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Subject: Question on frequency and overcoming bad luck rss

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tibbles von tibbleton
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I've played Eclipse twice now and while I like many of the game mechanics and really want to like this game, I feel like I got screwed over by luck both games and as such my interest has taken a powerful hit. So, I've got a part rant, part question for you guys. I'd like to know how common is luck like this and if there was something a more knowledgeable player could have done to recover?

First game, we played all expansions. First round, I explored my tier1 hex and had a good hex, but with a guardian. My 2 tier3 hexes were a brown cube hex and a white cube hex, so seemed an okay start. The person beside me explored his tier2 and got one of those guardian hives. First round it moved on to my homeworld and took it from me. (We looked it up later, it wasn't supposed to attack until round 2, but still, you'll see that wouldn't have mattered much). Second round, I upgraded the hull and built a dreadnought to retake my homeworld and lost that like 85% odds fight. My exploration revealed a hex with brown and pink cubes but guarded by 2 guardians. My income was 3/2/3 at the cost of 2 discs. Third round another player took my home system from the guardians and I had to make a trade deal with them anyways just to get a cube. 4/2/3 income. Round 4-6, got rift cannons (no imp hull or plasma available) and put them on fighters to try to suicide capture the 2 guardian hex. Lost twice. Round 7, finally captured the hex, at the cost of 3 discs, my income was now a whole 6/3/4. Round 8, guy who took my homeworld broke our agreement and took my brown cube world too. Income down to 4/3/3. Round 9, I ended the game by buying neutron bombs and retaking my homeworld as the guy holding it got slammed by the game winner from the other side. The game winner could've taken my homeworld too, but knew he'd already won so let me retake it out of pity instead of contesting it too. Over the course of the entire game I only researched 2 techs and built 2 dreadnoughts and 6 fighters.

Second game, base only. Nowhere to go, but up, right? Tier1 hex was a 3pointer with a pink cube. Tier3 hex was a 1 pink cube. Tier 2 hex was empty but for a bonus token. Not the greatest start, but due to 5p map layout I had more tier1 and 2 hex space than anyone, so I was still confident. Round 2 I revealed 2 good hexes, both single guardian controlled and 2 empty hexes with bonus tiles. Okay, I thought, here we go, a dreadnought or some cruisers and can get this game rolling. Then, my Planta neighbor, another new player attacked my homeworld with 2 dreads sporting imp hulls. He didn't realize I could build after he flew in, so I built defenses and stopped his attack...Problem was, that consumed all the resources I had saved to build guardian killing ships and to pay for the actions I had to even pull back those 2 pink cube systems. My income, 3/3/3, with no open expansion possible except the single pink cube systems. Everyone else at the table, including my attacker, like 8/6/6. Fast forward to round 6, everyone else had killed their guardians long ago, but I finally afforded a dreadnought with plasma cannon upgrades to take 1 good guardian hex and made an alliance so my income went from 3/3/3 to 6/3/4. I ended the game having cleared the 2 good hexes of guardians, but lost 1 to a neighbor the very next round, leaving my income about the same. Everyone else was up around 18/8/10 or so income. Over the entire game I researched 3 techs and built 4 starbases, 5 fighters, and 2 dreadnoughts.

TL;DR; point: 2 games now, I had barely any income cause I couldn't get to the ramping point, so my turns felt boring. I was always first or second to pass. I don't care about the victory point aspect (I even ended the second game at 26pts. 10pts hexes, 1pt tech, 15pts in bonuses), it was the fact I barely got to play the game. I couldn't afford tech, couldn't afford many units, and even if I had tech I couldn't afford the upgrade action anyways. Everyone else had income in the teens to do more actions and could afford to buy tech and upgrade every round.

What should I have done? One guy suggested to go orbitals next time that happens, beef up those 1 pink cube hexes. Sure, I like that idea, but how do I pay for orbitals on an income of 3/3/3?

I still like the idea of most of the mechanics, I like that the discs are used both for actions and holding your empire. And I love the ship upgrading system. But I am dubious on the hex luck coupled with the nonlinear resource ramping. I'm all for economic snowballing in Euro games, but if a bad opening hex draw (or early player attack) keeps you from ever achieving the snowball then the game is not much fun. And Eclipse is too long to want to sit there with no actions.
 
