Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » General

Subject: Opinion about ST:A rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Fabian Bohlmann
Germany
Hamburg
Deutschland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi,

I am a big fan of this game. I like the design, the sleek game play and everything it offers you to do. But after the latest game round I had to confirm some of my other players that it is often times a game of pure luck. If you are the Ferengi you win automatically as long as you get enough production tokens.
You can prevent others from conquering your home system by turteling in. You just have to position ships on all connected space lanes to your empire and it will cost your enemies lots of command tokens to get through.
Because, the Ferengi often don't lack for production tokens they easily can afford to build enough ships to do this strategy.
I know that it is important for all other players to cancel any Ferengi contracts as soon as possible to prevent them from having too much resources too early. But on the other hand those players will then lack those resources too.

But back to the luck factor of the game. Let's start with the setup. The first 10 systems (if you play with 5 players) have to be planets. It should have been said in the rule book that these also should be non hazard worlds. Otherwise some players might loose their first precious ships in just discovering those worlds and not withstanding their hazard, while other players are more lucky and get easy planets.
After discovering a plant you have to draw an exploration card. These should also have been prepared for the first 10 systems to discover. If your lucky you get a positive card for a harmless world. If you have bad luck you might mastered the system hazard only to draw a crisis card that may destroy your ship / fleet.

So, I think about also sorting the exploration cards so that the first 10 explorations are never crisis cards. I don't know if I really want this, because much fun gets generated through unforeseen events. But I can understand the frustration of players who constantly loose ships in that way and fall behind other players.

Then there are the research options. You can draw two new advantages for one command token and choose one of them or even both if you have the capacity to research them. But you can't decide what advantage you want to research in the first place. You have to take the top two cards from your deck and have to live with it if these don't help you much.
Wouldn't it be better to search through the advancement deck and take the projects you need the most? Sure, everybody would research only the best technologies their races can offer first. But otherwise you might have a war-faring race like the Klingons with yet another hardcore military technology up their sleeves and you, as the Ferengi or Federation just get some useless junk.

It might not sound that way but I still love LOVE this game. And I am looking forward for more races and expansions. The game has so much potential for more and to open it up to much more stuff that completes it. The Borg expansion is also very good. We played it now with both starting options: The one in which they have to be discovered by chance through exploration and the other where they are on the table from the start.

The first setup went to every player being on the edge of his chair every time he discovered a new system or when he had to draw a new exploration card. That was great fun.
The second setup let every player start with creating ships and not that much technologies. They tried to connect to each other early on to get lucrative deals which generated them more resources to build more.
At the end all players got so much production tokens at the start of the round (the Ferengi especially) that we run out of production tokens.
I own all escalation packs for the 5 available races so far and got the impression that even these provided not enough ships to build.
This was not so great and here the critique of the players was much harsher and more understandable.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Paella
United States
East Aurora
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I consider this game more of an experience than a competitive game. Like many free-for-all games, the player is at the mercy of the group, and Kingmaking (intentional or otherwise) has a huge impact on the winner. There is no way to compete against 2+ players invading the same player, so I go into these games knowing this and just play for fun.

In our first game, no one had read any of the exploration cards and I had my entire Romulan fleet (full) destroyed by the hazard requiring a certain shield level. I was pretty much out of the game right there. That wouldn't be fun in a competitive game, but in this one it's thematic (albeit frustrating) and was laughable.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shelby Babb
United States
Springdale
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Das Problem wrote:
If you are the Ferengi you win automatically as long as you get enough production tokens.


That's by design though.

Das Problem wrote:
You can prevent others from conquering your home system by turteling in. You just have to position ships on all connected space lanes to your empire and it will cost your enemies lots of command tokens to get through.


The problem the Ferengi run into with that technique, is Production they spend to build a Turtle Fleet can't go into Ascendancy. Also, they need ships to send out to trade, and there's a limited number of ships. Finally... the Ferengi aren't very good turtles/fighters. It's a speed bump for people trying to take out their system to be sure, but good players won't let the Ferengi buy past Ascendancy 3 anyway. At that point everybody needs to break trade agreements with the Ferengi and ignore/conquer/protect the Ferengi (as their own strategic needs guide them).

