Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
23 Posts

Ascending Empires» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My biggest disappointment of 2011 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nate Rethorn
United States
Perrysburg
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
At first glance, Ascending Empires seems like the kind of game that I should love. Space-themed? Check. Planetary conquest? Check. Direct player conflict? Check. A flicking element for movement? Check. Plays in an hour? Check.

But somehow, the game has fallen flat most of the time I've played it. After two 2-player games, one 3-player and one 4-player, the only time I'd be willing to go back and play would be with the full complement of players. Ascending Empires needs conflict and tension to keep you interested, and with 2 or 3 there is too much room to maneuver around and avoid other players as much as possible.

Ascending Empires does a lot of things well. I especially like the range of actions you can take; there is a lot of variety in deciding just how you want to go about taking over the galaxy. And limiting players to just one action per turn practically eliminates downtime. The components are top-notch for the price, and the player aid has (nearly) everything you could want on it. I've only had to refer to the rulebook once, for rules on blockading and defending. Also, competing for a defined pool of victory points is a great way to make sure the game doesn't run too long.

But there are significant flaws, too. The puzzle board doesn't assemble very well, and it's annoying to have your ship go careening off when it hits a raised edge. A lot of the movement in this game relies on careful flicking and placement, so having issues with the board is a big deal. Also, the dexterity element isn't quite as prevalent as the box would have you believe. Don't get me wrong; you'll be doing a lot of flicking at planets and other players' ships, but most of your time will be spent putting troops on planets, turning troops into research facilities, turning colonies into cities, and so on. I don't think it's a flaw of the game, but I had different expectations going in.

One of the biggest problems with a 2- or 3- player game is that it's far faster to turtle and build up an empire instead of actually attacking the other players. Putting cities and colonies on as many planets as possible will give you a huge point bonus at the end of the game. But with fewer players, it's much easier to have two people fighting each other while one person slips on by. Obviously you need to be aware of that possibility, but even just a few turns of back-and-forth "I attack your stuff, then you rebuild and attack my stuff" will give the third player a large advantage. In addition, the victory point bonuses you get for researching technology first encourage a large amount of turtling, especially at the beginning. Explore your sector, don't bother with the asteroids, and get your tech bonuses as fast as possible.

Ascending Empires needs players need to be really aggressive to keep other players from pulling ahead. However, you aren't necessarily increasing your position; you're decreasing your opponent's. Your relative position might not be different, but it's still faster to grab VPs by doing your own thing. It's an anti-prisoner's dilemma; players do better through cooperating (turtling) instead of defecting (attacking).

Also, sometimes you want players to come in and take your stuff. Your tech bonuses aren't removed if your research facilities are lost, and if you're pursuing an initial generalized strategy (some of each tech color) to get the bonus ships and/or troops, you'll eventually want to free up those research facilities to allow you to specialize in a color or two. It can be worth the VPs gained by an opponent to turn around and place your research facility on a third or fourth planet of one color, especially if no one else has researched that level of technology yet.

As such, this game isn't as interesting as it should be. Instead of being forced to make hard decisions, you're encouraged to play nicely with each other. Really aggressive play is more fun, but you're also fighting the game system by doing so.

Also (this is just my opinion), some of the tech paths are seem a bit more powerful than others. In our games, the first player to hit the gray tech level that allows you to take a move *and* a second action has quickly run away with the lead. Being able to get to gray depends on your starting setup, and it's quite possible to have three research facilities on gray planets in your starting quadrant within the first dozen turns.

Finally, even though there's a limited pool of VPs, the game comes to an abrupt end. That's one thing that really bothered me about Starcraft; just as you were getting your tech tree going and qualifying for really cool bonuses, the game was over. It's a minor fix to expand the number of VPs needed to end the game, but I think that adding a few turns wouldn't increase the game time all that much.

