I heard different things about the playing time of this. My group usually dont like too long games. Can you tell me your experience from one up to four players? Is there a way to make it shorter? Thanks a lot
Yes, it is quite long. It's around an hour per player, or more if you are beginners. Plus, the setup is quite long too. And more players there are, the longer downtime will be. I wouldn't try it with four.
I think it is a little longer with standard rules than with classic, but there is a little more theme. The lightspeed variant suggested in the rules may speed up the game, but I don't really like it because it cuts down one of the most thrilling aspects of the game - exploration. Instead I prefer to play less turns, say 22-24 instead of 30.
I haven't played the 2nd edition yet but the original game victory condition was play to $x. So for a shorter game just use a smaller x. Note the strategies for a short game are different than a long game and the short game doesn't always allow enough time to balance out the luck factor.