Once the other players realize the threats and weaknesses of the Ferengi, the game is anything but a certain win for them.

"But I -need- the increased Production Ferengi trade agreements provide!!!"

And that too is part of their design. The Ferengi need other players -waaaaaay- more than other players need Ferengi, but once one person starts trading with them it's hard to break off trade or stop others from trading too. Think of the Ferengi less as merchants, and more as drug dealers trying to get you addicted on their stuff (i.e. Trade Agreements).

Das Problem wrote:
I know that it is important for all other players to cancel any Ferengi contracts as soon as possible to prevent them from having too much resources too early. But on the other hand those players will then lack those resources too.


By design.

If one person trades with the Ferengi, that one person has an edge they share with the Ferengi (who still lack decent military options! Don't forget!). This drives other players to trade too, but then the Ferengi edge increases for each other player who does so.

So it becomes a race to see who can get the most stuff from the Ferengi the fastest. And once you hit a certain point, everybody else has to agree not to trade with them or else they will win. Kinda' like how people agree not to trade with a nation to teach that nation a lesson... and then somebody goes ahead and trades with them anyway.

I will say that the lack of -secret- trading is a shame, but it would horribly complicate the game as well I fear.

Das Problem wrote:
But back to the luck factor of the game. Let's start with the setup. The first 10 systems (if you play with 5 players) have to be planets. It should have been said in the rule book that these also should be non hazard worlds. Otherwise some players might loose their first precious ships in just discovering those worlds and not withstanding their hazard, while other players are more lucky and get easy planets.


I respect your point, but then you're stuck with the fact that not all planets are equal either. You could probably rig the deck further, but then some planets don't favor certain factions (e.g. a high Culture world discovered by the Ferengi).

Ultimately, I think luck is just something you have to deal with in this game as part of the game.

Das Problem wrote:
Wouldn't it be better to search through the advancement deck and take the projects you need the most?


The Starting Advancements Optional Rule on page 26?

Das Problem wrote:
I own all escalation packs for the 5 available races so far and got the impression that even these provided not enough ships to build.


This rule here ("you can only build as many ships as you have models for. But you can go to the store and buy more models") is pretty freaking lame.

My advice: get some pennies and nickles (or whatever cheap coins/discs/tokens/etc. you have for 1 and 5) and use them to stack under a ship. It's -not- a fleet (as they have different rules and such), just a marker to show that you have... say... 32 ships around your home world.

You could also use this to indicate the number of ships in an actual fleet; put a ship token and the appropriate number of tokens underneath it on top of the relevant fleet card. You -could- just move the lone ship the correct number of spaces on the card, but tokens are less likely to get knocked into the wrong spot.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shelby Babb
United States
Springdale
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Ghorro wrote:
I consider this game more of an experience than a competitive game.


I think of it as a hybrid between a competitive game and a negotiation game.

Also, the Ferengi really need to be saved for 4-5 player games I think (too easy to be steamrolled by players refusing to trade in 3 player games; the FOMO on trade needs higher player counts). You -can- play them 3 player and they can win (I've seen it!), but they work better with a higher count.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Davon Collins
United States
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Would this be more aesthetically pleasing if it were blue?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think I'm with Paul on this one. While I play to win, I don't play *for* the win, I play for the experience - the role-playing, the seeing how the galaxy unfolds, coalitioning to try to take-down the player in the lead, etc. Last game, I was the Cardassians and my explorer ships kept being destroyed by phenomena and hazardous planets, even relatively harmless '6' phenomena. It became a running joke. With all those ships destroyed (lost production, lost opportunities to colonize planets, lost research), I knew it was highly unlikely I would get five ascendancy, but I was role-playing and having fun. And I was still enough of a power that the other powers had to take me into account and couldn't turn their backs on me. So in some ways it was like the TV show - ha!

