Psssttt!! Want to make some money? Go have a look at the game Ascending Empires on ebay. Here use this handy link on BGG
$200 for the game in the states, €15 in France. Buy low sell high (send me half the difference as a finders fee)
When I got Ascending empires as a swapsee I had thought it was a standard enough 4x game (Expand, Explore, 2 other exes), I was a bit surprised when I found out the movement around the board was controlled by flicking the pieces. Having played one game I was hooked, this is genius and all games should have a flicking mechanic. Or NOT.
It’s been a while since I’d played it but I remembered how to setup the board so it was all go after that. In AE you start with a handful of troops and two small ships. The board consists of a scattering of random colored planets (facedown) and you flick your ships across the uneven surface and if you get in orbit of a planet you can land your troops and take it over. Once established on a planet you can build colonies and cities (adds defense and bonus points at end game) and research centers. These are key and allow you extra abilities and options depending on which tech branch you pursue
There’s a finite amount of planets so inevitably (i.e. after turn one) conflict ensues (much to the chagrin of the players) and planets are sieged, ships destroyed and empires humbled. What’s lovely about it is unlike most map based conquest games where it’s often trench warfare, due to the flick mechanic it’s quite possible to sneak interdiction attacks into the heart of your enemies empire.
Tech plays a big part in this game, getting ahead will give you major benefits.
There are four different colours of tech which correspond to planet colours. Each branch does different things like increase the amount of ships and troops you can have, how many flicks you get during movement, allow you to build a bigger battleship craft and so on. To tech up you first need to conquer a planet of the appropriate color and build a research station on it then research the tech to move up. To get to a particular level of tech you need to own that many planets of the corresponding colours with research stations on them. A Tall order when everyone is fighting for resources.
Getting to the fourth level of any tech colour grants some awesome powers. in my case I teched up brown and could teleport to unowned planets nilly willy. It was like having moles in your garden.
The game for a map conquest is relatively quick. Turns shoot around (pardon the pun) and there’s practically no down time.
I like this game a lot. I’ve only played it a few times and usually only 1v1 so with extra players (it takes up to four) it gets really interesting. Now it does have it’s faults, the board is notoriously poor in design. It’s a set of jigsaw pieces that should form a flat surface for flicking around but it doesn’t. There was more than one curse when a ship careered off a joint. It’s certainly not a show stopper and it makes the game a little bit more crazy golf than billiards. No-one really complained as everyone was working on the same playing field.
The game is simple to play, the rules are all contained on your play board and it’s very elegant. There are no grey areas or what ifs, everything is covered. I’m surprised this game didn’t make a bigger splash and that it’s out of print, I would have loved to see more games like it but who knows, games have a habit of reappearing. As it stands it’s a tasty little game and if you can get your your hands on it go for it. It’s a goodie
Oh lest I forget i won. 27 points, my opponents scored 26 and 25 points 🙂
it will be at Knavecon IV
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