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Subject: Looking for tips on how to speed up the game rss

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David Boeren
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I played Eclipse for the first time last night. It was a 6p game and took slightly over 6 hours to complete. It was a good game, but frankly not good enough to justify that much time.

However, it *should* be able to be playable in more like 3 hours, which would be reasonable for what you get out of the game.

Playing with fewer players or more experienced players should help, but are there any non-obvious suggestions of how to speed up the game quite a bit? I felt like most of the game was spent sitting wondering whose turn it was until it got back around to me so I could take the action I'd planned out 20 minutes ago. If you could take your turns simultaneously it would be a tremendous boost but there's a little too much interaction I think for that to work out.
 
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My 4 player game took 5 hours with rules explanation... so, yeah. This game takes a long time when you're new, but a lot of that time was reviewing ship components, figuring out what the tech was, etc. etc. I think that can go away and people will be able to spend less time figuring out what decisions they have and more time actually making decisions.
 
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Loren Cadelinia
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dboeren wrote:
I played Eclipse for the first time last night. It was a 6p game and took slightly over 6 hours to complete. It was a good game, but frankly not good enough to justify that much time.

However, it *should* be able to be playable in more like 3 hours, which would be reasonable for what you get out of the game.

Playing with fewer players or more experienced players should help, but are there any non-obvious suggestions of how to speed up the game quite a bit? I felt like most of the game was spent sitting wondering whose turn it was until it got back around to me so I could take the action I'd planned out 20 minutes ago. If you could take your turns simultaneously it would be a tremendous boost but there's a little too much interaction I think for that to work out.


Printing some of the player player aid stuff in the files section could save a bunch of questions. The portable tech board could be useful to cut down time for looking at which techs are available. Turn order variant (which might take some getting used to initially) gives numbers to players, so you can see who's turn it is, and who is next.

I think the problem was playing a 6 player for the first time, without a player who had played it before (I'm assuming from your post). Otherwise, you'd have someone who can keep everyone on pace, by keeping track of turns, phases, initiative order, round setup, etc.

Playing a second time should be much better, but you see the biggest reduction in time from multiple plays and experienced players as you said.
 
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JonGetsGames
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7 games in, it has streamlined abit for me and the various people I play with...but nothing close to the box timing.

We played a 6 player game last night where 5 of us had experience (two of us had 4+ games going, the rest were on their second game). Took us 5 hours. I am a minor AP offender, and one of our players is a moderate offender so this does play into the time of the game.


The biggest tip I know of off the bat is to have people take upgrade actions outside of turn order. I.E. someone takes the upgrade action and we continue other actions while the upgrader figures it out. This only doesn't happen when someone elses plans are contingent on how that upgrade goes.
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Christine Biancheria
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My first 4-player game with all newbies took about 3.5 hours.
 
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Jim Kiefer
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I make stacks of techs and place them on the little circles so I don't have to spend time pulling and counting. Of course, the downside is tha there is some small preview of techs coming down the pike and the one on top of the pile is always visible.
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David F
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Drawing techs and placing them in the right spot doesn't add much time at all. And this file allows players to plan which tech to research long before it's their turn, and without getting out of their seats.

Every action is quick, with the only big offender being Upgrade. As Jon mentioned, keep the turn going while somebody is getting AP over Upgrade, and pause only if the Upgrade matters for the next player.
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Ian Kelly
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mageith wrote:
I make stacks of techs and place them on the little circles so I don't have to spend time pulling and counting. Of course, the downside is tha there is some small preview of techs coming down the pike and the one on top of the pile is always visible.


Given that this only happens nine times per game, I doubt you're really saving much on the playing time here. Usually I find that while somebody is putting out the new technologies, somebody else is still doing their upkeep anyway.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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We did a 6-player game yesterday that had two new players involved. It ended up being just under five hours, and yes the two players who were new had the longest turns. We've been regularly getting 3p games in just over two hours and I have no reason to doubt that once we've all learned it we'll be doing 5p in around three hours or 6p by around three and a half hours.

