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Subject: Concerned about the "take that" element rss

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Trey Chambers
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So far, the only negative thing I hear about the game is that some of the cards have a "take that" element.

I like direct confrontation in hybrids and wargames, but I abhor direct "attacks" in pure Euros, as this seems to be. So my questions are:

How harsh are the attacks?
How common are the attacks?
Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?
Can they be used to kingmake?
Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?

Totally unrelated bonus question, did the Kickstarter version have extra content or just upgraded components?
 
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Michael Denman
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Most of your answers are here :

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1643368/red-cards-how-m...

I don’t know what you mean about Kickstarter. Stronghold rarely uses KS. there was a promo card given out to people buying at a physical store, but that's the only variation I know of.
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John Burt
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>How harsh are the attacks?
Most are not too bad, but they can hurt.


>How common are the attacks?
I think they are something like 10% or less of the deck?

>Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?
Yes

>Can they be used to kingmake?
Yes

>Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?
Not that I'm aware of. Most of the attacks say something like, "remove up to X plants from any player", meaning that you can play the card for the effect but not attack anyone. However, those cards are expensive, so practically, you would probably not play them.

We never attack when we play. So far, I've left the attack cards in, and it hasn't hurt the game. I figure there might be a time when it makes sense to drop an asteroid for other reasons.
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Sam Carroll
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Quote:
How harsh are the attacks?


The attacks are not at all harsh. Most commonly they remove plant resources or production from another player; I think it would be unlikely for an attack to set you back by more than one turn in one area of your strategy.

Quote:
How common are the attacks?

In the base game, 11 out of 137 cards have an attack dealing with plants; there are a couple more attacks dealing with other resources such as energy, heat, or esoteric resources like animals. Almost all such cards have positive effects for the player in addition to their attacks, so you're not JUST buying it to attack somebody.

Adding in the Corporate Era cards, the percentage of plant-attacking cards goes down somewhat, but I think a few other types of attack cards are added in. All in all, though, I think there's a slightly lower percentage of attack cards when playing with CE.

Quote:
Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?


Only to a very limited extent. If a player is well out in front, they will probably not be reined in by attacks.

Quote:
Can they be used to kingmake?

Very unlikely!

Quote:
Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?


Yes, it would throw off the strategic balance. For example, most of the plant-attacking cards are space cards (crashing a comet into the planet etc.) Removing these would not only strengthen a plant-centric strategy but weaken a strategy based on titanium production and space cards.

I should note that most of the attacks (any that do not affect production) are technically optional. You could choose to play those cards and not carry out the attack effects; that wouldn't change the game that much. If you did this consistently, you might want to remove the one card (I think it's called "Protected Habitat") that protects against attacks, as it would be nearly useless.
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Sam Carroll
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Here's a few relevant quotes for you:

smarano wrote:
Just for the heck of it, I went through the deck of standard and corporate era cards. Looks like about 25 of the 140 or so cards give the player the option of attacking another. But the vast majority appear to do relatively modest damage. In my opinion, there are only six cards that one might want to house rule if he/she prefers a less aggressive game, and they are all event (red) cards. Here's what I might try if we decide we want to try a 'friendlier' game:
- Three asteroid event cards (all from standard game): Giant Ice, Big, and Deimos Down. All three are expensive (averaging about 30 ME's). For these we might all agree simply not to execute the attack portion of the card, but perform all the other actions on them.
- Three 'attack only' cards (Virus, Hired Raiders, Sabotage): They are very cheap (1 ME each). And they are all from the Corporate Era deck. For these, we might agree to omit them from the game.

That's about it!


Trump wrote:
I have a fairly low tolerance for "take that" in my games, and I don't have any problem with the amount that there is in Terraforming Mars.
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Jesse Rockwell
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The rules state that removing resources is not required. So you don't have to do it. The only thing required are things not in the red boxes. So if you have to lower your production by a certain amount you have to have that much production.
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Nate F
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Shampoo4you wrote:
How harsh are the attacks?

I would say "not very harsh." You lose a few resources (usually plants). The worst attacks will alter production, but I can only think of one card off the top of my head.

Shampoo4you wrote:
How common are the attacks?

Not common at all. You will see maybe one or two attack cards played each generation.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?

