Making way for the Second Dawn
Eclipse. Oh, the memories. A game I enjoy, but it’s huge and heavy and not a game I can get to the table often because of it. The running joke is that Eclipse is Twilight Imperium lite, but it’s not really a fair comparison either. The games are similar in that they are 4X games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate). Yes, Eclipse plays in about 3 hours in my experience, but it is just as deep and stressful as Twilight Imperium.
So if you don’t like the idea of large, involved board games – today isn’t your day. Eclipse is a large and heavy weighted game of dominating the galaxy with a lot of moving pieces. It is a multi-hour game with player elimination, and it’s usually you eliminating yourself by spending more than your resources allow.
If this does sound interesting to you though – well a new and improved second edition is currently on Kickstarter.
But new and improved doesn’t mean easier – in fact, some of the rules look like the choices you make are even more important. There are a lot of minor rule tweaks and clarifications made, as well as some general improvements.
For example, in Eclipse the first player to pass each round becomes the first player for the next round. When learning the game, the newer people tend to pass first because a) they are unsure what is happening everywhere are and trying to take it an and/or b) they have run out of cash.
While this will still be the case in Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy, the first player to pass now also gets a 2 credit bonus. This will let players that are passing because of money troubles get a bit of a boost, so they are less likely to get left behind. New players that pass to watch gameplay also have a chance to spend up more next round, as the credits help offset the lack of actions in the previous round.
And not only the rules got a tweak. Eclipse has a lot to keep track of in the game, and has the problem of lots of cubes on thin bits of card to keep track of everything. There are a lot of inserts, player aids and the like to help, but it is always an additional cost over and above the base game.
Again the designers have listened, and some of the improvements are the inclusions of inserts and player aids designed by Game Trayz! I really wish more games (especially Kickstarters) would use these guys, the inserts are amazing and make setup and teardown so much easier, and using the player boards from them mean the Second Edition is a ‘complete’ purchase.
Man vs Meeple did a great job with a preview video (shown below and on the Kickstarter page) which highlights a lot of the changes between the games. While it doesn’t really explain the gameplay much (and neither have I) if you know Eclipse it does a great job and highlighting some of the improvements and changes:
I was going to end this promotion with links to the digital versions of Eclipse, which are cheap and I have gotten the most play out of. The game is complicated and it is an uphill slog to learn via the game’s tutorials, but it does teach the game well and is a good translation of the board game.
The downside is while I know it exists and I have it on my iPad, none of the links are working at all. I can’t find it in Google Play at all, and all iTunes Google and the Steam page shows the game but I can’t buy it even though it was released almost 2 years ago.
Best bet is a search for ‘Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy’ in your app store of choice, and see if that works.
There is also another potential issue for Australian backers (well, a lot of countries really) – Shipping. USA, Canada, EU and Germany have ‘friendly’ rates around the USD$20 mark. Rest of the world – a flat USD$65 shipping. That makes the retail base game with some stretch goals USD$164. The all in with expansion pledge will come to USD$214.
Now, this sounds like a lot of money, and it is. There is no denying this. But the base game in Australia will probably come to about AUD$200ish dollars IF it makes it out here. Eclipse is a niche game and not for everyone, so only a specific type of gamer will be buying this to begin with. If you look at it that way, it will cost maybe another AUD$30-40 to get the game up front, and you won’t need to spend the extra on game board and inserts like the first Eclipse, so the investment really isn’t as bad as it sounds if this is a game you can get to the table often enough.
For me, I love the idea but I will probably stick with the First Edition I already have. I have only gotten it to the table twice and only ‘finished’ the one game, so that’s a lot of other games I can buy.
If you have always wanted Twilight Imperium but the all-day game stories put you off, give Eclipse a good look – it’s a great alternative and an excellent game in its own right.
Until next time,