The first few games there's a lot of "tech" and "how does this work" learning going on, but once you really grok the system you tend to plan your round to within an action or two (there's always some interaction to react to if you need it and there's uncertainty once you see what techs are available this round). I wouldn't worry about long play time if your group enjoys it enough to learn it.

As far as learning, I'd say learn with 3p games: they're shorter "long games" than 6p, without the diplomacy rules there's one less thing for new players to deal with, and there's a little more time for people to understand exploration and economy before they end up butting heads and fighting, so the teaching flow is really good. Then once you've gotten enough people with several 3p games start doing the big ones. That should make the play times more acceptable.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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selwyth wrote:
Every action is quick, with the only big offender being Upgrade. As Jon mentioned, keep the turn going while somebody is getting AP over Upgrade, and pause only if the Upgrade matters for the next player.


We have all of the ship part tiles in one big zip top bag. When someone chooses upgrade we pass the bag to them and move on (again unless something matters to the next player). We've also had people grab the bag prior to their turn to get the tiles out they know they want. Since the tiles can move from person to person that way, there's no need for getting up or reaching over people/boards for the central board while other turns are progressing.
 
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Tim Benjamin
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I will speed up my next game... by not playing.
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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One of the things my group does (which someone has already pointed out) is if someone declares an upgrade action, we pass that player the plano box with sorted chits (truly a must have for this game) and move on to the next player's turn. There's no need to sit there and watch someone deliberate over which upgrades they're going to take and where they're going to put them.
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Use a Chess timer 30 minutes per player. Folks will not waste time if they are on the clock!

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David Boeren
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Five out of six players were new, the owner had played before but I think just once or twice.

I think tech is one good speedup if we can figure out a good method. Only two players could see which techs were out, everyone else had to get up, walk over, and look. A way to pass it around or just let everyone see what was available would be great. Another thing, sometimes someone would plan to buy a certain tech and another player before them took the last one. The second player would be unaware of this and have to replan their action when it got to their turn and they found out.
 
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We managed to play a 5 player game followed by a 4 player game in under 6 hours total. And we're not THAT fast.
 
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Brandon M
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HappyHexagon wrote:


The biggest tip I know of off the bat is to have people take upgrade actions outside of turn order. I.E. someone takes the upgrade action and we continue other actions while the upgrader figures it out. This only doesn't happen when someone elses plans are contingent on how that upgrade goes.


Seems like the upgrader could have figured out what they were upgrading before it was their turn?
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In my experience 45 min- 60 min per player is realistic even for "experienced" players with 10+ games. You can speed up in the beginning of the game, after everyone bought the tech needed. Then all the explore actions can almost be done simultaniously in games of 3 or less players. I think that will be more relevant in 4+ Player games, so I don't see any chance to skip that there. It's a very good game, but I wouldn't play it with more than 4 players, since otherwise it takes too long in my oppinion.
 
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Jeff Chamberlain
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We seem to play 4 player games in ~3 hours, even without all that much experience (played maybe 3 games each roughly). Not the two hours listed on the box, but less time than most people are reporting here.


Edit: actually, i realize i'm over estimating. Last time we played, we had 4 players, one of them was new. We started at 7:30. And played 2 games between 7:30 and midnight. So that 2 games in 4.5 hours so less than 2.5 hours per game with 4.
 
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Last game we started late. A six player game with all newbies, save for me (and it was only my third game). We decided to play only seven rounds, and that worked well. All the hexes were explored, we got our battles mainly in the sixth and seventh round. We did not get as many tech tiles as in a full game, and we didn't get the time to develop tech and score big points for it, but for the rest it certainly wasn't a worse experience than the full nine rounds.

If we do that again, I will try a variant where you get bonuses for tech tracks as if you have one tech more on those tracks.
 
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Chris Boote
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We played a 4p game at Stabcon in January, the least familiar had three games under their belt (me) and the main rule was NO DAWDLING.
Many actions can be performed simultaneously - e.g. if play 1 chooses research, 2 explores and 3 builds, it's player 4's turn in under ten seconds!
From open box to close box was 1h 20m
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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We incorporate many of the suggestions above.

1.) Ask people before the game is started to keep in mind 6 hours is not fun.

