So Eclipse is a game that I don’t own. Tom’s review of it is here:
However, the game has been converted to IPad. Current cost $7. I’ll review that game here. Just to give you the look and feel of the game, check out the intro… Very nicely done:
This is a ‘4x Game’. Which stands for: explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The most common of these games, or the one that I’ve spent my time playing, is the classic game Civilization (Civ). Which, BTW, also has an IPad version of the game for the same cost.
Anyway to start, Eclipse has a nice tutorial, but you are going to need a copy of the rulebook. There is just not enough detail in the tutorial and I couldn’t easily find what I needed answered anywhere else. So downloading the boardgame rules helped a lot.
After that you will get the hang of it after a few quick games. It’s similar to ‘Civ’, but very different. Like Civ, you will need to start out exploring and expanding, the number of planets in this case, as you need to build up resources. This will allow you to build and customize (via science) your spaceships. Customizing your ships is by far the coolest part of the game. After that, it’s likely time to pick some fights against the other players which can be costly, so pick your fights well.
The game is a set number of rounds (9) and each round ends when all players agree (pass on their turn). You have that amount of time to get as many Victory Point as possible. You will get them via exploring, discovering science and the combat you were in during the game. Player with the most VPs win.
While combat is a big part of this game, this game has more of a Eurogame feel. Lots of resources to manage and combat on top of it.
If you watch Tom’s video, you will see this is a huge game. I could spend a lot of time talking rules. I think by watching these videos you can get a quick feel if this game is for you. If you like Civilization, you will like this game. There is however a lot more resource management than Civ and less focus on science tracks.
The IPad version is VERY well done from a programming point of view. Once you work thru the rules, and for a game of this size that’s just the nature of the beast, everything is laid out well and game play is quite enjoyable. The IA in the game holds its own so far as I’m learning better tactics before I get off ‘easy mode’.
I’ll leave you with one more video that shows more of the screens. If you would like a heavy 4x game, get this. It is slick app.
One minor strike against it, it really needs to use Game Center to setup online games. I’m still playing around with that feature, but it seems to be email based somehow (at least you need to supply one). I’ll fiddle around with that shortly using my wife’s IPad and mine, see how it works out and post a comment to this post below.
Edit: OK, it can use Game Center to setup Public\Private games but there is also an email option which is why it asks you for an email and password. Odd, but I guess the extra option is nice.
Well the website: Goko tried to launch the Dominion web site, but web site couldn’t handle the load, so the site was shut down for more testing. You can read more about it here and here at BoardGameGeek.
I have some problems with this whole mess…
1) As far as the web site failing to handle the traffic, well I have some understanding that stuff happens but it looks like to me they didn’t stress test the system well enough to make sure they could handle the traffic. It makes you look bad, but let’s move on.
2) There have been a number of reports of security problems with the web site on these links. Easy errors, like passing passwords in clear text. At this point until I hear something about it from Goko I’m not considering the site secure. It would be nice if it met something like PCI Standards before I give it some money.
3) Speaking of money, people are saying that they want $12 to buy new Dominion card sets. Really? Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer is on sale for $.99 right now and each extra card set is also $.99. It’s not as good as Dominion, but fills the gap very nicely at a fraction of the price. People are not used to pay that kind of money and I don’t see this pricing getting them too far.
4) On top of that, due to the tech they are using (HTML5), they are not going to offer off-line gaming. Well, not my cup of tea, but I understand. HTML5 will make their programing easier because it can cross platforms, but the users aren’t going to care about that.
So, in summary of my thoughts, Tablets and Smartphones have changed the world of gaming. People expect cheap games and they expect to play them anytime they want, on or off line. If you want to beat this model, you have to at least, IMO, offer them some advantage that other games don’t have.
So set aside that the web site is not working or secure right now, that can be fixed (hopefully these guys know how, but that’s a different issue). Assuming this site does work someday, will it make money?
I’m sure I’ll play for free, but I’m not buying cards at $12 a pack and playing only when I have internet is going to limit my time. To be honest, I think that Dominion isn’t THAT good a card game to overcome these limits. I think they are going to need to make some adjustments to get people to buy into this.