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Subject: Thoughts and questions about Terraforming Mars rss

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Donald Dennis
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I really like the game, I've reviewed it and played it multiple times.

That said I've encountered some issues that may be us playing it wrong or just with a poor understanding of what's going on.

Terraforming Mars never seems to want to end. Perhaps it's because of the allure of playing the cards, but the activities that increase temp, build oceans, and increase 02 don't happen all that quickly. It seems like there is a push at the end of the game, or that the game just starts to drag and all the players agree to do final scoring early. What am I missing, or how do I speed up play?

We run out of resource cubes - there is a ton of change making and in almost every game we are running out of all denominations of cube. (I suspect this is relating to games dragging.)

Do you always get +1 income when placing a city tile, or just when you take the generic build a city action?

I wish there was more consistency on how actions were presented. I like how when the green tile is placed the icon on the card has a little reminder icon attached to say "don't forget to increase the O2" but sometimes the card just says "increase the O2" in addition to other information. We go with: if it is a standard action and the icon isn't on the card it is a reminder, not a new effect.

I hope that kind of thing is fixed on reprint - the micro icons are a great reminder, and additional card text reaffirming a basic rule is confusing.

And just making sure - when you increase the temp, you only do so once per action. (You can't dump all of your heat for multiple increases.)

I love this game, but it doesn't always seem to end before it wears out its welcome.
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Tyler Gingrich
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Donald,

> Do you always get +1 income when placing a city tile, or just when you take the generic build a city action?

I've searched the rules for clarification on this point. I THINK it's just for the generic build city action.

As to the game dragging, one thing that really ups the pressure on the solo game is the turn 14 endpoint.

You could pick an ending turn and tally up points then. Or even come up with some way to randomize the ending turn within a certain range.

Tyler
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Jordan Booth
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#1 overlooked rule is that players may take as many turns as they wish each generation, doing 1 or 2 actions each turn. Missing this usually leads to running out of resources.

The incentive to raise the global parameters early is that you get points and income, so the more income you get early the more overall money you have during the game.

Only the standard city action gives one money production. Most of the other cities give more than that at the cost of some energy production.

For each greenery tile placed for any reason you raise the oxygen and your TR one step (unless Oxygen is already at the top).

Each time you spend 8 heat or plant for temp or greenery is one action. You can do it as many times as you can afford, but each 8 is a separate action. Remember: only two actions per turn, but as many turns as you'd like.
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Big Head Zach
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Walsfeo wrote:
Terraforming Mars never seems to want to end. Perhaps it's because of the allure of playing the cards, but the activities that increase temp, build oceans, and increase 02 don't happen all that quickly. It seems like there is a push at the end of the game, or that the game just starts to drag and all the players agree to do final scoring early. What am I missing, or how do I speed up play?


Some of it will come down to the shuffle, since cards tend to provide more cost-efficient means of terraforming than the Standard Projects, but you're going to get a significant number of your final points from your Terraforming Rating, there's only a set number of those TR points you can acquire, and they're all getting handed out before the game ends, so you want to get the lion's share of them. They are also a guaranteed increase to your income each round (you never lose TR points), so earning them early will pay dividends later on. If the average game last 10 rounds, a TR point earned in round 1 pays out 9 MC over the game.

Also consider that the longer the game goes, the more likely there is to be a contest over some of the Awards, so if you're leading in a few categories (greatest MC production, most Science tags, most tiles owned, your Heat production will leave you with plenty left over, or you're raking in the minerals), don't allow opponents the opportunity to catch up. End the game quickly.

Walsfeo wrote:
We run out of resource cubes - there is a ton of change making and in almost every game we are running out of all denominations of cube. (I suspect this is relating to games dragging.)


That's probably what is happening, or people aren't spending money, which probably means the high-value projects are being sought out, so there's an interest in trying to score more points. Relating to the above point, if you see the opportunity to claim a Milestone, do it quickly. If someone else will clearly qualify for an award, it may actually be beneficial to buy up the other awards so their favorite can't be scored. The game only counts leftover cash in the event of a tie, so there's no need to hoard money unless it is for a key project.

