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Space Empires: 4X» Forums » General

Subject: Game comparison rss

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Chris Gillmeister
Canada
Abbotsford
British Columbia
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I am looking at getting into a 4x game and looking for a game that has a good complexity level and depth. However, one that also works good at adding one or two new people to the game. My game group is usually around 4 with a core 2-3 people with the last spot being one of 4 different people.

Anyways I was hoping for peoples opinion and pros and cons on the different 4x games. The main ones I know are:

1. Space Empires 4x
2. Eclipse
3. Exodus

Complexity isn't a problem for myself but the multiplayer games we usually play are COIN and Maria.

Thanks!
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David E
United States
Maryland
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I haven't played Exodus. I have played SE4X and Eclipse.

Eclipse is really more of a Euro game with a space theme. There is exploration and combat and tech development, but you're basically trying to optimize your empire and maximize victory points with each action.

SE4X is much more of a traditional wargame. There is no randomness as far as tech availability (unless you use the optional Alien tech and Empire Advantage cards from Close Encounters, or some of the variant research rules). Everyone can follow an individual tech path, and no one is going to research everything.

The main difference, though, is that SE4X is a pure 4X game - you win by destroying your opponents. So while there is some economy management, it's much heavier on strategy and tactics than Eclipse.

It's fairly simple, though. Anyone who has played any kind of wargame (or any sort of "heavy" boardgame at all, really) should have no problem picking it up, especially if you just use the basic rules.
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Tim Royal
United States
Kirkland
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gmeista wrote:
I am looking at getting into a 4x game and looking for a game that has a good complexity level and depth. However, one that also works good at adding one or two new people to the game. My game group is usually around 4 with a core 2-3 people with the last spot being one of 4 different people.

Anyways I was hoping for peoples opinion and pros and cons on the different 4x games. The main ones I know are:

1. Space Empires 4x
2. Eclipse
3. Exodus

Complexity isn't a problem for myself but the multiplayer games we usually play are COIN and Maria.

Thanks!


Owning Space Empires and Eclipse, I'd say that if your complexity level is COIN level, then you'll have no problem with either.

Space Empires 4x IS 4X in its most truest form to me. It's rather old school, you have paper and pencil moments in it. It's very well done.

Eclipse is a somewhat less complex game. You still have the 4X elements, though in a more concise and less traditional manner.

Component wise, Eclipse excels. Ship configuration is more detailed than Space Empires, and it tends to have more intricate technology management.

Neither is a bad option, sort of just depends on what portions of 4X would be most interesting.

Explore and Expand go to Space Empires.
Exploit is probably Eclipse.
Exterminate is a toss up. SE feels more 'fleet combat', Eclipse is more granular at a 'handful of ships versus handful of ships' level

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Dom Rougier
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Space Empires, Eclipse and Twilight Imperium might be the "big three", and each have their own niche. Ultimately, although thematically similar, they are very different games in practice.

Twilight Imperium is your large "ameritrash" tons-of-stuff boardgame. Will take all day to play, but for some people this is absolutely their thing. They get to play with cool spaceship toys and tell stories of heroism and betrayal, writ large.

Eclipse is basically a eurogame, although really it's something of a hybrid. Primarily it's an economic game of managing resources, but some of these resources are plastic spaceships and bigger guns. It's a really solid game, and takes a predictable and limited amount of time to play, but the translation into eurogame land does lose some of the emotive hooks that the likes of Twilight Imperium will have.

Space Empires 4X is a wargame. It's a light wargame by most standards - the rules are not complex at all. It's primarily a game of fleet combat and managing the resources that go into producing the fleet and repairing losses, as well as upgrading technology and deciding on fleet composition - there's a rock-paper-scissors element here, and the hidden information really plays into this.

One downside as far as teaching is concerned is that the hidden information does mean that it's hard to spot mistakes on the other side of the table, but the game is simple enough that this doesn't have to be a major problem. The hexes, counters and spreadsheet are potentially an aesthetic hurdle, but they all work extremely well in practice.

All of the above options are great. I've played Eclipse far more, simply as it's a very practical game to pull out and play (it's long, but not that long). Space Empires is a fantastic game though, and has a lot to offer in the box.


