Flick it like it’s hot

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Ascending Empires is an oddity. It’s a 4x space game with and unusual movement technique…. You flick the pieces to move them. That’s right it subbuteo in space. OK you’re first thoughts are this is dumb until you sit down and play a game. It’s really really good. Play this game if you get a chance. I’ve had it at Knavecons and its proved itself a minor hit.

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The game sees you and up to three chums expanding out from your initial home planet with a growing murder of ships and troops, colonizing and more importantly defending planets which come in four different colors.

It’s like a condensed version of Twilight Imperium, all in, in under two hours. The flicking mechanism is subtle. It’s not Rampage. You won’t end up flicking pieces off the board. It’s way more interesting than that and it works so well. It does add a random element but rarely a game ruiner and I’d take this over dice rolling any day. Well at least in this game.

Depending on what planets you grab you can tech up different paths and getting to the top of any of these gives you near apocalyptic abilities.

Everything you would expect from a space game are in there. Exploring unknown worlds so you can grab resources and build more stuff. Epic space battles. Well the battles tend to be small scale but no less heart stopping. Back stabbing (my group would back stab at snakes and ladders if it could), researching tech so you can lord it over the other cave man like empires.

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Compared to other games of its type this is a fast game. It certainly packs in a lot during it’s playtime. There’s also very little downtime. I can see why they stuck to four players. Any more would drag the game too much so four is bang on.

This is one I’m going to whip out again and again (oh matron) when i need a four player. Its got everything I want and it certainly gets a place in my cold dead hands collection (c). It’s that good

Huzzah!

Vic

25, 26, 27

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Psssttt!! Want to make some money?  Go have a look at the game Ascending Empires on ebay.  Here use this handy link on BGG

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37919/ascending-empires

$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.

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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.

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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

Huzzah!

Vic

 

 

 

 

Conclave Eve Thur – Being a Drax Report

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Had a small group on Thur so we played those games you never get a chance to play normally.  In this case we got to play

QUARRIORS!

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91536/quarriors

For some reason ‘got to catch them all’ keeps coming to my head when I see the adverts for this game but it couldn’t be further from the reality.  Quarriors is a fair bit like Dominion with Dice

Possibly a bit unfair but there you go.  I LIKE dice games.  I like liar’s dice, I really like roll through the ages and I WANT to like Quarriors but it’s doing a damn fine job of evading my love.  Granted we had too few to really give it a lash but it doesn’t seem to scale that well.  I reckon it’s a full cast or no game.

Just like Dominion you start with two ‘hands’ of dice, this time in a bag, representing money.  you draw six dice roll them and depending on what turns up you pay ‘qudditiy’ (gold) to power them or use your GOLD to buy creatures and enhancements.  it then becomes a bit like Magic the Gathering where you attack your opponent and they defend possibly sacrificing their creatures.

Creatures surviving a round score glory (points) and the first to a set point target wins.  it’s all harmless fun and the skill is in picking a winning strategy whilst defending against your opponent.  NOW here’s the thing, I reckon we must be missing something because it’s all a bit weak.  you build the biggest creatures you can afford and attack your enemy.  Rinse and repeat.  Fastest to get to the highest score wins.  There was a distinct lack of strategy in this game so I’m going to hold off my opinion (It sucks) for now.  As I said I like dice games (this one sucks) and want to like this so watch this space.

next up was ASCENDING EMPIRES

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37919/ascending-empires

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Now THIS is more like it.  I must admit I had no idea about it outside of the fact that it was a 4x game and it had spaceships in.  As the saying goes, you had me at spaceships.

Ascending Empires is a very different game.  You move around the map land troops, conquer planets, fight battles, carve out an empire.  All standard stuff but movement of the ships is achieved by flicking your little round ships.  If they collide with an enemy both ships die, if you outnumber your opponents ships within a certain range you destroy him.

Ships can be converted to troops to land on a planet, to build structures and to summon more troops.  Structures can be used to score end game points or allow research of better stuff.

I LOVE this game.  its simple, the flicking mechanic works perfectly.  The board could be better.  The joins between sections are a bit iffy in places and can affect your flick but it didn’t when we played it.

I’m going to bring this to Conclave (and possibly everywhere I go) and show it off.  It’s a cracker and I’m surprised it didn’t make a bigger splash when it was released.

It’s no longer in print but there’s a few copies out there so you’ll get it secondhand easily enough.

So after Conclave tomorrow it’s back to thur and more Huzzahs

Huzzah!

Vic

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