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“Kudos for the Variable Play Direction variant”

While not technically a house rule, the Variable Play Direction is a formal variant presented in the Rise of Ancients expansions, and it’s one that I’ll be looking to include in all future plays of Eclipse.

It’s a simple, minor tweak, but it makes a solid impact on gameplay. Without the variant, one player usually makes a push to be the first to pass, gaining (or retaining) the First Player pawn … and with nothing to lose, the other players look to eke out as many actions as they can for their turn, usually stretching their economies in the process. Using the Variable Play Direction card makes the second person to pass also a significant tactical consideration, focusing players on the merits of playing for turn order instead of continually pushing their economy for one more action. This change in mindset results in healthier, more robust economies in the long game, meaning more balanced play between players.

What’s more, variable play direction can be a great factor when using the Alliances variant … swinging the play order to favour your alliance while simultaneously depriving your opposing alliance can be a strong tactical move.

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