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Subject: How Thematic is Eclipse rss

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Tom P
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I've played Eclipse 3 times now. A number of people consider it more euro and less thematic (or AT). Could one of the reasons for this be that there isn't that much of a deep story associated with the different species, the different planets etc.?

The planets are quite generic in that when a planet is colonised the thought that comes to mind is not so much that "I am colonising Planet XYZ with this long history and millennia of brilliant academic research which will improve my ability to discover new technologies" but rather "I am colonising this generic planet which gives me Science points".

Do you think this might be a side effect of it being designed to be a game which is language independent without any real reading of text required or available.
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Just because it's a euro doesn't mean it's not thematic. Look at Belfort. That's far from being non-thematic. I've played Eclips 7 -10 times now. It's definitely thematic; however, it may not be as thematic you want it to be. If that's the case you may want to look into Empires of the Void. No cool little plastic ships, but similar mechanics.
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Darrell Hanning
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It's this thematic.

Honestly, what the hell does that mean, anyway?
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Loren Cadelinia
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tparel wrote:

Do you think this might be a side effect of it being designed to be a game which is language independent without any real reading of text required or available.


I think this is a credit to how streamlined gameplay and game information is in Eclipse. I consider something thematic if I "feel" like I am doing what the game theme intends to portray.

Agricola, for example, is a game I consider has a very strong theme. I feel like I'm building a farm and feeding a family. In Eclipse, I feel like I'm controlling a space empire and fighting epic battles. Others may feel differently.

Edit: perhaps more backstory fluff can get some people more engrossed in the theme, but I don't really consider it part of the mechanics of the game itself.

Also, Eclipse does not have a lot of mechanics that feel forced; all the mechanics are fairly integrated with what is supposed to happen thematic- wise. You colonize, you research, you upgrade, you move etc. Contrasted with the Windrose mechanic from Macao (which I absolutely love), I think Eclipse is thematic.
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Antti Autio
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I find it very thematic. I also think excessive background fluff is for people who lack imagination.
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Steffen Soller
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I find the races, the story, and the art for the races a little dull or generic. It is a great game but I always thought that they could have done more with it as far as the theme is concerned. It always struck me as odd that a game that directly competes with games like Twilight Imperium chooses to forego the thematic immersion when Twilight Imperium's strength is theme. However, maybe that isn't bad...at least there is still a reason to play Twilight Imperium once in a while laugh
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Sebastian Grawan
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It's not as packed full of fluff as, for example, Twilight Imperium, but that does not say much, as Eclipse is still avery young game. And for a young game it's full of cool ships, technologies and races. It has theme, it just does not ooze it.
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Tom P
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DarrellKH wrote:
It's this thematic.

Honestly, what the hell does that mean, anyway?


Thematic i.e "emphasis on narrative" (as defined on BGG). Clearly some games have a stronger "emphasis" on story than others.
 
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Jeff Lozito
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This is a tough one to answer, mostly because I feel games can be thematic in multiple ways.

In one sense of the word, I look at 'thematic' as the extent to which it sucks me in and I feel like I am playing the type of game that the theme portrays (in this case, one that involves sci-fi and some civ-building). In this sense, Eclipse is quite thematic as it does an excellent job at conveying it's sci-fi theme and making me feel as though I am playing lord of some alien race trying to grow my empire. Part of this is done through the artwork, through the types of actions you can take ... but a lot of it boils down to the gameplay mechanics, which are so streamlined and well-executed, that it's easy to ignore that part of it and focus on it's theme.

However, in another sense of the word, I also see 'thematic' as the extent to which a game paints a rich picture or universe - this is through the 'fluff' that so many others have pointed out. This is thematic in the same vein as Twilight Imperium. In this regard, I find that Eclipse hits a bit of a middle ground - somewhere between games like Space Empires or Galactic Emperor (where you're essentially playing as a color and nothing else) and Twilight Imperium, which oozes theme in this way. There are different alien races, with different mechanics / abilities, but the universe and the races within lack much of a story ... and in this way I can see how it could come across as dull (though I myself don't think it is).

So for me, I guess the answer is that it depends.

My $0.02.
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Scott M.
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Please look here
Another thread along the same lines but a little broader.
Eclipse [POLL]
 
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Greg Purcell
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DarrellKH wrote:
It's this thematic.

Honestly, what the hell does that mean, anyway?


I empathize with your frustration, though you have to understand that not everyone was an English major, nor do they particularly care about atomizing aesthetic terminology (though it might help them more clearly discuss the way games work).

