GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!

9,824 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
15 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Luck of the Draw / Destructive Drafting rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
S. R.
Germany
Mainz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
It's a fearful thing, to fall into the Hands of the Living God!
badge
Tell me, have you found the Yellow Sign?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yesterday a buddy of mine brought the game to a gaming meetup I visit every now and then, and talked me into playing. I was not very excited about it (not being at Essen, I had heard of the buzz it created, but decided it was not on my radar of interesting games), but decided to give it a go...

And the game hit me right between the eyes!
Much as I disliked the weirdly light-weight cubes, I loved the game, and its implementation into this game.
We played with the advanced corporations, and with the drafting variant. I know, I know, a bit too much for first play, and of course that meant I made bad decisions on which cards to keep etc.
...and unfortunately we also did not finish the game, as time ran out and we had to pack it in.

However, as the game progressed, I became more and more frustrated. We made a small mistake regarding the drafting (we did not alternate directions), and this lead to the player in front of me preventing me from getting cards I would have needed to enhance my strategy. And I began to wonder just how much impact the luck of the card draw on one hand, and the destructive drafting of other players, could hinder a strategy.

So this is the question I have, and I'd like to pose it to you:
"How much impact does luck of the draw and/or destructive/preventive drafting have on a player's chance of victory?"

From my limited experience, I cannot even begin to understand how this impacts the game. However, since I really like the implementation of the theme so much, this is the aspect on which my decision to want or not want this game balances, at the moment. Because I strongly dislike games that involve long-term strategy and/or long gameplay per se, which can be undermined by simply luck or a very focussed effort of prevention and "take that"-action (something which the cards do offer, aswell).
Simply put - if I play well (and my opponents considerably less so), will luck or direct meddling of other players cost me the victory?

If so, this game is not for me. And even if it were, I would never get it to the table with the people I play with regularly...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enoch Fryxelius
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
The game is a basically a game of skill, because you make so many decisions during a game that your card draw shouldn't be a decisive factor. You also draft/draw enough cards during a game for luck of draw to even out among the players.

Of course, if you draft only one way (you should alternate direction of the draft), and that player is only interested in stopping you from having good cards, then of course it will be tougher, but certainly not impossible for you to win.

I have played this game A LOT (obviusly) and have more than 50% win-rate from 3-5 player games. The other people in my gaming group (Micke and Love!) constantly hate draft me and often target me with the take that cards. It's not usually not enough to stop me.

As you play more you will also see the importance of milestones, awards, map and standard projects, which are not necessarily depending on your cards....

Hope this helps! (At least I got a chance to brag a little)
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Örjan Almén
Sweden
Karlstad
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
There is a part of luck, of course, it's a huge pile of unique cards, which is drawn in a random order. A big part of the game is to act upon what is given to you in the card draws, and to manage to deal with that, that is a challenge that, according to me makes a lot of the game.

The draft can give luck mitigation as you actually can see more cards, but it adds on a moment of take that as your opponents can take cards they know you want. I personally don't like to play with draft as without draft, my four cards are both unseen by the other players so they don't know what I can play, and as well, they haven't had the opportunity to take cards to prevent me.

The game has so many ways to victory that in my opinion mitigates a lot of the luck part, you can usually do great on what you get if you do it right.

There are take that cards as you say, but in my opinion, they aren't really harmful, they do a minor delay in fulfilling your actions.

You need to play with a long term strategy with lots of tactical decisions which would steer the long term strategy towards another goal along the way, you can't just focus on one thing and think you can stay that way, you need to alter your strategy along the way.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
S. R.
Germany
Mainz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
It's a fearful thing, to fall into the Hands of the Living God!
badge
Tell me, have you found the Yellow Sign?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EagleEye80 wrote:

As you play more you will also see the importance of milestones, awards, map and standard projects, which are not necessarily depending on your cards...

Hope this helps! (At least I got a chance to brag a little)


Okay, this might be the issue.
At my table, games don't get played too often. Having a quite decent games collection, and not too many opportunities to play games every given month, it means that WHAT we play varies a lot. Add to that that other players also have games they want to bring to the table, and a game like that will probably see the table once or twice a year (especially since it takes quite some time to play).
In this light, mitigating the (perceived) luck of the draw by learning to play better is basically impossible. Unfortunately, it also means that a game does get one chance at the table, no more. If it cannot excite my fellow players, it's a goner.

