RogerBW's Blog

Star Trek Ascendancy games 2 and 3 18 March 2020

Star Trek Ascendancy is a huge game which I don't get to the table very often, but I managed it on a blustery February weekend.

I got everything set up before people arrived.

For the first game, I was using a recommended Borg setup (Major Delta Quadrant Probe, "will likely provide a Borg threat"). But as it turned out they showed up very quickly.

Exploration cards put them in other players' systems too.

Vulcan was the first to fall.

First contact between Romulans and Ferengi.

The Battle of Earth. It went very well. For the Borg.

A last desperate defence…

But too little, too late. The Borg had rolled over us.

We felt that this hadn't been much fun (possibly if the Borg world discs had been shuffled lower into the stack?), particularly since we'd started off with "humble beginnings" and no starting resources, so we re-set with no Borg and with a more standard start. (Vulcans, Federation, Romulans, Ferengi.)

Vulcans, exploring a new and uncharted system… "Hello! Would you like to buy a vegeburger?"

Two disjoint networks.

Finally connected, with another lost Ferengi world discovered by the Vulcans. (Thanks!)

This was pretty much the final network.

As the Ascendancy started to build up, the Federation broke its treaties and made a desperate attack on Romulus. But although it managed to wipe out the Romulan home fleet, that pesky Prime Directive prevented planetary bombardment.

The Romulans were not so restrained in their attack on Earth (or "New Romulus" as we prefer to call it).

But as it turned out, the Vulcans won by a hidden Agenda card on the turn before the joint Romulan-Ferengi victory.

The games took something like 3½ hours for the first, 4 for the second, even though it was a second game for two of us and a first for the other two. The Unofficial Complete Rulebook was a huge help in this respect, making rule lookups relatively easy and the rules themselves reasonably clear, and I don't intend to play without it in future.

I had a lot of fun with the Ferengi, and their advancement cards are suitably slanted to a particular style of play (various things that build up Production, and allow it to be spent where Culture might normally apply).

I generally tend to play shorter games rather than longer ones, but this is one I'll definitely be happy to revisit; I enjoyed these games more than I ever enjoyed Twilight Imperium (the obvious comparison), I think largely because the exploration feels like actual exploration, and because our second game felt exciting and competitive even without much in the way of space battles.

It was also notable that we were all able to take our turns pretty fast; we each had decisions to make on most turns, but none of us ever felt overwhelmed with information or options.

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