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Eclipse» Forums » Strategy

Subject: When to come out of the shell when playing turtle races rss

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Juanito Burrito
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When I first started playing Eclipse, I found a great deal of success playing aggressive races such as Mechenema and winning by quickly taking my neighbors homeworld, or failing that, taking the middle and then focusing on holding my territory and building as many monoliths as possible. I've played more jack-of-all-trades races such as Erdani, Terran, and Magellan, using offense as my defence.

Lately I've tried playing some more turtle focused races and while I've won a few games with the Exiles, I've found that in every game I turtle for the first six rounds or so and get to an incredibly strong position, but I simply don't have time to upgrade all my ships and make a move on turn seven or eight. I can make a few minor gains on turn 9, but it's rarely enough and I usually get 2nd or 3rd place unless I got lucky with reputation and discovery tiles. Am I coming out of my shell too late? When is the ideal time to go offensive with the turtle races (Hydran, Exiles, Lyra, etc.)?
 
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neko flying
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Some random thoughts.

In most games, you don't need to upgrade all your ships.

Some races never actually need to come out of their shell. Planta, for example, is actually better suited to fighting in the early game than endgame. So you might focus on early expansion and then consolidate.

Also, Exiles suck. 2nd place with them is pretty good. If you win consistently with them, your opponents are consistently doing something wrong.
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Chris K.
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Eclipsean4026 wrote:
When I first started playing Eclipse, I found a great deal of success playing aggressive races such as Mechenema and winning by quickly taking my neighbors homeworld, or failing that, taking the middle and then focusing on holding my territory and building as many monoliths as possible. I've played more jack-of-all-trades races such as Erdani, Terran, and Magellan, using offense as my defence.

Lately I've tried playing some more turtle focused races and while I've won a few games with the Exiles, I've found that in every game I turtle for the first six rounds or so and get to an incredibly strong position, but I simply don't have time to upgrade all my ships and make a move on turn seven or eight. I can make a few minor gains on turn 9, but it's rarely enough and I usually get 2nd or 3rd place unless I got lucky with reputation and discovery tiles. Am I coming out of my shell too late? When is the ideal time to go offensive with the turtle races (Hydran, Exiles, Lyra, etc.)?


Hydran, Exiles, Lyra and Planta only need to come out of their shell if they were particularly unlucky with their explores or got challenged by aggressive exploration of their neighbors. In many games a few Discovery Tiles taken for VP, their Homesystem and "their" Tier 2 and 1 System along with one or two decent systems in Tier 3 will set them up nicely to ride it to a 40+ score which usually has a decent chance of being a winning score in our games.

Their only "need" to come out of the shell is for Battle VP and those that cannot be gained via ancients can easily be farmed by sending a lone interceptor into the center or some enemy hex every round for a while.

That said: there is no easy rule, when to go on the offensive despite playing a defensive race. Generally it will be dependent on whether you happen to have a temporary tech or fleet size advantage. If you do, go and do something with it while you have it. But don't overextend yourself.
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Peter O
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By turn 4 or 5 (or earlier) most hexes should be discovered. From there you can count VP for everyone. As a rule of thumb I assume all Rep tiles are 3 VP and that max number of rep tiles will be accomplished by game end. From there you can make reasonable assumptions what the end game scores will be. This really helps identifying key hexes to take (and when) and key technologies to look for (Monolithes, wormhole generators, and key military for likely opponents).
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Juanito Burrito
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I thought the Exiles were really awesome to be honest. I won my first game with them coming out on top over a Hydran-Mechenama alliance who I neutron bombed by researching the warp portal development. The second game I came in second place by becoming an economic powerhouse with a scary plasma missile fleet, losing to Magellans only because they got five discoveries while exploring and I got none and was embroiled in a long war with a Mechenema player who I beat by once again using the warp portal research.

Maybe my opponents aren't too good, but I found the ability to max out money and science production really powerful.
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neko flying
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Eclipsean4026 wrote:
I found the ability to max out money and science production really powerful.


That costs you materials. Which often means that your opponents will be able to attack you during the early game and destroy you.
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Chris K.
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flying_neko wrote:
Eclipsean4026 wrote:
I found the ability to max out money and science production really powerful.


That costs you materials. Which often means that your opponents will be able to attack you during the early game and destroy you.


