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Subject: ideal Planta victory - 5P session report rss

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James 3
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I played my 2nd game of Eclipse this week, and thoroughly enjoyed it again. This time, we had 5 players, 2 of which were new to the game and played humans. I played Planta, and Mechanema and the Progress were at the table too. I was between one of the new humans and the Progress. the 6th player seat gap in space was between progress and the other humans. We played with a turn order variant where turn order is based on on pass order, not just first to pass. As you will see, being a laidback plant person has its advantages. mb

Here is the final board map. notice the single green chokepoint and heavy starbase defense. ill explain how i got there below



1st turn, i snatched up an improved hull tech, thinking this was the only real ship part i needed initially as i established my perimeter. I then aggressively explored the next two turns in a row, exploring the single sector 2 hex i could move to (the other direction off starting hex toward progress had no wormhole) and then moving to sector 1 ring. no ancients there, so my next play was to expand on ring 1 again and encroach on my neighbors access to galactic center. I could have chocked off the new human but would have allowed entry from his neighbors 1 hex, so i decided to play nice and give him access to ring 1. i did offer a trade pact, and he accepted. maybe he shouldnt have, as he ultimately had to invade that hex a few turns later to get access to the rest of the board, and noone ever betrayed anyone else. that means i didnt get an ambassador tile the rest of the game and left that spot unfilled.

in future turns, i kept exploring aggressively to try and make sure my space had as few chokepoints as possible. i managed to set things up so my starting hex had no partial workmholes to any of my neighbors, and my reach into sector 3 was also totally devoid of partial wormhole connections. i had a single chokepoint at my sector1 hex, and so built up 4 starbases there quickly, conceding that i would lose the sector 1 hex next to it in favor of better longterm defense. i upgraded the hulls on the starbases. i also overturned a double ancient ship in sector 3 near my starting hex, built a long chain of sector 3 hexes that ended in a sole ancient in the way back.

i also was steadily picking up nano techs, and getting good discounts. i managed to pick up both quantum grid and adv robotics as soon as they came out, which helped me keep control of my vast plant empire, and i immediately got orbitals after that, using up my materials to aggressively enhance my science every turn. midgame, i picked up antimatter cannons, threatening to install them on my starbases if i was invaded and careful to always leave a reaction action available. with that, my empire was well guarded and hard to penetrate, and i was left alone for the most part as others thought they could get vp in other ways with less risk. and thus their fate was sealed...

i then added the hulls and antimatter cannon to my interceptors, and built one at tail end of glaxy to take on the sole ancient, and two in my homeworld to move in to the double ancient tile. they easily dispatched the ancients, giving me 2 much needed rep tiles. i banked the 2 vp discovery tiles. i later sent a suicide mission of my starting craft into the center to pick up a 3rd rep tile. no body dared attack my 4 starbases, that each hit for 4 damage on a 5 or 6 and took 5 hits to bring down each.

i kept picking up nano sciences and filled the track, including monolith in the 7th turn. i picked up cheap grid techs with all the sciene and actions i had, and got it up to 3vp before the tech dreid up. i used all my production at this point to build monoliths instead of orbitals in my extensive sector 3 expanse that was far from front lines. this was helped by an artifact key for 15 materials thanks to 3 artifact hexes in my space. i managed to build 5 of them before the game ended. one of them was built using surplus science, as i ended up with 42 on my last turn thanks to 21 in production. i spent 30 of it on a monolith, and used the remaining resources to get the final monolith, ending with zero extra resources after the last turn.



fights happened elsewhere, and the mechana held the center and were dominant in holding back the humans they touched. but ultimately the fact i was allowed to pursue a plant turtle strategy unhindered and got monoliths as well sealed the deal. i had 8 hexes at end game for bonus vp plus a good bit of vp from the standard values of those hexes, 4 vp of disco tiles, 2s and a 3 in rep tiles, and 15 from monoliths! in the end, i won by 19 points!

This game seemed like it played out ideally for the Planta. i did waste a few actions upgrading a dreadnought that never got built (realizing the cruisers could get the job done cheaper), but ultimately was pretty efficient with my actions, and didnt have to waste many on defensive plays. I think the table realized i was in the lead midgame, but by then my starbase defenses were already established. Im sure the next time we play, people will work hard to attck the planta early and not let them build up space as they see fit and turtle away, as they saw firsthand what happens if you let the plants thrive without being cut back. I did benefit from being between progress, who also turtled, and a new player, but i did do a good job of exploring in a way that anyone would have had a hard time invading ultimately.

