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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Terraforming Mars - My Solo Sessions rss

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David Arlington
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This series of posts will be cross posted from my entries on the Solitaire Games on Your Tabletop November 2016 GeekList relating my experiences with Terraforming Mars as a solo game.

I played this game 9 times solo in October 2016. After my first 7 games I was 5-2, winning with five different coporations and losing twice with Interplanetary Cinematics. I was feeling pretty full of myself, thinking I had the game mastered and only one Corp was my bane.

What I have been doing is, after I win with a Corporation, I remove it from the selection group until I have won with all the Corporations. If I lose with a Corporation, it goes back into the pile for next time. Anyway, after going 5-2, I then lost the next two games to go to 5-4 and my self-confidence was shaken. (Though the one game I lost with ThorGate, I was only 3 MC short of placing my last Ocean.)

Last night was round Two with ThorGate. Second time around, I was done terraforming on Generation 13 and had one round to just score points. I ended with 84 and a win.



This time I got good energy cards out of the gate and getting Standard Technologies in the opening draw meant I could increase my Energy Production for only 5MC using the Standard Project. Add Steelworks to give me Steel and Oxygen every turn, Advanced Alloys to make Steel worth more, and Electro Catapult to turn Steel into 7 MC every turn and I was off to the races. Aquifer Pumping took care of my oceans and I could cheaply raise Energy high enough to turn into heat so I had all my terraforming bases covered early.

Really loving this game.

Dave
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Kim Choy
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Not to detract from your wins, but I don't think you get the Thorgate discount for the standard energy project because none of the standard projects have icons associated with them blush
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Kevin Gosal
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Thorgate does get discount for the standard project, it is stated in the corporation card
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Kim Choy
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Who has time to read all these cards anyway! whistle

blush Sorry 'bout that.
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David Arlington
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No problem! I appreciate you took the time to read the report, and you ended up finding something new out, so it's all good!

Dave
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David Arlington
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SECOND SESSION:

I did take a screenshot of the game but somehow my phone didn't save it, but probably for the best given that this was one of my worst outings ever.

I have been playing the Solo game with the usual "draw two corporations, choose one". The only difference is that, right now, when I win a game with a corporation, I remove it from the pre-game choices.

My record after this loss last night is now 6-5. Three of those five losses (which include last night) have been with Interplanetary Cinematics. What I find amazing is that three times I have had a choice of which corporation to start with and three times I have decided that IC was the better of my two choices. All three times I have let myself down now.

Last night's loss was actually the worst of the three. I had Oxygen maxed out but Temperature was only up to -6 degrees and I only placed six oceans. If the picture had saved OK, it would have shown big swatches of UNterraformed Mars.

The thing was that IC always SEEMS like a pretty good corporation. It's the one that starts you with 20 Steel and 30 MC. That could be worth up to 70 MC worth to start with if you get a good lot of building tags. It also has an ability that pays you back 2 MC for every Event card you play. In my opening hand, I had the card that increases your MC production one for every two building tags and had like two good Events. It looked like a lock. Just like it did the previous two times...

I got some Titanium production and thought I will Event my way to victory, but the Events just never seemed to come my way enough and same with cards with building tags.

Oh well, someday I will beat that Corp and there will be parades down Mars Street!

Dave
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David Arlington
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THIRD SESSION:

The good news: I won this time on my first try with Helion corporation. That is the corporation that starts with Heat production and has the power to let you spend money as heat.

The (sort of) bad news: It was by far my lowest winning score at just 69 with only 11 greenery tiles placed and 3 VPs off cards above the minimum winning score of 56. I'm trying to imagine, actually now, how low a score you could get and still win.

At the end, Mars looked like this:



The reason my score was so low was that I barely eked out the winning Terraforming condtions. Up until Generation 14 happened, I really thought I was going to lose again. BUT, I got my temperature maxed in enough time that the last generation I was able to use all my Heat as money, and managed to somehow kick my Oxygen up 4 or 5 notches in the final generation alone. I thought I was going to fall one short, but I was able to place Greenery tiles in enough places where it generated megacredits from being placed next to oceans and/or picked up enough plants to get those last two Oxygen raises I needed. I even managed to get one more Greenery out after Generation 14 plant production.

