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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Rules

Subject: Drafting variant+setup? rss

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Do you draft the 10 starting cards?

I assume the answer is "no" but I'm asking just to make sure.
 
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Jeff Noel
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You do not.
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Jonathan Franklin
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It is certainly possible to do so.

1. Take your two possible corporations
2. Draft 10 cards
3. Play one of the two possible corporations
4. Buy however many cards you want from the 10 you drafted.
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Jacob Fryxelius
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RoadHouse wrote:
Do you draft the 10 starting cards?

I assume the answer is "no" but I'm asking just to make sure.


You do not draft the starting 10 cards. For several reasons:

1) Since you have nothing to go on before you get some cards to start getting combos with, it is quite piontless for the first few cards.
2) It doesn't offer you different strategies; it forces you to draft your strategy. With 10 drawn cards, you can easily pick and choose what you want, and you'll get served combos you didn't even think of if drafting.
3) It takes extra time. The drafting will not only take extra time, it will add a lot of extra time since you'll have 10 + 9 + 8... cards to evaluate.
4) It kind of forces you to choose corporation before you have a clear picture of which corporation fits the cards better.

All in all, I think a starting draft is detrimental to the game. Maybe it would be good if ALL players go for a strategy of maximising their early production and don't care about combos or long-term strategy, but that would take away a lot from the game I feel.

It can of course happen that you draw a bad starting 10 cards, but the game is designed to handle that: use standard projects or save your resources for the next generation when you'll have more and probably better cards. Delaying production 1 generation is not a very big setback.
And it really isn't often you get that bad of a starting hand anyway.

Cheers!
/Jacob Fryxelius

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Jonathan Franklin
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Jacob,

Thanks! Good to know. I won't delete my post, so your message will have context.

As an aside, what led you to have the drafting as a variant in the four card distributions? What led you not to have it be the primary method and still include it in rulebook?

Do you personally play with drafting or any of the other variants when you play?
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Sebastian Stückl
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Fryxen wrote:
RoadHouse wrote:
Do you draft the 10 starting cards?

I assume the answer is "no" but I'm asking just to make sure.


You do not draft the starting 10 cards. For several reasons:

1) Since you have nothing to go on before you get some cards to start getting combos with, it is quite piontless for the first few cards.
2) It doesn't offer you different strategies; it forces you to draft your strategy. With 10 drawn cards, you can easily pick and choose what you want, and you'll get served combos you didn't even think of if drafting.
3) It takes extra time. The drafting will not only take extra time, it will add a lot of extra time since you'll have 10 + 9 + 8... cards to evaluate.
4) It kind of forces you to choose corporation before you have a clear picture of which corporation fits the cards better.

All in all, I think a starting draft is detrimental to the game. Maybe it would be good if ALL players go for a strategy of maximising their early production and don't care about combos or long-term strategy, but that would take away a lot from the game I feel.

It can of course happen that you draw a bad starting 10 cards, but the game is designed to handle that: use standard projects or save your resources for the next generation when you'll have more and probably better cards. Delaying production 1 generation is not a very big setback.
And it really isn't often you get that bad of a starting hand anyway.

Cheers!
/Jacob Fryxelius



While I understand your points about drafting the starting 10,
I want to point out that 2) and 4) are only partially true.

2) If you actually need to draft your strategy, you can choose a strategy based on a strong first pick, your corporation, your preference, or whatever you like!
This allows you to go for more different strategies, though it can of course backfire a lot if the cards you need don't come your way... for instance because somebody else drafts the same strategy.
4) While many powerful cards won't go with both corporations, there are still many picks that keep either option available.
Striking a balance between picking powerful cards to go with one corporation and cards that work with both so you have a backup plan when you don't get the cards you need adds an extra strategic component to the game.

That being said, I am more worried about the massive amount of cards you see during a setup draft. If you are the only one going for a particular strategy (i.e. buildings with interplanetary cinematics), you may get rewarded so heavily that you can just run away with the game. Of course this can also happen in the other research phases (and happened to me in our most recent game, with Saturn Systems and expensive space tag events), but people will already know what you are doing and can interfer in later picks so you won't get too many of the cards that fit perfectly with your strategy.
For a draft, I would always reveal both corporations before the draft begins to prevent that.
While hate drafting isn't very relevant in some games (Magic: The Gathering comes to mind), with fewer opponents it becomes an actual thing, and revealing the corporations beforehand may allow people to stop your start from being too ridiculous.


