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Eclipse» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Countering Turtle Strategy rss

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Josh Shearer
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So my friends and I have only put in about 5 plays of this game and I am strongly considering trading it away based upon our experiences thus far. First time was a disaster not fully understanding the rules and the 2nd we were able to finally get it mostly (a couple of things still left unfixed) at the end.

After our last 3 sessions it was clear about an hr into the game who was going to win based upon a lot more luck than anything else. Whoever is able to get the best exploration hexes was vastly in the lead of others and some of the technologies can make for a broken game if their counter isn't drawn in time but the biggest thing that is frustrating for us is seemingly lacking a way to counter turtling.

Yes I know that there is Neutron Bombs that you can use in order to wipe out population cubes but if you are alien there is luck that is needed as well (if we are playing correctly). In our experience unless you are human this is hard to counter until round 5 or so and at that point they can amass such a defense on their border you can never penetrate.

Are we missing something or are we just bound to give this up?
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Kevin Salch
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In order to turtle they are limiting themselves to fewer explores, (also make sure you have the right number of sector tiles out) level 3 tiles have less good stuff. There are a lot of victory points for battles. Even if you don't win. Wormhole generator, or even purposefully exploring into their "backdoor"

Sometimes you need to reject an explore in order to mitigate the luck factor.
 
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Peter O
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Soccer862923 wrote:
So my friends and I have only put in about 5 plays of this game and I am strongly considering trading it away based upon our experiences thus far. First time was a disaster not fully understanding the rules and the 2nd we were able to finally get it mostly (a couple of things still left unfixed) at the end.

After our last 3 sessions it was clear about an hr into the game who was going to win based upon a lot more luck than anything else. Whoever is able to get the best exploration hexes was vastly in the lead of others and some of the technologies can make for a broken game if their counter isn't drawn in time but the biggest thing that is frustrating for us is seemingly lacking a way to counter turtling.

Yes I know that there is Neutron Bombs that you can use in order to wipe out population cubes but if you are alien there is luck that is needed as well (if we are playing correctly). In our experience unless you are human this is hard to counter until round 5 or so and at that point they can amass such a defense on their border you can never penetrate.

Are we missing something or are we just bound to give this up?


Eclipse is not multiplayer solitaire. It is first and foremost a strategic and diplomatic game. The earlier you recognize you are not the superior turtle, the more time you have to gear up for conquest. Furthermore, the player who has the diplomatic skills to get the table to see the "reality" of the game their way has a significant advantage. If you're all seeing one person in the lead by one hour then why don't you do something about it?

There is some difference in the quality of hexes but not enough to generate the dynamic you are discribing. It sounds to me like your group has groupthink regarding what to do with "good and bad hexes". If you describe what you consider good hexes and what are bad ones we can give you advise on how to improve your collective game.

THE worst setup I can imagine is all hexes with one basic planet and an even distribution of advanced hexes (or the rare case of one type without the appropriate tech popping up). Even with that, given enough material generation (through trade pacts and wild conversion if need be) orbitals can be employed.

It sounds like you might also be succumbing to groupthink regarding military matters. It is highly unlikely that the best turtle can be that AND have the best military tech UNLESS you are all waiting until turn 8 or 9 to go knocking on their door. The classic case of this is unmolested Hydrans who start with Adv Sci (turning on a third of the possible Adv planents). They are incredibly weak militarily early but can easily become overpowering IF left alone. You don't need to wipe them out, but you do need to force them to lose material and invest in military tech before they want to.
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Starkiller
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Soccer862923 wrote:
After our last 3 sessions it was clear about an hr into the game who was going to win based upon a lot more luck than anything else. Whoever is able to get the best exploration hexes was vastly in the lead of others and some of the technologies can make for a broken game if their counter isn't drawn in time but the biggest thing that is frustrating for us is seemingly lacking a way to counter turtling.


Don't take this the wrong way, but if you think you can already tell who is going to win an hour into the game, you are not playing very well.

Whether this is the game for you, I'm not sure, but I can tell you are not....playing optimally, to put it politely.
There is tremendous depth to this game, and many strategies that are not immediately apparent.

Have you seen these before:
Military primer
Economic primer
Exploration primer
advanced strategy You probably won't completely get this, but it's great.

