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Subject: Space Empires 4x & Eclipse & TI3- Celebrate The Differences rss

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Ewan Anderson
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Hi there,

Having just recently purchased Eclipse (and been lucky enough to find it from a UK Supplier before stocks ran out!) I've been thinking greatly on my three current favourite sci-fi "epic" games, how they differ, and how I enjoy each of them by their own merits, and under different circumstances.

TI3 was my first ever board game purchase when it came out in 2006. it will always hold a place in my heart due to it founding my love of board games in general. It was due to TI3 that I got involved in BGG, discovered other games (I researched Memoir '44, and got involved in wargaming with Paths Of glory), it is also a trully epic game.

TI3 shines with a small group of dedicated players who are willing to give up an afternoon (and possibly even the evening), to fully appreciate it. It blends Euro mechanics (selecting tiles for roles such as Research and Industry) and meshs them with Ameritrash- (lots and lots of dice rolling! Action cards galore! Distant Suns option, giving planet discovering more relevance).

TI3 can also be a bit of a bloated mess at times. No less than 2 expansions have been released for it, and the first expansion was generally seen as a "fix" for the broken Imperium card which messed up the original game. The second expansion can also be considered a bit of a mess. I strongly dislike certain aspects of that expansion, such as mercenaries and the political side of it is a bit odd as well.

Having said all this its great that you can pix and mix the elements of the expansions and base game that you want. Leaders? Fine throw them in! Alien Guardians on Mecatol Rex? Throw them in!

Then entered Eclipse.

I love it!

It's faster than TI3, more streamlined, more intuitive, and has revolutionary concepts. The ship uprgading is great! I can see it being modified to any number of games. You could have a fantasy game where you select tiles representing different forces of an army, upgrading their dice rolling ability, initiative, etc. as does Eclipse.

Also- a xmas purchase of mine was Space Empires 4X. I love it as well.
I love the secretive element of picking techs, which aren't revealed until you reach combat. Also its totally about fighting! cool
no diplomacy to worry about- simply the compositon of your fleets, and their location on the board. The book-keeping element of it is a bit of a drawback- but as long as you throw everyone a pad of A4 and pens it works out fine.

Personally these 3 games epitomise the best of gaming, in many different ways, and I would rate them all a 9.
If you love wargaming, lots of chits and combat galore, Space Empires 4x is the one for you.
Politics? tons of Techs? Tons of options and choices? go for TI3!
Elegant? Streamlined? Intuitive? go for Eclipse

Hope this can provoke some debate on what we look for in our space-faring games!

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James Hamilton
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Good summary

For me TI3 is just too long but SE4x and Eclipse are both good games.
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Eetu Immonen
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*nod* People looking for TI3 in Eclipse or vice versa won't be satisfied.

For me Eclipse is enough in it's SF genre.
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Jefferson Krogh
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I played TI3 for the first time about a month ago. Seven hours flew by as four players juggled scads of plastic, chipboard and cards over a large table.

At the end, I decided I had been entertained, but wondered why the game needed to be that long. I compared the action to, of all things, the ancient AH game Amoeba Wars. Amoeba Wars fit in about 75% of the fun in 25% of the time, and with 200% more humor. If only there were a game in between; something like TI3, but which took 3 hours instead of 8.

Little did I know that Eclipse was already looming. I haven't played it yet, having gotten my copy only 36 hours ago, but it looks like exactly what I wished for.

Looking forward to trying Space Empires as well, and curious how it will compare.
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Ewan Anderson
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I guess a lot of people are lured to TI3 by its components. it has very startingly beautiful parts!

I love the artwork of all the races on the player sheets in TI, and the graphics of the planets and style of the ships.

I guess you could argue that Eclipse is a lot more basic in that respect.
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Alex H.
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For me all three games have more potential than they eventually deliver - though the shortcomings don't necessarily mean that I can't enjoy the game.

Space Empires:
Cool game and a pretty serious wargame. Biggest problem, can't seem to finish it with more than 2 players in face-to-face-sessions with the standard victory conditions.

