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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Rules

Subject: Beginner Corporation starting hand rss

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Matt Smith
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When using the Beginner Corporation, the corporation card says to draw 10 cards for free. Does that mean that player starts the first action phase with 10 cards in hand without having to pay anything to keep the cards?

If the above is true, that seems like a huge advantage for a Beginner Corporation player who is playing against an experienced player with a regular corporation card. Some of the regular corporation cards start with less than 42 mega-credits, and they have to pay 3 mega-credits for each card they want to keep from their initial 10 cards. So the experienced players will start with either much less money or much fewer cards. They also start with no resource production (this is incorrect, as pointed out by the subsequent post).

Is my understanding of how the Beginner Corporation works, and is it not advisable to combine Beginner Corporation players with normal corporation players?
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Joe Martineau
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You are correct, except in that the normal corps still get the +1 production on everything in addition to what their card offers. The exception to that is the Corporate Era game, where everyone gets only what is on the corp card (and I think you can't/wouldn't play with beginner corps).

The beginner corp advantage ends up being a few credits (saved from buying the first round of cards) and then a few more credits when they sell the free cards they don't end up using. There's also the advantage of having all those cards at once and not needing to choose a direction early on, but I think that's balanced by new players not having a great idea of how to play until a few turns in.



I've played four games now and after the first, I've dealt two random corps to everyone (newbies included) and a beginner corp to each first-time player. No one with a beginner corp has ever won.
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Matt Smith
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On average, how many cards have you seen players buy from their initial 10 cards? Just curious if it's typically low (3-4), or if players are spending most of their starting cash to have a larger starting hand. I imagine the goal is to grab a few cards that synergize well together, while still keeping enough cash to play a card or two in the first generation.
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Joe Martineau
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Average 2-4.

I make no claims about us being expert players, though.
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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Joe is right. Beginner corporations are better in the start because they have all their corporation worth from the beginning. Other corporations have effects that are ongoing, generating something along the game. All corporations are calculated to have the same worth in the end, but with on-going effects, this is very hard to predict. With good combos, some effects can be more powerful than others. The beginner corporation has no "combo" effect, apart from the played cards, thus instead getting a higher start worth.

My experience of keeping starting cards is varied. My mother, having played this game hundreds of times - usually buys all 10 starting cards and aims for the "Planner" milestone (16 cards in hand). That milestone is usually the one which is fastest to take if you really want to. But I doubt this is a good strategy unless all, or most, cards are actually good. I usually end up keeping 5 cards, plus or minus 2. Out of approximately 100 plays, I think I kept 2 cards only once, while keeping 10 cards several times.

Of course, this is much player preference. I am sure this choice of starting cards is a pretty important decision in the long run. It is important to get going from the start, kick-start the engine, so to speak. But in the late game, it is not unusual to have resources but no cards to play. That's another ditch you don't want to end up in.
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Love Nilsson
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mvettemagred wrote:
If the above is true, that seems like a huge advantage for a Beginner Corporation player who is playing against an experienced player with a regular corporation card.


It is so. Beginner corps have an advantage, but not an unfair one as long as they are played by beginners. Played by an experienced player, they are likely to win.

mvettemagred wrote:
... is it not advisable to combine Beginner Corporation players with normal corporation players?


Players playing their first game with Beginner Corp against normal corporation players is fine. I'd say even up to having only played a few games (2-3) is ok. Once i've seen a first-time player with Beginner Corp beat experienced players. Occurs more often if they've played before.

I don't mind new players having an advantage, it means they keep playing the game and that's a good thing.
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Enoch Fryxelius
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Of course it depends of the length of the game, more precisely on the number of rounds. Playing the basic game with 5 players and no expansions Mars is terraformed in perhaps only 6 rounds (!). In that case it's really good to start with cards for free and a lot of money!

But if you are playing expansions (like CE or the other ones we are developing) and/or fewer players (for example 2!) the game could sometimes last for 20 rounds or more, and that is a looong time to take advantage of your corporation's special ability and find some cool combos.

I agree with Love though - let beginners play Beginner's Corps, that is what they are made for. If it's the first time you play it's much easier to get your 10 first cards without having to make any decisions on which to keep.

It works perfect to mix beginner corps with normal corps. While the experienced players choose their cards and corps, the new ones can just look through their hand and try to understand how their cards work.


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Moglok TheFroglok
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This confused me, because the manual states (more than once) that you skip a research stage in the first generation, which had me assuming that the beginner corporations benefit must be gained in generation 2 during the first research stage.

So that initial draw of 10 cards for each player was being thought of as separate to a 'research phase.'

The corporation card should either state that its benefit occurs during the setup phase, or the setup section of the game manual needs to state that the card draw is the first research phase.
 
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Sonny A.
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As I understand it, you're not allowed to look at your hand before deciding to play beginner or regular corps. That decision must be made before you know whether or not it's an advantage to keep 10 cards "for free".
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Jens Hoppe
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Moglok wrote:
The corporation card should either state that its benefit occurs during the setup phase, or the setup section of the game manual needs to state that the card draw is the first research phase.