If you like both euros and AT, and you like space theme, Eclipse is AWESOME. Keep at it, it really rewards serious play.
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Chris K.
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akinfantryman wrote:
Soccer862923 wrote:
After our last 3 sessions it was clear about an hr into the game who was going to win based upon a lot more luck than anything else. Whoever is able to get the best exploration hexes was vastly in the lead of others and some of the technologies can make for a broken game if their counter isn't drawn in time but the biggest thing that is frustrating for us is seemingly lacking a way to counter turtling.


Don't take this the wrong way, but if you think you can already tell who is going to win an hour into the game, you are not playing very well.

Whether this is the game for you, I'm not sure, but I can tell you are not....playing optimally, to put it politely.
There is tremendous depth to this game, and many strategies that are not immediately apparent.

Have you seen these before:
Military primer
Economic primer
Exploration primer
advanced strategy You probably won't completely get this, but it's great.

If you like both euros and AT, and you like space theme, Eclipse is AWESOME. Keep at it, it really rewards serious play.


+1 for going through the primers. They will likely give you a lot of insights that are a bit non-obvious to your group based on what you describe your experience like.

That said:

The "Turtle Phase" seems to be something most groups go through initially. It takes one or two people successfully outpacing turtles to break up that group think. Turtling is a sub par strategy for most races.

So, assuming you are neither playing Hydran or Planta, which profit greatly from turtling, you will do better with other strategies.

Things turtles are missing out on:
- Early Ambassadors
Since turtles will usually try to limit their connections to neighbors they are unlikely to get more than one Ambassador which hurts early economy
- Combat VP
They will usually average 1,5-2 VP per Chit in Combat VP. For most races that is 4-6 VP less in total than averaging 3 VP, which most active and outgoing races net
- No influence on the board
They have limited to no option of directly opposing other leading players. Their only way to victory is outracing the others and only few races are good at that.

Regarding the "Luck of the draw":
Some Alien races have particularly lucky combinations of Hexes (Hydran with plenty of double science worlds, Mechanema with plenty of Material, Magellan with plenty of discoveries, etc.). However, this information is usually available early and neighbors should react to that and do it early.

Within a ring all Hexes are usually of similar value. However, some need a bit more knowledge and experience to actually leverage that value. So don't despair if it currently looks like there are lucky or unlucky draws. ANY draw can be turned into a decent score (high thirties), most can be turned into a winning score (40+).


Edit:
In my experience: If there has been no Non-Ancient Combat by the end of turn 5, then at least one of the players is either not playing to the strength or their race or underestimates how their neighbor needs some early push back.
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Jim Parkin
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Valid points I was going to offer have already been stated.

I'll simply reiterate the strong sense of groupthink I see going on from the OP's account of recent games, as well as the awesome resource of the primer articles. Those are gold.
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Kester 42
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Good points already said. One thing I would add is that a beginner game typically involves excessive turtling, usually with everyone cutting off all paths to neighbors save for the middle and/or another choke point, resulting in a slow build of tech and ship strength until there is a final massive confrontation in the final round(s) (typically with minimal success points wise). My suggestion would be to try some games with as many wormhole connections with neighbors as possible (even if you are playing a turtle race like Planta)and see how this creates many opportunities to attack in earlier rounds (and/or establish allies). This "blanket" guidance will lead to lots of mistakes, but should change your perspective enough to lead to a massive step change in your strategy.
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Starkiller
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One more point....

Frequently, it just takes one person not doing the 'groupthink' route to break the habit.

If you, for example, read the primers and decide to try them out....not focusing on winning this game, focusing on using a new strategy....that could be enough to shake things up and get people trying new strategies.

Pick the Orions and go all out. Explore the galaxy, trying to forge connections. Attack whenever you think you have just a little bit better odds. (Don't wait until you are sure to win. You'll never attack.) Try and hit ancient cruisers at least by round 3. Win battles, take territory, and shake things up. If you get at least half decent money income, you should be in position to win.
Even if you aren't, it will be more fun and shake things up.
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Jim Parkin
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akinfantryman wrote:
Attack whenever you think you have just a little bit better odds. (Don't wait until you are sure to win. You'll never attack.)

I once won a 4p game by taking out two Ancient Cruisers at the end of Round 9 with a single Interceptor sporting Improved Hull and a Plasma Cannon. I won by a single point based on the hex value.

When I first started playing Eclipse, I was a very timid player and would never have attempted such a venture. It was a possible (very possible) crap shoot. Instead, it won me the game.

Since then, everyone I've played with has taken more risks, tried new things, learned more alien races, and frankly, just had more fun with the game.
 