Only in very minor ways. I see attacks being levied at "who it hurts most." Like, a card may destroy four plants, but a player will choose to hit someone who actually has 4 plants rather than the leader who only has 1 plant.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Can they be used to kingmake?

I guess they could, but really, the attacks are only set backs. Maybe you get hit at the end after you have any meaningful way to respond, but most of the time, losing a couple plants just delays you putting a tile down rather than preventing it all together.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?

It becomes an almost purely solitaire experience without the attack cards. The only player interaction would come from placement of tiles.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Totally unrelated bonus question, did the Kickstarter version have extra content or just upgraded components?

This game was not Kickstarted. There is 1 (one) promo card that was available to physical shops that ordered a "launch kit" box. There were 5 copies of the game to sell and like 20 of the promo cards, so there are lots of extras floating around. Otherwise, every game box has identical components.
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Sam Carroll
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papagamer72 wrote:
The rules state that removing resources is not required. So you don't have to do it. The only thing required are things not in the red boxes. So if you have to lower your production by a certain amount you have to have that much production.


To clarify here: "remove X resources from any player" effects don't have to be carried out. When you have to spend your own resources (for example, spend 4 energy to produce 1 steel and raise oxygen by one step), you do have to do them.
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Trey Chambers
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Thanks for the replies. It sounds like a tolerable amount of attacks and severity.
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Eric Edens
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What matters more is if you play with the drafting variant that can lead to hate drafting. Also because the board is central to the game and placing tiles in strategic places can be done, you can attack other players by blocking them out, capitalizing on there placement, or other stuff. Additionally you could even hold resources in order to not finish the terraforming of the planet to lengthen the game and hurt other players in that way. To me the idea that some cards allowing you to take some resources from your opponents are just one aspect of how this game can be mean. I wonder if people playing worker placement games see them as unplayable for their meanness. If I take the spot you wanted I "took that". Just my thoughts. I see this game as no meaner than any other euro game. Yes a few cards allow you to destroy resources from an opponent but if all players are aware of it, then it is just an aspect of a great game not an aspect to avoid or keep from playing because of.
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Jeff Noel
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There are some other minor king-makery elements. In particular, there are end game "most of" victory point awards, that players need to invest money in to activate during the course of the game.

I had a game recently where I activated one of these, improving my own standing from 3rd to 2nd, but also causing the player who would have been in 2nd to win, due to a tie on the award. I don't think this is too common though, and whether you regard this as truly problematic king-making is a matter of taste.

That said, I love this game, as does nearly everyone with whom I've played it. Whenever I bring it out at my weekly board game meet-up, there is always a full compliment of five players (if not more) who want to play.
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Örjan Almén
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I would say that king making is not a problem with these cards. Even if you play an attack the very last card in the game, you don't know who is the actual leader. There are quite some points left to hand out in final scoring, maybe as much as one third of all points given. Sure you can keep track of the points players have in their engines, but You probably won't have the time for that, but focus on your own game instead.
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John Burt
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Quote:
I wonder if people playing worker placement games see them as unplayable for their meanness.


My perspective as a low conflict player who loves worker placement: it depends on how the game is played. If players agree to not deliberately block each other, then the game is fine. My wife has zero tolerance for take-that moves, and yet some of her favorite games are WP, including Agricola, because we play that way.

When I research games, the first thing I look for is whether a game can be played without take-that. If it can, then it's worth considering. Terraforming Mars is fine with us, since we just don't use the take that elements.
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Eric Edens
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So you play the game counter to the design at times? Doesn't that make the game unbalanced or too easy or hard for one of the players? Where is the fun if you both know you will always be able to do anything you want? What about if the game hurts you like in Orleans and you draw the plaque event?
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Mc Jarvis
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Thanks for the replies. It sounds like a tolerable amount of attacks and severity.


I suspect this is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I find the attacks distasteful enough that I probably won't revisit the game after my three or so plays. Every single time I've seen an attack played I thought about how archaic this mechanic is and how it otherwise doesn't really fit into the game's mechanics at all. I'm frankly shocked that such a mechanic was left in this game: ostensibly a game about tableau building, engine building, and indirect competition for land space.
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Eric Edens
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McJarvis wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Thanks for the replies. It sounds like a tolerable amount of attacks and severity.


