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Subject: I'm so conflicted about this game rss

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Ethan Chua
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This game is just driving me nuts.

On one hand, when I look at the game critically, I don't think it is a brilliantly designed game. It is very swingy/luck dependent if you don't draft, and so incredibly long and boring if you do. The game is also a bit too fiddly for my taste.

On the other hand, I can't stop wanting to play this game! I've never had a game that has captured my attention quite like this. It is just so much fun!

Help! I can't make sense of this! The logical part of my brain is telling me to play Food Chain Magnate, which to me is a brilliant game which I'm struggling to find flaws for. So why is it that when it comes down to actually picking a game, I keep choosing Terraforming Mars?
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IMO: Flavor, flavor, flavor. It's the most thematic Euro in my collection. FCM is pure skill, which can get tiring, and practically an abstract game.
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Derry Salewski
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I think you're just wrong about the swingy/ luck dependant part. And fiddly (you move a few pieces a turn. It'll be okay!)

Maybe relative to a game with no luck like a splotter (which, uh, are king of the fiddliness )

For some reason you've got it in your head that Food Chain magnate, Go, chess, whatever game has no luck are just purer/better/more worthy of critical praise as a game. Where dirty card games like TM, Rftg, Magic, Dees, whatever are evil and random (I just named the ones I love. I love The less luck games too!)

Your head is wrong. Your gut is right. Listen to it. The better players win much more often at games that are "random" too, somehow




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Andi Hub
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I like both games. In my opinion TM is less fiddly and usually shorter than FCM (even with draft).

FCM is a rather competitive battle of your wists an can get rather mean and you potentially could get crushed. With TM you always have a good time and achieve a lot (other players might achieve more and they win). I do not need to play uber competitive all the time and are fine with coping some randomness (that may favor my opponents).

I do not agree that FCM is an abstract (actually the concept of advertising to create demand and the goal to actually just earn the most money is quite thematic), but TM has indeed more flavour and presents its theme much better (even though not perfectly polished). In addition, the combination of much flavor and randomness often creates some nice narration.
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Stephen Meyers
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.


No matter what or how good or great a game is, theme is everything for
me.

Who wants to be building a Food Store Chain, when you could be

Terraforming Mars?

I just don't get that at all. For four hours this past Saturday
I was accomplishing heroic ends.

I view this game as a great game in and of itself.

It has swept the gaming world, inspired countless debate on the
infamous jumping player boards, it presents beautifully, passersby
walking by at Wegman's ask just what is this game?

It's a big larger than life experience and I'm sure will inspire
kids to science. Food Store Magnate, meh, not so much.




.

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Andi Hub
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Constantinople wrote:

It's a big larger than life experience and I'm sure will inspire
kids to science. Food Store Magnate, meh, not so much.

I am sure FCM will inspire lots of kids to become Management Trainees. Or Regional Managers. Or Business Developers. Or any other exciting white collar job.
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Matthew Greet
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You're probably a Star Trek fan or technophile, and TM has the 'better through technology' vibe. More importantly, TM is a race with multiple strategies and you have to change them mid-game. If the cards made little difference, it'd be a game of just analysing exponential growth, yours and other player's. That, by itself, would be boring as the winner could be determined early on. In TM, cards each generation present radically different options for engine growth and strategies and the current leader can't rely on what he's been using so far.
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Joshua Schutte
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deserter85 wrote:
This game is just driving me nuts.

On one hand, when I look at the game critically, I don't think it is a brilliantly designed game. It is very swingy/luck dependent if you don't draft, and so incredibly long and boring if you do. The game is also a bit too fiddly for my taste.

On the other hand, I can't stop wanting to play this game! I've never had a game that has captured my attention quite like this. It is just so much fun!

Help! I can't make sense of this! The logical part of my brain is telling me to play Food Chain Magnate, which to me is a brilliant game which I'm struggling to find flaws for. So why is it that when it comes down to actually picking a game, I keep choosing Terraforming Mars?


We play games to have fun. If you enjoy it play it. FCM is scripted. There is only one opening on 95% of maps. There are only 3 strategies to the game. I could be wrong but after 20+ games online I decided it wasn't fun.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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deserter85 wrote:
On the other hand, I can't stop wanting to play this game! I've never had a game that has captured my attention quite like this. It is just so much fun!

Well I think you're onto something - TM is strangely addictive, and I can't quite put my finger on why exactly that is either. I'm certain tho that the randomness that's inherent with drawing from a deck of >200 unique cards has a big part in it. So what makes it "not brilliantly designed" in your book may just be part of why it's so alluring.

At the end of the day, all appreciation for clever mechanics etc. aside, what really matters is "how much do I want to play this game?"

