I've just played my first games of Eclipse, and I kind of like it, but it hase some features that kinda bug me.
First of all - player elimination. For the first two games, I got crushed around round 5-6. Worse still, I was not eradicated, so I got to sit at the table feeling bored and frustrated, being able to do nothing of meaning but still not being able to leave and play something else. I know this is typical for Amerithrash games, but I would like to at least mitigate this effect in some way, or at least make the game shorter.
Second of all - randomness everywhere! In this game, you've got two enemies. The other players, and the game's random elements. Not only do you have to learn how to play and what to do in the first place, you learn how to work your way around the bad tile/technology draws AND you have to fight your opponents! This means you need at least a few games followed by a good analysis to start playing at least somewhat correctly.
Those two elements make a killer combo. The random tile draw mechanism just helps you make a bad decision or provides hurdles to get through before you can get to the realisation of your plans/hunting down other players. In both my games I put a loop around my own neck, but that would be fine - if it wouldnt mean sitting at the table for another hour doing nothing.
While I like the game, I like the theme, I like the action economy and almost simultaneous actions, the technology and ship building, but I cant imagine showing it to my playgroup. A game that needs at least 4 plays to get a real hang of it, while each of them takes at least 2-3 hours and makes someone miserable for half of that time WONT see enough table time to our group to like it.
I really like most parts of the game:
- Space theme
- Tile placement
- Fleet production and battles with other players using it
- Resource/economy management
- Some sort of tech upgrades for military/economy
- Actions tied to economy with increasing costs per action (another example of a game using this mechanic would be the Expansion to Attack!) and players doing only one action at once to prevent huge downtimes.
- I like that military conquest is not only way to win the game, and usually its not enough to win by itself.
What can I do to get the play experience of the elements mentioned above without discouraging my playgroup at the game introduction stage? How do I get all the cool stuff from eclipse without getting the steep learning curve and hard knocks during learning the game?