Friday, February 24, 2012

Wow, Did "Eclipse" Just Kill "Twilight"?

If I played board games just to win them, I'd never play board games.  Witness last Wednesday's run of Touko Tahkokallio's brilliant game of galactic conquest Eclipse...

Employing a conservative strategy of consolidating my own region of the galaxy, I jumped out to a sizable early lead.  But, just as soon as someone made the observation that I might be winning, my primitive monkey brain immediately began to ponder the best route towards self-immolation.

Before we get into that, here's Dean's handy summation of the game's elegant and intuitive rules:


In Part One, I find myself surrounded by indigenous people and immediately ponder the most expedient method to wipe them all out.  I also annex a nearby science/resource world and then purchase robot slaves who I totally did not use for sexual purposes, BTW.

Dean finds free neutron bombs lying around, settles for cash monies, rebukes a planet filled with eggheads and purchases robot slaves who he totally didn't use for sexual purposes, BTW.

Chad makes a beeline for Coruscant, crushes two star systems under his booted heel, encounters some Ancients and buys shielding which makes his ships look all dark and broody.


In Part Two I build and then pimp out an entire fleet of Defiants, stomp a mudhole in the ass of my peaceful neighbors and win a free cruiser apparently by "Rolling Up The Rim To Win".  

Dean is the first one to build a star destroyer, gets slightly inconvenienced while subjugating some nearby Space Mayans and then picks up some afterthought phase shielding.

After boiler-plating some adamantium onto the side of his ships, Chad then proceeds to explore the shit out of the entire galaxy.


In Part Three I de-regulate the banks for an illusory Advanced Economy, lease my own damned dreadnought for only forty (thousand) easy payments, equip my ships with tougher hides and (illegal) engines, and then continue to conquer large tracts of the galaxy in the name of space democracy.

Dean starts printing Monopoly money for his Advanced Economy, tinkers away on orbital platforms and interceptors, wins the Intergalactic Powerball, settles Planet 1% and indulges in some weird science courtesy of his new Advanced Laboratory. 

Chad annihilates some pesky Ancients that had the gall to exist in his neck of the woods, finds himself up to his nose in brown stuff (!), hires a pack of drunken lemurs to invest in his Advanced Economy and then discovers a fusion source (in his pants).  


In the game's thrilling conclusion, my hubris has me opting for overcomplicated tech instead of WHAT WOULD HAVE WON THE FUCKING GAME FOR ME.  I also ponder the limited appeal of 2001: A Space Odyssey merchandise and foolishly try to rip the corsage out of Chad's hand.  

Dean builds a space diaphragm, gives his ships a new coat of paint before sending them off on a suicide mission and then wisely decides not fly his entire armada into the sun at the eleventh hour.    

Chad summons a wave of defenders, all of whom are apparently armed with the wave motion gun from Star Blazers.

Despite my proclivities towards seppuku, I absolutely loved this play of Eclipse.  Yes, it doesn't have all the chrome of a Twilight Imperium but I certainly appreciate the fact that I don't have to say good-bye to my loved ones for an entire weekend in order to play it.

My dice roll review: 6 pips outta 6!  

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