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Subject: The order of setup? rss

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John Driscoll
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Played quite a few games of Eclipse and absolutely love it.

Wished I knew more people who would play it though as I'd play it at least once per week. =(

Anyway that's besides the point.

My question is about setup, how does everyone assign races and placement and when is this done?

For instance, this is how we did it last time.

Randomly give everyone a race, they then decide if they want humans or aliens but everyone always takes aliens.

Once this is done, we randomly decide where each planet is placed. (Since it was a 4 player game, 2 people are next to each other so we random the pairs that are closer to each other on the map).

All this is done before the technologies were out.

Is this the way it should be done because I read a session and it seems as though the technoliges are put out first, then people actually choose their race and how do they decide which pairs are beside each other if it's a 4 player game?

Thanks
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Jim Richardson

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Turn order is rolled & techs are put out (order of those shouldn't matter.) Then, the player who will go last chooses race first, and on down the line. This allows some balance to avoid things like 1st turn Orion with Improved Hull.

Sadly I see a lot of conformity and boring, predictable games and race choices all based on the techs and race bonuses. Only way around it is just forcing all terrans.
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James Motz
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Forcing all Terrans is one way to avoid boring. Random, blind race choice without knowing turn order is another.

Pick a method that works for your group. Last time, people got to pick in order of arrival to my house. We then tossed the hexes out roughly corresponding to where they were already sitting and started playing.
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Jim Richardson

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How many points did Orion or Hydran win by?
 
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G B
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Hydran has a has a bad go for us lately. Even with a first round advanced robotics, they lost.

Magellan is our new human I think.
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Enrique Takahashi
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I guess my group is much less hardcore than yours, we just pick whatever we want and try new things, using the Dwarf Fortress motto:

"Losing is fun"

Also swearing eternal revenge to the people that wipe you off the board is fun as well.

But I guess, in general, rolling dice would be a decent option, the game comes with plenty of those.
 
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charlie riegle
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How about secret bidding, (of VPs) for races and/or turn order? Could be interesting and even the playing field. How much would you bid for Orion or Hydran?
 
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Sam Cook
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I'm not a big fan of random races. We did this for our first few games, but people kept getting stuck with the same races over and over again, when they wanted to try something different.

Now we always do the turn order is the reverse order of choosing races, as is specified in the manual
 
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COLOSSUS
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We usually just choose races. I play mainly with my family(haven't had a chance to introduce the game to my group yet) and let them pick whatever race they want.

We situate the starting hexes in the order people are sitting and role for who goes first.
 
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There is a sidebar in the rules:

Quote:
If you decide to play with the alien species, players choose the species they play with. Beginning with the player on the right side of the start­ing player and moving counterclockwise, each player chooses a species and places the starting hex. Note that if you choose Terrans, you also effectively choose one alien species out of the game.


Also, wrt setup of home hexes, the diagram shows a 6p game with all the home systems having one worm hole pointing to the galactic center and one pointing the anti-clockwise direction, assuming the galaxy is a bid clock.

However, and I thought this was in the rules but don't see it... when we play with 4 players, we set up the home hexes so that they form the four "corners" of the level 2 hex with one wormhole pointing towards center and the other pointing away from the closer of the two other players on either side.

But, the expansion shows a 4p setup with the ancient home word variant that each of the 4p home hexes still has the second worm hole pointing anti-clockwise. So, I'm not sure why we do it the above way with 4 players. Perhaps it just made sense to us.

BOb


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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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pilotbob wrote:
There is a sidebar in the rules:

Also, wrt setup of home hexes, the diagram shows a 6p game with all the home systems having one worm hole pointing to the galactic center and one pointing the anti-clockwise direction, assuming the galaxy is a bid clock.

However, and I thought this was in the rules but don't see it... when we play with 4 players, we set up the home hexes so that they form the four "corners" of the level 2 hex with one wormhole pointing towards center and the other pointing away from the closer of the two other players on either side.

But, the expansion shows a 4p setup with the ancient home word variant that each of the 4p home hexes still has the second worm hole pointing anti-clockwise. So, I'm not sure why we do it the above way with 4 players. Perhaps it just made sense to us.

