A few more thoughts on Epsilon Eridani
I played a four player game (and the TaoLing wanted to play a two player game) so I got in two games as Epsilon.
EE isn’t necessarily bad so much as fragile. You must take the influence action and drop mediocre hexes as soon as you get better ones. Other races should do that (it’s rarely worth it to trade an action for a cube) but with EE it’s an absolute must. You want a few prime hexes. If that requires exploring and discarding early, so be it.
As EE, I’m more likely to start heading to Sector I/II and try to dodge around Aliens.
EE’s main advantage is the huge reserve of points, but don’t discount starting with Plasma Cannons. It seems like most games someone is hurting for a weapon upgrade, and you start with it. This also means that a single upgrade to your interceptors (Replace ION Cannon with Plasma Cannon, add a computer or the Gauss shield) turns your starting fighter and one more fighter into a force that has an edge over ancients. (However, that edge isn’t a huge one. Not something you should be willing to risk early on, unless desperate). The Fusion Drive and Gauss Shield aren’t bad, if you get the Fusion power source, you can have interceptors that move 2 hexes, have an initiative edge, and do double damage. This makes them a reasonable match for most races cruisers … (for a brief window).
So, in terms of technology, if Plasma Cannons are missing from the early available technologies, that’s a decent plus. Seeing Fusion Drives is a minor plus. Lots of advanced robotics is another plus. (No improved hull is also a big plus).
The way to win with EE is the way to win with any race — steamroll. Plan on spending ~9 of your stockpile on T1, 9 more on T2, and then 5 on T3. If you’ve managed to build up your income and raked in a few discovery tiles, you’ll be able to operate evenly. The two missing discs hurt, but no more than Planta’s long term initiative problem. If you hit a double alien, it may be worthwhile to try and build a dreadnought and roll into it, but even ignoring the horrific 3:1 conversion, it would take several actions to upgrade it. I suppose it’s possible, but I suspect the “just burn up your money reserves” option is more stable.