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Subject: Greatness through the next wormhole? rss

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Curt Carpenter
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A ton has been written about this game, only a small fraction of which I've read, but the overwhelming positive early feedback was enough for me to preorder the game. Over the last 10 days I've played it about six times. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that it just doesn't work for me, and I'll share with you why. This will come across as very negative, because I'm only going to write about the problems. It's admittedly not fair, but here are enough positive reviews that those looking for that shouldn't have a hard time finding it.

My background/bias is Euro games. I detested TI3 and immediately sold it after one play. This made me initially wary of Eclipse, but I was convinced that this really was for people like me, and nothing like TI3, other than theme, which I have no problem with, although at the same time no particular preference for either.

This is written for people who don't know the game. I will not explain the game (this is a review, not a rules summary), but will explain enough just to understand the issues.

Ok, everyone knows this is a 4x (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) space opera.

1 Reputation tiles. There is a bag of vp chits, ranging from 1-4. At the end of each combat, those who participated get to draw some number of vp tokens, based on what they destroyed. The chits are drawn randomly, and kept secret. Yes, one player can draw much higher numbers than the other, and it's complete chance. And I hate it. I hate the randomness and I hate that they're hidden. This game is all about ganging up on the perceived leader (Undead Viking just said so in his glowing video review), and I see no point in obfuscating that. There are only 4 or 5 (depending on which race you play) slots to store these vp chits, so the theory is that it encourages early combat due to getting draws when the higher numbers are still in. The problem is:
1) The distribution of numbers is already skewed toward the low numbers (fewer higher numbers), which means that even with early combat you're more likely to get low numbers. It's like the lottery: sure, you can't win if you don't play, but even if you play twice as much as your neighbor, it's still mostly random who ends up with the best numbers. We played with them face-up once, just to see, and we saw people drawing the same number of chits, with one player getting twice as many vp.
2) The incentives to turtle far outweigh the incentive to get more pulls at the reputation slot machine. Lost most other games of its ilk, in Eclipse the best thing that can happen to you is to have your neighbors fight, the bloodier the better.
3) Players end up building "tunnels" to nowhere out the back of their base, which no one else can get to. The hexes farthest away form the center are also the least likely to get alien defenders, so it's win-win to expand out the back. Plus, if someone expands toward you, leaving just one empty hex between, you can simply explore the gap, and place the hex in a way that makes connection between the two of you impossible, at least without going through a single choke points and/or the higher guarded center hex.

Perhaps if players had more slots for reputation tiles, and/or the tiles had an even distribution this would work better.

2 Exploration. Players all start in their own little corner of the universe, with no connections to other players. Space gets bigger around you by exploring, which means drawing a new hex and placing next to one where you have a presence. Most hexes have planets which can be colonized, to increase your production of one of the three resource types. Some planets have aliens on them which must first be destroyed before any of the planets can be colonized. Problem is, at the beginning of the game, it can be extremely advantageous to draw tiles which allow multiple colonies with no combat. If you draw aliens, you can either keep trying (wasted turns), or build up and destroy the aliens. It's fairly straight-forward to do, but it requires spending valuable actions doing, where other players who draw hexes that can be immediately colonized are simply getting ahead faster through no different decisions. The tiles that have aliens also have bonus "Discovery" tokens under them, which give you a nice (again, random) bonus when killing the aliens. These can range from "meh" to awesome, depending on your race and the stage of the game. When exploring, some hexes have these Discovery tokens on them without aliens, so you just get the bonus for free immediately. This is a huge starting benefit. The downside is supposed to be that you have to use one of your limited influence discs to control the hex, except that you can easily recover that disc at the end of your turn anyway, so the downside is mostly theoretical rather than practical. If you draw an alien, you can refuse the hex you draw (thematically broken, as is the ability to choose hex orientation, for those who insist that exploration in Eclipse is thematic), but then you've just completely thrown away your turn. Note that there are three different resource types, and the only way you get more income of each type is by colonizing more planets of each type, so you're also at hte mercy of luck when it comes to drawing tiles that have the colonies you need/want.