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Paul Brown
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First of all the orbital suggestion is bad advice, as spending your few precious materials on that is a waste when you need them for ships.

Second, there are only two hives so you got really unlucky to draw them, but if you don't like them simply remove them. They are just one module that you don't have to use if they feel too random.

Third, don't use interceptors to expand at the start, and especially don't "suicide" them, as losing even a few ships at the start of the game can really set you back. Losing battles that way, twice, was probably the biggest mistake you made that game.

Fourth, try exploring such that you, and not your opponent, get to decide what hexes connect wormholes where. Exploring to decide the paths to your homeworld prevents them from wiping you out early.

Fifth, if a system has less than 2 planets I can colonize I usually don't hold on to it. The increase in your upkeep isn't worth the return, so ditch them quickly.

Finally, if hexes aren't what you want, don't keep them! You can always just pass on the tile and then explore that area again next turn.

The luck of this game gives some flavor but can largely be mitigated. I have never played a game where I felt helpless the whole game as you just have to learn to adapt to the situation and not take big risks.
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Peter O
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Don't forget the starting interceptor when you battle with your dreadnaught. Slapping a basic hull in the empty slot can greatly help your odds. So if you lost your interceptor turn one to the hive ancient, then it did affect the battle significantly. Also, the proper timing gives you more notice to gear up your dreadnaught. I never recommend Hives with new players for this very reason.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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Thanks for the reply. Couple clarifications though, in case this changes anything:

1. The Hive was revealed by someone else, it just flew at me. I was good (I think) at revealing routes. First game I only had 1 entry via my tier1 cause my neighbor was the Orions. Second game I placed 1 entry to the center and 1 to the Planta.

2. I'd have loved to be able to ditch 1 planet systems, but in the first game they were my empire for 6 rounds. Second game I did skip holding the 1 planet pinks, cause it would have been +3 research for 2 discs.

3. As to suiciding the interceptors, I admit, possibly not the best idea. But what would you do in that position? You've got 4/2/3 income per round, 8 science from a bonus tile, and no ships on the board. What's the fastest and best way to get more income? My only expansion options were attacking the Orion cruiser in my home system and losing that 1 diplo cube or attacking the 2 guardian hex. I figured I was in deep trouble, so might as well buy rift cannons and gamble on some good rolls with interceptors instead of waiting 4 rounds to build enough dreadnoughts or cruisers to take on 2 guardians at once. (Remember, there was no Imp Hull or Plasma Guns available). Sadly the rolls didn't work out, but if they did that system would have almost doubled my income.

4. In retrospect, keeping the 1 pink planet hexes the second game was bad and lead to my inability to expand anywhere useful. But at the time of reveal, 1 pink and 1 bonus tile seemed an okay hex to keep. Due to the layout of the map I got to reveal my tier 1, 3 tier 2s, and 4 tier3s I think it was. Knowing that on round 1, I kept the mediocre draws rather than waste the turn. It just happened to play out that everything in round 2 was covered by guardians or empty space with a token (I planned to dump that one, but the deck was near empty, figured a bonus token was better than no system). I didn't get any unguarded planet hexes to use in place of those single pinks.
...I can't recall exactly, but game 2 I want to say this was what I drew:
Tier 1 - 1 x 1 pink planet, 1 advanced planet
Tier 2 - 2 x 2 planet systems with 1 guardian and bonus token. 1 taken by another player.
1 x empty system with bonus token
Tier 3 - 1 x pink planet, probably bonus token
1 x 1 orange planet, 1 advanced planet, taken by Planta
1 x empty system with bonus token, was last hex in deck
1 x 2 planet system with 1 guardian and bonus token

I could be bit off, but that's fairly close. I ended with 4-5 bonus tokens, 1-2 used, 3 for points and the planets I held is correct.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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tranenturm wrote:
Don't forget the starting interceptor when you battle with your dreadnaught. Slapping a basic hull in the empty slot can greatly help your odds. So if you lost your interceptor turn one to the hive ancient, then it did affect the battle significantly. Also, the proper timing gives you more notice to gear up your dreadnaught. I never recommend Hives with new players for this very reason.


Good point. The way I rolled, and the way the guy rolling for the guardians rolled 6s it wouldn't have helped, but an extra 2 hull and 1 cannon in that fight would have made the round 2 fight a lot more probable.
 
