When comparing Arcadia Quest vs Eclipse, the Slant community recommends Eclipse for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Eclipse is ranked 21st while Arcadia Quest is ranked 29th. The most important reason people chose Eclipse is:
You will never play the same game of Eclipse due to randomness of the tiles you and your opponents draw, the various strategies you can use, and the seven possible player races. The map will be different every time. The gameboard is made of multiple hexagonal tiles and it’s built out as the game progresses when players choose the “explore” action. There are three decks of hexes, the one you draw from depends on the direction you’re exploring in. For example. if you move away from the galaxy center, then you draw from the third-level hex pile, which contains less goodies than the second and first level tiles. The closer you go to the center, the bigger are your chances for loot. If you don’t like the tile you draw, you can discard it, but this’ll still make you lose an action.
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The game will most definitely lead to more future plays because of the huge number of variables. In the base game there are many characters and equipment cards available, so players will get different combinations and use altered strategies. All scenarios except for the last one can be played in different orders, which influences their difficulty significantly – a scenario that was easy on your first playthrough might be very different the next time around. Because of this every campaign will also play out differently.
In addition to that, there are plenty of expansions that add new scenarios, enemies, heroes, and mechanics. There is also the possibility to create custom scenarios or find them online.
If you can’t or don’t want to play the campaign, you can also choose to play a separate scenario by quickly creating guilds, choosing the level, and dealing upgrade cards to everyone. The player with the most gold coins wins.
Pro Easy to teach
The game is not difficult at all, since even children can easily play it. On your turn you can either activate one of your three heroes or rest your party. The heroes can move three spaces and attack or do it the other way around. Combat is done by choosing a weapon and rolling the amount of special dice shown on the weapon card. After that the weapon is exhausted and you must rest to use it again. Resting also revives any dead heroes.
To finish scenarios players must complete quests. There are both PvE quests that require you to kill monsters or escort characters and PvP quests that make you slay heroes from other guilds. The first player to complete three quests, one of which is a PvP quest, is the winner of the scenario and may choose the next scenario to play. The winners of scenarios receive additional bonuses that come in later in the campaign.
After the scenario is complete, players can use the gold coins they’ve earned in the scenario to purchase new gear. All heroes who died during the scenario receive a corresponding amount of death tokens. The player must then draw the same number of cards from the “Death Curse” deck and take the card with the highest value. These cards weaken the hero in the next scenario and are removed after that scenario is finished.
Pro Light-hearted and funny
The game can’t be taken very seriously because of the art style and the way it plays. This makes Arcadia Quest a good game for all ages and settings – children, adults, families.
Arcadia Quest is very cartoony, and the cards are often quite humorous, for example, a possible “Death Curse” players can draw can be a “Severe nosebleed” card.
The game is full of memorable and hilarious moments as you and your friends battle through the campaign competing with monsters and each other. The quests you receive will make you hunt down heroes of other guilds or try to somehow block them off, preventing them from completing the monster hunting quests. The rolling mechanic can also lead to some comments - players face off hoping to get lucky with critical hits.
Pro Good component quality
The components should hold up very well to regular wear and tear. The gameboard consists of large and thick cardboard tiles, the cards and player boards are made from durable cardstock, the miniatures are made of good quality soft plastic, and all the small cardboard tokens are also tough.
Pro Great aesthetics
Arcadia Quest has a very nice family-friendly cartoony art-style that suits the light-hearted theme of the game. Both the heroes and the monsters have oversized heads that add to this nature. All the components are very detailed – cards, game tiles, tokens, and especially the plastic figures. Since the figures are all white you can also get creative and paint them.
Pro No gamemaster
Unlike many other dungeon-crawl games, Arcadia Quest doesn’t require a designated player to become a gamemaster, so everyone can join in on the fun. This is because of the monster mechanics. Monsters get to attack players in reaction to their movements and attacks. The player to the right of the active player takes control of the provoked monster – moves, rolls dice, etc.
Pro Design encourages replayability
You will never play the same game of Eclipse due to randomness of the tiles you and your opponents draw, the various strategies you can use, and the seven possible player races.
The map will be different every time. The gameboard is made of multiple hexagonal tiles and it’s built out as the game progresses when players choose the “explore” action. There are three decks of hexes, the one you draw from depends on the direction you’re exploring in. For example. if you move away from the galaxy center, then you draw from the third-level hex pile, which contains less goodies than the second and first level tiles. The closer you go to the center, the bigger are your chances for loot. If you don’t like the tile you draw, you can discard it, but this’ll still make you lose an action.
Pro Amazing blend of Euro and Ameritrash mechanics
Eclipse is a "best of both worlds" mix of two different boardgaming genres. The game has a strong theme, player combat, unique factions, and some elements of luck that define the American style while still having plenty of the European-like resource gathering, individual development, and possibilities of no player conflict.
Pro Allows for many different playstyles
There are many possible ways to get points and win the game. Some players choose to take the militaristic approach and win by defeating the other players in combat, others choose to stray away from trouble and gain points by developing technologies. You can also earn points from exploration, colonization, diplomacy, and more.
Players can choose to play a human (Terran) faction or choose one of the six unique alien races. All six Terran factions share traits, but the aliens differ from one another. Race-specific traits give bonuses in specific actions, for example, trading for different rates, more movement flexibility, science or colonization bonuses, etc.
