Thursday, 30 May 2013

Eclipse session - Playing Planta

Last two games nights we have got in two games of Eclipse. It goes along with the current sci-fi theme at the moment. Maybe if we were a more established blog we could call this sci-fi month. For most of the club this is a new game, however in this game we implemented Aliens. To do this fairly we handed out random diplomacy tokens at the start of the game then had the choice of the alien or Terran in that colour. It was a five player game and Chris and I chose the aliens, he got a bit of a doozy, Eridani Empire, and I got Planta. 

I like both these races. People seem to have there problems with both. I however like them because I like the feel of each of these races. The Eridani is the once powerful empire, however are now struggling and in decline. The start with some pretty sweet resources and starting research. However they have 2 less influence which hurts hard later on in the game. The Plantas play like a weed, they multiply fast, getting to explore up to 2 hexs a move, and have 4 rather that 3 colonist ships. However there ships are not very good with bad initiative and less customisable so easy to destroy.

The game in progress, round 4.
I am green.

I managed to secure a good position early on in the game. Spreading fast and I managed to secure a couple of good techs early; improved hull and plasma canon. I mostly had a cruiser heavy fleet, I feel cruisers have an advantage over dreadnoughts, cheeper so you can have better action density when you buy two ships and you can have 4 at a time. Plus there is less to upgrade to get them to a satisfactory level.

I managed to secure the centre hex early on in the game, nice. However for the rest of the game I defended my position rather than move out and attack. I had quite a few battles from those contesting for the centre hex. Some were quite large so we used the over flow tiles to battle on the side. However the lack of initiative was crippling causing some heavy losses before i could even shoot. The shields were very helpful as a protective measure. I managed to win most battles but not without some serious losses.

A middle hex combat pushed to the side.

Sadly we had to cut the game one round short (round 8) due to time constraints. This round was the hardest for me as my focus was mostly on defending the centre hex. Zac playing Terran got behind my only weak point and got a interceptor into my home hex. Perhaps if we played the next round it would have been the end for me and my weeds. I think if I had gone on more of an offensive after taking the middle hex I would have been better off as it would weaken the opponents. However then I would have been open for attack from others. 

Planta player board.

Over all I enjoyed playing Planta, although there lack of initiative and weak ships hurt later in the game. I feel that they probably are a better defensive specie so in that sense I played them ok. However I am sure there are much better strategies out there, 

Photos take from my iPad so not the best quality. See our Eclipse for the iPad review here


  1. A shallow question: When I was going to buy Eclipse (after hearing a review on D6G) my regular gaming group collectively said "no thanks" and motivated it (wrongly, in my opinion) by critizing the rules and the system.

    When compared to Twilight Imperium which we play around 6-7 times a year, Eclipse's system seems much smoother and much better. So, the only reason for me not buying it was, as much as it bothers me to admit it, the components! Do the somewhat simplistic components take even a tiny bit of enjoyment out of the game or is this something you don't consider being an issue at all?

    BTW, I really like the fluff of the Arboris-race in Twillight Imperium and it feels like Planta is something similar... ?

    1. Sorry for the late reply, I have been sick the last week.

      I can't say I have played Twilight Imperium. Although I have been keen to try it out sometime. However I have to say I feel sorry that your gaming group said 'no thanks' as Eclipse is a lot of fun.

      Eclipse does play quite smoothly and the gameplay is simple yet has allot of depth. The disadvantage of it compared to TI is that TI has a much more complex diplomacy system which sounds interesting, one of the reasons I am keen to try out TI. Eclipse does end up coming down to combat as it is hard to win without it. Eclipse is more of a Euro game which is a good or bad thing depending on who you are and it is a lot shorter, which in my books is a good thing.

      In terms of the components. I initially agreed, I thought they were a bit rubbish. However after some time playing the game they have warmed on me. Now I think they are pretty good and work well with the theme.

    2. Interestingly enough, we only do gunboat-diplomacy in TI, which works fine with most strategy-games, regardless of built-in diplomacy-rules. So I don't think we use the game to its full potential, hehehe...

      If you know someone who owns TI, definitely try it out. I have the main game and bought an expansion and got the second expansion from my friends - the total value is quite high but you get a lot of components, but still, better trying it out before investing in the game since the cost is notable.

      The thing with the components of Eclipse being a bit lackluster reminds me of how much charm the game Zelda for 8-bit Nintendo has - it doesn't matter that it's so old and "ugly", and I suppose the same goes for boardgames!

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