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Jason Farris
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There is no computer/video game genre more near and dear to my heart than that of the civilization or space civilization game, although RPGs are up there. The space genre is generally seen as separate, but mechanically these games are almost identical to any other Civ Game. Look at the, in my opinion, king of space civ games, Master of Orion II and then look at its contemporary CIV II/III and you will see they share many more similarities than differences. Considering my passion, you would think that civ board games were right up my alley and you would be wrong. I came to board gaming later compared to computer gaming and found that the board games could not hope to truly encompass the vastness ofof game space that can be had from a computer game. While the original Civilization board game may have highly influenced the original Civilization computer game, that was probably the high point of board vs. computer design. A computer game can be played over many nights, saved, and restarted. A board game needs to be playable from start to finish in one session. That session can be anything from 30 minutes (Gheos, Galaxy’s Edge) to 10 hours (Twilight Imperium III with all the bells and whistles, or original Civlization). Obviously, there is a great deal of difference in what a 30 minute game tries to achieve vs. a 10 hour one and the amount of mechanical detail is the proverbial devil in this equation.

Eclipse attempts to straddle the fence of in depth game play while still playing at a rapid pace to ensure you can get home at a reasonable hour. Like all of its predecessors, including the much loved (but maligned by me) Twilight Imperium III, Eclipse makes numerous sacrifices to the gods of computer games to achieve this pace. Some design choices are, dare I say beautiful and others left me scratching my head.

For example, the visual style of this game is bland. Everything works but looks like something that would be designed by The Empire in Star Wars if they absorbed the Hello Kitty Franchise. Industrial gray fights it out with Pink and orange to the point that everyone loses. I’m sure there were cost issues to producing this game, and I’m sad that the consumer lost here. Just look at the TI3 franchise, love or hate the game, it least it has more color. I think future editions should move away from the Prince Albert look and go for the more colorful Elizabethan.

On the other hand, the ship design mechanism and resource tracking almost bring a tear to my eye for how simple yet effective they are. As far as I am concerned Eclipse should win an award for these facets alone. Ship design is one of those differences between a vanilla civ game and a good space civ game. Some games focus on it and others do not. Eclipse gives you a playground of ship design. You have wire diagrams for all ship types from destroyers to the proverbial dreadnought. Whenever you want to design a new ship type, you take the appropriate action and place your upgrades in the form of tiles (engines, weapons, shields, targeting computers, etc.) on the wire frame. All ships of that class are then automatically upgraded. No fuss, no muss, and no rough stuff! Some may lament the loss of secret upgrades, and a more realistic option requiring players to keep track of upgraded vs. non-upgraded ships. My question for them is, “what do you want out of a game?” If more realism in your space civ. is required, then Space Empire 4x is probably the better game for you. If you want upgrades to be fun and want to be using those upgrades on your opponent immediately, then Eclipse has it hands down.

The brilliance of the resource tracking comes in a close second to the ship design. Most games require you to keep track of resources on a board but few have a built in check to make sure that they are always accurate. There are three rows equivalent to money, science and production (sorry no food for you civ fans). Players have cubes on these rows covering the number and the cubes are removed to be placed on settled planets. The highest number shown is your income for the track. That’s not bad, but when you lose a planet, the cubes come back and your income in that track lowers. That’s what makes this special. Your actions on the board automatically keep track of your income. No tallying required. A minor niggle in an otherwise excellent mechanic is that planets come specialized. I can certainly see having a planet that is predisposed to produce science, money, production but there is really no way to change what it produces unless it is a “wild planet” (one that can take any resource cube). In fact, planetary changes are pretty much limited to an expensive tech upgrade. No terraforming here.

