Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Eclipse of the Heart

Andrew and I were so taken by our revisiting of Eclipse at Novocon (get back, autocorrect!) that we nearly played it again on Sunday night. But we were exhausted (I went to bed at 8.30) and instead brought it back to the table last night, Monday. Ian joined us. (Apologies for not extending the invitation outwards; it was a combination of not wanting a big group and assuming everyone would run a mile anyway.)

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. 

Sam 39
Andrew 33
Ian 27

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!


  1. Eclipse is in my top three games. I love that every time you play it theres a story that goes with it. - We had this epic battle, such an such was allied with me and then took a bunch of my sectors etc... I don't mind long games if they are immersive as this one is.

  2. I bought Eclipse myself a while ago and finally played it for the first time at Halloween. I loved it but there was 5 us, all new to the game, so with the setup, my over-long rules explanation, a brief pause to prepare some chilli and a poor grasp of the battle mechanics when we finally did start betraying our peace agreements it was about 6 hours altogether from setup to finish.

    I am definitely looking forward to playing it again.

  3. Matt, that's why we wanted to play so soon. On Sunday we only managed six rounds in the same time we did the whole nine last night (albeit with two fewer players). It's a bugger to set up and pack away, but I do think it's great.

    Chris - did I even know you'd played this?!

  4. Yeah, with 5 players it was very long but if at least a few of us had played before I'm sure it would have been significantly shorter. I'd read the rules and watched a playthrough on youtube in advance but didn't do very good job of expaining it all. It all started to click in to place once we started playing though. I think everyone enjoyed it but we weren't prepared for the length. I thought it was a great game and hope to play it again soon before I forget how to.

  5. Sam you might have picked up that I bought it this year. We played a fair few 2 and three player games in the summer. I also managed a four player game with the Reading bunch.

    I've got one of those neat compartment boxes for all the ship parts. This makes the set up a little easier, plus you can hand the box to the player upgrading to select their tiles whilst you get on with your move.

    There are also these nice plastic trays you can buy to hold all the population cubes. these help to...

  6. I don't know whether this one will work for Eclipse, but I've seen it recommended for Castle Of Burgundy. http://www.poundland.co.uk/tommy-walsh-multi-compartment-storage-box