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Ascendancy - a light game of strategy and cunning

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freelix
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Joined: 06/15/2014

Hi everyone!

Ascendancy is an area control game that is quick to learn and play.

I have spent over four years now refining and distilling my game, and would love feedback from this community of board game designers.

Any questions or comments highly appreciated. I have a feedback form (link below), but happy to take feedback in any shape or form!

Link to PNP/rules:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/igs4vmxzqv9s5r6/AADa1T0fWb-Xt03KIykxJCsha?dl=0

Feedback form:
https://goo.gl/forms/N4qNggW5ZICbCaFm2

Here's my BGG thread:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27980098#27980098

ruy343
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Joined: 07/03/2013
cursory thoughts

I read through your rules, and I have some thoughts:

-As a reader, I just want confirmation that I can, as an action on my turn, replace two numbered tiles, even if one of those tiles is face-up due to an attack
-your tiles need a clearer indication of color. A thick, colored circle in the middle of a tile would likely be easier to see than the ringed hexagon
-I feel that the last player being able to attack without retaliation on the last round of a given game is quite powerful, especially since they could attack, then claim the last spot without retaliation. Alternately, they could claim three spots, and instantly end the game. Do playtests reveal that the last player has any advantage?
-Have you done any blind playtesting with people in your community?

Finally, regarding theme, have you considered a "Hacking" theme, where the players are erecting claiming servers for a corporation or government entity?

Also, have you considered that the competition for large areas might make people feel frustrated if constantly countered? Could you possibly reduce the size of these "regions" and include some independent hexes which are independently worth 1 or 2 points?

Hope that helps!
-ruy343

freelix
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Joined: 06/15/2014
Wow thank you for taking the

Wow thank you for taking the time to read and give me feedback! That's awesome! Apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

To respond specifically to your points:

- confirmed! Once you've attacked and the winner is decided, whichever counter is left on the tile will be face down. I've clarified the wording in the rules now.

- This is really useful. My prototypes have been low-fi, in part due to my limitations graphically... I've noted this as a point to improve in future :)

- Re: last turn advantage. This is something I've monitored closely in development, and previously had all sorts of alternative ideas and variable turn order. Somewhat fortuitously, it turns out that first turn advantage (because it's easier to claim empty tiles) and last turn advantage even out, and that neither are overwhelming. Last turn advantage is also limited by the hidden tile values, the limit to 3 moves, and the mechanism that winning defenders may switch out tiles. - of course, if you play and find otherwise, I would love to know about it!

- No truly blind playtests yet, so this is my next goal. I've passively observed games played by friends reading the rules for the first time (massively helpful). I'm new in SF, so looking to join some groups for this purpose (and to help others!).

- Love the hacking theme idea (though I know nothing about hacking...). I'll add it to the list of themes I mention as prompts when asking playtesters.

- This is a point that I've never found actually happens during a game. There are enough different districts to allow for varied moves. Also, from a psychological point, where two players have frustrated each other they tend to change strategy pretty quickly.

I really appreciate your input. If you ever find time for the PNP, I would love to hear how you found the game :)

ruy343
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Joined: 07/03/2013
If you haven't been having

If you haven't been having trouble with first or last-player dominance, you might be OK. But bear in mind that sometimes, the middle-players might feel like they get the short end of the stick too (like in Settlers of Catan during Setup). I don't know yet how you'd fix it, but it's worth watching for.

A thought I had when reading it, but didn't know how to express it before - does space matter? Does owning a bunch of areas on one side of the table affect your gameplay? Can I think tactically (I'll target here, then use my positioning advantage to hit here next) while I play? I think that you might toy with the idea that your "attack" or "defense" value might get a +1 for each adjacent owned hex, creating a battle line that still allows for daring attacks into enemy territory with a strong marker.

Also, another thought I had about your game, tying in with your "districts" with distinct colors, but how they don't necessarily need to be adjacent - have you considered that the final setup doesn't need to be in a perfect hexagonal shape? What if you instead allowed the players to set it up as they saw fit, but ensure that it stays a given size by creating a few simple set-up rules (e.g. "all hexes must touch at least two more hexes", or "all hexes must be within 8 hexes of each other"). Thus, during setup, you might create gaps in territory that players work around. Maybe you could even include situations where hexes move around, and areas that a player had thought were safe are suddenly open to attack

Just some thoughts you might consider

freelix
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Joined: 06/15/2014
I've just been at Board Game

I've just been at Board Game Blitz Con, and together with your thoughts I am so happy to be getting outsiders' ideas!

I've been craving negative/game-breaking feedback but it's so cool to observe where the game takes people in terms of new/additional ideas. Your setup idea is the most creative one I've heard so far and I love it, but it blows my mind from the perspective of designing for balance on a potentially asymmetric board.

With that in mind, I've always felt conflicted between wanting to design (and "perfect") only the "base game" or flesh it out with a more thematic layer and alternatives. I've only focused on the base game, which is as it currently looks, and could be sold as an abstract strategy game. But I'd love input about how marketable that really is, or whether I need more depth (where depth does not mean the same thing as complexity) before it makes sense to even research publishers.

What do you think?

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