I suspect this is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I find the attacks distasteful enough that I probably won't revisit the game after my three or so plays. Every single time I've seen an attack played I thought about how archaic this mechanic is and how it otherwise doesn't really fit into the game's mechanics at all. I'm frankly shocked that such a mechanic was left in this game: ostensibly a game about tableau building, engine building, and indirect competition for land space.

In defense of the game it is thematic. You are dropping an asteroid ok the planet and it hits the greenery on the planet (taking out some resources) or you can target it to miss them and remove none. Sometimes theme is counter to your thoughts of how the game should work but more in line with how the full game would work "in real life". Do you think adding predatory animals to the planet wouldn't decrease the other wildlife? They eat and they survive and thematically it makes sense. Yes it hurts the other player. But this is a thematic game.
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Roger Brown
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McJarvis wrote:

I suspect this is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I find the attacks distasteful enough that I probably won't revisit the game after my three or so plays. Every single time I've seen an attack played I thought about how archaic this mechanic is and how it otherwise doesn't really fit into the game's mechanics at all. I'm frankly shocked that such a mechanic was left in this game: ostensibly a game about tableau building, engine building, and indirect competition for land space.


Amen, brother!
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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I can think of two reasons they are included.

1. Avoids the game being called multiplayer solitaire
2. Slightly nerfs the already strong plant strategy.

I think you could skip the take that if no one has the Ecoline corporation.
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Max Hansen
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Shampoo4you wrote:
So far, the only negative thing I hear about the game is that some of the cards have a "take that" element.

I like direct confrontation in hybrids and wargames, but I abhor direct "attacks" in pure Euros, as this seems to be. So my questions are:

How harsh are the attacks?
How common are the attacks?
Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?
Can they be used to kingmake?
Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?

Totally unrelated bonus question, did the Kickstarter version have extra content or just upgraded components?


Hi there Trey.
Argent has 'take that" .
This is not even in that league and but I do enjoy both immensely.
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Trey Chambers
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mathewsdad wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
So far, the only negative thing I hear about the game is that some of the cards have a "take that" element.

I like direct confrontation in hybrids and wargames, but I abhor direct "attacks" in pure Euros, as this seems to be. So my questions are:

How harsh are the attacks?
How common are the attacks?
Can the attacks be used to "beat down the leader" by trailing players?
Can they be used to kingmake?
Are there any mechanics that would be harmed or broken by removing attack cards from the deck?

Totally unrelated bonus question, did the Kickstarter version have extra content or just upgraded components?


Hi there Trey.
Argent has 'take that" .
This is not even in that league and but I do enjoy both immensely.


Argent is a Euro/Conflict hybrid. If I'm playing Argent or Chaos in the Old World, I go in expecting Euro mechanics but with a heavy emphasis on direct player conflict.

If I'm playing a pure strategy Euro like Puerto Rico, I don't want someone that has a card that just outright steal goods from me.

Hope that makes sense.
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Matt Smith
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Shampoo4you wrote:
If I'm playing a pure Euro like Puerto Rico, I don't want someone that has a card that just outright steals goods from me.

Hope that makes sense.


I guess that means Terraforming Mars is a euro/thematic hybrid.

In all seriousness, most of the project card effects are closely tied to the theme of that project. They're not just "lose X to gain Y" for no apparent reason. Because of that, the cards that negatively affect resources or production do so for a very realistic (i.e. thematic) reason. And the small percentage of cards that can affect another player do so again for thematic reasons.

So I think the definition of a euro/thematic hybrid needs to be revisited. It's been a long time since I've played a game where my actions were more closely tied to the theme than with Terraforming Mars. The costs, requirements, effects and interaction of the project cards really makes me feel like I'm contributing to terraforming a planet. I consider this game a euro with tight integration of theme and mechanics. That is not true for most euros, which usually have a thin veneer of theme.

So if you don't like things to make sense thematically in your euro games, don't play this game. But if enjoy doing things in a game that you could envision happening in real life, then the "direct attack" cards in this game will make perfect sense to you, and should be seen as acceptable considering the theme of the card.

And just because the game isn't about chainmail bikini warriors, zombies, or cthulu, doesn't mean it's not a thematic game. To me, the hard science of terraforming a planet is a great theme that is realistically conveyed through this game's mechanics.
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mvettemagred wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
If I'm playing a pure Euro like Puerto Rico, I don't want someone that has a card that just outright steals goods from me.

