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Subject: And another one...Exodus: Proxima Centauri vs Eclipse rss

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Nicholas
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Reading through this forum, I noticed that this game is often compared to Eclipse and TI3. No surprise there, since all of these games look a lot alike. I have played TI3 only once, so while I do have a strong opinion concerning TI3, I am certain that I didn't see a lot of stuff the game can offer, so I will forgo an analysis of TI3.
Now, since I have some friends who are heavily into Eclipse, I played a lot of Eclipse during the last few months, including RotA and SotR. Three games of Exodus (3,4 and 5 player) plus the first two solo missions feel like enough to get a basic opinion on the game and mechanics.
So let's begin!


1. Looks

Well, first impressions are that the game look alike. Hexagons, little spaceships, dice and lots of icons. However, if you take a closer look you can not help but notice that Eclipse is bland. Everything looks more or less the same, grey-ish or black. The art on the player boards is very functional, but beautiful? No way. Exodus on the other hand has beautiful hexagons and due to the spaceship blueprints there is some color on the playerboards. Individual faction pictures are missing (since there are no individual factions in the base game!), but the player board still look great. It's also thick cardboard instead of flimsy sheets.
Ecodus can score some points with beautiful cards, while Eclipse has nice white&black cloth bags to offer. The downside is that these contain more grey-ish or black chits.
A lot of people complain about the Eclipse minis, but I really do not get why. I think the minis in both games are perfectly fine, but I do prefer the Exodus minis once mounted on a ship stand. The only thing which looks really bad are the 2nd ship markers in Exodus. I will have to mark the ship stands before my next game.

Please note that I'm talking about the Revised Edition here. I played the original game once and the Exodus rating in this section would drop a lot if I had to consider the first edition.


2. Iconography


This is definitly one of Eclipse strong points. Most icons make sense and are easy to understand, once you have the basic gist of the game. Some tokens in the expansions are not quite as clear as the base game, but overall it's very easy to identify any piece in Eclipse and see what it does. Great job.
Exodus has some small problems in this regard, especially the action cards. It's not always obvious which side is the action and which is the reaction. However, after half a game players will be fine. I think the iconography on the techtree is good as well. There can be little to no doubt about what the upgrades do. If Eclipse gets a 9/10 for the iconography, Exodus is close behind with 8/10.



3. eXplore

So, since both these games are supposed to be 4x games, I will start off with eXplore. In Eclipse you can explore as you like and build the galaxy as you see fit. Exodus has a preset map and everything is known from the beginning, so there is no real exploring. Point for Eclipse then? Wrong.
The exploration in Eclipse is heavily luck dependant. While it is true that there are no "bad tiles" per se, there most certainly are tiles which may help or hinder you, depending on your strategy and/or race. You can give back tiles which might be really bad for you, but this comes at a huge cost. Namely money, since you have to use an additional action and also turn order, since you can not pass but have to explore again. And who knows if you will get a better tile next draw?
To elaborate a bit, Ancients are obviously great for Magellan, Draco and that fighter race from the base game. Ancients are really bad if you lost your ships in turn1 or 2 due to an unlucky combat and all you get is ancients, with no chance for expanding. There are of course other examples, but this should suffice to bring the basic point across. Players really can get screwed by tiles draws here and be at a serious disadvantage, through no fault of their own.
So I definitly strongly prefer the preset Exodus maps. If you have one kind of ressource not available, you can adjust your strategy from the first turn to handle this.


4. eXpand

So next X - eXpand. In both games you do not really build stuff on your new planets, except space ships (and maybe WMDs in Exodus). The idea to use the same discs for actions and your influence on the map in Eclipse is brilliant. The colony ships not so much and the gamey mechanism to exchange a cube from one ressource track to another using a white planet is useful, but actually feels like an exploit to me.
In Exodus you simply ship your population on new planets, which works fine. However, I think it's great that more than one player can actually be present on the same planet. This offers up nice interaction, possible bribes (mining for the other player). Both games offers the opportunity to build an empire of controlled planets. In Eclipse it's limited through your actions discs, in Exodus the limitation is provided by your population. Both systems offer meaningful, sometimes hard, choices and fit perfectly into the games.