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Justin Farkas

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in my experience yea if you see that someone in the first hour is going to win than A the other non winning players need to join forces to try and take the leader down. Or b need to figure way to get in as many points as you can by technology, battles ect.

Yea it's not really a team game but if you don't try and get players to aid or attack others than the fun is not going to be present. If you don't like attacking others than this game might not be for you. Once you or other players can attack the center on turn 3-4 than you will have some interesting games.

Another thing....what is the player count? If it's only three players than yea I can see the game getting stale and turtling is going to be difficult to overcome, especially for new players.
This game is best with 4+
 
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Josh Shearer
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Thank you all very much for the feedback and discussion. I would tend to agree with you all that there is probably a fair amount of group-think going on especially with us all usually playing games together all of the time.

To answer a few of the questions posed. We have always played in a 4 person configuration and I think that we all typically tend to stay to ourselves during the first 4-5 rounds as we underestimate how powerful we are and/or we are afraid of being seen as too aggressive in the beginning.

I really do appreciate the primer information for me to look at and to make sure to try and look at the game in a new way. I was feeling like there was something entirely missing in our play stayle or something like that since this game is so highly rated.

Thanks again and I will definitely look at all the information you provided.
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Josh Shearer
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akinfantryman wrote:
Soccer862923 wrote:
After our last 3 sessions it was clear about an hr into the game who was going to win based upon a lot more luck than anything else. Whoever is able to get the best exploration hexes was vastly in the lead of others and some of the technologies can make for a broken game if their counter isn't drawn in time but the biggest thing that is frustrating for us is seemingly lacking a way to counter turtling.


Don't take this the wrong way, but if you think you can already tell who is going to win an hour into the game, you are not playing very well.

Whether this is the game for you, I'm not sure, but I can tell you are not....playing optimally, to put it politely.
There is tremendous depth to this game, and many strategies that are not immediately apparent.

Have you seen these before:
Military primer
Economic primer
Exploration primer
advanced strategy You probably won't completely get this, but it's great.

If you like both euros and AT, and you like space theme, Eclipse is AWESOME. Keep at it, it really rewards serious play.


No offense taken at all. I would rather be told I am playing wrong or in a sub-optimal way than get a bad taste for the game just based upon poor play.
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Harv Veerman
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Soccer862923 wrote:
No offense taken at all. I would rather be told I am playing wrong or in a sub-optimal way than get a bad taste for the game just based upon poor play.


Best showing of good gamesmanship today. Well done Sir!thumbsup
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Justin Farkas

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Yea we as an eclipse community should try and encourage others and watch what we say. I know I have been guilty of defending the games I love and may have not taken a more friendly approach. I just hope others can enjoy the game. And yea it might be simple group think or playing a rule wrong that might ruin the experience, but I think these posts have been pretty helpful in finding ways to make the game interesting and the way it should be played.

I also in early games for my group started similarly and yea it was not as fun. Once you get over that hump and start estimating the odds of battle taking risks becomes easier.

Congrats for your group playing 5+ games and giving it a chance tho. Maybe since you have this information you could attack another player earlier than turn 5 to throw a wrench in the group think. Turning those hexes to get those wormholes lined up with your opponent is also good not only for establishing diplomatic relations for more resources but also for early game attacks.
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Chris K.
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Soccer862923 wrote:
Thank you all very much for the feedback and discussion. I would tend to agree with you all that there is probably a fair amount of group-think going on especially with us all usually playing games together all of the time.

To answer a few of the questions posed. We have always played in a 4 person configuration and I think that we all typically tend to stay to ourselves during the first 4-5 rounds as we underestimate how powerful we are and/or we are afraid of being seen as too aggressive in the beginning.

I really do appreciate the primer information for me to look at and to make sure to try and look at the game in a new way. I was feeling like there was something entirely missing in our play stayle or something like that since this game is so highly rated.

Thanks again and I will definitely look at all the information you provided.


If you are mostly playing with four (or five) I highly recommend looking into the "Warp-Sector Variant" found to print and play here: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/75427/warp-sector-large-wa...

It basically removes the "slices" of space from the game that would normally be inhabited by other players.

This does two things:
1) It removes imbalances from assymetrical starting positions at 5 players.
2) more importantly it removes "extra" Ring 1 and 2 spaces that would otherwise be available. Hence without them a turtling game style is a bit more promising as you will be more likely to be able to have a thriving economy with those one or two extra systems available.

Overall it gets the play experience closer to the six player game experience, which I still consider the sweet spot for the game.
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