I'd gotten some of the game set-up before the others arrived, and we ran Ian through the rules as this was completed. He'd played it last in April, which is not that long ago, but there's been a lot of cardboard under the bridge since then, and Andrew and I had the advantage of playing only the day before.
Nonetheless Eclipse is a deceptively simple game and Ian was soon back in the swing of things. I went exploring early and, as with Sunday's game, encountered double aliens again. Having pinned my strategy too much on optimism before, I decided to hang back and build up my fleet.
Ian was exploring a lot and I admit I did curse him as he seemed to find a lot of uninhabited space. What I only realized later in the game was all this expansion was costing him dear in influence discs - he ran out of money very quickly, and had a couple of turns where he was forced to pass very early.
Andrew and I were more cagey. I did do some exploring, but as the hexes were only worth a point, I claimed my influence back and kept things cheap. I also developed technologies to get more cubes on the board, and concentrated on developing some mad bastard spaceships:
Come have a go, then
But actually, there wasn't a huge amount of battling going on. Ian and I agreed an accord not to fight, and I overcame the central hex ancients with comparative ease. Andrew took out Ian's hopeful resistance to advance toward me. Not so easily did I overcome Andrew though, in the battle of the game. Not at all, in fact: despite my Dreadnoughts seemingly impervious hull (8 points!) Andrew's dogged Cruiser managed to blast me into vacuum-unpacked smithereens. I recovered, threatened again, but chickened out in favour of more rewarding and peaceable moves.
Me (green) poised to move on the central hex. Andrew (white)
and Ian (red) are moments from battle; this was just before Andrew
move into Ian's hex.
Andrew managed to replicate Jon's monolith-building on the penultimate round, but it wasn't enough to secure victory - I'd developed one of my technology tracks all the way to the top for a 5 point bonus and held onto the valued central hex.
Ian was pleased with his showing considering his 8 month absence from the world of Eclipse. Andrew and I were pleased Jon and Adam weren't there to beat us. Stanley wanted to play, but the 2 and half hours it took us to play the full nine rounds took it well past his bedtime. Finn doesn't count - though he was present he didn't even try and negotiate seating terms:
I usually shy away from games that go beyond the 90 minute mark, but I'd like to play this again soon!