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Subject: Discovery tiles are too random rss

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D K
Sweden
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I have now played the game 6 times. After today play we all agreed to make a house rule that says that you can ONLY take the 2 VP from discovery tiles, you cannot used the other side of the tile.

Why? Simply because we realized that most of our games have been heavily influenced by luck in drawing discovery tiles. I am sure other will find that luck element very good, we don't.

In several games someone have got a discovery tile in turn one and drew the "+8 money". That person then goes on in turn one to make a large numbers of explore, get more discovery tiles, and increased production. A fantastic start.

In one game a player got both +3 computer and -3 shields and that had a large effect on the game.

In another game an Orion player got "+8 money" and -3 shields, took the center on turn two and ran over another player on turn three. After that it was time to start a new game.

In todays game there was a big battle in turn 7 that player A would win easily after an attack late in the round. But first player B had a small ancients fight. Player B won the acients fight.
, got the +3 computer, put it on his starbases in the big fight and suddenly wiped the floor with player A.

And so forth...

You may think this randomness is fun, and in that case you should keep it as is.

However, this is too much randomness for us. Strategies and careful planning is wrecked by discovery tiles. The randomness in battles I have no problems with, as the odds depend on how you played the game. The discovery tile draw is just a lottery and I don't like it. (I love Eclipse though.)

We are pretty experienced players and tend to think a lot when we play.

Anyone agrees that it is a better strategy game if only the 2 VP side is allowed for discoveries?

(The discovery tiles that affect game play too much for our taste is: +3 comp, +8 money in turn 1, +6 material in turn 1, and under some circumstances -3 shields.)

(My other gripe with the game is the galactic center. It is a feature that often gives a big boost to the leading player and thus makes the leader very hard to catch. I don't see why the center needs to be so good.)
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Purple Paladin

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Let me get this strait, you quit on turn 2 because someone got an advantege?

Yes, your correct, take out all the randomness. But then what will you do or who will you blame when someone starts to win early?

If you have to change the game THAT much, perhaps this is not the game for you. There are plenty of other people that would be glad to take it off your hands.
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Daniel Hammond
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You give up 2 VP to get the bonus, that is pretty significant. You also either have to fight for discovery tokens or you get horrible systems worth bad VP for them.
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Yiffy Savanah
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How did someone gain a ship part and then slot it in the middle of the combat phase? You don't get to place influence discs (and thus get discovery tiles) until after all combats have been resolved that turn.

Every time I have seen someone complain about a "random" or "unbalanced" aspect of Eclipse, it has turned out that they were missing some vital rule. Every time.
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Mathue Faulkner
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Yiffyraptor wrote:
How did someone gain a ship part and then slot it in the middle of the combat phase? You don't get to place influence discs (and thus get discovery tiles) until after all combats have been resolved that turn.

Missed that when I read the OP initially. It sounds like they made a pretty significant rules mistake.....
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Agent J
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So they held lots of the map, but what about points? Did they have many points? VPs? Those things that actually get you to win the game?

Look, you can't quit this game in the middle like that because you expected a certain result. You don't know what the final scores would have been. You just make up that you would have lost due to this one turn of play. Who knows what could have come up... a tech that changes things, an inability to continue with the stampede... I mean, moving those ships takes actions, and having a large empire takes your tokens, so you would have had plenty of room to catch up, potentially.
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Jim Richardson

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I just won an all-terran game mainly with my ion-missile interceptors. There are some powerful discovery tiles, but:

1.) Most aren't as powerful as you claim (only the free +3 computer is perhaps broken)
2.) +8 money on round 1 is very nice, but it will probably only pay for one extra system (action + influence disc)
3.) Clear leader = clear target. Maybe your group just needs to get better at knowing who the threat is.

It's your game, play however you want. I just think it's boring to not have any randomness at all. (But if you want to pull out that +3 computer, I would not fault you for that...)
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D K
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Yiffyraptor wrote:
How did someone gain a ship part and then slot it in the middle of the combat phase? You don't get to place influence discs (and thus get discovery tiles) until after all combats have been resolved that turn.


Oh, is that so? In that case we played it wrong. Good!

