The first thing to say about Eclipse is we realised we've been playing a rule wrong. I won't go into it here but I really look forward to the day I discover I'm playing a game correctly.
As the game progressed I built a Dreadnought and sallied forth to take control of a rewarding hex. The ancients blew me up. Andrew meanwhile was expanding like nobody's business, and for the first few rounds of the game it looked like a fight between myself and Ian for second. And both of us were on the receiving end of Andrew's sudden ability to roll double sixes - he did three of these in a row.
I reconsidered my strategy - as my expanding would involve much fighting, maybe I shouldn't go attacking anybody else but consolidate and build Monoliths - these score you points at game end if you still control the hex they sit in.
Andrew seemed minted though, and although I felt a bit more competitive, I wasn't confident of overhauling him. Ian seemed in a state of despair; feeling like he was going nowhere. It might have been Eclipse, or the early onslaught of middle-age. Either way he was right, but he gambled on attacking the central hex and pulled it off with aplomb. Suddenly it seemed the endgame was upon us - the others figured out the monoliths had put me in the lead, but for Andrew Ian was easier to attack. Last time, he said, he hadn't gone for it and had regretted it ever since. The post title came at some point during the grimly ominous conclusion of his soliloquy.
Andrew attacked Ian. Ian attacked me. Ian won both battles - being off Andrew in his home hex, and obliterating me in mine. Fortunately he had no influence left to nab the hex for himself, and it ended
Andrew announced that whenever he played Eclipse he felt like he'd achieved something. "Fuck Beasty Bar" he added.
"I quite like Beasty Bar" said Ian.
"Oh, is it good?" Andrew replied.
Our per-player times had gone up again, to 40 minutes. I mooted a little game of Push It to finish the evening but Ian and Andrew were keen on Love Letter. The highlight of which was Ian and I protecting ourselves with Handmaids and Andrew being forced to play his Prince on himself. He discarded his other card, which was the Princess. It was a beautiful moment.
Dusty Bin plays Love Letter
However other beautiful moments seemed to go Andrew's way and he ended with a win:
And with that they staggered off into the night, enriched with experience. Older, wiser. Drunker.