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Star Trek: Ascendancy – Gen Con 2016

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What Is it? A 4X civilization game set in the Star Trek Universe

The Deets: 2-3 players (more with expansions), several hours of gameplay

Designed by: Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski, Sean Sweigart

Published by: Gale Force 9

Is Star Trek: Ascendancy the Star Trek game we’ve all been hoping for? I was able to get a walk-through of the components and some of the game components, but unfortunately not a playing demo.

I’m a huge Star Trek fan, and I’d really like an epic Star Trek game that I can play with my friends. The deckbuilder was a travesty. Fleet Captains was fun but with such bloated rules I couldn’t get others into it, and Attack Wing is too much of an investment (besides, I already had a substantial X-Wing collection). I need a good 4x game that’s fun to play.

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There’s a lot of interesting things going on here – cool components (check out those neat sliders on the player board!), minis, and a very unique board. I really like the board – it’s something a little different than either a static board or the classic but somewhat ubiquitous hex tile grid. The warp lanes and planet tiles connecting dynamically adds a new level of freedom in your exploration, and it’s designed to be quickly adjustable so you don’t have trouble attaching new planets into the known galaxy.

I always love minis, and I like how the planetary control tokens are designed to fit neatly with the various resource-producing structures you can build. Planets have different resources available, so fighting over the things you want or need will surely be a central part of the game. I also like that there’s a cultural victory option and not just military or some odd missions-based points system.

It’s hard to see how it all fits together without playing it, though. I know there’s technology you can research. Combat is a thing, but at first glance it’s just rolling a couple dice, pitting your weapons tech against your opponents shields. Are there combat cards or other strategic options to make the combat more interesting?

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Warp speed is handled neatly, at least. Your warp lanes come in different lengths, and at impulse power you can move your ships slowly across them. Spend a warp token, though, and you can jump from one end to the other instantly. I like to see that technology actually come into play.  There are also encounters you’ll run into as you explore the galaxy, drawing inspiration from episodes of the various TV shows.

I was also wondering about the player count – the base game allows 3 players. Fortunately, expansions that add new races also allow more players to get into the fray.

Without a more complete demo, I cant say that I’m sold on this game yet, but it definitely looks like it has potential. We’ll see how it develops, and whether full plays reveal an interesting civilization-building space adventure, or just another drab mess of rules.

 

 

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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