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Jan-Willem van Leeuwen
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Those are two miserable experiences! I know it can be a harsh game, but for your first two games to be like that is no fun at all.

I'd say the first game the error with the hive had more impact that you think. Losing your homeworld on round 1 immediately destroys your economy. I don't think risking a dreadnought with only 85% chance of winning is a good idea, but losing it is still bad luck. From there it was hopeless. Lesson: Don't take too many risks with fights against ancients, and take comfort in the thought that being attacked by a hive on round 1 is very unlikely. Give the game another shot.

Of course you did give the game another shot, and it was a miserable experience too. I wonder what happened in that game though; did your Planta neighbour really have two dreadnoughts in round 2? He must have found some great discoveries... Still it may have been better to let him have your homeworld and focus on attacking ancients. You save your resources, which you can then use to attack the Planta player later. After you've told everyone on the table that he is the player to beat, now that he has conquered a homeworld. But even better would be to use table talk beforehand to tell him it's a bad idea to attack you.

By the way, did you trade a lot of resources in your two games? It's not so bad when you're a terran faction, but you still should avoid it. Especially science should not be traded for another resource but be used for research, it is that important.

Also note that you can take the discovery tile and take back the disc by going bankrupt, if the sector has nothing much to offer.

Final thought: we use a house rule that allows us to discard a hex and draw a new one when exploring one of the four initial neighbouring hexes, at the cost of 1 colony ship usage. It mitigates the luck of the draw a little.



 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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janwillemvl wrote:
...Did your Planta neighbour really have two dreadnoughts in round 2? He must have found some great discoveries... Still it may have been better to let him have your homeworld and focus on attacking ancients. You save your resources, which you can then use to attack the Planta player later. After you've told everyone on the table that he is the player to beat, now that he has conquered a homeworld. But even better would be to use table talk beforehand to tell him it's a bad idea to attack you.

By the way, did you trade a lot of resources in your two games? It's not so bad when you're a terran faction, but you still should avoid it. Especially science should not be traded for another resource but be used for research, it is that important.

Also note that you can take the discovery tile and take back the disc by going bankrupt, if the sector has nothing much to offer.


Yes, I think the Planta guy got decent hexes, possibly an 8 material bonsu token, imp hull cause he rolled first player, and the bonus token which is a 3 movement drive, so that's how he flew 2 dreads in that fast. He table talked it in that he got 0 ancients, so since I refused to rotate one of those tier 2s towards him, he had to use the dreads on me. I figured if I gave him the tier 2 ancient, he'd still have 2 dreads 1 hex from me, plus the tier 2 hex income, so better to annoy him and keep the hex to myself. Not bothering to defend at all is an idea I didn't really consider since the system is 3 planets, (not to mention the huge annoyance of losing my homeworld in the opening round 2 games in a row) but then it was the going broke to defend it that ruined me.

Edit: I will grant that had I been more experienced at evaluating the odds, were I to defend I would have either built 1 unit less or made 1 mobile unit vs 2 starbases. His imp hull dreads were better than my starbases so I built 4 expecting to win with 1-2 losses. But I rolled so well I didn't even lose 1. 3 would have won it for me (but risked a loss) or 2 and a cruiser perhaps.

I traded in a ton of research (well relatively speaking, you see my income) for materials. When I did my defense build I dumped my 8 research bonus all in to 4 mats. Definitely seemed nonideal, but can't wait 3 rounds on 1 ship either...
 
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Heiko Günther
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I would not disregard orbitals as "bad advice", I have found them to offer a powerful strategy based on your surroundings. Though going into a game with a set plan (like "build orbitals") in Eclipse seldom is successful.

Also, congrats on your group, you seem to have very active combat from the start and it sounds like I would enjoy playing with you guys.

85% is really bad odds when sending basically all you got into a fight. Unless all other options are worse, waiting another turn and beefing that up is the better option.

Going for dreadnought when low on materials might have been a non-optimal decision. Fighter+Cruiser, or Cruiser+Cruiser might have cost less or only slightly more while increasing your chances of not surfacing from this particular fight dirt poor and undefended.

It might be also considered a bit ambitious to use "all the stuff" in the first game. The designers recommend playing only terrans for your first game, and I would add that you should omit almost all expansion stuff as well. Learning the basics is more fun that way and won't leave you with a sour experience that easily.