But that can probably be said about many games.

And regarding your bragging - so you should! The game is awesome! It might not hit the spot for me (still undecided, but there still is time until the second batch hits the market), but that's just personal taste etc.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wim van Gruisen
Netherlands
Den Bosch
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
With any game where drafting is involved, you can become subject to hate drafting - but if your neighbours do so excessively, they don't get any good cards themselves either. Or you might be starved out of cards because your neighbours need the same cards that you do.

Alternating draft directions helps. Keeping an eye on your neighbours' strategies and following a different path helps as well.

Last two things to say is that first, as a beginner, you should have started with a beginner corporation. You would have gotten ten cards that could not be hate drafted away, and would have been flexible enough to choose a different strategy than your neighbours. Second, your neighbour is a dick for hate drafting against a first time player with no experience with the game.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
S. R.
Germany
Mainz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
It's a fearful thing, to fall into the Hands of the Living God!
badge
Tell me, have you found the Yellow Sign?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whymme wrote:
Second, your neighbour is a dick for hate drafting against a first time player with no experience with the game.


Naaa, he isn't. Was his first time aswell, and he played well. Besides, I might complain and curse during a game, but I think that this IS part of such a game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Noel
United States
Fairmont
West Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
TM hits the luck/skill sweet spot for me. One's decisions always seem meaningful and the best player wins more frequently, but drawing the right card at the right time can also be a big swing. However, it is a large deck of cards, all of which are unique. If your strategy depends on you drawing a particular card, you'll be disappointed more often than not.

If the other 4 players in a 5 player game all focus on disrupting the best player's game, then yes, s/he will have a very rough time. In my gaming circle, people are reluctant to heap all of the negative effects on one person though... they usually get spread around with just a bit more thrown at the most capable player(s).

A moderate amount of hate drafting can be very effective in TM. I often have a group of cards in draft where I don't want to pay 3 MC for any of them... in that case I lose nothing from hate-drafting. It makes the drafting a more interactive than other games.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Stückl
Germany
flag msg tools
mb
Dumon wrote:
And the game hit me right between the eyes!


Ouch!soblue
I hope you're fine.*


Dumon wrote:
I know, I know, a bit too much for first play, and of course that meant I made bad decisions on which cards to keep etc.


Actually, using the regular corporations right away is fine with experienced gamers.
The "issue" of being new to the game exists either way.
(Or the experience of discovering something new, whichever way you put it)


Dumon wrote:
Because I strongly dislike games that involve long-term strategy and/or long gameplay per se, which can be undermined by simply luck or a very focussed effort of prevention and "take that"-action (something which the cards do offer, aswell).


I am not sure if I understand you correct.
Do you dislike long games in general (and assume you can always be meddled with),
or do you not like being meddled with when your long-term strategy depends on it? (I bet 1 Geekgold on the latter ninja)


Dumon wrote:
Simply put - if I play well (and my opponents considerably less so), will luck or direct meddling of other players cost me the victory?


The game is mostly decided by skill, not luck.
Does that mean you will win every game?
Certainly not.
Your advantage comes from combining many small decisions to a bigger advantage.
While not every single step will put you ahead, being more likely to take the better action means you'll accumulate a sizeable advantage over the course of the whole game.

Enochs figure may help you put the skill advantage into perspective, but maybe I can help you by providing some more data:
- Currently, my own record in 2 player games is 7 wins and 2 losses.

- We have a stats thread somewhere on this board,
and a user (Hi Florian! laugh) reported his 8 games there,
winning 3/4 four-player games,
2/4 three-player games,
and placing 2nd place whenever he did not win.

Of course, it should be noted that all 3 of us spend more time terraforming Mars and on this board than any of our opponents.


Now, Terraforming Mars still has a relatively low barrier of entry for new players.
The basic mechanics are easy to understand, and do not need a lot of memorization or player aids.
In fact, the standard actions are all printed on the board (good choice thumbsup), as are the milestones, and every card has reminder text to tell you what it does.
So for new players, it should be easy to figure out a plausible strategy and a potential path to victory, without being stifled by the technicality of the rules.


