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Subject: Review of Broken Token's insert for fixing Terraforming Mars rss

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Terraforming Mars is a wonderful game with a glaring problem. The cardboard player boards for tracking resources are abysmal. You are given little cubes that are supposed to sit primly in tiny boxes printed on the player boards. The end result is an ingenious torture device. Cubes are constantly being bumped off their assigned squares, into other squares or open space, as you frantically try to add new cubes or move existing ones. Woe betide the player who accidently bumps into the player board, however. Cursed cubes everywhere... Hopefully the stricken player has the current resource levels memorized for all 6 resources. If not...

Entering this maelstrom of misery comes Broken Token (www.thebrokentoken.com), a company selling a purported lifeline. They sell a wooden insert replacement organizer for the game that also includes a solution to the player board problem.

The insert is beautifully made out of birch wood. It contains a tower that holds, organizes, and dispenses sleeved or unsleeved cards. The tower has a cutout of a rocket going to mars on the sides that looks very cool on the table. The insert has a slot holder for the handful of special hexagonal tiles. It has a container for the water tiles that sits out on the game board. It has two cube and tile wells that allow easy access for both sides of the table to the gold, silver, and copper cubes, along with the greenery/city tiles. It has a very nice replacement for the first player token. It's a retro style 3D rocket that sits on the table ready to blast off. The system also comes with three acrylic plastic standees to replace the ugly white cubes that come with the game to mark oxygen, temperature, and turn. All told it is a great aesthetic upgrade to the game.

But it doesn't stop there. The organizer also solves the player board problem. It comes with wooden player board replacements. They are wooden trays with cutout wells to hold the cubes snugly in place. They are a classy aesthetic upgrade to the cardboard ones. The best thing about them, though, is how well they solve the cube problem. They work superbly at holding the cubes exactly where they need to be for the entirety of the game.

Everything fits snugly within the game box when you are done with the game.

The insert comes needing assembly. All the pieces of the insert come on sheets of birch wood that need to be removed and then assembled. To assemble it I used wood glue, sandpaper, and a rubber mallet. All told it took about two and a half hours to build. The directions that come with it are well illustrated so that there was no confusion with what piece went where. I've decided to go ahead and give it a coating of polyurethane to protect the wood.

Playing the game using the Broken Token insert solution was a revelation. Finally there were no more distractions to this engrossing game. I cannot recommend this insert enough.

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It all comes down to this: Are you going to buy another game(s) or are you going to splash out $50+ on an insert?

I'll stick with my £5 fix, thanks.
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Jens Hoppe
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As someone who has had no problems with the existing components, I think I am going to pass on any organizers/player board overlays.
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Stephen Meyers
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I have no problems with the player boards.

Why does this game get mud slinged at it?

I've got plenty of player boards and maps

in my games where clumsy players can wreck

havoc. I've had other highly rated games

where components jump off boards/maps if the

players bump the table.


Simple fix:

DON'T BUMP THE TABLE when playing any game!

or simply

Don't play with that clumsy guy.!!





.

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Marcio Ferreira
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Fishticuffs wrote:
It all comes down to this: Are you going to buy another game(s) or are you going to splash out $50+ on an insert?

I'll stick with my £5 fix, thanks.


What's your 5 pound fix?
 
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Bård Holst
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Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.
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Paul Newsham
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Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.
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Tarnop wrote:
Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.

TFM costs more because more people want it. Note that the MSRP for the two games is the same, $70 US. Actual market price varies with demand, this is basic economics.

 
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Michael Debije
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We have to have reviews for some overpriced game organizers as well? As if there was not enough clutter on this site.
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Dave Moser
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Tarnop wrote:
Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.