5. eXploit

The ressource tracks in Eclipse are nice. The more people you have gathering one ressource, the better each subsequent guy gets. Makes sense that the new guy can profit from the experience of those before him. In Exodus, you actually feel like you really EXPLOIT the planet, since you can deplete it of all ressources and then move on. The option to drop some population on another players planet and then get ahead of him in turn order and get the last ressource from that planet is great. Exodus offers more choice in this regard. If you do not use the mining action, to stock up on available ressources on a planet, you will come to a point where all your planets are depleted. This adds another layer of strategy to the gathering ressources part of the game. Also, since you have to pay tax for Axinium (red) and Phasium (green) ressources, you might actually not take all the ressources you could have, especially late in the game. This offers more choice than in Eclipse, where the main choice is in which planet to populate first and maybe determining wheter a hex with only one ressource planet in it is worth the cost.

6. eXterminate

Now, the last X. eXterminate. The fact that early battles in Eclipse are encouraged, due to the random VP gain, is nice. The part that the VP gain is random is not nice at all. Of course, you can improve your chances to get the higher chits, but the difference between the amount of points gained randomly for exactly the same action (i.e. defeating ancients) is simply too high. This reminds me a bit about the complaints of the Exodus first edition with banking. Player A gets 1 CP (Exodus money) and Player B gets 6 CP through a roll of the dice. Drawing a chit is not exactly the same, but the principle is the same. So good idea to promote early combat, but the implementation should have been better.
In Exodus combat is worth the same throughout the game.

Combat systems:
Uha. Where to begin. The combat system in Eclipse is bad. I mean, really bad. In fact, it's one of the worst I've ever seen. Whoever came up with that system can not have a good understanding of probabilites and variance. Or if he does, he did choose not to let his understanding influence this combat system.
Why would someone choose to add guns to a game were a single die scores multiple hits? This does nothing to decrease variance and promotes extreme results. Since most Eclipse players won't believe me, here a simplified example:
Player A has 4 fighters with one ion cannon each (roll 1D6 each) and no hulls (1HP each).
Player B has 1 dreadnought with 1 Antimatter cannon+Antimatter splitter (roll 1D6) and 1 hull (2HP). To simplify, each player only hits on a 6, which can often be the case in an eclipse combat. The dreadnought player has initiatve.
Now, in 1/6 of the cases, he will roll a 6 and obliterate the entire opposing fleet. 5/6 of the time he will not destroy a single ship. If he had 4 dice for his anti-matter cannon, he would frequently destroy one ship, sometimes 2 in the first round of combat.
The end result would be that IF the fighter player wins the combat, he would probably have lost a part of his fleet. With the combat system in Eclipse however, either he gets to keep all his ships or he directly loses all of them. And yes, this is a constructed example to show why it's bad to score mulitple hits with one die. A lucky/unlucky roll has much more effect here than in combat systems where each die is worth the same.
Another downside of the combat system in Eclipse is that it takes forever, due to the initiatve rules and the computer/shields upgrades.
Example:
Player A rolls 2 dice. He rolls a 5 and a 6. Now, he hits one kind of opposing ships with the 5 and the other only with a 6. Now he has to think about were to apply the damage. While this adds decisisons, the decision is more or less meaning less, because there is always one option which is superior to the other options. Wheter the player can recognize this option depends on his understanding of the game, but it is simply not worth the extra time.
Then Player B rolls 3 dice. Player A's turn again, this time with 3 dice from his other cannons. Etc. This takes forever.

The combat system in Exodus is nothing special, but MUCH more functional. A 5 or 6 is hit, each cannon adds a certain amount of dice. Simple. Fast. Another upside is that variance is actually decreased, since you roll A LOT of dice. It's also faster, especially with big battles. Example: Ok, A gets 30 dice, B gets 28 dice. Ok next turn, A has 12 dice left, B has 6 dice left. The only thing that can take a while if at the end there is only one ship battling one ship left (especially if both of those are Battle Carriers, which have a lot of shields but only one gun).

