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Subject: Moving to Mars - A Terraforming Mars Review rss

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Eric Gergotz
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Disclaimer
Hello, BGG! Just to warn everyone upfront, I decided to do this review a little differently than I've seen on here before. I tried to write this as though you are reading my thought process as I take a look at things. Therefore, you will not be able to find out how to play this game completely from this review, nor will you know every little thing that comes in the box.

I wanted to write this so you all can see how it feels to play this game and to understand the experience rather than just get a boring overview of a product.

Please leave any comments or criticisms if you feel inclined as I would love to keep writing reviews in this style. I would like to see if this style helps other BGG users make informative decisions as well and if you would be interested in more reviews like this. Thank you in advance!


Introduction
Terraforming Mars, huh? Sounds interesting. I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about this one lately. Not like some other games, but lots of good things. Oh well, let me try this out.

Artwork/Components
Well now, that box cover looks interesting. Gives me a sort of retro feel, but futuristic as well. Screams a little bit of science fiction, but grounded in reality. Let’s pop it open and see what we got inside.

Holy crap! There’s a lot of stuff inside here! But hey, wait...this insert is totally damaged. Man, this feels really flimsy. I should probably take it out. Wait, this box feels really flimsy, too. I don’t think it would stand a good chance without it, though. It barely feels like it’s holding up in my hands as it is!

This board looks interesting. A little bland at first, but it has a clean feel to it. It’s not very flashy. I see a bunch of text and symbols on it, but it looks simple. The hexagonal spaces make it seem like my thoughts on the board will change as we play.

Let’s try the components. Wow, there are a lot of cubes! Ooh, I’ve got 5 different types of see-through colored cubes like Pandemic and some gold, silver, and bronze cubes of different sizes. Shiny! They all look a bit chipped here and there, though. What else do we have?

Looks like a bunch of cards. Hmm, cardstock feels a little flimsy. Oh well, I was gonna sleeve it anyway. Geez, that’s a big pile of cards now. Welp, that’s gonna be fun to shuffle! At least they look intuitive. I see lots of symbols on them, but hey, there’s text that explains the symbols too. That’s a nice addition! But I have to say, this artwork is a little weird. Some cards are illustrated. Some look like stock photos. It’s a weird mix, but I’m kind of into it.

Man, there’s still more. Looks like I’ve got some player sheets. These feel flimsy, too. I might have to laminate these. I foresee spills or tears happening in the future. Better safe than sorry!

We’ve also got a bunch of tiles. They chip easily. I just pulled them out of the bag they were stored in and there’s white on the corners already. No useful information is missing because of that, though. Anything else here?

Finally, a rulebook! This paper feels a little flimsy as well. Let’s take a look at it. Well, everything looks pretty straightforward. I’m done reading it, but don’t feel like I have any major questions at the moment besides the fact that there are multiple copies of pages here. Looks like someone didn’t QC! But at least it seems like it’ll be easy to find answers while I’m playing, though.

So it looks like I’ve got a game with some poor quality components, but some interesting artwork that’s a little hit or miss. Now that that’s all over, I can finally start playing!

Setup/Gameplay
You know something? For all those components, there wasn’t really a lot of setup involved. I got most of the components placed in piles around the board. I got some cubes on the tracks as needed. I got my player mat set up as necessary. Looks like I’m good to go!

Ok, so, I’ve played this multiple times already. The beginner corporations were good to learn the game with, but I kinda like having a little bit of a set strategy from the start. Let’s use the regular corporations! Hmm, each corporation seems to rely on one form of production at the start. Ok, good to know how much money I start with and what I should be trying to do at the beginning!

Now, I’ve got 10 cards dealt to me. I have to buy the ones I want for 3 Mega Credits (money) each. But wait, to play them I also need to spend the amount of money listed on the top left of the card. Guess I’ll have to figure out if I want to spend all my money on buying cards now or building myself up for later.

