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Subject: Should I buy? rss

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Tom B

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Sorry if there's another topic on this..

I've got a copy preordered (shipping tomorrow) on Amazon but I'm concerned about a few things.

First, it seems to be getting great reviews, but are there any games that it's similar or "too" similar to? I don't have nearly enough time for gaming as it is and I'm trying to avoid buying games that are "samey" compared to something I already own.

Second, in the videos I've seen, the component quality looks kinda iffy. How are the components in the game? Art, card durability, board thickness, markers, etc...Bad component quality and bad art can really kill a game for me.

Any information would be much appreciated!
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Stephen Eckman
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Bombadilio wrote:
First, it seems to be getting great reviews, but are there any games that it's similar or "too" similar to? I don't have nearly enough time for gaming as it is and I'm trying to avoid buying games that are "samey" compared to something I already own.

What games do you already own?
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Geoff Speare
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Component quality: the player mats are thin - not so much as to be an actual problem during play but noticeable. The "metal" cubes, on the other hand, are super cool (some people have had production issues but replacements are available). Cards are good, tiles are good, other plastic is good, board is good.

What it's like: many other engine games (produce X to do Y). For me the theme is what sets it apart; if you are into the theme this will likely stand out, if not then it may seem more similar.

If you are in doubt and have any way of selling/trading then go for it, as it will be in high demand until the next printing comes out.
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Arlyn Janssen
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1) Is it too similar to ...? It's a card driven, engine-building game. That concept certainly isn't brand new. That said, I think it combines familiar elements to fairly good effect giving a unique experience.

2) Iffy components. The component quality has been the subject of much discussion. Yes, it's subpar. Some would argue that it's charmingly half-baked, others find it a glaring flaw in an otherwise high-end quality game.

3) Homemade artwork. Again, much has been made of this. It's mixed media with some drawn, done photos, some apparent-clipart. I wouldn't buy it to frame the cards on your wall. The graphic design is easy to read and interpret, which is my highest priority. The art is pleasantly ignorable, but few would call it a brilliant example of the best our hobby has to offer.
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Tom B

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steckman wrote:
Bombadilio wrote:
First, it seems to be getting great reviews, but are there any games that it's similar or "too" similar to? I don't have nearly enough time for gaming as it is and I'm trying to avoid buying games that are "samey" compared to something I already own.

What games do you already own?


It might be easier to list what I don't own (part of the reason for trying to be more selective). Another post says it's a card based engine builder...in that realm I've got 51st State Master Set, Race/Roll for the Galaxy and Nations: TDG. Is there room for it with those on the shelf?
 
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Patrick G.
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1) I think it stands out fairly well and I own 2300+ games.
2a) The components are shit. It's sad but true. If it wasn't for being such a great game I would never have bought it. I'm with you on this.. bad components can ruin a good game. But this game is so damned great that it overshadows it's terrible components. The price point of the game for the components in the box is as close to highway robbery that I have ever personally seen in board games.
2b) The artwork varies from really good to artwork only a parent would appreciate.
2c) The graphic design is bloody amazing. It makes sense, it's easy to remember (and I have a terrible memory for such things for some reason) and it just works really really well.
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Tom B

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galfridus wrote:
Component quality: the player mats are thin - not so much as to be an actual problem during play but noticeable. The "metal" cubes, on the other hand, are super cool (some people have had production issues but replacements are available). Cards are good, tiles are good, other plastic is good, board is good.

What it's like: many other engine games (produce X to do Y). For me the theme is what sets it apart; if you are into the theme this will likely stand out, if not then it may seem more similar.

If you are in doubt and have any way of selling/trading then go for it, as it will be in high demand until the next printing comes out.


Thanks...I'm definitely a fan of the theme. I'm big on space-themed games and outside of gaming I love astronomy and anything related to current space exploration.
 
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Tom B

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galfridus wrote:
Component quality: the player mats are thin - not so much as to be an actual problem during play but noticeable. The "metal" cubes, on the other hand, are super cool (some people have had production issues but replacements are available). Cards are good, tiles are good, other plastic is good, board is good.

What it's like: many other engine games (produce X to do Y). For me the theme is what sets it apart; if you are into the theme this will likely stand out, if not then it may seem more similar.

