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Subject: Need some general tips rss

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Vilian Alexandrov
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Hi guys, I need some help from you to defeat a friend of mine, that has won the last 10 or so games of Eclipse, and the second of us is not even close in score to him, and I'm not sure what we're doing wrong...
Ok, so this guy usually plays turtling races - Hydran or Eridani or Draco or Planta.Then he starts exploring, mainly II and III, usually only a single I hex, the one that connects him to the center, and then he just keeps techning and accumulating resources. Another thing to note (and a skill that I do not possess, unfortunately) is the fact that he is a very good gambler, so he can pretty much calculate his actions for the next 6 or so turns. Also, he's very good with the so-called "virtual fleet" - he does not build ships to intimidate, but if one of us attacks him, he almost always creates the perfect counter-design. The rest of us follow a general strategy, but tend to adapt it every turn, depending on the hexes drawn, number of ships, new techs and so on, while this guy seems to be able to adapt to almost every situation without thinking it in advance too much (and we all started playing Eclipse at the same time, mind you).
So, late-game battles are not the way to go against him, but I find it difficult to rush in this game. In our typical scenario, there's 3 of us playing, which means that in order to get to him (and he knows I'm always looking to bring him down, so he places his starting sector rotated so that i cannot link), I have to make either 3 I-sector explores, or 3- II sector and one either I or III. These actions take ~4 turns. If I'm not picky and place whatever hex I draw, there will be ancients, and the battles will slow down the process with about 2-3 turns. Therefor, I can be at his system in turn 5 at best, by which time he has plenty of resources to build his fleet, take my ships out and leave me in bankruptcy (just as it happened last game, 3 Hegemony cruisers with plasma cannons vs 3 interceptors with plasma cannons and a default Hydran starbase, after which he researched neutron bombs and bombed me back to the stone age). If I make more ships - I do not have the money to move them efficiently , if I have the money - I do not have enough production. After he cripples one of us - then he starts mopping up the ancients, taking the center, collecting 4-8 discovery tiles, and the end-game result is something like 60-30-20. It just comes naturally to him, he thinks it on the go, while I spend 2 hours preparing for our session, thinking how to counter, where to explore, what to research, just so that I get crushed, no metter what
It does not matter if I play defensive, aggressive or whatever - he just keeps calm until turn 7 or 8 and then he mops the floor with us, no matter that my ships have 7hp and hit on 4 or more - he will either have many ships with good weapons, or few ships with top-tier updates.+ I've never been good at card games (nor chess for this matter), and I'm really frustrated by the fact that this guy calculated his next 6 actions perfectly, then calculated that I won't be able to retaliate, then calculated that the other guy we play with will not be able to build and move at the same time, then calculated that he will be able to attack and take the center with the last move he has. Sorry, but math is just not my sport. And if this game is so much dependent on calculating what will happen in the next 5 moves rather than focusing on building and expanding your empire AT THE MOMENT, I will be severely disappointed.
So, what do?
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Steve
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There's a lot to take in here. One quick question, on what turn does the galactic center tend to be taken? By you or why him?

You seem to focus a lot in your discussion on ship design. I think you need to watch economy more. Is your opponent taking influence actions to give poor sectors? Deliberately bankrupting? How about building orbitals and/or monoliths? These factors are at least as important as the ship designs in terms of how best to counter his play.
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neko flying
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DarkStarPrime wrote:
he places his starting sector rotated so that i cannot link


This is not allowed by the rules. Starting Hexes must be rotated in a certain way specified by the rules.


Quote:
So, what do?


Reading your description of how your games go, I think your friend is exploiting the fact that 3-players Eclipse has much more space per player than in the 4-6 players version, for which the game was probably calibrated. I bet you guys would enjoy the Warp Sector variant.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/755962/warp-sector-variant-s...

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/75427/warp-sector-large-wa...

