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Martians: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Rules

Subject: Newbie confusion - help please! rss

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Mike Nudd
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After two plays this afternoon, even after checking the forums and the FAQ I must admit I am still a little confused about whether or not I am playing the game properly.

Both games were played two player co-op, and both times the game kicked our butts, mainly because of severe energy shortages throughout both games. We tried two different scenarios - New Schedule and Vastitas Borealis, but both seemed impossible to achieve given the scarcity in resources and actions.

We started with 10 shared energy as per the setup in the rulebook. plus 4 in the RTG. We gained energy from both energy techs, but did not refresh the RTG. We kept getting sandstorms, which felt overly punishing as we never had enough to do anything. Is this the correct way to play?

We noticed that if you have excess of disease and hunger tokens there didn't seem much point in addressing any of them if you could not reduce the total count of tokens below 3 before the end of a cycle (i.e. less that the number available action markers per player). The rulebook suggests there are no further penalties for overloading on demand in this way? Is this correct?

The wording on movement of the excavation machine seems ambiguous - in both games the machine was placed equidistant between unrevealed tokens in two different directions, meaning it was not possible to move the machine as the rules are written. We chose to ignore this rule, but this led to a 'gap' on the board where the machine could not collect either before or after its move, which was not helpful. I also note on the 'The Rift' event card it says to choose tokens 'below it' but that doesn't make sense given the possible movement directions of the machine. Can someone please clarify?

I don't mind challenging games - e.g. I really enjoy Robinson Crusoe and High Frontier - but here I feel like the game isn't balanced well enough to give you a fighting chance. Unless I'm somehow playing it wrong?










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François Mahieu
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We had the same feeling. The game seems totally unbalanced at the moment. It tastes like an unfinished prototype that still needs playtesting imho. We played the game twice but I still can't answer any of your questions for sure.



I really hope they'll upgrade their rules very soon, and the way the game has to be played. For now, it just doesn't work.
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Max Jansson
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I have played the game three times co-op, solo and co-op.

First game we didn't go for energy immidiatly and struggled after the first cykle, conseded after third cykle.

Second (solo) game I won pretty easily, i never felt challenged.

Third game we had beaten the game at the end of cykle three and had to play out cykle four just trying to maximize points.

Still have a lot of scenarios to play and hope that the difiiculty will increase.
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Joe Pilkus
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I really hope that the gameplay is truly better than the early reports indicated thus far. Even after editing the rules for Krzysztof, not having a copy of the game definitely hindered my ability to assist in gameplay analysis.

When I had to decide between M:ASoC and Terraforming Mars, there was little information to make a decision. Based solely on the art and the graphic design, which by my estimation, M:ASoC is far superior, I threw my lot in with RedImp. We'll see...
 
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Max Jansson
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The Professor wrote:
I really hope that the gameplay is truly better than the early reports indicated thus far. Even after editing the rules for Krzysztof, not having a copy of the game definitely hindered my ability to assist in gameplay analysis.

When I had to decide between M:ASoC and Terraforming Mars, there was little information to make a decision. Based solely on the art and the graphic design, which by my estimation, M:ASoC is far superior, I threw my lot in with RedImp. We'll see...


Having played both I can tell you that there is not much that can be compared between the games. They both use Mars as a setting, that's about it. They make use of vastly different gameplay. TM has hand management and enginebuilding, MaSoC is a worker placement game.

I really like TM, it's a great game but it's not really comparable other than that number between 1-10 you give it here on the geek.
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Joe Pilkus
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Thanks, Max...I'm not as interested in another hand management game, so I'm pleased with my decision. Again, just hope the gameplay comes through for me.
 
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Mike Nudd
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If this is *is* how the game is supposed to be played, I'm thinking that applying a house rule such that the RTG energy is replenished each cycle would likely be enough to make the game playable. Thoughts anyone?
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Max Jansson
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mikelosaurus wrote:
If this is *is* how the game is supposed to be played, I'm thinking that applying a house rule such that the RTG energy is replenished each cycle would likely be enough to make the game playable. Thoughts anyone?


In my limited experience that is not necessary. First game we didn't know how important energy would be so we stupidly did not plan for it. The second and third game we were droning in energy.
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Peer Lagerpusch
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If the RTG is empty it is empty, you will not put any more energy tokens here. For surving on Mars energy is essential, so you have to build energy instalations as soon as possible.