3 Diplomatic Relations. The only reason I can see to build a connection to another player is to establish diplomatic relations. By becoming adjacent to another player, you can establish diplomatic relations, which means that both players will gain an increase in resource production. This is a big benefit to both players. This also increases the incentive to turtle, since attacking the other player reduces your income, even if you win. Or at least your spoils are reduced by that gain from the ambassador. In our later games, we saw every player establish diplomatic relations with everyone possible. Turning down free income is insane. About the only exception is when a player doesn't have any free place to put a new ambassador (ambassadors share the same limited spaces as reputation tiles), and the rep tiles are all 3+ vp. Breaking diplomacy is as simple as moving into a hex where the other player has ships. In addition to the lost income from the diplomacy, the aggressor also becomes the traitor, which is good for -2 points (unless someone else breaks diplomacy later, in which case they take the single -2vp Traitor tile), thus even further incentivizing turtling.

Because of those reasons (and things like ties for initiative going to defender), we've seen most of the first 7 turns be filled with exploration, scientific development (unlocking new abilities, mostly for ship parts), and customization of ships (adding parts that have been unlocked via science/technology), with all the fighting happening on turns 8 and 9 (there are 9 turns in the game). The only exception has been to defeat the ancients (the aliens defending some hexes). And maybe a little building at the choke points. But mostly 7 turns of a cold war with 2 turns of an actual war.

4 Ship Upgrades. Most categories of upgrades (weapons, engines, power, shields, hull) have two or three levels. Each level after the first requires tech to unlock it. But because there is rarely any significant combat early/mid game, it is wasteful to either research or build the low to mid-level upgrades. This creates a game of chicken where players wait for the best tech of each category to show up. And if the player to your left passes first, you will get last pick of tech (tech virtually always being the first choice every turn, since ship parts are unlimited and tech is limited to what gets randomly drawn every turn). But if you spend both the science and the actions to research mid-level tech and actions to outfit your ships with it, it seems like you're playing for second. I have never seen an experienced player take one of the low level ship parts.

5 Missiles. This is only news to folks who haven't read anything about the game. (Basically, they're the only weapon that fires once at the beginning of combat rather than once a round, and they pack a nice punch and require no power). I'm not in the camp who feels that they're overpowered or uncounterable, but I do find that they tend to result in degenerate ships, and in general create less interesting combats. And I don't understand how they can require no power. That makes no sense to me. I also don't like how ship parts in general are all free, but that's a relatively minor issue. But I do think the higher level parts should come with an instance cost, rather than just a research cost.

6 But perhaps the biggest issue is simply that the gameplay is extremely straight-forward for a game of this scale. The actions are all very simple. I've seen this compared to Through The Ages, but TTA has much deeper decisions and trade-offs and interconnected systems than we see here. Eclipse has a lot of bits, but you're really not doing much. Certainly not much interesting, which yes, is subjective.

There are some opportunities lost for more interesting choices, such as:
The rules for diplomacy say "Your Diplomatic relations stay in effect until the end of the game, unless you attack one of the players you have Diplomatic relations with, or they attack you." If that were true, that would be great. If an enemy attacked you, your diplomatic ally could also enter the hex, which would cause them to first attack and soften up the player that attacked you. If your diplomatic ally ware destroyed in the process, you wouldn't fight them at all, but they could soften up the player attacking you. If that scenario were allowed that would be great, but alas, it is not possible because the rules after that then go on to say, "Moving your Ships to a hex where the other player has a disc or a Ship is considered an attack." Why isn't just an actual attack considered an attack? [sigh]

For many of these issues I've been thinking about house rules to address, but ultimately I just don't have the motivation to put that much effort into it. Sold my copy.



I appologize in advance if I don't reply to all the inevitable replies rallying to its defense. But I'll try to answer specific questions, if any.
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Jonathan Ramundi
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Re: Greatness through the next workhole?
Question: Workhole?
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stu ma
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Re: Greatness through the next workhole?
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing!
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Curt Carpenter
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Jotora wrote:
Question: Workhole?

Answer: typo. shake
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I'm a fan of the game and I admit that many of the design characteristics you see as issues exist. But I do not see them in such a grand scale that reading your review made me feel. I've shared many of your thoughts at some point but further plays and deliberate effort to prove the game faulty has convinced me of Eclipse's quality.

However, thanks for bringing the topic up. It's just fair to discuss the matter openly because, what I see, is too big expectations among the fans who are still waiting for their first play. The game is truly great but it still has qualities that may appear disappointing if you didn't know about their existence and do not know how to handle them.

