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Subject: Comparisons to Eclipse rss

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Kolby Reddish
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This game looks vaguely familiar to me...

Anyone who's played it mind separating it in my mind from Eclipse?
 
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Guido Gloor
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
The very first preview of Eclipse was on Feb 24th, 2011. Over a week earlier (Feb 16th), coincidentally, the designer of Hegemonic had the following to say about his game:

Mezmorki wrote:
As mentioned in the description, we're still working out some gameplay elements.

A fellow BGG'er, Alex Skinner, is tackling the artwork for the game, which I think looks amazing! It's been fun having an artist to work with. We'll get more graphics posted up to the gallary soon as well.

For the rules development, I have the basic mechanics all worked out, and I'm currently working on the numbers, i.e. getting the economy scaled and balanced correctly, figuring out appropriate costs for things, etc... We'll likely make the rules available when they are in a complete draft state.

As such it's safe to assume that it's not a ripoff. Personally, I heard of Hegemonic before I heard of Eclipse, too (though that doesn't say much).

For a review, have a look at this blog post (that had tons of new info for me, too) - there seem to be coexistence, parallel political and military influence, and resources that are rather different from the Eclipse ones.

The designer did his homework, too, and made this rather awesome GeekList (one of the best for this subject): Space Empire Builders of the Modern Era - A Critical Comparison - his entry on his own game is fairly comprehensive, too, and since you seem to know Eclipse I'm sure you will see differences there, too.

Really, the main similarities between the two games, to me, are that they both have a galaxy and spaceships. Similarities that they share with a dozen other good games.
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Tom Shields
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
In his blog Initial Impressions of Oliver Kiley's Hegemonic, Jesse Dean describes his play of the game in detail, and it sounds quite different than Eclipse. Have you played Hegemonic or reviewed the rules? What's the basis of your claim?

Given what I read in Jesse's play session report, the term "Rip Off" in your header isn't coming across as informed or fairminded. Perhaps you care to correct that impression.

[Edit: oops, crosspost! Thanks Guido thumbsup]
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Kolby Reddish
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
No I haven't played Hegemonic, and I was really looking for information on it, so thank you for the link, I'll look at it and change those promptly. I meant this post sincerely for more information and I'm sorry about that.
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Oliver Kiley
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
No worries. The first playable designs for Hegemonic started around September in 2010, with the concept sketches and design work starting well before then. I didn't even join BGG until that October, and didn't see anything about Eclipse until a bit later! So to be perfectly honest if there is anything that appears "ripped off" it is completely confidential coincidental.

That said, in a certain way, when you just look at the raw components in the two games, they do look somewhat similar, so your observation is understandable. They both have hexes for placing tokens and player boards with lots of tokens organized along a series of tracks. And of course they are both space empire games.

But the fundamental starting point for Hegemonic was quite a bit different. Take a look at Jesse's blog post, which is excellent and highlights some of the big differences between the systems, namely in terms of the level of abstraction, the scope of the games, and the level of conflict. Eclipse is in many ways a very literal (and pretty good) interpretation of the 4x genre, and more thematically aligned with what people probably expect. It appears to me to have emerged out of a more thematic-game lineage (TI3, Master of Orion Video Games, etc...) ... where as Hegemonic really started from an Abstract-games lineage. Go was a big inspiration on some level.

Anyway, I'd be happy to talk more about differences, but they really have a quite different underlying approach to the genre.

Thanks for your interest as well!
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Kolby Reddish
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
I'll be sure to read that forum. Thank you for being so involved with your game. I'll be sure to keep watching it.
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Martin G
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Re: Eclipse Rip Off?
reddish22 wrote:
No I haven't played Hegemonic, and I was really looking for information on it, so thank you for the link, I'll look at it and change those promptly. I meant this post sincerely for more information and I'm sorry about that.