Ascending Empires is a mixed bag. I would happily play it again with 4 players, it's just not good enough for me to keep in my collection. It's a shame, too; I had really high hopes for this game. But it doesn't do what I want well enough. Perhaps with more plays I'll grow to like it a bit more.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
its wierd, as a dexterity game there is really no room for a catchup mechanism, if you suck at flicking pieces (especially early in the game) you're screwed....Its ok for a pure dexterity game because well, that's all its about. I've had my ass whupped in crokinole but its fun because you aren't wasting any time doing anything other than flicking and trying to get small moral victories.

But as a eurogame it gets painful. Here you get your ass whupped while having no chance and while having to watch your opponents AP about which awesome tech they want to get while they fiddle around with thier pieces.

Didn't help that my one play of the game had a runaway loser (me) AND a runaway leader and it was nowhere near short enough to mitigate the pain, though that was in part because we had a distracted player that f'ed up the flow of the game.

The more I think about this game the more I hate it. I just dropped it from a 5 to a 2 and it may hit a 1 if I think about it much more.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Dunford
Canada
Kemptville
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First, I'm a huge fan of this game... so I guess that's a bias. I haven't run into many of these issues, and/or find these issues to be much bigger problems in other popular "4X" games than in Ascending Empires.

emperorhand wrote:

But there are significant flaws, too. The puzzle board doesn't assemble very well, and it's annoying to have your ship go careening off when it hits a raised edge. A lot of the movement in this game relies on careful flicking and placement, so having issues with the board is a big deal. Also, the dexterity element isn't quite as prevalent as the box would have you believe. Don't get me wrong; you'll be doing a lot of flicking at planets and other players' ships, but most of your time will be spent putting troops on planets, turning troops into research facilities, turning colonies into cities, and so on. I don't think it's a flaw of the game, but I had different expectations going in.


I agree that a flat board would be a lot better. I'm not sure what they could do that would fit in a box, but I intend to "upgrade" my board, one way or another. The other option is to use glass beads instead of the wooden disks for ships.

As for the "time" (turns) it takes to distribute troops, build research stations, develop technology, establish colonies, and build cities... to each his own. You get 2 (or more often 3) movement points to spend when you move, vs 1 to do each of those things... so I find that you spend about equal amounts of time moving as doing something other than moving. That's not uncommon in a "4X" type game, in my (limited) experience.

Quote:
One of the biggest problems with a 2- or 3- player game is that it's far faster to turtle and build up an empire instead of actually attacking the other players. Putting cities and colonies on as many planets as possible will give you a huge point bonus at the end of the game. But with fewer players, it's much easier to have two people fighting each other while one person slips on by. Obviously you need to be aware of that possibility, but even just a few turns of back-and-forth "I attack your stuff, then you rebuild and attack my stuff" will give the third player a large advantage. In addition, the victory point bonuses you get for researching technology first encourage a large amount of turtling, especially at the beginning. Explore your sector, don't bother with the asteroids, and get your tech bonuses as fast as possible.

Ascending Empires needs players need to be really aggressive to keep other players from pulling ahead. However, you aren't necessarily increasing your position; you're decreasing your opponent's. Your relative position might not be different, but it's still faster to grab VPs by doing your own thing. It's an anti-prisoner's dilemma; players do better through cooperating (turtling) instead of defecting (attacking).

Also, sometimes you want players to come in and take your stuff. Your tech bonuses aren't removed if your research facilities are lost, and if you're pursuing an initial generalized strategy (some of each tech color) to get the bonus ships and/or troops, you'll eventually want to free up those research facilities to allow you to specialize in a color or two. It can be worth the VPs gained by an opponent to turn around and place your research facility on a third or fourth planet of one color, especially if no one else has researched that level of technology yet.

As such, this game isn't as interesting as it should be. Instead of being forced to make hard decisions, you're encouraged to play nicely with each other. Really aggressive play is more fun, but you're also fighting the game system by doing so.


This sounds somewhat self-contradictory. You mention turtling as being too strong, and then claim that players need to be aggressive to win. In pretty much any game with direct conflict, there is always an issue with whether it is better to attack (often a good strategy with only 2 players, since disrupting your opponent is generally equivalent to helping yourself) vs being peaceful and allowing your opponents to beat each other up (often best with lots of players) vs teaming up to knock the perceived leader down a few steps. Nothing unique to Ascending Empires.