In our games the data shows that they are somewhere in the middle in terms of performance. Definitely not one of the easier to win races, but far from anything that I would call "sucks".
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neko flying
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How many players do you usually play with? I almost always play with 3 and base my estimate on that
 
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Peter O
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Some of the test games for RotA were 7-9 player games where people start in Tier 3. You'll notice some of the RotA races have abilities that make having empires consisting primarily of Tier 3 hexes possible. The exiles are one such race. Materials are more present in Tier 3 and pre-bought orbitals makes the Exiles able to better exist in Tier 3 space than many other races. Their cloaking devices make them annoying to fight against so if they get neutron bombs, opponents better think long and hard before attacking.
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Chris K.
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flying_neko wrote:
How many players do you usually play with? I almost always play with 3 and base my estimate on that


Usually 5 or 6 with 4 being the absolute minimum. I'd say it is a bit of a stretch to imply that a race totally sucks if you are mostly playing at such a low player count ;-)

Particularly if the race in question mostly has advantages that are utterly unnecessary if everyone has two Tier 1 Hexes and 2 Tier 2 Hexes available without crowding anyone.
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Juanito Burrito
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tranenturm wrote:
Some of the test games for RotA were 7-9 player games where people start in Tier 3. You'll notice some of the RotA races have abilities that make having empires consisting primarily of Tier 3 hexes possible. The exiles are one such race. Materials are more present in Tier 3 and pre-bought orbitals makes the Exiles able to better exist in Tier 3 space than many other races. Their cloaking devices make them annoying to fight against so if they get neutron bombs, opponents better think long and hard before attacking.


Sadly I don't have that many friends who would play Eclipse with me. :'( But that is a good point. Next time I play Exiles I might just expand backwards. Previously my empire was focused on rings 1 and 2 as to give I was hoping to get an economy up and running to attack other players.
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Peter O
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Getting your tier 1 and 2 are still important. But tier 3 has a greater proportion of material planets than the inner tiers allowing more orbitals to be built.
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neko flying
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chrisdk wrote:
I'd say it is a bit of a stretch to imply that a race totally sucks if you are mostly playing at such a low player count ;-)


The people who voted in this poll seem to agree with me though :)

Poll
And what if we made three leagues instead?
  Strong Average Weak
Terran
Eridani Empire
Hydran Progress
Planta
Descendants of Draco
Mechanema
Orion
Magellan
The Exiles
Rho Indi Syndicate
Enlightened of Lyra
      68 answers
Poll created by flying_neko
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Chris K.
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flying_neko wrote:
chrisdk wrote:
I'd say it is a bit of a stretch to imply that a race totally sucks if you are mostly playing at such a low player count ;-)


The people who voted in this poll seem to agree with me though

Poll
And what if we made three leagues instead?
  Strong Average Weak
Terran
Eridani Empire
Hydran Progress
Planta
Descendants of Draco
Mechanema
Orion
Magellan
The Exiles
Rho Indi Syndicate
Enlightened of Lyra
      68 answers
Poll created by flying_neko


To me there is a considerable difference between an opinion and a factual statement. Polls tend to show the opinion of people. "They suck" seems like a factual statement to me.

I prefer to trust data, and at least for the 30 something player strong group that I am tracking, there is not a sufficiently significant difference between race performance that I would call "they suck" for any of the races. Sure, there are some differences, as are bound to crop up, but player skill is a lot more significant to a result than Race selection. Leaving out Mechanema, which are behaving VERY weird in our games, the spread between races with best average position and worst average position is not even one place. For players the spread is nearly 3 places.

I think of it as difficulty in playing them and the poll above lines up nicely with most of my difficulty assumptions for the races.

All that said: I guess I am just getting too worked up over it, because I am somewhat allergic to hyperbole in balance questions ;-) So I should probably give it a rest.
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neko flying
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chrisdk wrote:
Leaving out Mechanema, which are behaving VERY weird in our games


Why? I am curious.


chrisdk wrote:
I think of it as difficulty in playing them and the poll above lines up nicely with most of my difficulty assumptions for the races.


Well I don't agree with that poll 100% either. Eridani are definitely undervalued in that poll, particularly when Developments are available.
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Juanito Burrito
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I'm a bit surprised as to the results of that poll. I've always found Erdani and Exiles to be fun and capable races. Sure, Erdani was awful in the base game, and Exiles require a far different strategy than most races, but I never saw either of them as weak races.

BGG also seems to think Mechenama is a really mediocre race, but I've never seen them do poorly in a game. Their mass produced and mass upgraded war machines are scary.
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Chris K.
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flying_neko wrote:
chrisdk wrote:
Leaving out Mechanema, which are behaving VERY weird in our games


Why? I am curious.


In our games they VERY rarely perform well. However I have hardly ever seen them a) get the types of systems helpful for their strategy (more than minimum Material) and b) played by one of the better players both at the same time. All too often they get plenty of empty systems with discoveries, but while that is usually a good thing it does not give them anything to leverage their racial advantages with.

Hence I consider their abysmal performance (half their games ended last place and nearly no wins) an aberration.



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Juanito Burrito
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When they do get materials though... Theyre scary. Double positron computers on dreadnoughts by turn 3 or 4 is nothing to laugh at. I've found they almost always take and hold the core first.
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Peter O
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Mechanema REALLY want/need to connect to neighbors for the trade cubes (obviously set to materials). With two more material markers they can get 8 material per turn making orbitals a good deal for them. Knowing this connecting Tier I then heavy tier 3 exploration (for singleton material planets) is very important. They even want to keep singleton planet systems provided it's gray/brown and they're close to making orbitals. (No aggressors or multitude of ancients).
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