If you are in doubt and have any way of selling/trading then go for it, as it will be in high demand until the next printing comes out.


Thanks for the info. It sounds like component quality is an issue which is definitely a "minus" for me, but if they are still having supply issues I imagine it's not much of a risk. If I don't like it, it sounds like I should be able to turn it around without taking too much of a loss.
 
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Philip Mazzone
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Agree with Patrick above. The components are very low quality. If it were any other game, this would get traded or sold instantly. But because of how freakin' awesome the gameplay is, you can look past it, and still love the game.

Some tips. First, immedietly order some kind of player mat upgrade. Such as the one from Etsy/boardgameboost. Totally worth it, will eliminate one of, if not the biggest, issue with the game - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BoardGameBoost

Second, consider a few upgrade items, like meeples to keep score instead of player cubes, a nicer first player marker, and the broken token track counters - http://www.thebrokentoken.com/terraforming-mars-acrylic-toke...

Third, you should be getting the second printing which has much nicer resource cubes that dont flake and chip as much as the first run. However, the card stock for the 200+ cards seems quite thin, strongly consider sleeving even if you dont normally do so. The cards are standard size 2.5 x 3.5

Enjoy !
caravan
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Patrick G.
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Xhawk wrote:
Agree with Patrick above. The components are very low quality. If it were any other game, this would get traded or sold instantly. But because of how freakin' awesome the gameplay is, you can look past it, and still love the game.

Some tips. First, immedietly order some kind of player mat upgrade. Such as the one from Etsy/boardgameboost. Totally worth it, will eliminate one of, if not the biggest, issue with the game - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BoardGameBoost

Second, consider a few upgrade items, like meeples to keep score instead of player cubes, a nicer first player marker, and the broken token track counters - http://www.thebrokentoken.com/terraforming-mars-acrylic-toke...

Third, you should be getting the second printing which has much nicer resource cubes that dont flake and chip as much as the first run. However, the card stock for the 200+ cards seems quite thin, strongly consider sleeving even if you dont normally do so. The cards are standard size 2.5 x 3.5

Enjoy !
caravan

I actually really enjoy the gametrayz ones myself.
http://www.gametrayz.com/terraforming-mars-game-trayz-mat.ht...
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Tom B

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corkysru wrote:
Xhawk wrote:
Agree with Patrick above. The components are very low quality. If it were any other game, this would get traded or sold instantly. But because of how freakin' awesome the gameplay is, you can look past it, and still love the game.

Some tips. First, immedietly order some kind of player mat upgrade. Such as the one from Etsy/boardgameboost. Totally worth it, will eliminate one of, if not the biggest, issue with the game - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BoardGameBoost

Second, consider a few upgrade items, like meeples to keep score instead of player cubes, a nicer first player marker, and the broken token track counters - http://www.thebrokentoken.com/terraforming-mars-acrylic-toke...

Third, you should be getting the second printing which has much nicer resource cubes that dont flake and chip as much as the first run. However, the card stock for the 200+ cards seems quite thin, strongly consider sleeving even if you dont normally do so. The cards are standard size 2.5 x 3.5

Enjoy !
caravan

I actually really enjoy the gametrayz ones myself.
http://www.gametrayz.com/terraforming-mars-game-trayz-mat.ht...


Those are definitely cheaper...though the etsy ones look amazing.
 
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John B
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This game should be delivered to me today or tomorrow. I'm thinking of taking the player mats to kinkos to have them laminated. Any opinions if this will be an improvment? Or perhaps cubes will slide easier?
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Örjan Almén
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johnb4bgg wrote:
This game should be delivered to me today or tomorrow. I'm thinking of taking the player mats to kinkos to have them laminated. Any opinions if this will be an improvment? Or perhaps cubes will slide easier?


I believe they would slide easier with a lamination. I heard someone say the surface of the second print is a little less slippery than the first print, don't know if it's true. Although, for my personal experience, it's not a big problem with the cubes. I play great even without any extras and usually don't have any problem whatsoever with the cubes sliding away.
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Lorry Moller
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Everyone has their own limits and opinions, but to me some of the component hate is a little over the top. I have first edition, I've lent it out 4 times and there have probably been around 100 plays on that board. My cards are un-sleeved and have been shuffled many, many, times (i often play 5 players and you generally go through all of the cards) and it's still holding up fine. So, except for the cardboard insert, I don't think anything will fall apart on you. The price point for me was under $60CAD (maybe its more now?) so if you're a stickler for fancy, you can get some upgraded trays and still be under the price of many other games.

