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Subject: Four Player Game - AAR - Joint Romulan/Klingon Victory rss

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Davon Collins
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April 8, 2018 Star Trek Ascendancy Game
Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians
Standard rules, with focused research
Joint Romulan and Klingon Ascendancy Victory (about 6 hours)

Initial explorations yielded a galaxy yet unexperienced by any of the players – one with numerous dead-ends and few connecting space routes. While the Klingon and Romulan corner of the quadrant was full of wondrous, yet hazardous, phenomena as well as productive planets, the Cardassian and Federation side was predominantly full of lush, bountiful planets and strange, new civilizations. And until very late in the game the Federation was connected only to Cardassian territory as Starfleet Command ordered its ships to prioritize the finding of new planets and phenomena over the forging of space lanes to already-established systems.

The Cardassians and the Federation were the first factions to make first contact and established a highly productive trade agreement, catapulting their production over the other two factions. Soon thereafter, the Federation and Klingons had a tense confrontation over the frozen moon of Rura Penthe, which was defused, allowing for the start of trade between the two factions.
The Romulans, ever suspicious, had closed themselves off from the rest of the galaxy, content to explore and develop the promising worlds and systems near Romulus. The Klingons, however – aware of their lagging production vis-à-vis the nearby Cardassians – sent a delegation through multiple very hazardous phenomena. The Klingon ambassador, K’Ehlyer, convinced the Romulan Senate that, divided as they were by multiple hazardous phenomena, “good fences make good neighbors” and that a trade agreement would help restore the balance of power in the Quadrant. The Romulans – not sure of the Klingons’ intentions but even less sure about the encroaching Federation’s – agreed and the two powers entered into the Treaty of Prexnak.

Following this Treaty, the Quadrant entered into a tense period of peace. While the Federation continued to explore as much as it could, the Cardassians built an empire that outstripped every faction in culture, research and (thanks to its ever-watchful overseers) productivity. After the Cardassians used metagenic weapons to wipe out the Risans and built enough culture to rocket towards an Ascendancy victory, it became clear that something had to be done.

Commander Sela of the Romulan Empire then came to the Klingons with an ingenious and audacious plan. Thanks to a timely Ferengi arms dealer, the Romulans had been able to procure advanced shield technology that outclassed everyone else’s. Coupled with their fast ships and top-notch military technology, Sela argued that an elite strike force could travel cloaked through Klingon territory and deliver a devastating blow to the Cardassian ascendancy machine. The Klingons agreed and the Romulans dispatched a fleet of six warbirds, which, led by Commander Toreth, secretly traveled seven systems and invaded the Cardassian system of Argo. The Cardassians, who had been massing their forces closer to the Klingon fleet were caught completely off-guard as Commander Toreth’s strike force swiftly overwhelmed two valuable Cardassian cultural colonies. With superior Romulan shielding and military technology, Commander Toreth was able to get within one system of Cardassia Prime without losing a single ship.

In devising her plan, Commander Sela knew that the greatest risk from her daring raid was that it would leave Romulus wide open to a potential Klingon attack. Not one to rely on Klingon honor, Sela and the Tal Shiar simultaneously worked with the House of Duras to engineer a pro-Romulan coup in the Klingon High Council. Chancellor Duras then dispatched a large fleet of birds of prey to invade Cardassia Prime before the Cardassians could regroup from the Romulan assault. With their Ferengi-bought shield technology and the most destructive weapons in the Quadrant, the Klingons overwhelmed the Cardassian homeworld, ensuring that that faction would not be able to ascend to victory in time.
The furious Cardassians then mustered their forces and launched a blistering counter-attack against the Klingon fleet over Cardassia Prime. The Cardassians were able to destroy the Klingon fleet, but only at great cost, leaving them not enough ships to confidently retake Cardassia Prime. Klingon laughs at Cardassian impotence turned to groans of death as Gul Dukat unleashed metagenic weapons upon his own homeworld, saying “death to collaborators!”

With both the Romulans and Klingons rising to five ascendancy, both factions knew ultimate victory would come down to who controlled the most systems. Having ten systems under control, the Romulans used their early turn to buttress defenses around Romulus lest their allies in the House of Duras prove treacherous at the last minute. The Klingons, with seven systems, colonized Rura Penthe, and convinced the people of Coralis to join the Empire. A large Klingon fleet, lead by Lursa and B’Etor of the House of Duras, then attacked the last major Cardassian military installation at Izar. Vor’cha-class attack cruisers, using cloaking technology developed from their Romulan allies, shredded Cardassian defenses and conquered the planet.

