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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: The Generation Marker rss

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O.Shane Balloun
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Bellingham
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I will play as the Atreides, Bene Gesserit, Emperor, Fremen, Guild, or Harkonnen.
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I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
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First, allow me to bury the lede…

What an utterly fantastic game Terraforming Mars is. I bought my first copy at Gen Con, then subsequently alienated my copy to someone who wanted it more than me. After finally waiting another two months to receive a second copy and playing it again, I see that waiting was a profound mistake.

TM was an instant 9/10 for me. I predict that after 10 plays or so, I will be rating it a 10. It is relatively accessible for its gravitas, eminently replayable, colorful and a joy to behold, and of good quality. It is easy to tell that Jacob, Jonathan, and the rest of their brothers put a tremendous amount of thought into the rhythm of the game.

They also did a good job with the rules drafting and editing. As a lawyer, I find myself drawn to ambiguity like a moth to flame, and so there are a few minor areas where I would have liked more explicit clarification, just so I wouldn't have had to spend time thinking about what the probable answer was. That said, nothing major.

The Generation Marker

It occurred to me in my first game of Terraforming Mars that the generation marker appears to have no real purpose in the basic game or the corporate era game, other than to mark information that might be mildly interesting to a recordkeeper ("the game took us 11 generations to finish").

Obviously, the Solo variant to the corporate era game requires the game to end after generation 14, so the generation marker's purpose is evident there.

And in the Draft variant of Terraforming Mars, the generation marker's placement (modulo 2) denotes which direction around the table the drafting occurs.

That made me wonder why the generation marker wasn't simply noted as something only to be included when playing the variants:

Is it possible that the generation marker in the basic and corporate era games is a vestigial clue that the original game design may have included the draft variant as part of the rules? Was the drafting phase removed from the standard game in later development or as a request by the publisher? (I am reminded of the story that Hans im Glück asked Kramer and Ulrich to simplify El Grande before publication. The original game previously included what would later become known as the Intrigue & the King expansion.)

Or was there some other rule (or set of rules) involving the generation marker that was/were deleted during development?



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Kion K.
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Was wondering about this as well. My other assumption was that there might be a card with generation requirement or card that has an effect based on generation, but I haven't yet seen a card like that during my first play (also I played non corporation era variant, so haven't yet seen those "extended game" cards either).
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Sergio Perez
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Terrell
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grammatoncleric wrote:
First, allow me to bury the lede…

then subsequently alienated my copy to someone who wanted it more than me.



Yikes. Sorry, that really sucks.

Glad you got a second copy though. It's becoming not so easy to find rather rapidly.

I was also curious about the generation marker and thought maybe I was missing something, so I'm glad you brought it up. I wonder if it may have more impact in future expansions.
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Enoch Fryxelius
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The generation marker is foremost a thematic add-on to the game. It's there to give a sense of the time spent to perform these planet-changing projects!
It is also necessary for the solo-play, and good to keep track on the direction of the draft. I would not call it vestigal; it was not there from the beginning and it was not necessary to have one until Jacob developed the solo-game. Instead of using the marker as a specific extra-rule for solo and draft, we thought it would be better and more thematic to include the generation marker in the general rules.

I always use the generation marker, even when I don't have to...
(with a little experience, this marker can actually help you get a feeling for how many generations a game takes and how many you should have left in a specific game, which is good for planning)
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O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
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I will play as the Atreides, Bene Gesserit, Emperor, Fremen, Guild, or Harkonnen.
badge
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
mbmbmbmbmb
EagleEye80 wrote:
The generation marker is foremost a thematic add-on to the game. It's there to give a sense of the time spent to perform these planet-changing projects!
It is also necessary for the solo-play, and good to keep track on the direction of the draft. I would not call it vestigal; it was not there from the beginning and it was not necessary to have one until Jacob developed the solo-game. Instead of using the marker as a specific extra-rule for solo and draft, we thought it would be better and more thematic to include the generation marker in the general rules.

I always use the generation marker, even when I don't have to...
(with a little experience, this marker can actually help you get a feeling for how many generations a game takes and how many you should have left in a specific game, which is good for planning)


Nice. Thank you for explaining!
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Steve Cohn
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Racine
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EagleEye80 wrote:
(with a little experience, this marker can actually help you get a feeling for how many generations a game takes and how many you should have left in a specific game, which is good for planning)


Brilliant! This knowledge could, unfortunately, give an edge to experienced players, unless they choose to share it in advance. I might do that.

(might)
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Peter W.
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Beside the Starting Player marker I noticed another round marker of similar size with no "1" on it, but only some "terrain" graphic. What purpose has this one??
 
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Florian Ruckeisen
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papadjango wrote:
Beside the Starting Player marker I noticed another round marker of similar size with no "1" on it, but only some "terrain" graphic. What purpose has this one??

None. It's just a leftover tile from the punchout boards.
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Sean Grabowski
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Massachusetts
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I like to use that moon as the first player marker, instead of the one provided.

At least until someone plays Deimos Down - then they get to throw it at the player mat of whoever they're attacking!! (/s)devildevil
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