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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Am I weird if I do not like the game? rss

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Monika Ticha
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I really wanted to. The rules sounded so interesting and connected with the theme.

And then boom, I got my opening hand of cards. Several of them were unplayable till very late phase of the game, that's probably okay. But about half of the rest were red cards of type - pay something, get something and then freely choose another player and damage him or her. Why? Is this what you guys call "fun" and "interaction"? Someone just paid for a card that increases his production of something, and as a next move, I play a card that entirely steals it? Just because I got it randomly to my hand? So, this player just wasted half of his turn for nothing?

Not sure with whom you play games. I play with my good friends. I hate to decide whose plants I burn. I hate to be forced to be jerk by cards I randomly get. My friends felt it similar way. Fortunately, the first player that played such card just decided to not use the harming effect, and everyone was relieved. We played rest of the game ignoring these harming effects. It was kind of okay, but the sting was still there. I suppose we would have much better fun if being jerks - that type who climb corporate ladder by slandering the others rather than trying to be the best etc.

I know this is just a game. But I really hoped the future is about cooperation. I am probably wrong, when I see how praised is the game and practically noone is bothered by this aspect of the game. I hope humans will not get to colonize Mars nor any other planets as long as they will be envious jerks that enjoy damaging and destroying work of the others and call it fun.

Btw: For those who ignore moral aspects but care about balance - how such cards may be balanced? In 2 player game, the swing of balance of a card that says steal 2 of something is +4 (you gain 2, your opponent loses 2). In 5 player game, it is averagely +2,5 (you gain 2, one of your four opponents lose 2). The cost is the same in all cases. How this could be balanced?
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Anders Isaksen
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Can't you just remove those cards?
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Bruce Gazdecki
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No you're not weird. Not everyone is going to like every game, no matter how good or bad it may be. I hate Pandemic even though it's loved by most and I don't feel weird at all.

It's the great thing about board games right now, there's so many to choose from that you're bound to find something you like, even if it's not the current hotness.
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Shane
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In my experience, the red cards only ever offer a slight setback. Thematically, corporations terraforming a planet (and competing against other corporations to do so) will suffer setbacks. There are no game-breaking red cards. I could understand disliking these cards if they were more destructive or if they had an enormous impact on the game, but I've just not seen this to be the case. You could always randomize the target if you object to targeting your friends. But man... this is a competitive game and occasionally you have to make an aggressive move if you want to win. There are tons of cooperative games out there, or if you feel so emboldened, devise a co-op version of this one.

As for the random draw and getting stuck with "bad" cards - try the drafting variant listed in the back of the rules. It's been highly recommended by many people on the forums.
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Jeffrey Speer
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Yes, you're weird if you don't.

Conversely, maybe you aren't!

It's a mystery
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Monika Ticha
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Just to clarify, I do not ask for a help how to fix the game for us. We may easily trade it away and play many others we have. Yes, mostly competitive, but without direct take that effects.

I was wondering whether there are really no people who are bothered by this.

And btw: The last comment on balance originated in our debate after the game, how much the fact we didn't use the harming effects affected the balance of the game. And one friend pointed out that the change in balance when we have not used them in our 5-player game is smaller than change of balance between 2-player and 5-player game.
 
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Danny Perello
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I can think of a few things that may help. Play the full game with the corporate era cards and a draft. In my mind this is the version of the game that is far and away the best.

You can also choose to not use the negative effects of the cards. I very rarely use the negative effects and always do very well at the game.

Lastly, if you get a really bad starting hand consider only keeping one or two cards at the start of the game. Most first turns are usually pretty small, and with the draft you'll be seeing 7-12 new cards on the second turn so there is a very high chance of you getting useful cards eventually, and keeping you hand small will give you extra cash on hand for when the really good cards do come up.

I guess you could try using a mulligan system of some sort with the opening hand if you wanted, but I really don't think the game needs house rules. It may take a few games to figure out how best to play when the cards don't immediately go your way, but I think the effort is well worth it.

(Sorry, just saw the above post, please ignore if you'd like. )
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Frank Hamrick
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The Drafting Variant changes most of your problems. As for the Red Cards - you don't have to attack (use the negative aspects of the card). Page 9 makes it clear that You may play a card that 'removes resources for any player' and NOT remove the resources. It then gives an example of the Asteroid card (raise temp 1 step and receive 2 Titanium, and remove up to 3 plants from any player) and then states that you are not required to do either of these. Negative effects are purely optional!

So - simply use the draft variant and house rule the red event card effects (we will not use the negative effects of the red Event cards.