The description of the movement rules of the excavation machine is not the best, but you just move it to a space where there is a token. We never had a problem with the machine.

If you have any disease, oxygen or hunger tokens left in the quarters at the end of a cycle you apply the penalties which might kill one of your astronauts and makes the game therefore harder. If you want to win the game there must be no hunger, disease or oxygen markers on the quarters at the end of the game.
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Mike Nudd
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Thanks for the responses everyone.

Evil_X wrote:

In my limited experience that is not necessary. First game we didn't know how important energy would be so we stupidly did not plan for it. The second and third game we were droning in energy.


In both games we planned and built energy production, and in both games sand storms rendered a severe energy shortfall despite our plans.

Perhaps the problem then is in the severity of the weather cards? Unless we played these wrong? (-1 per production disk, halving the amount produced overall).

PeerLagerpusch wrote:
If the RTG is empty it is empty, you will not put any more energy tokens here.


Yes I understand that this is the intent of the rules as written.

PeerLagerpusch wrote:
For surving on Mars energy is essential, so you have to build energy instalations as soon as possible.


I understand this also. However in a 2-player game it is only possible to add four disks total - 2 each - to each of the energy installations. And if there is exclusive focus on these actions, this creates huge efficiency problems for the other actions in the game, which appears to place the overall difficulty level too high.

PeerLagerpusch wrote:

The description of the movement rules of the excavation machine is not the best, but you just move it to a space where there is a token.


This is how we played. My point is that this violates the rules as they are written. (Note as well that due to gaps there will be a point where you cannot claim a token either before or after the machine move.)

PeerLagerpusch wrote:

If you have any disease, oxygen or hunger tokens left in the quarters at the end of a cycle you apply the penalties which might kill one of your astronauts and makes the game therefore harder. If you want to win the game there must be no hunger, disease or oxygen markers on the quarters at the end of the game.


Only oxygen demand kills your colonists. Injury and hunger demand only wastes time. In a co-op game there is no apparent net difference in leaving out 3 injury/hunger and leaving out 6 injury/hunger. As long as this is not the last cycle, this does not seem to matter?
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Max Jansson
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Use the upgrades on your corporation board to mitigate weather effects. One upgrade let's you know wich weather ois coming, two others let's you upgrade your energy discs to produce more energy from your choosen source.
In a coop game players should focus on different energy sources and upgrade accordingly.

The excavation action gets better with the arm upgrade, it helps you cross gaps.

Take care of oxygen tokens, don't bother with the injury or hunger tokens if you are struggling. Experts (Specialists?) let you take care of these later without any time cost.

I'm not sure why you are having a hard time, maybe you are having bad luck with the weather and events? I'm really hoping to see some difficulty and hard choises in my next few games or this one goes on my trade list.
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Claudio Coppini
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With up to 2 energy installations for player and the various technologies, you shouldn't have that much trouble with energy.

I've played the game 5 times solo so far, cycling through the basic scenarios, and I won easily only once. The more I play the more the game seems well balanced to me. I think it's a sort of game that NEEDS to be played through many times to see its strong points.
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Paul Kellett
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This is my least anticipated KS game so far. Like Joe, I thought it looked like the best of the Mars games (Ignacy's game will probably be brilliant but I don't want to use an app so that's ruled out) but the way they handled the campaign, rushed the game out for Essen and refused to deal properly with the rulebook issue plus all the posts I've seen here and on Facebook has soured the whole thing for me.

I'll certainly be thinking twice before looking at another RedImp game.
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Max Jansson
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AnimalMkIV wrote:
This is my least anticipated KS game so far. Like Joe, I thought it looked like the best of the Mars games (Ignacy's game will probably be brilliant but I don't want to use an app so that's ruled out) but the way they handled the campaign, rushed the game out for Essen and refused to deal properly with the rulebook issue plus all the posts I've seen here and on Facebook has soured the whole thing for me.

I'll certainly be thinking twice before looking at another RedImp game.


Thanks for your input. It was very helpful.
 
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Paul Kellett
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Evil_X wrote:


Thanks for your input. It was very helpful.


Thanks for your sarcasm - it was treated with scorn.
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Mike Nudd
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Two more co-op plays this weekend confirmed my suspicions for this mode: by 'gaming' the setup to ignore injury and hunger entirely in cycles 2 and 3, there are sufficient actions to generate enough resources in cycle 4 to complete the scenario and end the game successfully.

