|I can feel the epic-ness as we setup all those chits!|
For our first play, we were 4 players and we tried the shorter variant where all the chits in our own areas are already revealed and we all have the colonies on each planet that is not barren. EVEN then we had to build up our armies and slowly make our way up the tech tree to be a viable fighting force and then start waging war on each other. Even with the shorter and faster game variant, we still found ourselves 2 hours in and not 1 point yet! We were supposed to play till 3 but we gave up and stopped when one of us had 1 point. Don't get me wrong, its not that I don't like the game. On the contrary, I think with enough time and players who are seasoned and know the rules well, this can be a very epic game to play. You have fog of war (but that means you are constantly flipping your own chits to check what type of ship they are) so opponents could get confused as to what you are actually fielding. You have a relatively simple technology tree but it works for a game like this. You even have exploration and mining to get resources. As this is a war game true and true, it won't be complete without paper/charts for you to fill up on. Yes indeed, this game comes with a pad that looks like an excel sheet on hardcopy paper where you can fill in your expenditure to workout what you have researched and built.
All in all, it was a pretty interesting game that we played and while I did enjoy myself somewhat, it will be quite lengthly to actually play the full game. If i were to spend this time, I would prefer playing Twilight Imperium as at least there are miniatures and nicer components to fawn over as you wait for others to plan their move. Try before you buy!