But this is one of the reasons I love Eclipse. It has a character.
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Mark Mitchell
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I'm so glad its not Agricola in space.
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Jonathan Pickles
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I agree with most of your assessment but I still enjoy the game a lot more than you do, probably a 8 at the moment due to relax to a 7.

The design is really slick & in the way it does a lot of work for you is impressive. For longevity it needs something to make early combat between players more worthwhile.
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curtc wrote:
5 Missiles....And I don't understand how they can require no power. That makes no sense to me.


Why would you expect a missile - which is essentially a rocket with a warhead on the end - to require ship power? The missile has its own propellant, guidance, etc., you just have to show it the target and press the launch button (okay, a few Amps of power when you press the button but that's not really going to stop your engines working).

I know lots of people have suggested having Missiles draw 1 Power just to balance the game but saying you actually don't understand how they can require no power is beyond me I'm afraid. They don't in real life. Just think of all the missiles strapped to fighter aircraft that are launched at the flick of a button.

In contrast, if the military ever developed a man-portable battlefield laser the soldier carrying it would need an enormous power-pack on his back to generate a beam powerful enough to do any damage.
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Curt Carpenter
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Yes, I'm talking about from a game perspective, not sim perspective. From a sim perspective, they should at least cost resources to build. But ultimately I'm less concerned about thematic accuracy than gameplay.
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Interesting post. It's nice to hear you finally compile your complaints. Here are my comments on them, as I think some of them may be related to gropthink.

curtc wrote:
1) The distribution of numbers is already skewed toward the low numbers (fewer higher numbers), which means that even with early combat you're more likely to get low numbers. It's like the lottery: sure, you can't win if you don't play, but even if you play twice as much as your neighbor, it's still mostly random who ends up with the best numbers. We played with them face-up once, just to see, and we saw people drawing the same number of chits, with one player getting twice as many vp.

I am not sure I understand your math on this. It seems to me that earlier draws give you better chances at high numbers because some of the higher numbers are going to get selected by some of the people who draw earlier. Sure, it's possible a latecomer *might* draw a good number near the end, but then we're talking really low odds.

Quote:
3) Players end up building "tunnels" to nowhere out the back of their base, which no one else can get to. The hexes farthest away form the center are also the least likely to get alien defenders, so it's win-win to expand out the back.

As I see it, there is a significant drawback to expanding rearward: opportunity cost. Those level III tiles have less cube locations but take up the same valuable influence. A player who weakens his economy exploring weak systems often gets overwhelmed by the players with more efficient systems.

Quote:
2 Exploration.you're also at hte mercy of luck when it comes to drawing tiles that have the colonies you need/want.

Systems all seem to have pros and cons. Systems with ancients will have discovery tiles and nice planets, and will also come with extra victory points in the form of rep tiles for killing those ancients. Weak level III systems with no ancients will have fewer planets, reducing your ability to take later actions.

Quote:
3 Diplomatic Relations. The only reason I can see to build a connection to another player is to establish diplomatic relations.

Or to attack someone!

It sounds like everyone in your group is turtling hard. No wonder you don't like the game. If someone gets those boring brown planets, they should build some ships and go wreck someone. If they have to go through the middle. You can take down the GCDS on turn 3 or 4 if you know what you're doing, then you can get to anyone.

Quote:
4 Ship Upgrades. Most categories of upgrades (weapons, engines, power, shields, hull) have two or three levels. Each level after the first requires tech to unlock it. But because there is rarely any significant combat early/mid game,

Again, I believe this may be groupthink rather than optimal play. We have lots of combat in the mid game, and there is a rush to arm because if you do not, you will get trampled before you've accumulated enough science to get those high-level techs.

Quote:
... it is wasteful to either research or build the low to mid-level upgrades.

Ours are hotly contested. Plasma cannons and fusion sources are important early techs as they allow computers and shields and allow easy take downs of ancient ships. If people are waiting for the advanced techs, they are easy pickings for aggressive players.

Quote:
5 Missiles.I also don't like how ship parts in general are all free, but that's a relatively minor issue.

They aren't free. They require actions, and actions are not free.

Quote:
6 But perhaps the biggest issue is simply that the gameplay is extremely straight-forward for a game of this scale. The actions are all very simple.