Walsfeo wrote:
Do you always get +1 income when placing a city tile, or just when you take the generic build a city action?


Only when you perform the Standard Action, as it is implied that you are getting revenues off the top from taxes. Other city building is done via projects that have their own rewards. (See below for how this distinction is made via icons). If city placement always granted +1 MC production, it would be indicated on the tile.

Walsfeo wrote:
I wish there was more consistency on how actions were presented. I like how when the green tile is placed the icon on the card has a little reminder icon attached to say "don't forget to increase the O2" but sometimes the card just says "increase the O2" in addition to other information. We go with: if it is a standard action and the icon isn't on the card it is a reminder, not a new effect.


The cards do a great deal of explaining what the iconography means but seldom extend their meaning - in those cases you will see an asterisk meaning "this is an alteration of the standard rules so pay attention". All Greenery tiles trigger an O2 increase by default, so if a card would trigger additional O2, there would be a large "+ [O2 icon]" shown along with the Greenery tile, since the tile itself has this icon on it.

Walsfeo wrote:
And just making sure - when you increase the temp, you only do so once per action. (You can't dump all of your heat for multiple increases.)


Correct. The only action which has a "variable-use" implication is selling(discarding) project cards, where you can discard from 1 to your entire hand and receive 1 MC for each card.
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Jeff Thornsen
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I suspect you are not playing the generations correctly.

Each generation, you can keep taking turns (actions) until you Pass.

Running out of resource cubes should never happen, so I suspect that you are playing where you only get 1 or 2 actions per Generation, which is a very common rules mistake due to the way the rulebook is phrased.
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Donald Dennis
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Thanks everyone.

"1-2 actions per turn, and as many turns per generation" probably deals with 90% of my issues with the game.

One other question: In one of the video reviews someone said cities like being near the water. I only saw where they benefit from being near green tiles, not oceans. So this means being near water is actually bad because it reduces the number of bonus points for being near green tiles. Did I miss that or was the person crazy?
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H-B-G
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Walsfeo wrote:
Thanks everyone.

"1-2 actions per turn, and as many turns per generation" probably deals with 90% of my issues with the game.

One other question: In one of the video reviews someone said cities like being near the water. I only saw where they benefit from being near green tiles, not oceans. So this means being near water is actually bad because it reduces the number of bonus points for being near green tiles. Did I miss that or was the person crazy?


I'm not sure where the video got that. As you say cities earn points for being next to greenery not oceans, only the capital earn points for being next to oceans.

You do earn 2MC (per ocean) when you place any tile next to oceans, but that is not peculiar to cities.
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Örjan Almén
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The white capital city likes oceans, it gives VP for each ocean tile in addition to the greeneries as common cities.
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Steve Cohn
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Walsfeo wrote:
In one of the video reviews someone said cities like being near the water... Did I miss that or was the person crazy?


I think you missed something:

Rulebook wrote:
Page 5 (English):
Example: If you place a city tile adjacent to 2 different ocean tiles you get 4 M€ as placement bonus.


Having a city near water can limit VP, but having a city near water will increase your M€, so it's a trade off.

This is listed under "Ocean tile", but not reiterated under "City tile", and it's in relatively small print, in italics, so I suppose it would be easy to miss?

Hope that helps,
~Steve
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H-B-G
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OchreOgre wrote:
Walsfeo wrote:
In one of the video reviews someone said cities like being near the water... Did I miss that or was the person crazy?


I think you missed something:

Rulebook wrote:
Page 5 (English):
Example: If you place a city tile adjacent to 2 different ocean tiles you get 4 M€ as placement bonus.


Having a city near water can limit VP, but having a city near water will increase your M€, so it's a trade off.

This is listed under "Ocean tile", but not reiterated under "City tile", and it's in relatively small print, in italics, so I suppose it would be easy to miss?

