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Subject: What to do when someone has to leave? rss

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Sigma Nil
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Eclipse is a long game, and sometimes someone has to leave the table before it's finished. What do you guys do in such cases?

Last night, two players (who sat next to one another) had to leave a 6-player game after round 4. We opted to clean up their stuff, and then place a single ancient in each normal system they had controlled, and an ancient cruiser in each of their home systems.

Ancient invasion!

For technology, we just started drawing the 4-player amount of techs starting round 5.

This worked okay - but not great, as the players who had access to the large amount of ancient-infested space had an unfair advantage and finished WAY ahead of everyone else. (They were also the most experienced players, so that they won isn't that surprising. But they still got an advantage.)

So, does anyone have a better way of dealing with this?

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Radosław Michalak
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Derry Salewski
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Plan better.
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O.Shane Balloun
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Treat them as if they had irreparably bankrupted themselves and clear off all their planets and units. The game's mechanics assume that self-interest prevents this sort of action most of the time, and therefore mitigate the kingmaking that can occur.

Unfortunately, when one's outside motivations (responsibilities, promises, emergencies, ennui, etc.) orthogonal to the game mechanics override the game, kingmaking seems to be inevitable.

You might have done the best you could by sticking ancients in those systems—except for the fact battle with the ancients gives the neighbors near the systems the opportunity for more reputation tiles.

One idea (off the top of my head) would be to disallow reputation tiles for the battles of such ancients, giving the neighbors less of an incentive to attack quickly. At that point, you're mucking with the game in a way that probably makes many uncomfortable, but ultimately, I think you're onto the right path: there is no ideal situation short of everyone finishing the full game and you will have to experiment to see what works best when one or more persons leaves early.

The irony is that you don't want to repeat that experiment enough to really make it a valid one.
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Łukasz Madaj
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I had a situation, that a player was so jammed in his corner (3-4 tiles) of the universe, that he decided to go all in (i.e. loosing the fight and not getting this new tile = ultimate bankruptcy) to fight Hegemony player with more and better ships on his only way out. He lost, we cleaned his elements, and remaining 3 players (out of 4, but fourth was also beaten up on other end of galaxy) had easy way in (Wormhole generators).

IMO there was no problem in leaving empty tiles, maybe except home system which was only one valuable enough to fight for it. The rest of them wasn't much different than what we already had, thus spreading so wide wasn't very attractive, thus we left them alone.

Concluding: Next time when someone leaves earlier, remaining players could leave board as is, if need be replacing home tile with some random II tier tile (covered or not, dunno). Ancients are a prize. maybe 3 or four per tile would be better to block the tiles devil
 
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Marcel van der pol
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You could also end the game prematurely, especially if its an emergency. The player with the most victory points at that time wins.

Other solution would be to simply "ignore" the space that the player(s) are occupying as if it doesn't exists. This could be a problem if one player thereby gets "cut off" from the other players, but if not this should work well. Ofcourse, the players who have left also have no chance of victory, so also in the victory count they should be ignored (ie finish last).
 
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Christopher Melenberg
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What about removing all tiles that those players have explored and taken over? Maybe do this after 1 more turn so that if a player had wanted to invade them on the next turn they still have that opportunity, but afterwards all hexes are removed, so that players beside the open areas have to spend explore actions if they want to spread into open space... (usually by mid-game exploring starts to decline as threats are increasing). The only hexes that could be left are the homeworlds (maybe) and put to ancient cruisers on them OR move all of those players ships to their homeworld.

I've also heard of players taking over for those players that left as long as they are not directly connected to them (so they won't have as much vested interest, but this seems difficult too.

Ultimately, I think something should be mutually agreed upon by all players that seems fair.

There really is no GREAT solution...
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James Motz
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My vote is for the "replace with Ancients / Ancient Cruisers on the homeworld" approach that the OP took. I'd also add the reputation draw limiting idea mentioned later. Say you just get one pull out of the bag for any of those combats.

It's a sucky thing. I've only had it come up once, where a player had to duck in the middle of the last turn. We played it by consensus as we thought he might have done, and we left his ships as is without invading.

He came in second.
 
