Strategy with Eclipse

Let’s talk about strategy.  Strategy is important in several aspects of life and, most definitely, at work.  We are constantly coming up with new strategies to deal pretty much everything, always seeking to find a new, more effective way to do something.  I strategize my time and how I am going to manage my MBA classwork while working full-time all the while maintaining my regular routines throughout the week.  However, coming up with new strategies for everything is very tough and very time consuming.  Fortunately, there are several board games out there that require a heavy dose of planning and strategy to play and win.  Eclipse is one of those games.

This was taken from the Eclipse game I played on March 12th.  I am the red player, and as you can see, it looks like I am doing ok.  I have several planets generating a decent amount of money and research.
This was taken from the Eclipse game I played on March 12th. I am the red player, and as you can see, it looks like I am doing ok. I have several planets generating a decent amount of money and research.

Eclipse is a relatively new board game that came out only four short years ago.  It is an incredibly popular game that is enjoyed in households and conventions a like.  There are numerous ways to win the game, which galactic domination being the most common.  While the game is quite fun, It can also be an incredibly frustrating game.

My player sheet.  As you can see, at this point, I was doing fairly decent in money and research but terrible in resources.
My player sheet. As you can see, at this point, I was doing fairly decent in money and research but terrible in resources.

I have played Eclipse a couple dozen times.  Each time, everyone around the table, except for a few, try to employ a different method of obtaining points and eventually winning the game.  Some races you can select in the beginning have an advantage with developing technologies, and through those technologies gain several points.  Another option is to develop nothing but warships and start invading your neighbors.  This seems to be the most common strategy employed, and it does have, in the games I have played, a decent winning percentage.

However, there’s a bit more to this game, and its strategies, than just tech or war.  If you play with the maximum number of players, which is six, it is imperative to know and understand what everyone else is doing and realize that it is almost impossible to win by yourself.  A simple strategy of building warships and acting aggressively towards everyone is a quick way to get everyone else at the table to, possibly briefly, join forces and crush you.  Another simple strategy that will get you into trouble is trying to remain removed from everyone else and try to explore and gain more and more territory.  That will also cause a few of your opponents to join forces to crush you.

So, what to do?  Typically, the best strategies involve more than one player, each working with their strengths.  In Eclipse, alliances can be formed where two to three players join forces.  These alliances only work if all parties bring something to the table.  One person can focus on building nothing but warships, while another builds nothing but technology.  In this case, both are generating points for their team while focusing on their respective strengths.

As you can see, the person playing black invaded me and I couldn't do anything about it.
As you can see, the person playing black invaded me and I couldn’t do anything about it.  I lost all but two small systems.

While Eclipse explicitly states what each race is more proficient at, which enables you to develop a good strategy around that, in the real world you aren’t going to be that lucky.  By looking at your team, understanding each of their strengths, a potent strategy can be crafted leading to victory or achievement.  This could be a strategy towards achieving the company goals more efficiently and reliably, to managing your personal spending better.  The point is this fantastic game can help you understand strategy and how to use it in everyday life.

Have you ever played Eclipse?  What is your favorite or most used strategy?  Please leave a comment below and/or on Twitter.

For all the information you could ever hope to know about Eclipse, click here.

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