As for "wanting" players to destroy your research stations so you can build new ones... we've found that you're better off being the person destroying planets or grabbing VPs via mining, since at that point it's a race for those last few VP tokens. Allowing planets to get destroyed so you can spend several turns building research stations and developing technology seems too slow in the late game, and should have been done early on.

Quote:
Also (this is just my opinion), some of the tech paths are seem a bit more powerful than others. In our games, the first player to hit the gray tech level that allows you to take a move *and* a second action has quickly run away with the lead. Being able to get to gray depends on your starting setup, and it's quite possible to have three research facilities on gray planets in your starting quadrant within the first dozen turns.


Achieving *any* level 4 technology should essentially win the game outright. If you allow someone to get level 4 grey, then you let them win the game. Ditto for level 4 brown, level 4 pink, or level 3 orange (which might be the only "unbalanced" aspect of the game).

Quote:
Finally, even though there's a limited pool of VPs, the game comes to an abrupt end. That's one thing that really bothered me about Starcraft; just as you were getting your tech tree going and qualifying for really cool bonuses, the game was over. It's a minor fix to expand the number of VPs needed to end the game, but I think that adding a few turns wouldn't increase the game time all that much.


In my experience, most of the technology development and colonization occurs before most of the combat (including blockading). Thus, not many VPs are earned (besides for building cities and developing techs) until most (if not all) factions are starting to rub up against one or more neighbours. This isn't unusual for a "4X" game. And the race for VPs (and trying to get a city in that 3rd or 4th quadrant) becomes the focus at that point. Maybe none of us are good enough at the game yet, but we haven't run into a run-away leader issue. Maybe it's because we're good at keeping the perceived leader in check.

Quote:
Ascending Empires is a mixed bag. I would happily play it again with 4 players, it's just not good enough for me to keep in my collection. It's a shame, too; I had really high hopes for this game. But it doesn't do what I want well enough. Perhaps with more plays I'll grow to like it a bit more.


I'd recommend more plays. For one thing, I could understand your frustration if this were a 4+ hour "epic" 4X game, as nobody wants to watch a run-away leader just get stronger and stronger for 3 hours while there's little anyone can do about it. But if somebody becomes powerful at the 1 hour mark of a 1.5 hour game because they reached the highest level of the technology tree... perhaps that's just the way the game was intended to play. That, or your strategy was flawed and allowed a leader to go unchecked while you were focusing on other areas (like combat with a lesser foe, or allowing rapid development).

As soon as we see someone placing a 3rd research station on a given colour of planet, we immediately do everything possible to delay that 3rd development and to prevent a 4th - as that spells "game over" for the rest. It's much easier to slip under the radar by developing everything to level 2 (especially since you can spend most of your time in your own quadrant), but you'll be at a power and VP disadvantage. I think the game is reasonably well balanced between several strategies, most of which are consistent with other "4X" games that take 2x-8x longer to play! It's nice to have a light, fun option in this genre.
13 
 Thumb up
0.08
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Dunford
Canada
Kemptville
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aaarg_ink wrote:
its wierd, as a dexterity game there is really no room for a catchup mechanism, if you suck at flicking pieces (especially early in the game) you're screwed....Its ok for a pure dexterity game because well, that's all its about. I've had my ass whupped in crokinole but its fun because you aren't wasting any time doing anything other than flicking and trying to get small moral victories.

But as a eurogame it gets painful. Here you get your ass whupped while having no chance and while having to watch your opponents AP about which awesome tech they want to get while they fiddle around with thier pieces.

Didn't help that my one play of the game had a runaway loser (me) AND a runaway leader and it was nowhere near short enough to mitigate the pain, though that was in part because we had a distracted player that f'ed up the flow of the game.