Other aspects of the game that miss the boat are the exploration action, tech tree (or lack thereof), combat (a little), and in some ways the action system. First, the galaxy is not created equal. Everyone starts out equidistant to everyone else for the most part, and everyone is also equidistant from the galactic center which, of course, has a giant ancient spaceship guarding it and rich planets within it. I love Master of Orion and the super rich planet/sector in the middle is a nod to that game, but It’s getting a bit stale now. Do we really have to have this center planet to encourage people to fight? If you are a player with half a brain, you know the middle is important to control or defend against if for no other reason than it gives easy access to yourself and everyone else. No further reward/challenge is needed. The second issue with exploration is how lopsided it tends to end up. No game can handle a truly infinite galactic space. There is always a limit. Certain races benefit from heavy exploration and others do not so it is not uncommon to see one or two players expanding the galaxy out their back door while others end up fighting over the middle and front. Most games start with an early land grab of frenzied exploration, and you can quickly see who gets most of the galaxy and who got duds that they returned to the deck of sector tiles because they are not worth exploring. This is somewhat ameliorated by the fact that the center tiles tend to have more resources than peripheral ones, but they also have more ancient ships guarding them. I do not think it is unbalanced, per se, as the more planets you control, the less ability you will have to act, but you do not have to settle every planet, so more choices means you have generally have more options. It’s good to be at the oval end of the galaxy. While this exploration is in no way broken, it leaves the galaxy feeling a little too finite

Combat is partially affected by the exploration grab early game, but players will be crossing half the galaxy in a turn late game so it becomes less of an issue. It is very difficult, and likely impossible to win the game without getting into a few scraps. The game rewards fighting early and fighting often. If you want victory points you need to fight NOW! Somewhat like having the juicy center section, it feels manipulative. The designer clearly wants players to fight. Eclipse really gives players all the pieces to encourage combat already, especially with some of the technologies that allow players to rocket across the too small galaxy to reach out and touch anyone they want. The VP mandate is really not needed. If players turtle and that gives one race an advantage, then players can modify their play next game to stop that from happening.

The action system actually encourages a new way to turtle. Generally, players want as many actions as they can get in Eclipse as it gives them more options during the round and since actions are taken one at a time in player order, it can allow a player to outlast their opponents. It’s always nice to be able to launch a surprise attack without fear of retaliation or to be a “virtual turtle.” Once a player takes all the actions they want, they can pass. Passed players can still take some very limited actions but these are generally prohibitively expensive. So the player with the most actions has almost free reign without opposition. Territory is very difficult to defend in Eclipse. Early game access can be blocked to your budding empire, but late game this is impossible because movement upgrades get insanely powerful very quickly. The way around this is to have a lot of production and preferably a tech that allows you to build an extra unit when taking a build action. Thus, you watch all your opponents deployments before committing your insta-build fleet in defense. It’s a very effective turtle tactic, especially later in the game when you have already built ships for your own combat maneuvers and have been building up production for a few rounds). It's not impossible to work around the virtual fleet, but in a game where everything always seems to be close, the cost can be too high.

Probably my biggest pet peeve with the game is the technology system. Technology, is not one of the 4Xs in space Civ. games but it should be. In Eclipse the technology appears to be primarily designed to improve replayability as techs are randomly drawn every turn. Just imagine that you can develop the equivalent of nuclear fusion while your society is still scratching their heads about how to make fire. Heck you may develop an entire modern society and never see fire come up. That analogy may seem strange but players will often save up their research to buy a single critical high level tech while ignoring everything beneath it. Not that there is any kind of real tech tree. There are three areas of research with huge overlap. So you can go down different tech tracks and still be guaranteed and engine or shield upgrade. You are somewhat encourage to buy lower techs as higher ones get cheaper if you buy the lower ones but there is no real connection between the techs in a track. For example, one track has, bombs, starbases, engine upgrades, and cannons. The randomness also seems to always result in at least a few techs never coming out or coming out one or two times only. So Rather than planning out what you want to research through a tree, you just see what’s available in the tech flea market for that round. And that’s exactly what it feels like. It is not uncommon for everyone to stand up and go look at what’s coming out of the tech bag for the round and start jostling to get the good stuff. Considering how well Eclipse handles other aspects of the game, the tech system really feels like it received no love. You cannot pull off a tech victory, but there are some tech VPs to be had that can help you win. While the tech system is functional for the game, it really feels underdeveloped.