Hope that helps,
~Steve


Note that that's just an example, the bonus for placing next to oceans is for placing any type of tile, not just cities.
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Big Head Zach
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DaveD wrote:
Note that that's just an example, the bonus for placing next to oceans is for placing any type of tile, not just cities.


ANY type, even other Oceans and special tiles.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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Walsfeo wrote:
Do you always get +1 income when placing a city tile, or just when you take the generic build a city action?

Only for the Standard Action. That's why it has a city tile icon and a separate +1 M€ prod icon.

Quote:
I wish there was more consistency on how actions were presented. I like how when the green tile is placed the icon on the card has a little reminder icon attached to say "don't forget to increase the O2" but sometimes the card just says "increase the O2" in addition to other information. We go with: if it is a standard action and the icon isn't on the card it is a reminder, not a new effect.

All text on the cards is always just a reminder/explanation of what its icons say, UNLESS it has an asterisk. In that case, text in ALL-CAPS will explain how this card deviates from the normal rules, everything else stays the same.

As for the greenery icon and the accompanying text on cards, I've said before and I'll say again: It really really helps to think of the greenery icon and the little +O2 icon as two separate icons, which do two separate things, and hence are both mentioned in the card explanation text.

When in doubt, look at the icons. Is there an extra O2 icon? If not, then you don't get an extra O2 increase on top of what the greenery does.

Quote:
And just making sure - when you increase the temp, you only do so once per action. (You can't dump all of your heat for multiple increases.)

Yes, it's a separate action for each increase. Same with placing greeneries with plants. But since you can have as many actions per generation as you want, this is just a timing issue between you and the other players. Only the actions on blue cards are restricted to 1 use per generation.

Quote:
I love this game, but it doesn't always seem to end before it wears out its welcome.

This should cease to be an issue once you play with unlimited number of action turns in a generation as intended.
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Steve Cohn
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DaveD wrote:
Note that that's just an example, the bonus for placing next to oceans is for placing any type of tile, not just cities.


Right! I included this as it specifically addressed the question of cities next to water that the OP described from the video review they had watched.

~S
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Marcus S
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Snapshot wrote:

As for the greenery icon and the accompanying text on cards, I've said before and I'll say again: It really really helps to think of the greenery icon and the little +O2 icon as two separate icons, which do two separate things, and hence are both mentioned in the card explanation text.

When in doubt, look at the icons. Is there an extra O2 icon? If not, then you don't get an extra O2 increase on top of what the greenery does.

I am uncertain what you are trying to say here, and think this could be adding to the confusion. Every single greenery tile icon that instructs you to place a greenery tile, has a small O2 symbol with it. This small symbol is just a reminder of what is written in the rules that states every time you place a greenery tile, you increase the O2 level (if possible). Saying that these are two different icons, can be very confusing, and almost contradictory to what is written in the rules.

As far as i can remember, there are no cards in the game that allow you to place a greenery tile AND increase the O2 an additional step, and generally speaking, the descriptive text does not explicitly state to increase the O2 when placing a greenery tile(with the exception being Protected Valley, and i believe the reason it explicitly states to raise the oxygen is because the tile is being placed on an ocean spot which could cause confusion).
There are cards and actions that allow you to increase the O2 without placing a greenery tile, but these cards have a very obvious O2 symbol on them, and are hard to miss (and are a completely different symbol than the greenery tile one).

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Florian Ruckeisen
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CarcuS wrote:
As far as i can remember, there are no cards in the game that allow you to place a greenery tile AND increase the O2 an additional step

Correct, but that is of little help for someone who doesn't know the whole deck by heart and is trying to figure out whether or not he's supposed to increase O2 twice or not.

Quote:
and generally speaking, the descriptive text does not explicitly state to increase the O2 when placing a greenery tile(with the exception being Protected Valley, and i believe the reason it explicitly states to raise the oxygen is because the tile is being placed on an ocean spot which could cause confusion).