I see this as a great positive. The actions are all simple, but the implications of those actions are not.
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curtc wrote:
Yes, I'm talking about from a game perspective, not sim perspective. From a sim perspective, they should at least cost resources to build. But ultimately I'm less concerned about thematic accuracy than gameplay.


Ok, glad we've cleared up that your problem with Missiles requiring no power is from a game balance point of view only.

I guess the designer felt the trade-off for requiring no power is that they are a one-shot-wonder. Once they've been fired, they're gone for the entire combat, unlike the Cannons in the game. And unless you have a +2 or +3 Computer onboard, it's possible to miss with every one of them (as happened to me in a recent game) leaving you looking pretty foolish if you haven't got any Cannons as backup.

I'm not saying Missiles are perfect as they are? The game could probably do with some counter-measures, as when they are combined with Computers they are pretty deadly. However, I can at least understand the designer's desire to vary the weapon types and give each some drawback (power in the case of Cannons, one-shot-only in the case of Missiles).
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David Neumann
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out4blood wrote:

I am not sure I understand your math on this. It seems to me that earlier draws give you better chances at high numbers because some of the higher numbers are going to get selected by some of the people who draw earlier. Sure, it's possible a latecomer *might* draw a good number near the end, but then we're talking really low odds.


At the beginning of the game there are 4 4-point tiles, 7 3-point tiles, 9 2-point tiles, and 12 1-point tiles.

Your chances of pulling a 4-point tile early are low until enough of the 1 and 2-point chips are pulled to even the odds.

Sure, you can get lucky early, but the odds are stacked against you pulling a 4-point tile.

(I haven't played yet, so maybe my assumptions of how the tile draws work is wrong?)
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Neumannium wrote:
At the beginning of the game there are 4 4-point tiles, 7 3-point tiles, 9 2-point tiles, and 12 1-point tiles.

Your chances of pulling a 4-point tile early are low until enough of the 1 and 2-point chips are pulled to even the odds.

Sure, you can get lucky early, but the odds are stacked against you pulling a 4-point tile.

(I haven't played yet, so maybe my assumptions of how the tile draws work is wrong?)


In a decent sized scrap you are going to draw 5 tiles and discard 4. The chance of drawing a 4 or a 3 is as follows:

First tile: 34%
Second tile: 35%
Third tile: 37%
Fourth tile: 38%
Fifth tile: 39%

Chance of not drawing at least a 4 or a 3 with 5 draws when all tiles remain undrawn:

10%

Chance of drawing a 4 tile with 5 draws:

First tile: 13%
Second tile: 13%
Third tile: 13%
fourth tile: 14%
Fifth tile: 14%

Chance of not drawing at least one 4 tile with 5 draws when all tiles remain undrawn:

49%

So, 51% of the time, you will gain a 4 tile, 39% of the time a 3 tile, and only 10% of the time a 2 or less tile. Seems like a pretty good incentive to draw from a full stock of tiles to me.

[Above edited as I was actually quoting the odds of a 4 too low!]

By the way, isn't there a blank tile as well? Pretty sure there is at least one. I don't think it will change those probabilities much though.
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Neumannium wrote:
Your chances of pulling a 4-point tile early are low until enough of the 1 and 2-point chips are pulled to even the odds.


How do you figure? The high-value chips are just as likely to be drawn early as the low-value chips. Because you can select which chips to keep, the low-value chips will often be returned to the bag, meaning that the distribution towards the end of the game is, statistically, less favorable.
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Touko Tahkokallio
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First of all, thank you for the review! I appreciate your detailed arguments.

I hope I don't sound too cocky... but let me quickly just comment that your group might be underestimating the effectiveness of early/mid -aggression. Playing aggressive early (or mid-game) can be very effective in my experience. Of course, on the other hand, I think it shouldn't be too effective, because then we would see a lot more player elimination on the first rounds. I think the game can be brutal enough already for some new players.

