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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Planner milestone unfair in beginner game? rss

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Robert F-C
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If playing with beginner corps (e.g., because there are new players involved) AND if the first player does not buy & place the ocean tile with the 2 card placement bonus for 18MC (with the Aquifer standard action for +1 income per turn + 1VP at end of game + 6MC benefit) on the first turn, then it should be auto-buy for second player to do so, then they play no further cards on the first turn, purchase all 4 cards next turn (which if drafting is not likely to be a big waste of money either) and then claim planner milestone for 8MC and 5VP. That's 6VP guaranteed for effective cost of 17MC (ignoring cost of undesired cards which can always be sold for patents) with very little opportunity cost.

If the first player decides to buy the 2 card Aquifer (for the same cost/benefit), then it simply becomes a contest between the first and second player as to who gets the milestone. This seems too much of a guaranteed VP advantage for the first two players.

It seems to me that the planner milestone should be increased to 17 if you are playing the version of the game where you get 10 starting cards for free.

Thoughts?
 
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Georg D.
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This game has major snowballeffects. If you invest 18MC for the ocean and 8MC for the milestone you have to compare that to other effects you can get by investing 26MC in cards.
BTW How big is the chance that the 2 randomcards from the oceantile and all 4 cards from the researchphase are really helpful for your strategy. If you start hoarding cards you will never use during the game this strategy looses much of its appeal.
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Robert F-C
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Hi Georg, 6VP is still comparatively a lot of VP for very little skill, actual cost or opportunity cost (in my opinion at any rate) and with how close the winning final scores often are at the end of the game, a milestone makes a big difference.
 
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Jeff Noel
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I think most first-time players won't notice this unless it's pointed out to them. But in general, yes, the beginner corporation seems pretty good (though more luck-dependent than others). If a new player beats me the first time around, I don't see that as a negative. It means they're more likely to want to play again.
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Per Erlandsson
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Destroying your economy first turn in an engine building game to get 5VP, when end scores are around 100, doesn't really sound optimal.

That being said, if I ever get a fantastic 10 card hand I'll test getting Planner before playing normally. But in that case I'll take it turn 3 instead of blitzing an aquifier.


Jeff Noel:

I think you get X corperations + beginner corp and the 10 cards at once (or use as a house rule) so that you know your potential start hand before you pick a corp.
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Adam H
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WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:
If playing with beginner corps (e.g., because there are new players involved)...


Not sure if this is actually the case here, but this sentence seems to imply that all players receive beginner corps if there are new players at the table, which isn't the case. Only the new players are given beginner corps, experienced players wouldn't be getting them so couldn't exploit this strategy.

As noted in one of the other comments, if there's a new player at the table and he spots that option and goes for it, I would be impressed and glad that they enjoyed their first game and managed to pull one over on the experienced players. I would also be questioning if they were on the forums. =P
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Jeff Noel
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perer005 wrote:

I think you get X corperations + beginner corp and the 10 cards at once (or use as a house rule) so that you know your potential start hand before you pick a corp.


I recall Jonathan Fryxelius having said something along those lines, but I figured I misinterpreted him. Hopefully, he'll chime in when he returns from Essen.

My reading of the rules didn't seem to suggest that experienced players get a Beginner Corp. It seems like this would give experienced players another advantage over beginners, and would make the early game more luck-dependent.
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Sam Carroll
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It's pretty clear in the rules, under "setup". Step 5:

Quote:
Players new to Terraforming Mars each get a Beginner Corporation card (colorless card back) and follows its instruction to get 42 MegaCredits and draw 10 project cards to form their starting hand. Then they can examine their cards while experienced players continue this setup without them. Shuffle the 10 standard corporation cards (excluding the 2 Corporate Era corporations) and deal 2 to each remaining player.


Each new player gets a beginner corp; experienced players get two standard corps to choose from.
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Jeff Thornsen
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This was mentioned in other threads as well. The designer confirmed that the Beginner Corp is actually better/stronger than the advanced corps due to the free cards. But usually a player with a Beginner Corp is new to the game and therefore will make mistakes or play suboptimally, which evens out the advantage.

Also, it's rare that all 10 (or 16 if you get planner) cards will be useful to your strategy. It seems likely you will end up selling some of them back for 1MC eventually.

So the actual cost of the Planner milestone is closer to 30MC for 5VP
* 8MC to claim the milestone
* 18MC to buy the 6 additional cards required to reach 16 cards
* Needing to sell back useless cards for a net loss of 2MC per card
* Tempo and Opportunity cost of NOT playing any cards on the first 2 turns.
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Georg D.
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WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:
Hi Georg, 6VP is still comparatively a lot of VP for very little skill, actual cost or opportunity cost (in my opinion at any rate) and with how close the winning final scores often are at the end of the game, a milestone makes a big difference.


yes, 6vp are nothing to ignore. But usually near the end of the game you can get around 6 points by using 2 standardactions for greenery/city.
So the question is if investing 26MC early in the game in ressourceproduction will lead to income worth 50MC about 10 rounds later.
If you consider that you will play nearly every card one generation later than without rushing for the milestone I would bet that the maths works againt the milestone

Of course you have to consider several other things:
- player count: If you play with 5 players you will usually play less generations tan with 3 players so the nowball effect will be not as strong.
If you play 3 player chance are high you will get one of the milestones anyways - by rushing for the 'planner' you decrease your chances for any other milestone. With 5 players chances aren't that high to get a milsetone so it is possible worth to sacrifice s.th. to get an early guaranteed milestone.

