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Subject: Don't start your game assuming you'll win! rss

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Arthur Williams
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Corporation: Ecoline
Starting Cities: Micro-Mills (skips ahead to west of Tharsis Tholus) and Worms (the west end of Solis Planum).
Starting Greeneries: Zeppelins (Tharsis Tholus itself) and Protected Valley (due west on a blank space).
Starting Hand: Livestock, Great Dam, Imported Nitrogen, Water Import From Europa, Soletta, Equatorial Magnetizer, Colonizer Training Camp, Decomposers, Giant Ice Asteroid, and Medical Lab. Nearly all of these cards are great, but not one of them ties in to what Ecoline does more than indirectly. I’ll keep half of them and ditch the other half, sadly including Soletta in the ditched half, along with all four Building tags, keeping all three Space tags other than the Soletta. This may well have been a mistake, but I hope not.

Generation 1: With all of these cards being unplayable, due either to requiring oxygen or to costing more than the 21 MC I have left (and a lot more in most cases; Imported Nitrogen is the only one I could play if I’d kept one fewer card, and Imported Nitrogen is not designed to be the first card you play), my choices are to end the first generation immediately, starting the next generation 1 MC short of playing the Giant Ice Asteroid, and being able to play something else instead, or else buying a smaller and hotter Asteroid for 14 as a standard project, having 7 left and then being at 22 after producing 15….again, 1 MC short of playing a good card, only this time, that card is the aforementioned Nitrogen Import. Looking at the cards again, I’m forced to come to the conclusion that the Asteroid is a better idea, if only because I might need more than one round of preparation to get any of these cards played, and I can’t be taking several rounds without doing any terraforming work at all.

Generation 2: The research phase offers me Lunar Beam, Insulation, Capital and Research. In my current situation, I’m willing to commit the nigh-suicidal action of ditching Research, and I’ll also ditch both Capital and Lunar Beam, even though they make a decent combo together, if you can manage to play them on the same round. Insulation is currently useless, but it makes a very strong late-game card; that’s a good reason to consider keeping it, but it’s unrelated to what I’m currently doing, so I sadly ditch it as well. Paying for another Asteroid is thus all I do for the round, leaving me with $8.

Generation 3: Research gives me Virus, Comet, Extreme-Cold Fungus and Industrial Center; I keep the middle two and have 18 left. Playing the Fungus (5 MC left), I can wait to make a plant with it until after producing a Greenery, because Ecoline is awesome that way. This tile is my first forest, so I can put it anywhere; it’s tempting to keep that freedom by putting this forest in Uranius Tholi, where it’ll be boxed in, but I’d much rather draw a card by going on Ascraeus Mons. That card is Biomass Combustors, which I’ll be glad to hang on to. I end the round by producing 17 MC (bringing me back to 22) and 2 plants.

Generation 4: Small Asteroid is the first unquestionable-keeper card I’ve had so far, Heat Trappers is another good option, Asteroid Mining isn’t really where I’m going right now, and Security Fleet is definitely wrong; as badly as I want the titanium mining, I can’t justify paying 30 bucks at this stage, so only the first two are kept. With 16 MC to work with, I’m able to play both the cards I researched this round; the Heat Trappers give me a point of energy production, while the Asteroid gets me both an MC production (because of TR 18) and a heat production (because of -24c). I produce a fourth plant with the Fungus, and that’s all for the round.

Generation 5: I research the Cartel, Thorium Beam, Mine and Ironworks; as Ecoline and with no other Earth tags, I don’t care. The Fungus gets me a seventh plant, which gets me a second greenery, which goes east of Pavonis Mons to get me a plant back (o2 to 2%, TR 19). With nothing much to do with 18 MC, I just drop another Asteroid (temp to -22c, TR 20). Ending the round, I decay my single point of energy into heat, add 1 more of each, produce 2 plants, and make 20 more MC for a total of 24.

Generation 6: Research Outpost, Advanced Ecosystems, Imported GHG and Birds are offered; I have to let the first and last go, and I’m back to 18 MC. The GHG can wait for a round, so I just drop yet another Asteroid, hitting -20 (TR 21) and getting a point of heat income again. Fungus makes me more plants, and I end by producing 3 total heat (giving me 6), 2 plants (also 6), and 21 MC (25 total).