The fact that your group might not appreciate the early aggression enough could also explain why you find aspects 2,3 and 4 of the game problematic, namely thinking that 2) ancient hexes are bad explores, 3) there is no other point opening the map than to make diplomatic relations and 4) that there is no point of researching middle level-military technologies (notice that by researching middle level-techs you get discounts to the further technologies and get to score points if you can finish your science tracks, which effectively also strengthens this path).

curtc wrote:

There are some opportunities lost for more interesting choices, such as:
The rules for diplomacy say "Your Diplomatic relations stay in effect until the end of the game, unless you attack one of the players you have Diplomatic relations with, or they attack you." If that were true, that would be great. If an enemy attacked you, your diplomatic ally could also enter the hex, which would cause them to first attack and soften up the player that attacked you. If your diplomatic ally ware destroyed in the process, you wouldn't fight them at all, but they could soften up the player attacking you. If that scenario were allowed that would be great, but alas, it is not possible because the rules after that then go on to say, "Moving your Ships to a hex where the other player has a disc or a Ship is considered an attack." Why isn't just an actual attack considered an attack? [sigh]

Some other have also commented on this, so I will use the opportunity and discuss this aspect a bit here. We actually thought about different options for the diplomatic aspects quite a bit. Finally, we decided to use this straightforward implementation in the base game.

Note that the diplomatic relations are not supposed to describe a "deep alliance" between the Galactic superpowers, but more of an agreement to simply respect each other borders.

If you would allow players with diplomatic relations simply to freely move their ships to each others territory, players could easily exploit this. Moving your fleet deep to the other player's territory and breaking the treaty - together with your REAL best friend, aka the Neutron Bomb and others - could now have horrible consequences. So actually it might be wise to prepare and build some defenses, or better, move your fleet to the allied player's territory... you know, just in case

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Yes, it's basic math (and just common sence) that the higher tiles will be drawn and kept by players drawing them earlier.

Sound like the guy kept losing; blamed it on bad luck with "unbalanced" and "overpowered" tile draws, and drop-kicked the game.

Good, other people who were not able to aquire the game will now give it a good home.

I could not figure out why this guy kept making snippy comments in other links to people who were casually discussing the game. What is the opposite term for a fanboy?

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Curt, your conclusion doesn't match mine. In fact, after my one game, I concluded that Eclipse was mostly a wargame and I wished that there were paths to victory that didn't require you to engage in battles. The VPs from fighting, particularly in fighting early, just seem too great. The game was designed to make turtling a losing strategy and I think they succeeded. So I agree there may have been some groupthink involved in your games.
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Dulkal wrote:
Neumannium wrote:
Your chances of pulling a 4-point tile early are low until enough of the 1 and 2-point chips are pulled to even the odds.


How do you figure? The high-value chips are just as likely to be drawn early as the low-value chips. Because you can select which chips to keep, the low-value chips will often be returned to the bag, meaning that the distribution towards the end of the game is, statistically, less favorable.


As I said, I haven't played and wasn't aware that you get to select multiple chips and select which to keep.

I shall, from now on, remain silent instead of guessing. blush
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out4blood wrote:
It's nice to hear you finally compile your complaints. Here are my comments on them, as I think some of them may be related to gropthink.

We have a strict no groping policy in our group.

out4blood wrote:
curtc wrote:
1) The distribution of numbers is already skewed toward the low numbers (fewer higher numbers), which means that even with early combat you're more likely to get low numbers. It's like the lottery: sure, you can't win if you don't play, but even if you play twice as much as your neighbor, it's still mostly random who ends up with the best numbers. We played with them face-up once, just to see, and we saw people drawing the same number of chits, with one player getting twice as many vp.

I am not sure I understand your math on this. It seems to me that earlier draws give you better chances at high numbers because some of the higher numbers are going to get selected by some of the people who draw earlier. Sure, it's possible a latecomer *might* draw a good number near the end, but then we're talking really low odds.

Better chances, yes. Much better chances, no. Someone could probably run a sim and generate real numbers based on various scenarios, but it's not going to be me.

out4blood wrote:
Quote:
3) Players end up building "tunnels" to nowhere out the back of their base, which no one else can get to. The hexes farthest away form the center are also the least likely to get alien defenders, so it's win-win to expand out the back.

As I see it, there is a significant drawback to expanding rearward: opportunity cost. Those level III tiles have less cube locations but take up the same valuable influence. A player who weakens his economy exploring weak systems often gets overwhelmed by the players with more efficient systems.

Free Discovery tiles are huge. Then just take your influence discs back for free, as I mentioned. No opportunity cost. I personally think being able to take them back when you self-bankrupt is borderline broken.

out4blood wrote:
Quote:
3 Diplomatic Relations. The only reason I can see to build a connection to another player is to establish diplomatic relations.