Eclipse is a difficult game to review in that a lot is going on in it. In so many ways it works great and in the ones I highlighted it is somewhat wonky. Having played it multiple times now, I can say that it is engaging and will keep you thinking all the way through. The time flies for the most part. While I do not like the aspects of the game that push you around or the tech system, it all works together. The game is complete and nothing appears mechanically broken (despite the plasma missile debate). On the other hand it does not feel like it fully lives up to the potential the designer demonstrated in crafting it. And it definitely does not live up to the hype. I don’t plan to own this but will play it if nobody wants to play anything else. That may sound like faint praise, but there are many games I have no interest in ever playing again (That means you, TI3). If you think this style of game is right for you, I recommend playing it before you buy.

Perhaps the greatest praise I can give Eclipse is that it instills me with hope. Like the final frontier it simulates, it proved to me that there is still room for some very innovative designs in the 4x genre. I look forward to the next, and more polished iteration. If that is a “deluxe” or second edition of Eclipse or even a different game, at least I know it’s out there.
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Mathue Faulkner
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Ugh. I think the 'TI3 look' is atrocious, and I MUCH prefer the look of Eclipse. Outside of the species art, the look was actually a major selling point...

I won't touch on anything else as I'm sure someone else will.
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Nice review. You clearly state what you like and what you don't. What I sometimes miss is clarity between what is objectively wrong with the game and what is just not your personal preference.

Smilinbrax wrote:
A minor niggle in an otherwise excellent mechanic is that planets come specialized. I can certainly see having a planet that is predisposed to produce science, money, production but there is really no way to change what it produces unless it is a “wild planet” (one that can take any resource cube).

Ah, but planets are not the exploration units of the game - sectors are. Some sectors give you money, others science or raw materials, and then there are those that give you a combination of these resources. And you can pick how much of each resource offered you can take. Planets are just a nice metaphor of what the sector has to offer. The focus should not be on an individual planet, but on the sector that contains those planets.

Smilinbrax wrote:
The second issue with exploration is how lopsided it tends to end up. No game can handle a truly infinite galactic space. There is always a limit.

I'm quite sure that the limit in Eclipse is not because the designers were unable to add more tiles. The game is specifically designed to play in a limited space. If the board were infinite, it would be easy to play without ever encountering other players, and that is not the intention of Eclipse. So the issue you bring forward has less to do with physical impossibilities and more with design decisions. Look for instance at how the sector III tiles vary with the number of players. The designers intended to keep space small (pun intended).

Smilinbrax wrote:
Probably my biggest pet peeve with the game is the technology system. [...] In Eclipse the technology appears to be primarily designed to improve replayability as techs are randomly drawn every turn. [...] Players will often save up their research to buy a single critical high level tech while ignoring everything beneath it.

This may be a problem with your group. I haven't seen this behavior in my games. It also seems a risky strategy, as you never know if and when your desired technology will appear. Especially since those high level techs are rarer than the low-level ones.

You state here that this is a personal preference issue, not a fault of the game. I love the fact that I can instantly pick any tech offered, and that I don't have to buy required techs first to unlock that new tech - but that getting those preceding techs still give me a bonus to the ones higher up the path.

Quote:
There is no real connection between the techs in a track. For example, one track has, bombs, starbases, engine upgrades, and cannons.

Good point, but understandable. You get points for specializing in one tech branch, and if that branch was only focused on a single thing (increasingly better drives, for instance), specializing would make you lose out on other fields of technology.

Besides, you complain about a technology path where you get all different kind of techs, while earlier you complained that (paraphrased) you did not have to buy each tech in those paths, but could go straight to the ones needed for your strategy. That sounds a bit double to me.

[
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] Rather than planning out what you want to research through a tree, you just see what’s available in the tech flea market for that round. And that’s exactly what it feels like. It is not uncommon for everyone to stand up and go look at what’s coming out of the tech bag for the round and start jostling to get the good stuff.