Geez, that was tough decision, but I made it through. Let’s hope I can get something good going now. So now we go around the table taking one or two actions, and then moving on to the next player until everyone passes. Once I pass, I’m done for the round. Wait, why would I only do one action instead of two if I can? Oh, someone just played a card that let them put a tile on the board. Wait, now if I play this card, I actually get a better bonus than I would have before. Maybe I should wait and see if someone else will help me. But wait, that’s the only action I have left to do. Should I pass now or just go for it? Oh well, here goes nothing!

Ok, the round’s finally over. This time I get some more resources than the last round because of the cards and actions I’ve played. My money has gone up a bit more because I was able to put some water tiles down as well as some greenery tiles. I even managed to raise the temperature! Just one step closer to the end of the game! We all get four new cards and we decide to draft them this game instead of having to choose from the four I just got. Do I pick this one to help me or pick this one to screw over the next person? And I still have to pay 3 Mega Credits to buy this even after I drafted? More tough decisions! I hope I’m making the right choices!

Fast forward to later on in the game. It’s the final round. Why? All the water tiles are on the board. The oxygen track is at its maximum and the temperature is also at the maximum. I managed to increase my score to decent amount. I was able to achieve a milestone before they ran out so I’ll get some extra points at the end and I might be able to win the award someone else funded for more points! I’ve also got a good number of greenery tiles on the board for a bonus point each and a couple cities surrounded by greenery, which will give me even more points! Ok, let’s see how it goes!

Darn, I lost by a couple points. Maybe if I would’ve not done this during Round 2 an hour ago, that might’ve been a game changer. Wait, an hour ago? How long have we been playing? 2 HOURS???? It didn’t feel like that at all! Hmm, I want to play that again. Maybe not tonight, but soon. Maybe next time we’ll add in the Corporate Era cards. Maybe next time I’ll have a different corporation to start with. Maybe next time I’ll have a completely different strategy…

Final Thoughts
Terraforming Mars is a fun game. Period. While the component quality is a little lacking, the gameplay is stellar (or is it interstellar?). I’m usually not a fan of games that take two hours to play, but this goes by extremely fast once you grasp the mechanics and scoring. Probably after 3 rounds or so.

I have a hard time finding any other flaws in the game beside the component quality, honestly. The only other things I can think of are how the time to play does not scale depending on the number of players and how randomness concerning card drawing will take effect. The game will always take 90 to 120 minutes to play no matter what and sometimes you will just get stuck with bad cards in your hand. This is why I prefer the drafting variant because it helps mitigate the luck factor while also adding a bit of strategy.

The rules are easy to explain for those new to the game and there are many ways to adjust the entry into the game such as the starter corporations and the exclusion of the Corporate Era cards. It plays fast. A lot of the cards make sense because of the requirements. Everything in this game just makes sense. There’s nothing revolutionary about the design or anything, but sometimes, just having a polished product is the way to go.

For the $70 price tag, I would have to advise a little caution, though, as that is a good chunk of change. It’s definitely something you should try before you buy. Personally, I got this game for $55 (after tax) at my FLGS (rewards program) and after playing the full game once (before buying), I am happy with that price. I know online is even cheaper than that, so obviously, that would be the best deal.

Also, I am a chronic sleever, so that added another $15 or so for the 230-some cards to the price (remember I bought it in store). If you are someone who sleeves to avoid having hidden information stay that way, I don’t think you’ll find sleeving this game worth it. There are so many different cards that getting one marked isn’t a big deal at all. And honestly, sleeving this makes the draw pile a little unwieldy when you add all the cards. It’s never too difficult to shuffle the cards with sleeves, but you may have to do some extra shuffling to get a good random mix of cards.

No matter what though, I think this product is worth the money. Any time I can pull out a game multiple times a week with no complaints from anyone, I believe that is a winner.

If I were to judge this game based solely on gameplay, it would be a solid 9, but because of the component quality, the overall product is an 8 based on the BGG scale.

