Eclipse ! Root! (pax)

Eclipse 2nd (printing? edition?) has not only shipped but has arrived to various areas in the USA. I got to play last Saturday and it was fun as always. They cleaned up the rules a bit and it goes without saying in these years of super over-produced board games that the components are pretty great. If you’ve never played, this is going to be a great time to either pick up the new version or get the first version second hand for a song as people dump them off like crazy in the next few months. For new players, if you can get the first edition for cheap, do it and then upgrade to 2 when you want if you love it.

What’s more the Root expansion is in the house with the Moles and the newly redesigned Corvids (very different from the playtest packet). I’ve gotten one game in so far and probably won’t get a play in until Garycon. While moles are solid, I think it’s important to have the right matchups on the board for them to be really interesting. They cannot easily take the place of the Cats for policing the board from the more powerful factions like the Vagabonds ore Alliance.

Let’s talk about overproduction. In the 80’s or 90’s– even into the early 2000’s– the level of components, pieces, cards, box sizes, miniatures would have been absolutely unheard of compared to today. I look at my game shelf and the only games that come close in size /components from the old days are Samurai Swords (used to be shogun) and Dark Tower. Some of these games I pull out to play are simply ridiculous– Rising Sun, Blood Rage are obvious (luckily these are both excellent) and the new Eclipse is similar. Just a mammoth amount of components that could have been just chits or simple pieces. It makes the game feel more epic, but fuck does it take up a lot of shelf space.

Looking at Fantasy Flight’s Talisman–it’s another highly overproduced game in one particular way– board size. The boards, while beautiful, are far, far bigger than they need to be. The table space needed for Talisman with a couple of corner pieces is ridiculous. Heuristically, players have to ask other players to move their pieces in Talisman 2nd edition, but in 4th– it’s nearly all the time unless you play standing up (usually players only stand up at the very end of the game, say the last 10-15 turns or so).

Contrast this to the Sierra Madre games from the Eklunds. When I busted out Pax Transhumanity in it’s tiny box, one of my friends was like “THAT’S IT?” And Pax are BIG games, sweeping, epic, massive in scale all in a small (Pax Porf) and even tiny (Pax Ren, Pax Trans) box that I can put into my backpack and play anywhere on most size tables.

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