Yes, and I love that bit. Seeing what new techs can be researched brings some extra excitement to the game.
IRL research is a bit of a flea market. The world powers in 1901 AD did not plan to have lasers, atomic weaponry, space flight, computers and a world encompassing information system by the end of that century, with forays into nanotechnology and gen technology. Technological progress is unpredictable. The random tech draw at the start of each round emulates that - but more important, it is fun to see what is coming out of the bag.

The random elements of this game, including exploration and tech draws, make it a nice combination of strategy and tactics, as players have to respond to what is happening to the universe. I like that. Some people don't.
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mfaulk80 wrote:
Ugh. I think the 'TI3 look' is atrocious, and I MUCH prefer the look of Eclipse. Outside of the species art, the look was actually a major selling point...

Not for me; the look of Eclipse is very boring. Everything just looks so.. generic. At least for me. Well, ok, the Races look unique, but I'm not really keen on the artwork for them, either.

It's still a fun game, despite the lack of gripping visuals.
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Mathue Faulkner
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sigmazero13 wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
Ugh. I think the 'TI3 look' is atrocious, and I MUCH prefer the look of Eclipse. Outside of the species art, the look was actually a major selling point...

Not for me; the look of Eclipse is very boring. Everything just looks so.. generic. At least for me. Well, ok, the Races look unique, but I'm not really keen on the artwork for them, either.

It's still a fun game, despite the lack of gripping visuals.

I think that it's just that the colors in TI3 are just too bright for my tastes, especially the bright blue for the outer space. It makes it feel too cartoony imo. The box art is outstanding, and the individual planets are cool (although still a bit bright imo)....
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I like the tiles in TI3.I don't find them too cartoony.
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Quote:
A computer game can be played over many nights, saved, and restarted. A board game needs to be playable from start to finish in one session.


That isn't true. There are many, many wargames that require multiple sessions to finish. Some even take literally hundreds of hours to complete.
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Whymme wrote:
Nice review. You clearly state what you like and what you don't. What I sometimes miss is clarity between what is objectively wrong with the game and what is just not your personal preference.


It's my review, it is all subjective. My goal was to give my view point as the mechanics are sound, I'm just not a fan of some of the choices made.

For example, I malign TI3 but I really never felt that galaxy was too finite like I do with eclipse. I also like TI3 production values.

Those are obviously a matter of taste.
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Just some disconnected responses.

4x computer games and 4x board games are only superficially similar in my book. The computer games I use to plan out long and deep strategies. The board games I use as a tool for social diplomacy, conniving, and a good war game. So I would never expect the two to be similar. Computers can do so much more upkeep that any board game, no matter how brilliant, can never match and must abstract it away.

So Eclipse, or any other board game, will never have all the things it has plus terraforming, MOOIII tech tree, and infinite systems and still play inside one evening. If it tries to, it should be a computer game instead.

The GCDS is nowhere near the monster that the Orions are in MoOIII. The central hex is valuable but it makes sense that it would be. Of course the Galactic core has lots of planets, people and resources. It would be stranger if it was barren or not defended.

I still prefer the Age of Renaissance tech tree, or the Civ III computer tech tree, but I respect the Eclipse tree for providing functional, efficient tech Dev without too much fuss. For me the game is NOT about tech trees, it's about diplomacy and combat. The tech is just for variety. Plus you can get a tech victory of sorts by completing all three tracks. It's a large advantage for the Hydrans and a source of points not easily made up elsewhere.

As far as the reputation points go for combat, I think people make far too big of a deal on it. I rarely score below an average of 3 pts per tile by the end of the game. Perhaps I'm on the military side, but the max of 4 extra points earned by collecting all the 4 pt tiles can be made up elsewhere (systems, monoliths, techs, ...) and rarely seem definitive to me.

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DarrellKH wrote:
There are many, many wargames that require multiple sessions to finish. Some even take literally hundreds of hours to complete.