Boom! Problems solved!
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J M
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Monicat wrote:

I was wondering whether there are really no people who are bothered by this.


It's a matter of perception. You might place a tile (a seemingly positive action) that completely shuts down an opponent's strategy, taking a spot they desperately needed to acquire the resources there to afford to take their next action, etc. That player might wish you'd just played a red card to take four of their plants away.

Everything you do in a competitive strategy game hurts one or more of your opponents in some way. Understanding that is a big part of why "attack" cards in games like this don't bother me at all. You can "attack" me, or play some positive action that benefits you and the other two people at the table to the exclusion of me (increasing O2 levels and shutting me out from playing a card with a maximum on it, and releasing the cards of the other players with minimums). The net result is the same, except for perception and emotional response.
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Martin Larouche
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Ever wonder why abstract games never get an initial buzz around them? Why they take a few years and word of mouth so they can be recognized as awesome games?

Meanwhile, thematic games shoot up the ranking before they are even released to the general public?

Because with many thematic games, people are blinded by it. They forgive bad mechanics and/or interactions and balance problems in the gameplay because of the theme.

Terraforming Mars is still pretty much "cult of the new" (both the game AND the theme). We are still at the stage where the games are being opened and the "bling bling" of the artwork and component are more important than the gameplay itself.
If you come back in say, 2 years from now, the game might be completely forgotten or barely talked about. Or it might be still hot.
THAT is when you see which game really had it or if they were pure chrome and no substance.

I don't think anyone right now can really judge if this particular game has trully problematic and/or frustrating gameplay or not.
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John Burt
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Quote:
I know this is just a game. But I really hoped the future is about cooperation. I am probably wrong, when I see how praised is the game and practically noone is bothered by this aspect of the game. I hope humans will not get to colonize Mars nor any other planets as long as they will be envious jerks that enjoy damaging and destroying work of the others and call it fun.


Actually, there's been quite a lot of concern about the take-that cards, so you're not alone. My group are "peaceful" gamers, and we really like this game, despite the "attack cards". There are two easy options: remove them from the game, or leave them in and agree to not play them "mean". The latter is what we do, and it's worked out fine. I think the game is good enough to overlook that aspect and play it anyway.

I do agree with you about the future, and to me it is unrealistic, and therefore un-thematic given this is supposed to be hard science fiction, to create a scenario where competing companies can get away with dropping asteroids and comets on their competition, given the level of cooperation, and likely government involvement and oversight, it would take to terraform a planet. This is the greatest effort in mankind's history, and the vision comes down to a bunch of greedy free-market plutocrats and megacorporations competing to own cities and vast swathes of the planet, while lobbing asteroids at their rivals.
 
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chris thatcher
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Quote:
Not sure with whom you play games. I play with my good friends. I hate to decide whose plants I burn. I hate to be forced to be jerk by cards I randomly get. My friends felt it similar way


I also play with good friends and we like screwing each other over. The more so the better

I like the inclusion of the red cards. It would be far to multiplayer solitaire without them for my group.

Quote:
For those who ignore moral aspects


Oh dear...its...a...game.. Remove them if they offend you so much.

Quote:
Ever wonder why abstract games never get an initial buzz around them?


Because they are boring? gulp



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Florian Ruckeisen
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Monicat wrote:
I was wondering whether there are really no people who are bothered by this.

Yes there are, if you look around these forums there's easily a half dozen people who said they or their fellow players were greatly bothered by the "take that" effects in the game. People talk about taking out all cards that have such effects etc.

TM is not a cooperative game. And it's not purely "take away each other's action/placement spots" either (although in fact for the most part it is). Which, as Relax just pointed out, can easily be just an indirect form of being a jerk to your friends.

And for the record and the sake of argument: Yes, I do find the direct "attack" effects in the game fun and interactive. devil Why should I not? If nothing else, it's a way to keep runaway leaders in check, and to counter plant production, which is extremely strong if left unchecked.

Frank Hamrick wrote:
Negative effects are purely optional!

Only those pertaining to resource reduction. If it's production that gets reduced, they are mandatory, and there are a few cards whose only purpose is to reduce someone else's production to increase your own.

Relax wrote:
I can think of a few things that may help. Play the full game with the corporate era cards and a draft.

Wellll, CE doesn't have much more "attack-y" cards overall, but it does introduce cards that ONLY have "attack effects" (like Hackers, Hired Raiders, Virus, Sabotage) - not just a few plants getting roasted as a side effect of an asteroid.

