I BADLY want a 4x game in space with different alien races. TI:3 is just too daunting for my gaming group. Eclipse seems really long too, and it gets no love at all from the reviewers I normally watch/read. New Dawn (despite being in the AtS Universe that I really like) gets no love... anywhere! So, is Master of Orion my salvation? Or should I be looking into something like Exodus or Race/Roll for the Galaxy??Have you considered Space Empires: 4X? It's a 4X in space (though you need the expansion to add unique faction abilities)
It can be long for the first game or two, but once everybody knows what they are doing it can be played in a couple hours.
Still not as quick as Master of Orion will supposedly be and Race for the Galaxy already is, but it is also a much different game.