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Subject: Start playing as Humans, or not? rss

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Ted Swalwell
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Hey,

I was wondering what people thought about the advice in the rule book to play the first games as humans.

I've tried introducing it both ways now with two different groups - one playing humans first, and one playing mixed races first, and honestly I think that we found starting as mixed aliens was better.

The issue we found with humans is that they've really got no initial strategy. They can do pretty much anything, and so it's hard for new players to grasp how to win the game - it's quite a hard thing to visualise, with all the different paths avalible.

Starting with aliens means that, from the beggining, most players have an idea what they should be looking to do (I'm playing the Progress so I should look to tech, I'm playing the Planta so I should spread like moss...ect) - most of the races have an obvious strength, and so they look to do focus on that first.

It's not a way to play well - as a bit of everything is what should be aimed at - but I definately found it a better introduction to the game as a whole.

What does anyone else think?

Ted

Edited for spelling.
 
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Rion Hanson
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About to play my first game tonight so Im curious as to what people think as well.
 
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Eirik Johnsbråten
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savantt wrote:
The issue we found with humans is that they've really got no initial strategy. They can do pretty much anything, and so it's hard for new players to grasp how to win the game - it's quite a hard thing to visualise, with all the different paths avalible.

When I read this, I'm thinking you put too much into winning. It's your first game! I wouldn't put too much prestige into the first game. I won our first round of Eclipse, and that counts for nothing in my book.

With the terrans you can try different things, and you can find out how you like to play as the game progresses. One player in our group always goes military in other games, but in Eclipse he ended up going for technology and enjoyed it.

But I think the most important reason why you should play terrans the first time is the 2:1 trade ratio. This reduces the impact of bad economic decisions in the early game. Also, moving three ships will help you with getting your fleet into position if you've messed up your fleet deployment when your opponent attacks you.
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Chris Miller
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I think it's easier to teach/learn the game if everyone has the same rules applying - this means all Terrans. For example it can be confusing to teach "When taking a Build action you may build two things. Except for you, you can build three".

I also think the other races have some substantial penalties if not played properly.
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Allan Clements
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Play as Terran. You really get a feel for all the aspects of the game, and the 2->1 trade really helps cover mistakes, it can be quite easy to go horribly wrong with some of the aliens.
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Camelorn
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For me, getting the basic rules is key for the first learning game.

As it is their first game, i would go with all humans to keep rules explanation to a minimum. After two or three turns they should know the basic general directions of game progress.

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Eetu Immonen
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This: New Players and Terrans - Heed the Rulebook Advise!
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Simon Kamber
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Tjohei wrote:
When I read this, I'm thinking you put too much into winning. It's your first game! I wouldn't put too much prestige into the first game. I won our first round of Eclipse, and that counts for nothing in my book.


It's not a matter of prestige, it's a matter of playing the game as it was meant to be played.



“When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”
― Reiner Knizia

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Eirik Johnsbråten
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Well, to each his own. Personally I won't play a game that isn't enjoyable when I'm not winning. When playing Eclipse for the first time no one really knows what they're doing. Why would winning that game be important? I'd rather just enjoy it and be happy if I manage to do something right that feels good.
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Lonnie H
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My two cents, go with humans to keep things level and let people try out whatever looks interesting instead of needing to compensate for an alien's bias.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
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Simon Kamber
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Tjohei wrote:
Well, to each his own. Personally I won't play a game that isn't enjoyable when I'm not winning.


Which brings me back to the (in my opinion, genius) quote from Knizia: It's not the winning that's important.

I find the game more fun when everyone is trying to win, because that is when a well-designed game (which Eclipse most definitely is) shows its best. That does not mean that it isn't enjoyable when I'm not winning, but it DOES mean that the game is not enjoyable with someone saying 'I won't go tactically bankrupt because it feels wrong, even if it's the best move' or 'I'm just fooling around with no regards to score, since it is only our first game'.
 
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Matthew Tadyshak
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The aliens aren't recommended because if you play them wrong, you can really fall behind.
 
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Greg Lott
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Our group played aliens right from the go with no problems whatsoever. Guess it depends on your group.
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David Hoffman
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NBAfan wrote:
The aliens aren't recommended because if you play them wrong, you can really fall behind.


