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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Variants

Subject: New custom action cards, and a corp idea? rss

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texan hick
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I've been playing at least once a week with a friend who owns the game while I wait to buy my own copy but I've come up with 2 additional card ideas, as well as a silly corporation idea and I'd like to throw it through the grinder that is ya'll to help polish things up a bit. First the two cards

Corporate Espionage
Cost: 25MC
Effect: Look at an opponents hand and take one patent.
End Game Effect: -4 TR

Change in Management
Cost: 40MC
Effect: change control of one city to your control.
End Game Effect: No effect.

Corporation

Union Aerospace
The tag for the corp would be Science and Power
You start with 2 power production and 40 MC
Corp power, Cards cost 1MC less than printed.


What do you folks think? comment, critique, tell me if you think anything should be changed or added.
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Darcy Dueck
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texanhick20 wrote:


Change in Management
Cost: 40MC
Effect: change control of one city to your control.
End Game Effect: No effect.



Assume it is the last generation, 2-player game, opponent has a city surrounded by 5 greenery.

I play Change in Management and now get his city. He is -5 points, I am + 5 points, a 10 point swing for only 40MC. Many 2-player games end with less than 10 pt difference, so now all of those games swing on one card after the entire game has been played.

Would you ever place a city knowing that your opponent is sitting on that card? If you are sitting on that card, your opponent will never play a city.

It doesn't sound good to me but, what do I know.
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Al Ross
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Charlotte
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texanhick20 wrote:
I've been playing at least once a week with a friend who owns the game while I wait to buy my own copy but I've come up with 2 additional card ideas, as well as a silly corporation idea and I'd like to throw it through the grinder that is ya'll to help polish things up a bit. First the two cards

Corporate Espionage
Cost: 25MC
Effect: Look at an opponents hand and take one patent.
End Game Effect: -4 TR

Change in Management
Cost: 40MC
Effect: change control of one city to your control.
End Game Effect: No effect.

Corporation

Union Aerospace
The tag for the corp would be Science and Power
You start with 2 power production and 40 MC
Corp power, Cards cost 1MC less than printed.


What do you folks think? comment, critique, tell me if you think anything should be changed or added.


I'd change Change in Management to:
Mars in Revolt
Cost: 40 ME
Effect: Reduce any city with Industrial Area attached to half normal (rounded down) TR per adjacent Greenery.
End Game Effect: See Effect.

Expensive but potentially devastating without being a gamebreaker. Max effect 2 TR per affected city.
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Örjan Almén
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The cards are too negative in my opinion. The current take that are a lot less evil than these.

The corporation would probably work great.
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At present, Union Aerospace is ultra-superpowered. I'd actually remove even the power production, leaving only the Power and Science tags and its special ability.

Reasoning: If it manages to get even one of the -1M$ global discount cards out, it has a huge advantage in playing all the inexpensive cards, and at least one of the valuable inexpensive cards require science tags. If it manages to get two of those global discounts down, or even all three, it can basically play everything in its hand every turn, global requirements excepted.

Cheap cards get a huuuuuuge benefit from these big discounts. Compare that one other corp that gets cash back from every card it plays---but only those which are over 20 M$ cost. There's a reason there's that threshold.

It might even be worth it to reduce its cash to 30 M$, cut out the power production, and retain that special ability. That's how powerful this corp is.
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Ken Chaney

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I would rarely play these cards in a multi-player game. They are, in most circumstances, more expensive than they are worth. I would very much want another player to use them against a third player, handing me the game. Actually, that doesn't sound fun either.
Yes, examples of effective play can be contrived for such cards, but in general play that doesn't matter. If I wanted more random giant swings I could play lots of other games.

In a two player game, I agree they are too much of a swing for a card requiring no finesse to execute.