Ahem, step 5 in the setup instructions (page 7 in the rules):

Quote:
5) Corporation cards: Players new to
Terraforming Mars each get a Beginner Corporation
card (colorless card back) and follow its instruction
to get 42 MegaCredits and draw 10 project cards to
form their starting hand.
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Örjan Almén
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Moglok wrote:
This confused me, because the manual states (more than once) that you skip a research stage in the first generation, which had me assuming that the beginner corporations benefit must be gained in generation 2 during the first research stage.

So that initial draw of 10 cards for each player was being thought of as separate to a 'research phase.'

The corporation card should either state that its benefit occurs during the setup phase, or the setup section of the game manual needs to state that the card draw is the first research phase.


The manual states: (page 7, point 8) "The first generation starts without a player order phase and without a research phase (since you just performed those phases during setup), so the first player just starts the action phase"

So the manual does state that the setup does perform the first research phase.
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LoveNson wrote:
Beginner corps have an advantage, but not an unfair one as long as they are played by beginners. Played by an experienced player, they are likely to win.
I'm not sure about that.
If that was the case, experienced players would always choose to play a beginner corp (assuming they're given the choice). Imho, that's not the case.

I usually prefer playing a normal corp as it's more beneficial to have a corp ability and cards that synergize with it than just having more cards. Of course you could be unlucky and don't get any cards that support your corp's strengths, but in my exerience this is rare.

With a beginner's corp you're hoping for many generally useful cards in your starting hands, but there's no way to influence that in any way. The only advantage an experienced player has over a beginner is a better understanding about which cards are truly great and when it's best to play them.

So, to summarize, I believe the beginner corps are no better or worse for experienced players, either.
 
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Chris Hall
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Wait, so a beginner corp doesn't have to decide which of the ten cards they want to keep and then pay 3MC per card?

We've only played once but this is what we did
 
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AJ Cooper
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EagleEye80 wrote:
But if you are playing expansions (like CE or the other ones we are developing) and/or fewer players (for example 2!) the game could sometimes last for 20 rounds or more, and that is a looong time to take advantage of your corporation's special ability and find some cool combos.

Wait, what? Do you mean 20 generations? Or 20 rounds in one generation? Neither of those is really believable from my experience. OK, 20 rounds maybe if people are selling cards one at a time. Perhaps 20 was a typo?

Lord_Aethan wrote:
But in the late game, it is not unusual to have resources but no cards to play. That's another ditch you don't want to end up in.

True, but this is difficult. Many cards are not worth playing near game end, such as production increases, bumps to parameters already maxed, most microbes, etc. Comparatively few cards pay primarily VP, which is what is wanted near game end. And even those have to compete with standard action cities and greeneries, which can pay a fair amount of VP.
 
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Örjan Almén
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chrishall20 wrote:
Wait, so a beginner corp doesn't have to decide which of the ten cards they want to keep and then pay 3MC per card?

We've only played once but this is what we did


No, they just get them for free. That is so the beginners have a little more time to read the cards and don't have to spend a lot of time choosing at start.

At all other research phases everyone get four cards and pay 3 M€ for each card they want to keep.
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Sonny A.
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chrishall20 wrote:
Wait, so a beginner corp doesn't have to decide which of the ten cards they want to keep and then pay 3MC per card?

We've only played once but this is what we did


Correct. You played it wrong. They're all free, giving Beginner Corp a comparative starting wad of cash of 72 megacredits.
 
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Chris Hall
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chrishall20 wrote:
Wait, so a beginner corp doesn't have to decide which of the ten cards they want to keep and then pay 3MC per card?

We've only played once but this is what we did


orjanalmen wrote:
No, they just get them for free. That is so the beginners have a little more time to read the cards and don't have to spend a lot of time choosing at start.

At all other research phases everyone get four cards and pay 3 M€ for each card they want to keep.


SonnyDK wrote:
Correct. You played it wrong. They're all free, giving Beginner Corp a comparative starting wad of cash of 72 megacredits.


Ok thanks folks, I don't think this massively changes the game though does it, just puts us onto a slower start.
 
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Christian Gienger
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chrishall20 wrote:
chrishall20 wrote:
Wait, so a beginner corp doesn't have to decide which of the ten cards they want to keep and then pay 3MC per card?

We've only played once but this is what we did


orjanalmen wrote:
No, they just get them for free. That is so the beginners have a little more time to read the cards and don't have to spend a lot of time choosing at start.

At all other research phases everyone get four cards and pay 3 M€ for each card they want to keep.


SonnyDK wrote:
Correct. You played it wrong. They're all free, giving Beginner Corp a comparative starting wad of cash of 72 megacredits.


Ok thanks folks, I don't think this massively changes the game though does it, just puts us onto a slower start.


If you all played with beginner corps, it helps those with a cheap long term favourable card. If anyone used a normal corp, that one had a big advantage.
 
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