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Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Eclipse: New Dawn For the Galaxy - Review of PC Port rss

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Richard Young
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A very well designed digital port of the great board-game is now available on multiple platforms and it looks and plays extremely well, particularly on the recently released PC version (via Steam). The GUI is complete and relatively intuitive after following the tutorial - all the game info is available without having to bounce from screen to screen via a series of toggle-able sliding overlays. A series of releases has ironed out a number of minor rule glitches and apparently ironed out problems with on-line play.

The thing I particularly like about these digital ports is the flexibility for modes of play depending on your situation. This is one of my favorite board-games but the setup and table space required is significant, so the actual board-game only hits the table when I have a group of at least four players able to gather together for a game. I'm teaching the game to two of my grandsons and they've takien to the iPad version like ducks to water. Using the "pass & play" mode we can have a four, five or even six player game by adding the desired number of 'bots (whose level play can be selected from easy to hard) and away we go with no time wasted in set-up, and with no danger that rules will be overlooked, forgotten or miss-interpreted. Owing to the fact I've just now added the game to my PC, I can't say for sure it will appeal to them as much as on the iPad, but conceptually there should be no difference.

The solitaire mode allows you to play as your favorite faction and against any number of opponents you choose. You can try various strategies and tactics and have a reasonable sense of how they would work in an actual game. The AI is now quite respectable in this game, and I'm beginning to see welcome improvements in this area generally after years of disappointment. I think designers had assumed that online play would be the main avenue for these products therefore not spending a lot of time making solo play very satisfying, plus the fact that programming AI for these games is not an easy task: "I'm a Nerd Jim, not a Geek!"

So far, Big Daddy has focused on cleaning up glitches in rules implementation, but more particularly in cleaning up the implementation of on-line play. However, fans of this game, which are many, are anxiously awaiting the inclusion of the expansion material which the board-game designers have produced over the years but none of which is yet available in the digital versions.

There are a few minor quibbles (figuring out how final scores were arrived at - hmmm, minor?) but on balance this is one of the best ports of one of the best board-games available anywhere and I unreservedly recommend it. But, please, let's get on with the expansions!
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Sicaria Occaeco
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How is the hot seat play for this?
 
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Richard Young
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Hot seat play rocks! First, you save an enormous amount of time by not having to set up the board with all the related bits and pieces. It will accommodate six players who can be either alien or terran. If you have fewer players but want more you can supplement with 'bots whose play style is selectable and quite decent. The only info that is kept from view is the value of the combat VP tiles, as all other info is open - so not a problem there. With my grandsons (who absolutely love this game) it is the preferred mode of play. Easy to get going and you can duck in and out without having to worry about losing where you were (not a "save game" function as such but you can exit and "resume" at any point).
 
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