klingon Empire who wanted a culture node on a cardassian planet near them. The Ferengi moved more ships around several klingon planets, upping their production via the trade agreement which helped fund the upcoming war.
The Klingons race up to make a connection to the Cardassian planet closest to them which happened to have 1 of each node on it. Funded by the Ferengi they were able to build a lot of ships and take the system, they did however destroy most of the nodes in the process.
Over the next few rounds, the Cardies and Klingons kept fighting over this system, the war between them was very costly in ships, thus production. The ferengi in the mean time met up with the romulan player, exchanged trade agreements and started profiting.
The romulans focused on researching and building culture nodes. By late game they had 6 or 7 research nodes and 3 culture nodes.
2 Rounds before the game ended the Cardassians and Klingons still at war, the Romulans who had not participated in any conflict up to this point, betrayed the Ferengi player and destroyed all of their ships in orbit of Romulan systems. At this point in the game the Romulans had 3 ascendancy with culture nearly enough to buy a 4th, the Cardassians had 2 ascendancy, the Klingons had 4, the Ferengi had 4.
Last round of the game, realizing the Ferengi had not been betrayed early enough, and that they had enough production to buy their last ascendancy, the turn order bid was insane. 18 resources were bid by the Klingons to win the pick of turn order. They went first.
Ending their alliance with the Ferengi they maneuvered a new space lane onto Ferenginar, however due to their heavy spending on the turn order, they were not able to build a bunch of ships, they attempted to invade Ferenginar but were stopped by the 14 ships in orbit of Ferenginar. They did manage to take out 4 of them.
The Romulan turn was next, the setup fleets of ships and started to fight their way down to Ferenginar (they were 4 systems away), the Ferengi player realizing all of this would happen had setup ships in space lanes along the way to blockade off their homeworld. The Romulans blew up all the ships on the way down with their first strike ability, but were 2 commands shy of being able to attack the homeworld defense fleet & invade the planet. Their efforts were not enough.
The Cardassians sat opposite the Ferengi in the other corner of the map, they had no chance of having enough commands to get down to the Ferengi homeworld, so they decided to invade Qo'nos instead.
The Ferengi turn did not take place as they simple bought their last ascendancy and passed to end the game.
It was a great experience leaving all wanting to play again another day.
Next time you have to toss the Borg in there for even more chaos!