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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Easiest way to play with new people rss

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Evan G
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Just got this game after playing a few times. I plan on playing soon with a group. I'm looking for some suggestions as far as the best way to teach new players the game. My buddies are familiar with this type of game but I don't want to draw it out.

Do you have suggestions on ways to make it a little more simple and faster run through? That way we may be able to get one simpler "practice" game in to give everyone a feel.
 
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Chaddyboy
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For a "practice" game, remove the Corporate Era cards and just give everyone a beginner corporation.

That way, everyone just starts with a decent amount of money, 1 production in every resource, and a mitt of 10 cards without having to choose what to keep.

Removing the Corporate Era cards also shortens the game, as the Corporate Era cards are less focused on terraforming, which is the thing that drives the game to its conclusion.
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Ryan Long
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When I taught this game to new people I made the mistake of not being thematic with my explanation. I think this game lends itself well to theme explaining mechanics to a certain extent.

Dont focus on the bonus points for tile placement until you start playing, then explain those things.

The other thing, if a new player starts with a bunch of cards that are late game cards and not many early game cards it can be a big turn off. Drafting is tough for new players since they dont understand whats good and whats not. So I would do something to ensure players get a decent starting hand (playing with no corps). Either ask if there are a bunch of cards with requirements and let them redraw or soemthing.

Other than that like any game it will take a few rounds to get used to things.
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John Burt
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What chaddyboy said. I've found this to be an easy game to teach, because it really is pretty straightforward and the teacher can easily herd new players through the various phases until they get it. The thing that slows games with new players is unfamiliarity with the cards, which can't be avoided. Every generation, they need to read each card, understand it, decide its worth and whether to buy it or not. So far though, everyone I've played it with first time didn't seem to mind that the game took 3-4 hours.
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Spyros Koronis
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Fortunately, for its weight, the game is comparatively easy to teach and understand. Here's some things I think will help it go through as quickly and painlessly as possible:

- Give everyone starting corporations (+1 to all production)
- Don't include the Corporate Era cards.
- Probably skip drafting, though let players know there will be a higher luck factor not otherwise present.
- Advise players to be conservative with how many cards they keep in each Research phase.
- During the first generations, suggest to them to choose (and play) cards that increase their production, particularly Megacredits and Energy (to sacrifice to Megacredit-increasing city cards), and to avoid cards with high requirements (like Birds and their 13% oxygen).
- Save some of the explanation for later. For example, don't go into too much detail about Milestones or Awards before the game starts. Instead, mention that they exist and can give points and return to them once a player has a decent shot at one of them (e.g. has two cities in the case of Mayor, or is ahead in Megacredit production for Banker). Mention the ocean placement bonus only once an ocean is actually in play. Mention the rule about converting endgame plants to forests when the game is close to ending, and so on.
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Georg D.
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Sinistro wrote:
Fortunately, for its weight, the game is comparatively easy to teach and understand. Here's some things I think will help it go through as quickly and painlessly as possible:

- Give everyone starting corporations
- Don't include the Corporate Era cards. (+1 to all production)

fixed that for you as many people seem to misunderstand the connection.

Quote:
- Probably Absolutely skip drafting, though let players know there will be a higher luck factor not otherwise present.


During the first game everyone will nee some time to read each card. You definitively don't want to multiply the amount of cards everyone has to read each round.
I haven't played with drafting yet and don' miss it. Unless you have really experienced and competetive players I wouldn't mention drafting until after your first game.

Quote:

- Save some of the explanation for later.

That really depends on your players. If they are more casual players this is a good advice. For experienced players the rules aren't that complicated and they usually want to know all rules in advance.
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Ken Chaney

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Sinistro wrote:
- Save some of the explanation for later. For example, don't go into too much detail about Milestones or Awards before the game starts. Instead, mention that they exist and can give points and return to them once a player has a decent shot at one of them (e.g. has two cities in the case of Mayor, or is ahead in Megacredit production for Banker). Mention the ocean placement bonus only once an ocean is actually in play. Mention the rule about converting endgame plants to forests when the game is close to ending, and so on.


I agree with Fluxx on this point at least (although for experienced gamers when time is not a big constraint, I would certainly offer the option of drafting!!!)

When teaching a game, you need to tailor the level of detail and style to the learners. Setting the teaching style up front makes it more effective and efficient.

Most people will like a brief general overview followed by a basic walkthrough of typical processes, then details can be raised as they become relevant throughout a game. It is the teacher's responsibility to bring things up early enough and not take advantage of other players' ignorance to grab Milestones!!!

Some players will want most of the details as you go through the various aspects of the game. Adjust the level of detail to suit them within the tolerance of other players. Too little detail and these players will begin asking a lot of questions. Answer some questions as they arise, defer others if the topic will be covered later more simply.

To the extent the players can absorb the information, point out major strategy issues. The idea is to bring play level up quickly. An example: Milestones and Awards are high value actions - point that out as experienced players will be targeting them. A heavy green tag combo strategy (interacting plant/animal/microbe tags) can be strong, but this is likely too complex to discuss in a first playthrough teaching.

It is best to have ONE person teach the game. Others bringing up rules tends to disrupt flow and takes extra time. Chiming in when something has been taught incorrectly or unclearly should be done quickly and politely.

Sorry for the long lecture, but I see a lot of inefficient teaching and hope this helps!
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Matt Price
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:

...
That way, everyone just starts with a decent amount of money, 1 production in every resource

...


Wait... You start with one production? I've been starting with zero production...! And that was just a guess, as I couldn't find that in the rules anywhere.

I feel like a bonehead. Could someone point me to where it says this in the rules?
 
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Weiding Han
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Rules,pg.7, Setup, 4)Players wrote:
You start with 1 production of each resource on the player board, so place player markers on the tracks (only in standard game.)


Standard Game = no corporate era cards.
 
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Chaddyboy
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lowbeam wrote:
Rules,pg.7, Setup, 4)Players wrote:
You start with 1 production of each resource on the player board, so place player markers on the tracks (only in standard game.)


Standard Game = no corporate era cards.

... and if you're playing with the Corporate Era cards, your production starts at 0 (unless your corporation gives you some production).
 
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Martin Åkerlund
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mattprice wrote:

Wait... You start with one production? I've been starting with zero production...! And that was just a guess, as I couldn't find that in the rules anywhere.

I feel like a bonehead. Could someone point me to where it says this in the rules?

Page 7, section 4, "Setup"

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