Might I suggest changing the title of this thread to something like 'Comparisons to Eclipse?'
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Martin Plourde
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It's kind of expected that people will start drawing comparison to eclipse, but I would be more interested to read a comparison with Twilight Imperium. I have not played eclipse but own TI3, and have not quite played a full game yet even though I'm really excited about TI3. Hegemonic looks really interesting, if it's working well with 2 players and have a shorter play time I might buy it!
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Oliver Kiley
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I haven't played TI3, so I can't comment in terms of specifics. Overall, my understanding is that TI3 is heavily theme-driven. There appear to be many more subsystems at work in TI3, with very deliberate phases for politics, combat, construction, exploreation, etc. If you think broadly about the 4x genre at all it entails, TI3 is pretty well-aligned. But it comes at a cost, which is a huge time requirement.

Eclipse (which I've played on Vassal and read about quite a bit), in my mind is a little less thematically driven, replacing some of TI3's detail with more euro-inspired mechanisms and balancing devises.

Hegemonic starts from a different premise, which is more abstract in nature. You are still doing 4x-genre kind of things (exploring sectors, building bases, researching, fighting, etc...) but the design is more mechanics first and driven by a unified set of mechanism that shape the game space rather than by a series of interlocking components that are more literal interpreations of one of the 4x elements.
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Kenneth Stuart
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Martin518 wrote:
It's kind of expected that people will start drawing comparison to eclipse, but I would be more interested to read a comparison with Twilight Imperium. I have not played eclipse but own TI3, and have not quite played a full game yet even though I'm really excited about TI3. Hegemonic looks really interesting, if it's working well with 2 players and have a shorter play time I might buy it!

I have not played Eclipse, but I have played TI3 and Hegemonic.

My first comment is that Hegemonic is a lighter version of TI3, but that would be far from accurate. TI3 is a full-day experience, and will take even longer with all the special options, decisions, voting, etc. I typically bring a book with me when I play TI3 because of the HUGE amount of down time during other players' turns and in negotiations.

Hegemonic is different. Actions resolve much faster and down time is reduced considerably. The only down time that you have to worry about is when players are trying to determine exactly how they want to initiate a conflict. Other than that, the game flies by (though it still takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour per player to finish the game). For your concern about play time, Hegemonic is eons shorter than TI3.

I once had a TI3 conflict in which I had 4 ships attacking a single opponent ship. I lost all 4 of mine due to crap dice rolls. I hate games like that.

Conflict resolution in Hegemonic is one of the best I have seen. All players can tell exactly what their power level is for each base type, as well as the opponent's power. There are still some ways to influence the power level with Conflict Resolution cards, but you do have good knowledge of your odds to win before you enter a conflict.

Another difference is in TI3 you see the entire galaxy and know exactly where everything is. Hegemonic is a dynamic game in which the map always changes. You can influence the placement of your pieces and your opponents by strategic placement of Sector Tiles each turn.

I will say, though, that the 2-player version of Hegemonic can be a little "iffy" at times. You might as well stop playing if one player makes a mistake that allows the other player to take a big lead early on, as there is no third player to help gang up on the leader. With experienced players, however, this is not a problem. A 2-player game will average 80 to 120 minutes, but never more than 2 hours.

So, when you see the game on the shelf, pull some plastic out of your wallet and make the purchase! (or cash if that's how you roll)
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Oliver Kiley
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Ken, thanks for the additional comments ans reflects. A few other thoughts:

Eclipse draws criticism from some gamers who feel that the tiles, reputation tile draws, and technology draws are too random and dictate a strategic direction. That is, if you draw certain tiles, you can be funneled down a particular strategic pathway. A lot of people clearly love how Eclipse handles these elements, and they can come across as more thematically justified depending on your interpretation of galactic conquest games.

Hegemonic is more open and flexible in the decision space. There are random draws in Hegemonic, but you always have plenty of choice (i.e. the sector pool; tech/res cards in your hand, etc.) and can know and assess randomness up-front before making a decision rather than have it impact you unpredictably as a consequence of making a decision.

Hegemonic is also different many other space empire games in that conflict happens early and often in the game. With the industrial, political, and martial systems ALL being able to expand and attack in different ways, there is a lot of opportunity for conflict. The penalties for a failed attack are also quite small and rarely leave you worse off defensively. In other words, aggressive offensive play is encouraged and rewarded, and defensive play doesn't get you too far.

