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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Terraforming Mars: Basic vs Adanced Corporations? rss

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Brendon Faithfull
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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Hey so I played my first game of TM today and my wife and I decided to throw caution to the wind and picked advanced corps knowing that we might lose as a result. The person who was teaching the game picked an advanced corp as well leaving the slightly more green to board games player with the beginner corp.

The beginner corp SMOKED us, and when I had finally played the game and compared the beginner corp to the advanced corps I couldn't possibly fathom a time when I'd pick an advanced one ever again. 42 ME start, 1 production on each, and you don't have to pay for your starting cards!?

There's no way that's balanced, is it? I was expecting the beginner corp to just be easier to execute, but not objectively better, but I can't see a way in which that's not the case here. Is this the way its intended to be? I feel like just the ability to not pay for your starting cards is enough to be on par with the advanced variants much less having a 42 ME start and +1 production to everything.

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Jacob Walker
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I don't have the rulebook or corporations in front of me, but is the +1 production to everything unique to the beginner corporation? I've never played without the expansion cards, but I was under the impression that in the "basic" game, every player starts with one production in everything.

My general impression of the beginner corporations is that they are probably vastly under powered in comparison to their advanced counterparts. Sure they start with a lot of money and a lot of cards they don't have to pay for, but that doesn't mean the cards will work well together, at which point the dead weight cards are basically just a credit a piece. The advanced corporations all have benefits throughout the game, instead of a very slightly accelerated start.
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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The 1 production per resource is NOT linked to the Beginner Corporation, but to the STANDARD GAME. In every game, either all players have it or none. The Beginner Corporation has the advantage of starting with lots of money and not having to choose which cards to keep. That's it.
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Love Nilsson
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Trelleborg
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Either you play a basic game where everyone gets +1 production of all resources at start, or you include Corporate Era in which case no one does.

Edit: Yes, Jonathan has it right.
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Jacob Fryxelius
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About balance.

It seems that the huge different in your game was due to the incorrect starting production, like others said here.
Even without starting production though, the Beginner Corporations ARE a still little bit better than the 12 standard corporations, getting those 10 cards pretty cheap. This is designed so that new players can easily get into the game and play on par with the standard corporations. Once you know the game, you'll want to play the standard corporations, because they are simply more fun to play.
The main balance difference is that the Beginner Corporations are more luck-prone since the 10 cards might be great to start with (decidedly better than a standard corporation) or lack synergy or early-game use (worse than a standard corp).
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Matt Smith
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Orion
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I also suspect some knowledge of the game and project cards is needed to take full advantage of the non-beginner Corporation cards. That's why new players shouldn't take a non-beginner Corporation, as they may be getting a Corporation power that they don't know how to leverage properly.
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Kevin Tierney
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I also think drafting the 4 cards each round should be done if you play w/ the corp cards. (Actually, drafting should be done in every game (except maybe the first one) just because it makes the game more fun.)

In our first game using corps, we did not draft and half the players got unlucky draws and saw very few cards that synergized with their corp's ability.

For a specific example, the 4th place player had the media corp that got a kickback from one-time event cards, but the entire game only drew 2 (very expensive, titanium-based) one-time events that she couldn't afford to play til late in the game.

I'm not saying the corp was unbalanced -- she still had the bonus steel at the start of the game, but that was spent in the first 2 or 3 rounds, so most of the game she got very little use out of her corp's ongoing ability. Her neighbors had corps with ongoing abilities like "spend heat as money" and "green zones cost one less" that got used much more during the game, and you could see her getting a bit frustrated every time she got dealt another 4 cards w/ no events.
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Brendon Faithfull
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Thank you and everyone else for the response. I'll have to give the game another whirl. I don't mind losing to beginner corps, as I said we expected it picking standard from the start, but the disparity was very jarring. I'm glad to see that a rules error was the cause of at least a majority of the points difference.
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