I love that it included a ton of cards and you get a _lot_ of replayability right out of the box, so think of it as saving 30$ on an expansion. Maybe thinking of it that way can fund your upgrade if you feel you want one. Cheers!
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Marco Teti
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Got this Saturday. My gripe is more about the players board itself. I think it's the same quality as a normal card though I'm not sure. It's laughable about the quality. The player boards should have been more like what others have shown so markers wouldn't move if slightly bumped. There is no excuse for that kind of component quality. The resource cubes are neat in how each can represent Heat, Growth, Steel, Titanium, Energy and resources.

Other than that the gameplay is superb. So many options based on what corporation you chose.

As far a 'samy'. I'm not sure what other games you have. There are many games that have engine building in them yet I find this more engaging mostly in trying to figure the best way to use your corporations starting money and ability and how you deal with the cards drawn. Even drafting you don't get what you would like yet can still mange to do something with what you get.


Definitely worth the wait for me.
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The gameplay is fantastic. While it is obviously not the only engine building game out there, I don't know another offhand that has 200+ unique cards. Add the map element, and excellent thematic integration, makes this a clear standout.

The card art is variable, but it has never bothered me. The iconography is simple, clear, and effective. The board art is good, IMO - a real image of Mars, and clear, functional tracks and scoring areas.

There is a fair amount of criticism out there for the components. But a survey here found that actual owners/players consider the components average, except the player board which rated below average. You can search and find it, along with much discussion. But in any case, if you pass it up for this reason you are making a huge mistake.


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John B
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orjanalmen wrote:
johnb4bgg wrote:
This game should be delivered to me today or tomorrow. I'm thinking of taking the player mats to kinkos to have them laminated. Any opinions if this will be an improvment? Or perhaps cubes will slide easier?


I believe they would slide easier with a lamination. I heard someone say the surface of the second print is a little less slippery than the first print, don't know if it's true. Although, for my personal experience, it's not a big problem with the cubes. I play great even without any extras and usually don't have any problem whatsoever with the cubes sliding away.


Thank you for the input. I guess I should try it out first and see if it's a problem for me. I also found another post suggesting dice and will give that a go as well.
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Örjan Almén
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SgtTenor wrote:
The player boards should have been more like what others have shown so markers wouldn't move if slightly bumped. There is no excuse for that kind of component quality.


There are many games I haven't played yet, I'll admit, but among the many hundred I have played, I can't recall so many (any?) games have that kind of player board you describe as being anywhere near a standard among games. I understand Scythe have it, but otherwise? Some games have solved it by dials, but most games I know have these kind of thin player boards. I can understand that people see a problem with cubes sliding, but I can't see the player boards being sub par in comparison to so many games. Most games where you place components on the game board or on player boards have the problem of components can get misaligned when hitting the table.
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Robert F-C
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johnb4bgg wrote:
Thank you for the input. I guess I should try it out first and see if it's a problem for me. I also found another post suggesting dice and will give that a go as well.


Yep dice to mark production work very well (entirely adequately I would even say) - just the thought of playing without a custom player mat or dice markers gives me night terrors.
 
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Darcy Dueck
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Keep your order in place. If you play a couple times and don't like it, you can easily sell it for more than you paid.

Keep in mind 5100 players rate it 8 or higher, 1000 players rate it 7 or lower so, your odds of enjoying it are high.
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Alliantie AJ
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As for the component quality, are there any reactions by the designer about this?
 
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Örjan Almén
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AlliantieAJ wrote:
As for the component quality, are there any reactions by the designer about this?


Loads of designer reactions all around the forum. The designers are very active here. I can't pinpoint any certain answers to your question as there are many. I advise you to read the threads to find their answers.
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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AlliantieAJ wrote:
As for the component quality, are there any reactions by the designer about this?


