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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Research Phase -- see them all and buy some rss

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Eric Hymowitz
United States
Elkridge
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A friend of mine came up with an idea that we didn't get to try, so I thought maybe I'd put it out here and maybe somebody will try it and respond, or at least offer an opinion.

The Research Phase:
* Draw four cards per player and turn them all face up
* In turn order, each player may either purchase one card for 3 credits, or pass
* Once a player passes, his Research Phase is finished and he may no longer purchase cards
* Continue for a total of four rounds or until all players have passed. No player may purchase more than four cards.

I'm just wondering what people think. It seems to me
* It would be slower than a standard draft, but maybe not significantly slower
* It would be better with experienced players who can evaluate the cards more quickly
* You lose the ability (in the draft) to withdraw a card from circulation without paying for it
but it's something I think I'd like to try at least once.
 
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Nick P.
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Munich
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My first thought is: Players would have to evaluate a lot more cards and would even have to ponder which cards they might get later and which they might not. My guess is that this variant would increase playtime considerably unless all players are very experienced with the game.
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John Weber
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Since I'm the guy who originally suggested this concept to Eric, let me add a couple of comments:

1. Any effort to balance the "luck of the draw" via some drafting mechanic is going to add time to the game.
2. Agree it might go faster with experienced players, but it also could be a good way to teach the game to new players since all the cards are face up, so it would be easy for everyone to know what each card does to smooth the learning curve.
3. Eric makes a good point about removing the aspect of the game where a player who already has enough cards might select one with an intention to discard it. This could be easily incorporated into the variant by saying you can pay 3 to select a card and keep it, or pay 0 and select a card to be discarded. This would likely mean all the cards in the display would be kept or discarded and might make it easier to track whose turn it is.
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Michael Denman
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Katy
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I'm not seeing and pros here, just cons.
 
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Ken Chaney

California
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I'm assuming the 4 X (players) cards are all put together in a common pool, rather than being dealt to specific players.

I like the feature that pure denial comes with an increased cost. It seems like 3 MCredits is pretty high, so will result in much less denial than the ordinary draft.
John Weber's suggestion of paying 0 to discard a card from the pool might work, or the cost could be 1 or 2 for whatever balance of spite is desired. I'm not sure the added time justifies this.

The more serious drawback in this method is the loss of secrecy.
Some cards are great, but only if played later in the game. An example: The A(nt)-hole play: keep the Ants card secretly in your hand (in the hole) until there are some microbes out there to steal. If everyone knows you have the Ants card in your hand, it suppresses them playing microbe accumulating cards. While this is arguably just a shift in strategy (denial vs. theft) it changes game balance.
If a player has secretly built up a huge capacity to push a track, it can be an effective play if timed well, but if everyone knows you are about to be able to generate enormous amounts of heat, they'll start pushing temperature ahead of your plan, and get their "max temp" cards in play earlier.
I suspect most players find the hidden information a net positive feature as it keeps play faster by limiting AP and allows building more subtle strategies.

I'm always in favor of house rules that make a game more fun for those playing it, so play however you like.
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Per Erlandsson
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Would it not be better to play Draft with 4-6 cards and simply be forced to buy the cards you pick? This variant could be pretty fun for experienced players, but too punishing for new players. Showing others exactly what you buy would take away a lot of the Meter-Sniping of the game.
 
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John Weber
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perer005 wrote:
Would it not be better to play Draft with 4-6 cards and simply be forced to buy the cards you pick? This variant could be pretty fun for experienced players, but too punishing for new players. Showing others exactly what you buy would take away a lot of the Meter-Sniping of the game.


Yes, but in the regular game, each round you get to look at 4 cards. So, with four players, to replicate the total number of new cards, you would need a tableau of 16. (12 with 3 players, 20 with 5, etc.)
 
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