In expanding and adjusting games to suit individual preferences, there is a common problem of power creep. Great new ideas and concepts borrowed from other games can be very appealing, but Terraforming Mars has a restraint on very powerful effects, usually requiring a decent combination of luck and planning to put together really powerful effects. I would like to see that maintained, but am confident there are plenty of players who would not. With enough demand for more singular dramatic cards, it's ok with me if they get made, I don't have to play every expansion!

Union Aerospace could work. After some balance testing I suspect it would need to start with a little less than 40 MC. The 1 MC card cost reduction might be improved with a restriction to, say, space/power/science cards to provide more flavor and balance.
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Sebastian Stückl
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texanhick20 wrote:
I've been playing at least once a week with a friend who owns the game while I wait to buy my own copy but I've come up with 2 additional card ideas, as well as a silly corporation idea and I'd like to throw it through the grinder that is ya'll to help polish things up a bit. First the two cards

Corporate Espionage
Cost: 25MC
Effect: Look at an opponents hand and take one patent.
End Game Effect: -4 TR


I am not sure what this card is trying to accomplish, but is there a particular reason why it's so expensive and then also costs you 4 VP?
The way you made the card, it's completely unplayable. Getting a patent from somebody's hand will never be worth anything close to 28M€ alone, not to mention the 4 VP loss.


texanhick20 wrote:
Change in Management
Cost: 40MC
Effect: change control of one city to your control.
End Game Effect: No effect.


This card is quite swingy, but the cost seems roughly okay. Obviously, this city will score better than a regular one you build, so it should also be more expensive. It also takes a few points from somebody else, so that adds to the cost. If you compare this to some of the bigger space event, it might be fine, or too powerful, depending on how many points you expect to steal. 5-6 points is reasonably possible though, so this may actually be too cheap. Or just way too swingy. Its power level also drastically changes depending on the number of players, which is pretty bad (since it's most likely useless sometimes, and overpowered in other cases)


texanhick20 wrote:
Union Aerospace
The tag for the corp would be Science and Power
You start with 2 power production and 40 MC
Corp power, Cards cost 1MC less than printed.


What do you folks think? comment, critique, tell me if you think anything should be changed or added.


Well, well, well. What do we have here?
(It's a corporation, not a well)
Just from looking at this corporation, it seems like you added too much to the card.
The science and power tag don't seem very thematic, so I wonder why you added them.
Also, note that they make the corporation a bit better also, especially the science tag is pretty relevant for the scientist award and card requirements.
Furthermore, you effectively printed a much better Thorgate. While you are forced to build one extra power plant, paying 1 less for each card is soooo much better than paying 3 less per power tag. Just for reference, out of 209 cards, 27 have the power tag (12,9%).
Research Outpost, which has the same effect, costs ~18M€ (18M€+3M€-placement bonus), but also brings a city (that is in the middle of nowhere, so no greeneries will be adjacent).
So if you want to balance the corporation, you probably have to take away approx. 10 M€ from its starting resources just to accomplish that.

But even then, the corporation still feels too similar to Thorgate. What makes this one special, what makes it stick out from the rest?

Cheers,
Sebastian
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Enoch Fryxelius
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There actually was an Espionage card in one of the early prototypes. But we soon realized that in a game of longterm hand management, you cannot allow someone to look at your hand pick out a key-card for your strategy - it totally wrecks the game!

Taking over cities will not make it into the game either, I'm sorry. The result would be way too big VP-swings, and it would be way too good in a 2-player game! But apart from that, it would not help the game to progress - you would just spend a lot of resources to move a (very variable!) number of VPs from one player to another, without moving the game forward.