Generation 7: Time to finally get started on this business. Deep Well Heating, Fuel Factory, Terraforming Ganymede, and Nitrophilic Moss are all suggested, but only the first is totally worth keeping. I grow my third Fungus Forest (o2 to 3%, TR 22), getting 2 plants back from Noctis Labyrinthus, and then I finally play my Decomposers (a card that does nothing but generate VP, and so only the fact I’m in a contest would make me play it, let alone have kept it from round 1 when it could have easily taken one more round than this to get it played). Deep Well Heating then gets played (temp to -18, TR to 23), and I get a second point of energy production. I end the round by decaying my single energy into heat, produce 2 more of that and 2 normal heat, 2 plants, and 23 MC (27 total).

Generation 8: Investment Loan is an apropos card at this point; GHG Factories and Advanced Alloys are not useful to me, but Soil Factory is perfect. I might have kept Investment Loan if not for Soil Factory, but I definitely want that one. After keeping and playing it, I have 15 MC left; I finally have the heat to raise the temperature to -16c (TR 24). For the first time, I use the Fungus to make Decomposers (3 total), and then I haven’t much else to do with my money, so I make another Asteroid (-14c, TR 25). I produce 2 heat, decay the 2 energy from the round, make 1 new energy, 3 plants, and 25 MC to add to the single dollar I have left.

Generation 9: Domed Crater, Methane From Titan, Immigrant City and Immigration Shuttles are offered; I keep only the first and have 23 MC to work with. Producing my first non-fungus forest on Arsia Mons (o2 to 4%, TR 26), I get back 2 plants, and then because I need one more dollar to play the Domed Crater, I finally sell the Water Import From Europa (which, counting the 3 bucks to keep it, costs 28 dollars and saves you 6 bucks per round on oceans compared to the standard project; needing five outputs to make the money back, I would have to play the card this round or it would never work, given my lack of titanium). The Crater City goes on Pavonis Mons, giving me a total of 4 plants (6 total) and a titanium; the Domed Crater card takes away my energy production but gives me +3 MC production. The Fungus steps in again and I get a second forest for the round (o2 at 5%, TR 27), giving me another 2 plants. I end by decaying my last energy into heat, producing 2 more heat for a total of 8, 3 fresh plants, and a total of 30 MC.

Generation 10: Industrial Microbes is proferred, along with Standard Technology, Earth Office, and Ice Cap Melting. Standard Tech will save me money if I use Aquifer at least 3 times, and I’m currently looking at doing 6 or more, so I’ll ditch everything other than Standard Tech. Heat is spent (temp -12c, TR 28), and then I play both Standard Tech and Comet (temp -10c, ocean on Ius Chasma for 2 plants, TR 30), spending my titanium to keep 3 MC, getting enough plants to make yet another greenery, and putting it on Tithonium Chasma West, getting another plant and 2 MC back (o2 at 6%, TR 31). I end by spending all but 1 dollar on Biomass Combustors, getting me my 2 energy production back, and then having the Fungus add more Decomposers (5 total). Production is 2 heat, 2 energy, 3 plants, and 34 more MC.

Generation 11: Nuclear Power, Search For Life, Sponsors and Bushes are offered; only the last is worth keeping, given how late Sponsors has turned up. I have 32 MC, so I play the Bushes for 10, getting me up to 5 total plants (and a sixth Decomposer microbe). I then spend a net of 15 MC (7 left) to use the Aquifer standard project, placing an ocean next to the existing one (TR 32) for an additional 2 MC refund, and getting me up to 7 plants, giving me a seventh forest (o2 at 7%, TR 33). Putting this on Tithonium Chasma gets me $4 back and 1 plant; I then toss out Imported GHG (6 MC left) and use the Fungus to make microbes (8 total). Decaying 2 heat again, making 3 more, producing 2 energy, and gaining a total of 5 plants, plus 36 MC (42 total).

