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First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet» Forums » General

Subject: Do the RC mechanics work on Mars? rss

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Ronald
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Or to put it more bluntly: is dying fun?

When you arrive on this dreaded island in RC, things are bad and only get worse. But at the end, when you finally finish that giant log pile someone will rescue you.

But what about Mars? Congratulations that you found your runaway probe. It took only 5 days and half of your people are already close to dying and your facility is breaking down faster than you can repair it (what a piece of shoddy engineering). A few more days and all will be dead. To quote from a review

That said, we successfully beat the mission by the end of sol 5 and found it to be fairly easy, but things were going from bad to worse quickly. We definitely didn't want to stick around any longer as everything was starting to break.

Here is the rub: you will stick around and nobody will help you. Mars is going to kill you, so how can this be considered a win? I would feel bad afterwards.
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Jack Francisco
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The biggest complaint I've seen so far is that there seems to be a lack of variety in the events that are happening to you - it's almost always a malfunction or something breaking down. I think that RC works so well because you really do feel like you're dying slowly on a cursed island.
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Zoltán Dudás
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If you wanna get a feel on how it is in the long run, then I suggest to play the campaign


For single scenarios its really up to you how you make it up in your mind. You can go with your "nobody will help you, you are dead" version. Or you can assume that between those mission you get regular supplies to get everything up and running (Just like how the Guessing Game scenario suggests). Or you can even assume there is a shuttle ready for emergencies like in the Martian movie etc etc.
Or just consider game mechanic-wise that if there is no mission objective to fulfill (in-between scenarios) then basically you can spend all action pawns to keep malfuntion tracks in check indefinitely and resolve events.

Its up to you how you wanna feel afterwards.
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Zoltán Dudás
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senorcoo wrote:
The biggest complaint I've seen so far is that there seems to be a lack of variety in the events that are happening to you - it's almost always a malfunction or something breaking down. I think that RC works so well because you really do feel like you're dying slowly on a cursed island.


Arent you here slowly dying on an uninhabitable planet? You are only alive because you brought a couple stuff with you. If those break around you then you will slowly die.
Granted its a different feel than on a magical, cursed island. And more ristricted in what can happen to you.
But how else would such a space exploration/colonization feel? I think thematically it fits well.
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Ronald
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Given the general reliability of their equipment, i wonder how the astronauts made it to Mars alive in the first place .

But i think Jack has a good point. In RC you fight against the odds and the relieving moment is "Yes, i will survive. S**k it island!". That is pretty strong.

In First Martians it is "Yeah, found that probe. Now i am going to die." Less exciting ...

Maybe the campaign is better but i cannot judge that yet as i am still undecided if i should get the game. Has someone played the campaign and can weigh in here?
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Christophe Jannin
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Granted, the mechanics are similar between RC and FM. But the difference in philosophy is huge.
In RC you arrive on a deserted island with nothing and facing the elements you, slowly, somewhat build something that will help you survive and/or escape that cursed island.

In FM you are highly trained, highly intelligent (supposedly) operatives doing an important job for mankind with the full support of the best equipment science and technology can provide. And then it turns to s...t. All that technology is failing you.

In RC the events are forces of nature (or unnatural forces) that are trying to thwart your efforts, in RC it's technology and yourself that are subjects to failure.

In RC you try to reinvent the tools of technology (dam, fire, etc.) in FM you have to rediscover how to leave without it.

All in all I prefer FM to RC. IMHO.
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Timo Kandolin
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RitterFips wrote:
Given the general reliability of their equipment, i wonder how the astronauts made it to Mars alive in the first place .

But i think Jack has a good point. In RC you fight against the odds and the relieving moment is "Yes, i will survive. S**k it island!". That is pretty strong.

In First Martians it is "Yeah, found that probe. Now i am going to die." Less exciting ...

Maybe the campaign is better but i cannot judge that yet as i am still undecided if i should get the game. Has someone played the campaign and can weigh in here?


I've played the campaign and talk about it in my video review at the end and I also made a separate spoiler-review of the campaign if someone wants to be spoiled or has played the campaign. They can both be found under "videos" of First Martians here on bgg or through youtube on my channel named "DiceTillDawn"

But in a nutshell. I really really enjoyed the campaign!
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Ronald
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If there is a discussion about philosophy, then why do the astronauts have equipment worth (probably) billions of $ without a single redundancy? You produce exactly the amount of food you need, same for energy. No a tiny bit of surplus to protect the investment. Every civil engineer in existence will shake his head in disbelief.

I get that the game needs some timer to push you forward. But a have a feeling that the RC mechanics are not the best option here.
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Ronald
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TimoNator85 wrote:
I've played the campaign and talk about it in my video review at the end and I also made a separate spoiler-review of the campaign if someone wants to be spoiled or has played the campaign. They can both be found under "videos" of First Martians here on bgg or through youtube on my channel named "DiceTillDawn"


Thank you, i will take a look.
 