The Union Aerospace (Isn't this the UAC from the DOOM computer game?!) is clearly overpowered, I don't need calculations or play test to see that. Of course, if you nerf it accordingly (by following Bastinators suggestions, for example) it could be balanced, I suppose. But even then, I don't see much of a thematic or strategic angle with this corporation. What kind of corp is UAC, and why is EVERYTHING (from growing microbes to sending rockets to Saturn) cheaper? The purpose with different corporations is also to give you a new strategic angle every time you play this game, forcing you to adapt your strategy to take advantage of your corp's strengths. Discount on everything doesn't do that - it gives you no direction at all for your play. (Except perhaps to go for cheaper cards in general so you can use your effect more often, but I don't think that would be so significant)

We love to hear suggestions on new cards, so I hope my direct-and-to-the-point assesment doesn't discourage anyone from sharing their ideas. Thanks for sharing!
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Ken Chaney

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EagleEye80 wrote:
There actually was an Espionage card in one of the early prototypes. But we soon realized that in a game of longterm hand management, you cannot allow someone to look at your hand pick out a key-card for your strategy - it totally wrecks the game!

...

We love to hear suggestions on new cards, so I hope my direct-and-to-the-point assesment doesn't discourage anyone from sharing their ideas. Thanks for sharing!


Looking at a player's hand seems like a bad idea in terms of balance. Some games the only chance a player has against opponents drawing good affordable early game cards is a late game push/comeback that involves hidden surprises. This could be a bunch of plant production, a cluster of Jupiter tags including points/Jupiter, or a surprise catch-up in science or tiles for Scientist/Landlord awards. If a secret plan is learned/broken, or worse yet communicated to other players who then suppress/deny the comeback, it's fatal. In many games, at least one player seems to be in the situation of planning and needing a surprise push at the end. Some games can tolerate spying/theft, but not this one of them - the balance and compensations are too fine.

Candid but polite communication sounds good to me! Thanks for encouraging!

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Matthieu Fontaines
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EagleEye80 wrote:

The Union Aerospace (Isn't this the UAC from the DOOM computer game?!) is clearly overpowered, I don't need calculations or play test to see that. Of course, if you nerf it accordingly (by following Bastinators suggestions, for example) it could be balanced, I suppose. But even then, I don't see much of a thematic or strategic angle with this corporation. What kind of corp is UAC, and why is EVERYTHING (from growing microbes to sending rockets to Saturn) cheaper? The purpose with different corporations is also to give you a new strategic angle every time you play this game, forcing you to adapt your strategy to take advantage of your corp's strengths. Discount on everything doesn't do that - it gives you no direction at all for your play. (Except perhaps to go for cheaper cards in general so you can use your effect more often, but I don't think that would be so significant)


While I agree the corp as written is overpowered, it seems to me this argument is weak.
You just put in the game the "earth catapult" who gives a discount on everything (from growing microbes to sending rockets to Saturn) and justify it by the ease to obtain materials from earth.

I suppose UAC is just a Thorgate + nerfed earth catapult... :)

btw, do you have an idea of the release / communication planning for the expansions, more/alternatives cards would be nice :)
 
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Sebastian Stückl
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Duinhir wrote:
While I agree the corp as written is overpowered, it seems to me this argument is weak.
You just put in the game the "earth catapult" who gives a discount on everything (from growing microbes to sending rockets to Saturn) and justify it by the ease to obtain materials from earth.


Well, the argument isn't so much that there could not be a corporation that makes everything cheaper, but rather the fact that this particular corporation lacks a theme.
The idea with earth catapult is really that you set up a certain technology that allows you save a ton of cost whenever you launch a rocket towards Mars. Consequently, it makes every project on Mars cheaper since you save fuel costs (I suppose some earth tags should be unaffected, then...)
For research outpost, it's somewhat similar. You study Mars, and therefor you can better adjust any upcoming projects to the unknown environments there.

Cheers,
Sebastian
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texan hick
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Neat! the creator of the game responded..

I can see everyone's thoughts on things, and how overpowered some of it is, and I agree with the thoughts expressed, I still think I can do something with the corp..

Union Aerospace
The tag for the corp would be Science and Power
You start with 40 MC, and maybe do some sort of variant like Helion

You can spend Power in place of Credits, and you may choose to keep power production in power, and not move it to Heat..

This reflects UAC's ability to store power, and using teleportation technology to have easier access to the resources used in terraforming mars.


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