Generation 12: Energy Saving, Gene Repair, Mining Rights, and Pets are offered; I keep only the Mining Rights and play them (30 MC left), giving me 1 titanium now and on each of the subsequent 2 rounds – actually, that’s not paying for itself, so forget it. (That’s the lovely thing about playing solo, you can give yourself permission to fix your own mistakes.) The Fungus gets me up to 7 plants; I’ll be able to fire off my eighth forest (o2 to 8%, temp to -8c, TR 35), and then if I pay to brute-force a ninth with a standard project (o2 to 9%, TR 36), I’ll finally be able to play Livestock (activating it immediately to have 1 animal). This costs 36 total MC, gives me 3 back, and leaves me with 9; ocean-adjacency can get me 6 more back, and so I’ll put both forests on Sinai Planum, and have 15 left, so I can pay for an Aquifer prior to playing the livestock. Out of money, except for 2 MC from ocean adjacency for my last ocean, but I have 4 plants now, and I still haven’t spent my heat for the temperature (2 heat left, -6c, TR 37). Done for the round, I produce 5 total heat (total 7), 5 plants, and 40 total MC.

Generation 13: Local Heat Trapping, Windmills, Ganymede Colony, and Cloud Seeding. I gave up on sending my plant production through the stratosphere a long time ago, so none of these is worth anything to me, apart from maybe Local Heat Trapping, which could make me a couple of cows or half a forest (rounded up for Ecoline only), but paying 4 MC and 5 heat for this effect currently seems unwise, so I keep no cards and have the full 42 bucks to work with. Spending 15 net MC, I put an ocean into the Chasma and gain 2 MC and 1 plant (TR 38). I then spend 7 plants to get a forest in the resulting riverbend, getting 6 MC back (o2 at 10%, TR 39). That gets me another plant back for a total of 4, and now I have 35 MC to work with. It’s finally time for Imported Nitrogen, but first, I pay for the Asteroid standard project for a net of 11 (temp -4c, TR 40). The Nitrogen directly raises my TR to 41, gives me 4 plants for a total of 8, 3 microbes on Decomposers (11 total), and 2 animals on Livestock (4 total after using the action). Spending 7 plants again, I get the last forest for this round (o2 at 11%, TR to 42), putting it on Hebes Chasma and getting 4 MC back (5 total). Finally, the Extreme-Cold Fungus gives me 2 more microbes (13 total). My final production is 3 heat plus 2 decayed energy (for a total of 12, and only 8 can be used...whoops), 2 energy, 5 plants, and 45 MC for a total of 50.

Generation 14: The final research phase is Toll Station, Water Splitting Plant, Mineral Deposit, and Bribed Committee; none of these is worth a damn. Giant Ice Asteroid crashes down, temp hits +0c, and 3 new oceans come down (TR 47), filling the Chasma and spilling out to Shalbatana, giving me 4 MC and 4 plants back. Heat goes positive (TR 48), and I make a forest at the east end of the northern shore (o2 to 12%, TR 49), giving me a plant back (4 total). My fifth cow is the last easy decision I have left. I’m finally left to conclude that I have failed; I need 2 more plants to even get my thirteenth forest, let alone one more than that, and there are two oceans and three temp increases to do, and I have only 18 MC left. Turns out that the Decomposers, Livestock, and Advanced Ecosystems were absolutely awful decisions; my current VP total is 74 (counting 2 more Decomposers from the Fungus, and the Ecosystems, assuming I could play them), so if I could manage the last seven terraforms, I’d be very well set up. But with such awful card-draw luck, my failure was pretty definitely inevitable, and I should have recognized that sooner and not kept so many VP-only cards.
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RyuSora
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Great title, i read 'ecoline' and i knew this was a win report... oh wait! Really bad luck on some cards hehehe. Thank for the session report
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Dan Bradshaw
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Farmington
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I just assume I'll lose any time I sit down to play this.
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steve perkins
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Solo is a totally different experience to multi-player.

You have to be critical on which cards will help you terraform and which cards just give you VP's. You only have 14 turns so you need to make sure you have the right cards.