Doesn't affect my view of the the discovery tiles though, especially early in the game.

"Not my game"?? I love this game. I think it is great!

We have only quit before turn 9 once, and I do believe that game was decided.

Furthermore, I don't think this game need the randomness of the discovery tiles in any way. If you think that kind of lottery spice things up, then by all means keep it. If you are more after a deep strategy game, then I think it is better to leave the discovery tiles out.
 
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D K
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ParticleMan wrote:
Maybe your group just needs to get better at knowing who the threat is.


I think we are quite good at that. This is an experienced bunch of players.

+3 computer and +8 money on round one is the worst.
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Tom Steynen
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I agree that the +3 computer is strong. But I've found the best way to counter it is to try and research Gluon Computer. It is quite handy in countering the discovery tile computer since it gives the same bonus, gives an initiative boost as an extra and you can put multiples on your ships.

Though I can't seem to remember if the discovery tile required any energy, even if it doesn't, the initiative boost is extremely relevant in ship battles where both sides have good computers.

I can't see how the +8 money can be that relevant. It will allow you to do about 3-4 extra actions. That's one explore, one disk to put on the new found tile and one disk for the influence action because you probably won't have enough colony ships. Then you have perhaps one action left, useful if your explore action turned up some ancients. In the end the player explored one hex and a bit for a penalty of 2 points, not so game breaking in my opinion.
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D K
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+8 on turn one does more than that. Placing a disc does usually not add to the cost in turn one, since taking many systems isn't the issue. You just explore as much as you can and then go broke and take back all influence discs except one or two. (I have no problem with going broke tactically.) The issue is to get the best quality system to place an influence disc in, to get as many discoveries as possible, and to uncover ancients for future attack. Does a +8 money in turn one guarantee a win? Absolutely not of course, but it is still a big advantage to get just by a lucky draw.

I think a problem here can be that we are so experienced. We plan far ahead, calculate our economy carefully, and do _not_ attack the leader if that will mean that you yourself fall behind and lose the chance to win. Games are almost always tight and victories small. So large elements of luck like this have a large effect on our games.

+3 computer is the worst though. -3 shield can be terrible if for instance Orion gets it early, as happened.

11 power is also good.

The discovery tiles does not contain any new game elements. You can build computers and shields and power sources in the normal way. The ONLY thing discovery items add is randomness. I don't see any strategic effect other than chance, and so I see no problem in removing them.

Again, if you think it is fun to have this lottery in the game, which I am sure many do, then you should keep it! I think it is great that the game is so easy to modify.
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Wim van Gruisen
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In our last game I discovered ion missiles quite early. Didn't install them on any ship yet, though. I just didn't get enough materials to build a proper fleet (and what I got I used for building monoliths).

Then in the last turn another player invaded my sector. His entire fleet, consisting of a dreadnought, some cruisers and a number of interceptors entered the sector that I defended with my two measly, hardly upgraded, interceptors. The bastard! One good thing was that it was his last action, though.

In my turn I quickly built three starbases. Next turn, I upgraded them with the ion missiles and an extra hull. In combat, I easily destroyed most of his fleet before the fight had even started. He didn't kill a single ship of mine, and in the end had to limp back into safety with his only surviving, badly damaged dreadnought.

Luck of the draw? Hardly. Bad planning on the attacker's part, rather. It was the first game of Eclipse for him (and only my third), and he hadn't expected me to squeeze two extra turns out of my economy, and give up control of a system for that.
 
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D K
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What is your point?
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Eike Hanus
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I don't think the discovery tiles add too much randomness. I won't stop anyone from limiting them to VPs only but I think the discoveries are not game-breaking. A few of them might come in very handy in certain situations, but all of them have their limits.

The only tile I found relatively weak was the ancient technology tile. There has only been one time in the games I witnessed that it brought a significant advantage to use it for the technology. Other than that I feel the discoveries are relatively balanced.
 
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D K
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Maybe I should add that it took a number of plays (in an experienced group) before the randomness of discovery tiles became an issue, or at least before we realized that it was an issue. The first few times you play this great game there are so many other wild things going on that drowns the discovery tile randomness.

