|Start of the game, I was playing the Yellow Humans|
Gameplay sounds complicated but is rather simple once you pick it up. Each turn players in sequence get to choose to do an action or pass. Each time they do an action they move a disc to the appropriate area on their player board. As discs are moved a cost is uncovered, this the money you will need to spend at the end of the round to pay for your actions. Discs are also used to assert influence over a star system so the number of systems you can control and the number of actions you can complete are dictated by your income. You get income and resources by building colonies on planets, these are the cubes. As you remove cubes from your play board larger numbers are uncovered giving you more income each turn. It's a rather elegant system. Actions include exploring, researching technology, using researched technology to upgrade your ships, changing how your influence is spread, building things and moving.
|My Interceptors loaded up with Alien Tech|
|The big fight for galactic center.|
The other phases include building which lets you build new ships, starbases and orbital stations or monuments if you have the right technology developed. Movement lets you move your ships around hex by hex with speed set by the drive unit equipped on each ship. Influence lets you abandon sectors and take over new ones. The first player who passes on their action becomes the start player for next round. In an interesting twist even passing doesn't necessarily take you out of the game for the round. There are three reactionary actions you can take even though you've passed. These are reduced versions of move, build and upgrade.
|How the board looked at the end of the game|
Obviously there's a lot more to the game than this, but I figured I've already typed enough already. There's alien ships that guard some territories, some sectors give a bonus to the first player who settles there, the galactic center is guarded by a big space station and more. If you have any questions about anything in particular please feel free to ask in the comments.
Overall I had a great time trying this well regarded game. Eclipse seemed like it took the best concepts of Twilight Imperium and Galactic Emperor and combined them into a very quick, very refined and balanced game. Rules explanation took a long time and it looked like there was far too much to figure out but by turn three we all had it figured out and the game flowed great. While Eclipse is shorter than it's predecessors it's still not what I would call a short game. Our game went over 4 hours, almost five with rules set up and explanation. I fully expect we could cut that down to three easily now that everyone knows what they are doing. We also had a couple players who are known for analysis paralysis so I would expect the game to be quicker for other groups.
I think the best thing that can be set about how much we all enjoyed the game last night is that we are all trying to figure out a way to play again today. Also we are all still talking about it. We've been on Facebook saying "you know when I attacked Green, I should have waited one turn to..." and "Why the heck didn't I set up that treaty earlier, I knew ..." To me going to bed thinking about what could have been is a good sign of a great game.