Jacob, have you ever tried drafting the setup cards during playtesting?
You made it very clear several times that you do not like the idea, but I would love to hear from somebody who has tried it, and hear whether there were any real issues. Or perhaps it was great?


As I said, I consider the main issues to be the amount of cards you see (guess the extra ~5 minutes are okay for advanced players) and the possibility for a very specialised starting 10, but that may not be as much of an issue as I think.

So if one of you has ever tried drafting the setup cards (and all subsequent research cards), please let me hear about it!
 
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Matt Shields
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Jacob, thanks for responding. This is an interesting discussion.

I personally don't care about the extra time that drafting adds to a game, so that would never discourage me from doing it. I'd happily add time to the game if it actually improves it.

I haven't played this game enough to speak intelligently to whether drafting your initial 10 is really an improvement, but I will say that I don't think the fact that you "have nothing to go on" is really a problem.

There are lots of games that involve drafting right out of the gate before the game really starts. A very large percentage of Agricola players draft cards before the game starts, and they have no information to base their draft on other than the cards they're looking at. This seems to work very well, and is quite popular.

To some extent drafting at this stage may push you toward a certain strategy, but it doesn't have to. Often you're better off picking cards that are strong but somewhat flexible with your first few picks until you get a better feel for what you'd like your strategy to be. Starting with cards that are reliant on a certain strategy can actually be quite a risky play.

I think drafting cards during the research phase works pretty well. Sure, sometimes players draft a card you wanted just to keep it from you, but you're still more likely to get it than if you don't draft. Drafting means that you get to see more cards than you would have otherwise, which is just one more opportunity for players who know what their doing to make good decisions. In general I think it's a pretty good addition to games.

 
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Jacob Fryxelius
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grandslam wrote:
Jacob,

Thanks! Good to know. I won't delete my post, so your message will have context.

As an aside, what led you to have the drafting as a variant in the four card distributions? What led you not to have it be the primary method and still include it in rulebook?

Do you personally play with drafting or any of the other variants when you play?


The drafting adds a lot of interesting decisions during the game and increases your ability to pursue your strategies, so I wanted it in the game. On the other hand, it increases game time to an already long game, and it punishes players that don't know the game very well yet, so for the sake of beginners having a good experience, we put it as an optional rule. This is also why we recommend Beginner Corporations to first time players, because the game can be a bit overwhelming at first.

Personally, I don't play with draft so often, partly because I often teach beginners, and partly because I really like the smooth and fast game flow you get without it.
I play with Corporate Era whenever time and co-players allow it

Concerning starting draft: I think I tried it once a few years ago and found it very meh. I'm sure some people would like it, but I can't see it improving the game. It adds time, it sorts out those strategies players don't pursue, it's as likely to decrease balance as it is to increase balance, and it punishes new players.
I'm very happy with the platter of options that the starting 10 cards + 2 corporations usually give you, and wouldn't trade that away for drafting.
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Joshua Schutte
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We considered allowing mulligans if you get all cards over X value (ie mostly mid/late game cards). Or you could just draw 15 or 20 cards to start, this will up the scores and power level of the game letting you get better engines. There is some luck in this game whether you draft or not, but I love like in Race for the Galaxy you just have to do the best you can with what you are given. It's a game, there is no real rules, play so its fun for you.

While having a few late game cards to build towards at the end of game is great, you really need a few early production cards to get going. You can only get energy / income from the standard projects.
 
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brian giese
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After playing seven games of terraforming Mars our group is seriously considering allowing drafting for the initial 10 cards.

We have had situations where players have had a truly terrible draw and they've been behind the entire game. Games for us in the end around 12 to 14 Generations. When someone gets a bad starting 10 cards it usually puts their engine building process 1 to 3 turn behind other people. I've even seen a game where a person with a bad steering draft have terrible luck on their first round draft which is always possible because you only get 4 cards. I think that will be rare since this game has good variety but it does create a negative game experience when it happens

On the flip side we have seen people get an initial draw of cards that was basically a god draw and had some of the best possible cards early and just rolled everything for the entire game based on those cards.

I agree that's not what happens every game but the possibility definitely exists. I think adding some kind of Mulligan system into the initial draw Or a draft system before initial Corporation isn't a terrible idea.

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Sebastian Stückl
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soul42 wrote:
After playing seven games of terraforming Mars our group is seriously considering allowing drafting for the initial 10 cards.