So conclusion: Eclipse 1/10, Exodus 7/10 for combat systems. In the Exodus expansion you get combat cards, which provide another layer to the combat. I have not tried them yet, because I think this will mean that combat takes longer to resolve.
In Eclipse all ships are whole again after the combat round, whereas in Exodus you keep damage. You can research something to repair your ships, but this will take a looong time. Both systems work fine, I prefer the keep damage.

In both games the winner gets VP for combat, in Eclipse the loser also gets some VP. My thoughts about Eclipse system are above. In Exodus you can get a commanding lead if you win a multi-player combat, but this might also serve as come-back opportunity. Works fine for me.

Now, the impact of losing a combat is much more severe in Eclipse. If you were attacked, you will lose the planet system as well, meaning ressources (not until the next round tough). In Exodus your ships are gone and if you are unlucky some population on them died as well, which is the greater loss. In Exodus, you can simply build most of your fleet back the next turn. This is hardly possible in Eclipse and losing ships, especially early, has a much bigger impact.

The movement in Eclipse is more tactical in nature, due to the blocking rules. Two players can work togheter to get a leader down, since one player can block his ships and the other invades a lot of systems. Blocking rules work well, as does the ship movement.
In Exodus you have hidden simultaenously movement, which I love. You can really try to hunt down other players ships (my favorite targets are the battle carriers, which act as transports). This adds a thrill to the game, to see what other players did and wheter you guessed correctly. There can also be pretty huge surprises there.
Example: In the last game I decided to kill a few ships from the white player, which he had left in home system during the first move. I moved my entire fleet there, only to see the grinning green player start moving his ships there as well. The result was a huge 3-player battle, with green having 30 dice, me with 25 and white with 7 dice. White won the battle with one hp left and collected something like 20VP, putting him back into the game.
The movement tokens provided with the game are very fiddly, but there a different solutions in the file section here, mostly using pen&paper.
If you do not like hidden simultaenous movement, there is a variant "Drive Power Movement", which also comes with blocking rules, making movement more like Eclipse.
In Exodus you also get to shoot weapons of mass destructions at your opponents, which is fun. I think these are more important in lower player counts, since you do not get any VP from them. If you start shooting rockets in a 6-player game, you put yourself behind (due to costs) and maybe your victim (if you hit). All other players benefit in relation to these two. Whereas in a 2-player game, everything your opponent loses puts you ahead.

So in conclusion, I strongly prefer the extermination in Exodus, since it has a better combat, more opportunites for comebacks and simply MORE combat.




7. Feel of the game

Now, as many have mentioned before me, Eclipse feels more like an Euro with a bit of combat thrown in. However, it is way to luck dependant to be a proper Euro. It gives you an illusion of control, which simply is not there. You most certainly can have big space battles, especially towards the end. You also can feel the satisfaction of outthinking an opponent and sneaking your fleet past his border in a crucial moment. Diplomacy (table talk) is very important and can have a huge effect on the outcome of the game. If luck is on your side, this can be a very satisfying game. If not, you can sit there for 2-3 hours with nothing much to do. (Sidenote: My Eclipse score are normally between 35-45, so I think I'm a decent player and win my fair share of games.)

Exodus on the other hand gives you exactly what it looks like:
Lots of action, lots of combat, combined with a nice ressource gathering, researching and building part. Even if you lost your fleet early in the game, it's not hard to get some decent ships running again and blow some stuff up! Table talk is important too, but maybe not as much as in Eclipse. At least as long as you play with hidden movement, since another player can threaten to attack you, but he will have to find your fleet first! Also, if he doesn't have rockets your population and ressource income is safe, so there's not much to threaten there.


8. Tech trees, Action phase, Turn order and Misc


The tech tree in Eclipse works fine and is easy to understand. The downside is that there are "must-have" techs, like improved hulls and plasma cannons.
I have not found any "must have" in Exodus. Of course you should research some kind of weapon and some kind of shield (aquivalent to hulls in Eclipse), but which one will you take? WHEN will you research it? In Eclipse you have to pick up these techs asap, because if you don't, another player will take it and you don't know when you will be able to take it.

