Exodus: Proxima Centauri
We also got to experiment with my latest addition to the space 4X library. When I was punching out Exodus, I confess I thought the game looked kind of dumb — especially relative to Eclipse and Twilight Imperium. Turns out I was wrong, so wrong!
The game is, I think, a step less involved and encompassing as Eclipse, which is itself a step less involved than TI. So that’s a good thing. Three of us played five rounds of a learning game in … I want to say 3 hours. And boy howdy was it a learning game. For a game I thought was kind of “dumb,” there’s quite a lot to figure out. In the future, I think 3 or 4 experienced players could get through a complete game in 3ish hours total.
There are some killer apps to the game, as well as some reimplementations of things you’ve seen in other games. You get several ship blueprints you can customize like in Eclipse. There is a recurring political phase (with a very interesting voting mechanism, much faster and smoother than in TI). Role selection with the option to play secondary effects on anyone’s role. A star map orbiting a central “important system.” Lordy, will anyone ever cook up a space game that isn’t built around Mecatol Rex?
I think my favorite bit about the game is how technology is implemented. There are four rows of, I think, 8 techs. So 32 total, I guess? And there are three broad flavors (military, civilian, transport). There’s no tree per se, but you get cumulative discounts for matching existing techs by color and type. Some of the techs seem weird and must-get, but I suppose it’s all toward pushing you to specialize later in the game.
The ship blueprints work nicely, and there’s adequate variety. No fleets; you just get 2 ships of each type. There’s this dumb thing where you put a “second ship” marker under the second copy of your ship — it’s important for tracking damage — but we just marked up our #2 ships with a black sharpie and some interesting striping.
All in all, the game worked pretty well. I’m surprised, honestly, that Eclipse didn’t just straight-up fire it out of the gate, nor Hegemonic. That’s three space games in my library that stand on their own perfectly well, and I’m happy to own all of them.