The "theme" of The Wire is not "Baltimore," nor can there really be more or less of it. The theme of The Wire instead is, at its simplest, "law and order in governments versus socially bonded units." In this sense, the "theme" of Eclipse is possibly "balancing exploration and knowledge in the service of warfare," its setting is "space," and its mechanism is "economic engine building and hex-based movement."

I know what the OP was asking-- "how closely does Eclipse simulate space exploration and warfare?"--and my answer seems pedantic, even to myself. It's not that the question makes no sense. In the context of the way we talk about games, I can piece together what he's saying. But we could clear up a lot of the confusion we generate when we talk about games by clarifying our language about them.

For instance, half of Fantasy Flight's catalogue has a strong setting, but very weak theme.
 
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Rasmus Crumb Sheik
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It's a good game but it doesn't draw me in, I think it's the game that speaks the least to me out of every game I've played actually.

To compare I've played(from quick memory) listed from most to least engaging theme: TI3, Chaos in the Old World, Risk 2200 AD, Small World, Settlers, Risk, Eclipse.
 
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stephen biggs
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dyepbr wrote:

Agricola, for example, is a game I consider has a very strong theme. I feel like I'm building a farm and feeding a family.

You do...?
Personally I find Agricola nothing like running a farm.
No waking up before the crack of dawn to worksoblue
No constant backgound smell of manuregulp

Now Eclipse, that is something like running a galactic empire.
You get to sit in a chair, far from any actual shooting and study a map of the battles your ordering. Seems realistic for the job of galatic emperor.
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Andy Holt
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XAos wrote:

Now Eclipse, that is something like running a galactic empire.
You get to sit in a chair, far from any actual shooting and study a map of the battles your ordering. Seems realistic for the job of galatic emperor.


and without the distractions a Real Galactic Emperor (tm) would have:

No Crown Prince hoping to ascend by assassination
No unknown daughter leading the forces of revolution
No Battalion of Bodyguards protecting against both those and thousands of other threats
No bored Empress wishing you would pay her more attention (or, perhaps, less when the Captain of the Guard is around)
No Merchant's Guild complaining about the taxes to support "unnecessary military adventures" while simultaneously demanding "new markets".
No delays in Dreadnought construction because the miners were on strike followed by deployment difficulties because the crew needed remedial education in spite of all having graduated with straight A+'s from the Academy.
Bad news always being delayed because the messengers fear that you would have them tortured to death*

* They are, of course, totally wrong - the prompt and honest messenger will, at worst, get an instantaneous and painless release; the tardy one it is who gets tortured and kept alive.

Yes, almost as realistic as running a medieval smallholding shake

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Loren Cadelinia
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XAos wrote:
dyepbr wrote:

Agricola, for example, is a game I consider has a very strong theme. I feel like I'm building a farm and feeding a family.

You do...?
Personally I find Agricola nothing like running a farm.
No waking up before the crack of dawn to worksoblue
No constant backgound smell of manuregulp


I do, fortunately more of the good, without the bad.
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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andyholt wrote:
and without the distractions a Real Galactic Emperor (tm) would have:

...

Yes, almost as realistic as running a medieval smallholding shake


I want to play your game.
 
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Peter O
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XAos wrote:
dyepbr wrote:

Agricola, for example, is a game I consider has a very strong theme. I feel like I'm building a farm and feeding a family.

You do...?
Personally I find Agricola nothing like running a farm.
No waking up before the crack of dawn to work:soblue:
No constant backgound smell of manure:gulp:

Now Eclipse, that is something like running a galactic empire.
You get to sit in a chair, far from any actual shooting and study a map of the battles your ordering. Seems realistic for the job of galatic emperor.


I love Agricola, but thematically find it lacking. The part I dislike the least is 100% success with field crops and animals. No fluctuations in value. Ask any real farmer just how much this is farming.

I don't think Eclipse has immersive levels of theme to the point where I'm compelled to role play. I also don't want it it. It's theme for me is solid, helps move gameplay along and doesn't scream to me that I'm playing an abstract with pasted on theme. I think this is a good healthy level for a game that puts gameplay first at every juncture. More immersive theme would make it LESS of a game and more of a role play (on a spectrum here, still very much a game). Not that that is inherently bad, simply the designers choice and gives us players choices between what different games are trying to accomplish. I like a good role play, and I like a good strategic game.
 
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Carter
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tranenturm wrote:
Ask any real farmer just how much this is farming.


Just ask any real medieval farmer just how much modern farming is farming. . I find Agricola to be thematic, however I'm not sure how one rationalizes the increasing intensity (fewer rounds/harvest) over time.
 
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