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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Experience Player Playing With Beginners rss

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Roger Brown
United States
Sebastopol
California
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I've played twice, with and without the corporate deck, with the Beginners Corporation and with a real corporation. Next week I will play this with 3 beginners. I know in the rules that it says experienced players should take a corporation and pay for their cards while the beginners scope out their 10 free cards. My question is whether the power of a corporation card gives me too much of an edge over beginners with no powers, even though I have to pay for my start cards.

Anybody had experience with this?
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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Beginning corp is 42 bucks plus 30 worth of cards. Of course the value of the cards is likely closer to 15 or 20. It does position new players well for the 16 card milestone, but it's more important that they don't have to choose cards when they don't yet understand the game.

60 in value and no power does not stack up against the other corps well. That isn't to say that no one would ever choose the beginning corp, I can image 10 card hands where I would, but more often one of the other corps would be better.

More to the point, the experienced players CAN choose the beginning corp if they want. So their position is strictly better than the players who are forced to play the beginning corp.

I've played several mixed games and the beginners have never had much of a chance. I think it would be perfectly reasonable to give them an additional advantage. Something like starting 2 of the incomes on 1 instead of 0. Allow them to look at their cards before choosing. Their inexperience puts them at a significant disadvantage.
 
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Paul Newsham
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Halifax
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JonBen wrote:
.More to the point, the experienced players CAN choose the beginning corp if they want. So their position is strictly better than the players who are forced to play the beginning corp.


Only new players can use the beginner corps

Rule book wrote:
Players new to
Terraforming Mars each get a Beginner Corporation
card (colorless card back) and follow its instruction
to get 42 MegaCredits and draw 10 project cards to
form their starting hand. Then they can examine their
cards while experienced players continue this setup
without them. Shuffle the 10 standard corporation
cards (excluding the 2 Corporate Era corporations)
and deal 2 to each remaining player.
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Jacob Fryxelius
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JonBen wrote:
Beginning corp is 42 bucks plus 30 worth of cards. Of course the value of the cards is likely closer to 15 or 20. It does position new players well for the 16 card milestone, but it's more important that they don't have to choose cards when they don't yet understand the game.

60 in value and no power does not stack up against the other corps well. That isn't to say that no one would ever choose the beginning corp, I can image 10 card hands where I would, but more often one of the other corps would be better.

More to the point, the experienced players CAN choose the beginning corp if they want. So their position is strictly better than the players who are forced to play the beginning corp.

I've played several mixed games and the beginners have never had much of a chance. I think it would be perfectly reasonable to give them an additional advantage. Something like starting 2 of the incomes on 1 instead of 0. Allow them to look at their cards before choosing. Their inexperience puts them at a significant disadvantage.


1) A player can not choose to play Beginner Corporation after they've seen their 10 cards. That choice must be made beforehand.
2) The Beginner Corporation is balanced to be slightly better than the named corporations. We have playtested this with experienced players.
3) The Beginner Corporation is much more luck dependent since your free cards can either have great synergy or be difficult to get value from early in the game. The named ones pay only for the cards they want.
4) Our intent is to give new players an easy way into the game while having a small benefit. That benefit has to be low enough that experienced players favor the named corporations for their combos and effects, even though they may be sightly weaker.
5) I suspect that new players will still lose the game more ofen than not. As it should be. But I've also seen new players win the game, which is also fine.
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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Sorry about my misunderstanding of the rules. Only beginners can take the beginning corp. Experienced players are not in a strictly better position.

Jacob: I don't think you addressed the main issue my post brought up. Let's say you are playing the corp that starts with 60 credits and has a -3 discount for each earth tag. If you keep 5 cards on average then you start with 45 credits and a permanent ability. Several of those starting cards will have the earth tag (getting to choose the corp along with the cards makes this extremely likely).

This going to be better than the average 10 card hand. I do not see how to rationalize the beginning corp as being stronger than this corp on average. It seems clear that it's the other way around. Add player experience to the mix and the new player is doomed.

You say that beginner corps are balanced to be slightly better, but then you say that new players will lose more often than not. So I'm not sure what your idea of balance is. I would expect balance to mean that the average win rate of new players is the same as that of the average win rate of experienced players.
 
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tibbles von tibbleton
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While more luck dependent, it makes sense for the beginner corp to be better for a new player. 10 free cards and high money is very likely better than paying for cards when you don't know what is useful yet and a corp bonus you don't know how to maximize. I'd say that helps balance vs an experienced player. Whether an experienced player could do better with a beginner or a named one I think is debatable. Look at the solo high scores, 10 cards and a lot of starting cash is huge and, in my opinion, better than several of the corp bonuses if 6+ of your starting hand is useful. Even the cards that aren't useful are worth cash and can easily be the difference in getting out a card a generation earlier.

If you want to further assist newer players you could play without drafting. I'd remove drafting before removing the corporate era cards if the players have any sort of economic euro game experience. The game is less interesting without those engine cards and may seem less appealing while drafting best rewards those who know the cards and possible strategies already.
 