Really enjoying the game so far, despite normally being VERY adverse to games that take any longer than 2 hours. this took us about 4 after rules explanation for the new guys. and im excited to play again and try a new race soon. This is a true "my choclate in your peanut butter" hybrid sort of game. Euro mechanics, with some light ameritrash and great themeing and components. the player boards are AWESOME at conveying all the info you need. highly recommend and my fave new game in a while by far.

mb power to the planta! mb

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Markus
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A very impressive turtling indeed! Still, all it takes is four interceptors to get through those starbases.

Your opponents could have tried to pin your defences into your chokepoint with interceptors and move through with bigger ships, taking your homeworld and hopefully some monolith hexes as well. Mechanema could have achieved this pretty easily if he had good drives. Punching through your defenses would have probably been too costly in any case.
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Justin K
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Based on the final board, it looks like white (or blue, if he could spare the fleet) could have done an enormous amount of damage to you just by picking up wormhole generators.

You can't move those starbases, so you'd likely be in quite a bit of trouble...

Where did the generator techs end up?
 
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James 3
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the generators came out late, and i only had 2 hexes with partial wormholes anyway, so i wasnt too vulnerable. one was where the starbases were, one was where an ancient ship was that i had 2 cruisers on. on last turn, with opponents unable to exploit warping, i moved those cruisers to my frontline for more pinning.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Maybe next time Blue and Red won't shut off their space so easily I see at least two places where a simple re-orient of their hex wormholes would have made life much more interesting for you, AND given them more options in the long run!

My general rule of thumb is to not set up "wormhole triangles" which both blue and red did off their home worlds.
 
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Tobias
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Hi, blue player here...

1. I broke Sun Tzu's "know thy enemy" rule. I thought green's spreading was going to bring a lot of combat early on, so I purposely walled myself off in order to try to play to my science strengths early and then ramp up my ship production later in the game. I was expecting to have techinogically proficient ships with wormholw tech. I didn't fully appreciate their level of pacifism.

2. My production levels sucked. My race suffers in that department by default and my tile draws made things even worse. I did not do a good job of mitigating my deficiencies.

3. I did not anticipate white beating red and black back so handily.
 
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flamejuggler wrote:
I could have chocked off the new human but would have allowed entry from his neighbors 1 hex, so i decided to play nice and give him access to ring 1.


Many people find problems here and there about that game. I myself enjoy it greatly, but having "your" ring 1 tile taken by someone else is, in my opinion, the worst thing that can happen in a game.

Happened to me yesterday where I played Eridiani. I was 2nd player (out of 4) after planta (1st) and on hist first explore, he explored his ring 1 tile and then mine. Both were without ancient so he influenced both. On 2nd turn he built 2 starbases and from there I wasn't able to catch up and my game was already lost from that point.
 
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Jim Richardson

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Orion, Planta, and then Hydran are the strongest races... kinda not too nice to play them against newbie Terrans. Yep you turtled and won with Planta, what a surprise. Sorry to be snippy about it, I just think Orion and Planta are outright overpowered compared to the other races -- which is , of course, the fault of the designers & testers of the game. Orion or Planta victory are what I would always expect to happen, or Hydran victory if Orion & Planta fight each other.

I didn't realize this clear race imbalance until playing online and seeing how all 3 games shaped up, and what races were chosen each time. IRL somehow we avoided playing Orion and Planta, and I'm sure we enjoyed the game a lot more because of it. I'd like to see a little more balance between the races. Just can't fathom why Orion gets a cruiser AND materials to build another on round 1 AND free initiative AND free power. shake

Planta can be opposed, but its choking vines can make for someone being screwed out of good territory and hampered way early without any way to fully compensate for it. Put Orion and Planta opposite on the map (as often happens, unless somehow the first 2 people to choose races don't pick the strongest races, Orion and Planta) and you're praying for luck just to make things somewhat equal.
 
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Petri Savola
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ParticleMan wrote:
Orion, Planta, and then Hydran are the strongest races... kinda not too nice to play them against newbie Terrans. Yep you turtled and won with Planta, what a surprise. Sorry to be snippy about it, I just think Orion and Planta are outright overpowered compared to the other races -- which is , of course, the fault of the designers & testers of the game. Orion or Planta victory are what I would always expect to happen, or Hydran victory if Orion & Planta fight each other.

