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Eugenio -
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This is somewhat halfay between a guide and a review.
I still have a lot to learn about this game, but I wanted to provide something that could both prove useful to less experienced players and sparkle some debate amongst experienced players.



Introduction

Technology is probably the most decisive of the factors governing the development of your civilization in Eclipse.
Tech-required ship parts grealty increas your ships' combat capabilities, while economic techs gratly augument all aspects of your civilization, pushing it far beyond its limits.


Overview of the Technology Tracks

There are three technology tracks: Military, Grid and Nano.
Military techs allow you to build the most fearsome ships, but require a considerable investment of science before paying you out for your efforts, since the most vital techs (advanced source and computer) are in the upper tier of the track.
Grid techs on the other side are the perfect choice if you're going for an aggressive strategy early on.
They allow you to start fighting Ancients early in the game, speeding up growth and expansion of your race.
Finally, Nano technologies, with the exception of the less expensive ones, are situational, though in the right circumstances they can be game-breaking. Most of them can be considered economic techs.

In each track, techs have a progressively increasing cost, but you can obtain significant discounts on higher techs if you already have the less expensive ones.
This means that focusing on a single track is always a good idea, even more so if your science production is mediocre.

The techs along the tracks follow the same scheme, both in cost and usefulness.
The first-level techs (2/2) of all three tracks are quite good. They are always worth thier cost, even more so considering the discount they can provide when buying more expensive techs.
The level 2 (4/3) and 3 (6/4) techs are the technological staples of every civilization.
These techs are very good; in fact they are usually bought as soon as tehy become available.
Note that there are 5 tiles in the bag for each of the techs from level one to level three.
Level 4 (8/5) techs have varying usefulness.
Level 5 (10/6) techs are the Advanced ones. They all allow you to colonize one kind of advanced square, thus they can increase your production by a large amount.
despite the fact that they are very expensive, they are often bought.
Level 4 and 5 form the middle tier, there are 4 tiles for each of them.
The upper tier techs (level 6 (12/6), 7 (14/7), 8 (16/8) ) are very expensive.
Some of them are also very powerful, while others are more situational, and you should buy them only in certain cases.



Tech Guide by Level:





level 1 (2/2)



Neutron Bombs (Military)

A must buy if you're planning to attack another player.


Gauss Shield (Grid)

Very useful if you're planning to fight Ancients early, since a single Gauss Shield part cuts in half the chances of being hit by Ancients and doesn't consume energy.
It is often useless later on.


Nanorobots (Nano)

If you don't research this tech soon or late you'll yourself find regretting it, since it allows you to do massive builds with a single action.
It is especially useful if you have stockpiled some Materials over the course of the previous rounds.
Skip it only if have a meagre Materials production or perform at least one build action every round.




level 2 (4/3)



Starbase (Military)

Starbase increase your plastic limit, are cheap and provide a solid defense for your most important sectors.
Since they consume some actions in order to reasearch tech and upgrade them, use them only if you are already in a defensive posture, otherwise I suggest building other ships.


Improved Hull (Grid)

Buy it as soon as you can.
They are useful in every situation and don't have energy consumption.
Furthermore they are the only reliable defense vs Plasma Missiles-heavy ships.


Fusion Drive (Nano)

It is a huge improvement over the basic drive for a modest cost.
If you think you'll need a drive, buy it, lest you will not be able to buy it when you need it.
Useless only if you're playing a very defensive game.




level 3 (6/4)

All level 3 technologies are very useful and hotly sought after.



Plasma Cannon (Military)

A must buy, they can be considered the "basic" weapon, since Ion Cannon isn't effective if your opponents can upgrade Improved Hulls.


Fusion Source (Grid)

Another fundamental tech.
Without it you will not be able to benefit from tech-required parts, since almost all of them have a higher energy cost compared to their basic counterparts.


Advanced Robotics (Nano)

6 Science and one action to get an additional influence disc for the rest of the game. Talk about a good bargain!
If you can afford it, buy it unless this would force you to skip another vital tech.
Remember, the sooner the better.




level 4 (8/5)



Phase Shield (Military)

Despite having the same cost, they are vastly inferior to their offensive counterpart, Positron Computer.
They are not without uses, but get them only if you can't get computers or if you already have them.
If your opponent has Gluon Computer, forego shields entirely.


Positron Computer (Grid)

Positron Computer is, along with Improved Hull, Plasma Cannon and Fusion Source, a fundamental tech to have if you are planning to invest materials and actions in ships.