Once again, Steelworks (4 Energy for 2 Steel, one Oxygen raise) turned out to be a key card for me. Though I might have managed a bit higher score and still won if I had gotten a few more building cards I could have used all that Steel I collected/made.

Another lucky thing for me in this win was placing an ocean for a single card on the final generation that turned out to be Investment Credits (I think is the name), the card that costs 1, lowers your MC production by one and gives you 10 MC right now. Getting it on Generation 14 when I needed a lot of money to place Greenery standard projects was a godsend!

Dave
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David Arlington
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OK, I know this is my fourth post already this month, but I just can't stop playing. Even when I'm playing something else this month (and I have!), my wandering gaze keeps turning back to the Terraforming Mars box, whispering to me "one more play... just one more play..." I stuck it in my bench seat last night so it's at least out of sight and a muffled whisper now...

In any case, this time I played with Credicor for the first time (the corporation that starts you with a poop-ton of money and the ability to get 4 back every time you play a card with a base cost over 20. It was a very up and down game as to whether I thought I was going to win at any given point in the game, but in the end I won with a score of 78.



At first, I thought I was doing well and on pace, then mid-game I thought I was behind and in the end, I ended up meeting my final terraforming requirement in oxygen with 7 MC left on the final generation. I had to place three Greenery tiles that final generation just using Standard Projects and it turned out the Credicor bonus (getting 8 MC back on the first two I bought) ended up giving me just enough MC to place the third and final one I needed.

I did get some nice synergy with the Credicor bonus and the card that allows 1 less MC for every card played and the one that allows 2 MC less for every Space card played AND the card that gives you 3 MC back for playing Event cards meant at one point I was playing some of those expensive Space Event cards that can quickly help you get your terraforming parameters raised for a net 10 MC discount on each one.

So, not only did I pull out the win, but I think I used the Credicor corporation to its best advantages given the cards I got/saw.

Dave
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Peter W.
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I had my first solo session last night and also today constantly think about what i can do better nex time.
I started with your "looser" company, the Interplantery cinematics and now I know, why I lost :-)
But I finished the game in round 15 with four steps on the temperature scale, the only one I didn't finish on turn 14. Seems it is not so bad for the first game. Scored 77 points by the way.
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David Arlington
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So.... I FINALLY won (on my fourth attempt) with Interplanetary Cinematics as my corporation. I am now down to three corporations left to win with and two of them I have not even tried yet. I only have PhoboLog, Saturn Systems and Ecoline left to beat.



Unlike my first three attempts with this corporation, everything fell in place for me this time around. I had Earth Catapults (pay 2 less for EVERY card) and Aquifer Pumping (pay 8 for an Ocean tile, can use Steel) both out by the second turn. Steelworks (pay 4 Energy for 2 Steel and 1 Oxygen bump) was also crucial. I had cards that let me get extra card draws and other cards that gave me discounts. Everything ran smoothly and I had the planet terraformed by Generation 13 with a full generation just to try to score more points.

I ended up with 83 points, which is about par for me when I win. Considering how I did with IC as a corporation the first three times though, it felt more like 100 points!

Dave
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David Arlington
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No pictures this time. Only three corporations left to beat in Solo Mode. Solar Systems, PhoboLog and Ecoline. What's funny is I've played like 15 times drawing randomly from all corporations I haven't beat yet and I don't think I've had Econline come up more than once, if it's come up at all. Now with only 3 corporations left, there was a 67% chance I'd have Ecoline as one of the choices. Of course, I drew PhoboLog and Saturn Systems.