Agree with Shelby's views on the Ferengi. The Ferengi's advantage is that no one wants to be the *first* to break with them, because it would put them at a significant disadvantage vis-a-vis the other players. Really, all their trade partners need to break as one, and that's hard-to-do. In my last 5-player game, the Ferengi were in the lead, and the second and third-placed players were the ones to break with the Ferengi. The fourth- and fifth-placed maintained or established trade relations with the Ferengi, hoping for a production boost while the top dogs fought it out. There are just so many ways a game can break - I love it.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Saro Gumusyan

New York
msg tools
mb
My group always plays with Focused Research so players can adapt research on a situational basis. However I've found this tends to favor the same power techs for each faction (all are useful at times but there are some that are VERY valuable), but we don't mind. Perhaps we could make a house rule where the first project commissioned is done the old fashioned way but after completion the player can then choose to research any project he wants.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Knox
msg tools
mb
I've had a least a dozen 5 player games and yes luck can be a huge factor in the outcome of the game but working within that luck factor is part of the appeal of the game to me. We tried stacking the deck to avoid good vs. bad planets but as there are so many ways to burn through those worlds we went to mixing all the discs in so you can find phenomenon right off your home world. Again working with what you get is appealing to me. There are a lot of different strategies you can explore to effect your outcome and sometimes you have to accept you won't come out on top.

We've played enough with the Ferengi that letting them into your territory has to be balanced with other choices but, they add a lot of spice to the game that I hate to leave out. Depending on their start they can be viable even without trade partners.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Buckley
United Kingdom
LONDON
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Darth Coupon wrote:
My group always plays with Focused Research so players can adapt research on a situational basis. However I've found this tends to favor the same power techs for each faction (all are useful at times but there are some that are VERY valuable), but we don't mind. Perhaps we could make a house rule where the first project commissioned is done the old fashioned way but after completion the player can then choose to research any project he wants.


We play focused research but with a house rule that it only comes into effect once you have made first contact. Ie once you know the nature of your enemy and what you should be researching. Before that it's random as per standard rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You could have posted this in the Review category, so people can more easily find such a good discussion on the game!

How many games have you played? We play with Additional Starting Resources and Focused Research.

Like Star Trek Fleet Captains, the other excellent Trek design, you're partly playing just to enjoy the unique ride that is each individual game play! "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug!" This is particularly true when playing with The Borg.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fabian Bohlmann
Germany
Hamburg
Deutschland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi all,

thank you for your responses so far. I am also in the camp of people who'd like to have everything randomly and to have all races in.
But there are players who are not in to this more luck related stuff. Then it's nothing for them. But that is not my problem.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Captain Shran
msg tools
mb
I agree with certain points. It definitely is luck-based: Systems, Exploration Cards, Advancements. I actually like the randomness.

However, the good thing about STA is that you can house rule basically anything to make the game less luck-based: Make the first 10 System Discs non-hazardous systems. Or you could even choose 10 "good" systems. Same with Exploration Cards. You could also say you don't draw Exploration Cards for systems that directly connect to your home system.
Focused research is also excellent to take away the randomness there.

I don't agree with your assessment of the Ferengi, because this is how they are intended. Every player knows that it is best not to trade with them. But then, one non-Ferengi player maybe falls behind or needs an edge so they think "It can't hurt to trade with the Ferengi, just for a round or two". Then another player thinks the same thing and suddenly the Ferengi are victorious.

I don't recommend the Ferengi for new players, they are definitely a faction for advanced players. But I think they are fun and incredibly well designed.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
meeple Having played a few games with the Ferengi, most of us now make limited deals with them now, such as "you can orbit around these 3 planets."
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke O'Hearn
Canada
Dartmouth
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
There is unquestionably a good deal of variance in this game. But I believe a more skilled player is better equipped to exploit good fortune as well as to recover from bad fortune. In the long run, better players will win more games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.