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Brad Keusch
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Ann Arbor
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Oh man, I can't imagine sleeving this game. SO MANY CARDS
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Örjan Almén
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anatana wrote:
Oh man, I can't imagine sleeving this game. SO MANY CARDS

Nah, it's not a big deal, I sleeved two copies (=472 cards) in less than an hour. boring, sure, but no big deal. I find it worth the job!
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Love Nilsson
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Interesting and enjoyable review. thumbsup

Sleeving this, which to me was a must, I had help from two veteran Magic-players. Them boys can sleeve.
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Örjan Almén
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Yeah, the review was really great! I like it very much. For me, I can't find the issues with the components that so many have. Sure, the sliding cubes can be disturbing, but otherwise I think the things are fine.
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Antonello Piemonte
Germany
munich
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Thanks for the review!

Sychosymatic wrote:


Final Thoughts
Terraforming Mars is a fun game. Period. While the component quality is a little lacking, the gameplay is stellar (or is it interstellar?).


I would settle for inter-planetary?

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CARL SKUTSCH
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New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Good review. Except for the part about sleeving. Never sleeve!!!
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Eric Gergotz
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orjanalmen wrote:
Yeah, the review was really great! I like it very much. For me, I can't find the issues with the components that so many have. Sure, the sliding cubes can be disturbing, but otherwise I think the things are fine.


I think maybe I have overblown my thoughts on the components. I don't find them terrible, but just a little extra could've gone a long way. Like, maybe if the tiles were more like the ones in Quadropolis, it would be amazing.

The components aren't terrible, just a little lacking. But not lacking so much that they damper the game because of them.

EDIT: I also decided to purchase the player boards from Board Game Innovation, so I believe my issues with cubes sliding will be nullified because of that. Didn't mind the price either as I've spent a lot more on sleeving in the past. But any way to make a game more accessible is good for me!
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Scott Sexton
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anatana wrote:
Oh man, I can't imagine sleeving this game. SO MANY CARDS


Never played a Legendary Encounters game have you?

I'll agree that sleeving is pretty much a must. Black borders + heavy amount of shuffling means sleeving is a must.
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Matt Smith
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scottatlaw wrote:
anatana wrote:
Oh man, I can't imagine sleeving this game. SO MANY CARDS


Never played a Legendary Encounters game have you?

I'll agree that sleeving is pretty much a must. Black borders + heavy amount of shuffling means sleeving is a must.

I'm still on the fence about sleeving this game. While the black-bordered cards scream for sleeves, there isn't any in-game shuffling, and the sleeved deck would be too tall to stand on its own. So a careful shuffle before each play starts is the only wear and tear the cards should see.

To sleeve or not to sleeve...
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Eric Gergotz
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mvettemagred wrote:
scottatlaw wrote:
anatana wrote:
Oh man, I can't imagine sleeving this game. SO MANY CARDS


Never played a Legendary Encounters game have you?

I'll agree that sleeving is pretty much a must. Black borders + heavy amount of shuffling means sleeving is a must.

I'm still on the fence about sleeving this game. While the black-bordered cards scream for sleeves, there isn't any in-game shuffling, and the sleeved deck would be too tall to stand on its own. So a careful shuffle before each play starts is the only wear and tear the cards should see.

To sleeve or not to sleeve...


Just to let you know, I have my copy sleeves with Fantasy Flight sleeves and after shuffling, the pile really doesn't topple over at all. It's quite sturdy.
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Joe Maiz
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sleeves: what size?

 
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Marius Friedrichs
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Great review!

Striker511 wrote:
sleeves: what size?


I only use FFG sleeves and it uses the gray ones, "standard card game" I believe they are called. You can find alternatives on this fantastic geek list: card sleeve sizes for games
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Chris Smith
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Just a little feedback on your review style. If you take out the first person narrative it is still a regular review of components and game play. I found it a little hard to read comfortably and it felt a bit clunky. By comparison your final thoughts read very well.

Anyway it's just my opinion and you asked for those. Certainly my writing style isn't up to the level of writing reviews! Final thought, maybe if the review read more like a story than a stream of consciousness it might have worked for me.....
 
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