Or to attack someone!

That's a terrible idea early.

out4blood wrote:
It sounds like everyone in your group is turtling hard. No wonder you don't like the game. If someone gets those boring brown planets, they should build some ships and go wreck someone. If they have to go through the middle. You can take down the GCDS on turn 3 or 4 if you know what you're doing, then you can get to anyone.

If you play for an early GCDS attack, then someone else plays to take you out after you to that out. Then you're forced to build up enough that you won't lose much (or anything) attacking GCDS, delaying that attack.

out4blood wrote:
Quote:
4 Ship Upgrades. Most categories of upgrades (weapons, engines, power, shields, hull) have two or three levels. Each level after the first requires tech to unlock it. But because there is rarely any significant combat early/mid game,

Again, I believe this may be groupthink rather than optimal play. We have lots of combat in the mid game, and there is a rush to arm because if you do not, you will get trampled before you've accumulated enough science to get those high-level techs.

It's not that people haven't tried to be aggressive. It's that in our experience when they do, they only attack one other player, and when they do, they players not involved just do better later.

out4blood wrote:
Quote:
... it is wasteful to either research or build the low to mid-level upgrades.

Ours are hotly contested. Plasma cannons and fusion sources are important early techs as they allow computers and shields and allow easy take downs of ancient ships. If people are waiting for the advanced techs, they are easy pickings for aggressive players.

Same as above.

out4blood wrote:
Quote:
5 Missiles.I also don't like how ship parts in general are all free, but that's a relatively minor issue.

They aren't free. They require actions, and actions are not free.

I know that, of course. Tech and ships have extra cost, parts don't. That's the difference.
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Sound like the guy kept losing; blamed it on bad luck with "unbalanced" and "overpowered" tile draws, and drop-kicked the game.

I could not figure out why this guy kept making snippy comments in other links to people who were casually discussing the game. What is the opposite term for a fanboy?

I, aka "this guy", have a name. It's Curt.

And no, my dislike for the reputation system had nothing to do with me losing. In fact I have no recollection of who won any of the games. I tend to not remember such things. I didn't like it as soon as I read it in the rules. If the goal is to incentivize early combat, there are certainly ways to do it without random vp draws.

I'm not sure which of my comments you found snippy, but aren't all of the threads for the game "casually discussing the game"? I hope I didn't interrupt something serious!
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Curt Carpenter
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Larry Levy wrote:
Curt, your conclusion doesn't match mine.

I knew going into this thread I was in the minority.

Larry Levy wrote:
In fact, after my one game, I concluded that Eclipse was mostly a wargame and I wished that there were paths to victory that didn't require you to engage in battles. The VPs from fighting, particularly in fighting early, just seem too great. The game was designed to make turtling a losing strategy and I think they succeeded. So I agree there may have been some groupthink involved in your games.

Maybe, but again, the conclusion was not for lack of trying to attack. If anything, I feel more confident of my position after half a dozen games than I do from yours after one.
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Jim Richardson

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curtc wrote:
Free Discovery tiles are huge. Then just take your influence discs back for free, as I mentioned. No opportunity cost. I personally think being able to take them back when you self-bankrupt is borderline broken.


You spent an action to explore, that is a cost (bankruptcy doesn't help you pull tiles off the spent actions...) Forcing yourself to have no money (to bankrupt and get free movement) is also a cost/disadvantage. And finally, having dead hexes next to your space is also a cost/disadvantage most of the time.

You have some valid criticisms, but you've blown most of them way out of proportion. You overlook a lot of things to reach your negative conclusions, which indicates your bias.

"I detested TI3 and immediately sold it after one play."