You will have interaction much sooner, and you can gang up a bit on the stronger player. That way the game becomes a bit more unpredictable for him, so he won't be able to plan that many turns in advance. Hope this helps :)
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Vilian Alexandrov
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slashing wrote:
...building orbitals and/or monoliths
He does indeed, in fact he tries to grab orbital as soon as it comes out, and then at turn 8-9 he will also take monolith (save for the rare occasion where there was only 1 monolith tech on the board and that third guy beat him to it, but he won never-the-less. He's the one taking out the GCDS as well, but not that often since we got the Raise of the Ancients with those nasty new GCDS. Most of the time, I have to admit, its just plain luck - I draw a hex with 2 ancients and only 1 basic planet, he draws a hex with 3 basic planets and no ancients, but I cannot explain to myself the fact that I'm not able to compensate...
 
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Steve
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DarkStarPrime wrote:
slashing wrote:
...building orbitals and/or monoliths
He does indeed, in fact he tries to grab orbital as soon as it comes out, and then at turn 8-9 he will also take monolith (save for the rare occasion where there was only 1 monolith tech on the board and that third guy beat him to it, but he won never-the-less. He's the one taking out the GCDS as well, but not that often since we got the Raise of the Ancients with those nasty new GCDS. Most of the time, I have to admit, its just plain luck - I draw a hex with 2 ancients and only 1 basic planet, he draws a hex with 3 basic planets and no ancients, but I cannot explain to myself the fact that I'm not able to compensate...

You probably need to get to him early then. Orbitals cost materials, and bring in cash (to manage the large empire) or research (to buy up the techs). I suspect that he's very weak for the first 4-5 turns, and unable to produce any vessels to protect his territory. If he's taking the GCDS around turn 6-7, you probably need to aim to get in there sooner. I would recommend practising taking the GCDS out by turn 4-5. Once you can do that, you should be in a position to threaten him enough to focus on materials and miss out on the tech build up.

Also, agree with Neko - he can't rotate his starting system.
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Edwin Burns
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I always play eclipse with 6 players so not really sure how many differences there are but...

Here are some general strategies that work for me. Get improved hulls and the extra disks asap. The galactic center is the place to be try to get there. If you're not the first to get there try to be in a position to try an immediate attack on the player that takes it (the idea being hopefully the player lost some ships in his attack). Blocking people on vital technologies is important too, i.e if you're playing against a turtling player and there is only one monolith/starbase/orbital technology take it even if you don't need it. Also look at the opponent's planets and try to block them on the advance research, economy and mining upgrades where you can.

Specific to your case I would suggest playing the Orion Hegemony or the Mechanema. Then make an early push turn to the galactic center and then follow up with pressure on the opponent. Also, worm hole generators cloaking devices and similar techs are your best friend against starbases/monoliths.

Final thought be picky with your hexes or become a master of tactical bankruptcy a bad hex is worse then no hex.

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neko flying
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DarkStarPrime wrote:
he tries to grab orbital as soon as it comes out


That looks like a strategic mistake to me. In my experience, orbitals are situational at best, I find it hard to believe that someone can always buy them as soon as they come out, and always win, it is more often than not a mistake, in my opinion.

Could you be making some fundamental mistakes too? For example, are you often colonising hexes with just one planet? That's one way one of my friends keeps losing most of his games.

Also, what technologies do you try to buy first? There are some that are obviously better than others.

Have you read these articles?
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/759867/some-strategy-tips-fo...

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/750430/an-eclipse-military-p...

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/760874/an-eclipse-economic-p...
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Kirk Monsen
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Are you claiming every hex you uncover? That is a beginner mistake. Drop lower vp point hexes that do not supply you money. Keep your empire lean. Explore aggressively into his area to create connections. The only way someone can successfully turtle is if his neighbors are also trying to turtle.
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Christopher Melenberg
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DarkStarPrime wrote:
I've never been good at card games (nor chess for this matter), and I'm really frustrated by the fact that this guy calculated his next 6 actions perfectly, then calculated that I won't be able to retaliate, then calculated that the other guy we play with will not be able to build and move at the same time, then calculated that he will be able to attack and take the center with the last move he has. Sorry, but math is just not my sport. And if this game is so much dependent on calculating what will happen in the next 5 moves rather than focusing on building and expanding your empire AT THE MOMENT, I will be severely disappointed.


On a side note those who claim this game is too much luck should read this post...

The reality is that being able to calculate odds and see the patterns in ship design, etc. are important in this game and probably moreso with smaller numbers of players as you only have to make calculations against 2 others, whereas in larger games that is much more difficult.