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Jack Francisco
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And I'm not saying that to crack on FM. Haven't played it. Was simply parroting the biggest complaint I've seen so far, which is probably a similar issue that I would have. RC just has that different feel to it.
 
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Matthew Burgess
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RitterFips wrote:
TimoNator85 wrote:
I've played the campaign and talk about it in my video review at the end and I also made a separate spoiler-review of the campaign if someone wants to be spoiled or has played the campaign. They can both be found under "videos" of First Martians here on bgg or through youtube on my channel named "DiceTillDawn"


Thank you, i will take a look.

I tend to think of any mission or campaign as an unconnected movie (my characters all have different names every time I play anyway!).

Sometimes, sh!t just goes wrong. So long as I survive, I presume everything goes back to normal after the game is over.

But THIS is the exciting bit, which is why I'm watching it in a movie, or reading it in a book, or playing it in a game
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Matt Smith
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RitterFips wrote:
Given the general reliability of their equipment, i wonder how the astronauts made it to Mars alive in the first place .

But i think Jack has a good point. In RC you fight against the odds and the relieving moment is "Yes, i will survive. S**k it island!". That is pretty strong.

In First Martians it is "Yeah, found that probe. Now i am going to die." Less exciting ...

Maybe the campaign is better but i cannot judge that yet as i am still undecided if i should get the game. Has someone played the campaign and can weigh in here?

For standalone scenarios, may I suggest the following narrative:

"Things are going well on Mars when we encounter an unplanned situation (scenario) that requires all of our attention and skills. However, dedicating so much time to the situation at hand means our normal system and mental maintenance time is lost, causing both our equipment and ourselves to start to wear down and break. The challenge is to successfully resolve the situation while not allowing either our equipment or ourselves to break down too far. After the situation has been addressed (winning the scenario), the team can go back to keeping the HUB and ourselves in tip-top shape until the next unplanned situation arises (your next game session)."

Of course, if you play the campaign you won't need to make up a story to bridge from session to session, because the campaign takes care of that for you.
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Matt Smith
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haplo92 wrote:
Granted, the mechanics are similar between RC and FM. But the difference in philosophy is huge.
In RC you arrive on a deserted island with nothing and facing the elements you, slowly, somewhat build something that will help you survive and/or escape that cursed island.

In FM you are highly trained, highly intelligent (supposedly) operatives doing an important job for mankind with the full support of the best equipment science and technology can provide. And then it turns to s...t. All that technology is failing you.

In RC the events are forces of nature (or unnatural forces) that are trying to thwart your efforts, in RC it's technology and yourself that are subjects to failure.

In RC you try to reinvent the tools of technology (dam, fire, etc.) in FM you have to rediscover how to leave without it.

All in all I prefer FM to RC. IMHO.

This is a really important difference between the games; thanks for pointing it out. RC is all about starting with nothing, inventing what you need to survive, all while trying to scratch and claw your way to completing the scenario objective(s). In FM, you start with most of your abilities fully functional. But the added pressure of having to deal with the situation presented by the scenario spreads the team too thin, resulting in a lack of regular maintenance and constant malfunctions. It's up to the team to decide how best to split their time between addressing the situation and maintaining the health of the HUB and themselves.

This results in the two games having a different development arc. RC's arc is more about a continuous building up of abilities. FM is about starting with full abilities, and having to manage the level and pace of ability erosion to ensure things don't get so bad that you can't complete the scenario. But the two games share the need to balance how many actions you spend building/repairing, versus achieving the winning conditions. So while the arc is different, the challenge is similar.
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A P
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RitterFips wrote:


But what about Mars? Congratulations that you found your runaway probe. It took only 5 days and half of your people are already close to dying and your facility is breaking down faster than you can repair it (what a piece of shoddy engineering). A few more days and all will be dead. To quote from a review



I had the some response -- i.e., its a bit odd that a "success" does not mean you survive on mars. E.g., you only found the probe. You would still die if the game went another turn or two, but break out the champagne.
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Matthew Burgess
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Melric wrote:
RitterFips wrote:


But what about Mars? Congratulations that you found your runaway probe. It took only 5 days and half of your people are already close to dying and your facility is breaking down faster than you can repair it (what a piece of shoddy engineering). A few more days and all will be dead. To quote from a review



I had the some response -- i.e., its a bit odd that a "success" does not mean you survive on mars. E.g., you only found the probe. You would still die if the game went another turn or two, but break out the champagne.

To misquote Vader: "I find your lack of imagination... disturbing."
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Jack Francisco
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Melric wrote:
You would still die if the game went another turn or two, but break out the champagne.


Well, if you're gonna die anyway, you might as well get tanked first.

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