In terms of 2-player games, I've seen a wide range of games play out. It is possible for a game to be a very tight race throughout the entire game, but more often once one player gains a significant advantage over the other it can be hard to mount a comeback. It is similar to many 2-player abstracts in this regard, where once you are able to solidify a position or advantage, the other player is fighting a losing war.

I still find it quite enjoyable, but you I think you need to appreciate this quality in the 2-player game. If you are looking for an intrinsically (artificially?) tight 2-player game, Hegemonic may not be the game for you. Much of the inter-player balance hinges on having a third player to level the playing field.
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Mister P
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I just bought Eclipse and am excited about getting my first game played very soon. I saw Hegemonic in a video of Tom Vasel's Dice Tower Convention 2012 and my first instinct was, wow it looks so much like Eclipse. Being the curious type, I came over here to BGG to see if there was anything about Hegemonic and was naturally drawn to this thread. It is very interesting to see that this game is not a rip-off of Eclipse and I hope the designer has success with this game. It does have nice looking components which always helps to draw interest.
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Oliver Kiley
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The following might be helpful, and is taken from the geeklist Space Empire Builders of the Modern Era - A Critical Comparison. The notes on Hegemonic are mine and those from Eclipse are provided by StevenV.

Objective / Scoring

Eclipse:
Victory points at the end of the game are determined by the systems and associated monoliths you control, your reputation tiles from winning battles (hidden from the other players until the end), diplomatic relations with other players (provided they haven't been broken by a hostile action), high levels of technological advancement, and unused discovery tiles (at the time you make the discovery, you must decide whether to use its ability or retain it for points). The last player to break a treaty has the traitor card (-2 points), and some alien races get additional bonuses.

Hegemonic:
Players earn points at the end of each turn based on their relative control over each of the galaxy boards/regions that are in play.


Game End:

Eclipse:
The game ends after nine full rounds.

Hegemonic:
Scoring occurs when all sectors of the galaxy have been explored, typically 9-12 turns. A short-game mode reduces the turn count by 3 turns by shrinking the size of the galaxy.


Taking Actions

Eclipse:
Each player takes one action in turn, spending one or more influence discs to do so, depending on the type of action. There are six types, and a player's choice of them is not limited by what they or the other players have already done this round. Once a player has passed, they may still take a reaction action each time play comes around to them, but these actions are weaker and only three of the six types are available. Spending more influence discs means a player will have to pay more money during the upkeep phase.

Hegemonic:
A game turn goes through income collection, exploration, 3 action phases, and arbitration, with all players going though each phase collectively.

The 3 action phases use simultaneous action card selection, with players choosing 1 of 7 cards to play for the round. Each card contains 3 actions, and players can take up to three different actions in any order when it is their turn to resolve their card. Cards resolved in order listed on the action cards, with ties being broken by the arbiter.

Actions include constructing bases and units, attacking to destroy or takeover opposing units, blocking base locations, and conducting additional explorations or researches.


Exploration

Eclipse:
The galactic center and player home system hexes are always in the same positions. When a player wishes to explore, they choose an empty space they have access to and draw the top hex from the appropriate pile, which depends on the distance from the galactic center. This tile is revealed and the player must orient it (legally) and place it in the space they chose. If it comes with any discoveries and/or ancients (neutral ships), these are placed on it.

Hegemonic:
Sector tiles (hexes) drafted from a common pool of tiles each round during the exploration phase. Sector tiles may be placed anywhere on the board with no restrictions (i.e. it doesn't have to be in an adjacent area). Number of tiles in the pool scales to the amount of players in the game.


Movement

Eclipse:
To move a player chooses the movement action, which allows them three ship movements (this number may differ for alien races). These movements are handled separately, so the same ship may be moved more than once, and the number of hexes a ship can travel is determined by the drive that that model of ship currently has. For a movement step to be legal the hex edge involved must have a wormhole on both sides.

