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The Joy of Unboxing: Star Trek: Ascendancy

By June 7, 2018August 28th, 2019Boardgames, Unboxing, Videos

Yours — is the superior intellect.

Let’s beam up Star Trek: Ascendancy by Gale Force Nine and see what materialises.

I’ve always been more Star Trek than Star Wars, but despite my interest in the milieu I held off on buying Gale Force Nine’s big 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) game for quite a while. But it eventually popped up in my inbox at a reasonable price, and I couldn’t resist. Is it a good game? I’m dying to find out, because this is the kind of game that people seem to love and some people love to hate. Everyone does agree however, that it’s long and there’s a lot of down time.

But long, involving games can be a lot of fun (let’s face it, War of the Ring is my all-time favourite), so despite the down time, I’m hoping this one is immersive and interesting enough to really bring the Star Trek universe to life. Before I discover that however, let’s discover the contents of said box together. Boldly go!

Let me know if you’ve played the game and your experiences with it. Of course, an excellent rules summary always helps, and the EOG one is almost done and coming to this website very soon!


  • Eric says:

    Ascendancy is an awesome game, can’t wait to play with the Ferengi and Cardassians expansions. Just playing the game is fun especially when you see the systems or Phenomena and remember the episodes/movies that introduced them. But if you want to win you need to remember which faction you are (special abilities) and how you earn more culture beyond having culture buildings on colonies. Have played four times, both times I played the Federation I won with having 5 Ascendancy tokens. You need to have good luck with the exploration cards too, as a fellow player who played the Federation ALWAYS pulled Pre-Warp civilization cards and the Federation can’t not deal with Pre-warp civilizations so he got shut down rather quickly. Also noticed each time we played the other players never tried to connect systems to interact with the other players unless they had too.

    • Thanks for those insights Eric! I’m hoping to get this to the table this evening. I don’t mind a bit of luck-of-the-draw, but I know a lot of gamers get frustrated by having their best-laid plans spoiled by a bad draw or dice roll. Glad to hear the game is fun though.

  • Soulsorcerer says:

    Everyone can make “good” plans when everything is going like predicted. It takes great planning to survive when everything goes wrong and mitigating such things is the real challenge. Much more fun imho 🙂

  • Soulsorcerer says:

    And besides that…what did you think of the game?

    • Really enjoyed it, even though it was very long at 5 hours (but that was expected as it was our first game). The down time between turns is a bit too long, but I think a simultaneous build phase should fix that. Apart from that we enjoyed it so much we might be having a rematch in a few days.

  • Soulsorcerer says:

    Sounds good 🙂

  • Davon says:

    I love this game – so much so that I created an STA Meetup just to find more players! As you noted, it *is* long, with at times considerable downtime, so it’s not for the average gamer. Fortunately, I now have a good group going where we can regularly play 4-5 player games (sometimes Borg, too). If you’re ever in Washington, DC, look us up!

  • Greg says:

    Partly inspired by your playthroughs, I’ve just ordered the game myself – likewise it was on sale!
    Initially I was hesitant because I felt that Star Trek was already a largely known & explored universe, so starting from scratch as if none of that existed already seemed ‘untrue’.
    But you convinced me, and I’m hoping that it will be good: but as I love Star Trek it’s probably a guarantee.
    I’m planning on utilising your idea of a ‘simultaneous build phase’ as well – to reduce the waiting between turns.
    You might be interested to know that I’m also toying with the idea of splitting up the COMMAND PHASE – so that, starting with the turn order player, each player takes ONE command action (exhausting 1 command token) at a time, then the next player, cycling around until all players have exhausted their supply of command tokens. … whilst I think that this has promise to make the game much more interactive – and mean that each player will have to carefully prioritise their command actions – I’m keen to hear whether you think this idea is workable?
    I’ve also noted that BBG has some fan-made ‘solo’ rules available (completely independent of the Borg expansion)… which might be compulsory for me to try.
    If you ever get around to purchasing/trying any of the STA expansions, I’d love to see your unboxing, review and playthroughs! 🙂

    • I’m not personally a fan of house ruling games, to be honest, unless it’s a really well known and accepted small change. I figure that the desgners of the game played it enough times to make the right decisions, on the whole. Certainly changing major things after I’ve played it only a few times doesn’t appeal.

      I have bought a few expansions since, but haven’t had a chance to play them yet. Lately it’s been difficult to play games that need more than 2 players!

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