Other than calculations, like any good Euro game has, in this game you especially need to be able to adapt. This is difficult to teach, but requires you to know what your opponents are doing and seeing their inherent capabilities. Pay Close attention to what he is doing!

And definitely read up on some of the strategy articles as neko pointed out, they helped me realize how important certain techs were early game.

And good luck! I hope you find that you and your friend can improve and at least make the game a bit closer rather than being crushed every time. That would be defeating! But a good challenge
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slashing wrote:
DarkStarPrime wrote:
slashing wrote:
...building orbitals and/or monoliths
He does indeed, in fact he tries to grab orbital as soon as it comes out, and then at turn 8-9 he will also take monolith (save for the rare occasion where there was only 1 monolith tech on the board and that third guy beat him to it, but he won never-the-less. He's the one taking out the GCDS as well, but not that often since we got the Raise of the Ancients with those nasty new GCDS. Most of the time, I have to admit, its just plain luck - I draw a hex with 2 ancients and only 1 basic planet, he draws a hex with 3 basic planets and no ancients, but I cannot explain to myself the fact that I'm not able to compensate...

You probably need to get to him early then. Orbitals cost materials, and bring in cash (to manage the large empire) or research (to buy up the techs). I suspect that he's very weak for the first 4-5 turns, and unable to produce any vessels to protect his territory. If he's taking the GCDS around turn 6-7, you probably need to aim to get in there sooner. I would recommend practising taking the GCDS out by turn 4-5. Once you can do that, you should be in a position to threaten him enough to focus on materials and miss out on the tech build up.

I second this. It sounds like he's really hurting his early game fighting ability to have a crushing endgame. He's depending on getting past his tipping point with orbitals and monoliths before you disrupt his empire.
This can be a good strategy....depending on the situation! If he is winning every time doing this, you are-not to be mean or anything-doing something wrong. TRUST ME, YOU CAN TAKE HIM-at least 50% of the time.

It sounds like you are consintrating how good he is at the game. Actually, he doesn't sound that good to me....he's got a one-trick pony. If you consintrate on improving your game, he'll suddenly find his 'perfect strategy' in ruins-almost every game. (If he thinks orbitals are ALWAYS a good thing, he's not that good at the game yet.) Don't worry too much about what he's doing, consintrate on learning how to grow a quickly dangerous civilization/strategy of your own.

There is only one exception to this....if you are getting a rule wrong. Read the rulebook again. Also, you don't have any houserules, do you? Sometimes those can really mess up the balance of a game in unpredictable ways. Especially in a game as tight as Eclipse.
And no, you can't choose the orientation of your homeworld. You have to look at the small box labled player layouts (or something like that)in the lower section of the setup page; it shows the wormhole orientation at game start. (If it's any consolation, this was the rule I screwed up for a while, too.)
If you are playing the game right, his strategy is NOT a sure-fire thing; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't matter how good he is at math, it's still beatable.

It's easy to say, but you need to get in there quick. (You may think you're doing your best....well, you can do better.) Your goal should be to have an early-blooming civilization. Again, BGG has threads on this. Basicly, don't colonize every system, it will cost you too much, and don't wait to have an awesome ship-you just need to be able to beat him. Sometimes, this is better ships than his, sometimes more ships!

Big point: I think you are underestimating the value of the Glactic Center. That is a very valuable system; if you consentrate on getting it early, there should be no way he gets to it first, because of his strategy. (Leaving himself weak at the start.) You both may be surprised at how much he is depending on that system income to make his strategy work.
Frankly, I would make this the overwhelming goal of your next game. Don't even worry about winning, try getting the GC about round 4/5. The Orion Hegemony are your best bet here. Look at threads on BGG on taking GCDS fast.

Next, attack him though the GC. Immedieately. Again, if you are playing the game decently, his strategy will fold if you can get in there quick, before he reaches his tipping point. You may have to work at changing/learning your play to speed it up, but he's got a glass economy at the beginning of the game-break it. (You don't have to play perfectly for this to work, just decent.)

