We played Eclipse yesterday. Our regular location had some strange holiday opening hours, and we had to do a quick relocate. Fortunately the nearest bar had large enough tables (just barely) for a five-player game of Eclipse – that’s not obvious, as the game is quite demanding when it comes to table space.
I had Planta, the plant species that spreads out fast, but which is a bit weak. I started next to the military superpower Orion Hegemony, but I was able to explore the border and manage the wormholes so they couldn’t attack me. On the other side I was next to the Mechanema.
I won the game. Apparently, that’s fairly easy with Planta. It didn’t look like I would win, but the Orion Hegemony was attacked on the last turn by their allies the Terrans, making them lose the Galactic Center. Well, I would’ve won even if the Hegemony had held the center, but that was still a bit of a shift in the balance of power. Too bad the Terrans pretty much bankrupted their empire with that attack, which should’ve happened at least two turns earlier.
Meanwhile in my corner, I fought a little with the Mechanema, who took two hexes from my empire. I could bear that loss, though. In the final round I sent my cruiser on a suicide mission in order to score some final reputation, as I had one reputation spot empty. Mechanema got provoked, and attacked my home world with a single dreadnought. Fortunately I had two starbases and one interceptor there, with bunch of plasma missiles, and I was able to fend off the attack. Those two battles scored me five points, thus sealing my victory.
It was a fun game. We took slightly over three hours, which means we made it in less than 40 minutes per player. Considering the game’s supposed to run 30 minutes per player, the length was very tolerable. The time flew, and the game was full of good banter and thematic narrative.
After Eclipse we lost couple of players, so we played a three-player game of Eminent Domain. That didn’t go down quite as well as Eclipse. It’s a bit overwhelming for new players, I agree, and takes a while to take in all the stuff in the game. The iconology, whily decent, is pretty heavy and there are lots of significant but very small icons.
This session was clearly better than the first one in Lautapelaamaan 2011. That was just colonize and not much more, here we started doing other stuff right away: research, even produce and trade. Warfare was also more popular. All in all a well-rounded game. The game felt a lot better.
However, it’s starting to seem that while the game is interesting, it’s also so overwhelming for new players that it’s not going to have a long life. It would require more play than it’s likely to get. Too bad, as I like the game.