I strongly prefer the open tech trees of Exodus, where you actually have to make more choices. The discount system in Exodus is a bit more complex than in Eclipse, especially if there are some laws in play. It's easy to miss a discount, which can not happen in Eclipse.

The biggest complaint I have about the Eclipse tech tree is the random draw. When a tech is gone, it's gone and you have to wait for it to be drawn again. The rare technologies added in the expansions fix the problem that you can not complete a row since the techs simply do not show up (completing rows awards VP).

Now to the action phase:
This is the best part of Eclipse. The system using the discs both for actions and for controlling systems is brilliant. You have to check wheter you can really afford to take another action or take another system. I imagine that this is a huge draw for many people. If it were not for this mechanic, I doubt I would be playing Eclipse at all.

In Exodus you play cards with one actions and one reaction per card. For some actions turn order matters (Trade), but for reactions it's vital. Since each card can only be used once for a reaction, the player going first has the pick of all cards. The last player might be left with an entirely undesirable reaction. Depending on what you plan to do, this means the turn order for any given round can be vital or totally irrelevant for you. This system works fine and makes for some tough choices.

Turn order:
In Eclipse, the turn order is randomly choosen at the start of the game. This is fine, the downside is that it has a HUGE effect. If there is a nice tech (like improved hulls), the first player will get it and immediately have an advantage in combat, through no achivement of his own. Also, since the first player to pass will go first in the next round, he gets to keep the first player if all the players want to do the same actions. Of course, other players can pass early, but this comes at a cost, since the first few action discs are cheaper than later discs and you might not have the chance to get as many new ressources as someone who passes later. Also, in a high player count game, you might get screwed by turn order if someone across the table regularly passes early. The second player to pass gets to choose the direction of play, which helps a bit.

In Exodus turn order is random at the start of the game as well. This gives a miniscule advantage to the first two players, since they get to choose the extra action (which will be available for all players). Also, in a tie from political cards (on which players bid early in each turn), the 1st player gets to solve ties.
Early in the turn there is a hidden bid for turn order, which I greatly enjoy. The fact the 1st player (Chancellor) can NOT rule in his favor to solve ties in this bid makes it very interesting and is a great balancing mechanism for the random draw at the start of the game. Assuming all player bid nothing, the chancellor would be forced to give himself the last slot in turn order.
I greatly prefer this system, since it gives everyone the same chances and gives you control to be first when it really matters.


You also have a political phase in Exodus, where you bid for one of three cards which will affect the game. Often it's more or less obvious which card players will choose, since many of them are not worth a huge bid over the others. Still, I like the feature and sometimes it can really have an impact.
During our last game a player was bragging after taking ressources "Look, I have 10 Phasium! I'm going to buy some big guns and blow you up to pieces!" First political card I turned over was this one: "All players immediately lose all their Phasium". Needless to say, the laughter was great and the Phasium player ended up bidding way too much to keep his Phasium.
I think adding in the political cards from the expansion makes for a more interesting phase, since some of these cards really affect gameplay in a larger way.


Factions:
This is one part where Eclipse is ahead. The base game comes with 7 different factions and more are added with each expansion. Each faction has unique strengths and plays very different. I also think they are pretty balanced.
In Exodus, each player has the exact same faction. Unless you play with the expansion, which adds 6 different factions, which are very unique.
I didn't try them yet, but they definitly look fun.

Game length:
Well, that heavily depends on your group. I think both games take about the same time, maybe Eclipse a little bit longer for larger player counts.


Conclusion:

As you can see, I think Exodus is a far superior game. Eclipse just has so many downsides and so many poorly designed parts that the great action disc mechanic only rescues this game to mediocre.
It can be fun to play, but it can just as easily be extremly boring, through no fault of your own. Also, there is signifcantly less downtime in Exodus, so it keeps players engaged most of the time.
The winner in Exodus can be decided by luck in some huge combat, but you never know until the end. Exodus is more combat focussed than Eclipse. I do not think that you can win a game of Exodus without at least a few battles against other players. This is very much a possibility in Eclipse, so the road to victory is a bit more diverse in Eclipse. Unless you add in the Exodus expansion, which has multiple new ways of scoring VP.