Hegemonic:
Agent and fleet units can move. Agents can move to ANY space on the game board in one move, but pay money ("CAP"acity resources) for every region moved through. Fleets may be moved up to three sectors at a time, paying one CAP for each sector moved through.


Development

Eclipse:
To claim a hex requires an influence action, though it can be done to a hex the player just revealed as part of an exploration action, provided there are no ancients on it. The hex must be adjacent to a hex the player already controls, or they must have a ship in or adjacent to the hex. The player places an influence disc at the center of the hex, which means they will have to pay more money during upkeep. Players with the appropriate technologies can build one orbital per system (which functions as a generic planet), and one monolith per system (3 points at the end of the game to the system's controller).

The upgrade action allows a player to draw two ship part tiles (provided they have the required technologies) and place them on their ship blueprints. All ships of the appropriate type(s) are immediately upgraded. There are a number of categories of such tiles, including lasers, missiles, hull (hit points), computers (improve your hit chances), shields (decrease enemy hit chances), drives, and power sources (needed to power the other tiles).

Hegemonic:
Players construct bases, either industrial complexes, political embassies, or martial outposts, in explored sectors. Each type of base provides power based on special adjacency rules to other bases of the same type, and can exert this power back out in an area of influence.


Resources

Eclipse:
Each player has tracks for money, science, and materials, which begin the game loaded up with population cubes. Each planet is associated with one of these three resources or is generic, meaning it's suitable for any resource. At any time during their action, a player can flip one or more of their colony ships (which reset during upkeep), each of which allows them to move a cube from a track to an empty square on an appropriate planet in a system they control. This will uncover the next higher number on the track, meaning the player will get more of that resource during the next upkeep phase. Some planets have a star symbol in their square, meaning the player must have the technology which allows them to place cubes of that type on advanced planets.

During the upkeep phase at the end of each turn, you get money based on your money track, and then pay money based on how many influence discs you have in use. You then also gain science and materials based on those tracks. Science is spent on technologies and materials is spent on building ships, starbases, orbitals, and monoliths. Multiple resources of one type many be exchanged for one of another type; the rate depends on your race.

Hegemonic:
All base types generate a common resource "Capacity" at the start of each game turn. CAPs are used to perform all actions in the game. Excess resources carry over from turn to turn, but the amount that be carried over is limited by the empires retention limit. Higher power and specialized empires have lower retention limits, effectively "consuming" more excess resources as upkeep.


Technology

Eclipse:
There are three technology streams: military, grid, and nano. At the beginning of each turn a number of technology tiles are drawn and added to the central technology board. Taking a research action and spending the required amount of research gets you one of these tiles; thus you can't research a technology if none of its tiles are available (or if you already have it). The more tiles of a given stream you have, the more of a discount you get on that stream's tiles, but you must always pay a minimum amount (roughly half the standard price).

There is significant overlap between the streams (yes, they crossed the streams). Most technologies give you access to a specific type of ship part tile or allow you to build a single type of structure. The others generally permanently give you some single advantage, such as easily eliminating a conquered system's population, traveling between hex edges with only one wormhole, or giving you more influence discs as a one-time bonus.

Hegemonic:
Players have a semi-permanent hand of 5 technology/resolution cards. There are 30 different techs (2 each in the deck). During exploration, players draw a new tech card and must then advance a tech card or discard one.

Technology can be advanced for a permanent benefit. Each player is limited to three techs in play at once. Advanced technologies allow game rules to be broken in various ways. Tech's are also one of three tiers, and your tier level depends on how developed a player's empire is along the industrial, political, and martial systems.


Conflict

Eclipse:
The combat phase follows the action phase; combat occurs in any hex with units from multiple factions. Overall combat is very straightforward; each ship fires once each combat round with order depending on the initiative of the ship type, if a weapon hits it does damage based on its type, and hits are assigned by the attacker. For each attack the attacker rolls a d6; a 6 is required to hit, but this is improved by the attacker's computers and worsened by the defender's shields. Combat continues until one side has been destroyed or has fled.

Winning a combat or even destroying ships and then fleeing allows a player to draw a certain number of reputation tiles from a bag and keep one. These have points on them and are kept hidden until the end of the game. Each player has a limited number of spaces for these, so attacking relentlessly will only get you so far.