Pro Customizable battleships
Unlike other similar games, Eclipse offers players an innovative battleship customization feature. At the start everyone’s ships are basically the same, they can move, shoot, and have one health point. After you’ve amassed some of the “materials” and “science” resources, you can start upgrading them to different types and adding new components either in empty spaces or by overwriting existing ones.
There are many types of components – reactors, weapons, shields, hull, targeting computers, and engines. By mixing these you can create any ship you want, be it a well-balanced one or something completely ridiculous. You can make your ships into flying tanks able to sustain tons of damage and slowly chunk away the enemy, or instant death machines able to one-shot anything.
Pro Surprisingly simple
Eclipse looks a lot harder than it actually is. The structure of the game is quite straightforward, and the combat is easy to understand.
The game lasts nine rounds, each round has four phases – action, combat, upkeep, and cleanup. Most of the game is spent in the action phase, where players exchange turns performing one action until they’ve all passed. At the cost of an influence disc you can explore, influence, research, upgrade, build, or move. You can do as many actions as you want, but you’ll have to pay upkeep for every influence disc after the first one in the upkeep phase.
The combat phase consists of dice rolling to resolve any battles, be it player vs player or player vs NPC. Combat is initiated if two characters are on the same hex during combat phase. It is done by rolling a six-sided dice. Every 6 is a guaranteed hit, ever 1 is a miss. Whether the rest of the numbers deal damage is influenced by characteristics and equipment of battleships, which can also decide which ship attacks first, how many dice are rolled per ship, and how much victory-point tiles will the participants be able to draw after combat.
Pro Satisfying to see progression
At the start all players are spread out on their own tiles one tile away from the galaxy center. As the game progresses they take actions and discover new tiles around them with planets to colonize that get filled up with the respective player’s colors. Moments later the players are overlooking a big, colorful gameboard filled with colonies and battleships of all sizes.
Con Potential runaway leader problem
A player might become too powerful in the campaign by getting the right gear on the right character and get a huge lead on others, which makes them the most likely to win scenarios, get even better equipment, and reinforce their lead. There is no real way of preventing this because there is no catch-up mechanic that doesn’t involve luck. Ganging up on the powerful player isn’t very effective either.
Con Requires dedication to finish
Getting the same group together to finish the campaign can be a struggle sometimes. This is a popular issue with campaign-based board games. The full campaign is going to take a pretty long time – up to six hours.
Con Needs storage space
The box of the game contains a lot of stuff. Chances are, you won’t be able to squeeze it all back once you’re done with the scenario, so, as is common for games with a lot of components, getting separate containers might be a good idea.
Con A lot of setup
Before you can start delving into the abandoned city of Arcadia you need to dig through tiles and set up monsters, doors, walls, portals and the whole scenario while constantly consulting the manual for the correct pattern, so the first ten minutes or so can be a bit frustrating.
Con Not everyone will enjoy combat
The combat in Arcadia Quest requires you to roll special dice that features a critical hit mechanic, which can influence results a lot. You can attack with a ranged attack or a melee attack, and you need to roll the corresponding icon or a crit. A crit is a guaranteed hit and a re-roll. The same idea applies for rolling defensive dice – you need a shield or a crit. Basically, this means that you could theoretically kill someone or escape death by rolling one dice repeatedly if you keep getting crits, which can be very frustrating for others.
Con Quite expensive
The price ranges from $70 to $99, which can be quite the investment.
Con Luck-based combat
The combat is based on rolling dice and drawing tiles after the combat is over. While the luck element of rolling dice is sort of taken care of because of the customizable battleships, the tile drawing part can be very unfair. Basically, once the battle is finished both parties draw a number of tiles that depends on the amount of destroyed ships. These tiles all have different victory point values, but you can only claim one. What this means is that you can lose a battle and still claim more victory points than your opponent from the single tile you draw.
Con Not very accessible to new players
The game isn’t too difficult, but it’s a long game that requires a lot of explaining and a lot of setup, which can be a huge turn-off for beginners. Running over the rules and the various situations will take around 20 minutes, and you will still need to explain a lot during the game itself because there’s a lot of stuff that requires managing. New players will have a noticeable disadvantage.
Con Art style won’t suit everyone
Eclipse has a sci-fi space theme that features aliens, technologies, spaceships, and everything in between. Since this is a pretty popular theme almost anywhere, be it books, games, or movies, to some people this might appear generic, bland, and kind of uninteresting.
The cost of a new copy of Eclipse ranges from $80 to $130 dollars.
Con Can easily make a mess
Even the tiniest shuffle of the gameboard will displace the tiny cubes and influence discs used to keep track of resources and actions. This is not only annoying but can also mess up the game because someone might place the cubes back incorrectly and give themselves an advantage.
Con Long setup and takedown times
Eclipse is already a relatively long game, but a lot of extra time is required just to prepare the game and to tidy everything up after you’re done. This is mostly since there is no official way to store the huge number of components. Setting up for the first time can easily take around 30 minutes, and if you don’t have some sort of convenient storage then it can still take 20-30 minutes for the next matches.
After you’ve set up and played your game, you still must calculate in approximately 10 minutes just to put everything back in its place.