The more I think about this game the more I hate it. I just dropped it from a 5 to a 2 and it may hit a 1 if I think about it much more.


Wow, this sounds like a horrible experience. I'd keep the game and find new players.

First, I don't know if I'd call this a "Euro game". If I had to put a label on it, I'd call it an Ameri-trash game that uses flicking instead of dice as its randomness generator. Sure, I could envision a situation where one person had a tremendous dexterity advantage over another to the point that it wasn't fair... but the distances you have to flick in this game are usually really short. Perhaps you need a few practice shots before the next play?

As for runaway leader/loser... how many players were there? Usually a leader will quickly get teamed up on...

And I don't see how AP can be that bad in this game. With the exception of the last few turns (when there are only 3 or 4 VPs left in the pile and decisions reflect that), it generally takes us 10-15 seconds per turn, as it's pretty easy to plan your next 3 or 4 turns (during exploration, expansion, and technology development), and the actions themselves take no time to execute. Over the holidays, I even played with my non-gaming 68-year-old mother, and she had a great time. Well, at least until the game got really combative, as she wanted to "play nice"... which meant the rest of us let her be, since she wasn't really a threat. But she still had fun and made pretty quick decisions (probably quicker than Ticket to Ride!).

I couldn't imagine getting "distracted" playing this game. There isn't time. Even with 4 players, it's your turn every minute (maybe 2 minutes MAX), and you often already know what you're going to do unless somebody just launched an attack or is about to develop a game-breaking technology or something else you need to immediately respond to. Perhaps the problem is players weren't paying attention to what other players were doing, thus allowing somebody to become unstoppable (via a level 4 tech) - and thus win the game (?).

I'd recommend playing a second time - perhaps with players that don't suffer as much from AP. I know everybody's different, but this was one of my top 3 games of 2011 (probably #1), so I have trouble imagining such a horrible experience with it.
6 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam
Australia
Dickson
ACT
flag msg tools
??!
badge
And when you gaze long into Ducky Momo, Ducky Momo also gazes into you.
Avatar
mb
emperorhand wrote:
However, you aren't necessarily increasing your position; you're decreasing your opponent's.

I don't get it. If your attack on a planet is successful, you get VPs as well as hurting the opponent, which does increase your position.

Attacking other players also forces them to be defensive when building research stations (as they are otherwise defenceless), which slows development and gives you a relative advantage if they are not threatening you in return.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Fung
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
The puzzle board doesn't assemble very well, and it's annoying to have your ship go careening off when it hits a raised edge. A lot of the movement in this game relies on careful flicking and placement, so having issues with the board is a big deal.

We find these annoying too. But we call them space anomalies and get on with the game.
6 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Christiansen
United States
Mount Pleasant
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
OOK! OOK! OOK!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Using glass pebbles for ships works wonderfully.

Playing 4-player, we prefer team play sitting across from each other.

The 2-player designer variant inthe files sections works MUCH better, not a hard fix.

Really, if you find it easier to dump games than scan fora for minor tweeks, it is up to you. But it takes less time than writing that review did.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chris1nd wrote:
Using glass pebbles for ships works wonderfully.

Playing 4-player, we prefer team play sitting across from each other.

The 2-player designer variant inthe files sections works MUCH better, not a hard fix.

Really, if you find it easier to dump games than scan fora for minor tweeks, it is up to you. But it takes less time than writing that review did.


I like the idea of using glass pebbles in lieu of the cylinders. I suspect they liked the idea of the cylinders that could tip over, but for me it just meant that I had a hard time gauging my shots, everything was either done too lightly or too heavily and it would tip over and roll around. Neither was enjoyable, I mean, what's the point of a flicking game if it doesn't have pieces that are a joy to flick?

Maybe my negative reaction was also due to a misunderstanding of the premise of the game. I did not purchase the game, but so I did not research it before playing. From what I had heard, I was expecting a game which was focused on the flicking pieces, not a light civilization game based around tentatively tapping the pieces around the board.