Hope that makes sense.


I guess that means Terraforming Mars is a euro/thematic hybrid.


I would more closely compare it to the "take-that" cards in Lords of Waterdeep.

As far as being thematic, personally I found Terraforming Mars to be extremely a-thematic from a mechanics perspective. (To the point where I wonder if it was even initially designed with a mars theme in mind--- it could just as easily be generic city-building in the fertile crescent if you renamed the cards and end-game trigger tracks appropriately)
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Trey Chambers
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mvettemagred wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
If I'm playing a pure Euro like Puerto Rico, I don't want someone that has a card that just outright steals goods from me.

Hope that makes sense.


I guess that means Terraforming Mars is a euro/thematic hybrid.

In all seriousness, most of the project card effects are closely tied to the theme of that project. They're not just "lose X to gain Y" for no apparent reason. Because of that, the cards that negatively affect resources or production do so for a very realistic (i.e. thematic) reason. And the small percentage of cards that can affect another player do so again for thematic reasons.

So I think the definition of a euro/thematic hybrid needs to be revisited. It's been a long time since I've played a game where my actions were more closely tied to the theme than with Terraforming Mars. The costs, requirements, effects and interaction of the project cards really makes me feel like I'm contributing to terraforming a planet. I consider this game a euro with tight integration of theme and mechanics. That is not true for most euros, which usually have a thin veneer of theme.

So if you don't like things to make sense thematically in your euro games, don't play this game. But if enjoy doing things in a game that you could envision happening in real life, then the "direct attack" cards in this game will make perfect sense to you, and should be seen as acceptable considering the theme of the card.

And just because the game isn't about chainmail bikini warriors, zombies, or cthulu, doesn't mean it's not a thematic game. To me, the hard science of terraforming a planet is a great theme that is realistically conveyed through this game's mechanics.


Euros don't have to be themeless. I can't imagine anyone would be upset by a Euro that closely tied actions to theme.

Euro/thematic hybrid is probably a misleading designation, I should have said Euro/Ameritrash hybrid or Euro/Conflict hybrid.

Euro/thematic is a false dichotomy. I amended my previous post.
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Chuck Mitchell

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McJarvis wrote:
...Every single time I've seen an attack played I thought about how archaic this mechanic is and how it otherwise doesn't really fit into the game's mechanics at all. I'm frankly shocked that such a mechanic was left in this game: ostensibly a game about tableau building, engine building, and indirect competition for land space.


How is attacking another player "archaic"?

Seems to me you are putting this game into your own personal "Euro-box" and then fretting because it does not check all the boxes on your list.

If you want a game that is "pure Euro," there are plenty out there. Why is it that this game is supposed to meet your definition of a proper "game about tableau building, engine building and indirect competition for land space"?

Baffles me when people differentiate between direct and indirect competition. Competition is competition - whether it's veiled by indirectness or not. I give up something to slow or stop you ... or I try to stop you while slowing my own engine as little as possible.
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Mc Jarvis
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chuckm1961 wrote:
McJarvis wrote:
...Every single time I've seen an attack played I thought about how archaic this mechanic is and how it otherwise doesn't really fit into the game's mechanics at all. I'm frankly shocked that such a mechanic was left in this game: ostensibly a game about tableau building, engine building, and indirect competition for land space.


How is attacking another player "archaic"?


Because generally mechanics which force king-making situations are a function of bad game design and a large number of games have fixed these kinds of mechanical flaws in 3+ player games.

Quote:


Seems to me you are putting this game into your own personal "Euro-box" and then fretting because it does not check all the boxes on your list.


I'm saying the "take-that" mechanisms of the game don't combine well with the other mechanisms of the game, leaving the play experience feeling disjointed whenever a "take-that" mechanism is introduced.

Quote:

If you want a game that is "pure Euro,"


I never said I did.

Quote:
Why is it that this game is supposed to meet your definition of a proper "game about tableau building, engine building and indirect competition for land space"?


The games mechanisms are contradictory in nature. This isn't enough meeting my definition of a proper game.

Quote:

Baffles me when people differentiate between direct and indirect competition.


They have different names which are non synonymous. Thus, they are different things.

Quote:
Competition is competition - whether it's veiled by indirectness or not.


I wouldn't call indirect competition "veiled" competition. It's just different.
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