Orbital (Nano)

An interesting tech. If you want to play a defensive/economic game, they are the best way to use stockpiled materials.
Be wary not to forego exploration to build them, and keep in mind that you should spare some materials to build ships in case someone decides to attack you.
I think you should build them only if you have a high mineral production early on and don't want to be aggressive.




level 5 (10/6)

When you have to option to buy Adv techs you should always consider doing it, but always take into account how many additional cubes they would allow you to place and how many game rounds are left.
As with other economic techs, the sooner you research them, the better (this is especially true for Advanced Labs), but if they would allow you only to place 1-2 cubes, there are usually better ways to spend your Science.



Advanced Mining (Military)

Materials are seldom plentiful, thus this tech can be very useful. A lot of materials can make you win a war of attrition or allow you to build more Orbitals and Monoliths.


Advanced Economy (Grid)

Advanced Economy squares are the most common of the three, so you will often be able to put this tech to use.
It is the only way to be able to pay the highest upkeeps, and is useful even when bought in the later stages of the game, since money production is important even in the last game round.


Advanced Labs (Nano)

To get the most out of it you should purchase it in the early rounds. If you manage to do so, it can provide a critical advantage.
If you cannot purchase it before round, you should probably avoid purchasing it at all.




level 6 (12/6)



Tachyon Source (Military)

It allows you to place all the best parts on the same blueprint.
It is almost mandatory if you want to use properly Anti-Matter Cannons or Gluon Computers, otherwise Fusion Source will suffice.


Tachyon Drive (Grid)

The bonus movement it provides compared to Fusion Drive is seldom useful and it has a higher energy cost.
Not very useful unless you can't get its less costly counterpart.

Monolith (Nano)

A very interesting tech. Monoliths can convert materials into VPs, but they require a lot of materials and you will probably need to defend them against attacks.
A viable choice only if you already have a solid defensive position. The "turtle" way to victory.



level 7 (14/7)



Plasma Missiles (Military)

The most powerful weapon in the game, according to some players even too powerful. If you can upgrade Positron or Gluon Computer parts, with Plasma Missiles your ships will be very hard to stop, requiring a highly dedicated counter-build on your opponents' part.
Without good Computers, they are worthless.


Anti-Matter Cannons (Grid)

Very situational. They are the ultimate weapon against ships full og Improved Hulls, but they are not very useful (or completely worthless) otherwise.
Their steep energy requirements make them hard to upgrade without having Tachyon Source or some extra energy (Planta, Orion Hegemony).
They compliment Plasma Missiles very well, but to get both of them you will have to invest a lot of science in those techs which is usually spent better elsewhere.


Artifact key (Nano)

The most situational tech in the game. It has its uses, but most of the times it isn't worth it. May be good to convert some Science into Materials to build that extra Monolith (that is, if you control at least a couple of Artifacts).




level 8 (16/8)



Gluon Computers (Military)

The most expensive Military tech, but also the best, Gluon Computers can easily overcome enemy shields and grant you a very high initiative value.
These two things combined give your ships a significant edge in every battle.
Their only downside is their energy cost, making them the perfect complement to Plasma Missiles.


Quantum Grid (Grid)

Two additional influence discs are well worth its high price. It may be useful even in the final round, but try to research it ASAP.


Wormhole Generator (Nano)

Another game-breaking tech in the right situation. WG can cause some serious headaches to your turtling neighbours, making them wonder how they could stop your fleet entering in their sectors now that there are no safe spots.
Furthermore it makes it much more easier for your ships to move around and influence hexes.
Unfortunately it is often reasearched only in the final rounds because of its cost.
Consider researching it even if you don't have belligerent intentions only to negate it to your opponents.






That's it.
I feel there are some techs (Orbital, Shields and the already hotly debated Plasma Missiles and Anti-Matter Cannons ) that would require a thread on their own, since it's very hard to figure out exactly how they work but I think most of the things I've written are pretty obivious.
Still I would like to hear someone else's opinions about them.
If you feel like it, discuss!







Edit: grammar
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Nate
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I actually find the -2 shield very useful unless your opponent doesn't have any computers. Vs missile opponents you can force them to add another computer which is one less space they have for missiles. Sometimes it is better to have than improved hulls.

I also really like the artifact key. It's a late game tech, but it can usually net you 10 or 15 resources as well as give you victory points and make your next tech cheaper. Especially useful if you have extra science.

I think the usefulness of techs also depends a lot on which tree are you pursuing as this greatly effects the cost.
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Eugenio -
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gibolas wrote:

I think the usefulness of techs also depends a lot on which tree are you pursuing as this greatly effects the cost.