I've played Eclipse and Space Empires a ton. Not so much TI:3. I've primarily played Space Empires with two players, but I'm not really happy playing Eclipse with fewer than four.
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Greg
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Played both and love both. se4x permits larger fleets. Eclipse doesn't.
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Jason Gernstetter

Dublin
Ohio
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Space Empires is a great game. The beauty of the game is that it is like a sandbox game and you if you want, you can set your own win conditions.

We play where you can either have a pure military victory or supremacy by gaining victory points. These can be had by creating a colony in deep space, taking over a colony of another player and finally we put 3 crystals in the middle of the board in deep space. If you can pick up and deliver this to one of your colonies it is worth a VP. We usually play 12 full turns or earlier with a pure military win. The one with the most vps at the end wins. In case of a tie we look at production for final turn.

With the expansion you get variable powers and potential alien technologies.

It plays in about 4 to 6 hours.

Also there are great coop and solo scenarios.

Absolutely fantastic game!

Eclipse and Exodus are both good games in their own right, but neither, in my opinion are on the same level as SE 4x.
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Jeffrey Knoll
United States
Manhasset
New York
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I have played all 3. I enjoy both SE4X and Eclipse. I did not like Exodus at all.

Eclipse is more of a Euro game – your primary focus is getting points. You can win the game by turtling and collecting points by building structures (monoliths) and hope nobody attacks you. This usually isn’t a problem in our games because we are usually at each other’s throats, but I can see it as a problem if players are too conservative.

Eclipse has some advantages: adding modules to your ships is cool and results in very different ship types and combat experiences (we play a variant where you can only put missiles on once for each ship type which prevents missiles from being overpowered). Eclipse also plays very well up to 6 players (it can play more with expansions but I have not done this). The combat in Eclipse is also simpler and faster. SE4x can be tough to do the combat if you play with the more advanced technology rules where the technology of the ship is different depending on when it was built. I believe Eclipse is more of a Euro game, but my experience is that it is still very Ameritrash with a lot of fighting involved. You can build larger fleets in SE4x which in one way is an advantage for SE4x, but I find that later in the SE4x game there are so many ships on the board that I feel overwhelmed. I don’t get this feeling of being overwhelmed in Eclipse.

The advantages of SE4x are that it is more realistic – if you play with the advanced technology rules, then ships already built don’t get the latest technology. You need to build shipyards in order to build ships – in Eclipse you can build in any system you own. Also, all technology is available to you in SE4x, not just what is drawn out of a bag for that turn (this can get frustrating in Eclipse because you want those double hulls). SE4x is almost completely focused on combat – there is no pure economic victory and the way you build your economy in SE4x (trade ships) is fairly minor. SE4x also has hidden counters which is awesome.

I really didn’t like Exodus. I don’t like the political phase – other players can screw your strategy over and there is little you can do about it (this is an attack the leader mechanism). Displacing other players populations is very difficult – you need to develop planetary missiles to do this. This means that even if you win the space battle, you can’t eliminate the enemy population on the planets which gives space battles less meaning. I also found that the different player’s fleets basically looked like each other by the end of the game. The simultaneous movement can be very frustrating (our fleets kept moving past each other), although there are official variants which can prevent this. Also, it is pretty cheap to build a big fleet, so your ships gets wiped out it is not a big deal.

I currently have Eclipse rated a 10, SE4x an 8 and Exodus a 4. My group likes Eclipse better than SE4x, but we are usually 5 or 6 players, so Eclipse works better for us. Eclipse does play well with 4 however. If you play with Eclipse, I would recommend you play with the variant where you only put one missile max on each ship type. Also play where the turn order for the next turn is set in the order players pass in the previous turn.




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Chris Gillmeister
Canada
Abbotsford
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Wow thanks everyone for all the detailed responses. Giving me lots to think about. Initially I was hoping to get Space Empires 4x as I am more of a wargamer. But, the player 4 player spot has a lot of competition nd everyone has given Eclipse a lot of praise. Another good 6 player would be tempting too.

Anyways thanks everyone for all the help! I might try one or the other at a con soon to get more help.

Cheers!
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