I didn't realize this clear race imbalance until playing online and seeing how all 3 games shaped up, and what races were chosen each time. IRL somehow we avoided playing Orion and Planta, and I'm sure we enjoyed the game a lot more because of it. I'd like to see a little more balance between the races. Just can't fathom why Orion gets a cruiser AND materials to build another on round 1 AND free initiative AND free power. shake

Planta can be opposed, but its choking vines can make for someone being screwed out of good territory and hampered way early without any way to fully compensate for it. Put Orion and Planta opposite on the map (as often happens, unless somehow the first 2 people to choose races don't pick the strongest races, Orion and Planta) and you're praying for luck just to make things somewhat equal.

A good player will beat a new player regardless of the race, and to make games more exciting, I usually take the Eridani when playing against new players. I agree that Orion are a bit too strong, but I don't share your view that Planta would be somehow broken. I think it's a major handicap during the few last turns that they have no initiative in their ships. So they will always lose missile vs. missile combats (and cannon vs. cannon combats).

Orion is a bit too strong, Eridani is a bit too weak. Otherwise I think the races are quite well balanced. I've played the game about 40 times.
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Jim Richardson

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Petri wrote:
I agree that Orion are a bit too strong, but I don't share your view that Planta would be somehow broken. I think it's a major handicap during the few last turns that they have no initiative in their ships. So they will always lose missile vs. missile combats (and cannon vs. cannon combats).

Orion is a bit too strong, Eridani is a bit too weak. Otherwise I think the races are quite well balanced. I've played the game about 40 times.


Hydran's edge with techs makes them better than standard, due to the multitude of advantages gained: 2 tech draws per action means easier discounts, easier filling of the tech tracks at the end (unconquerable VP), and immediate advanced labs + 5 initial science gives them the science base to direct their advancement in whatever way the game state dictates (advanced mining / economy, disc techs, ship techs etc.) They're also one of the 3 races that can take advanced robotics on turn 1. Which, besides the resulting disadvantage in turn order (more discs can mean you pass later), is one of the cheapest ways to extend early influence and resource gains. In short, more & better tech --> more & better everything.

Planta is another of the 3 races that can take advanced robotics on turn 1, and they can put it to great use. They're also handed more resources per turn and more initial resources than other races, for no apparent reason. You speak of initiative disadvantage -- on missiles? Missiles are going to hit first anyway, unless the other player also has missiles. I KNOW you know that, but the reason I say it is that I'm surprised your games go missile-vs-missile so often that you would mention this as a significant disadvantage. Maybe it's just the habits of your own play group. I haven't seen missile-vs-missile all that often tbh. Improved Hull is a tech that is vacuumed up instantly, since it's almost always good regardless of enemy strategy. It also happens to be the best counter to missiles. I'm certainly not saying missiles aren't good, but I haven't seen them be the be-all end-all of combat throughout the bulk of the game due to the extreme prevalence of improved hull, and the research cost of missiles which usually goes first to things like quantum grid.

Maybe your Plantas are using suboptimal strategy... but I see them choking off neighbors early advancement, tailoring at least 1/3 of the board to their own wormhole-link desires, expanding incredibly fast and/or discarding tiles to take the most optimal space, and subsequently advancing their resources much faster than their neighbors while simultaneously directly stifling their neighbors' advancement. And of course the +1VP / hex finishing advantage, which is similar to having free, distributed monoliths. The entire game isn't combat, and the entire game isn't based on the endgame ship blueprint strengths. Swarms of poorly equipped ships can certainly curb a missile attack, especially with improved hull. Having a massively expanding empire and 2x the resources of your neighbors in the early game is an extreme advantage. How many times did Planta lose in your games mainly because someone (i.e. Orion) beat on them, because they were the early threat/target?

Eridani is the last race that can grab advanced robotics turn 1, but they suck. Sadly, since they're so much fun to play with. I'm still trying to tweak my strategies for them, but I know those missing discs are really too crippling. How would you balance them, personally?

Draco can expand almost as fast as Planta, but the existence of Orion kind of kills whatever advantage they'd have (center expansion = links you to Orion / Orion's brutish combat superiority = few ancients to gain VP from.) People report success with them when Orion is banned.