I agree that CE+draft is the best way to play the game, but for the OP's particular gripes, I think it would be best to remove all cards from the deck that have purely destructive effects (there's just a handful of those anyway), and ignore "take that" effects on asteroid-like cards, Ants and the like. Yeah that does alter the game and skew balance a bit. But if the OP hates "take that" so much, IMHO it's either that or get rid of the game altogether.
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James Mathias
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Monicat wrote:
I really wanted to. The rules sounded so interesting and connected with the theme.

And then boom, I got my opening hand of cards. Several of them were unplayable till very late phase of the game, that's probably okay. But about half of the rest were red cards of type - pay something, get something and then freely choose another player and damage him or her. Why? Is this what you guys call "fun" and "interaction"? Someone just paid for a card that increases his production of something, and as a next move, I play a card that entirely steals it? Just because I got it randomly to my hand? So, this player just wasted half of his turn for nothing?

Not sure with whom you play games. I play with my good friends. I hate to decide whose plants I burn. I hate to be forced to be jerk by cards I randomly get. My friends felt it similar way. Fortunately, the first player that played such card just decided to not use the harming effect, and everyone was relieved. We played rest of the game ignoring these harming effects. It was kind of okay, but the sting was still there. I suppose we would have much better fun if being jerks - that type who climb corporate ladder by slandering the others rather than trying to be the best etc.

I know this is just a game. But I really hoped the future is about cooperation. I am probably wrong, when I see how praised is the game and practically noone is bothered by this aspect of the game. I hope humans will not get to colonize Mars nor any other planets as long as they will be envious jerks that enjoy damaging and destroying work of the others and call it fun.

Btw: For those who ignore moral aspects but care about balance - how such cards may be balanced? In 2 player game, the swing of balance of a card that says steal 2 of something is +4 (you gain 2, your opponent loses 2). In 5 player game, it is averagely +2,5 (you gain 2, one of your four opponents lose 2). The cost is the same in all cases. How this could be balanced?


Don't forget, any red-bordered resources, the kind that remove a resource are optional, you can choose NOT to use them.

Rulebook, pg 10 wrote:
Any resources (C) are gained immediatley. Again, a red border means you can choose the resources of any one player, so playing card C is usually not very nice. Red-bordered resources are optional, so card C does not remove your own plants, even if you are the only player that has any plant resources.
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Georg D.
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Monicat wrote:
Someone just paid for a card that increases his production of something, and as a next move, I play a card that entirely steals it?

There are few cards which reduce another players income. And I agree, if you play them early they are quite mean and I could live without them. Most cards destroy some plants - that is annoying but most of the times more a minor setback than real damage.

Quote:
Not sure with whom you play games. I play with my good friends. I hate to decide whose plants I burn.

Sometimes you have not much of a choice because only one other player has the required ressource. In the other cases you chose the player who has the best position to win the game to slow his progress a little bit.

Quote:

I hate to be forced to be jerk by cards I randomly get.

How do you see it if you want to take a certain action space in agricola but know that another player really wants it to - perhaps needs it because it is the last chance for him to get enough food for harvest time? It is basicly the same.

Quote:

I know this is just a game. But I really hoped the future is about cooperation. I am probably wrong, when I see how praised is the game and practically noone is bothered by this aspect of the game. I hope humans will not get to colonize Mars nor any other planets as long as they will be envious jerks that enjoy damaging and destroying work of the others and call it fun.
You say it, is it just a game. Only because I have no problems in destroying some plants of you in a this game doesn't mean I would enjoy to destroy any of your hard work in real life.

Quote:

Btw: For those who ignore moral aspects but care about balance - how such cards may be balanced? In 2 player game, the swing of balance of a card that says steal 2 of something is +4 (you gain 2, your opponent loses 2). In 5 player game, it is averagely +2,5 (you gain 2, one of your four opponents lose 2). The cost is the same in all cases. How this could be balanced?

As I said before sometimes you have no choice. But most of the time you will target the most successfull oponent - so it is still a +4 against the opponent who counts most. In addition if there is really a runaway leader who made a great start, has great income, scored 2 milestones,... - in a 5 player game there will be 4 other players who will target him as often as possible - in a 2 player game there is only one other player. So in a certain way this cards are even stronger with more players as they are more potent in slowing down a leading player. It is not a perfect balance but it is ok.
And the cards don't have to be perfectly balanced for all games. You decide if you want to play them or not. In some games the temperature will rise very quick and animals which require +4°C are very strong - in other games temperature will be the last stat which will be finished - in these games the same animal is weak. You can decid to buy this card or not.
In some games it is very good to play many events which destroy your opponents stuff - in others it isn't. There is no balanceproblem.
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Chaddyboy
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Not everyone has to like everything. There are a lot of highly rated games I don't like.