So if you want an engaging, combat oriented battle in space, I would choose Exodus over Eclipse any day. If you like to just build in peace in your corner of the galaxy, Exodus is definitly not the game for you, but Eclipse might be it, depending on your group.

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Nicholas
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Well, that's only an example to bring the point across. The basic principle still stands that multiple hits with one die promote extreme results. However, the example is correct, since I added the Antimatter Splitter, which is a rare tech from RotA. It allows you to split the damage.

It's perfectly possible that you will find Eclipse to be the better game. It offers a different experience than Exodus.
 
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Nicholas M wrote:
Well, that's only an example to bring the point across. The basic principle still stands that multiple hits with one die promote extreme results. However, the example is correct, since I added the Antimatter Splitter, which is a rare tech from RotA. It allows you to split the damage.

It's perfectly possible that you will find Eclipse to be the better game. It offers a different experience than Exodus.
You're totally right - I missed the splitter, my apologies.
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Jo Bartok
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Isn't Eclipse that Euro with tile placement and some lucky dice rolls?

Apples and Oranges.
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Tristan Brunet
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ionas wrote:
Isn't Eclipse that Euro with tile placement and some lucky dice rolls?

Apples and Oranges.
Wait... Are Apples euros and Oranges ameritrash ? Or is it the opposite ?

 Edit : By the way, I understand you don't like the explore mechanic in Eclipse. You find it random, but... Isn't it the very nature of exploring ? Not knowing what good or bad things you will find ? In this regard, the Distant Suns option of TI3 is just as random... Due to the snowballing/engine building nature of 4Xs, making a bad encounter early is always gonna hurt. The thing is, it is a narrative-building part of the game, so you can't judge it on a purely "decision-making" pattern.

And I'm no expert, but it seems to me there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness of exploration (or actually turn it into a feature of its own) in Eclipse : what kind of sector do you explore, where do you place the tile (do you turtle or build a path for aggression), to create what kind of connections within the map... In this regard, it is as random as you want it to be.

In fact, I'd personally argue that the exploration in Eclipse precisely feels lacking on a narrative level. The thrilling of drawing a tile is limited, because of the lack of "personality" in the selection of the tiles itself, and in the effects they can bring to the game. The promos help with that, by bringing some wonky effects, but they're too limited in numbers, and end up reinforcing the arbitrary feeling of "being played" when you draw one. It is the way those tiles are "differentiated" which feels lacking for me. Not the drawing mechanic itself.

Finally, if there is no exploration in Exodus, it's not a 4X game. Which doesn't make it a bad game at all, sure. Just a different kind of one.
 
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Paptimus wrote:
ionas wrote:
Isn't Eclipse that Euro with tile placement and some lucky dice rolls?

Apples and Oranges.
Wait... Are Apples euros and Oranges ameritrash ? Or is it the opposite ?

 Edit : By the way, I understand you don't like the explore mechanic in Eclipse. You find it random, but... Isn't it the very nature of exploring ? Not knowing what good or bad things you will find ? In this regard, the Distant Suns option of TI3 is just as random... Due to the snowballing/engine building nature of 4Xs, making a bad encounter early is always gonna hurt. The thing is, it is a narrative-building part of the game, so you can't judge it on a purely "decision-making" pattern.

And I'm no expert, but it seems to me there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness of exploration (or actually turn it into a feature of its own) in Eclipse : what kind of sector do you explore, where do you place the tile (do you turtle or build a path for aggression), to create what kind of connections within the map... In this regard, it is as random as you want it to be.

In fact, I'd personally argue that the exploration in Eclipse precisely feels lacking on a narrative level. The thrilling of drawing a tile is limited, because of the lack of "personality" in the selection of the tiles itself, and in the effects they can bring to the game. The promos help with that, by bringing some wonky effects, but they're too limited in numbers, and end up reinforcing the arbitrary feeling of "being played" when you draw one. It is the way those tiles are "differentiated" which feels lacking for me. Not the drawing mechanic itself.