BOb


The way you set it up WAS correct for no homeworlds. The homeworld variant is essentially pretending the homeworlds are extra players. If you try to combine the original setup with the homeworlds, the wormholes are advantaged to one player on each side, so it won't be as balanced.
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Vanish wrote:

The way you set it up WAS correct for no homeworlds.


That's good to know, although, I just re=looked at the rules (v2) and don't seem to see where it says to use that setup for 4p? This is also why I don't like to play with 5... it just seems the galaxy is unbalanced.

BOb
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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pilotbob wrote:
I just re=looked at the rules (v2) and don't seem to see where it says to use that setup for 4p?


Original rulebook, bottom left of page 5.


-----


And back on topic: Our group is usually far less strict than the original rules when it comes to race choice. I deal out cards for player order, and we pick in reverse order, but sometimes if people are slow they just lose their chance and we just pick anyway. We usually don't draw tech until after the races are chosen, as none of us like picking a race because it is "going to win" but rather playing the race for fun and making the best of what we're dealt.
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Paul Paella
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We play with tweaked player setup rules to avoid a few significant problems our (Eclipse experienced) group encountered with the default rules.

The default rules of choosing alien species in reverse turn order resulted in the last player getting stomped pretty much every game, and also making him VERY unhappy about the advantage the start player had over him. Not only does the start player get to go first (huge advantage) but he also gets to choose his species last. We found that choosing your species when you know who is next to you is a HUGE advantage and ends up dictating the species everyone picks, and gives the players that pick later a big advantage. The start player knows the species of both opponents next to him. Big advantage when choosing species!

We also found, again using the default rules, that our species choices were becoming predictable due to certain races being very vulnerable to others. Players picking early never chose the more vulnerable races for fear of having the next player pick one of the aggressor species (Orions, Eradani, etc.). This almost always lead to the vulnerable races either not being played or only being picked by the last player. We also were seeing certain races being picked based on the player that was next to them and how they typically play. Not good.

Last week I created a thorough setup player-aid for Eclipse and Rise of the Ancients. It includes my alternate setup rules that we feel do not give anyone an advantage when choosing species and also allows for all adjacency permutations. I'll release it when I'm sure it's proofread and doesn't contain errors. In short the species pick order and player sector locations are randomized. You pick species first, not knowing who you will be next to, then the turn order is randomly assigned.

Anyone interested in proofreading my setup player-aid? It's a single sheet player-aid that covers everything occurring during setup.
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Noel
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In our regular group everyone just picks their favorite color (same no matter which game we play) and gets the associated player board. Now we don't have too many Eclipse games under our belts, yet, so this could change in the future.
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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n815e wrote:
In our regular group everyone just picks their favorite color (same no matter which game we play) and gets the associated player board. Now we don't have too many Eclipse games under our belts, yet, so this could change in the future.


I have a feeling that's going to change.

We also pick our favorite colors, but then we ignore the color of the faction.
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JT Call
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Ghorro wrote:
Anyone interested in proofreading my setup player-aid? It's a single sheet player-aid that covers everything occurring during setup.


If it's just one page, I'd be happy to proof it. GM me the file. I'll GM you my email address.
 
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John Driscoll
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I guess the way I am doing it is the best way for an advanced game group then. Everything is random so there is no real advantage.

I just assumed that adding race choice and such would add even more strategy but seems as though it is not too balanced.

We will stick with our random start for the time being... I have to wait a whole two weeks before playing again.

BTW this isn't part of the topic but are there Eclipse tournaments either with or without buyins and prizepools? The only problem I see with tournaments is how easy it would be to collude in this game and gang up.
 
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Jim Richardson

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daengineer wrote:
I guess the way I am doing it is the best way for an advanced game group then. Everything is random so there is no real advantage.


... everything is random so there is a lot of random advantage. I don't like your method at all. Even though I find the correct method sometimes boring and predictable, it's necessary.
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Petri Savola
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ParticleMan wrote:
daengineer wrote:
I guess the way I am doing it is the best way for an advanced game group then. Everything is random so there is no real advantage.


... everything is random so there is a lot of random advantage. I don't like your method at all. Even though I find the correct method sometimes boring and predictable, it's necessary.