If you get to turn 10+ and realise that you will definitely succeed, then and only then do you turn your attention to VP cards.
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Alexander Einich
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collectible cardinal wrote:
Corporation: Ecoline
Nearly all of these cards are great, but not one of them ties in to what Ecoline does more than indirectly.

In solo, it is better that they don't, because you need to diversify. With Ecoline, you need cards that raise temp and that put lakes into play because you already have a plant engine.

I'd have kept only Giant Ice Asteroid and Soletta with the following plan:

1st turn: do nothing (30 MC, 3 plants)
2nd turn: +14 MC, +2 plants. Keep maximum 2 cards. Play Giant Ice Asteroid (-36 MC, +4 TR), placing 2 lakes near each other netting 4 plants and 2 MC. Place a Greenery near your 2 lakes (+2 plants, +4 MC, +1 TR). 14 to 8 MC remaining (0 to 2 cards kept), 2 plants.
3rd turn: +19 MC, +2 plants. Keep maximum 3 cards. Do nothing. 33 to 18 MC remaining, 4 plants.
4th turn: +19 MC, +2 plants. For each card less than the maximum of 5 cards you've kept before, you can keep 1 more card. Play Soletta, which will net you 70 heat over the course of the game (actually even more because Soletta lets your reach the temp heat bonuses all by itself).

You'd have had a running heat and plant engine, 2 lakes that you'd have already milked for 6 MC (with more to come on your future tile placements), a 2nd Greenery to place the following turn and 5 cards to work with. A good outlook for the last 10 turns.

You could even play Soletta on the 3rd turn if you accepted to keep zero cards from the first 2 research phases by placing one of the oceans on the Titanium sea (Argyre Planitia) and the Greenery also on Titanium, but since one would risk losing too many good cards, I wouldn't do it.

Edit: Forgot that Ecoline started with 3 plants.
 
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Arthur Williams
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Ispher wrote:
In solo, it is better that they don't, because you need to diversify. With Ecoline, you need cards that raise temp and that put lakes into play because you already have a plant engine.


An engine that can make three forests in ten rounds, a fourth in the last four rounds, and probably a fifth with placement bonuses. I was wrong to think I could coast on just this. I kept Lifestock in the first round because I thought I'd have 9% oxygen in no time; that was an absurd assumption for me to make.

Quote:
I'd have kept only Giant Ice Asteroid and Soletta with the following plan:

1st turn: do nothing (30 MC)
2nd turn: +14 MC, +2 plants. Keep maximum 3 cards. Play Giant Ice Asteroid (-36 MC, +4 TR), placing 2 lakes near each other netting 4 plants and 2 MC. 10 to 1 MC remaining (0 to 3 cards kept), 6 plants.


You seem to have forgotten that you start with 3 plants. With this output, you can do a forest that same round.

Quote:
You'd have had a running heat and plant engine, 2 lakes that you'd have already milked for 6 MC (with more to come on your future tile placements) and 5 cards to work with. A good outlook for the last 10 turns.


Right you are. I knew that the Ice Asteroid was going to be good, and intended to play it early, but kept having other things I wanted to do. Too many of my games take place in CloudCuckooLand.
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Alexander Einich
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collectible cardinal wrote:

You seem to have forgotten that you start with 3 plants. With this output, you can do a forest that same round.

Indeed! I'll correct that with an edit.
 
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corum irsei
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collectible cardinal wrote:
I kept Lifestock in the first round because I thought I'd have 9% oxygen in no time; that was an absurd assumption for me to make.
Are you used to playing multi-player, perhaps?

I was quite surprised how quickly the temperature went up in my first multi-player game because I was so used to playing solo.
In solo games I almost always completely ignore animal (fauna) cards. It's a rare solo game where you can afford to play these.
 
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Impressario Raiddinn the Beatdropper
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GIA came out way too late. I think if it were me playing this I might have kept only that and Soletta from the opener. From there I probably would have just done a SP Project or two with the aim to keep 1 or 2 cards next turn and to for sure get the GIA down next turn.

Rather than that, I probably would have tried to play non-Ecoline with the hope to get GIA off on first turn if Ecoline isn't a given. Most companies can cast it turn 1 if only keeping 2 cards.
 
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