Sunday, 3 August 2014

A Tale of Two Eclipses

A somewhat select company for the last July evening- and the last of my blog reports. There were 7 of us, split into a four and a three, and Eclipse was the lighter of the two choices available. No flitting from game to game that night...

We begin with Gareth I's version of Eclipse- for Dan read Natasha throughout...

Eclipse (One- Gareth's tale). 

Four gamers sat down to play Eclipse, Gareth and Phil had played it quite a few times, Dan only once with the wrong rules and Tonio was a new comer. After spending around 15 minutes setting up the boards and admiring the new plastic spaceships from the expansion Gareth tried valiantly to explain the rules in 8 mins being timed by Dan unfortunately he failed and only got around 3/4 of the way through. Then the game started everybody played humans as the game was new to some. The first few rounds were quite long as people were getting to grips with the rules. Dan reluctantly made a pact with Gareth, therefore Phil and Antonio also made a pact. All of the space tiles were explored and they were laid in such a way that combat between non pact players was only viable through the centre hex.

After killing off all his aliens and a few of Gareth's Dan moved into the centre hex with his highly armoured black 'borg' cubes. He then proceeded to increase his number of ships and defensive capabilities while the other three players built up the armories in there fleets. Finally in last round combat between players commenced. Phil attacked Antonio's planets breaking the pact and taking the traitor card. Gareth using the warp drive attacked Phils home world destroying it and then went bankrupt. Dan just sat in the centre hex and watched on as everybody else rolled lots of dice. In the end Dan was the winner followed by Tonio then Phil and last was Gareth. Yet another fun game of Eclipse that allows you to roll lots of dice and in Phil's case read a book while waiting for some of the slower players to decide what they want to do.

And in between Eclipses we have a very short session report of a very long game. (Actually it ended before Eclipse did). 

Through the Ages (Andy)

For the record, Charlotte, Scott and I had a very close game of Through the Ages, which was won by Scott, with Charlotte second and me last. Not sure of the scores but there was only about seven points between first and last.

A real thriller!

So thrilling Andy remembers every move in painstaking detail... but "perhaps it would be wise not to carp or criticise" you are about to judge my own session report on the game described above by Gareth.

Eclipse (Two- Philip's tale).

An all human game of Eclipse featuring myself, Gareth, Natasha (aka Dan II) and Tonio. Tonio's first and Natasha's second game so we went all human. I was the Terran Republic, Gareth the Terran Conglomerate, Natasha the Terran Alliance and Tonio the Terran Directorate. We used the variable turn order variant, not that it really mattered and also some of the expansion techs.

Natasha started with some exploration in ring II- everyone else followed suit except that I explored ring I. Gareth pre-empted me by exploring his Ring I hex and orientating it so as to shut me out. We continued exploring and Natasha bought Improved Hull and also picked up a Cruiser from a Discovery tile.

Somehow Gareth had enough resources to buy Plasma Missiles in Turn 2, though he had to burn materials and money. I think he got lucky with some discovery tiles. Tonio bought Sentient Hull. I bought Gauss Shield and by turn 3 had 2 Cruisers which were able to take out some of the local Ancients, finding a bonus Science Discovery tile which then went towards Advanced Economy.

Natasha and Gareth met. Natasha had three cruisers to Gareth's one dreadnought with plasma missiles but they wisely decided not to fight each other and exchanged ambassadors. Tonio and I also exchanged ambassadors. For some reason there was no connection between the two halves of the Galaxy except through the Galactic Centre. Natasha swept into the centre with his cruisers, which now had plasma cannons as well as improved hull, and took it easily. Tonio and I built up defences in case Natasha moved onwards, but Natasha simply fortified the centre. Gareth had Gluon Computer by this point, so his Dreadnoughts were looking really frightening, but there was no one he could attack except Natasha and he choose not become a Traitor.

Tonio had bought Flux Missiles but quickly decided they were pretty useless (they might have been good had he been in a position to fight Gareth). I was collecting the middle row of techs, with Fusion Source and Tachyon Drive. Natasha mused about attacking Gareth and I decided to encourage him by offering an exchange of ambassadors.

Natasha, who was sitting on a pile of 10 VPs from Discoveries, had no interest in attacking Gareth, and we entered the final turns in a state of galactic peace. I picked up the Antimatter Cannon, the Zero-Point Source and, in the final turn, the Antimatter Splitter, a powerful combination which cried out to be used.

I think Tonio was nevertheless surprised when my Cruisers burst into his territory, picking three separate fights (I had three spaces to fill on my player mat). My dreadnoughts then followed suit. I had however, overlooked Gareth's purchase of the Wormhole Generator and he now invaded my territory with his super-dreadnoughts. I scraped together enough resources for a couple of starbases, causing Gareth to spend his last actions rushing even more ships into my home sector.

In the final combat my cruisers with 2 Antimatter Cannons each but no targeting computer proved surprisingly accurate, destroying Tonio's fleets in two of the three battles with him. Gareth's Plasma missiles on the other hand, despite their Gluon Computer, almost failed to destroy my two star bases. Almost- and Gareth's Neutron bombs did the rest, though he could not take the sectors because he had run out of discs.

Gareth's victory was Pyrrhic though. He had placed all his discs, out spending not only his income but his stored resources, and as the sectors he controlled all had money planets, he was unable to stave off bankruptcy, the first time I have seen a player go totally bankrupt.

Meanwhile Natasha, with his four starbases, 2 dreadnoughts and 4 cruisers in the Galactic Centre, had not fought anything apart from Ancients...

Gareth bankrupt Philip 22 Tonio 30 Natasha 37.

As someone said on Boardgamegeek, although the game was indeed all human, all Terran is the more exact phrase. 

Now, since my blogging days are about to pass into that strange land where IBG play:

I'd just like to say how much I've enjoyed writing the blog over the years, despite my recent slacking, and I hope that my successors will carry on the great tradition.

("Perhaps it would be wise not to carp or criticise") is a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance

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