At the “I haven’t come up with a coolname for the Labor Day Gameapalooza” event I hosted I learned several things, including the fact that I may be getting too old to try and live solely on pizza and beer, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that I got to try Ascending Empires.
The short form — Not bad.
The long form — well, you do things by flicking. Given that, the small irregularities in the puzzleboard are pretty annoying. I suspect the people who like this game (and are so inclined) could make a board from a single piece of wood drilled with holes in the appropriate places.
The game timer is a bank of VP that players can earn (via capturing enemy planets, killing enemy ships, and being the first to get a new technology). The technology tree is fixed; mildly disappointing, but its a fast game. Once the VPs are claimed, everyone gets one last turn and then you score for presence on each planet, as well as for certain items.
Each player also has 6 (?) land units and 2 ships. During a turn you take one action, and during a move action you can exchange a land unit for a ship in orbit, or vice versa. Move actions also let you flick ships around, ramming kills both ships (with no VP), but if you end with two of your ships near an enemy, you kill it. (Each player has a little rectangle, and one of the technologies lets you use the longer side). Movement is the only action that takes any time, the other actions are just:
- Add troops to the board,
- Convert 2 troops to a research station
- Gain a technology (which requires research stations)
- Convert one troop to a settlement
- Convert one troop and a settlement to a city
So a lot of the time, turns are Flick Flick “Done” Place some troops “Done” :I claim pink technology 2,Done.” Some time is spent eyeballing a shot (Can I sneak past that asteroid to get to the Yellow planet in the Gamma Quadrent?).
So, a great idea. Too bad the imperfections in the board mean that any long shots tend to hit a bump and then roll. Perhaps someone can try using a bisikyle piece for the shooting aspect and report how that works.
Anyway, I rate this “Interesting attempt that I’d play again, after a moderate amount of pizza and beer.”