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Subject: Two-player games where each controls three species? rss

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Dave
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My son and I are enjoying Eclipse, but our opportunities to play with more than the two of us are limited.

I'm reminded of an optional rule in Dominant Species where each person in a two-player game is assigned three characters—in Dominant Species, these are animals. (There is a similar rule for three players, with each controlling two animals.)

The game is set up for six players, and turns are taken by animal. When one of a player's animals is acting, that player's other animals are considered "opposing" for any interactions, just as the other player's animals are. Each of a player's animals gains points independently during the game, but only the one with the fewest points counts as that player's final score.

I wonder if something similar would work with Eclipse. We're willing to give it a try, but I'm curious to know if you have any thoughts about what we might look out for, or special conditions we should address (for instance, perhaps our starting sectors should only neighbor species controlled by the other player).

I appreciate any response.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I'd start with only 2 each first, and make sure you set apart plenty of time. The way the 4-player map sets up could make for some interesting plays with this variant....
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Jim Richardson

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In DS I think it's just to cover flaws in game balance arising from missing animals. Also in DS you can't "turtle" since anyone can populate anywhere and there are numerous advantages to being all over the place.

I don't see what would be gained by doing this for Eclipse since there is no "food chain" per se. It would kind of break the game. E.g. picking Orion just to beat up a neighbor or provide a shield while you turtle with Hydran. If you want more opponents you could both get onto Vassal and find some more players online.
 
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David Sims
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dlewis2 wrote:


I wonder if something similar would work with Eclipse.

I appreciate any response.


Try it and report back
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Dave
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dssims wrote:
Try it and report back


Our game's in progress, but with two species each ("4-player"). Will let you know how it goes.
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ben m
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Interested to see how this turned out.
Like you, our >2 players games are limited
 
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Dan Moore
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Hey, that's my idea!

Think it could be good, three player. The lowest score winner option could be very tense. plus playing 3 factions would make experimenting more inviting. Let us all know!
 
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Dave
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Session report here. I hope you enjoy it!
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David Sims
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Excellent report, thanks for sharing
 
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James Fung
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My roommate, D, and I played 2x2-player game last night. Many strange things happened:

- Two advanced economy came out on turn 3 or so, and he bought both of them. I didn't get advanced economy on my stronger power, Orion, until midway through the game. He generally had more actions than me for most of the game, which plays into his tendency to not pass until I pass to avoid sneak attacks.
- His Hydrans had bad hex draws and didn't find any advanced science planets. D doesn't like discarding hexes. I think his peak science was 6 science per turn.
- My Mechanema were hurt for resources early on, so I invested into orbitals and bootstrapped my economy. This was helped by a period of peace and diplomatic relations between all neighboring powers. If he had simply attacked me then, I probably would have lost.
- His Planta turtled initially, playing hexes to avoid contact. However, I placed a one hex to ensure my Mechanema could get at them, and the Orions made contact through the galactic center.
- Planta got advanced labs, and in addition to advance economy, clearly became his strongest power.

The upgrading war went as follows:

- Both of my powers kept to the usual lower level stuff: gauss shield, improved hull, plasma cannon.
- Planta bought antimatter cannons and had 2 cruisers parked outside the galactic center (controlled by Orion). He then built a cruiser and dreadnought on the Planta-Mechanema border.
- I responded by buying starbase tech and building a blockade in my two chockpoints, and bought the first two plasma missile techs. This was around turn 6, closing his window for invasion. He could have bought plasma missiles himself to deny them to me, but didn't. I replaced pretty much all of my hull slots with missiles. Mechanema had 2x positron computer where possible.
- My Orion attacked his Hydran, because that was his weaker power and victory would be based on the lowest power.
- Planta bought wormhole generator and invaded around my chokepoints. Yes, aggressive Planta.
- Eventually, all plasma missile and positron computer components were placed, with my Mechanema having the lion's share.
- On turn 9, there was jockeying for plasma missile initiative by upgrading drives.

The endgame decended into chaos as both of us tried to snipe each other's hexes with neutron bombs, in particular targeting each other's weaker power. However, I had much better hex placement, and even with wormhole generator my Mechanema only had a front of two hexes, which I kept heavily defended. However, this meant no resources put into monoliths. Meanwhile, I could send spare Orion interceptors to ravage the Hydrans. Final scores were:

Orion: 39
Planta: 37
Mechanema: 25 (winner)
Hydran: 17

These were our lowest winning scores yet. I think D played a fine tactical game, taking advantage of techs and vulnerable hexes when the opportunity arose, but he lost strategically: he picked two simcity powers; I had better hex placement, creating key chokepoints; he declined to take advantage of the window around turn 4-5 when my Mechanema were really weak, which gave me time to build up a reasonable economy.

As for the 2x2-player game, I liked some parts and didn't like others. This was our first game with more than 2 powers, so it was interesting to see how diplomatic relations factored into the game. The game was also my dynamic and balanced than a 2-player game. It was also much longer than our 2-player games, which we already take too long on. Also, the endgame degenerated into us seeing who could take down their opponent's weakest power without going bankrupt or making ourselves too vulnerable.
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Dave
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Nice report!

fusag wrote:
Also, the endgame degenerated into us seeing who could take down their opponent's weakest power without going bankrupt or making ourselves too vulnerable.

I've wondered about this. When it's obvious which of the other player's races have a lower score, I can see this happening. But when the scores of that player's two races are close and reputation points are held by each, it's a different situation. I think the challenge is to keep one's races as close in score as possible so as not to invite the wrath of two enemy races upon one of yours!

Fun!
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David Sims
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I may be missing something simple here but why not have the score as the addition of the two races rather than the lower one only?
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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dssims wrote:
I may be missing something simple here but why not have the score as the addition of the two races rather than the lower one only?

It makes it easier to just shield with one race (i.e. Orion) while the other racks up points (i.e. Hydran).
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Dave
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dssims wrote:
I may be missing something simple here but why not have the score as the addition of the two races rather than the lower one only?

Adding up all of a player's scores is certainly a way to do it. As Mathue points out, there could be holes in it, but then there may be problems with using just the lowest score of each player. Some games use this to determine the winner. I wonder if it's a suitable way to play two-player Eclipse, especially when two people want more action than what a two-player game normally provides. With our second game under our belt, we're liking it so far.

After all, "you're only as good as your weakest race."
 
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James Fung
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I'm not sure how practical shielding your other race is if you start in alternating home planets. In my above game, my opponent's races didn't have neighboring hexes until turn 8, and even that was because a Hydran cruiser moved through my Orions (neutron bombing an advanced economy planet along the way) to the safety of the Planta.
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