That's an interesting but similar choice. Saturn Systems gives you more initial Megacredits and Titanium production but no starting Titanium. It also gives you +1 MC production for each Jovian tag you bring into play. PhoboLog doesn't give you any titanium production, but does give you a 10 Titanium starting position (but only 23 MC to start) AND makes all your Titanium worth +1 more for paying for Space tags.

Given my starting hand, I decided to go with PhoboLog. I had a card that made buying Space cards -2 MC less and a card to start up Titanium production to make up for the one I was giving up on Solar Systems. I had a narrow victory with 73 points, hitting my final Terraforming goal making up six Temperature in the last two Generations with a great Space event card and Soletta that kicked my Heat production up to 19 for the final two Generations.

So next time I definitely will have Ecoline as a choice (with Saturn Systems as the other choice). I wonder if I can beat them all before November is over.

Dave
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David Arlington
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Only two corporations left to beat in the solo game. The two corporations left to beat (win with) are Ecoline and Saturn Systems. I chose Ecoline and it was one of my easiest games so far. You can see they ended up blanketing the planet in plants:



And I scored my highest score ever with a 94. It could have been higher if I hadn't played a couple of unnecessary (in the end) negative victory point cards. Basically, everything fell into place super early and I had the planet terraformed by Generation 13. I could have done it sooner, but had already started to concentrate on more VPs by placing a couple of cities.

The keys were the four "permanent" cards (the only ones I needed to play all game). I had Ecoline's built in ability to generate plants and Oxygen. Then I had the combo of Extreme Cold Fungus and GHG Producing Bacteria (action on one card is to place two microbes on a card, action on the other one is remove two microbes to generate Temperature) to take care of Temperature and then I had Aquifer Pumping to take care of the Oceans.

Now only Saturn Systems is left. Wonder how many times I will have to play them to win with them?

Dave
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Peter W.
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DocSavage2001 wrote:
No pictures this time. Only three corporations left to beat in Solo Mode. Solar Systems, PhoboLog and Ecoline. What's funny is I've played like 15 times drawing randomly from all corporations I haven't beat yet and I don't think I've had Econline come up more than once, if it's come up at all. Now with only 3 corporations left, there was a 67% chance I'd have Ecoline as one of the choices. Of course, I drew PhoboLog and Saturn Systems.

That's an interesting but similar choice. Saturn Systems gives you more initial Megacredits and Titanium production but no starting Titanium. It also gives you +1 MC production for each Jovian tag you bring into play. PhoboLog doesn't give you any titanium production, but does give you a 10 Titanium starting position (but only 23 MC to start) AND makes all your Titanium worth +1 more for paying for Space tags.

Given my starting hand, I decided to go with PhoboLog. I had a card that made buying Space cards -2 MC less and a card to start up Titanium production to make up for the one I was giving up on Solar Systems. I had a narrow victory with 73 points, hitting my final Terraforming goal making up six Temperature in the last two Generations with a great Space event card and Soletta that kicked my Heat production up to 19 for the final two Generations.

So next time I definitely will have Ecoline as a choice (with Saturn Systems as the other choice). I wonder if I can beat them all before November is over.

Dave


I had my best Solo-win so far with phobolog and a score of 98 points. I got some very "big" space cards in the beginning (like the io for 41 M€) and finished in generation 13, having time to score in the last generation.
Funny, that yesterday I drew phobolog in a 4p-game also and the "io"-card, but everything stalled from there on and I was only 3rd, far behind a beginner corp-player.
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David Arlington
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OK, so I didn't get it done in November, but I finally won with the last of the Corporations (my goal to win at least once solo with every corporation). The only company I had left to win with was Saturn Systems, which I consider sort of tough for the solo game since it's special power (increase your income 1MC for EVERY Jovian tag played) depends somewhat on help from other players playing Jovian tags. They have middling starting money, and Titanium production of 1, but no actual starting Titanium (like PhoboLog does).

And given that, because of my self-imposed goal, I didn't have any choice of starting corporation, I was going to have to make them work with WHATEVER starting hand of 10 cards I had plus the 52 I was going to see over the next 13 rounds.

