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Subject: Many likes, few dislikes rss

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Russell Ray

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I've played quite a few games of Eclipse now, and have decided it's about time for a review. Eclipse is what is known as a 4X game: explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The game is won, not by conquering your opponents; although that certainly helps, but by accumulating the most victory points.

The following are 10 things I liked and 5 things I did not like about Eclipse.

1. There is a turn limit. You have nine rounds to establish your place in the galaxy; make them count! Players take turns doing actions such as, Exploring, Establishing Influence over systems, Researching new technologies, Upgrading their ships, Moving across the galaxy, and Building new ships. Once all players pass and combat is resolved, the next round starts. I feel it's a good balance of keeping the game medium length. I find that a game takes about 1 hour per player, regardless of the box's suggested time of 45 minutes/player.

2. You get to design your own ships. Have you ever wanted a small scout ship with no weapons, just incredibly powerful engines and shields? How about a gun ship that fires missles and plasma canons? In Eclipse you can upgrade your ships with several technologies in the game.

3. Simple rules. The rulebook may be 32 pages, and a little confusing at times, but I promise you these rules couldn't be much more simple.

4. Variable amounts of players. As little as 2, as many as 6! The only rule you take away when playing with less than 4 players is the diplomacy rules for obvious reasons. I love the flexibility of the game in respect to the amount of players you can have.

5. Modular game board. The board changes every time you play, giving Eclipse quite a bit of replayability. When a new territory is explored, the player simply picks up a hex, turns it over, and places it adjacent to the hex he is exploring from.

6. Excellent resource system. There are three resources in Eclipse: Money, Science, and Materials. You pay an upkeep for actions that you use during each turn with money. Science allows you to research technologies. Materials allow you to build more ships and other structures. Collecting resources is as simple as establishing influence in a sector and placing a population cube on a planet of a certain color: Brown for Materials, Pink for Science, and Orange for Money.

7. Came with more than enough baggies to organize everything. To organize the 150 million pieces that Eclipse brings to the table, the creators had the forsight to provide several baggies. I absolutely love that.

8. Several paths to victory. You can play this game without engaging in combat once, or you can carve a blood thirsty path through the galaxy. Both are viable winning strategies that I have used.

9. It's epic. You're building a space civilization here folks; learn to love it. This game has a pretty long play time and I find it amazingly able to keep my attention for the entire time. You actually feel like you're expanding your interstellar civ!

10. Unpredictibility. On our last play through my friend got beat around by the Ancients for the first two rounds. He was certain he would lose. After all of the Victory Points were tallied in the end, he was the winner by three points. It's not going to happen every time, but it's possible!

Dislikes
1. All the little bits. There are 6 colors, one per player. Each color has wooden cubes and discs along with plastic ships. There are approximately 84 plastic ships, over 300 wooden parts, 300 tiles, 5 player boards, 1 supply board, 18 dice, and two cloth bags provided for Eclipse. It's very daunting set up for more than two players, depending on how many times you'ved played it and the experience you have setting up games efficiently.

2. Storage Solution is lacking. I like to keep my games in their original box. You can certainly do that with Eclipse; however, it's a bit chaotic and messy. There are no specific parts to put things, you sort of have to just throw it all in and pray it works out when opening it the next time. I highly recommend investing in some plano boxes to help organize the tiles.

3. Luck is a HUGE factor in this game. Six sided dice are the method of combat. To begin the only way of inflicting damage is by rolling a six. After several ship upgrades you can whittle that down to rolling a three, of course if your opponents have half sense, they will upgrade their ships so you must again roll sixes. Combat is pretty much the most irritating part of the game for me. Furthermore, when exploring, tiles are flipped over randomly. It makes for a wonderfully random, changing board game, but you can get very unlucky on your explorations, running into over powered remnants of lost civilizations, or nothing of use at all.

4. Confusing rulebook. Like every. single. Fantasy Flight game I own, the rulebook is incredibly long, and laid out in the absolute most convenient manner possible. I have spent 15 minutes searching for one simple mechanic, only to find it tucked away as a single sentence in a topic that's almost completely unrelated.