Since you said you most likely won't play the game very frequently:
Terraforming Mars is completely fine on the first playthrough(s),
but don't expect to grasp every aspect of the game. shake



So much for the skill component.
As far as meddling with other players is concerned,
most take-that cards are pretty low impact.
None of the take-that cards is game-changing, I would even say most are relatively bad (I have this conspiracy theory that making pure take-that cards weak was an intentional design choice wow)
Some take-that cards will create a loss-loss situation, being bad for the player playing the card, as well as the affected player.
(Bad for the player playing the card in the sense that they are less efficient than other cards you could be playing instead, and only affecting one player. Thus, it will often be better to develop your own plan)
However, there are a few decent ones as well, most notably the ones that "steal" somebody's production.
In the end, those cards will rarely cost you more than 1 or 2 VPs even for the most impactful "take-that" cards.
(Avg scores are 96,7 / 77,8 / 64,4 / 51,8 points for 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 players, with players starting at 20VP)

Perhaps the most important (and most common) cards that can mess with your opponent are asteroids, which destroy plants when they are played.
This can create some feel-bad moments for players, but still shouldn't make anyone lose more than 1 or 2 VP worst case (Well, excluding the very rare exceptions where this causes you to miss a milestone or something similar)
It looks very bad though when it happens to you for the first time, so I can see this being a problem with your group.




Maybe this input helps you a bit


Cheers,
Sebastian


PS: *I kid, I kid of course
I DO know the game didn't physically hit him.
It was the box with the game inside, obviously surprise
8 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florian Ruckeisen
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Bastinator1 wrote:
- We have a stats thread somewhere on this board,
and a user (Hi Florian! laugh) reported his 8 games there,
winning 3/4 four-player games,
2/4 three-player games,
and placing 2nd place whenever he did not win.

Of course, it should be noted that all 3 of us spend more time terraforming Mars and on this board than any of our opponents.

I seem to be doing something right, yeah. I did have some advantage in card knowledge over the other players just from playing a lot of solo games beforehand, but 2 of the others have played almost as many (non-solo) games as I have. So it's not a case of me just noobstomping new players all the time. I'm curious how my record holds up once the others aren't having "oh, what's that card!?" moments any more.

Btw, despite me apparently playing decently, I am really bad at gauging who is ahead/behind during a game. shake I think this might have something to do with what you said about "someone did something good, but what someone else did was probably not that much worse".

I also agree that the "take that" effects feel harsh when you get hit by them, but don't necessarily have that big of an impact. They might mess up a "build" you had planned out for this generation, and that's annoying - but usually far from devastating.

Dumon wrote:
"How much impact does luck of the draw and/or destructive/preventive drafting have on a player's chance of victory?"

I actually can't speak about non-drafting much, as all groups I play with immediately agreed to use drafting.

With drafting, there's still some luck of the draw involved (obviously), but it's very much evened out in any given generation between the players. "Hate drafting" can be a thing, but it only becomes a weakness if you have a strategy going that very obviously needs certain cards. For instance, there are a few cards which will grant VP for every Jovian tag that you have at the end of the game. It may be wise to delay playing these until later in the game, otherwise the other players might deny you those tasty Jovians which you broadcasted you want.

Most importantly tho, you don't really go for just one strategy single-mindedly. You won't win the game with Jovians alone. They will, for example, probably go together well with a focus on titanium production and space cards - and then, if you get Water Import From Europa, you might also try to dominate ocean placement, or something like that. So you'll sort of be multitasking with strategies, and the other players can't deny you all the cards you have good use for. cool

Also, you can more or less focus on 3 things when drafting:
a) get a good card for myself (ex.: power-producing cards when I desperately need energy; science tags when I want to stay in the race for Scientist award; a big asteroid card that will let me grab a bonus step which would otherwise be out of reach for me)
b) avoid offering a card that will harm me (ex.: plant-killers when I am the obvious target for them; something like Water Splitting Plant when I am the biggest greenery and/or oxygen producer on the block)
c) deny an opponent a card he'll want (ex.: Jovian example above; asteroids when you have big titanium / space discounts / Optimal Aerobraking)

Sometimes, a)b)c) will go together, making your drafting decision easy, but much more often, I find it's an either/or situation. Which means that excessive hate-drafting harms you in the a) and b) department.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.