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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Playing with 5 - those who voted in Community "best with" rss

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M.C.Crispy
United Kingdom
Basingstoke
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I'd be interested to hear from those amongst us who voted for the 5 player count in the community poll. Could you expand on why you voted the way you did?

I have a permanent group of 5 players who meet every Friday for 3-4 hours. There's a real dearth of games that are really strong at a player count of 5 (I don't need suggestions thanks) and I wondered whether this one is going to work for us. So knowing why folk voted "for" or "against" the 5P experience would be helpful. Frankly, if it's just playing time that prevents a "great" recommendation, I couldn't care less as playing time is seldom the issue with my group (unless it runs past 4 hours).
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Örjan Almén
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I haven't seen any issues at all with a 5 player game. There might be a little more downtime between turns on 5 players that don't occur as much on 4 player, as you still need time to prepare for your next turn. The downtime also depends a lot on if users do one action turns or two action turns of course. In a group where most do one action turns, the downtime would be smaller.

My experience is that the game itself will often be a little shorter with 5 players than with 4 as there are more resources to pay for the global parameters to advance.
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Matthieu Fontaines
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orjanalmen wrote:


My experience is that the game itself will often be a little shorter with 5 players than with 4 as there are more resources to pay for the global parameters to advance.


and intuitively, you have more time between two round to think to your next actions :)
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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OK, so there are some differences between 2p and 5p;
1) The same total amount of terraforming will be done, which means that in a 5p game, each player will do a smaller part of this.
PRO: More tense race for the points.
CON: Less developed engines.

2) Because there are much more total starting resources with 5p than 2p, the game will actually end in less generations.
PRO: Game time is not longer with 5p, rather to the contrary. Less potential for snowball effects.
CON: Less developed engines.

3) With 5 players, it sometimes happen that you'll have to reshuffle the draw deck once it gets depleted. This very seldom happens with 2 players. This has both positive and negative effects, but players should be aware that some discarded cards might just reappear later in a 5p game.

4) With 5 players, up to 8 actions can be performed between 2 of your own turns, as opposed to only 2 in a 2p game.
PRO: Much more tense game, where the race for milestones, awards, tile placement and synergetic cards affecting all players become more interesting.
CON: A little harder to plan ahead, because too much can happen until you can respond. When waiting for a requirement, this is good. When being restricted by a requirement, this is bad.

5) Downtime. AP players will affect downtime regardless of player counts, so I will not consider this. Between turns, there is not much downtime, not even in 5p games. However, if you are the first one to pass a generation, you might have to wait a lot longer for the end of the generation in a 5p game than in a 2p game.

6) Competition on the Map. More players competing for spots on the map is only a benefit, at least according to me.
PRO: More interesting situations, tougher placement choices, strategy in order and timing of tile placement.
CON: none

7) End game condition. In a 2 player game, I feel there is a slightly higher risk of both players stalling the game and not wanting to end it. This is OK if both players are enjoying their time, of course. In a 5 player game, someone would probably end the game anyway.

My verdict: I like all player counts, including solo. I would just as happily play 5p as 2p for the sake of the game stability, balance, and fun. However, I like to involve more players and let more people join in the fun, so I lean towards 5p games. When I have the table space for it . So don't get discouraged.
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M.C.Crispy
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Thanks Jonathan. So from my point of view it sounds as though the 5P is a little more tactical and a little less strategic than the 3/4 player game, with a little less value in trying to build an engine 'cos it won't run for long. That might work with my group.

Did you test at 6 player? If you did, did the exaggeration of the effects you describe cause the game to collapse completely?

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Örjan Almén
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I did a test run at 6 persons the other day (we just made up player cubes and mat for the sixth with some other markers), it went really good, except for the terraformer milestone which was too high in comparison to the others. a litle bit longer downtime between turns, but the game itself evolved as any other game I've played. I think the terraformer milestone should been lowered to 30 to be up to the player count to be able to reach within time.
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Jorik
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thanks for this thread, as my group is often 5 as well and we "suffer" from the same challenge as the OP to find Euro games that play well with 5.
the more tactical nature of the 5player game vs lower player counts might be a problem for some though. (not for me)
 
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Matt Smith
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Troy
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mccrispy wrote:
Thanks Jonathan. So from my point of view it sounds as though the 5P is a little more tactical and a little less strategic than the 3/4 player game, with a little less value in trying to build an engine 'cos it won't run for long. That might work with my group.

I wouldn't say engine building is less important with more players. Specializing in some aspect of the game (plants, steel, titanium, energy) early will still provide you a focus in your card purchases. You just won't be able to ride that engine quite as long, so you'll need to assess when to shift focus. This is true at any player count, the only thing that changes in how quickly you'll need to adjust, and how many different engines you can develop simultaneously. With 5p you'll have less generations in which to build multiple engines, so pick a horse and ride it for a few generations until you see the need to switch it up.

For example, in my last 5p game the mining guild player focused hard on increasing his steel production and generating lots of heat. But other players were also raising the temperature, so pretty soon he had lots of heat he couldn't use. He also pushed his steel production too high, resulting in having more steel than he could spend on building projects. So he needed to incorporate another engine into his strategy by mid-game, but didn't recognize that until it was too late (it was his first play of the game).
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