If you have done this (threatining him early through the GC) you should have his back to the wall, and he may not even realize it.
And don't freak out about his 'virtual fleet', that's an endgame strategy. Get in there early, and he won't have the ships or the techs to beat you. Remember, he CAN NOT be both producing ship/techs AND laying the foundations for an unbeatable economy. The game simply will not let him.
(Depending on economies, you may even be able to storm in there and out-stall him, forceing him to commit to a ship design first.)

Think of ships this way-there are three stages to ship design. (Somewhat siplistic, but it will work for now.)

The first stage is getting the ships good enough to beat Ancients. (Orion Hegemony basically starts like this.) You should be taking out ancients as soon as you get this good, to use their planets, and not trying to create the perfect ship. (If you upgrade your ship too much here, you're wasting the actions you could be using to get resources from planets.)

The second stage is when you look at what your opponent's ancient-killing design was. (Keep in mind he will be doing the same.) Also, note what techs he has and what he could do for designs. (Again, he will be doing the same.) Now, research counters to his possible designs, and PARTALLY upgrade your ships, while moving in to attack. He should be upgrading his ships to counter....you can finish upgrading your ships to counter his counters. By the time you reach the battle phase, you should not be 'outgunned', if you've done this right.
(Basically, don't have a 'favorite design' you're working toward, adapt to his adaptations. If you don't know the counters to certain weapons/ship builds, there are BGG threads.)
(PLEASE NOTE, I'm not talking about buying every tech available. Counter with what you have and careful tech buys. If you are trying to puchase the perfect techs to counter every weapon he has, you're going to loose because you spent too much on techs! This is an art, and will take practice. Research/think about all the different ways each tech can be used to counter others. You don't need the perfect tech, you just need a counter.)

The third stage is studying what your opponents have/had at the last battle, and countering that. Sometimes this can be done without buying another tech! Manage your upgrades carefully, and make him use up actions to counter you. He's got a limited number of actions, if you force him to change his spaceships he's not building monoliths. Make your actions count. This third stage is repeated as often as players can afford it-sometimes every subsequent game round after the war starts.

Huh, I should really quit stalling and get off here.
His strategy is good, but definitly beatable. Work on improving your strategy/game!
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Wim van Gruisen
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What the others said.

Alternatively, you can try to screw his strategy. Grab Planta and explore sector III tiles. With three players there are only 10 sector III tiles; you may starve him of enough tiles, if he isn't quick enough. Or (again with Planta), try to cut his connection to the center.

Or try to get a wormhole generator fast, and invade his systems through the backdoor. Don't be afraid of virtual fleets; force him to build real fleets. Any Material spent to build a ship cannot be used to build monoliths.
You could try this when you have the Hydran Progress (more chance to get the wormhole generator tech and other key technologies). Or with the Mechanema; they can build cheap fleets, forcing your opponent to build more ships himself. And they can more easily adapt the ships, and so circumvent ships built specifically to defeat yours. Orion is a good contender to get the center first, as is Eridani (but that latter race is difficult to play well)

Again, the wormhole generator is good here. Not only can you invade his territory wherever you want and circumvent choke points, you can also withdraw without him being able to follow you.
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Vilian Alexandrov
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Wow thanks guys, I can now see ways of disrupting his progress that I did not thought of... And I've also decided that instead of trying to pick different race in hopes of finding a natural counter, I will now play the Hegemony until I'm able to at least be equal (if not win). And we have a session upcoming, this Friday, and I will try what you guys suggest - early center, then making him feel uncomfortable, knowing that I can reach him at any time > ...
 
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Steve
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Good luck. I hope it goes well for you.

In case you own Eclipse yourself, you can practise the first few rounds until you can take out the galactic center in good time.
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neko flying
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slashing wrote:
Good luck. I hope it goes well for you.

In case you own Eclipse yourself, you can practise the first few rounds until you can take out the galactic center in good time.


I agree, that's an excellent exercise. Luckily for you, I had already written it down in another thread. Here is a slightly updated version.

Orion opening / early game:

0) Remember that first round Techs are drawn before the races are chosen. If you let the first player to play take Orion and the only available Improved Hull, you are doing it wrong. Good news: if they let you, they are doing it wrong.

