1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Modern Classic,
This review is from: Ascending Empires (Toy)
For years, hobby gamers have been searching for the ultimate space empire-building game. I've been looking myself for over 30 years, and I think I might have found it. While designs have trended to the complex and bloated with extreme playing times (see Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition), out of nowhere comes this simple, fast-playing gem based on one of the most basic game mechanics -- disc-flicking. Painted wooden discs representing your spaceships move around the galaxy at the snap of a finger.
But I'm no good at flicking, you say. Fear not! 90% of the flicks you make in the game will only need to go a few inches. It's not at all tricky, at least with a little practice. Some have complained about the seams in the puzzle-cut board affecting their flicks, but they aren't so bad -- just think of them as space obstacles messing with your plans.
The genius of the game shines in the complex interplay of simple mechanisms, from the basic yet varied tech tree to the straightforward recruiting and production. And although the rules are simple, multiple viable strategies are possible. This game is a well oiled fun machine. And unlike many empire-builder type games, Ascending Empires is a blast even with only two players.
If there is one complaint to be made, it's the confusing organization of the rulebook. There are actually very few ambiguities, but you often have to dig through the rules, examples, and glossary to find things. What few questions remain have been answered online by the designer (and can be found at the Boardgamegeek website, along with variants and scenarios). Some people can't get past the effect of the board seams on the flicking, but in my opinion they just add to the fun. The flicking is the only non-deterministic element of the game (aside from the initial semi-random distribution of planets on the board), so it adds just a little extra chance element. (A few enterprising folks have gone so far as to construct their own one-piece wooden Crokinole-style boards for the game.)