If you're looking for a $40 dexterity flicking game then go hit up your local indian supermarket and pick up a Carrom set instead. And if you really want space and dexterity then then I'd recommend getting a copy of Eclipse, pick up six pennies on your way to game night, and playing Penny Hockey while with your neighbor while waiting for your opponents to figure out their actions.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'll agree that it's far and away best with 4 players - I won't play it with less. As a 4-player game, it was one of my favorite games from last year and one of my favorites overall.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henry Allen
United States
Astatula
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review. I love this game so I'll throw in some things to think about next time you play that might help.

- The fourth level techs are meant to be game enders. If somebody hits level 4 grey or brown or whatever first, they should win in short order. Knowing that should discourage turtling as folks are approaching high level techs. They MUST be stopped if you can't get there first! This in turn might make the end less anti-climactic for you . We find it exceedingly hard to hit level 4 in 4 player games.

- This game actually CAN induce AP (especially when your getting into heavy conflict). At 2 hours this game is way to long for me but I love it at ~1.2 hours. We've started using a DGT Cube timer setup with 1.5 minutes base time + 25 seconds per turn (where time you don't use accumulates for later). The timer keeps running while you are flicking. This keeps the game moving and it rewards you for making quick early moves since you accumulate some time for tough decisions later while still keeping us in the total desired time.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Kayati
United States
Worthington
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice to see a negative review, even of a game that I really enjoy.

I think that the board issues are overstated for this game. Carefully assembly of the board will show that it fits best in one configuration. To that properly the first time and mark your board to make assembly quick for every game after. That takes care of most of the board issues.

I think the turtling issues you're seeing are more from groupthink and limited plays of the game. Nothing messes with an opponent like getting into their sector one your very first flick of the game. Try that and you'll see how it changes the dynamic of the game.

How much I enjoyed this game surprised me and it's no doubt the winner of "best game you like that you didn't think you'd like award" for 2011.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Francis Bergeron
Canada
Québec
Québec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aaarg_ink wrote:




Didn't help that my one play of the game had a runaway loser (me) AND a runaway leader and it was nowhere near short enough to mitigate the pain, though that was in part because we had a distracted player that f'ed up the flow of the game.

The more I think about this game the more I hate it. I just dropped it from a 5 to a 2 and it may hit a 1 if I think about it much more.


Justus, you had a one bad experience, maybe more games will reveal the fun for you???

But giving this game a 2 or maybe a 1 is unfair, i don't think it deserve this rating...

Your comment going along with your 2 is:[i]Interesting flicking game, but if I want to play a flicking game I'd play crokinole. [/i]


... hope you'll try some more!

And, one thing i agree with you, Crokinole is fantastic!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Temple
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jkayati wrote:
I think that the board issues are overstated for this game. Carefully assembly of the board will show that it fits best in one configuration. To that properly the first time and mark your board to make assembly quick for every game after. That takes care of most of the board issues.

The board comes pre-marked. IIRC, it's by the outside edges of each piece, it lists which quadrants should connect to which side of that piece. So if you're aligning Alpha with Alpha (etc), you'll always assemble it right...but I still have board issues.

Maybe you lucked out and got a perfectly flat board?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Dunford
Canada
Kemptville
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The side edge pieces are labeled, but the corner pieces aren't. However, if you look carefully at the background, you'll notice a subtle purple "milky way" pattern going diagonally across the board, and it's possible to figure out which corner pieces should go where based on that pattern.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Rethorn
United States
Perrysburg
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
iNano78 wrote:
This sounds somewhat self-contradictory. You mention turtling as being too strong, and then claim that players need to be aggressive to win. In pretty much any game with direct conflict, there is always an issue with whether it is better to attack (often a good strategy with only 2 players, since disrupting your opponent is generally equivalent to helping yourself) vs being peaceful and allowing your opponents to beat each other up (often best with lots of players) vs teaming up to knock the perceived leader down a few steps. Nothing unique to Ascending Empires.

