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Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium» Forums » General

Subject: Why not customizable board??? rss

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spavanko
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I was thinking of buying an expansion board Hellas & Elysium, but I'll pass.
If it's modular or customizable board it would be an insta-buy. Really, why didn't they come up with a customizable board? (where you can change milestones, change placement bonuses (eg. change the locations of the placement bonuses, or you can add more or less heat depending on the style how you wanna play-faster or slower, change the location of ocean reserved areas if possible..), change the end trigger conditions (heat and oxygen level..), etc. Of course with some restrictions if needed.
This 2-sided board doesn't really solves the problem of variety in game, because the board is still static. And once you learned it and played it dozens of times it will become static as a board in the base game. Because right from beginning you already know the path (strategy) of playing this board.
This reminds me on a board game Clank. In the expansion Sunken Treasures they added new 2-sided board. Yes, so they added two new ways of playing this game. But in reality they didn't solve the problem with the replayability. Because the map is still static. And once you play it dozen of times it becomes stale and predictable. So you are playing the same game again, and again. However, now they come up with a new version of this game called Clank in Space which has a modular map (with 38 possible combinations!). Now that's what I called variety in the game. So right form beginning you must think and adapt your strategy depending on the situation on the board, so every game feels new and fresh.

It's a pity that they missed a chance of making a really quality product. And which would solve the problem of not needing to buy any expansion for ever (at least board). But I guess, they are going on a strategy of making and selling new products. And of course, we would buy them.
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Jarbol Maricka
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Exactly, good point!
 
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Paul Newsham
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lavov wrote:
But I guess, they are going on a strategy of making and selling new products. And of course, we would buy them.


Break the cycle. Be the change you want to see.
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Nick Davies
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I'm sure someone could design milestone and award cards for printing, which you then deal out several of for each game. Could even be drafted somehow.
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Jacob Williams
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The milestones and awards should probably have been modular.

However, Mars isn't modular... And the design goal was hard science fiction. So it wouldn't make thematic sense to make the board modular.
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Ido Abelman
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You said in another thread that the game has "very high replayability" already, so you complain not enough replayability?

IMO it's a fine expansion for it's cost and very low amount of components (1 ). Modular maps don't work thematically. Modular milestones/awards were suggested by many people, but the designer says he found it better to have complete sets that are well balanced. Some of the M/A are also tied to the maps.
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Bill Buchanan
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The variability, and therefore replayability, are the corporations and more importantly how the cards come out each game (even more so if you draft, which you should).

No two games are a like because of the cards, not because of the board.

Add in the fact there are now three separate boards, with different milestones and awards for each, and it's pretty silly to say every game of Terraforming Mars is the same.

The fact that the boards are static actually give the game some continuity and allow players to keep some semblance of strategy from game to game. Not to mention the thematic considerations, as others have said.

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Jonathan Fryxelius
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I will echo what others have said. Terraforming Mars is made to be thematic. The ocean-reserved areas are determined by Mars actual topography, the placement bonuses are determined by the presence of minerals, the happening of an actual event (Viking Site, for example), or otherwise thematic and scientifically related data. Milestones and Awards are intentionally not randomized to be more coupled with the theme of the map, and so that each map could be extensively play-tested and balanced. This is not necessarily what YOU value in a game, but it is definitely what WE value. But don't worry, we have more expansions coming out which are mechanically more interesting. I believe there will be plenty of goodies that you will enjoy too
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Bill Buchanan
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Lord_Aethan wrote:
But don't worry, we have more expansions coming out which are mechanically more interesting. I believe there will be plenty of goodies that you will enjoy too


Can we pre-order them now?! ha.
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Örjan Almén
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lavov wrote:
I was thinking of buying an expansion board Hellas & Elysium, but I'll pass.
If it's modular or customizable board it would be an insta-buy. Really, why didn't they come up with a customizable board? (where you can change milestones, change placement bonuses (eg. change the locations of the placement bonuses, or you can add more or less heat depending on the style how you wanna play-faster or slower, change the location of ocean reserved areas if possible..), change the end trigger conditions (heat and oxygen level..), etc. Of course with some restrictions if needed.
This 2-sided board doesn't really solves the problem of variety in game, because the board is still static. And once you learned it and played it dozens of times it will become static as a board in the base game. Because right from beginning you already know the path (strategy) of playing this board.
This reminds me on a board game Clank. In the expansion Sunken Treasures they added new 2-sided board. Yes, so they added two new ways of playing this game. But in reality they didn't solve the problem with the replayability. Because the map is still static. And once you play it dozen of times it becomes stale and predictable. So you are playing the same game again, and again. However, now they come up with a new version of this game called Clank in Space which has a modular map (with 38 possible combinations!). Now that's what I called variety in the game. So right form beginning you must think and adapt your strategy depending on the situation on the board, so every game feels new and fresh.

