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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: App for player boards? rss

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Garet Qualls
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Wonder if someone might be able to produce a basic app or website where you could replace the player boards and just have an iPad sitting in front of you instead? Game is great, but the player boards are tedious and easy to upset.
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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I have been thinking about making an official one. However, as for now, I don't see enough demand for it. And there are a number of problems with an app:
1. Either you have all players' parameters on the same device. Then it gets hard for everyone to see their own production, and changing your own production means stretching over the table to reach the iPad, alternatively having one player constantly managing the device. I can't see how this would be any smoother than the actual player boards.
2. Or, you have an iPad for your own parameters, in which case every player would need to have one by their side, it would be harder to keep track of other players' production numbers, and it would take a LOT of space (this game doesn't need to be bigger!).
3. Touch screens are also prone to unwanted clicks. Just when you're moving it over to your side, you accidentally click a button that raises another parameter, and since you're just moving it, you won't be paying attention to what has happened. Once again, I can't really see how this would be better than the actual boards.

I am indeed biased, but I've been playing this game well over 100 times, and only once or twice had to worry about a cube being bumped, and every time it has happened, it has been easy to track where it was (for example, if you have 3 energy, and haven't spent any this generation, that track should be at 3.)

But are there more people who would like such an app or web interface?
What functions would you have it include?
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Donald Cleary
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Magnetic boards makes more sense than an app for one or all players. In the USA you can get 5 Avery magnetic sheets for about $10. Just trim a strip off one side to get your moveable pieces. You only need about 15 or so to account for 10's and sometimes 20's of things.

This is certainly cheaper than the laser cut frames now being offered, which are way too much. Eclipse had cheaper frames, if my memory holds true.
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John Burt
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Lord_Aethan wrote:
I have been thinking about making an official one. However, as for now, I don't see enough demand for it. And there are a number of problems with an app:
1. Either you have all players' parameters on the same device. Then it gets hard for everyone to see their own production, and changing your own production means stretching over the table to reach the iPad, alternatively having one player constantly managing the device. I can't see how this would be any smoother than the actual player boards.
2. Or, you have an iPad for your own parameters, in which case every player would need to have one by their side, it would be harder to keep track of other players' production numbers, and it would take a LOT of space (this game doesn't need to be bigger!).
3. Touch screens are also prone to unwanted clicks. Just when you're moving it over to your side, you accidentally click a button that raises another parameter, and since you're just moving it, you won't be paying attention to what has happened. Once again, I can't really see how this would be better than the actual boards.

I am indeed biased, but I've been playing this game well over 100 times, and only once or twice had to worry about a cube being bumped, and every time it has happened, it has been easy to track where it was (for example, if you have 3 energy, and haven't spent any this generation, that track should be at 3.)

But are there more people who would like such an app or web interface?
What functions would you have it include?


Actually I think this is a good idea. Here's how I'd do it:

First off, players don't need an iPad - just a smartphone, which most people own.

The app would be networked, allowing all players to view other player's boards and also allowing interactive effects to instantly impact other players.

When players play a card, enter the card number to instantly apply its particular effect. If the effect requires external info, such as board state, then the app asks for that info.

The app automatically tracks O2, ocean and temp levels, and resources on cards.

You can execute card actions and pay for green tiles and temp increase w/ player board resources, and the app updates the virtual board.

Players can press a pass button, and when all players press pass, the app automatically does a production phase and advances to the next generation.


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Jonathan Fryxelius
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Then you are basically suggesting making a digital version of the game

I don't think people in general would like to type each card number into a smartphone, unless it was needed for the gameplay. And making it a networking app requires a whole lot more work, and is bound to have other problems like connection issues, version inconsistencies and so on. As I see it, there are three different versions;

1. Have a smartphone app. The screen is too small for placing cubes on, so it would then only handle the parameters with simple +1 and -1 buttons for each resource.
2. Have a tablet app. This would go instead of the player board on the table, and players collect cubes physically on top of it. Only the parameter cubes are virtualized so that they cannot be bumped.
3. Make the entire resource management digital. This is similar to 2, but you also keep track of the resources digitally. That is, you don't really use the resource cubes, except on special cards. This is way trickier, since you would have to implement a really smooth interface that lets you quickly and without any precision movements select the number of resources for a certain kind to add or remove. I do believe this would be much fiddlier than the actual board. On the other hand, the entire production phase could be automated.
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John Burt
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Quote:
Then you are basically suggesting making a digital version of the game


Hey, that's an even better idea!

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Léo Chabanne
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Grenoble
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Even if the idea of an app to track everything is appealing, I only think it will work for solo play..
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Matt Smith
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Troy
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BigD145 wrote:
Magnetic boards makes more sense than an app for one or all players. In the USA you can get 5 Avery magnetic sheets for about $10. Just trim a strip off one side to get your moveable pieces. You only need about 15 or so to account for 10's and sometimes 20's of things.

This is certainly cheaper than the laser cut frames now being offered, which are way too much. Eclipse had cheaper frames, if my memory holds true.

I just received the laser cut frames from Boardgameboost, and they are totally worth the price. The player board fits perfectly between a wooden backing board and the acrylic overlay, which locks to the wood board. The player cubes fit snugly into the cutouts. These overlays will really enhance my plays of TM.
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Pete S
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mvettemagred wrote:
I just received the laser cut frames from Boardgameboost, and they are totally worth the price. The player board fits perfectly between a wooden backing board and the acrylic overlay, which locks to the wood board. The player cubes fit snugly into the cutouts. These overlays will really enhance my plays of TM.
Thank you, Matt! So glad you're happy with them!
 
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Sergio Perez
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Terrell
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I saw an image of a quick, easy fix that I like. Different colored dice for each player, posted by:

Jarmo Niinisalo
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Mechanics over theme. Abstraction over simulation. Tactics over strategy. Learning over victory.
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Mike Paolini
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Austin
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Love it.
 
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Steve Hunnicutt
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Maryland
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I'm a little hesitant to post this, but I've been working on a web app to track resources, and my friends and I have been using it while we play. Please be kind. :-)

If you'd like to try it out, the URL is stevehunnicutt99.github.io/mars-app.

I've been designing it for the devices I have, which is an iPhone 6 and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, although there is a layout for the regular iPad screen. It's built to exploit the increased screen real estate when you save the link to your iOS device's home screen. I don't know how that behaves on Android. Of course, it will work on a desktop-class browser.

It tracks resources, resource production, terraforming rating, and generation. It calculates your income for each new generation with the press of a button.

When using a tablet, desktop, or phone in the landscape orientation, there is no obvious button to spend or gain resources. Tap on the resource amount display to pull up the screen to gain or spend resources.

The app was made in Hype, which is an HTML authoring tool for Mac OS X. (I can code HTML and CSS, but Hype makes it so easy that I like to use it for prototyping.)

I've started thinking of a server-side connection, that would manage multiple players and allow you to see everyone else's resources and production, but that's not coming soon.
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Jasper Kamp
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The app works fine on my android phone. Just the page is slightly too wide, but not so much you need to scroll sideways. You could fix this by using percentages for your widths instead of pixels.
 
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Marc Espie
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it would actually be fairly practical for solo play.
 
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Cosme Benito
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I honestly think the multiplayer experience would be worse with an app and I think it would only be viable with 1 device per player. It could be okay for the solo experience but not for me.
 
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