Only when our play tightened up did the discovery tiles randomness start to bother us.

And surely, this is to a large degree a matter of taste. It depends on what kind of game you like.

Anyway, removing one side of the discovery tiles from the game is an easy fix.

(Now, if only I could find a simple way of lowering the value of taking the galactic center a bit and this game would be nearly flawless for me...)
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Decay wrote:
In another game an Orion player got "+8 money" and -3 shields, took the center on turn two and ran over another player on turn three. After that it was time to start a new game.


I think this problem has more to do with Orion's abilities than with discovery tiles.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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Decay wrote:
Maybe I should add that it took a number of plays (in an experienced group) before the randomness of discovery tiles became an issue, or at least before we realized that it was an issue. The first few times you play this great game there are so many other wild things going on that drowns the discovery tile randomness.

Only when our play tightened up did the discovery tiles randomness start to bother us.

And surely, this is to a large degree a matter of taste. It depends on what kind of game you like.

Anyway, removing one side of the discovery tiles from the game is an easy fix.

(Now, if only I could find a simple way of lowering the value of taking the galactic center a bit and this game would be nearly flawless for me...)


If you "fix" those two things then which tiles you get will become even more critical. In a game I played I drew 4 "empty" systems and 1 single grey planet system, had I not gotten some bonuses from the discovery tiles I would have been unable to jump-start my economy.

I have also lost a game by taking a bonus that I ended up not using (-3 shield) and I lost by 1... (I am playing my 24th game and like the choices you are forced to make and never have a felt a discovery tile drawn by another player put me in a situation I couldn't deal with).
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Jim Richardson

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Whymme wrote:
In our last game I discovered ion missiles quite early. Didn't install them on any ship yet, though. I just didn't get enough materials to build a proper fleet (and what I got I used for building monoliths).

Then in the last turn another player invaded my sector. His entire fleet, consisting of a dreadnought, some cruisers and a number of interceptors entered the sector that I defended with my two measly, hardly upgraded, interceptors. The bastard! One good thing was that it was his last action, though.

In my turn I quickly built three starbases. Next turn, I upgraded them with the ion missiles and an extra hull. In combat, I easily destroyed most of his fleet before the fight had even started. He didn't kill a single ship of mine, and in the end had to limp back into safety with his only surviving, badly damaged dreadnought.

Luck of the draw? Hardly. Bad planning on the attacker's part, rather. It was the first game of Eclipse for him (and only my third), and he hadn't expected me to squeeze two extra turns out of my economy, and give up control of a system for that.


You do realize that Ion Missiles only fire once and are only a single ship part, right? With 3 starbases that's only 9 maximum possible damage total. Unless you had some crazy computers I don't see how that would have done what you're saying.
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Nate
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Why did you make this post? You insist the tiles are imbalanced and refuse to consider anyone's advice.

The tiles aren't random, they are variable. You said you like to plan things out. Part of the purpose of the tiles is so that you cannot use the same strategy to win the game every time.

You claim you are all experienced players, and yet you are playing basic rules wrong.

Quote:
In another game an Orion player got "+8 money" and -3 shields, took the center on turn two and ran over another player on turn three. After that it was time to start a new game.


I don't see how a -3 shield made a difference in this game. Orion start with -1 and the galactic center and ancients only have +1 computers.

The +3 computer provides no initiative. That is a huge disadvantage in combat!

Getting +9 money affords you a few actions in turn 1, but each action you take gets increasingly more expensive. It's not going to allow you to do too much more on turn 1 and it's usually bad strategy to use it all in one turn.

The tiles are variable but balanced. Each tile has to net you at least 2 extra victory points in order to be worthwhile. They also help balance out systems with nothing but discovery tiles, or poor systems with ancients. Someone might get +9 money or +3 computers, but meanwhile someone else might be getting good planets instead that will help them the entire game.

By allowing only the 2 VP, you are just eliminating choices and variability as well as ruining the balance of sector tiles. Ironic since imbalance is the very thing you are complaining about!