And how often do people actually play them? Probably just in gaming stores? To me such a game would be useless. No one would play it. The people I know barely tolerate Eclipse's playtime (many don't tolerate even 3+ hours and won't play.)
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DarrellKH wrote:
There are many, many wargames that require multiple sessions to finish. Some even take literally hundreds of hours to complete.


And how often do people actually play them? Probably just in gaming stores? To me such a game would be useless. No one would play it. The people I know barely tolerate Eclipse's playtime (many don't tolerate even 3+ hours and won't play.)


You need some new friends then.
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mfaulk80 wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
Ugh. I think the 'TI3 look' is atrocious, and I MUCH prefer the look of Eclipse. Outside of the species art, the look was actually a major selling point...

Not for me; the look of Eclipse is very boring. Everything just looks so.. generic. At least for me. Well, ok, the Races look unique, but I'm not really keen on the artwork for them, either.

It's still a fun game, despite the lack of gripping visuals.

I think that it's just that the colors in TI3 are just too bright for my tastes, especially the bright blue for the outer space. It makes it feel too cartoony imo. The box art is outstanding, and the individual planets are cool (although still a bit bright imo)....

TI3 may be a bit too much to the other end of the spectrum. I do agree with the OP and others, though, that the artwork is so understated that it becomes boring. Likewise with the ships. The one big problem that I have with Eclipse (apart from not being able to play it enough) is that the backstory and artwork is not really evoking.
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Smilinbrax wrote:
Probably my biggest pet peeve with the game is the technology system. Technology, is not one of the 4Xs in space Civ. games but it should be. In Eclipse the technology appears to be primarily designed to improve replayability as techs are randomly drawn every turn. Just imagine that you can develop the equivalent of nuclear fusion while your society is still scratching their heads about how to make fire. Heck you may develop an entire modern society and never see fire come up. That analogy may seem strange but players will often save up their research to buy a single critical high level tech while ignoring everything beneath it. Not that there is any kind of real tech tree. There are three areas of research with huge overlap. So you can go down different tech tracks and still be guaranteed and engine or shield upgrade. You are somewhat encourage to buy lower techs as higher ones get cheaper if you buy the lower ones but there is no real connection between the techs in a track. For example, one track has, bombs, starbases, engine upgrades, and cannons. The randomness also seems to always result in at least a few techs never coming out or coming out one or two times only. So Rather than planning out what you want to research through a tree, you just see what’s available in the tech flea market for that round. And that’s exactly what it feels like. It is not uncommon for everyone to stand up and go look at what’s coming out of the tech bag for the round and start jostling to get the good stuff. Considering how well Eclipse handles other aspects of the game, the tech system really feels like it received no love. You cannot pull off a tech victory, but there are some tech VPs to be had that can help you win. While the tech system is functional for the game, it really feels underdeveloped.

It may indeed look like a flea market, but it still is better and more thematically cohesive than philosophers inventing satellites, like in other civilisation games, even if a "tech tree" is more controllable there.
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When mankind researched "the wheel" I'm pretty sure it was not because it was known to eventually lead to "the car". Eclipse's teach tree is extremely thematic in that aspect.
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And don't forget that one of the South American civilizations (the Aztecs, I think, could be the Mays) actually never discovered the wheel, so the idea of one true path of science, where one thing must follow another, is a bit off.

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Boscrossos wrote:
And don't forget that one of the South American civilizations (the Aztecs, I think, could be the Mays) actually never discovered the wheel, so the idea of one true path of science, where one thing must follow another, is a bit off.


That's what I was thinking of. The Chinese never came up with Archimedes' Screw, but used an inferior way to get water higher up. And Western civilization benefitted enormously from the inventions made by arabs - medicine, math, and so on. There is no one single path to civilization, and no strict series of prerequisites.
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mi_de wrote:
ParticleMan wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
There are many, many wargames that require multiple sessions to finish. Some even take literally hundreds of hours to complete.


And how often do people actually play them? Probably just in gaming stores? To me such a game would be useless. No one would play it. The people I know barely tolerate Eclipse's playtime (many don't tolerate even 3+ hours and won't play.)