I agree, however the correct method is not always boring. Many players (myself included) don't always pick race which would give the highest chances to win.

But in some play groups, the first player to select will always take Orion. And if he doesn't take Orion, the next player will take Orion, so there's even more reason to take Orion and it's not nice to be Orion's neighbor. There are a few solutions for this kind of groups:

* Live with it, deny improved hull always from Orion, limiting the possible openings for other players
* Nerf Orion to make it more reasonable
* Ban Orion from the game
 
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Chrestomancy 1
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I'm trying out ROTA for the first time on Thursday (5er), and I've proposed a different race selection method. In brief:

1. Randomly determine the player order (just pick tiles from one zone, P1 is lowest tile number, then in order to the last player with the highest number. Or take x playing cards numbered 1 to x)

2. Each player picks a race in turn. Anybody picking humans/magellan has to wait until all the other players have picked before they take a starting sheet. This way, anyone selecting a human/magellan empire does not automatically deny everyone else access to the flipside alien race.

3. In the same turn order, each player takes the homeworld tile and places it in one of the starting positions. The player then also sits at the table in the corresponding location.

4. The first player token is then given to the player with the lowest homeworld tile number.

5. Play direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) is chosen by the player with the next lowest homeworld tile number.

All subsequent turns will run as per the rules - the first player to pass is first player next turn, and the second player to pass picks the play direction.

For reference, the homeworld tile number order, from lowest to highest, is:
- Eridani
- Hydran
- Planta
- Descendants of Draco
- Mechanema
- Orion
- Exiles
- Rho-Indi
- Enlightened

Players of human empires can take the slot of any original set race that has not been selected as the homeworld tile human flipside is always 1 lower than the reverse alien race. Normally this will mean a game without Eridani but with humans will have a human start player, unless tile colour is more important to the player than turn order and they don't like red.

That may not be a perfect power-rating order, but it pretty much guarantees that Orions won't get first tech pick on the first turn, and are unlikely to get second, which is a minor nerfing that I feel they deserve. The Eridani, Hydran and human should claim the greatest benefit, again something I think they need.

I think this may be an improvement in fairness; certainly I can't see if it is an advantage to pick first or last or somewhere between - you either have a wider choice, or greater knowledge of what you are facing. First player will likely choose defensively in anything more crowded than a 3er, but second and third picks are more difficult to predict.
 
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Paul Paella
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If I understand your procedures correctly players know who they are sitting next to when they choose their species? From our experience this is not good and has caused grief and has even left a few species sidelined due to fear of sitting next to a species that can take advantage of them.
 
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Chrestomancy 1
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No, they don't know at that stage. Although they may be able to work out what options are likely available to them.
 
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Jim Richardson

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chrestomancy wrote:
2. Each player picks a race in turn. Anybody picking humans/magellan has to wait until all the other players have picked before they take a starting sheet. This way, anyone selecting a human/magellan empire does not automatically deny everyone else access to the flipside alien race.


But alien race denial is intended as part of the Terran selection choice. Doing it your way, anyone who wants to deny Hydran has to BE Hydran, etc. Makes it a lot more boring / unbalanced your way.
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Nat Brooks
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How about this?

1) Players jointly decide a set of races that would make for an interesting game. The easiest way would be to have everyone choose a race they would like to see in the game. But setting up specific combos is okay if all agree.

2) The host or the last winner arranges the races' starting hexes and decides which race goes first.

3) The other players choose their races, and thus their seating, in random order.

4) The host or last winner chooses last.

You can have the host and last winner collaborate on the setup. In this case, they choose last and second to last by a coin flip.


This procedure could be done before or after the initial technologies are known, depending on the group's preference.

My hope is that by picking races in step (1), you get a good variety of game setups. Arranging the races in step (2) avoids some annoying race-on-race exploits. Having players select from remaining races in step (3) lets at least some players pick a favorite. Step (4) assures that step (2) is done somewhat fairly.

I think it avoids the predictable setup that some here have complained about.

One nice feature is that, if players agree on the set of races ahead of time, the host can fully set the game up before other players arrive.
 
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