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Subject: Tharsis rules Mars: a strategy pursued effectively rss

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Wim van Gruisen
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It was intended as a two player game (red and blue, with me being blue) with experienced players. But when we had all about set it up, the Corporate Era cards shuffled in the deck, a third player asked if she could join. She hadn't played the game yet, but was willing to try - even with CE cards. She got the yellow colour and a beginner corporation. I could choose between Inventrix and the Tharsis Republic.

Analysis
My starting hand included a couple of cities (underground city and domed crater), aquiver pumping and one or two other builder cards. That made Tharsis the best company to play. With my builder cards I had a shot at the builder milestone, and Tharsis' cities could give me the mayor milestone as well, if I was quick enough. Red chose Ecoline, which made me happy - Tharsis' cities could probably leach off Ecoline's greeneries. If my money production became high enough, I could supplement them with greeneries from standard projects.

The cards suggested a strategy as well. Underground City would give me +2 steel production, which I could use to play those builder cards. It should be one of the first cards to play. Problem, though, was that it needed two energy, and I had none at the start. Aquifer Pumping should be the next card; a blue card which gave me an action to place ocean tiles for M€8, which could be paid for with steel. It could potentially give me 9 VPs (and the corresponding income), as long as other players didn't build oceans as well. So the sooner I'd play it, the more time I'd have to build those oceans before other players would get in.
Domed Crater should be played early as well, because it had a max oxygen level of 7%. With Ecoline in play, that parameter could get up quickly.

Start
These were expensive cards, which means that I'd have to play conservatively for the first few rounds. In the first round I played a Power Plant to raise my energy production 1, and a Bribed Committee to raise my TM rating (and income) by 2, at the cost of -2VP. The idea was to use a standard action to raise energy another step at the next generation, so that I'd have enough energy to play that Underground City. However, Yellow played a card that decreased my energy production, and that slowed down my strategy. For the second turn I couldn't really do anything useful. Yellow and Red, on the other hand, went ahead and build their engines. Both seemed to go for heat production, as Ecoline didn't seem to get his plants going.

Hm. They were boing for heat production - I got Deimos Down, and crashed the moon on Mars' surface. Temperature went up three steps - points for their engines that they couldn't score anymore, and in passing Ecoline's plants collection was destroyed as well. It cost me some money, but slowing down their engines and 'stealing' 'their' VPs would be worth it. It netted me some heat production and some VPs, and thus income, as well.

Eventually it took me till round 4 before I could finally play the Underground City and the Aquifer Pumping. I immediately built an ocean. By now I was surging ahead on the TM track, which gave me extra money.

Midgame
A few rounds later heat production was on the way and I was producing an ocean every generation. Oxygen levels stayed behind, and I had ample time to build my Domed Crater. Some cards I had picked along the way were Mining Rights, which increased steel production, and Advanced Alloys, which made steel and titanium worth +1M€. It really strengthened my steel production, and allowed me to play more building cards. My TM rating grew satisfyingly as well.

I could build my third city and claim the Mayor milestone. Red saw my increasing number of building cards and my advance on the TM track, and quickly built three Greeneries to claim the Gardener milestone. Just in time, as the next generation I reached 35 TM and eight builder cards at the same time, opening up the Terraformer and Builder milestones for me - but there was only room left for one of them. Meanwhile, Red and Yellow had claimed the Banker, Scientist and Thermalist awards.

End game and finale
It soon became clear that Oxygen Level was really lagging behind the two other parameters. Which gave problems for Red's engine - with heat to a max, his engine sputtered and failed to produce more VP. It was fine by me. My money production was considerable, so I could abandon my Ocean engine and switch to using standard actions to place cities and greeneries. I supplemented it with the odd card that helped me along, like Fish, which gave me an animal every generation, and 1 VP for each animal at the end.
Red's engine, however, sputtered when we reached maximum temperature. Only focused on generating heat, he had difficulties producing more VP. Yellow, on the other hand, had played Pets early, so she could leech off my city building, and had a microbe production thing going.

But the end game was all about building cities and greeneries. With the best money production, and with Ecoline not getting enough plant production, I proved most effective at that. The low oxygen level allowed me enough generations to profit maximally from that. There was room for many rounds of city and greenery building, and for producing fish. I won with 96 points. Yellow followed with about 70 points, and Red ended somewhere in the fifties.
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Whymme wrote:
They were boing for heat production

Wow, how much did they have? shake
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Wim van Gruisen
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Aren't typo's great?
But anyway, at the end of the game they had gathered seventy-odd and eighty-odd heat. Fifteen gold cubes and a smattering of silver and copper ones together.
 
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Whymme wrote:
Aren't typo's great?
But anyway, at the end of the game they had gathered seventy-odd and eighty-odd heat. Fifteen gold cubes and a smattering of silver and copper ones together.

Yikes, a major thermalist war. The third player benefits in that scenario.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Partly a Thermalist war, but also the result of both players investing heavily in a heat-based strategy from the start. Temperature then reached its max way before the other parameters and their engines kept producing heat for six more rounds. I finished with some eighteen heat as well, without actively trying.
 
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