Finally, if there is no exploration in Exodus, it's not a 4X game. Which doesn't make it a bad game at all, sure. Just a different kind of one.
Who plays with Distant Suns in TI3 anyway? I never bothered with that at all.
 
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Phil Triest
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Yeah I have to agree with you, Exodus is far superior. Exodus did in fact glean some things from Eclipse though. The way ships are upgraded has been pulled from there for instance. But I really like the market and tech tree mechanisms in Exodus. That being said being able to destroy planets and wipe cubes off the board with WMDs is so cool too!
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Isn't this a review of Eclipse?
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Paptimus wrote:
[q="ionas"]
 Edit : By the way, I understand you don't like the explore mechanic in Eclipse. You find it random, but... Isn't it the very nature of exploring ? Not knowing what good or bad things you will find ? In this regard, the Distant Suns option of TI3 is just as random... Due to the snowballing/engine building nature of 4Xs, making a bad encounter early is always gonna hurt. The thing is, it is a narrative-building part of the game, so you can't judge it on a purely "decision-making" pattern.

And I'm no expert, but it seems to me there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness of exploration (or actually turn it into a feature of its own) in Eclipse : what kind of sector do you explore, where do you place the tile (do you turtle or build a path for aggression), to create what kind of connections within the map... In this regard, it is as random as you want it to be.


Finally, if there is no exploration in Exodus, it's not a 4X game. Which doesn't make it a bad game at all, sure. Just a different kind of one.

It's fine that it's random. But I do not like the fact that it has such a huge impact on wheter or not you will actually be able to do something and have a decent chance of winning or not. Actually, the one time I played TI3 the hosts included the Distant Suns options, which I disliked just as much. The exploration in Sid Meier's Civ is random as well, but you can win the game no matter what tile you draw.
Sure, you do have some decisions to make while exploring and they do matter. But this does nothing to adress the basic concern which I have with the mechanic.
The part with the narrative level sounds reasonable, this is an aspect I frequently disregard when thinking about games. However, I do like games which tell a good story. Thanks for pointing that out.

And well, wheter Exodus is considered to be 4x or not, I don't really care. I chose the 4x path in this review since it covers most of the stuff I had in my mind and offered some structure.



philtrees wrote:
Yeah I have to agree with you, Exodus is far superior. Exodus did in fact glean some things from Eclipse though. The way ships are upgraded has been pulled from there for instance. But I really like the market and tech tree mechanisms in Exodus. That being said being able to destroy planets and wipe cubes off the board with WMDs is so cool too!
Yes, I forgot to include that part. They work well in both games and it's one of the Eclipse mechanics which most people (at least everyone I know of) enjoy, including myself. As a sidenote, I think these are better balanced in Exodus, but at the cost of choice.


Gigel:

It's a comparison of both games. Eclipse got more text because I had some strongly negative points in comparison and I try to back up my negative opinions of stuff. Of course I could have posted this in the Eclipse forum, but I think that most people reading there have never heard of Exodus (at least I had not until a friend introduced it to me), while most people in this forum have heard of/played Eclipse and might be interested in a 2nd view on how the games differ.


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I don't mean to be rude but it seems like that you have no idea about how Eclipse works. The combats are supposed to be slaughters and the builds are intended to work like rock/paper/scissors. In my opinion the combat system is one of the best parts in Eclipse. (It's of course still completely OK to dislike it. It's just strange that you make such a strong statement that the combat is rubbish.)
Also like you said the losses from combats really hurt and usually guys want to make well planned strikes where it's VERY likely that they will destroy the opponent without losses (computers, initiative). The fun part is that when there is 6-8 players (usual game size in my group) you have to think very carefully how to make your builds because there is practically always at least one player that you can't successfully counter with your build.
Also thinking that plasma cannons and hulls are essential is just strange. Plasma cannons are very rarely a must have tech. Hulls are great but not essential by any means. It depends on the build you want to make. Very early passing is also one thing that I like to use pretty often in the early rounds (for example passing on my second turn of the round). You are likely to get the tech that you need at least in the bigger games where there is lots of new techs coming each round.