I agree on the fact that the number of techs you already have on a track is a decisive factor, but this has little to do with the usefulness of the technology itself.
Given the same situation, I'de be happier to research Anti-Matter Cannon or Plasma Missile than Artifact Key, unless I control a sick amount of sectors with Artifacts.
Usually you're granted to have at least one sector with an Artifact (your starting system), but since they are very rare (systems with artifacts: 25% I, 17% II, 18% III) having two is already good, especially in a 5-6 player game in which you're cramped for space.
Thus getting +10 resources after having spent 7 Science and an action essentially means you have one more tile for free on the Nano track, that is you have gained 1 VP and an additional -2 discount if you're planning to buy Wormhole Generator as your final tech.
Nothing to write home about if you ask me
If you have 3 or more artifacts it may be a better bargain, but this is a rare occurrence.
And I'm only considering the case in which you have a lot of techs on the track, because otherwise AK has very few uses.
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Alex Sorbello
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Wow, I must say I disagree with some of your comments. Mostly because I find that all tech is based on what your neighbors are doing and the situation you are in (mostly regarding ancients and connections)

Gauss shield: is usefull depending on the game and other players... If you have a higher initiative than the ancient you do not need this and I prefer to have the ancient not fire back instead.

Improved hull: depends on other players again. This becomes mostly worthless if someone will gets anti matter or missile fleets anyway.

Any drives: I find drives very usefull but for a different reason, first they give you flexibility on movement and deep strikes into someone else's territory. Second it give a free initiative upgrade. Meaning that unlike computers that need a extra slot, a drive is always needed so the inititiative is a free upgrade in that regard (minus the build action to get them of course)

Forgo shields if someone get gluon? How do you know early game if someone will go that route, buy shield upgrades if your neighbor buys computers.
You do not have to fit them on your ships unless needed. But having them is a deterrent!

Again depending on situation, any advanced mining is good.

Artifact key is one of the best tech you can get especially if you have 3 or more keys. You get it for free or can convert to other goods.

Again all tech is situational and also how many are out of that tech or not. If you play a 4 player game and 4 plasma cannons are out I might not buy it because I will always be able to get it...

Just my 2 cents I suppose.
Cheers
Lexen

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Mathue Faulkner
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Eu8L1ch wrote:
gibolas wrote:

I think the usefulness of techs also depends a lot on which tree are you pursuing as this greatly effects the cost.


I agree on the fact that the number of techs you already have on a track is a decisive factor, but this has little to do with the usefulness of the technology itself.
Given the same situation, I'de be happier to research Anti-Matter Cannon or Plasma Missile than Artifact Key, unless I control a sick amount of sectors with Artifacts.
Usually you're granted to have at least one sector with an Artifact (your starting system), but since they are very rare (systems with artifacts: 25% I, 17% II, 18% III) having two is already good, especially in a 5-6 player game in which you're cramped for space.
Thus getting +10 resources after having spent 7 Science and an action essentially means you have one more tile for free on the Nano track, that is you have gained 1 VP and an additional -2 discount if you're planning to buy Wormhole Generator as your final tech.
Nothing to write home about if you ask me
If you have 3 or more artifacts it may be a better bargain, but this is a rare occurrence.
And I'm only considering the case in which you have a lot of techs on the track, because otherwise AK has very few uses.


I had 6 artifact keys one game....that was pretty awesome (I'm not making any type of counter point because I now you said that it's situational...but I just thought I'd share my situation).
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Jeff Chamberlain
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I agree that the summary fails to factor in the situational nature of a lot of the techs. Improved Hull is useful, but not fundamental. If I go heavy on positron computers early to drive up my initiative and chance to hit, it largely makes improved hulls unnecessary, which the sole exception of plasma missiles.

I will not be concerned about my opponent's improved hulls (nor about my lack of improved hulls) when I have +5 to all my die rolls from my computers and am shooting first because of the initiative bonuses, for example.

The only tech's I consider to be must have in most every game are advanced robotics and quantum grid. You can live without them, but if you have the opportunity to buy them it is almost foolish not to do so.

But all the others are more situational than this list suggests.
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Eugenio -
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A lot of things depend on the situation you're currently in, these are just general guidelines.
I don't think (and I have never claimed) that there are things that are equally true in every sitation.

Gauss Shield: to have higher initiative you'll usually need a Fusion Drive or a Positron Computer, this leaves no spare energy for Plasma Cannon, thus you will need at least two hits to destroy one ancient (or a Fusion Source to be able to couple initiative bonus with Plasma Cannon).
The good thing about GS is that it is incredibily cheap and that it doesn't consume energy, thus giving a big boost considering its cost.
Obiouvsly if you can get Positron Computer, Fusion Source and Plasma Cannon you will not need Gauss Shield, but you can't really compare the cost of getting these techs to the cost of purchasing Improved Hull and Gauss Shield.