One system from victory, the Klingons turned to the lightly-defended Cardassian research colony on Delta IV. However, a Federation fleet dispatched by Admiral Nechayev to “monitor” the Klingon border, stood in between and refused to allow the Klingons to pass. Enraged at interference by a Federation which had stood silent as their Cardassian allies wiped out the Risans, the Klingons abrogated their trade treaty with the Federation and attacked the Federation fleet. Lursa and B’Etor laughed as they eradicated the Federation battle fleet and proceeded onward to Delta IV. Though their warriors had proven pathetic in battle, the Federation’s interference had caused the Klingons to not have enough commands to truly overwhelm the Cardassian planetary defenses. Therefore, with their last command, the Klingons invaded the planet with the forces available, but, after two rounds of battle, the Klingons had only managed to wipe out the Cardassian outpost, ensuring that both the Romulans and the Klingons would end the game with five Ascendancy and ten systems – a joint victory!

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Mattias Elfström
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That sounds like a truly awesome game!

Thanks for the report!
 
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Ed Vena
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Another great report - thanks!

Curious, did you guys using the Escalation packs in this (if you have them)? My group is debating whether they help or hurt the game.
 
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Davon Collins
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Hi, Ed

My play group does use escalation packs. I can't imagine the game without them. While we have never had a player run out of control nodes, we regularly have players max out on ships. For example, as the Klingons in my last game, for two turns I declined to take free ships I had the technology for because it would have scattered my forces and deprived me of enough ships for my fleets and key planetary defenses.

I think having a cap on ships can push you to battle, because otherwise you end up with all of this production that you can't use (unless you're the Ferengi). So my hunch is that the lower the cap, the earlier your group will be nudged into conflict. Has that been your experience?
 
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Ed Vena
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Senatus1980 wrote:
Hi, Ed.....

I think having a cap on ships can push you to battle, because otherwise you end up with all of this production that you can't use (unless you're the Ferengi). So my hunch is that the lower the cap, the earlier your group will be nudged into conflict. Has that been your experience?


I can't say 100% that you'd be nudged into conflict earlier without the extra ships but I can see it happening. However, on the other side what we are seeing for sure is that with all of the ships available once conflict does happen for real (not skirmishes) it becomes very tough, nigh impossible to dislodge a strong player who has now turtled. cry They often have set themselves up for an ascendancy win, have consolidated all forces for the final push against them and clog every lane possible so it's impossible to push them out.

In our last game for instance, the leader was ready to ascend to 5. They became clear target so all 3 other players spent a full turn (and more from previous turn) trying to dislodge them and got close but didn't even make it into their home system. It was just too easy for them to count out commands available to all other players, and string out picket ships everywhere to prevent the inevitable attack on the HW.

We're just trying to see if the balance at base ships is better than the balance with the escalation pack.
 
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Davon Collins
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As to turtling, it's been my experience that if you wait 'til someone's on the cusp of five ascendancy to try to dislodge them, you're probably too late. I'd say my group kicks into high gear once people have three ascendancy. So if we see a player who has the capacity to produce enough culture to gain two more ascendancy quickly, and they make any move towards turtling, people start invading. (Also, we have a house rule that players can only ascend once per round.)

In fact, more often than not with my group, the first player to obtain five Ascendancy does NOT win. Second mouse gets the cheese!

If you're still on the fence, why don't you try a game or two with 15 additional ships each, using chips or some other token, and see whether you like how it affects the game? That way, if you find that you don't like the change or are indifferent to the change, you won't have wasted money buying the escalation packs.
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Ed Vena
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Senatus1980 wrote:
(Also, we have a house rule that players can only ascend once per round.)

If you're still on the fence, why don't you try a game or two with 15 additional ships each, using chips or some other token, and see whether you like how it affects the game? That way, if you find that you don't like the change or are indifferent to the change, you won't have wasted money buying the escalation packs.


I see, your house rule alone is probably saving some of the issues we're seeing. It's often people go from 3->5 in one turn and win. goo

As for trying them I've already bought them which I'm not upset about. But I may tray that method anyhow to see how often people are going beyond the base 30 ships to see how they're affecting the games. I won't be upset - I just suspect we'll have games with and games w/o the packs in there depending on player preferences. surprise
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Senatus1980 wrote:
As to turtling, it's been my experience that if you wait 'til someone's on the cusp of five ascendancy to try to dislodge them, you're probably too late. I'd say my group kicks into high gear once people have three ascendancy. So if we see a player who has the capacity to produce enough culture to gain two more ascendancy quickly, and they make any move towards turtling, people start invading. (Also, we have a house rule that players can only ascend once per round.)

In fact, more often than not with my group, the first player to obtain five Ascendancy does NOT win. Second mouse gets the cheese!

If you're still on the fence, why don't you try a game or two with 15 additional ships each, using chips or some other token, and see whether you like how it affects the game? That way, if you find that you don't like the change or are indifferent to the change, you won't have wasted money buying the escalation packs.

I agree. Three ascendancy is the threshold to victory. If you haven't attacked before, that is the signal to start.
 
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