5. The ships are .. meh. This is a thin point, but I'm not a huge fan of the ships. They are simply boring in the base game.

I like Eclipse, but it's definitely not my favorite board game. Although I'd probably play it any time someone suggested it.
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Peter Bakija
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rusray wrote:
Dislikes
1. All the little bits.

2. Storage Solution is lacking.


This is a easily corrected issue, as you note--spend 5 bucks or so on a little bead sorting box or two from a craft store, and set up is virtually instant. Well, ok, you still need to set up your population cubes and disks, but assuming each race has its own bag of stuff, this is pretty painless.

Quote:
3. Luck is a HUGE factor in this game.


As discussed in all the other review threads on this point, yeah, luck is certainly an issue in this game (it has dice and random selection of a lot of things), but it is certainly possible to minimize the effect luck has on your game, and over many games, people who are good at the game tend to win more often than not, luck or no. Yes, you can lose an important fight due to super unlucky dice, and that can crush you. But you can also minimize the chance of that through ship builds and only attacking when you know the odds are in your favor. Hex draws are certainly random, but really, most of the time, any hex you draw is going to be a good one. And in the instance that it is completely horrible for some reason, you can always ditch it and draw a different one the next time.

I've played this game a lot. It is exceptionally rare that someone who is in a winning position starts losing due to bad luck and exceptionally rare that someone who is in a losing position starts winning due to good luck. The biggest factors in victory in this game tend to be player skill and table dynamics (i.e. if you can somehow convince your neighbors not to attack you and instead they attack someone else, you are in a good situation; looking like you aren't winning when you are winning is a good place to be; etc.).

Quote:
5. The ships are .. meh. This is a thin point, but I'm not a huge fan of the ships. They are simply boring in the base game.


The plastic models? They are generic space ship minis. Given that they could be simple flat wooden markers, or cardboard counters, they everyone got a fleet of cool little tiny plastic space ships strikes me as fantastic. You can also get the ship expansion, where you get 6 different fleets of detailed different tiny plastic space ships if you want.
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Shane Larsen
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rusray wrote:
4. Confusing rulebook. Like every. single. Fantasy Flight game I own...


You do know this isn't a Fantasy Flight game, right?
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Mathue Faulkner
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thedacker wrote:
rusray wrote:
4. Confusing rulebook. Like every. single. Fantasy Flight game I own...


You do know this isn't a Fantasy Flight game, right?

I also didn't find the rulebook very confusing to be honest...
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Answering dislikes

1,2 - Yes, the amount of bits is huge. It takes a lot to setup the game and then get it off the table. No "storage solution" inside the box would really help you with this, I remeber they've provided a lot of zip bags, and that's the best they could do, really. That said, GMT trays works miracles for this game. I have the base game, expansion and some mini expansions packed neatly in the main box and the setup time (and most importantly in-game handling time) is decreased significantly thanks to this.

3 - No, it isn't. Let's not start this argument all over again. There are probabilities and there are actions to mitigate the luck (for instance, you're free to discard the explored hex if you don't like it). I really don't get that "roll 6" argument - are you sure you played by the rules? It's not like you're just missing and the fight is over - both parties attack till one side is destroyed or retreats. It's up to you to prepare accordingly. Use missiles. Attack only where it makes sense to attack. Pin ships. Fighting is just one of the elements of the game, and it's usually misunderstood in first few games. Eclipse is about creating virtual or actual pressure, not blowing up the cosmos left and right.

4. I personally believe, Eclipse has one of the best UI all across manual and components and an absolutely amazing manual. Complex games are well, complex.

5. Get Ship Pack #1 and the problem is gone :)
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Viktor Karlsson Mantel
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mfaulk80 wrote:
thedacker wrote:
rusray wrote:
4. Confusing rulebook. Like every. single. Fantasy Flight game I own...


You do know this isn't a Fantasy Flight game, right?

I also didn't find the rulebook very confusing to be honest...

I agree. Did not have any problem start playing right away.
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Russell Ray

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Good afternoon gentlemen!