I not only won with them, but ended up with a brand new high score of 97 (SO CLOSE to finally breaking 100!). That gave me great satisfaction and not so much because I had reached my goal of winning with every corp or because I had a high score with what I consider a tough corp for solo.



My satisfaction actually came from something that had happened during our gaming group get together the Friday before. We had played a 5 player game of TM. We have one player there who complains EVERY time about the game. How he/she doesn't like it, it's way too dependent on luck and card draw, you can't make any long term strategy because you can't depend on the cards, etc. etc. Of course, despite the vehement complaints every week, every week they sit down to play again.

Anyway, I was making the argument, that while TM SEEMS very luck driven, there are so many ways to accomplish your goals, that luck and card draw are not as big as impact as they seem to think it is. I think games like my solo win with Saturn Systems and my record with the Solo game overall (12-5 now, three losses to one Corp, and twice within one unit of Terraforming short) shows that you CAN make the game work and be successful no matter WHAT cards you get.

Yes, I realize that the Solo game is NOT a Multi-Player game, but I think all of the things that the Multi-Player game adds (take away cards become more valid, jockeying for tile placement, awards and milestones) take even MORE luck away as a factor. I think the more you play the game, the more you see the ways to make things work no matter what hands you get dealt. I think I am going to try my "beat every corporation" project again, and not just to beat my high scores, but also to improve my 12-5 record. I would like to shoot for a perfect 12-0 next time just to shoot down the "this game has too much luck involved" theory.

Dave
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Back from my trip out of town and was itching to play Terraforming Mars again.

Since I had achieved my first goal of winning with every corporation once, I had to set a new goal. I am doing the same thing I did last time, for the most part, with a little bit of upping the ante.

The basic part is I play a standard Solo game, choosing between two random corporations. When I win with a corporation, it is removed from the random selection pool for the next game until I have won with ALL the corporations. That part is the same as last time.

For this go-round, I have two further goals. One is to improve my overall record from the 12-5 record I got on the first attempt. The second goal is to see how many games I can win AND score 100 points or more. Considering that in my first run-through, in 12 wins, I did not score over 100 once and only hit the 90s (98, 97, and 94) three times out of 12. So that should be a good goal with a high bar to hit.

First time out of the gate last night I selected Credicor (lots of starting money, 4 Megacredits rebate on every card with a basic cost of 20 or more). At first, I thought I might not even win, as I was about five turns in and had a few oceans down, a couple oxygen and basically no heat yet. But I was investing (and this was the first time attempting this as a strategy) in a lot of science tag cards.

Science tag cards, as it turns out, can be quite powerful. They seem to concentrate (and thematically so too, as it turns out) in generating additional card draws (science helps you get to see more viable "projects") and reducing costs and increasing income (improving your methods by SCIENCE!). In the end, I was paying 5 MC less for EVERY card, NINE less for every Space tag card (throw in my 4MC rebate on Space cards costing 20+ for essentially 13MC off on Space tag cards). I was drawing like 3 extra cards or more every generation and able to trade in ones I didn't like.

More money, more choices, I actually blew past the 100 score with a 133, by FAR my highest score ever. Off to a good start on Terraforming Mars Project 2!

Dave
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David Arlington
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So my first project with the Terraforming Mars Solo game was to win with all 12 Corporations. It took me 17 games to get them all. Once I won with one, I would remove it from the selection pool for the next game.

For my second go-round, I wanted to improve my 12-5 record AND score as many games over 100 points as I could. First time out, I had three scores in the 90s, but none in the 100s. My first game in the second project, I won with CrediCor with 133 points and I was feeling high, and on an 8 game win streak. I was ready to crush ALL the corporations with 100+ point games.