This is what I was going to post. If you decide to play with the aliens on your first game, I'd take the time to make sure each player appreciates the implication of selecting each race. Be a shame to have your first play marred by players who worked their way into a corner by not grasping how their aliens worked.

We played with humans our first game, FWIW. Now everyone wants to play again.
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Richard Dewsbery
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I would also urge on new players the Terran choice.

New players need to understand that - whatever they choose - they are going to find it tough to really compete with experienced players on their first game, and should probably concentrate on learning the game and/or having fun rather than trying to win. Learning is easier if everyone is a Terran - as has been pointed out, everyone is playing by the same rules.

Where there are one or two new players in a game of otherwise experienced star-farers, the level playing field argument has less force, but there is still a strong case to be made for the Terrans. They are more forgiving to play, more "average" across the board, than the alien races. The 2 for 1 trading makes a big difference all by itself.

I saw that in action earlier this week. Two players who had played once or twice before (one chose alien, one terran); me (lots of games under my belt - alien); and a new player, who wanted to play alien (I think it was Hegemony).

The new player got slaughtered. Posted the lowest score I've ever seen, partly as a result of bad play and partly as a result of not playing to his race's strengths - which is vital, as the races are only balanced if everyone is doing just that. So the new player has to struggle against not only a new game and new systems, but in choosing to play an alien is expected by the game's system to play to strengths that they are simply not going to recognise in amongst the morass of other new stuff going on.

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Joseph Cochran
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ferris1971 wrote:
Our group played aliens right from the go with no problems whatsoever. Guess it depends on your group.


Same here.
 
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Eirik Johnsbråten
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Dulkal wrote:
Tjohei wrote:
Well, to each his own. Personally I won't play a game that isn't enjoyable when I'm not winning.


Which brings me back to the (in my opinion, genius) quote from Knizia: It's not the winning that's important.

I find the game more fun when everyone is trying to win, because that is when a well-designed game (which Eclipse most definitely is) shows its best. That does not mean that it isn't enjoyable when I'm not winning, but it DOES mean that the game is not enjoyable with someone saying 'I won't go tactically bankrupt because it feels wrong, even if it's the best move' or 'I'm just fooling around with no regards to score, since it is only our first game'.

Actually, I disagree with Knizia. I think the road to the goal is more important than the goal itself, although you need the goal to make the road.

But I agree with you. Boardgames are definitely best when everyone does their utmost to win. Which brings me back to my original post. People don't really know what they're doing when they play the game for the first time. You will still do everything you can to win, but you'll do many mistakes. And the alien races punish you more when you do mistakes.

Therefore I urged new players not to go down the easy path and pick alien races just because you initially will know what you should do to win. Put that bit aside and learn how to play the game before you learn how to win the game. The last bit will come to you.
 
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Dan Moore
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Pawndawan wrote:


What they say.
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stephen biggs
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I'd play the reverse advise to the rulebook.
i.e. If your an experienced player teaching a new player. Let them have free choice of race (or even a randon race) and you have to play human as a handicap.

Sure you can learn the rules easier playing all human...
But the rules are simple enough that you don't need that restriction. And your not really getting an accurate impression of game tactics if you all play the same race.

Besides this is a galactic sci-fi game, what's the point if everyones human.
 
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Chris Miller
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Playing as a human empire is not a "handicap".
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Antti Autio
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Play with Terrans. They are one of the strongest species even when you know the game well because of their versatility. There is no reason to think you'd be missing out when playing them. It's also easier to learn the game and understand what the other players are capable of doing, when everyone shares the same abilities. Other species require a much better understanding of the basic strategies of the game and how to mitigate effects of randomness. Otherwise you'll end up with an experience that might make you think that luck plays a much bigger role than it needs to.. and might explain many of the comments here.
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Mikko Saari
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Playing Eridani is a handicap.
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Jordan
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msaari wrote:
Playing Eridani is a handicap.

Amen. In my group everyone regards them as generally worse than the other races. While I do believe that you can win and do fairly well with them, it is quite difficult, and it is my experience that even if you do win with the Eridani, it's less fun than the other races since you don't get as many actions and have to pinch every penny.
 
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