A few quick things: this review was based solely on the base game of Eclipse. What you get straight out of the box when you plunk down your $60-$99 (depending on where you get it).

thedacker, Yes I do realize that this isn't a Fantasy Flight Game. I worded this sentence poorly. I meant it to mean that it reminds me of a FF rulebook.

I do know about the Ship Pack, which is why I specified that I didn't like the ships in the base game. Although, upon some further consideration, I do somewhat agree with bakija. They could have included cardboard punches, but not at the same pricepoint.

I actually do have a plano that fits all of the tiles perfectly, making setup a little less taxing, which I recommended in my review. I disgaree that the storage solution included was the best that they could do. I've seen games with fantastic inserts, such as Lords of Waterdeep. But I did appreciate the inclusion of so many extra bags.

Regarding luck; I'm not starting an argument, just stating my opinion. I'm very familiar with the rules of Eclipse and how general strategy works.

To be clear, I actually really enjoy playing Eclipse. In fact, I gave it 5 stars on an Amazon review.

Regardless of disagreements I thank you for your inputs and opinions! That's why I keep coming back to this site.
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Peter Bakija
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rusray wrote:
A few quick things: this review was based solely on the base game of Eclipse. What you get straight out of the box when you plunk down your $60-$99 (depending on where you get it).


Oh, sure. It is certainly expensive, as board games go. Well, kind of. The basic game for $100.00, give or take, give you an awful lot of stuff and a lot of replay value, and isn't significantly more expensive than plenty of other games when you build in expansion parts. And for an extra 5 bucks for a counter sorting box, the game becomes vastly more playable.

Quote:
I do know about the Ship Pack, which is why I specified that I didn't like the ships in the base game. Although, upon some further consideration, I do somewhat agree with bakija. They could have included cardboard punches, but not at the same pricepoint.


They could have, but I don't actually think that would have been that good of an idea. The tiny plastic space ships that come with the game are visually appealing and fun. And I don't know that it would have actually saved that much money on the game--maybe dropped the price by, like, 5-10 bucks, I'd imagine. I'd rather pay the extra 5-10 bucks and get the cool tiny plastic space ships.

Quote:
Regarding luck; I'm not starting an argument, just stating my opinion. I'm very familiar with the rules of Eclipse and how general strategy works.


Absolutely. But still, the number one complaint that people have about this game when they complain about something about it tends to be "it is too random!", but really, the randomosity is much less of an issue than most folks let on or often seem to realize.
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Marcel van der pol
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I do agree with the OP that

1) This game has many bits. In this way it definitely reminds me of a FFG game; fortunately I happen to like games with good components, miniatures and FFG is my favourite publisher.

2) It is an absolutely fantastic game.

3) Yes, there is luck in the game and plenty of it. There are also ways to affect the probabilities, so "bad luck mitigation" is an essential part of the strategy. There is however no mitigation for rolling nothing but 1's in combat or drawing nothing but "1" Victory Point Tiles, no matter what you do.

4) The manual is good but I definitely made a few mistakes with the rules the first two times that I played the game. That said, there are most certainly worse published rulebooks than this one (FFG I'm looking at you again).

5) Did I mention this is an absolutely fantastic game?
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I'd like to point out that the OP alludes to Ancients Tiles being bad luck draws....but it's actually the opposite. The best civilizations are built on the smoldering ashes of the previous ones....
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Yes, that's a common rookie misconception. Ancient tiles are usually very good, give discovery tokens and grant the opportunity to fight with relatively easy opponent, to get a bucketload of reputation tokens.
 
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Rusty Patterson
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rusray wrote:


The following are 10 things I liked...

3. Simple rules. The rulebook may be 32 pages, and a little confusing at times, but I promise you these rules couldn't be much more simple.


Dislikes

4. Confusing rulebook. Like every. single. Fantasy Flight game I own, the rulebook is incredibly long, and laid out in the absolute most convenient manner possible. I have spent 15 minutes searching for one simple mechanic, only to find it tucked away as a single sentence in a topic that's almost completely unrelated.


I get what you're saying, kinda. But this is more than a little contradictory. The rules are simple but the rule book is confusing.

 
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