There is also no problem with the center. You need a fleet big enough to take it and 2 turns or influence actions to populate it fully. It's also open to attack from every player! If someone takes the center attack them.
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Nate
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ParticleMan wrote:


You do realize that Ion Missiles only fire once and are only a single ship part, right? With 3 starbases that's only 9 maximum possible damage total. Unless you had some crazy computers I don't see how that would have done what you're saying.


I'm assuming the missiles wiped out all the enemy interceptors which had no hull, allowing his interceptors to fire first and do more damage before the enemy had a chance to fire. Of course, 3 ion cannons would have had the same effect but used more upgrade actions. It also sounds like his opponent was poorly equipped. It seems like he should have at least lost an interceptor.
 
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D K
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dlhammond wrote:

If you "fix" those two things then the which tiles you get will become even more critical.


No, not really. Tiles and discoveries are two uncorrelated random events. They do not cancel each other out. On the contrary, when you add two uncorrelated random events the standard deviation increases.

You say that if you get bad tiles you may get good discoveries. true, but it could equally turn out that you get bad tiles and bad discoveries, in which you are even worse off than if you just got bad tiles.
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Matt Shinners
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Decay wrote:

No, not really. Tiles and discoveries are two uncorrelated random events.


I don't think that word means what you think it means.
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D K
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gibolas wrote:
The tiles aren't random, they are variable.


Not sure I follow you here. Which tile you get is random.

gibolas wrote:
You said you like to plan things out. Part of the purpose of the tiles is so that you cannot use the same strategy to win the game every time.


Yes, variability is a good side of randomness. Eclipse has a lot of this goodness! The random technologies, taking turns choosing races, combat, tiles. However, I think the discoveries crosses a border where randomness starts destroying well crafted strategy.

gibolas wrote:
You claim you are all experienced players, and yet you are playing basic rules wrong.


Experienced players, yes definitely, but not so experienced playing eclipse. But 6 plays isn't too bad. There a re few games that I play 6 times, but eclipse I will probably play many more times.

gibolas wrote:
I don't see how a -3 shield made a difference in this game. Orion start with -1 and the galactic center and ancients only have +1 computers.


It made a big difference when he right after taking the center took the home system of another player. (No, I am not saying that the game is over if you get +8 money and -3 shields with Orion in turn one. Far from it. But you get a big advantage.)

gibolas wrote:
The +3 computer provides no initiative. That is a huge disadvantage in combat!


Feel free to think it is a "huge" disadvantage, I still think it is a very good discovery.

gibolas wrote:
The tiles are variable but balanced.


If you by balanced mean equally good, just different, then I disagree with you.

gibolas wrote:
By allowing only the 2 VP, you are just eliminating choices and variability as well as ruining the balance of sector tiles.


I don't think so. The 2 VP side is better for most discoveries in most situations anyway. It is only a few of the discoveries, and mostly very early in the game, that adds to much randomness for my taste.

gibolas wrote:
There is also no problem with the center. You need a fleet big enough to take it and 2 turns or influence actions to populate it fully. It's also open to attack from every player! If someone takes the center attack them.


I think the game would be better with the center being a little less valuable, but that is a different discussion.
 
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D K
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MattShinners wrote:
Decay wrote:

No, not really. Tiles and discoveries are two uncorrelated random events.


I don't think that word means what you think it means.


What, "uncorrelated random events"? I have at least defended a thesis in theoretical physics where one large chapter was devoted to constrained random gaussian fields with different two-point correlation functions.

There are people who know much more of course, but yes, I think I can say I know what that means.
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Ian Kelly
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Decay wrote:
No, not really. Tiles and discoveries are two uncorrelated random events.


No, they are not. Based on which tiles you get, you will get more or fewer discoveries. The correlation is of quantity, not quality.

Quote:
You say that if you get bad tiles you may get good discoveries. true, but it could equally turn out that you get bad tiles and bad discoveries, in which you are even worse off than if you just got bad tiles.


I don't understand this statement at all. The worst possible discovery, assuming you are playing competently, is 2 VP. How is a bad tile + 2 VP worse than just a bad tile?

The point I think Daniel was making is not that if you get bad tiles, you may get good discoveries. It was that if you get bad tiles, you will get more discoveries. I would rather have several mediocre discoveries (really, there are no bad ones) than a couple of good ones.
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