(I do not see how it is logistically possible to deal with all injury and hunger in all cycles of the game.)

Playing against the grain of the game in this way does disappoint me though.

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François Mahieu
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mikelosaurus wrote:
Two more co-op plays this weekend confirmed my suspicions for this mode: by 'gaming' the setup to ignore injury and hunger entirely in cycles 2 and 3, there are sufficient actions to generate enough resources in cycle 4 to complete the scenario and end the game successfully.

(I do not see how it is logistically possible to deal with all injury and hunger in all cycles of the game.)

Playing against the grain of the game in this way does disappoint me though.



We felt exactly the same playing the game in the competitive mode. You'd better ignore injury and hunger if willing to win the game. You're just wasting your time trying to gather food/medicines. The rules just don't make any sense there.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I already sold my copy by the way.
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Joe Pilkus
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Francois,

That's disheartening...

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Stuart Cresswell
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Is this a gripe about the theme? Hunger does not equate to starvation. Disease does not result in demise. Oxygen running out ends in suffocation.

I would say that working out whether it's best to feed & medicate your colonists or not in all cycles (to gain reputation points, save $ and not lose time in the next cycle) before the final one (which equates to a points loss) means the game has plenty of meaty decisions to go round!

This hopefully makes playing through scenarios a lot more interesting too.
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AnimalMkIV wrote:
This is my least anticipated KS game so far. Like Joe, I thought it looked like the best of the Mars games (Ignacy's game will probably be brilliant but I don't want to use an app so that's ruled out) but the way they handled the campaign, rushed the game out for Essen and refused to deal properly with the rulebook issue plus all the posts I've seen here and on Facebook has soured the whole thing for me.

I'll certainly be thinking twice before looking at another RedImp game.


This pretty much sums up my position - except I wont be touching another RI game until its at retail and I have read the user feedback - they have 100% lost my trust.
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Farydia Pseudo
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I really don't get all the hate this game draws. We only played co-op so far, I admit - but that's really the only mode that interested me for this game in the first place. But that was an enjoyable experience so far. Yeah, weather can be harsh, but then, in many rounds it really helped us stocking up energy for the bad times we knew were to come. And about hunger and disease: Yes, it is often the better decision to just leave them be and concentrate on the important stuff - so what?
We won our first Robinson Crusoe scenario by just throwing food-gathering out of the window for the last two turns and concentrate on the winning condition instead. We won, each with 1 single HP remaining, almost starved to death and with no ressources at all - except for the wood for the signal fire! And that was great and thematic. This game does a similar thing but gets hated for it - I really don't get this.
While it's probably not my #1 game of all time, it's still good for some fun hours. So, to everyone who didn't get their game, yet: Don't get bogged down by people's opinions before you try it .
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Joe Pilkus
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Farydia,

Very well stated. There are currently two camps from which we're seeing vitriol...first, the camp that reviewed the abysmal rule set, coupled with the unimpressive customer support and response from RedImp. The second camp seems to concern itself with the actual gameplay. I agree that one should wait and play the game to make their own conclusions...I wait, albeit impatiently, for my copy, both to record the review but also to try a game which looks fantastic.

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Ronnie Tucker
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Just received my copy the other day and while the production on the box, miniatures, board and counters looks great the rule book is atrocious.

Some examples that spring to mind:

* It gives setup changes before it even shows the setup.

* The setup is confusing at best. In solo mode it says you play two corporations. Then it goes on to say that you have one board and three colours. Huh?

* The rule book doesn't seem to give many examples of play. There are a couple of bits here and there, but not enough for what's in the game.

* Some VERY bad wording in some places which only adds to my confusion.

* No walk through of an example game to help. Nothing.

VERY poor documentation. I hope the devs can put out a better PDF or something for this. It looks great, but for a simpleton like me, it's almost unplayable.
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Joe Pilkus
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Ronnie,

If you have some specific examples, please let me know as I've been in touch with Krzysztof over the past several months, aiding them with the FAQ (which you should've received), albeit without the game. There may be a need for a living document here on BGG for this game.

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Roland Johansson
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It's that excavation machine again

I really don't see how to move it according to the rules written...

In the pic on page 15 it looks like it can't move to the up + right
and the one to the right,
but how can it move to the dowb +right ?
since it then would be further away from the tokens to the far left...
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