- this alone shows you are not objective. I haven't even played TI3 but I just don't believe a game that in-depth can be objectively judged and dismissed after 1 play, nor do I even believe Eclipse can be objectively judged and dismissed after 6 plays. Especially by someone who seems to hate the genre. The only conclusion I can reach from your experience is that Eclipse may be 6 times less offensive to someone that hates TI3. laugh

Out of curiosity, what space board games (if any) have you bought and kept? And how many strategy board games in general do you own? I don't own any board game which I don't think is flawed in some way. Carcassonne (randomness of cloisters), Catan (randomness of resource production), Battlestar (difficulty of balancing human/cylon team strengths), Prophecy (looong; homogeneous characters) but I never considered abandoning them. They're fun for what they are.
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ParticleMan wrote:
I haven't even played TI3 but I just don't believe a game that in-depth can be objectively judged and dismissed after 1 play, nor do I even believe Eclipse can be objectively judged and dismissed after 6 plays. Especially by someone who seems to hate the genre. The only conclusion I can reach from your experience is that Eclipse may be 6 times less offensive to someone that hates TI3.


Every time someone writes anything even remotely negative about a popular game, they get jumped on and personally attacked. What is the deal? Why do people feel some personal offense if someone dislikes a game they like?

ParticleMan wrote:
You have some valid criticisms, but you've blown most of them way out of proportion.


Curt is outlining his informed feelings about the game. How can they be "way out of proportion"?

ParticleMan wrote:
'I detested TI3 and immediately sold it after one play.'

- this alone shows you are not objective."


There is no such thing as an objective review. A review is a personal critique, after all.

And just how many times do you want people to play a game they dislike before they are allowed to write about it? All that leads to is favorable reviews for everything, since only those who really like a game will ever play enough to reach the expertise threshold to comment.
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darksurtur wrote:
Every time someone writes anything even remotely negative about a popular game, they get jumped on and personally attacked. What is the deal? Why do people feel some personal offense if someone dislikes a game they like?


That being the general trend doesn't negate any one person (me) pointing out flaws or bias in someone's argument.

"Why do people feel some personal offense if someone dislikes a negative review of a game they like" and so on and so on... shake

darksurtur wrote:
Curt is outlining his informed feelings about the game. How can they be "way out of proportion"?


Looked to me like a set of evidence followed by (somewhat biased) judgments and a conclusion. Not really a collection of "feelings."

He's allowed to not like Eclipse. The fact that he seemed to dislike TI3 even more shows a pattern. If someone hates rap are they allowed to not like the latest rap album? Yes. But are they qualified to objectively judge it?

darksurtur wrote:
There is no such thing as an objective review.


Sophistry. What you seem to mean is that there is no such thing as a 100% objective human. There is also no such thing as a perfectly round object. But that doesn't mean we should dismiss a Rubik's Cube and a billiard ball as being equally non-round.

Just because no one is 100% objective doesn't mean "objectivity" doesn't exist. The OP at least admits some of his bias by stating how fast he dumped TI3, and should at least be congratulated for that much.

darksurtur wrote:
And just how many times do you want people to play a game they dislike before they are allowed to write about it?


Someone is 'allowed' to dump all over Eclipse without even playing it. And I'm allowed to point out the flaws in that.

He doesn't like Eclipse - I get it. That's obviously fine. I mainly took issue with some of his attacks on the game which did not take all of the balancing mechanics into account. Which, as I said, I attribute to bias.
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John Clark
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ParticleMan wrote:

"I detested TI3 and immediately sold it after one play."

- this alone shows you are not objective. I haven't even played TI3 but I just don't believe a game that in-depth can be objectively judged and dismissed after 1 play, nor do I even believe Eclipse can be objectively judged and dismissed after 6 plays. Especially by someone who seems to hate the genre. The only conclusion I can reach from your experience is that Eclipse may be 6 times less offensive to someone that hates TI3.


I used to think like this - I believed that one should never rate a game on the basis of one or two plays because maybe I was missing something. I've changed my mind now. Sometimes you can make an assessment of a game after one play, particularly if you have played a ton of different games and have a lot of experience in what kinds of themes and mechanics you like and dislike. Remember that Curt is not arguing why Eclipse is a bad game, but why he does not like it - they are very different things.

If you have played a bunch of games with hidden victory points and found that really annoying, then you are not going to like Eclipse either - it won't take many plays to work that out. Likewise, if you have played a bunch of games with random tile draws which will result in benefits of varying quality, and you found that really annoying, then you don't need to play Eclipse a heap of times to know that you won't like it.

A lot of this comes down to your tolerance for randomness in a game. Some people love randomness and some people hate it. Curt could tell that Eclipse had too much randomness (and other stuff) for his tastes just by reading the rules, which you CAN determine if you are an experienced gamer.
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