It's a pity that they missed a chance of making a really quality product. And which would solve the problem of not needing to buy any expansion for ever (at least board). But I guess, they are going on a strategy of making and selling new products. And of course, we would buy them.



There are several reasons on why these maps are like they are.

1) These are the real maps of Mars. The oceans are on the lower areas and not the highlands, so the blue shaded areas is where oceans would end up in real on the Mars surface. The plant placement bonuses are on the equator where the growth would be better than the other parts. This is adequate to the real science theme.

2) As discussed in other threads (in base game forum) about Milestones and Awards, these are balanced to each other. A mix and match of the available given awards/milestones could highly imbalance the game. What could be done is complete sets of milestones/awards. And who knows, maybe they come in a later expansion?

3) Some of the milestones/award are tightly connected to a certain map (Polar Explorer milestone on Hellas and Desert Settler award on Elysium), and this kind of milestones and awards can only be done on a set map. For a more general variable system, these should be omitted. The designer apparently wanted to include these to have something map specific.

4) There could actually be a problem with a too dynamic board, as you say yourself. It would need so much more playtesting on a "build-your-own-map" than have been available for this short time (yes, a year after launch is extreme short time for throughout playtesting for a much more advanced expansion as a dynamic map would be, including design and production). Maybe it might be a later expansion as well, if needed.

And probably numerous more reasons...


Edit: ninja many times...
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spavanko
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CBpegasus wrote:
You said in another thread that the game has "very high replayability" already, so you complain not enough replayability?

IMO it's a fine expansion for it's cost and very low amount of components (1 ). Modular maps don't work thematically. Modular milestones/awards were suggested by many people, but the designer says he found it better to have complete sets that are well balanced. Some of the M/A are also tied to the maps.


I am not complaining about the replayability of Terraforming Mars.
I am just trying to say they had a chance of making a really good product.
And you'll see it would not pass long time and you will be buying new expansion. And again, and again. And for what? Because you wanna spend money? You would be buying more, but in reality getting less. And it could be vice versa.
And I don't understand why wouldn't modular map work thematically? I really don't understand this. They could give a rulebook with 50-100 templates which of how to set up the board and milestones, and which would make thematic sense. Problem solved for ever. Never need to buy any expansion for the rest of the life.
 
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trevor

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lavov wrote:

And I don't understand why wouldn't modular map work thematically? I really don't understand this.


Hmmm, is it because the topography of Mars is (mostly) static and not modular at all?
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Lazy Mountain

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If you take up design as a hobby, you'll never have to buy expansions either.
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spavanko
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bigGameGeek wrote:
lavov wrote:

And I don't understand why wouldn't modular map work thematically? I really don't understand this.


Hmmm, is it because the topography of Mars is (mostly) static and not modular at all?


As I said, they could give a rulebook with 50-100 templates how to set up the board which would make thematic sense. And what would be a problem with that?
 
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Örjan Almén
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lavov wrote:
bigGameGeek wrote:
lavov wrote:

And I don't understand why wouldn't modular map work thematically? I really don't understand this.


Hmmm, is it because the topography of Mars is (mostly) static and not modular at all?


As I said, they could give a rulebook with 50-100 templates how to set up the board which would make thematic sense. And what would be a problem with that?


Playtest those 2000-4000 variants you need to evaluate to pick the 50-100 templates for the rule book, about 100-200 times each (more is really needed, but you can save some here), and you'll see how doable it is.
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Bill Buchanan
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lavov wrote:
bigGameGeek wrote:
lavov wrote:

And I don't understand why wouldn't modular map work thematically? I really don't understand this.


Hmmm, is it because the topography of Mars is (mostly) static and not modular at all?


As I said, they could give a rulebook with 50-100 templates how to set up the board which would make thematic sense. And what would be a problem with that?


Wow, you should design games. I look forward to seeing and reviewing your work.

Let's explore this idea ...