You need some new friends then.
Or different games that suit your friends' preferences. Probably easier to obtain those...

Hugs!
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DeePee wrote:
When mankind researched "the wheel" I'm pretty sure it was not because it was known to eventually lead to "the car". Eclipse's teach tree is extremely thematic in that aspect.



Boscrossos wrote:
And don't forget that one of the South American civilizations (the Aztecs, I think, could be the Mays) actually never discovered the wheel, so the idea of one true path of science, where one thing must follow another, is a bit off.



Whymme wrote:

That's what I was thinking of. The Chinese never came up with Archimedes' Screw, but used an inferior way to get water higher up. And Western civilization benefitted enormously from the inventions made by arabs - medicine, math, and so on. There is no one single path to civilization, and no strict series of prerequisites.


And yet thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of inventions were clearly built off of previous technologies. I would argue that more technology was clearly built on prior technology than was arrived at out of thin air.

I believe you were speaking of the Inca who did not use the wheel for movement, but did have it on children's toys. So they had the wheel, but had not really figured out how to use it effectively.

If you wanted to simulate this in a game, then part of racial differentiation might be that their tech trees would have branches or techs missing. Thus a peaceful race may have poorer weapon upgrade choices but have more access to shield technologies.


THe more I talk about this, the more it feels like the tech system could have been developed better and with less downtime than pausing the game while everyone goes to look at the flea market.
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Smilinbrax wrote:
And yet thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of inventions were clearly built off of previous technologies. I would argue that more technology was clearly built on prior technology than was arrived at out of thin air.

Yes, but in your review you complained that you cannot have advanced mining unless you developed starbases and plasma cannons first.

The wheel and the sled are different inventions that both help movement. The wheel is more efficient, yet it doesn't follow that therefore you cannot invent the wheel before you've invented sleds. Likewise with Archimedes' screw and the Chinese water treadmill. Archimedes' screw is the better solution, yet the Chinese didn't need it to build their civilization.

So in theory it sounds nice that you have to research a +1 drive before you can buy a +2 drive, or that the +1 drive and the +2 drive have to be in the same branch, but there are enough examples in Earth's history that show us otherwise.

And on top of that, even if the history of inventions was much more straightlined as it is, emulating that would not necessarily have made a good game.
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Now I think of it: space flight gave us teflon-coated kitchenware. The invention of the lens gave us a better way to make pictures than painting them (camera's), but also the microscope, which made us understand viruses and therefore allowed us to create effective medicine against illnesses. Interesting tech trees, that don't follow the obvious straight path.

So instead of the 'logical' path painting - photograph we get lens - photograph. Or lens - antibiotics. Or look at the way books are written. First we had the quill, then the printing press, then typewriters. And yet a tech tree of quill - printing press - typewriter seems awfully random; it is not as if the printing press could not have been invented without the quill, or the typewriter without either of them.
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Smilinbrax wrote:
And yet thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of inventions were clearly built off of previous technologies. I would argue that more technology was clearly built on prior technology than was arrived at out of thin air.


Well, obviously inventions build on other inventions. The point is that you don't necessarily know beforehand that by researching space flight you can also get teflon kitchenware. Just like you don't know that researching advanced mining will help you to unlock the secrets of the gluon computer.
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Thank you for this review! It tells me exactly what I needed to hear: the game is great, but perhaps it's not quite there yet. I watched this game prior to launch generate a bunch of buzz up until the point where it skyrocketed up the Top 100 list (and I'm not saying it does not deserve the praise). I've played a ton of 4x civ-style boardgames, and I feel that this one - while great - isn't quite the huge step forward beyond its contemporaries that I'm looking for.

That said, any game that finally kicks War of the Ring out of the #1 spot is worth praising.
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Aurendrosl wrote:
Thank you for this review! It tells me exactly what I needed to hear: the game is great, but perhaps it's not quite there yet. I watched this game prior to launch generate a bunch of buzz up until the point where it skyrocketed up the Top 100 list (and I'm not saying it does not deserve the praise). I've played a ton of 4x civ-style boardgames, and I feel that this one - while great - isn't quite the huge step forward beyond its contemporaries that I'm looking for.