I have no problem with the standard GWT mats, but I wouldn't want to play TFM without my mat overlays. It's not really a valid comparison, for two reasons:

1. A moderate jostling of the TFM mat can disrupt so much information that it can be almost impossible to reliably restore the correct game state. The same is not true for GWT.
2. TFM involves repeatedly lifting and placing multiple small cubes, half of which are slightly rounded, making them notoriously easy to fumble when picking up more than one, and simply dropping a couple of the cubes onto the middle of mat can cause serious disruption. GWT involves much less interaction with the mat, and never involving more than one piece at a time.

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Talmanes wrote:
Tarnop wrote:
Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.

TFM costs more because more people want it. Note that the MSRP for the two games is the same, $70 US. Actual market price varies with demand, this is basic economics.



I will state that I don't think TfM is overpriced and I have no interest in GWT at all, but according to the last info I can find the UK MSRP for TfM is £65 compared with £44 for GWT.
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Jesús Couto Fandiño
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Yea, I mean, the gaming board and token thing is a pain, specially if you are a klutz like me, but that is just a bit too expensive for me to justify. I already spend too much in games, I just want to keep spending on the actual games

I probably will end up doing some DYI solution.

But hey, you have plenty of money? That thing looks nice. You have even more money and want to buy one for me? I'm not going to say no
 
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DaveD wrote:
Talmanes wrote:
Tarnop wrote:
Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.

TFM costs more because more people want it. Note that the MSRP for the two games is the same, $70 US. Actual market price varies with demand, this is basic economics.



I will state that I don't think TfM is overpriced and I have no interest in GWT at all, but according to the last info I can find the UK MSRP for TfM is £65 compared with £44 for GWT.

I got my data from Stronghold Games website:

https://strongholdgames.com/

Scroll down a little to the "in stock soon" section, both listed at US $69.95.
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Talmanes wrote:
DaveD wrote:
Talmanes wrote:
Tarnop wrote:
Nusferatu wrote:
Never really understood the big issues people have with the player boards.

I don't think this game needs it. It wouldn't hurt to have of course but that could be said about any game in my collection.
One game I would say qualifies for actually needing an upgraded player board is Eclipse. It's need outshines that of Terraforming Mars by a mile.


For a £55 game, it feels cheap. Compare the relatively few complaints about the player mats in Great Western Trail from the same publisher, which retails for £20 less.

TFM costs more because more people want it. Note that the MSRP for the two games is the same, $70 US. Actual market price varies with demand, this is basic economics.



I will state that I don't think TfM is overpriced and I have no interest in GWT at all, but according to the last info I can find the UK MSRP for TfM is £65 compared with £44 for GWT.

I got my data from Stronghold Games website:

https://strongholdgames.com/

Scroll down a little to the "in stock soon" section, both listed at US $69.95.


I don't disbelieve you. I got my info from what the distributor (Esdevium) supply to stores in this country.
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DaveD wrote:
I don't disbelieve you. I got my info from what the distributor (Esdevium) supply to stores in this country.

I didn't disbelieve you either. UK maybe has different publishers?
 
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meyersjd wrote:


Playing the game using the Broken Token insert solution was a revelation. Finally there were no more distractions to this engrossing game. I cannot recommend this insert enough.



I saw this go up last night before there were any other comments and considered a warning, but decided against it. I suppose it would have been warranted. I, for one, appreciate your review. I was considering the insert and will likely follow up knowing it's a good solution. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

Constantinople wrote:
.

Simple fix:

DON'T BUMP THE TABLE when playing any game!

or simply

Don't play with that clumsy guy.!!





.



Accidents happen and I don't dictate membership in my playgroup based on how clumsy someone is.

For some, it's a problem. It would be nice if folks who don't have a problem with it didn't feel attacked every time its brought up.
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Jens Hoppe
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kelann08 wrote:
For some, it's a problem. It would be nice if folks who don't have a problem with it didn't feel attacked every time its brought up.

I am sure you would agree that the OP could have been a tad less hyperbolic in his description of the "problem":

Quote:
The end result is an ingenious torture device. Cubes are constantly being bumped off their assigned squares, into other squares or open space, as you frantically try to add new cubes or move existing ones.