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Örjan Almén
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JonBen wrote:
Sorry about my misunderstanding of the rules. Only beginners can take the beginning corp. Experienced players are not in a strictly better position.

Jacob: I don't think you addressed the main issue my post brought up. Let's say you are playing the corp that starts with 60 credits and has a -3 discount for each earth tag. If you keep 5 cards on average then you start with 45 credits and a permanent ability. Several of those starting cards will have the earth tag (getting to choose the corp along with the cards makes this extremely likely).

This going to be better than the average 10 card hand. I do not see how to rationalize the beginning corp as being stronger than this corp on average. It seems clear that it's the other way around. Add player experience to the mix and the new player is doomed.

You say that beginner corps are balanced to be slightly better, but then you say that new players will lose more often than not. So I'm not sure what your idea of balance is. I would expect balance to mean that the average win rate of new players is the same as that of the average win rate of experienced players.


But with 9 out of 127 cards in the basic game or 22 out of 208 cards in the corporate era game with an earth tag, the likeliness that you would get 5 cards with the earth tag in your starting hand is low. The likeliness is rather that you would see about 5 earth tag cards during the game. Then it's about how good those cards fits in to play at all for you. I think the balance of that corporation is just about as most of the corporations. But sure, you can get lucky, but that is with all corporations.
 
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Jon Ben
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orjanalmen wrote:
JonBen wrote:
Sorry about my misunderstanding of the rules. Only beginners can take the beginning corp. Experienced players are not in a strictly better position.

Jacob: I don't think you addressed the main issue my post brought up. Let's say you are playing the corp that starts with 60 credits and has a -3 discount for each earth tag. If you keep 5 cards on average then you start with 45 credits and a permanent ability. Several of those starting cards will have the earth tag (getting to choose the corp along with the cards makes this extremely likely).

This going to be better than the average 10 card hand. I do not see how to rationalize the beginning corp as being stronger than this corp on average. It seems clear that it's the other way around. Add player experience to the mix and the new player is doomed.

You say that beginner corps are balanced to be slightly better, but then you say that new players will lose more often than not. So I'm not sure what your idea of balance is. I would expect balance to mean that the average win rate of new players is the same as that of the average win rate of experienced players.


But with 9 out of 127 cards in the basic game or 22 out of 208 cards in the corporate era game with an earth tag, the likeliness that you would get 5 cards with the earth tag in your starting hand is low. The likeliness is rather that you would see about 5 earth tag cards during the game. Then it's about how good those cards fits in to play at all for you. I think the balance of that corporation is just about as most of the corporations. But sure, you can get lucky, but that is with all corporations.


I did not suggest that the 5 cards would have the earth tag. But at least one of them would, otherwise you wouldn't choose to start with that corp.
 
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Mathieu broche
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they start with 1 free income in each ressources, seem quite huge. Lot better than any power the corp get.
 
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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broche wrote:
they start with 1 free income in each ressources, seem quite huge. Lot better than any power the corp get.


No they don't. Everyone starts with that in a standard game. No one starts with it in a corporate era game.
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Love Nilsson
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Trelleborg
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Roguester wrote:
Anybody had experience with this?


Yes. Works as intended.
 
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Florian Ruckeisen
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JonBen wrote:
You say that beginner corps are balanced to be slightly better, but then you say that new players will lose more often than not.

I don't find this hard to understand at all. The beginner corp is made to be slightly better than regular corps with players of equal skill, but the beginner player is expected to be less knowledgable about the game. Overall, new players tend to not win vs experienced ones, but if you get a talented newbie or one with lucky card draws, a win becomes likely.

I think it's important to stress that beginner corporations are more dependent on a good draw of the initial 10 cards. This increases variance for beginner corp games, so it becomes hard for your typical gaming group to really assess the "average strength" of them vs regular corps (unless you use beginner corps more often than you should).

Moving on, Jon, I also disagree with your initial assessment that beginner corp starts with a net worth of just 60 ("60 in value and no power does not stack up against the other corps well"). Of course this entirely depends on the usefulness of the cards drawn, but I find an assumed average worth of just 18 for the 10 cards too low.

If you assume 5 of the 10 cards are so useful you would've bought them if you didn't play beginner corp, then that's already worth 20 M€ (5*3 plus 5*1 for selling cards you didn't want). But some of the 5 "bad" cards are likely not SO bad that you will never play them - you may just play them later on if/when opportunity presents itself. So not only are those cards worth more than the minimum 1 M€, they also enable you to keep your strategic choices open (which would be risky to do with regular corps).

It's hard to put a raw number value on all of it, but if you forced me to, I'd say the "average net worth" of the beginner corp is somewhere in the 65-70 range.

Personal estimates may vary tho, as some players just tend to buy more or fewer starting cards than others, so this will skew what they will consider the "average number of useful cards in your starting hand".
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