Generally speaking, if I get cornered by bad decisions and/or oppressing neighbours in Eclipse, I have found it a good idea to gather strength for one or two rounds, even if that means I do virtually nothing for like half an hour, and come back with a vengeance. Generally, most players are sympathetic towards the one who lies on the floor bleeding, and, unless it crosses their plans, help you out a bit. Make it look like it _is_ their plan to attack your neighbour from the other side, like it is their _best_ option to invade the system with the ancients that your most dangerous neighbour wanted for himself.

Tactical bankruptcy is a valuable tool, I would consider looking into that n such situation.

Yeah, the ancients invading your home system should not have attacked the first turn, they move in the cleanup phase and only block your system for the first round, which effectively would have meant that you have your home system income for the full first three rounds, by which time you might have build up enough force to shy your neighbour away.
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Peter O
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I've had games where someone else revealing the Hive put a new player in the exact same position as you (losing a home world early in game). Hive shouldn't be in the game at ALL unless players are good at BOTH knowing battle odds AND have a plan on how to build a reasonable fleet by the end of turn 2. You obviously had a dreadnaught so you did part of it okay, but then got really unlucky (first the 1 in 6 of choosing your homeworld, then the 15% of winning).

I do NOT advise orbitals in your position unless you are producing at least 5 material per turn, preferably more. Your description includes aggressive neighbors. If you went through the trouble of spending an action and science to research orbitals, and then spent an action and all your materials to build 1 orbital, what is there to prevent your Orion neighbor from rewarding you by taking this nicely upgraded system?

What race were you? It sounds like your pals weren't playing Terran. Teaching games should be ALL Terran to help the learning curve (and prevent Orion from picking on new players).

Next, every time you discover a hex you need to ask yourself, do I have a plan for this hex? Will I EVER use it? If not, why not discard it to get something better next you? Some people HATE "losing" an action. That action costs 2 or 3 money at that stage in the game. So because they don't want to "lose" 2 or 3 money they live with a dead spot in their empire. Discarding too many is also a problem. There aren't many "great" hexes. Knowing how to make due is important. It sounds like you are not afraid of ancients so those are probably in your "good" list. So what do you do when you don't draw ancients? There are only two hexes in Tier II, and 2 in Tier III with no ancients and two immediately usable planets. Everything else is either ancients, a hex with one basic and one advanced, or a discovery hex with 0-1 planets (base game). What you do with each hex is a product of not only the hex itself, but what other hexes you have available.

If you have any ancients at all, it's usually (but not always) worth it to build a fleet first and concentrate on tech to make it better. Most but not all ancient systems reward you well for doing that. Having multiple systems with ancients is even better as once you have the fleet for one system, the others are gravy.

If you have no ancients, then you're getting a mix of discovery and advanced systems. You're tier I system will have advanced as will your home world. You're best bet is to race for the appropriate advanced tech. Obviously any other advanced planets you find in your Tier II and III will also influence you. Sometimes you want to influence these systems and sometimes you don't. How many turns till the advanced tech? Does the system have basic science (it may be worth "trading" the disc for the science)? Does it have a basic material planet that gets you to a critical level sooner than just the 2:1 (or whatever) trade gets you there? Do you have enough basic material worlds that going orbitals DOES make sense (and peaceful or occupied neighbors)?

Discoveries at this stage are hopefully usable and not just 2 pts. They are too varied for a complete discussion here, but once you start getting them what are you going to do with them? They NEED to help propel you forward. But forward where? (Tactical bankruptcy is important here as well).

Eclipse is about making due with what you got, or taking someone else stuff. If you've explored a LOT and only came up with discoveries, then its off to the Galactic Core or attacking a neighbor. Ship parts are basically military. So the question is, how does this ship part get me to the Galatic center? Resources depend on tech available and other considerations. Did I get the +material discovery. Normally that equals a dreadnaught (which equals war) but if war isn't profitable, then turning it into 2 orbitals might be.

I'm just scratching the surface, but hopefully you get the ideas.

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Jim Parkin
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lee elektrik wrote:
Tactical bankruptcy is a valuable tool, I would consider looking into that n such situation.

I can't agree with this more. It's definitely one of the most thematic 4x elements in Eclipse, and it's a necessity in streamlining your empire as it grows and expands.

