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Subject: New Player Training Battle rss

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Tahsin Shamma
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Massachusetts
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This session of Eclipse was meant to be an introductory game for two new players. Both of whom have played Eurogames and their share of Ameritrash as well. Facing off were the Black (myself), Green, and Blue. The Black player had played many games of Eclipse and was training Blue and Green.

It started typically, with much exploring and explaining of when things occurred and why Explore was the most common action in the first turn. Green player had some trouble understanding the concept of Ship Parts vs Technologies and Research vs the Upgrade action. Blue player seemed more at home understanding concepts, but wanted to confirm whether certain things happened and why.

Green player struggled early to get Money planets. After a few explores of sectors with discoveries or single planets, he began waiting around for the Advanced Economy tech to get him really going.

Blue player was having an easier time finding money planets, but was by no means far and away in healthy economic shape.

I was doing fair, but finding more science and materials on ring II and ring I than money.

At this point, the Blue Green player started to get discouraged with the randomness of the opening of the game. Being a player who enjoys building up something through his own efforts in a game, he was discouraged that he was falling behind early game due to not getting his economy going. I tried to assure him that coming back despite initial difficulty is a typical game of Eclipse, especially in the early game.

Play proceeded pretty normally until I attempted to take the Galactic Center on a gamble with plasma-cannon Dreadnaughts. It did not go well. I took the GCDS down 4 hits before both were annihilated.

After this, Blue player was in a strong position having been tested against a couple of Ancients and was now able to easily take the Galactic Center with a sizeable fleet.

Not stopping there, he then proceeded to invade Green space which was scantily defended. Green player was now getting even more frustrated because he had spent so much time investing in his own area and now to be threatened by Blue was disheartening. There wasn’t much I could do to reassure Green that he was doing well.

Blue player continued to press the military advantage and at the end of turn 9 had taken 2 hexes from Green.

However, the final scores tell a completely different story and this is one of the most important games of Eclipse I have played for this reason.

Black: 19 (pitiful), Green: 31, Blue: 35

Green hadn’t even bothered to calculate his points, assuming Blue had won handedly. I totaled the points and realized some important insights about scoring:

1. Taking discoveries for Victory Points when you can’t really utilize the technology, even if it’s really cool, is ESSENTIAL. These victory points can never be taken away from you.
2. Advancing on a single technology track is much more profitable in terms of VPs than trying to do two tracks at once. Green player was able to fill one track and get 5 VP from it.
3. Depending on how many combats you’re involved in, you could pull the most valuable reputation first and be assured more points than an opponent in reputation. Green player had 11 points in reputation, a decent amount even if he was defeated militarily.
4. A military campaign to take over hexes from opponents has the possibility of gaining: VP from the hex and/or VP from reputation. If you feel you’ve already maxed reputation and you think you’re in the lead, it’s time to defend what you’ve already got because the only other way players can change the VP total is by research, exploring, or taking hexes from you, the last one being a big gamble and resource drain in actions and materials.

After explaining more of the Victory Point system, Green player felt like he despaired too early and realized that Eclipse does not play like a typical area control, territory conquering game. He was interested in playing again to see more of how it worked overall.

EDIT: Made a critical Blue/Green reversal mixup. Fixed it now. The flow of the players reactions should make more sense.
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Brian Compton
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Virginia
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This is a good write up, thank you for sharing it. One of the reasons I do not like Eclipse is wrangling points. Green's experience matched my own in that you can do well point-wise but not enjoy the game because you may get kicked around so much and you are at the mercy of so much luck. In our group, the sessions have been about who gets lucky early and translates that into an ultimate advantage while most other players labor through the game just to see it done. Still, your comments intrigue me and the game's components and theme are so cool. Maybe I will give it another try.
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James Motz
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Minneapolis
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There are many (too many) loud and long discussions on the Geek about luck in Eclipse, so I won't get into that here.

I just wanted to say that it is encouraging to see a player who had a bad experience take a renewed interest in a game based on someone sharing their experience. BGG at it's best right here.

Brian - please do try again. Approach with the perspective that while there are random elements in play, you are given at least some means to mitigate the luck. You may not be able to employ the same strategy as your neighbor, but you should have some options.

I find Eclipse to be right where I want to be: enough luck to make every game a new experience, with enough agency to not let that luck dictate the outcome of the game.

Some (vocal) people will disagree.
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Starkiller
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Excellent write-up. I'm very glad you spent time telling us about player reactions. For some reason many session reports do not...
 
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