Rather than trying to house-rule and fix things more to your liking as many others are suggesting, there are plenty of other games to move on to if you're not a fan!
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Erik Isch
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
Not everyone has to like everything. There are a lot of highly rated games I don't like.

Rather than trying to house-rule and fix things more to your liking as many others are suggesting, there are plenty of other games to move on to if you're not a fan!

Chaddyboy is totally right!!! I mean such wisdom flows out....

Chaddyboy could you put in a good word for me. I entered the Conan contest, thanks
 
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deedob wrote:

If you come back in say, 2 years from now, the game might be completely forgotten or barely talked about. Or it might be still hot.
THAT is when you see which game really had it or if they were pure chrome and no substance.


We've been playing it for 2 years and still love it. Every game is different, every game is immensely enjoyable.
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Rob Lim
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Why would it be weird to not like this game? There are many critically acclaimed games, including some that I have bought, that I do not particularly care for.

I try to apply the "nasty" events fairly, hitting whoever is the leader at a given time, or by spreading around the damage. Sometimes, it's good for applying game theory - punish people who attack you.

I'm also not surprised that the relative balance of the cards changes based on the number of players. That's why drafting tends to improve the game.
 
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Chaddyboy
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peachpie wrote:
So if we trust the designer, what this suggests to me is that the game has a runaway leader problem to some degree, and these attacks are there to balance that. I don't know if this is actually the case or not. It is just a chain of thought. But in general, removing such a large group of effects from any game is likely to affect the balance.

This is my assumption as well. In the absence of any other rubber-banding mechanism in the game itself, I assume the attack cards are there so players can target a perceived leader. I haven't felt that they're overwhelming, but they're certainly there and happen from time to time.
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John Burt
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
peachpie wrote:
So if we trust the designer, what this suggests to me is that the game has a runaway leader problem to some degree, and these attacks are there to balance that. I don't know if this is actually the case or not. It is just a chain of thought. But in general, removing such a large group of effects from any game is likely to affect the balance.

This is my assumption as well. In the absence of any other rubber-banding mechanism in the game itself, I assume the attack cards are there so players can target a perceived leader. I haven't felt that they're overwhelming, but they're certainly there and happen from time to time.


This has been rehashed in other threads. Jacob put them there ostensibly to slow down a leader, but also because he and his gaming group like some take-that interaction in their gameplay.

My problem with this kind of mechanism is that it can be used for other purposes besides "bash the leader", for example, just being a dick to another player. If it were specifically meant to slowdown a leader, then the rule could have been something more specific like, "the player with the highest TR loses up to 4 plants". That it doesn't means to me that it is just there for the sake of adding "interaction" to an otherwise low interaction game.
 
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J M
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I can also pay to deploy an ocean tile (perhaps the last) which doesn't align with my strategy perfectly, but does deprive you of more uses of your Aquifer which you had invested in. I could put a red symbol on the action that says "Shut down John's Aquifer" and it becomes a different conversation.

Thematically, a lot of these effects are not, eg, bombing someone's agriculture with asteroids, but a side-consequence of self-interest. "I drink your milkshake" and all that.
 
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Eric Booth
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Nope. I love this game. You don't. All is in equilibrium in the universe.
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Colm McCarthy
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Sell it while it's hot and move on to another.
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Monika Ticha
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Thanks for the opinions. Of course I am aware I do not need to like the game, I just wanted to know how unusual is to not like this particular game for those particular reasons.

Well, seems our group is really a bit weird . We are perfectly okay with the fact someone wins because he or she had better start, played better or just got lucky, as long as the game is interesting for all players. And even when someone loses because side effect other players' actions harmed him.

We just do not enjoy someone wins because others wrongly guessed and bashed another player. Or even worse, when a player understands he is now deciding who is going to win and still has to do that (you say it is just few plants, but I imagine when two players compete for the plant milestone, the 10 points swing gives enough room for king making). Not mentioning the early game where is no leader yet and stealing someone's production just cripples that player's chances to enjoy the game as much as the others.

By the way, I understand it is hard to avoid these problems when creating a game. I know that choosing an action usually indirectly interferes with other player plans, and for me, one of the charms of boardgaming is trying to anticipate what is best for my fellow players and try to play the way their actions do not harm me. You get to understand others nicely when doing that.

And that is also why it so puzzles me this game even artificially adds these elements, the way it is as hard as possible to anticipate or avoid them. Just different mindset of its author. I have found it weird, but the ratings of this game suggests it is rather our mindset that is unusual.

The only unknown is - do the people like the game because these elements, despite these elements, or regardless of these elements
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