At this point, my other points have already been raised, but I'll reiterated that in both of your games as a new player, the game was not set up very well. I don't have a problem mixing some of the Rise of the Ancients content in for a new player, but Hives and Ancient Homeworlds are definitely not on that list. Playing all Terrans is extremely helpful, too.
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tibbles von tibbleton
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I'm sorry, I feel like I'm missing the bankruptcy emphasis. If you're just making sure I didn't keep influence discs on the empty systems after collecting the bonuses, I did not. First game I had to keep the 1 planet hexes cause without them I lost the game until round 7 and I finally had that guarded 2 planet hex. Game 2 I had my homeworld alone from round 2 to round 6. Both games my empire was so tiny I had nothing to strategically bankrupt after round 1. If there was something even better I could have done with bankruptcy, you'll have to spell it out.

My discoveries were not useful, to say the least. Game 1 it was all high power military tech which I kept for midgame, then never got there due to hive. Game 2 I forget exactly what but there was reason I mostly kept the points. For example, I drew 8 income right after setting myself to intentionally bankrupt away the empties. I'd have loved 8 income...next round. I think game 2 I kept an 8 research and the shields cause I could power those and no imp hull was coming out.

And yeah, the hosts adding in hives and aliens was harsh, but the others excepting Planta guy and I have played 10+ times each. And I usually do pretty well at those types of games so I don't fault them for not handicapping. But expecting to lose is diff from expecting to be out of the game by round 2.
 
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Vende Vendetta
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About exploration we always play with the tournament rules and works pretty nice.

You can discard the hex you explore and draw another one.

You can do this up to 4 times in a entire game.

First draw is free, the second time cost 1 vp at the end of the game, the 3rd cost 2vp and the 4º cost 4vp´s.

This way you can minimize the bad luck in exploration at the beginning.

Sorry for my english..
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Jim Parkin
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vendettarock wrote:
About exploration we always play with the tournament rules and works pretty nice.

You can discard the hex you explore and draw another one.

You can do this up to 4 times in a entire game.

First draw is free, the second time cost 1 vp at the end of the game, the 3rd cost 2vp and the 4º cost 4vp´s.

This way you can minimize the bad luck in exploration at the beginning.

Sorry for my english..

I was unfamiliar with that. I like it.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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tranenturm wrote:
...


Thanks for the long reply, got a chance to reread this after work.

The point about orbitals makes sense. I was just thinking about the logistics of buying them on 3 material income, but with no materials I'd also be at the mercy of anyone taking them from me.

I was Terran both games. Orion looks pretty darn strong from where I was sitting, but I don't object to not everyone being Terran. That first game I was prepped to concede my tier1 hex to the Orions in the early game, even before the Hive knocked me out. And I'm pretty sure he wasn't such a dick he'd have taken a 1st time player's homeworld on round 3 had the guardians not taken it first and my counter attack died. And second game I did what one of the intro guides on here suggested, I opened a tier3 path to Planta to allow a late game backstab if I wanted. Turned out to allow his round 2 backstab instead, but that was his great discovery luck.

I will definitely have to think harder next time on what hexes to keep. That makes sense and I can see being better off with say 4 decent hexes rather than keeping whatever 6 I draw first. Let's just talk game 2 here, cause game 1 I had no idea at all what to keep and lucked in to decent hexes that would have gone okay sans Hive. Game 2 I first drew those 1 planet pinks and thought, "Not great, but I can use those right away and can't let Planta take them all. Keep." But yeah, given I wanted to draw for 2 planets, ie mostly guardian ones, single pink planets were not good keepers. They weren't the right type of economic boost I needed at that moment and with no key military techs on the market they didn't help boost in that way either. (I do realize tech heavy is a route to win, and I did think about that a bit, but there were the Hydrians in the game too, so figured I couldn't outmatch them).
...Well, I probably had to keep the tier1 pink planet because not keeping it would have risked the Planta (who went first), revealing my tier1 redraw instead of me. But I could have safely dumped the tier3 round 1 and one of the empties on round 2.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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Oh, I feel like I got kinda side tracked from my focal question. I get that by some better play I probably could have had 1-2 better hexes to sit on. And it would seem that counter attacking in round 2 with high odds is considered a much worse move than sitting on negligible income until round 3 for a 99% win chance. I do appreciate those tips and will use them game 3.