1) With Orion you start with a Money disadvantage (3 actions per round instead of 4) and a trade disadvantage (4 for 1). Be careful with your money. Also, you want to be attacking early, but that can be actions-intensive, so:

2) You can't plan for your first five rounds? That's ok. But try to plan each single round beforehand. That's usually 3 actions, you should be able to do it. Have you got enough actions to attack a hex this round, counting both the Action Disk you'll have to place, and the increase in Money production from occupying it? Go for it. Otherwise, prepare for the following round (making your Upgrades and Builds now), and use any spare actions to explore ring III hexes for Discoveries, which are second best to attacking an Ancients hex immediately.

3) Notice your special blueprints. You have extra energy on all your ships - however, you can't afford Plasma Cannon on round one. So on the first round that doesn't matter really. If you can research Improved Hull, take it - but that means that your opponents are doing it wrong. Very wrong. See point (0) above.

Here is your typical first round:

Start: 3 Money, 3 Science, 5 Materials

Action cost What you do
-0: Explore Ring I for Ancients. (Assume you find Ancients).
-1: Build second Cruiser (3 Money, 3 Science, 0 Materials).
-2: Move 2 Cruisers to Ancients hex.
(Pass, win fight almost certainly)
-3: Occupy Hex.

If the Hex you found with action -0 has an orange Planet, you'll be able to take an additional Action before you pass. That could be:
a) a Ring III Explore (for Discoveries + Tactical Bankruptcy) if you did find Ancients, or
b) another Ring II Explore if your Ring I find wasn't satisfactory, or
c) the action you've spent in the very beginning to get Improved Hull.

4) At this point your Scientific priorities are:
- Get Improved Hull and/or Plasma Cannon and/or +2 Computers
- Upgrade your ships
Actually, you *should* get your hands on IH in the midgame at the latest. Try to pass early at some point to try and get first pick for Research next turn. This should be easy since Orion has fewer actions per round.

5) Materials priorities: you might want to build two more cruisers in the early game, to save upgrade actions. At this point you'll have more energy than slots: consider Antimatter Cannon (which I personally consider to be a slightly overrated Tech for many player/race combinations) and/or Computers.

Example Cruiser build 1:
Antimatter Cannon (-4 Energy)
Improved Hull
-1 Shields
+1 Computer
Basic Source and Drives (net +4 Energy)

Example Cruiser build 2:
Plasma Cannon (-2 Energy)
Improved Hull
-1 Shields
+3 Computer (-2 Energy)
Basic Source and Drives (net +4 Energy)

If you have 2 Dreads instead, you can make a fairly balanced build with relatively few Science: 2 Plasma Cannons are fine for long enough if you can get your hands on Improved Hull. In both cases you can avoid getting a better Source, saving Science and Actions in the process.

Example Dreadnought Build:
2x Plasma Cannon (-4 Energy)
2x Improved Hull
+1 Computer or +2 Computer (-0/-1 Energy)
-1 Shield
Basic Source and Drives (net +5 Energy)

I usually don't build Interceptors as Orion in the early game, even though Orion starts with nukes, because of the Graveyard Mechanism.

Take home lesson: focus on Cruisers if you have more Science than Materials, and on Dreadnoughts if you have more Materials than Science.

6) Early game goals: as many Ancient hexes as possible, GCDS on turn 3.
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So your friend is abusing the player setup by choosing the stronger races for this setup? Assuming you are playing the base game...just choose Hegemony and take the mid early as already stated, kill as many ancients as possible for discovery tiles and consider taking them as 2 VP in many cases after turn 4, never take the orbital IMO, and don't take the cruiser UNLESS you can put it to immediate use(taking middle or attacking another player). I would also then suggest going for missiles as their counter is minor in base and Hegemony have an innate higher initiative, thus you will shoot first in missle exchanges meaning you should have complete military dominance in the game as this point.

If playing in the expansion and he still chooses these...choose Magellan. Explore 3 tiles til they are gone unless hes draco then explore your 1 if he controls a 1 tile by you to insure you are not locked from the center. You should be able to go toe-toe vs draco or planta easily and outpoint a hydra simply due to your early military capabilities. Magellan can get improved hull and anti-matter cannons powered on dreadnoughts by turn 4 in almost all cases (or at least anti-matter cannons). You should be able to easily conquer ancient cruisers or threaten other players who are playing more defensive/long game races with this.