There is nothing subpar about the quality of any of the pieces involved (except the insert in the first edition, that was bad). What people are not happy about is not actually the quality, but the choices of components. I just wanted to make that clear. So, let's take a quick look:

Cards - they are three-layered black core 300gsm playing card with standard playing card varnish. This is a really high quality card material. Some people complain that they feel thin, and while that may be true, that is not the same as bad quality. They should withstand the same number of shuffles as any other cards. They should also be more resistant to folds when being bent.

Cubes - they are plastic cubes with metallic coating. This is unusual, but looks really good (subjective thought, of course). Because of the coating process, one corner of each cube, namely the corner where the plastic cube is stuck to the sprue, cannot be coated. This means that every cube has a small mark in one of its corners, usually not noticed by anyone around the table. This is not a defect, but an unavoidable effect of the manufacturing process. While some cubes may get their coating damaged, we've included more cubes than you need to play the game. If that happens, simply throw away the damaged cube if it bugs you and continue to play.

Player boards - they are the most criticized. They are 400gsm cardstock paper with standard color-protecting varnish, the same material used as player boards in countless other games. I have yet to hear from anyone that a player board was destroyed due to low quality. Of course, some have dropped a mug of coffee on them, but what would you expect to happen then? We chose this thin playerboard because it is less likely to bulge by moisture in the room and during shipping, it is most likely to lie flat on the playing surface, and it is the least likely to bump (a thicker board would stand out from the surface more, and would thus be easier to accidentally grab).

Tiles - LudoFact are specialists in cardboard, and the punchboard used is the same as for any of their other productions.

Board - Also state of the art production, the boards even contains a tape strip along the folds to protect the board when folding it. This strip should make the boards durable through several hundred extra folds.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with the quality. What people criticize is the choice of components. For example, since we use so many cubes on the player boards, it would be nice to have boards with dividers to prevent the cubes from accidentally moving between slots. And tracks for the production markers where the cubes cannot move between the rows, or even between the steps. We agree. That would be nice. It would also cost several times more than our current solution, adding probably 5€ to the sales price. This is also a question of preference. Several third party addons have been made, and I've tried a few. I prefer to play without them, using my player board as it is. It is less fiddly.

We could also have made thicker cards. But that wouldn't make them better.

We could have made the cubes in solid plastic to avoid coating defects. But we felt that metallic coating was the best thematic choice for our game which relies heavily on its theme.

As a last note, the artwork. It is true that we are a very small company making this game. More resources would have produced better images. However, even if we had more resources, we would probably still use the same approach; mixing art styles. This is an unusual approach in game design, but for this game it is a concious decision. The game tries to convey 200 different projects spanning from microbe management to interplanetary shuttles, from abstract things to tangible things. No one style could possibly convey all of this in a thematically fitting way. We also wanted to mimic a science magazine, and they use a wide variety of image styles, from blueprints to stock photos, to 3D renderings, to sketches and so on. We also wanted to use old science fiction images to create a nostalgic feeling for those who have been around space exploration news the last few decades. Simply put, even though some images could have been made better, we are confident that our design approach is the best approach for a game like this. But it is of course a matter of preference. Like card thickness. And playerboard thickness. And cube color.
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Tom B

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I really appreciate the response, Jonathan. For what it's worth, I just opened the copy I received in the mail today and I don't have any complaints about component quality. The player boards aren't the Scythe or Terra Mystica level thick cardboard with impressions to put in the pieces, but they're not below what I'd consider average. The card stock is fine, the board and cardboard chits are better than average (in my opinion) and the art ranges from fantastic (I love the board) to good. More important, it all seems extremely functional.

All in all, I think I'm going to hang on to it (assuming I enjoy the gameplay as much as everyone seems to).

Thanks for a great game to add to the collection!
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Alliantie AJ
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Indead, it seems more component choice then quality but is feels almost the same.
Of corse everybody has a opinion, many don't have a problem and others do.

But you just cannot go around that this game had a lot of talk about its components (and compared to the price). So there is some kind of problem.

Maybe we are spoiled with very high standards and do not see that it is difficult to get a game produced?

Another thing I'm wondering, produced with Stronghold Games I was even more suprised about this.

Because it is such a brilliant designed game it will overcome this.
 
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