2.) Keep the turns moving. If someone takes an action that does not affect the next person, continue taking actions even if that player isn't finished. We also use the Turn Order Variant so players aren't always playing after their neighbor, which is where the many of important decisions come in.

3.) The most experienced player is in charge of handing out the new techs/ ancients/etc.

4.) When in combat, sometimes there are multiple battles between completely different players and can be played out at the same time with no effect on one another.

5.) Players do their upkeep during the combat phase if they're not fighting (ah yes, I meant to put this originally!)

All our 6 player games have had 2 or 3 new players in them and were finished in under 4 hours. We'll be playing again tonight and I'll try to see if there is anything else we're doing.
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Charlie Theel
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We some actions simultaneously (such as upgrade, sometimes even build), players do their upkeep during the combat phase if they're not fighting, I usually place the techs out while others are doing upkeep (then I quickly read off what was pulled). We also don't really suffer from Analysis Paralysis.

Our first game with 4 players took 4 hours. Our second game with 3 players (2 from first game, 1 new player) took 1.5 hours and flew along.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Vanish wrote:
4.) When in combat, sometimes there are multiple battles between completely different players and can be played out at the same time with no effect on one another.


Though I'm generally in favor of things that speed up the game I wouldn't recommend simul-combat for two reasons. 1) contention for the limited pool of dice and limits on table space can make it logistically challenging, which doesn't really save time, and 2) spectating during the combats is actually a lot of fun! Cheering for one side or the other or watching the dice do their worst to your enemy.... lots to enjoy there! cool

Vanish wrote:
5.) Players do their upkeep during the combat phase if they're not fighting


I'd be worried that people would make mistakes. Not intentionally, but it seems like there's always someone making an error somewhere in the process so it's easier to make sure to announce the steps and let everyone complete them. In the grand scheme it's not a long delay, but it helps game fidelity.
 
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Jeff Chamberlain
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jsciv wrote:

I'd be worried that people would make mistakes. Not intentionally, but it seems like there's always someone making an error somewhere in the process so it's easier to make sure to announce the steps and let everyone complete them. In the grand scheme it's not a long delay, but it helps game fidelity.


Well, if people are complaining about the difference between 30 minutes per player and 45 minutes per player, I'd say that the time spent announcing all the moves you are making on the resource charts one at a time could easily explain most of that difference. Not saying there is anything wrong with doing that, but its going to add a noticeable amount of time to the total length of the game.


I do wonder one thing: my friends and I noticed that we sometimes forget to advance the turn marker. After one of our games that took longer than normal, we counted the number of tech tiles remaining in the bag after the came was over and realized that we had forgotten to advance the turn marker TWICE.

Are people who are seeing really long game times sure that this is never happening?
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Klintus Fang wrote:
jsciv wrote:

I'd be worried that people would make mistakes. Not intentionally, but it seems like there's always someone making an error somewhere in the process so it's easier to make sure to announce the steps and let everyone complete them. In the grand scheme it's not a long delay, but it helps game fidelity.


Well, if people are complaining about the difference between 30 minutes per player and 45 minutes per player, I'd say that the time spent announcing all the moves you are making on the resource charts one at a time could easily explain most of that difference. Not saying there is anything wrong with doing that, but its going to add a noticeable amount of time to the total length of the game.


I am speaking from experience here, not from theory. It really doesn't add that much to just recite "move your money (pause), increase your production (pause pause), move your discs back (pause), unflip your colony ships and action board." In our group it helps everyone get it right and it takes maybe 30 seconds tops (so a grand total of 4.5 extra minutes on the game unless someone has a question). Then we do the "reading of the techs" and advancing the round marker and go.

I should point out that I'm not one of the ones saying that my group's times are ridiculously long.

Klintus Fang wrote:
I do wonder one thing: my friends and I noticed that we sometimes forget to advance the turn marker. After one of our games that took longer than normal, we counted the number of tech tiles remaining in the bag after the came was over and realized that we had forgotten to advance the turn marker TWICE.


I have been paranoid about that, but every time we've forgotten it at the time of round transition, someone remembers during the first round of two of actions.
 
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