Mechanema looks to have a lot of great advantages on paper, but I haven't seen them succeed much. I'd like your opinions on them. I want to try an outward expansion + orbital strategy with them sometime.

Orion is broken ofc. Terran is my measuring stick for "average."

I haven't played anywhere near 40 games, so maybe my view on race (im)balance is still skewed. But in every game I have played with Orion and Planta being on opposite sides of the board (which, again, seems to constantly happen since the first player chooses Orion, then the 2nd player chooses Planta and situates themself opposite from Orion), Orion was the dominant force, followed by Planta, followed by Hydran. Admittedly, being the early dominant force doesn't always necessarily lead to the best outcome, if you happen to become the target and get beat on. But the reason you're getting beat on is that you were winning.
 
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Petri Savola
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Quote:
Hydran's edge with techs makes them better than standard, due to the multitude of advantages gained: 2 tech draws per action means easier discounts, easier filling of the tech tracks at the end (unconquerable VP), and immediate advanced labs + 5 initial science gives them the science base to direct their advancement in whatever way the game state dictates (advanced mining / economy, disc techs, ship techs etc.) They're also one of the 3 races that can take advanced robotics on turn 1. Which, besides the resulting disadvantage in turn order (more discs can mean you pass later), is one of the cheapest ways to extend early influence and resource gains. In short, more & better tech --> more & better everything.

I'm not sure if being able to purchase 2 tech per turn is better than being able to move 3 ships per turn and getting 2:1 trade ratio. Early advanced robotics is indeed great, but not a no-brainer if improved hull is also available.

Quote:
Planta is another of the 3 races that can take advanced robotics on turn 1, and they can put it to great use. They're also handed more resources per turn and more initial resources than other races, for no apparent reason. You speak of initiative disadvantage -- on missiles? Missiles are going to hit first anyway, unless the other player also has missiles. I KNOW you know that, but the reason I say it is that I'm surprised your games go missile-vs-missile so often that you would mention this as a significant disadvantage. Maybe it's just the habits of your own play group. I haven't seen missile-vs-missile all that often tbh. Improved Hull is a tech that is vacuumed up instantly, since it's almost always good regardless of enemy strategy. It also happens to be the best counter to missiles. I'm certainly not saying missiles aren't good, but I haven't seen them be the be-all end-all of combat throughout the bulk of the game due to the extreme prevalence of improved hull, and the research cost of missiles which usually goes first to things like quantum grid.

Maybe your Plantas are using suboptimal strategy... but I see them choking off neighbors early advancement, tailoring at least 1/3 of the board to their own wormhole-link desires, expanding incredibly fast and/or discarding tiles to take the most optimal space, and subsequently advancing their resources much faster than their neighbors while simultaneously directly stifling their neighbors' advancement. And of course the +1VP / hex finishing advantage, which is similar to having free, distributed monoliths. The entire game isn't combat, and the entire game isn't based on the endgame ship blueprint strengths. Swarms of poorly equipped ships can certainly curb a missile attack, especially with improved hull. Having a massively expanding empire and 2x the resources of your neighbors in the early game is an extreme advantage. How many times did Planta lose in your games mainly because someone (i.e. Orion) beat on them, because they were the early threat/target?

Well, if I'm the leader, I often try to secure my lead somehow. One way to do it is to buy plasma missiles, as they are a great defensive weapon. But if there are multiple plasma missiles available, purchasing the missiles could be a mistake for Planta, because the opponent will eventually get better initiative than you.

Of course if people just sit in their corners and do nothing then turtle-races (Hydran, Planta, Descendants) have advantage, but in our games early warfare isn't that uncommon. Planta are very vulnerable early because a single interceptor will wipe out an entire star system. Also, Planta are strong in 3-4 player games as there are (in my opinion) too many ring 3 hexagons available for exploring. Even then Planta can lose very easily if they're not careful with wormhole generators and exploration, but in 5-6 player games I'd say that Planta are not very strong. Have you been playing mostly 3-4 player games?

Even if Planta manages to explore a huge private space, it's often the case that he cannot afford to take them all during last round. Or taking them all is very risky if your opponents are awake. If you have 10+ discs on board during the last turn, you will be performing ~5 actions less than your opponents. With 5 actions your opponents can typically take a couple of valuable systems from you, which can cost you the game.

Quote:
Draco can expand almost as fast as Planta, but the existence of Orion kind of kills whatever advantage they'd have. People report success with them when Orion is banned.