About the turn order at the start: You choose randomly the order of race selection but the turn order is going to go in reverse. In my group we also like to take only as many player boards available as there is players which basically leaves only 1 player board for the starting player. We also usually use tournament style mulligan exploring rules (make a search if you are interested).
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rayffis wrote:
I don't mean to be rude but
Has the rest of that sentence ever not been rude?
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Idaho11 wrote:
rayffis wrote:
I don't mean to be rude but
Has the rest of that sentence ever not been rude?
That's a good point. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. One wise man said once that never use the word "but" when you are trying to make a point.
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Idaho11 wrote:
rayffis wrote:
I don't mean to be rude but
Has the rest of that sentence ever not been rude?
Yes. Sometimes bluntness gets confused with rudeness thanks to the inability and/or uneasiness of written language to convey emotion.
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Nicholas
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Answer to rayffis about Eclipse combat system in spoiler.

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rayffis wrote:
I don't mean to be rude but it seems like that you have no idea about how Eclipse works. The combats are supposed to be slaughters and the builds are intended to work like rock/paper/scissors. In my opinion the combat system is one of the best parts in Eclipse. (It's of course still completely OK to dislike it. It's just strange that you make such a strong statement that the combat is rubbish.)
Also like you said the losses from combats really hurt and usually guys want to make well planned strikes where it's VERY likely that they will destroy the opponent without losses (computers, initiative). The fun part is that when there is 6-8 players (usual game size in my group) you have to think very carefully how to make your builds because there is practically always at least one player that you can't successfully counter with your build.
Also thinking that plasma cannons and hulls are essential is just strange. Plasma cannons are very rarely a must have tech. Hulls are great but not essential by any means. It depends on the build you want to make. Very early passing is also one thing that I like to use pretty often in the early rounds (for example passing on my second turn of the round). You are likely to get the tech that you need at least in the bigger games where there is lots of new techs coming each round.

About the turn order at the start: You choose randomly the order of race selection but the turn order is going to go in reverse. In my group we also like to take only as many player boards available as there is players which basically leaves only 1 player board for the starting player. We also usually use tournament style mulligan exploring rules (make a search if you are interested).

Well, the combat which can hurt most is the early combat against ancients. However, nothing in your post adresses the primarily concern which I have expressed about the comabt: The fact that variance and extreme results are deliberatly increases by the combat system and that it takes too long. Another example: In a combat where both players have roughyl 50:50 odds, one player should win the combat with a small amount of ships left, since the fleets are even. This combat system encourages results where one player might have none or only very small losses.

About plasma cannons - I assume that you agree that you need something better than Ion cannons. Antimatter is very expensive early (and needs a lot of energy), the blue cannons are a rare tech and the guys who own the game have houseruled that missiles take one energy each (+they are expensive).

About early passing: So due to the random tech draw (which is beside some rare movement cases or explorations the ONLY thing wherre it's beneficial to go first) the players who were unlucky enough to start late should have to pay for the privilege to have a chance to get what they want?

Are these "tournament style mulligan exploring rules" official? If not, the need to house rule something shows it's not a good design, don't you think?


However, I actually included the above example to avoid lengthy discussions about the Eclipse combat system. My basic point was that simple combat systems can be better, which in my opinion is the case here.
If you wish to discuss the Eclipse combat system in detail, I'm happy to do so in a thread in the Eclipse forum.
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David desJardins
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Nicholas M wrote:
Another example: In a combat where both players have roughyl 50:50 odds, one player should win the combat with a small amount of ships left, since the fleets are even.
Why "should" this be the case? I think a system where one side or the other often wins with no losses is just as viable and interesting to design a game around.
 
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Nicholas
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Nicholas M wrote:
Another example: In a combat where both players have roughyl 50:50 odds, one player should win the combat with a small amount of ships left, since the fleets are even.
Why "should" this be the case? I think a system where one side or the other often wins with no losses is just as viable and interesting to design a game around.
In my opinion a game (not talking about Eclipse now) where both players are roughly evenly skilled and both have a ~50/~50 chance of winning the game should have a close outcome and not an overwhelming victory/crushing defeat of one side. Same goes for a good combat system.
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David desJardins
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Nicholas M wrote:
In my opinion a game (not talking about Eclipse now) where both players are roughly evenly skilled and both have a ~50/~50 chance of winning the game should have a close outcome and not an overwhelming victory/crushing defeat of one side. Same goes for a good combat system.
So there's no reason for the opinion? It's just an opinion that you invented arbitrarily?