TI:3rd:
The one game I know that conveys a feeling of epicness. However, when starting to play you can never be sure whether the game will deliver or not. Right now, I think the best way to play is with 5 players on the Ultimatum presetmap. All 5 players need to be experienced and have good playing-/analytical skills. Only then is the investment of 6+ hours worth the effort.

Eclipse:
Works very well for what it attempts to achieve. The fleets feel small -- heck, they *are* small. Exploration feels more swingy than in the other two games and the feel is really not as epic as in the other two games. Cool economic system.

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Cole Wehrle
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Eclipse is easily my game of the year and my favorite 4x boardgame. I say that having played over 20+ games of TI2, 30+ games of TI3, and about 6 games of Space Empires 4x.

TI:3rd simply tried to do too much and doesn't manage any of it well. For the slick euro experience Eclipse has it far beat and for a combat filled wargame Space Empires 4x has more punch than 10 games of TI:3e. I think, for folks who play TI:3e rarely, the game seems unbelievably thematic and emersive, but after a few plays the veneer wears off, leaving players with an interesting positional/timing exercise that, while fun, is hardly worth the 4-5 hour playtime.
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Ewan Anderson
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One problem with an aspect of TI3 which is meant to be immersive is the political system.

Often you will find players thinking "meh" "can I be bothered to vote for that", rather than thinking its important or game-making.
 
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Ian Gill
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I'm really looking forward to my first proper game of Eclipse but have tried a few test turns out in learning the rules. I think it will be a great "fun" space game that can be played in an evening and so deserves to be highly rated. However I can already see that it may potentially be quite random and so some sessions may feel much better than others.
I dont really like the random Tech draw and TI3 allows you some knowledge of the surrounding tiles during placement, whereas you could get a bad start in Eclipse just because of an unlucky draw. I do like the customising of your fleet and the fact that everyting is visible on your ships rather than on separate Tech cards in TI3 (which are esily forgotten).

TI3 is a great game but requires too long unless you have a dedicated group. I also doubt it really needs the expansions.


Galactic Emperor is a good game and is effectively TI3 "lite". It works well but sometimes seems to end too soon (just as things get interesting)and feels far more Euro than TI3. Worth a look if you like TI3 but cant find the time for an epic game. Eclipse appears more fun though.


Given that I have the three above, I'm unlikely to get Space Empires.
I think Eclipse will get played a lot but if I had enough longer game sessions, TI3 would still be first choice.
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Cole Wehrle
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Posco wrote:
Galactic Emperor is a good game and is effectively TI3 "lite". It works well but sometimes seems to end too soon (just as things get interesting)and feels far more Euro than TI3. Worth a look if you like TI3 but cant find the time for an epic game. Eclipse appears more fun though.


I find GE is closer to a Nexus Ops plus Puerto Rico and I agree that it fills the niche you describe nicely.
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Alex H.
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Arcturus2006 wrote:
One problem with an aspect of TI3 which is meant to be immersive is the political system.

Often you will find players thinking "meh" "can I be bothered to vote for that", rather than thinking its important or game-making.


Yes, in my group, political cards are almost always spent as trade goods. Politics are usually seen as something like fate deck events: retaining an ability to influence politics is rarely worth it so whatever is being voted on is felt to be outside of one's control. I am curious if other groups handle this very differently.
 
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Aaron Bevan
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I think one of the big differences between TI and Eclipse is that in Eclipse pretty much everything you do grants victory points and progresses you to game end of 9 turns.

TI with original Imperial card sorta did the same thing except it was the only way of getting victory points so your other actions feel disjointed from the actual victory condition.

TI issue with the bureaucracy card is that the games clock does not start until people start picking that card and the game allows players to play their own game of space fleets or tech hoarder and then get surprised when the game ends and they feel cheated of the time they invested in their own way of playing.

I think TI with the right players is less random and more epic than Eclipse but Eclipse I think will see much more play as it takes less time and is more accessible.
 
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