Finally broke down and gave this a shot, and can't get past the near-vertical learning curve. As someone on another forum put it, "Learning Eclipse is like trying to decipher a microwave manual from 1983 that's written in Russian". I've read the manual and gone through the tutorial a couple times, but still don't really understand it at all.
To be fair, most of my trying to figure it out has been in doctor's waiting rooms or car repair shops. Maybe one of these times I'll actually give it a more dedicated try, but I'm not sure I'm willing and/or able to devote the brain cells to it right now.
I've got a Let's Play of Eclipse up on Broken Forum
. It's only just a little over half done (it turns out that while the actual game only takes about an hour to play, between the actual writeup, and moving the images to my PC, manipulating them, and getting them onto an image server, a "Let's Play"
takes much longer than I expected
Anyway, I tried to give readers a very good idea of what the game is like. This included walking them through a lot of the mechanics of the game and letting them know what their strategic options are. Not sure if you'll find it helpful or not. But you might find it an easier read than going through the online manual line-for-line (which is what I ended up doing).
IMO it really is a great game, although it definitely has a high initial learning curve.
ACK! It's not finished!
That was very helpful (and an interesting game to boot).
It pointed out to me what makes this game seem overwhelming when starting out.
The new technologies each round first and foremost. It's a simple matter of going through each one, clicking on it to see what it does (and, of course, eventually all the icons will be second nature), but when faced with all of that at the beginning, it's a lot, plus the strategy of the techs is something you only gain through play. For example, in the first turn, you talk about the double hull being the best choice, and it got snagged right away. To me, it was one of many choices available and had no special weight that I could see in a line of icons. It perfectly illustrated the issue. "Look at all of those technologies. Which one should I get? Or should I get none? How do I pay for these? How do I get the resources to pay for these? How do I make sure I get those?" And suddenly I'm down a strategic rabbit hole.
Another issue is the little rules. These are always a problem, even in physical board games, and it's actually more helpful to be playing against a computer, because the computer won't also forget the little rule. An example of this is the pinning mechanic. You mentioned it at one point, and I thought, "I would never remember that." Sure enough, a little bit later, you were in the situation where you wanted to pin purple's dreadnaught, and I realized I had already forgotten that rule. Unfortunately, though the computer will keep you from skipping the rule, it won't remind you of it. So often by the time you're reminded of it, you're already screwed.
I also have a tough time keeping clear what I can do on a turn and why. I know it's not complicated exactly, but when faced with everything, it gets a little hazy, like a puzzle I have to put together from memory. Nevermind figuring out what my opponents can do.
There's also the fact that, even though it's labeled otherwise, the green resources should be money. Every single time I glance at the planets or the resource bars without looking at the labels, I think green is money. That's mostly on me, though.
I've only played through the tutorial and part of one game, and it really does seem very well done. I'm not sure what more could have been done to make it easier, but it still is overwhelming when faced with it.