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Justin S.
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I've had to deal with it once, when a new player didn't quite understand what we meant by 'long game' and had to leave to catch the last bus. We treated his territory as unconquerable, and it seemed to work ok. We did have the advantage though, of wormholes happening to connect the players on either side of the missing player.
 
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Chase Toffee
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I would have ended the game and started another one
 
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Mike Anastasia
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Eclipse has a way out for a player who wants to quit - use the influence action to repeatedly abandon systems until you have no hexes left. If I recall correctly, his ships remain on the board until other players fight them off, so he could still claim systems during the after-combat step, but if he's gone away I guess he won't do that.

I've used this technique myself, not due to schedule issues but due to being beaten down to 2 systems on turn six and wanting to avoid a negative experience for the last third of the game.

Yes, its likely to create an imbalance in the board state if a strong player implodes himself, and is generally not a rational play, but since it is fully within the bounds of the rules, I don't think I would eagerly seek a house rule-d alternative. Of course, abandoning the game and starting another is always an option, if time permits and all agree.
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Sigma Nil
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TopherMel wrote:
What about removing all tiles that those players have explored and taken over? Maybe do this after 1 more turn so that if a player had wanted to invade them on the next turn they still have that opportunity, but afterwards all hexes are removed, so that players beside the open areas have to spend explore actions if they want to spread into open space... (usually by mid-game exploring starts to decline as threats are increasing). The only hexes that could be left are the homeworlds (maybe) and put to ancient cruisers on them OR move all of those players ships to their homeworld.


I love this solution! Consider it stolen. There's more than enough hexes now (usually) that you probably wouldn't have to reuse anything to re-explore either. And the number of #3 hexes available can be easily recomputed (correct total #3 hexes for the new player number minus explored #3 hexes still on the map).

Thanks! =)
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Christopher Melenberg
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sigmanil wrote:
TopherMel wrote:
What about removing all tiles that those players have explored and taken over? Maybe do this after 1 more turn so that if a player had wanted to invade them on the next turn they still have that opportunity, but afterwards all hexes are removed, so that players beside the open areas have to spend explore actions if they want to spread into open space... (usually by mid-game exploring starts to decline as threats are increasing). The only hexes that could be left are the homeworlds (maybe) and put to ancient cruisers on them OR move all of those players ships to their homeworld.


I love this solution! Consider it stolen. There's more than enough hexes now (usually) that you probably wouldn't have to reuse anything to re-explore either. And the number of #3 hexes available can be easily recomputed (correct total #3 hexes for the new player number minus explored #3 hexes still on the map).

Thanks! =)


If it happens again and you try this out post back and let us know how it went (better/worse) what still didn't seem great etc.
 
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Jin Kapagami
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What we do in our group (as this happens on regular basis when someone sees no way out) is that all II and III hexes that player had explored goes supernova. All II and III hexes are flipped over and are considered to have six wormhole connections. This works very well and we have in addition added the "diplomacy of presence" rule in void hexes. Also, there is no exploring out from void hexes.

I like it this way since it gives no benefit to any other player. And when you look at it, most of the time there will be only two or three hexes less from a starting point of view between how many players started with and after someone leaves. Also we do not add the any reputation gained back in the the bag, but we return the technology tiles except for rare tech. Finally the traitor card is ignored and alliances are not broken (there are still issues with this though, but we extremely rarely play with this), but diplomacy goes back.

Thematically we see this at the race finding out that they cannot compete with the other races and pick up and leave the galaxy before anyone notices. What they do leave behind are huge rockets of unstable fusion source (or any other source) containers headed for each of their systems suns so no other race will ever reap benefit from what their empire once reaped.

It's kinda logical that a loosing side in a war withdraws from the battlefield and using burnt earth tactics to avoid the other side from gaining anything from their loss.


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Sami Jarvinen
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I like this variant. Thematically, flipping could be explained by scorched earth tactics as you did. Or maybe a natural disaster or plague so horrific that it prevents the use of the empire's resources.

I probably would flip hexes controlled by the leaving player, not the ones he explored. Maybe that's what you meant. Otherwise, we would have to keep track who explored what and in some cases even flip hexes controlled by another player.

Two questions:

What do you do with sector I hexes and the GC if controlled by a leaving player? Do they get evacuated and you leave them empty for grabs?

What do you mean by "diplomacy of presence" rule?
 
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