Hegemonic:
Bases, agents, and fleets provide varying levels of power which can be used to attack other bases/units within their influence. Essentially, all aspects of a player's empire is capable of attacking and defending, including industrial and political attacks as well as military ones.

Conflicts are resolved using player's hand of technology/resolution cards, which have a normal and special power bonus on them. Once cards are used, they are set aside and added back into your hand in various ways. In this way, players are building a semi-permanent and customizable hand of cards that can be used and focused over the course of the game.


Politics

Eclipse:
Players with some presence in connected systems can exchange ambassadors, which allows the players to remove a cube of their choice from one track. Later moving into a system controlled by the other player would break the treaty, returning the ambassadors (and cubes) and giving the aggressor the traitor card.

Other than this any deals in the game are informal. Players can certainly gang up on each other, but it's often difficult to reach someone who's not your neighbour. The amount of politicking will depend a great deal on your group.

Hegemonic:
Players can loan political power to other players during conflicts. Meta-gaming around turn order. Any deals/arrangements are permitted at any time during the game, including free exchange of CAPS.


Luck

Eclipse:
Luck is spread throughout this game. Combat depends on dice. Available technologies depend on tile draws. System hexes are not placed until they're explored. This can have a significant effect; in particular a monolith technology tile that appears on the last turn of the game can give someone a lot more points than they would otherwise have been able to get. However, all of the luck effects can be mitigated through planning. Critically, exploring and finding that your home sector is surrounded by ancients is not crippling and can even be beneficial.

Hegemonic:
Drawn technology/resolution cards and sector tiles in the sector pool are random, but there are separate discard piles for each type of system in the game, allowing players lots of choice in drawing cards to fit their strategy. Sector pool luck mitigated based on pool size and its common nature and that tiles are chosen before placement. Drawn technology/resolution cards are are ulti-purposed, having a tech benefit and two types of combat resolution benefits to choose between.
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Karl
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wizcreations wrote:
I typically bring a book with me when I play TI3 because of the HUGE amount of down time during other players' turns and in negotiations...

I once had a TI3 conflict in which I had 4 ships attacking a single opponent ship. I lost all 4 of mine due to crap dice rolls. I hate games like that.[/size]


a) i've never had the experience of feeling "down time" in TI3. if you are bored during that game and not paying attention to every single thing + potentially modifying your thinking/strategy to every action it seems like youre neglecting part of the experience... out of every game i've played so far it is the most engaging even at its time length. way too many variables to ever be bored or exhausted of mulling over potential scenarios.

b) what ships vs. what ships? you basically PAY for your odds of winning with the dice. if you happen to lose - that is something called contingency. it happens in reality and is exemplified in fiction (Star Wars?). if there's no chance for underdogs to win ever (if your scenario was even an underdog scenario - who knows? they could have had duranium armor, or a mercenary with evasion, etc)... what is the point?... strategy gamers seem to consistently think the fallacy that they must always be in absolute control of their statistical output (e.g. my force is stronger, therefore i win automatically) otherwise its not "true strategy" but then depend on things like the chance (ding ding ding) of drawing cards/tiles/chits in place of dice.

you could just as easily say Race for the Galaxy or Twilight Struggle is "meh" because you drew bad cards. or in Tigris and Euphrates you drew bad tiles.

you make your own luck: in TI you pay to "make your own luck" with better odds on volume(s) of dice and to-hit values on dice.



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James Mathe
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Oliver did a great job explaining how to play the game in his excellent instructional videos.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miniongames/hegemonic-4x...

HD VERSION: http://www.youtube.com/embed/81L2734rPAM
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Kolby Reddish
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I just wanted to add for those in this thread, that I ordered a copy of Hegemonic from CSI and can't wait. I'm actually really excited to get it to the table, and look forward to some of the abstract elements of the game. I do feel it will cause me to trade my copy of Dominant Species, but that's another issue!

I just wanted to say that, and Congratulations Oliver. The game itself looks wonderful.
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