If you increase the players to higher amounts you will notice the races your friend chooses become considerably worse and if he builds orbitals on turn 4/5 there should be 0% chance of him winning as one of these races as he SHOULD be attacked by another player and he will have no way to defend due to the large orbital cost vs ships early.

A general tip for this is to consider the number of actions your friend has and you have(yes this takes some math), if you attack him(minimum of 1 action for you) does he have the actions to respond by building AND upgrading? Can he only build? If so do you have the tech advantage? Even if you send a small ship like an upgraded interceptor or cruiser, what is your loss vs his? Does he need 2 actions, but only has 1 thus must lose a world of his(thereby removing the upkeep from it) to be able to defend your single ship? If so you will force a lot from him for a little from you? A player can never design a perfect counter fleet if they have 0 upgrades and ships currently and are attacked with 1-2 actions left mid-game or even 3 late game. The amount of actions will hurt them severely and remove them from the game if they do. This is an important thing to remember if your friend is threatening in this way as it seems hes doing, the threat is idle. If you also consider moving in even 1 interceptor and forcing him to build in earlier turns(lets say he spends 10 minimum build, that is 10 less build he can spend on monoliths), of course you need neutron bombs(aka Hegemony starts with these) to make an interceptor threat viable in most cases.
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Rich Charters
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Vilian, Please post again after you have a chance to try these strategies. I'd be interested to hear if you're able to take him down.

Thanks for posting!
 
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DarkStarPrime wrote:
...in order to get to him (and he knows I'm always looking to bring him down, so he places his starting sector rotated so that i cannot link), I have to make either 3 I-sector explores, or 3- II sector and one either I or III. These actions take ~4 turns. If I'm not picky and place whatever hex I draw, there will be ancients, and the battles will slow down the process with about 2-3 turns. Therefor, I can be at his system in turn 5 at best, by which time he has plenty of resources to build his fleet...


Don't know if you're still following this, but there might be another rule you've missed here.

First, just to clarify the terminology, a round consists of several turns, with 9 rounds in a game. I mention this because you said that by turn 5, he's collected plenty of resources. Resources are collected at the end of the round, not the end of the turn. Your fifth turn will likely happen during the second round (if you're aggressively trying to reach him, and your post implies that this is one of your primary objectives), which means your opponent has only collected resources once by turn 5.

Second, you are allowed to take the same action repeatedly on different turns of the same round. So, you can explore more than one hex in a round. Exploring also has a "free" influence action included as long as there are no ancients, which allows you to continue exploring in a particular direction in a single round.

You could theoretically establish a connection to your opponent by the end of round 1, especially if you're playing Eridani because of their starting money bonus. Of course, it might not be in your best interests to do so, but you still can.

I may be misinterpreting what you said, but if it takes 5 turns (not rounds) to reach him, then he wouldn't have a large stockpile of resources because few, if any, Upkeep Phases will have passed by the time you reach him.

And, if it takes 5 rounds (not turns) to reach him because you're only exploring one new hex per round, then you're probably misunderstanding the rules (since presumably, you're trying to reach him as soon as you can).
 
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Yeah, I'm a little worried that not all the rules are being followed here. The comment that interests me the most was mention of going Orbital -> Monolith AND having a virtual fleet. That's not usually possible.

Since orbitals take materials to build (those same materials you use for ships and monoliths) yet CANNOT be colonized with material population, where is he getting his materials for the virtual fleet?

To top it off, you say he's only exploring backwards ... into those tiles that have the least resources. Something isn't adding up for me.
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Plaid Dragon
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slashing wrote:
Good luck. I hope it goes well for you.

In case you own Eclipse yourself, you can practise the first few rounds until you can take out the galactic center in good time.


This is a really good suggestion.

I've run several full games with as many as four dummy players, playing each one as vigorously as possible against the others. Doing so has helped me develop a myriad of strategies ranging from: how to be aggressive early, how to cope with early aggression, how to turtle, how to deal with turtles, how to crush the GCDS as early as possible... etc.

No one is unbeatable. It's just a question of having the experience to gauge your opponents strategy as well as adapting to changes in that strategy effectively. Running actual games as simulations will help get one more familiar with the situations that arise in any real game.
 
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