Improved Hull: Improved Hull is a no-brainer tech for me because it costs very little but offers a lot.
Anti-Matter is very late game and costs a lot of energy.
Good luck having to deal with ships with PMs without having IH (nor having PMs yourself of course)


Drives: if you want your ships to be successful, you need at least a computer IMO.
You have good points otherwise, but I don't think they contradict what I've written.


Shields: forego shields if someone buys GC means that if someone gets GC trying to counter it by buying shields is not a good idea.
Of course having Shields is better than not having them, but if you have to make a choice there can be better choices for the same cost.
I think reasoning behind Shield-Computers interaction deserves a topic on its own ( in fact I've opened such a thread some time ago: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/735152/shields-vs-computers ).

Adv techs: It seems like we agree on this


Artifact Key: we disagree on this one.



I'm glad you disagree
Discussions in which everybody agrees are boring






@Klintus:

One IH doubles the number of hits required to kill your ships (except if your opponent has AMC, in which case you need two), no matter how many computers he has.
This alone makes IH very potent.
Surely hitting on 2s is very good, but unless you're able to destroy almost every ship after only one round of combat, your ships will be better off hitting on 4s but requiring double the amount of hits to be destroyed.
Finally I think one should always keep in mind the cost-benefit ratio when judging techs.
IH have the best one or are among the very best ones.
Being able to always hit before your opponent requires computers, sources, cannons and maybe drives.
It's very powerful if you can achieve it, but it's not that easy to do.

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Peter O
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I've had plenty of success with ships with no computers. I prefer to have computers, but you just need to adjust your ship numbers to make sure to fire enough. I also find plasma missiles to still be useful even without computers. Again better with them, but certainly not useless without.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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Eu8L1ch wrote:


@Klintus:

One IH doubles the number of hits required to kill your ships (except if your opponent has AMC, in which case you need two), no matter how many computers he has.
This alone makes IH very potent.
Surely hitting on 2s is very good, but unless you're able to destroy almost every ship after only one round of combat, your ships will be better off hitting on 4s but requiring double the amount of hits to be destroyed.
Finally I think one should always keep in mind the cost-benefit ratio when judging techs.
IH have the best one or are among the very best ones.
Being able to always hit before your opponent requires computers, sources, cannons and maybe drives.



Yes, and one electron computer doubles my chance of hitting you. So a single electron computer is enough to negate your IH benefit (assuming you upgraded a 1 hull spot with a 2 hull spot).

While one positron computer triples my chance of hitting you, and the two combined (on say a cruiser) quadruples my chance of hitting you. I'll trade off "you have to hit me twice to kill me" for "3 of my ships are likely to hit you each round for every 1 ship you have that hits me" almost every time.

I'm not saying IH isn't good. If is very useful in the right situations. It is hardly as powerful as you are suggesting though.

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Jeff Chamberlain
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tranenturm wrote:
I've had plenty of success with ships with no computers. I prefer to have computers, but you just need to adjust your ship numbers to make sure to fire enough.


Sure you can, but with ships with no computers, you need either lots of IH (so you can survive longer) or you need far more ships than the opponent.

But to reverse your statement, I've easily torn ships that have IH and plasma cannons to pieces with just ion cannons and lots of computers and only normal hull point bonuses.

As I said in the other reply, if I have a greater than 50% chance of hitting my opponent with each die (easily achievable with computers), and his chance of hitting me is only 1/6, his hull is going to take damage so fast that on average, his ships will all be gone long before mine are even if I have half the hull points he has.
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Mr. Octavius
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While artifact key is not a 'must have' tech, in most games I've found it useful to pick up.
If you have 3 artifact sectors you break even if you have no techs of the same type, you can convert science to another material you're short on, and now you're up a tech giving you future discounts and higher VPs in that row. If you have a discount on it (which is likely late game) you make a profit enough to cover the influence disk you spent. There's no draw back, it only puts you ahead. You may also deny it from a neighbour that has many artifacts. (I've had a game where an opponent picked this up with 6 sectors.)
If you happen to have more than 3 artifacts then it is a very nice boost equal to a discovery tile or better.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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i agree that is the best use of artifact key: in the end game, if research is your strength you can convert a ton of research points to production or economy at the cost of a single action for much better than the standard exchange rates. and buy yourself a VP (usually) in the process.
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