[Review] Eclipse Board Game

This is my second review in 2 weeks and I want to say I'm not becoming a regular reviewer, but I bought this game this summer and my friends and I really enjoyed it after a few plays.  It's probably a bad review but here are my thoughts afterwards.

As background my group plays things like Spartacus, Settlers, Magic, Risk and Warhammer 40k.  My group's favourite game is powergrid.  I would say depending on circumstance, Eclipse beats it.  Eclipse needs more time to play and is more 'thought intense' in that you do need to pay more attention.  I can't see this as much of a family game or something your wives would want to play (like settlers would be).  Not trying to be offensive but most warhammer players are male and this game appeals to that type of gamer; a tactical warhammer audience.  It's a gamer's game.  I think it's easy to learn but maybe not easy to enjoy (my friends love it) but I wouldn't try to play with my uncle, friends that don't play board games or my wife who loves powergrid and settlers.  We all know the type that thinks of games as a social tool; they enjoy games, but it's secondary to the beer/wine and socializing when it isn't your turn.  This is in no way wrong but don't buy Eclipse thinking they'll want to play with you.

Eclipse, if I could simply explain, would be Settlers with fighting, less randomness and far reaching consequences to your actions.  The game has an economy system like powergrid that is not random.  You control what you're getting and can plan around it.  Other players can move and cut you off, like powergrid or settlers, but you can then attack them!  The game also allows various degrees of allegiances which provide penalties if broken.  An alliance won every game I've played.

The box weighed a ton and put fantasy flight to shame for cardboard cutouts (not an easy feat).  The ships all look the same (just different colours) and are base plastic.  This might bother some but ships are easy to identify and there is no confusion over who is who (no "is that grey or greyblue?!").

The game plus expansion has over 10 unique races to control which have predetermined traits allowing them to 'win' in different ways.  While you will probably be forced to fight at some point, some players have the edge in combat while others are economic powerhouses, explorers, research factions or diplomats.  None of these are super drastic which means picking up or understanding your opponent isn't difficult. 


You feel that every decision you make matters.
Your in game options are vast.
The game is simple.  If you're group has gamers that can easily pick up things like spartacus, the rules to this are not difficult at all.  I explained it to 7 different people in about 10 minutes plus round 1 of the first game.  While people may understand their options, you do need to play well (think chess) since making the 'best' choice isn't nearly as simple as the rules.
Combat isn't required but can be done as early as turn 1 (of 9).

The playtime:  Our games took about 45 minutes per person.  The box says 30 and I think that would be accurate once you played a lot or are less social.  This can be bad for a guy who is doing poorly at the 1/2 way mark.
Bad players: a bad player beside you can really help you win, or prevent others from hindering your win which can be really annoying to others.
Random: the universe is explored at random and if you have bad draws it can be difficult (not impossible) to counter this.  I would say inexperience makes the randomness even worse.  It wasn't bad in my playthroughs but I could see it happening.
You really should get the expansion for all the great features it adds (which therefore makes the game prohibitively expensive for some).
Bumping the table can make you lose all your tracking markers...