We have had situations where players have had a truly terrible draw and they've been behind the entire game. Games for us in the end around 12 to 14 Generations. When someone gets a bad starting 10 cards it usually puts their engine building process 1 to 3 turn behind other people. I've even seen a game where a person with a bad steering draft have terrible luck on their first round draft which is always possible because you only get 4 cards. I think that will be rare since this game has good variety but it does create a negative game experience when it happens

On the flip side we have seen people get an initial draw of cards that was basically a god draw and had some of the best possible cards early and just rolled everything for the entire game based on those cards.

I agree that's not what happens every game but the possibility definitely exists. I think adding some kind of Mulligan system into the initial draw Or a draft system before initial Corporation isn't a terrible idea.



Good to hear that others are also interested in exploring this.
Let us hear about the results, too!

I'll post an update as well if we get around to trying this.
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Enoch Fryxelius
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soul42 wrote:
After playing seven games of terraforming Mars our group is seriously considering allowing drafting for the initial 10 cards.

We have had situations where players have had a truly terrible draw and they've been behind the entire game. Games for us in the end around 12 to 14 Generations. When someone gets a bad starting 10 cards it usually puts their engine building process 1 to 3 turn behind other people. I've even seen a game where a person with a bad steering draft have terrible luck on their first round draft which is always possible because you only get 4 cards. I think that will be rare since this game has good variety but it does create a negative game experience when it happens

On the flip side we have seen people get an initial draw of cards that was basically a god draw and had some of the best possible cards early and just rolled everything for the entire game based on those cards.

I agree that's not what happens every game but the possibility definitely exists. I think adding some kind of Mulligan system into the initial draw Or a draft system before initial Corporation isn't a terrible idea.



Start drafting means blind drafting:
You don't know what corporation you will choose yet, you don't know if you will get more cards later in the draft that will combo with what you choose. You don't know what your opponents want or don't want. You might be lucky or unlucky depending on what kind of cards the player before you choose to pass on.

While normal drafting during the game increases player control, a start drafting would decrease a player's chance to control their starting hand. Result would be more random - not less!

It's way better, faster, and less luck-dependent to just draw your 10 starting cards and choose from them.
Several times I have won games where I drew only 1 or 2 cards that were playable from the start. Good - then I had money left to actually get those few cards out on the table. And I could afford to keep 2-3 cards that had requirements, that would work well together later on in the game. One time I kept all the 10 cards to aim for the Planner milestone even if a great part of them (I think 7 out of 10) happened to have requirements on them. I won that game!
If you play Credicor, Tharsis, or UNMI, you could certainly do fine by just playing standard projects if you don't get the cards you want.

A Mulligan rule (for example, redraw your hand if you get more than 7 cards with requirements) is preferable to start (blind) draft, but I cannot recommend either. The choices and priorities you make over the course of an entire game is more decisive for the outcome than getting a starting hand that is "good". (Good is a very subjective term - a card with a requirement can be a very good card to keep!)
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brian giese
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We were going to consider passing out the 2 corp cards per player.

Then the 10 cards.
Then draft them.
Then pick corp.

I dont see how that is blind unless im missing something.


Currentlu players get the 2 corp cards, then the 10 cards and the choose the corp, so its not that different.

It is interesting to see peoples thoughts on this and I do love the game.
 
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Odyzeus Longbow
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soul42 wrote:
We were going to consider passing out the 2 corp cards per player.

Then the 10 cards.
Then draft them.
Then pick corp.

I dont see how that is blind unless im missing something.

Currentlu players get the 2 corp cards, then the 10 cards and the choose the corp, so its not that different.

Unless I'm missing something

But when you do t draft you see the 2 corporations and all 10 cards.
If you draft, choosing a corporation and a single card to keep may prove unfavorable as soon as you trade hands, as you are not seeing the whole picture - hence more randomness.

Since you also dont know what corporations others have chosen, you have can't know what to pass on and what to keep from them.
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Joshua Schutte
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This will require some work sorting the deck, but start with 5 cards with no requirements, and 5 cards with. Divide all the cards into 2 piles (requirements/no requirements) deal 5 of each to each player, or even let players choose how many of the 10 to draw from each pile. Then shuffle all the cards together, would only add 5 minutes to the game.
 
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Per Erlandsson
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Favorite for me

Setup:
Deal out 2 Corporations and 10 cards.
Pick corp (can always pick standard corp) and decide which cards to buy.

Research:
Draw 5 cards, draft 4 cards (alternate clockwise/counter-clock between generations).
Decide which cards to buy from the 4 cards


We realized that drafting with only 4 cards lead to a crazy amount of cockblocking. While drafting with 6 cards might have made it too easy to get "perfect hands".
 
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