Wrong, there are 3 cards that allow you to place a greenery tile (Protected Valley, Plantation, and Mangrove), and all of them have the same descriptive text saying "place a greenery tile" and "raise/increase oxygen 1 step".

If one considers the O2 increase to be part of the greenery placement and the small +O2 icon just a visual reminder for that as you say, then it really is inconsistent and confusing to state the O2 increase on these cards. Why mention it if it's part of the greenery placement anyway? The card already instructed me to place a greenery, so of course I'll be increasing O2, it's part of the greenery placement, right? Now it's telling me to raise oxygen another time? This is exactly where many people have been tripping over the text on these cards.

If, however, you consider the tile placement and the resulting O2 increase as two separate things, then it makes perfect sense that they're both mentioned in the descriptive text. That's all I'm saying. It's a way to look at the greenery symbol that avoids all the confusion with these cards.
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Marcus S
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Hmm, Plantation is very interesting in that it doesn't have an asterisk/break any placement rules, I hadn't noticed that. I personally find it easier to just follow a simple rule: Place greenery = raise O2, no matter how the greenery was placed... To each their own.

I think we can agree that sometimes the text on cards isn't 100% clear, especially when it comes to the asterisks and determining which rules are followed vs which are overruled.
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X Shrike
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OchreOgre wrote:
Having a city near water can limit VP, but having a city near water will increase your M€, so it's a trade off.


Unless I am misreading how you worded that, you get 2 MC not +2 MC production.
 
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Enoch Fryxelius
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CarcuS wrote:
Hmm, Plantation is very interesting in that it doesn't have an asterisk/break any placement rules, I hadn't noticed that. I personally find it easier to just follow a simple rule: Place greenery = raise O2, no matter how the greenery was placed... To each their own.

I think we can agree that sometimes the text on cards isn't 100% clear, especially when it comes to the asterisks and determining which rules are followed vs which are overruled.


We had a loooong discussion in the team on what was the best way to make this clear. You all seem to understand it correctly: You always raise oxygen (and terraform rating) when placing a greenery, and there are never a double raise. So it's only a question on how to make this as clear as possible.

Normally you place greeneries by paying your plant resources or paying for a standard project. In those cases, the rules reminds you to raise oxygen and get a TR.
But we also have 3 cards in the game that places greeneries as an effect (as mentioned in this thread) and we thought that we should remind people to raise oxygen here too. Note that the text only describes the meaning of the icons - and there is no seperate oxygen icon on these cards that would imply getting an additional oxygen raise.

I'm not sure we made the best decision, but I hope that most people get this right...
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Enoch Fryxelius
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CarcuS wrote:
Hmm, Plantation is very interesting in that it doesn't have an asterisk/break any placement rules, I hadn't noticed that.


Yes, so Plantation is a normal (but cheaper) greenery that follows the normal placement rules for greeneries. Mangrove and Protected Valley on the other hand may be placed on any available ocean-reserved area.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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EagleEye80 wrote:
I'm not sure we made the best decision

Well, I foresee threads on this coming up time and time again. laugh I guess the confusion would have been avoided with some wording like "raise oxygen 1 step as usual", but that ship has sailed. It would definitely be something that would make sense to include in FAQ if you ever make one.

Quote:
Mangrove and Protected Valley on the other hand may be placed on any available ocean-reserved area.

May or must?
 
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Marcus S
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XShrike wrote:
OchreOgre wrote:
Having a city near water can limit VP, but having a city near water will increase your M€, so it's a trade off.


Unless I am misreading how you worded that, you get 2 MC not +2 MC production.

Correct, no matter what type of tile you place, you receive 2MC for each adjacent ocean immediately (similar to the placement bonus of plants, titanium, steel or cards). No long term/production effect.

If you use the standard project to build a city, you get +1MC production, but this is a result of using the standard project, NOT of actually placing the tile on the board (which you get separate bonuses for).
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