I think turtling is a dominant strategy in this game. Being aggressive is more fun, but I don't think it's better than doing your own thing. Also, taking control of planets with one or two troops/colonies/research facilities requires quite a few ships, which are very limited in the first half of the game. It's very easy to play defense--far less so to start wiping out other players' planets.

iNano78 wrote:
As for "wanting" players to destroy your research stations so you can build new ones... we've found that you're better off being the person destroying planets or grabbing VPs via mining, since at that point it's a race for those last few VP tokens. Allowing planets to get destroyed so you can spend several turns building research stations and developing technology seems too slow in the late game, and should have been done early on.

If it's the late game, I agree. But if you're in the mid game and there's a pile of VP tokens still waiting to be claimed, there's plenty of time to let someone take over a planet and grab the displaced VPs from taking a higher-level tech. I don't think it's always a good idea, but if you've got two research facilities on each color and you've maxed out your bonuses, the only way to move forward is eliminating one color to move ahead in another.

iNano78 wrote:
In my experience, most of the technology development and colonization occurs before most of the combat (including blockading). Thus, not many VPs are earned (besides for building cities and developing techs) until most (if not all) factions are starting to rub up against one or more neighbours. This isn't unusual for a "4X" game. And the race for VPs (and trying to get a city in that 3rd or 4th quadrant) becomes the focus at that point.

I've seen this play out in several of my games. In my opinion, this is along the lines of some of my criticisms. It's far riskier to send a starship or two out to someone's sector when it's easy to defend (or just eliminate if your opponent rams you). Couple that with the erratic board movements due to the ill-fitting pieces, and staying on your own side of the board is a preferred option in the early/mid game.

iNano78 wrote:
I'd recommend more plays. For one thing, I could understand your frustration if this were a 4+ hour "epic" 4X game, as nobody wants to watch a run-away leader just get stronger and stronger for 3 hours while there's little anyone can do about it. But if somebody becomes powerful at the 1 hour mark of a 1.5 hour game because they reached the highest level of the technology tree... perhaps that's just the way the game was intended to play. That, or your strategy was flawed and allowed a leader to go unchecked while you were focusing on other areas (like combat with a lesser foe, or allowing rapid development).

As soon as we see someone placing a 3rd research station on a given colour of planet, we immediately do everything possible to delay that 3rd development and to prevent a 4th - as that spells "game over" for the rest. It's much easier to slip under the radar by developing everything to level 2 (especially since you can spend most of your time in your own quadrant), but you'll be at a power and VP disadvantage. I think the game is reasonably well balanced between several strategies, most of which are consistent with other "4X" games that take 2x-8x longer to play! It's nice to have a light, fun option in this genre.

I want to play it again (and will), but I really do think that Ascending Empires doesn't reward attacking enough until you get high-level tech. Contrast this game with Nexus Ops, where turtling will make you lose--quickly. I like the short playtime and I like the simplicity. However, I was hoping that this would be my go-to light exploration/combat game, and I think it doesn't quite succeed in some of the things it's trying to do.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Rethorn
United States
Perrysburg
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
jkayati wrote:
I think that the board issues are overstated for this game. Carefully assembly of the board will show that it fits best in one configuration. To that properly the first time and mark your board to make assembly quick for every game after. That takes care of most of the board issues.

We did that. I spent quite a bit of time figuing out the best way to assemble the pieces. Even with that, we still ran into quite a few issues each game.

jkayati wrote:
I think the turtling issues you're seeing are more from groupthink and limited plays of the game. Nothing messes with an opponent like getting into their sector one your very first flick of the game. Try that and you'll see how it changes the dynamic of the game.

It's much easier for me as the defender to simply send one of my ships out to ram yours. And it's faster for me to rebuild mine and place them in a position where they can defend multiple planets. By the time you get yours over here again, I'll have mine built (and if you mess up your flick), I'll have built extra defenses.

jkayati wrote:
How much I enjoyed this game surprised me and it's no doubt the winner of "best game you like that you didn't think you'd like award" for 2011.