But, still, let's say you already had the bad luck. You didn't get anything better on hex redraw or you lost that 99% fight. You find yourself on an income like 3/3/3, what do you do? Can you recover?

Is it basically just do nothing for enough rounds to slooowly buy ship(s) and trust that no one will be enough of a dick to finish you off in the meantime? I'm blanking on anything better (hence the thread), but I don't see this getting you back in the game. 3 rounds later you've finally got 2 cruisers with 1 tech upgrade. Meanwhile in those 3 rounds everyone else at the table took in the resources to build 5 cruisers and 3 techs...

Seems like you're still talking sitting bored for 1/3rd or more of the game to maybe have a shot playing for 2nd to last. I get back to my complaint on game 2. You might see 26pts and think I did okay. And it was a low scoring game, so I actually placed 3rd (all due to vp tile drawing luck). But I didn't get to PLAY. I'd have rather started strong, but been wiped out in a round 9 backstab and ended 5th than limp 7/9 rounds in to 3rd. Eclipse's cool ship modification system has little charm when you only get to take the upgrade action 3 times in an entire game.
 
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Chris K.
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tibbles wrote:
Oh, I feel like I got kinda side tracked from my focal question. I get that by some better play I probably could have had 1-2 better hexes to sit on. And it would seem that counter attacking in round 2 with high odds is considered a much worse move than sitting on negligible income until round 3 for a 99% win chance. I do appreciate those tips and will use them game 3.

But, still, let's say you already had the bad luck. You didn't get anything better on hex redraw or you lost that 99% fight. You find yourself on an income like 3/3/3, what do you do? Can you recover?

Is it basically just do nothing for enough rounds to slooowly buy ship(s) and trust that no one will be enough of a dick to finish you off in the meantime? I'm blanking on anything better (hence the thread), but I don't see this getting you back in the game. 3 rounds later you've finally got 2 cruisers with 1 tech upgrade. Meanwhile in those 3 rounds everyone else at the table took in the resources to build 5 cruisers and 3 techs...

Seems like you're still talking sitting bored for 1/3rd or more of the game to maybe have a shot playing for 2nd to last. I get back to my complaint on game 2. You might see 26pts and think I did okay. And it was a low scoring game, so I actually placed 3rd (all due to vp tile drawing luck). But I didn't get to PLAY. I'd have rather started strong, but been wiped out in a round 9 backstab and ended 5th than limp 7/9 rounds in to 3rd. Eclipse's cool ship modification system has little charm when you only get to take the upgrade action 3 times in an entire game.


It really depends on the experience level of the game group.
Here's the thing about Eclipse. It only has some of the hallmarks of a growth game. In a pure exponential growth game missing out on one or two rounds of ideal progression costs you the game.
In Eclipse there are diminishing returns and for some areas outright limits to how many VPs you can achieve. That is why you rarely see scores over fifty and winning scores generally start around the high thirties.

In most situations it only takes about 5 to 6 rounds to generate the bulk of your points. Some people will sit on their upper thirties to forties score in round 6 and then try to hold on to it, some will only get there in the last round of the game. So being pushed WAY back for a round or three does not really spell the end for you. I have had games where I was bombed down to one system and one interceptor by the end of round 3 and still won it.

However, here's where experience of the table comes in:
- If your neighbor is taking many of your good systems, the other players should see him as a threat to their own victory and start creating trouble for the neighbor. Less experienced players often rather play a bit of multiplayer solitaire and try to outrace the strong player rather than take them down a notch.
- growing costs of empire management (discs on the board) generally make it unattractive to really take over everything a neighbor has, however newer players often don't fully grasp that yet and apply the "he who smacks his neighbor around wins" strategy so true for many other multiplayer games. In my experience in Eclipse it will make you look strong but not actually win you the game. Somebody else with a smaller, more efficient empire will win instead. Hence an experienced player will probably take over your homesystem and maybe one other and you can still patiently rebuild from the remainder and bide your time for when he is busy elsewhere.
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Jim Parkin
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chrisdk wrote:
tibbles wrote:
Oh, I feel like I got kinda side tracked from my focal question. I get that by some better play I probably could have had 1-2 better hexes to sit on. And it would seem that counter attacking in round 2 with high odds is considered a much worse move than sitting on negligible income until round 3 for a 99% win chance. I do appreciate those tips and will use them game 3.