In a closely matched game of Chess, usually one player is going to get a slight advantage and build it into a bigger advantage and by the end of the game (if the opponent doesn't resign) he will be ahead by a couple of queens. Does that make Chess a bad game?

If you just have this personal preference, and there is no reason for the preference, it's just what you like, then it can't be disputed. But as a principle of game design I think it's not a good one.
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Nicholas
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Yes, the player gets the advantage and of course he builds a momentum to win the game. That's the point of the game.
Eclipse is a strategy game. The action disc mechanic (which is the main mechanic in the game) is very strategic. So why implement a combat system which favors extreme results in combat and thus increase extremly increase variance/luck? Combat does not need to be deterministic, it's often more fun if it's not. And there a good reasons against (and for) deterministic combat. So wheter a designer chooses deterministic or not is fine, as long as it fits the rest of the game.
But there is absolutly NO reason that I can see why you should implement mechanis in a strategy game which INCREASE combat variance and promote the aforementioned extreme results. If you can think of a reason, please share it.
I also can not think of any solid game which has a mechanic like this. If you know any, please share.
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David desJardins
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Nicholas M wrote:
But there is absolutly NO reason that I can see why you should implement mechanis in a strategy game which INCREASE combat variance and promote the aforementioned extreme results. If you can think of a reason, please share it.
Games where the outcomes of your choices have high variance make you "play the odds". Games where the outcomes of your choices are very predictable let you plan farther ahead. Both are equally interesting and strategic, they just appeal to different people.

Quote:
I also can not think of any solid game which has a mechanic like this. If you know any, please share.
Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)
War of the Ring (Second Edition)
Paths of Glory
Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage
Cosmic Encounter
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Nicholas
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Since WotR is one of my favorite games, please elaborate using this example.
 
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David desJardins
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Nicholas M wrote:
Since WotR is one of my favorite games, please elaborate using this example.
Battles in WOTR are high variance. Often the battle can go sharply one way or the other based on an early roll. And the difference between barely winning and barely losing can be huge.
 
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Thats not even remotely the same. The combat system in WotR is not designed to increase variance and extreme results. Each die is worth the same. The difference to Eclipse is in my first post. Unfortuantely you didn't get the point at all.
The fact that both sides can usually win a battle and that early rolls are more important is a completly different one and present in everything combat system I can think of right now. After all, dead units can't fight.
To be honest, I don't see any point in discussing this further with you, no offense meant.
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David desJardins
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Nicholas M wrote:
Thats not even remotely the same. The combat system in WotR is not designed to increase variance and extreme results.
I'd say you're clearly wrong. They deliberately chose a high-variance system; I could easily design a different system that would be similar on average but much lower variance. They wanted the higher variance because they thought it improves the game (as do I).

I agree there's no point in discussing it further. You don't seem much for listening.
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Justin Farkas

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I don't understand why rayffis makes a case for house ruling exploration (poor design) but your group gives missles an energy cost. then suggesting missles are too expensive, by decreasing their value in combat? House rules are used in many games, it doesn't make it a badly designed game. It sounds like your group made a bad design decision house ruling missles.

Besides I don't use either house rule because eclipse is already perfect!
 
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Phil Triest
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Nicholas M wrote:
Thats not even remotely the same. The combat system in WotR is not designed to increase variance and extreme results.
I'd say you're clearly wrong. They deliberately chose a high-variance system; I could easily design a different system that would be similar on average but much lower variance. They wanted the higher variance because they thought it improves the game (as do I).

I agree there's no point in discussing it further. You don't seem much for listening.
He is referring to Plasma missiles for one. A player may not even get a roll during combat. That is nothing like WotR at all... I know you will just argue your case though as you think you are never wrong. This will be my final post referencing you comments. In light of this I kind of feel I've made a pointless contribution anyway... shake
 
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