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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Placing tiles vs playing cards-best way to approach the game? rss

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Jeff M
United States
Lafayette
California
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Just received the game and played a couple of 2 player games.
Loving it so far, but we have a question.
Or games have been lasting around 3 hours, and towards the end we are running out of "money" cubes, each of us with our player boards overflowing with cubes and tableaus full of cards.
We both emphasize playing cards to our tableaus as opposed to turning in cubes to raise parameters or paying for standard actions to place tiles, looking to use the cards rewards/actions to move the game/global parameters along. I am beginning to think we need to concentrate on the other actions to recycle the cubes back to the bank and speed up the game.

For those of you for whom the game flows smooth and you don't have a "cube crunch" problem, approx. what % of your actions are spent playing cards vs taking standard actions vs playing cubes from your tableau to raise global parameters? Should we be paying more attention to tile laying / global parameters?

Thanks.
 
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Nico
Germany
Germany
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But I don’t want to go among mad people
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Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here.
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Maybe this mistake:
So many megacredits!
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Ted Morris
Canada
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Definitely sounds like you missed the rule about alternating turns, taking one or two actions each turn UNTIL you both pass. I think you'll find cash starts to become a lot scarcer and you'll be playing more cards.

In our games (8 so far) the standard projects have mostly come into play towards the end of the game. We always get to a point where our cash has finally built up and we've played most of our cards, then it's all about maxing out points.

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John Burt
United States
Portland
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Assuming you're not doing something wrong:

I can see how this could happen, if both players just diddle along with playing cards, not upping production or laying tiles.

But this should be a race game - who can acquire the most points before the three end game conditions are achieved? Besides the TR track, the best place to get points is by laying tiles on the map. The importance of the map is further amplified by the milestones and awards, so yes, laying tiles should be at least a big part of your strategy focus.

How many generations (rounds) did you play? We usually play 15-18 generations.
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Jeff M
United States
Lafayette
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Dogtorted wrote:
Definitely sounds like you missed the rule about alternating turns, taking one or two actions each turn UNTIL you both pass. I think you'll find cash starts to become a lot scarcer and you'll be playing more cards.



DOH!! That's it.
We have been playing were we each get up to 2 actions TOTAL per generation.
Reluctant to spend one of those 2 actions on anything other than playing a card!
No wonder we are running out of $/game is taking so long!!

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Gringe Commander
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After the first games, the players now all try to build their own 7 hex city complex, because those are worth 13(+4)VP and can be expanded in all diretion for 10)+1 or 2)VP per 3 hexes.
Nobody pays much attention to the resources you get on some tiles as they do not matter much, and nobody pays any attention to the cards others play.
 
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Sebastian Stückl
Germany
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GringeCommander wrote:
Nobody pays much attention to the resources you get on some tiles as they do not matter much, and nobody pays any attention to the cards others play.


Well, maybe THAT is the problem?
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Gringe Commander
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Bastinator1 wrote:
GringeCommander wrote:
Nobody pays much attention to the resources you get on some tiles as they do not matter much, and nobody pays any attention to the cards others play.


Well, maybe THAT is the problem?


Why would that be a problem? Other players cards do not affect me. The only interest would be keeping a total of VPs played. And there are very little combos I have to consider during a draft game.
The game would be a lot more interesting if cards would benefit from other players cards, even if its only some small stuff like "if someone already played card X, this card produces bonus Y"
 
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Florian Ruckeisen
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GringeCommander wrote:
Why would that be a problem?

Because your whole group seems to be falling into the trap of thinking that building those 3-cities-with-4-greeneries clusters is the best way to play, thus finding the game not interesting enough - when in fact it seems like the finer points of play are collectively eluding you so far.

Placement bonuses for instance are actually quite a big deal. 2 plants is a common bonus, and if you go by costs of standard projects (23 M€ to place a greenery, which you can also get for 8 plants), each plant is worth roundabout 3 M€. Add to those 2 plants the money from 1-2 adjacent ocean tiles, and those little bonuses easily add up to a third or more of the cost of placing a (standard project) city!

You might think that ideal end-of-game position/scoring is what matters (getting the most out of your tiles), but if a "suboptimal" placement lets you collect bonuses which in turn give you a tempo advantage, that can easily be worth it. If I can plonk down another tile quicker than you do - even by 1 action - that can be the difference of who gets a certain milestone, and that's a 10 VP swing between the two of us!

And once you realize the value of tile placement bonuses, denying your opponents the juicy spots via strategic city placement becomes that much more interesting.

Quote:
Other players cards do not affect me.

Not directly, but indirectly they do. Examples:

1) Very obvious: How many science tags does everyone have? Do I have a shot at the Scientist Award? Maybe I want to fund that, just to prevent you from funding the Thermalist, as you have such large heat production, while I have none and can't even hope for 2nd place there?
Likewise with milestones: Let's say Gardener and Mayor are already taken, and I'm looking to go for the Terraformer, but need more time to get it - do I have that time, or is somebody else close to getting 8 building tags for the Builder milestone? Do I need to rush using (costly) standard projects?

2) I'm playing Ecoline, so I have a leg up in plant production and efficient greenery placement. As such, I would hope that I can gobble up the biggest chunk of the TR increases from oxygen. If I see a card (or god forbid two) being played that quickly and repeatedly lets the opponent increase oxygen "manually" (like Steel Works), I know that I should transition to other VP sources more readily.

2b) Now that I am Ecoline and you have built Steel Works, it would probably be unwise for our third player to play Water Splitting Plant 2-3 generations later - with my plant production in full swing and your regular oxygen increases, there just won't be all that many O2 increases left for him to squeeze out of that card.

3) Let's say oxygen and temperature are close to maxed, but oceans are trailing. I have been holding on to Physics Complex, but still don't have enough spare energy to use it. Now I see you playing Water Import From Europa, and you have decent titanium production to use it too. Unless I can get my Physics Complex online pronto now, I'm probably thinking "darn, the game won't actually last that much longer anymore, I might be better off ditching the card now".

TL;DR: If everyone just plays for themselves in their little corner of the map, you are most likely not playing optimally.
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Sebastian Stückl
Germany
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Snapshot wrote:
[...]
TL;DR: If everyone just plays for themselves in their little corner of the map, you are most likely not playing optimally.


Thanks for clarifying my post, Florian! You did a great job doing so! thumbsup
I didn't have the time to answer earlier today, unfortunately.

You are almost making my board presence obsolete with your quick, spot-on responses lately. shake

Sebastian
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