Game Review: Eclipse

Welcome to my first ever board game review! 

If you follow me on twitter or Instagram, you’ll know I’m often playing board games.

So why have I waited this long to review any? I guess I haven’t really felt the need to before. But this game annoyed me and I’m going to tell you why.

Eclipse is a space exploration game: research new technologies, build ships with which to wage war and expand your galactic empire.

To explore the galaxy, you select random tiles and connect them to your home tile via connecting wormholes. These tiles may have planets on them, which will allow you to place colonies from your player mat onto them thus increasing your resource production each round. Some tiles will have an alien battleship which you must defeat before you can claim the tile. For each action you take and space tile you claim you must use a circular token taken from a cost track on your player mat; each action you take becomes increasingly more expensive (at the end of the round, tokens you use for actions get placed back on the track but unless you recall them, tokens on space tiles stay put!). You can either play as a human (all the human characters start the game with the same number of resources and abilities) or as an alien race (each of these have different starting things).

Those cubes are a pain in the arse to set up! 

The first time we played, we plodded our way through it as we learned the mechanics. I felt things mostly went ok, except almost every tile I turned over had aliens on it! So my progress was very much hampered.

Therefore last night, on our second play, I had a better idea of what I needed to do. I tried to balance building stronger ships with exploring enough to be able to gain resources with which I needed to build the ships… Argh it was a vicious cycle.

Fortunately I didn’t come across as many aliens, but this time around I just couldn’t seem to afford anything! The technology you need to be able to do things in the game such as upgrade your ship, get more counters, travel further, require the pink “science” resource. But as you can see below, the technologies can be quite expensive, and I just wasn’t acquiring enough resources!

I really wanted to enjoy this game. It has elements that I usually enjoy very much, resource building and territory claiming (in that regard it reminded me a little of Scythe, a favourite).

But I feel the balance between random elements (like the draw of space tiles, and combat based on dice rolling) and the mechanics was too far out. The constraints were very tight, and this coupled with the random elements made the game much more difficult than it needed to be. It left me feeling so helpless and frustrated!

Player mats at end game, hubby’s on the right and mine on the left (apologies for the poor quality)

We suspect hubby’s other gaming partner will hate this game too so it won’t be staying in our collection long! (our collection, pah who am I kidding. His collection!)


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