I don't want anyone to think that I hate this game. Far from it. It's my biggest disappointment of the year because I had such high expectations that weren't met. My feelings are very mixed about this one, and I'm willing to keep playing (with 4) to see if some of my issues end up working themselves out.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Dunford
Canada
Kemptville
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
emperorhand wrote:
If it's the late game, I agree. But if you're in the mid game and there's a pile of VP tokens still waiting to be claimed, there's plenty of time to let someone take over a planet and grab the displaced VPs from aking a higher-level tech. I don't think it's always a good idea, but if you've got two research facilities on each color and you've maxed out your bonuses, the only way to move forward is eliminating one color to move ahead in another.


I've bolded the key part. It's a strategic decision to either develop level 2 of every colour ("diversify") OR to specialize in one or two colours. If you diversify, you get the "consolation prize" of a couple extra troops and ships. If you (successfully) specialize, you get a game-breaking technology and a pile of VPs along the way (for being first to develop those technologies), but you'll have to work hard to find planets of the right colour. It's riskier, and you have to determine what risk:reward ratio you're willing to go with, often on a game-by-game basis (e.g. "I can't find that 3rd grey planet... might as well diversify...").

I've found that getting level 1 of all colours, then focusing on a colour is often a winning strategy. But I certainly can't depend on somebody coming along and blowing up my research stations so I can build more than 8. The only time we've had a lot of planet annihilation is when one or more battleships (BS's) are out. Then all hell breaks loose: planets get demolished, cities are lost, research stations are destroyed... but those who lose their research stations (and cities for that matter) haven't ever been rebuilt, as those with BS's will quickly mop up the VP's (and hunt down any ships that try to resettle).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JonnyRotten
United States
Montpelier
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
emperorhand wrote:

I don't want anyone to think that I hate this game. Far from it. It's my biggest disappointment of the year because I had such high expectations that weren't met. My feelings are very mixed about this one, and I'm willing to keep playing (with 4) to see if some of my issues end up working themselves out.


Your disappointment was my gain! haha

Just kidding. We've played it a few times so far. Jamie and I enjoy it quite a bit with three or four. I will never play her in two player again. She broke it. She completely decimated me. I don't even remember exactly what happened, but I remember it was a sad sad game, and I refused to play two player against her any more.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Christiansen
United States
Mount Pleasant
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
OOK! OOK! OOK!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The issue of being potentially punished for being aggressive because the players(s) not involved get ahead goes away in team play. You can choose an offensive or defensive strategy but there are no bystanders to benefit from avoiding conflict.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tchan wrote:
aaarg_ink wrote:

Didn't help that my one play of the game had a runaway loser (me) AND a runaway leader and it was nowhere near short enough to mitigate the pain, though that was in part because we had a distracted player that f'ed up the flow of the game.

The more I think about this game the more I hate it. I just dropped it from a 5 to a 2 and it may hit a 1 if I think about it much more.


Justus, you had a one bad experience, maybe more games will reveal the fun for you???
But giving this game a 2 or maybe a 1 is unfair, i don't think it deserve this rating...
Your comment going along with your 2 is:[i]Interesting flicking game, but if I want to play a flicking game I'd play crokinole. [/i]
... hope you'll try some more!
And, one thing i agree with you, Crokinole is fantastic!


hehehe thanks, yeah, that comment was written after I first played it and had rated it a 5. But the more I reminisce about the experience the more I came to hate it. At this point it falls under BGG's 2: "extremely annoying game, I won't ever play this again."

I know am in an insanely small minority of 2 people, but hey that's what I feel. Cheers!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
You could be playing.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I agree that a flat board would be a lot better. I'm not sure what they could do that would fit in a box, but I intend to "upgrade" my board, one way or another...


Try putting a piece of plexiglass over it after assembly. That'll make it flat and smooth.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geekmate75
France
Paris
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
me and my friends feels the same way that you do after a few game.
There is clearly something missing in the core mecanics to motivate players to attack each other.
It's a shame because i think with more development it could be a hell of a game.
 
 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.