Independently of SU&SD streaming Twilight Imperium 4, someone wanted to play Eclipse this Sunday. 6-player game, 3 experienced players, 3 new players. Going around clockwise: experience player playing blue science aliens, experienced player playing white borg aliens, experienced player (me) playing red humans, new player (S) playing yellow ancient-friendly aliens, new player playing green plant aliens, new player playing black humans.
Green got off to a bad start, which pretty much scuppered their game. They blocked off their routes for expansion and built another fighter on round 1. They tried to stop yellow from taking their ring-1 sector through canny placement of wormholes, but yellow made a path and swiped it on round 2. They fruitlessly threw fighters against ancients before being wiped off the map on round 4.
White only got 3 sectors he wanted to keep. While trying to take an ancient sector, he lost a discovery cruiser and his starting fighter on round 2; then a dreadnought and fighter on round 3; then a dreadnought on round 4. With a poor economy, he was basically out of the running.
Black formed an alliance with blue, which we warned him was only playing into blue’s strategy. He seemed to take this to heart and invaded blue’s very attractive sectors. Problem was this was round 2, so he only invaded with a few fighters (that had received the +3 hull discovery upgrade and plasma cannons), which promptly ran into newly constructed starbases.
I had below average luck exploring. On round 1, when it came to exploring my ring-1 sector, there was a 3-in-4 chance of getting an ancient, which yellow would then just influence away from me. So I concentrated on exploring outward but got low quality sectors. Because yellow was my only neighbor and ally, while she was busy invading elsewhere, I bought orbitals then spent a couple rounds turning my 6 mostly meh sectors into a decent economy, but I did keep open the option of building starbases with gauss shields.
Blue did what blue does: turtle for science. While the invasion by black slowed her ramp up, she still had the second best economy, especially she could absorb black’s territory. By round 4, she had all three advanced economy techs.
Yellow had a great start, absorbing 2 ring-1 sectors on round 1 (as mentioned above, I let her have mine) and stealing green’s on round 2 by forging and path and influencing it. She also found some decent sectors further out. By round 3, she had taken over green’s home sector, and so was sitting on a very nice economy. On round 4, she wiped out the last of green, claiming it was to save the ancients green had been bullying. (In retrospect, it was lucky of me to not have drawn good sectors guarded by ancients, or she might have turned on me.)
At this point, it was 7pm. The first green player had already left to catch a bus. Yellow declared she was satisfied with wiping out green and needed to crash because of sleep-related issues. I wasn’t feeling great because I had woken up early to watch the Twilight Imperium livestream (which was worth it) and had been kept up with digestive issues (not worth it). So we called it after 4 rounds.
Projecting how the game might play out, the only person who could contend with yellow was blue. Blue had very economic techs (all 3 advanced economy techs, the +1 disc tech) as well as some basic defensive techs, so she could focus on consolidating and gearing up for the eventual fight. As I finally had a decent economy and my only way out was through yellow, it’s possible that I could play spoiler and at least make yellow worry about a second front; we had two border sectors that needed defending. But the initiative was with yellow, who could have gone for the galactic center and a border with blue, or she could have invaded my orbital-enriched sectors.