Torture device? Constantly? Frantically?

Sure, som people are more clumsy than others, and in general there is nothing wrong with using player board overlays. I considered getting a set for the longest time, but in the end I didn't get one - because after lots of games with many, many different players, the "problem" didn't really materialize, and I had to conclude that it was probably more of an imagined fear of upsetting the board than a real issue.

I have no issues with people using inserts and overlays when playing the game. But it is disingenuous when it is argued that the game is more or less unplayable without them.
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Christopher Seguin
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kelann08 wrote:
meyersjd wrote:


Playing the game using the Broken Token insert solution was a revelation. Finally there were no more distractions to this engrossing game. I cannot recommend this insert enough.



I saw this go up last night before there were any other comments and considered a warning, but decided against it. I suppose it would have been warranted. I, for one, appreciate your review. I was considering the insert and will likely follow up knowing it's a good solution. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.



I highly suggest that you continue forward with your "likely follow up" and purchase the Broken Token insert because it is more than just a good solution to the trays. The individual player boards are really cool, but the card holder and the resource trays are also great additions to the insert.

Set up of the entire game takes less than three minutes. And, if you sleeve your cards, having the card holder prevents slippery sleeves from slipping off the stack of slippery sleeves!
 
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goryon wrote:
Fishticuffs wrote:
It all comes down to this: Are you going to buy another game(s) or are you going to splash out $50+ on an insert?

I'll stick with my £5 fix, thanks.


What's your 5 pound fix?


Simply to have an over- and underlay with overlapping diamond cut-outs. These cut outs show the production numbers on the underlay and your cubes sit snugly inside the diamond. All you have to do is cut the score card in two and slot it in!
 
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Fishticuffs wrote:
goryon wrote:
Fishticuffs wrote:
It all comes down to this: Are you going to buy another game(s) or are you going to splash out $50+ on an insert?

I'll stick with my £5 fix, thanks.


What's your 5 pound fix?


Simply to have an over- and underlay with overlapping diamond cut-outs. These cut outs show the production numbers on the underlay and your cubes sit snugly inside the diamond. All you have to do is cut the score card in two and slot it in!


You care to provide a picture? I'm not sure I understand your explanation.
 
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Hyperbole aside (player boards with cutouts are nice, but it's not torture to not have them), I agree with the OP that the BT set looks nice, though I think it's a bit overproduced. For example, I don't see the need for a more elaborate first player token, and the special tile holder looks awkward. There was another company that used vacuum-formed trays set into laser cut bins for the cubes, and I think that was much more clever. Having the player cubes apparently sit on the player board when the game is in the box seems impractical to me. A bit of shifting and you have cubes everywhere when you go to unpack.

I quite like the card holder, though, and I might make something similar for myself. Currently I have laser cut a set of transparent acrylic and MDF player boards using files provided for free in the files section here, and a set of plastic tubs for cubes. I am a bit hesitant to make more until I see what the first couple of expansions look like.
 
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Jesús Couto Fandiño
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Again, everything is relative. You may be the most cautious person ever, and have perfect control of your actions.

Me, I had to quit 3 solo runs because I scrambled the board so hard I could not figure out what was what

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Talmanes wrote:
DaveD wrote:
I don't disbelieve you. I got my info from what the distributor (Esdevium) supply to stores in this country.

I didn't disbelieve you either. UK maybe has different publishers?


Nope, both games are published by Stronghold in the UK
 
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mi_de wrote:
We have to have reviews for some overpriced game organizers as well? As if there was not enough clutter on this site.


I didn't know that discussing game accessories was forbidden! I guess you'll have to come and yell at me for reviewing accessories too!
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klauplacius wrote:
Again, everything is relative. You may be the most cautious person ever, and have perfect control of your actions.

Me, I had to quit 3 solo runs because I scrambled the board so hard I could not figure out what was what


Pogo sticks and board games don't go well together. Just FYI.

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