But, still, let's say you already had the bad luck. You didn't get anything better on hex redraw or you lost that 99% fight. You find yourself on an income like 3/3/3, what do you do? Can you recover?

Is it basically just do nothing for enough rounds to slooowly buy ship(s) and trust that no one will be enough of a dick to finish you off in the meantime? I'm blanking on anything better (hence the thread), but I don't see this getting you back in the game. 3 rounds later you've finally got 2 cruisers with 1 tech upgrade. Meanwhile in those 3 rounds everyone else at the table took in the resources to build 5 cruisers and 3 techs...

Seems like you're still talking sitting bored for 1/3rd or more of the game to maybe have a shot playing for 2nd to last. I get back to my complaint on game 2. You might see 26pts and think I did okay. And it was a low scoring game, so I actually placed 3rd (all due to vp tile drawing luck). But I didn't get to PLAY. I'd have rather started strong, but been wiped out in a round 9 backstab and ended 5th than limp 7/9 rounds in to 3rd. Eclipse's cool ship modification system has little charm when you only get to take the upgrade action 3 times in an entire game.


It really depends on the experience level of the game group.
Here's the thing about Eclipse. It only has some of the hallmarks of a growth game. In a pure exponential growth game missing out on one or two rounds of ideal progression costs you the game.
In Eclipse there are diminishing returns and for some areas outright limits to how many VPs you can achieve. That is why you rarely see scores over fifty and winning scores generally start around the high thirties.

In most situations it only takes about 5 to 6 rounds to generate the bulk of your points. Some people will sit on their upper thirties to forties score in round 6 and then try to hold on to it, some will only get there in the last round of the game. So being pushed WAY back for a round or three does not really spell the end for you. I have had games where I was bombed down to one system and one interceptor by the end of round 3 and still won it.

However, here's where experience of the table comes in:
- If your neighbor is taking many of your good systems, the other players should see him as a threat to their own victory and start creating trouble for the neighbor. Less experienced players often rather play a bit of multiplayer solitaire and try to outrace the strong player rather than take them down a notch.
- growing costs of empire management (discs on the board) generally make it unattractive to really take over everything a neighbor has, however newer players often don't fully grasp that yet and apply the "he who smacks his neighbor around wins" strategy so true for many other multiplayer games. In my experience in Eclipse it will make you look strong but not actually win you the game. Somebody else with a smaller, more efficient empire will win instead. Hence an experienced player will probably take over your homesystem and maybe one other and you can still patiently rebuild from the remainder and bide your time for when he is busy elsewhere.


+1, Chris
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My group has decided to use following houserules to speed up the game: The influence disc you used for an explore action may as well be placed on the new explore sector if unguarded by ancient.
Also the influence discs on your move actions used to attack a sector may be used to influence that sector afterwards if you won that battle.
This speeds up the game, so that we have explored the map faster (round 3-4), have more researches, ships and battles in the end, which in our opinion is more fun than the economic part.

On your personal situation if you don't want to play with houserules.
Try build up many interceptors, more dice = more chance to hit. upgrade them with an additional yellow gun, so each interceptor has 2 dice. You can also move into a guarded hex with 2 ships and explore another sections adjacent and then use 1 of your unpinned interceptors to fly in there and populate it in the next round or via an influence action if you are trapped.
In general choose wisely, if you draw bad sectors, trash them and wait out on a better one.
Also Planta and/or Descendants of Draco might be your choice to go, planta explore 2 tiles and Dravos can choose from 2 tiles. Or Mechanema, one Intercetpro only costs 2 Materials and you can build 3 of them and upgrade all 3 with only 2 actions.
 
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Some other people already remarked that a game with a beginning player should not use the expansions (certainly not the hives) and only the Terran races.

It seems that in your two games you never really had a chance. Or at least, you got into situations that you could not solve without a lot of experience. Many beginners would ave given up on the game after two such games, deciding that Eclipse is not for them. Kudos for you on persevering. However, for your next few games you might ask your fellow players to tone down their eagerness to play with expansions and other races - and if they want to play those other races, to not immediately turn on the inexperienced players who are ripe for the plucking.

You should get a chance to get into the game, so that you can appreciate and enjoy it. In the long term it benefits your fellow players, as they will have someone else to play the game with.
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