So how would these customizable boards be built? Would they fit into the empty space in the middle of a board that fit together puzzle style (Think Settlers of Catan)? I think it would have to be something like this, or people would complain about pieces being too easy to knock. It would also have to lose all thematic flavor text on the board.

Concerning these tile, how many tiles of each different kind of placement bonus would you have? How many that had multiple resources? How tiles in total do you think this would be?

How big would the box needed to store all these new components (plus the components used during actual gameplay) be?
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spavanko
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Ok, enough of my trolling , enjoy in expansion
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Jacob Williams
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lavov wrote:
Ok, enough of my trolling , enjoy in expansion


 
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Paul Kellett
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lavov wrote:
As I said, they could give a rulebook with 50-100 templates how to set up the board which would make thematic sense. And what would be a problem with that?


Because the boards as they are IS WHAT MARS LOOKS LIKE. You could have a bag of random terrain tiles but then it would be "Terraforming Random Planet"
 
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Abdiel Xordium
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lavov wrote:
But in reality they didn't solve the problem with the replayability. Because the map is still static. And once you play it dozen of times it becomes stale and predictable.

If this is indeed a problem, then a variable set up will not actually address the replayability of the game.

Lots of games have infinite replayability with a static set up. A variable set up is, at best, a temporary distraction from replayability issues.

Does the central challenge of Terraforming Mars come from the player interaction? Are players able to act, react, and shift their strategies and tactics relative to what other players are doing? Is the best move obvious? Is the game scripted? Do you have to modify your strategy as the game progresses or can you pick a strategy at the beginning and stick to it regardless of what the other players are doing?

How would you answer these questions? Depending on how you answer them would indicate whether there is truly a replayability issue.
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spavanko
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Lord_Aethan wrote:
But don't worry, we have more expansions coming out which are mechanically more interesting. I believe there will be plenty of goodies that you will enjoy too


That's what I am trying to say. Constantly buying, and buying new expansions. You are planning six expansions? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1793678/planned-six-expansi...
The base game would disappear with all this expansions.

Why don't you rather make a new standalone game like eg. Terraforming Venus which would have different mechanics and gameplay. For the money which I would be spend on all this expansions, I would rather have separate standalone games
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Matthieu Fontaines
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A simple way to do it, for you, is to buy the expansion, take a cutter, cut each hexagon (or maybe groups of 7 hexagons) and then, at the beginning of a game, put them randomly (ok, you may need to buy two expansions since the expansion is recto-verso).

For the awards / milestones, just print them on papers, or even cut them cleanly from the board and bingo, you can rearange them randomly.

I'm not joking, it may really be the solution you want for the gameplay you want.

Now, it won't be balanced in some case, but I'm sure it will be playable.


While I'm fine with the current expansion, A modular board would not be an heresy in my opinion, but it would surely add time to the setup and randomness to the game :)

This could be a feature of the app...
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Bill Buchanan
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lavov wrote:


Why don't you rather make a new standalone game like eg. Terraforming Venus which would have different mechanics and gameplay. For the money which I would be spend on all this expansions, I would rather have separate standalone games


Everyone's entitled to an opinion, and I, for one, am very happy to have continuous expansions for Terraforming Mars. Keep em' coming!
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Jonathan Fryxelius
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lavov wrote:
That's what I am trying to say. Constantly buying, and buying new expansions. You are planning six expansions? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1793678/planned-six-expansi...
The base game would disappear with all this expansions.

Why don't you rather make a new standalone game like eg. Terraforming Venus which would have different mechanics and gameplay. For the money which I would be spend on all this expansions, I would rather have separate standalone games


We have received the request of new stand-alone games with similar theme, and you're not the first to suggest making our expansion Venus Next a stand-alone game. But you need to realize that we had much more in mind for this game than what exists in the main game. The main game is the polished core, but for gamers like ourselves, we would rather have some more parameters when playing. So making expansions is our way of delivering an even more immersive game-play to those who want it (which is not everyone). And another reason why we won't make a new stand-alone game with a similar theme and different mechanics and game-play (as you suggest) is that each such project takes about 5-7 years for us to complete, while an expansion could be made in between 1-2 years. You'll see completely other, stand-alone games from us, but probably not related to terraforming.
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Ben Howard
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What did you expect for $20?
It's a fun way to add some replay ability to a game that already stays pretty fresh, and is one of the best game released in the last 10 years.
Moderate your expectations.
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