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Subject: Why should I buy this? rss

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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Convince me :). I'm hearing a lot of good opinions about this game, but I've seen it being played and seen the components and I don't know what to think.

I guess it's well known that there's a "mum's the word" on the whole publishing quality / card and board graphic design/interface. Some people think it's ok, some don't mind, some think it dates back to '70ies. Let's steer away from that.

What is so good / new / different about this game to get such a high praise? Is it some new interaction? Mechanic? For me, it looks like another variant of your precious go-to-tableu-card-building game. But maybe there's something more to that? Why do you like this game so much? And what kind of player you are?
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Wim van Gruisen
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This game caught my attention because of the theme. Huge SF fan, and terraforming a planet is a subject that I warm up to.

I played my first game two days ago, and it lived up to the expectations. There's a story in there; you see Mars get terraformed. I brought down Deimos in the second round, Mars' moon crashed on the planet! Sure, there were all sorts of in-game effects that eventually helped me win the game, but apart from that, I crashed a moon on Mars!

I like the way that science plays a major role in the story. I really get the feeling that this game is backed up by hard science. Each card, and there are more than two hundred different ones, is based on some scientific or technological idea. Not some space fantasy, like the aliens in Race for the Galaxy, but real ideas that do the round, like solar reflectors, or kelp farming, or microbes to free the oxygen in the regolith (or something like that).

The game underneath is solid. Perhaps the mechanics are not new, but they work well. You're building a tableau, trying to get favourable card combinations. There are multiple strategies to follow, there's a point salad approach that gives you many choices as to where you get your points from. The combination between tableau building and the hex placing on the map is perhaps new. But for me, what sells is the combination of a solid game and a good story.
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Bill Eldard
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rattkin wrote:
What is so good / new / different about this game to get such a high praise? Is it some new interaction? Mechanic? For me, it looks like another variant of your precious go-to-tableu-card-building game. But maybe there's something more to that? Why do you like this game so much? And what kind of player you are?


There are 13 written reviews and 11 video reviews on the game's BGG page. Have you check them out?

This one (and the Comments, including one from the game's developer) seems pretty thorough. https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1636856/minas-not-so-mini-r...

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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I did see some of the reviews, yes. The one you've linked seems to very well organized, thanks. That said, I'm totally disconnected from the rest, when I'm reading "great graphic design" as the first praised point. I simply disagree and this makes me somehow question the rest, even if it doesn't have a lot of to do with design.

edit: actually, this review is very helpful after all.

What I'm looking for is a sum of honest opinions of those who are willing to contribute a little from themselves, not being a board game reviewer, etc. I'm also a little concerned, that a lot of opinions I'm getting come from solo games and that's something I'm totally not interested in. I guess my question could be rephrased as: what kind of player loves TM and what other games do they have on their shelf?

For instance, what is the real play time with 4 people? 90-120 min feels farfetched, as I've heard that it can take somewhere between 2-3 hours just for 2. Now, I know that the board develops in the same time, but just the amount of players and downtime should add to the time no matter what, right?
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Nicola Bocchetta
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honest opinions from a guy that has never played the game:
1) the game time doesn't decrease when playing with less players, as in many games happens.
2) the game is more tactically oriented than strategy-oriented. Each round you ask yourself: what's the best thing I can do with this hand of cards?
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Per Erlandsson
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I think one should stress that the game is card driven, which might be forgotten among the map tiles and all the resources. The advantage of a game based on a deck with >200 unique cards is that you always have to make tough decisions on which cards to take to your hand (costs $3) and when to play them (up to $41). And which cards you get the option to take to hand can be decided either randomly (draw 4) or, as I recommend, via drafting 4 cards from a starting hand of 4 to 6 cards.

I could even see a variant where cards are auctioned work well with Terraforming Mars. This might only be interesting for those who want to minimize the "luck factor" in getting new cards, with the drawback of increasing game time.

Since I am friends with one of the Fryxelius brothers I've had the privilige of playing prototypes of this game for many years. This is not a Mars-Hype cash grab but a concept that has been brewing and maturing for a long time.


I play all types of games but like game with risk/reward choices (Blood Bowl) and synergies between mechanics (Magic). For me TM is a good game because of all the unique cards and the fear of not getting something similar when you decide against getting a card.
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Pedro Estêvão
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Without ever playing it, and just by taking info from the reviews here on BGG, here are the things that made this game my next buy (as soon as it gets to Europe, anyway...).

- The theme is spot on for me. Science fiction heavily grounded on real science is one of my favorite literary genres and there are not that many boardgames that pull such theme off well.

- It looks very much like a card-driven game, a mechanic I am sucker for. Hand management games like Twilight Struggle or 1960 are among my favourites. I really like having to make the most out of what I am dealt with and also have a large variety of "events" that I can trigger by the play of a card.

- Engine-building seems to be at the core of the game - and that's something I always prize. I love looking for combos between cards and have the feeling that I built something in the end.

- "Take that" elements seem to be present in the right proportion. Not so much that aggression dominates the game but not so little that it makes the game multiplayer solitaire.

Like I said, I haven't played, so it might still end up being a dud for me. But I'm pretty confident this game won't disappoint.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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rattkin wrote:
I've heard that it can take somewhere between 2-3 hours just for 2. Now, I know that the board develops in the same time, but just the amount of players and downtime should add to the time no matter what, right?

The game tends to last over fewer rounds (generations) with more players, which means each player's tableau of cards is less developed than in a 2P game. This I think is a big reason why higher player count can take less time rather than more - it's easier to keep track of your options and all the various effects and discounts when you have a smaller tableau of cards in front of you.

Reasons for me to buy TM:

- LOVE the terraforming theme and the thematic execution of mostly Hard-SciFi ideas/concepts integrated in the game

- The gameplay has those >200 project cards at its heart, which gives me kind of a Race for the Galaxy vibe. LOVE me some Race! kiss
(The two games are very different in many ways, but that "do I really want to keep/play this card now?" choice as well as the satisfaction from good card combos is there in both.)

- I like seeing something develop over the course of a game. TM does that both with your card tableau/engine and with the board that slowly transforms Mars from barren wasteland to something inviting and habitable.
Among the games I own and love, I guess Agricola strikes a similar cord with its farm board and "tableau" of improvement cards and such.

- As far as I can tell, TM has very good replayability and variability. It offers multiple viable paths/strategies to victory, its plentiful card deck (incl. the different corporations with their specialties) allows for many combos, and it works well at various player counts.

- I like the presentation. While the mix of (edited) photos and non-photo graphics (some realistic-looking, some less so) is kinda odd, and most corporation logos look like they're from the early 90s overall I like the tone of it. It's not dry or boring, but it's not over-the-top or silly either. It ties in well with how TM is generally going more for "realistic" and less for "space opera", and I'm totally on board with that. meeple

(Btw, when people praise TM's graphic design, I suppose they mean the iconography, which is indeed very clear and well done. The only things not immediately intuitive are probably "brown boxes mean production rather than resource stock" and "red borders mean any player's, otherwise your".)
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Jay Gischer
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Let me tell you about the first time we played it. We pulled it out of the box late one evening (my wife, my daughter and I). I was just looking it over, and skimmed the rules, and said, "I'm just gonna try a couple turns of this". They said, "Ok, let's do that".

We ended up finishing the game, and then looking at the clock and realizing, "OMG, it's 3am". We do not normally stay up that late. But we got lost in this game.

I think the reason for that is that each turn, each round, you get decisions that are meaningful and interesting, and that play into a thematic narrative that captured our imagination.

And your plans have to be altered to account for what the other players are doing, or the new cards you draw. It's highly engaging.
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