I’m a Doctor, Not a Board Gamer: Star Trek Ascendancy Review

I’m the first one to admit: I’m not a Star Trek fan. That’s not to say I don’t like Star Trek, I just have never sat down and watched an episode. I do have access to Hulu now thanks to my subscription with Spotify, and I have considered watching the original series or Star Trek: Next Generation. When my uncle bought Star Trek Ascendancy, I wasn’t sure if this game would be for me because of my limited Star Trek knowledge. I’m EXTREMELY surprised because I thought this game was massively addicting.

Star Trek Ascendancy was published by GaleForce Nine which is a company also producing the Doctor Who board game which is another game I deeply enjoyed. Star Trek Ascendancy allows the player to choose out of four factions to travel deep space with. These include: the Federation, Romulans, Klingons and the Cardassians (which I believe is pronounced similarly to the Kardashians?). I picked the Romulans as everyone in my gaming group had desperately wanted to play the other factions. The goal of the game is to build up your fleet and either take over another faction or acquire five Ascendancy tokens which can be earned by dominating other civilizations.

Star Trek Game May 11th 2019 .jpeg

This is what our game board looked like with all of the factions exploring deep space. It’s madness! Photo taken by me. 

From the above picture, this is towards the middle of the game. Since one of the main components of winning the game is by dominance, it’s crucial to explore different planets. They can net resources for the faction which can be utilized to build or upgrade ships. This allows for better success in intergalactic space battles.

Each faction starts out with a card that givens them an added benefit to the game. I had “the Romulan cloaking device” which allowed me first strike in space battles. I never used the device because my main premise was to dominate other planets. Another aspect of the game is offering “trade agreements”. These agreements are established between planets to avoid conflict and gather resources. Trade agreements are violated when you betray the faction and attack them instead. In our game, I had a trade agreement with my brother. I wholeheartedly believe that if we had time to finish our game, he would have stabbed me in the back and full on attacked me.

I will admit, turn orders are extremely time consuming. As a player, I found my attention wavered because I was waiting for my turn. Turns are split into a “build” and a “command” phase. Building ships and formulating upgrades always happens first. Once you spend your resources, you flip the turn card over and command your ships across the galaxy. As my gaming group started to learn the rules, turns weren’t as lengthy, but in the beginning it felt like a round took forever.

Ultimately, I did highly enjoy this game and I’m not a “trekkie”. I’m actually inspired to watch more Star Trek so I can understand where all the references come from. I have heard nothing but good things about Star Trek Next Generation. I think that might be my new TV watching project after finishing up How To Get Away With Murder. Until then, I’ll keep up my galactic conquest with the Romulans.

 

*If you’re interested in reading the rule book: GaleForce Nine does have the rule book to download free of charge. You can find that here: Star Trek Ascendancy Rulebook*

 

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6 thoughts on “I’m a Doctor, Not a Board Gamer: Star Trek Ascendancy Review

  1. looks like a fun game, and I have wanted to try it but sadly the person I know who has it now no longer lives anywhere near me and I suspect it is similar to stuff I have, and to be fair I really don’t have room for it. But it does look and sound like it would be fun, so thanks for sharing

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  2. Hello Mariah… Good game review. The game comes with three factions: Federation, Klingon and Romulan. I acquired the Cardassian (no ‘H’ sound) faction to add a fourth player. The Andorian and Vulcan faction expansions will be released June 2019; I will most likely acquire those to expand our options. You can convert civilizations via conquest, or another option is to use Hegemony, to convert civilizations via culture; the preferred method of the Federation (think Prime Directive), Mariah won our first game by having the most Ascendancy at our appointed end time. Congratulations Mariah of the Romulan Empire 🙂

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  3. Mariah… If you are interested in watching any one of the TV series, I advocate you read the Star Trek wikipedia, specifically for Gene Rodenberry’s intent, which was quite progressive for the 60’s.

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