- card draws: With your tactic you will get 6 cards - 2 from the ocean and 4 from research. If all cards are great for your overall strategy it is possibly worth it. If half of the cards will be used for 1MC sooner or later it was propably wasted. Problem is that you don't know it before you decide to invest 18MC in an ocean instead of playing cards from your hand.

So I would say: If you play 5 player and have no really great startingcards you should go for the milestone. If you play only 2 or 3 player or have some really good startercards I wouldnt do it.

edit: my houserule: You may choose between 2 standard and the beginner corporation until you've won the first time. Then you don't get access to the beginnercorp any more.
 
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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Yes, for the setup to really be strategic, you need to look at all your cards and the two corporations at the same time.

And yes, some players could play with the Beginner Corporation at the same time as others play advanced corporations. They should be balanced against each other.
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Bill Buchanan
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People actually use the beginner corps?
 
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Jeff Noel
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Beginners probably should. Deciding which combination of corporation and projects to keep at the start of the game is a rather important decision. I don't think it's especially fair to expect a new player to make that decision before they've had sufficient time for the mechanics to sink in.
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Paul Newsham
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WBuchanan wrote:
People actually use the beginner corps?


What exactly are you bringing to the discussion with this comment?
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Erik H
Netherlands
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I don't understand how people can talk about strategy here as it is plain luck that will set your course. I thought it would be a good strategy game but it is just as deep strategy wise as Yahtzee.

Also scores around a 100? We played the beginner corps and got around 60 VP max.
 
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Florian Ruckeisen
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phusebox wrote:
I don't understand how people can talk about strategy here

And I don't understand how after apparently ONE play through the game as per your other longer post (where you jumped right in with Corporate Era even though you shouldn't as a beginner, and likely got some rules wrong as well), you are all over this game's forum spouting negative blanket statements at every turn.

Quote:
it is plain luck that will set your course. I thought it would be a good strategy game but it is just as deep strategy wise as Yahtzee.

A lot of people would strongly disagree with you.

Quote:
Also scores around a 100? We played the beginner corps and got around 60 VP max.

Oh? And this doesn't give you the slightest reason to pause and consider that maybe you just don't have a good enough grasp of the game yet to be talking how it's "all luck" and "no strategy" and "the most unbalanced of the over 100 games you have"?

Like, really. I want to keep this civil, but your criticism seems very uninformed. If this were a computer gaming forum, people would just be telling you to "L2P". arrrh
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Bart Rachemoss
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We really need to come up with a short term for "I tried this game once or twice. It sucks. It is all luck and no skill even though people who have played it many times say there is a lot of tactics and strategy". I've seen this sentiment in the forums of many of the games I own.
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Erik H
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Well out of my group of experienced board game players we played it with four people
Three thought it was too much randomness and luck and two didn't even want to give it a second go which we do give almost every game even if the first playthrough was crap.

For our taste it's just too much luck so I can understand the large range of end scores.
 
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Örjan Almén
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Number of players do make a difference to end scoring in this game. Fewer players means that the global parameters TRs gets splits on fewer players, in a 2-player game about 21p each while in a 4-player game it's just about half. Also in a game with fewer players, the game lasts longer as they need more generations to build a better engine to be able to get the global parameters going, which also builds up points from the cards.
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Enoch Fryxelius
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phusebox wrote:
Well out of my group of experienced board game players we played it with four people
Three thought it was too much randomness and luck and two didn't even want to give it a second go which we do give almost every game even if the first playthrough was crap.

For our taste it's just too much luck so I can understand the large range of end scores.


It would be soooo cool if I could somehow try to play with your friends with the exact same cards that you drew for your traumatic first and only game. I'm curious to see what you had and think about how I would have played (or, equally important, not played) those cards. I had a winning streak of 8 games (broken now, unfortunately!) and I sometimes win even if I start with a hand of only 2-3 cards that was playable from the beginning. That's when long-term planning kicks in; see if the cards with requirements is something you could pave way for with standard projects; check how to claim good spots on the boards and placement bonuses with cities; claiming Milestones and Awards; or maybe even save a little money for next turn (I hate to do this).

Short-term priorities between cards and other options are also important. In this game you make so many small decisions that will add up to the final result.

I have the previlige to teach this game to new players at many different occations and usually new players makes lots of big and small mistakes, it takes a while before you "see" things. They usually have a good time anyway...

I also think that there are many different strategies in this game, that, if played right, could put many players to a close final score.

These forums are already filled with experienced terraformers. Hopefully some of them will agree and give me thumbs on this...

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Love Nilsson
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jeff0 wrote:
I think most first-time players won't notice this unless it's pointed out to them.


I agree with this.

jeff0 wrote:
If a new player beats me the first time around, I don't see that as a negative. It means they're more likely to want to play again.


I very much agree with this.

Enoch wrote:
I had a winning streak of 8 games (broken now, unfortunately!)
arrrh devil ninja
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