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Ascending Empires» Forums » Variants

Subject: Epic Ascending Empires rss

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Jeff Dunford
Canada
Kemptville
Ontario
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Part of the reason I love Ascending Empires (besides being a Crokinole fan) is that it's quick and light fun - especially for a "4X" game.

Having said that... I've been thinking about ways to make the game longer, especially in terms of making it more difficult to expand and develop one's technology tree in the early game. Please feel free to suggest ways to up the early game strategy, preferably without bogging down the game with too many new rules (although some will obviously be required).

Here's my first idea: Native Resistance
Whenever a player encounters a planet of a given colour for the first time, place one neutral-coloured meeple on it. This meeple represents a native alien race that must first be annihilated before you can occupy the planet (Asteroids are always uninhabited upon discovery). Thus, you'll need to put both your starting ships in orbit to eliminate the native population of a coloured planet. When you discover a second planet of a given colour, place two neutral-coloured meeples on it (thematically, consider that this population was warned by their counterparts that they needed to up their defenses). It will require 3 ships to wipe out this planet's native population before it can be occupied, so you'll need to build a city or otherwise increase your starship count (e.g. by upgrading all technologies to level 1 first) in order to occupy it. This will slow advancement to level 3 technologies (one technology tree can still be easily upgraded to level 2 by placing two research stations on the same planet), and will increase the value of raiding an opponent's planets, as a lightly defended opponent's planet might be more easily conquered than an neutral ("unoccupied") planet. It also makes building cities more valuable early in the game, as they provide a source of starships that you'll need in order to expand. And since it takes two or more ships (and often more actions) to conquer a coloured planet, it gives your opponents more time to send ships to blockade your planet before you have a chance to establish colonies or research stations.

If it is too difficult to remember whether or not a given player has previously explored a planet of a given colour (and thus requiring placement of two native troops rather than one), perhaps the number could be determined by a die roll: On a roll of 1 to 4, place one neutral alien; on a roll of 5 or 6, place two. However, I am reluctant to add dice to a game like this, as I'd hate to increase the luck factor (e.g. I could envision that in a given game, one player always rolls 1-4 and has a relatively easy time conquering neutral planets, while another starts with several consecutive rolls of 5-6 and is unable to occupy any planets for the first several turns of the game). Perhaps this variant might include starting with 3 ships, rather than 2, to make it possible (but inefficient) to conquer such a planet early in the game.

Other suggestions?
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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interesting idea. I would say the first explored planet of each color in quadrant gets one native and the second of the same color gets two. Please no dice in AE! That is a sacrilidge to have both flicking and dice in one game
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Keegan Fink
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Havertown
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tms_ wrote:
interesting idea. I would say the first explored planet of each color in quadrant gets one native and the second of the same color gets two. Please no dice in AE! That is a sacrilidge to have both flicking and dice in one game

I love it! Not only does this maintain the thematic feel suggested by Jeff's variant, but it also reduces the amount of book keeping required by each player. Essentially, you only have to worry the ratios of planets in each quadrant — some might only have 1 planet of a particular type (granting 1 defensive meeple), while certain quadrants of space might have 2 or more planets of the same color (granting 2 defensive meeples).

Given the 4X nature of Ascending Empires, it feels right thematically to expect resistance when trying to "conquer" or colonize new worlds. After all, visiting an unexplored planet is certain to provide unexpected hazards.

Great variant! Gotta find myself some alien meeples
 
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Keegan Fink
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After a quick search, these look like they would be great for representing native species / alien monsters (found on Meeple Source)
 
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Alex Fiedler
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Colebee
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Great idea! Although, would 2 aliens (requiring 3 strength) be too much of a slow down?

What I would really like to see would be some sort of tokens to place on each world. When you scan a planet you can look at the planet OR the token.
Tokens could be aliens species (0-2), or some other item/event. More like standard 4x games where each world could have any number of things. Adds a bit more excitement to it.
 
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