That said, any game that finally kicks War of the Ring out of the #1 spot is worth praising.


I would play it yourself before writing it off. No game will ever be fully there, but this is a fun one!
 
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Whymme wrote:
Yes, but in your review you complained that you cannot have advanced mining unless you developed starbases and plasma cannons first.

The wheel and the sled are different inventions that both help movement. The wheel is more efficient, yet it doesn't follow that therefore you cannot invent the wheel before you've invented sleds. Likewise with Archimedes' screw and the Chinese water treadmill. Archimedes' screw is the better solution, yet the Chinese didn't need it to build their civilization.

So in theory it sounds nice that you have to research a +1 drive before you can buy a +2 drive, or that the +1 drive and the +2 drive have to be in the same branch, but there are enough examples in Earth's history that show us otherwise.

And on top of that, even if the history of inventions was much more straightlined as it is, emulating that would not necessarily have made a good game.


Actually, no, I did not complain about that. You are making an assumption. In a logical tech tree, that would not be the progression, which I did complain about.

And yet the Chinese now have all those techs.

There are always counter examples, but that does not make a general progression incorrect.

DeePee wrote:

Well, obviously inventions build on other inventions. The point is that you don't necessarily know beforehand that by researching space flight you can also get teflon kitchenware. Just like you don't know that researching advanced mining will help you to unlock the secrets of the gluon computer.


See my response above. I can come up with counter/counter examples. The internet could not come before the modem which could not come before the computer. The modem could not come before the telephone and wireless modems could not exist before the radio. yet many inventors and scientists could predict where these technologies would lead eventually even if they could not get there immediately. It's not like the future is entirely dark.

But really I am just engaging both of you for the enjoyment of an argument. Simply put, most 4x and civ games use tech trees. You may not like them, but I do. In my opinion Eclipse suffers from its Tech system which is one of the big slow downs in the game and a missed opportunity for race customization.
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Smilinbrax wrote:
Whymme wrote:
Yes, but in your review you complained that you cannot have advanced mining unless you developed starbases and plasma cannons first.


Actually, no, I did not complain about that. You are making an assumption. In a logical tech tree, that would not be the progression, which I did complain about.

From your review:
Quote:
Just imagine that you can develop the equivalent of nuclear fusion while your society is still scratching their heads about how to make fire. Heck you may develop an entire modern society and never see fire come up. That analogy may seem strange but players will often save up their research to buy a single critical high level tech while ignoring everything beneath it.

So yes, in your review you were complaining that people can buy advanced mining without having to buy the techs beneath it. You stated the general case, I made that specific.

You had problems with two things. First, that people could 'leap' to the techs desired without having to buy the techs below it, and second that the tech trees were not a set of logical steps of (say) move +1, move +2, move +3, and so on. The comment you quoted responded to your first problem.

Quote:
There are always counter examples, but that does not make a general progression incorrect.

Yes, but the fact that there are always counter examples, as you point out, means that the tech trees in Eclipse are not as illogical as you make them out to be.


But let's get back to the core. This isn't about what is realistic or not, so we shouldn't be discussing that. It is about what makes the game more fun.

You want tech trees to be logical (each step giving a stronger version of the step below), you want to make it mandatory to get all the steps below a certain tech before you can buy that tech and you want to get rid of the random aspect - you want to be able to plan your tech progress from the start.

That may be nice, but I feel that this specific game would be all the poorer for it. I like the fact that you cannot plan technological progress here and that you never know exactly what techs will be available in the next turn. Just like you never know exactly what tile you will draw when exploring. Managing that randomness is part of the game. It's part of what makes Eclipse Eclipse. Lose those things and you'd end up with, say, TI3, with its board that has been laid out completely and with its tech tree that can be completely planned in advance. And you get turns that move slowly when AP strikes, because everyone is trying to compute the consequences of every option available.
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