In 3-4 player games I think Draco is the 2nd best race, only a bit behind Orion. If Orion player is not careful, you can eliminate him from the game with neutron bombs and interceptors by performing a counter-attack, if he attacks your systems with dreadnoughts.

Quote:
Mechanema looks to have a lot of great advantages on paper, but I haven't seen them succeed much. I'd like your opinions on them. I want to try an outward expansion + orbital strategy with them sometime.

Mechanema are decent. It's just so easy to defend your space with interceptors and starbases when they cost basically nothing. You can often safely build monoliths behind your stack of interceptors, and early missiles are a very powerful option for Mechanema.

Quote:
I haven't played anywhere near 40 games, so maybe my view on race (im)balance is still skewed. But in every game I have played with Orion and Planta being on opposite sides of the board (which, again, seems to constantly happen since the first player chooses Orion, then the 2nd player chooses Planta and situates themself opposite from Orion), Orion was the dominant force, followed by Planta, followed by Hydran. Admittedly, being the early dominant force doesn't always necessarily lead to the best outcome, if you happen to become the target and get beat on. But the reason you're getting beat on is that you were winning.

Have I misunderstood something? If 1st player chooses Orion and 2nd player chooses Planta, they are forced to sit next to each other in the game, right? We use a house rule where Orion starts with 2 science instead of 3. This modification makes their rush to galactic center slightly more difficult, as they seldom get improved hull early.
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Jim Richardson

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Petri wrote:
I'm not sure if being able to purchase 2 tech per turn is better than being able to move 3 ships per turn and getting 2:1 trade ratio. Early advanced robotics is indeed great, but not a no-brainer if improved hull is also available.


Advanced labs helps them more in the early game, 2-tech draws help more in the late-game. Those also complement each other and as I said, having the free advanced labs can quickly lead to having advanced economy or advanced mining, or whatever. It's open-ended.

Petri wrote:
Of course if people just sit in their corners and do nothing then turtle-races (Hydran, Planta, Descendants) have advantage, but in our games early warfare isn't that uncommon. Planta are very vulnerable early because a single interceptor will wipe out an entire star system. Also, Planta are strong in 3-4 player games as there are (in my opinion) too many ring 3 hexagons available for exploring. Even then Planta can lose very easily if they're not careful with wormhole generators and exploration, but in 5-6 player games I'd say that Planta are not very strong. Have you been playing mostly 3-4 player games?


I've been playing in mostly-turtling 4 player games, yes.

Petri wrote:
Have I misunderstood something? If 1st player chooses Orion and 2nd player chooses Planta, they are forced to sit next to each other in the game, right?


We've been doing entirely die-roll ordered, where you chose where you were placed on the map at the same time you chose your race. But even going clockwise I don't see how it would really matter that much. Then it would just go Orion - Hydran - Planta instead, or something. Maybe Planta is not overpowered in 6 player, or not in 5-player if they are not on the end. I haven't played enough of those to know. I'm thinking of banning them from 3 & 4 player games though.
 
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Petri Savola
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ParticleMan wrote:
Petri wrote:
I'm not sure if being able to purchase 2 tech per turn is better than being able to move 3 ships per turn and getting 2:1 trade ratio. Early advanced robotics is indeed great, but not a no-brainer if improved hull is also available.


Advanced labs helps them more in the early game, 2-tech draws help more in the late-game. Those also complement each other and as I said, having the free advanced labs can quickly lead to having advanced economy or advanced mining, or whatever. It's open-ended.

How many advanced science planets will you find on average? I typically find 1 or 2, sometimes 0 (I don't typically play with supernova hexagons though). Also, Hydrans have low initial material production, so they are probably the weakest race against ancients during first 3 turns. Hydrans need to play really carefully during the first few turns, because they are very vulnerable to turn 1-3 neutron bomb attacks.

Progress will usually get high score if you let them build up science without disturbing or threatening to disturb.
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Jim Richardson

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Petri wrote:
How many advanced science planets will you find on average?


Well, you've got me there. Looking at the tiles, there aren't that many, statistically. Somehow I've seen them hit a lot more than average.

Nevertheless, their home planet has one, giving them 4 science production which can easily break the "1" barrier and go to 6 with the next lab square. But I can see how you'd say it isn't that much of an advantage to have the advanced labs. Eh.
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