I came crashing back to Mars last night though, losing with the Mining Guild, falling one Oxygen short. With final production after Generation 14, I would have had the final Greenery I needed, but since that comes AFTER the round, I had already lost by then. I had plenty of Steel and Titanium production but just didn't get the cards that worked with those resources and didn't try a backup plan until apparently, one turn too late. Back to the drawing board.

Here's my losing position, you can see the appalling lack of greenery!



Dave
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David Arlington
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Third time out on my new campaign and TM decided to punish me further for my hubris, as I lost yet again. This time with Teractor. AND for the second game in a row, I lost by a single level of oxygen. BY TWO MEGACREDITS. I had 21 MC at game's end and needed 23 to place that last Greenery that would have won me the game.

The sad part that mocked me even further given how I was beginning to think I was such a master of Terraforming Mars solo, was that on my last turn I sold a card for one more MC (that got me to 21). What did/does that signify? That somewhere, on some turn, I bought one single card too many (because I bought for 3, sold for 1, losing me the 2 MC I needed at the end to win). If I had never bought that one single card, I would have had my 23 MC at game's end and a victory.

I had a choice of Interplanetary Cinematics and Teractor at the beginning of the game but I had neither any Event cards (you get a credit with IC) or any Earth cards (cheaper for Teractor). I ended up choosing Teractor because I had the card that gives you 1 extra MC for Titanium and Steel and the 41 cost Jupiter card that gives two Titanium production and Teractor, with their 60 MC starting cash, is one of the few companies that could drop both those cards on the very first Generation.

Not that that did me any good in the end. The guy who bought one too many cards.



Dave
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David Arlington
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Continuing my own solo challenge of beating the game with every Corporation, Round 2. First time around, I won with all 12 corps with only 5 losses. Feeling all cocky, second time around, I was going to see how many wins I could get scoring 100 points or better.

First game with Credicor, success and more cockiness ensued. Two losses followed, so, feeling humbled, in my fourth game I chose Tharsis Republic of my choices of Tharis and Mining Guild.

In the early part of the game I wondered if I had made the right choice as nothing much seemed to be happening and all my parameters seemed stalled. six turns in out of 14 and I had like 2 or 3 Oxygen, doing OK with oceans with four I think and hardly any heat at all.

But then things started falling into place. Cities bumped my income and gave me enough cash to get Aquifer Pumping for the oceans and I got the card that gets you 2 Steel and an Oxygen for 4 Energy, and then best of all, for heat, I got the microbe combo where one card lets you produce 2 microbes on any card and the companion card that lets you remove 2 microbes to raise the temperature. Anyway, in the end I finally got back on the winning track, winning with Tharsis Republic to bring me to 2-2 record in Challenge #2.


(New apartment in new state, same gaming table!)

I only scored 89 points though. I think the losses in my previous two games gave me a crisis of faith that I would get all my parameters home in time and so, I never really pushed for the VP producing cards I needed for those last 11 points.

I think the key to 100 point games is having that faith that, despite how it looks even as late as 8 or 9 turns into the game, your engine IS going to come through for you, so go for those point cards. Which I didn't do enough here. Oh well, there's always March!

Dave
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David Arlington
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Oh my! What is going on here? I lost again? Geez, I thought I had this game nailed for the solo game. HAH! What was I thinking?), I am now 2-3 in my second round of taking on all Corporations, more losses than wins! And here I was giving advice to people in threads about how to play winning solo strategies!

This time I lost with PhoboLog. I finished with all Oxygen and Oceans fulfilled but fell 3 short of getting the Temperature done. At the end of the game I had 7 Energy Production and 12 Heat Production per generation, but it was too little, too late.

If you look at the end game, you can see one of my big problems. I only got three Active cards out all game (cards with continuing effects) and one of those three was put out on Generation 13. I just don't think you can make an engine work without more Active cards. I don't remember in any of the 30-35 games of Terraforming Mars I've played where I only had three Active cards out all game. I want to call it a fluke. Eh... That doesn't make me feel any better. I better get my game in gear if I want to equal my 12-5 record from the first time around.

My ending board:



Dave
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