In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu Games’ turns its adorably wide eyes onto 2011’s Eclipse, which it shouldn’t do cos the news always says that’s a proper bad idea.
Eclipse takes place after the great Terran – Hegemony War of 30,027 – 33,364, a conflict I know many of us still struggle to forget. In its wake, a Galactic Council has formed to ensure continual peace, but maintaining universal diplomatic treaties and managing the timely collection of people’s space bins is thirsty work, and a few council members are knocking back a centilitre too much of the old amber sauce or something. Either way, the council isn’t counselling well enough and war is imminent, though whether it’ll be as Terran or as Hegemonistic as that last monstrosity no one can tell.
Eclipse puts players (2-6 of them) in control of an interstellar civilisation, one of the many factions vying for control in these tortuous times. The game is, at its core, a tactical civ builder, allowing players to explore, develop, fight, research and strategize in their pursuit of galactic dominance.
Players can take one of six actions each turn: exploring the space around them; spreading their influence; researching new abilities; building ships or bases; upgrading their ships; or moving ships to initiate combat or occupy a tile. Actions cost resources, and a player’s participation in the round ends when they decide to pass on their turn. Once every player has passed, the round ends.
A game lasts for nine rounds, coincidentally the exact number of rings there are in hell. Food for thought. As a huge, epic game suited to massively varied playstyles, Eclipse will appeal to gamers of all mindsets, from the calm builder to the slightly unhinged warmonger.
Lautapelit.fi is a games publisher, distributor and seller based in Helsinki. Eclipse (and its expansions) is perhaps their best known title. ‘Lautapelit’ translates as ‘board games’, which is pretty fitting.
Touko Tahkokallio is a Finnish board game designer. When designing, he tends to come up with the theme first, using it as a base onto which he can apply core mechanics. He believes that a good game is one in which a player’s decision has a noticeable effect on the course of play, and Eclipse is no exception.