(As an aside, I don't consider TM fiddly, and I don't think the extra time needed for drafting is huge or not worth the benefit - but that's just me.)
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Jack Francisco
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Sorry, but the game is probably broken...since I actually have a winning record playing it.

Seriously though, it's excellent and it's fun to watch the planet grow before your eyes.
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Chris Gordy
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You know, I struggle with people saying the game lasts too long when drafting. I have played the game multiples with and without drafting, and each time the games average around the same length in time. Yes, the Rounds do take more time to complete due drafting cards, but in every game where I drafted, the game finished in 3-4 fewer rounds than it does if we don't draft. I am confident this is because by drafting, players are better able to get the cards they need/ want to build their terraforming engine and thus the various gome goals are reached in fewer rounds.
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Ethan Chua
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My group suffers a little from AP, and hate drafts constantly. Seriously we get better cards as random draws compared to drafting.
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Jack Francisco
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The constant hate-drafting is why I try not to draft when I play this.
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Ron Lacer
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After more than 80 plays, most with drafting, I find that the decision between hate drafting and keeping a good card for your own engine is part of the fun. I play this game exactly because I like making tough choices like that. And in games of three or more players, there is also the question of hate drafting a card someone further away than your neighboring player might want. Do you hate draft that card and pass on the one you want, or do you keep the card you want and force your neighbor to hate draft? But what if another card you are passing is something they really want? Will they then keep that instead of hate drafting? It's not a simple matter at all.
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Bryan Thunkd
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deserter85 wrote:
This game is just driving me nuts.

On one hand, when I look at the game critically, I don't think it is a brilliantly designed game. It is very swingy/luck dependent if you don't draft, and so incredibly long and boring if you do. The game is also a bit too fiddly for my taste.

On the other hand, I can't stop wanting to play this game! I've never had a game that has captured my attention quite like this. It is just so much fun!
You are conflicted, but it's not about the game. You're conflicted because you're torn between "what you like" and "what you think you should like". For whatever reason, you've enshrined some metrics about "good" that don't fully represent your tastes. And so when you find yourself liking something, you feel torn because this "isn't what you should like".

It's actually forcing you to choose between two things you like. The game and your perception of yourself as having "good" taste. We all like to think that we have good taste. The problem is when you buy into other people's definition of what "good" is. Maybe you don't like art house films, James Joyce, caviar, or whatever else society lauds as "good". That's okay. Just because society says these are the high brow things that refined people enjoy doesn't mean you have to enjoy them (although all of them are actually good things that you could very well enjoy).

Let go of this need to see yourself as someone who only likes brilliant games, and who abhors luck, and only enjoys clean, elegant designs. Sometimes, flawed games (not to say I myself think TM is flawed) are fun. And there's no shame in liking fun.

Maybe the game has more luck than you usually care for, or runs longer than you normally like, or has more fiddliness than you think is good. That's okay. It's fun! So yeah, maybe you won't be able to see yourself as someone who only respects haute games anymore, but so what? Be willing to find fun even in imperfect messy games. You can still love brilliantly designed games that are clean, elegant and low-luck. It turns out that you can also appreciate other factors as well. I love fancy five star restaurants... but there are times when I just want a burger.

Let go of "shoulds" and instead of worrying about what things you should like, figure out what it is about this game that you do like, and then put that on your list of "good" things and seek out more of that.
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J. Atkinson
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Thunkd wrote:

Let go of "shoulds" and instead of worrying about what things you should like, figure out what it is about this game that you do like, and then put that on your list of "good" things and seek out more of that.


Well said!
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... what does fiddly mean? FCM is as far from fiddly as it can be.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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Thunkd wrote:
You are conflicted, but it's not about the game. You're conflicted because you're torn between "what you like" and "what you think you should like". [...] your perception of yourself [...] Let go of this need [...] Let go of "shoulds" [...]
put that on your list of "good" things and seek out more of that.

Well this took a surprisingly zen turn.

I kinda agree tho.
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Jacob Walker
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Gumps wrote:
You know, I struggle with people saying the game lasts too long when drafting. I have played the game multiples with and without drafting, and each time the games average around the same length in time. Yes, the Rounds do take more time to complete due drafting cards, but in every game where I drafted, the game finished in 3-4 fewer rounds than it does if we don't draft. I am confident this is because by drafting, players are better able to get the cards they need/ want to build their terraforming engine and thus the various gome goals are reached in fewer rounds.


This is essentially the exact opposite of what I have seen with every drafting game. In theory, I agree that drafting should mean fewer rounds, but in practice, I don't think it works that way in most groups. Instead, people get caught up in all the ways to earn points that aren't terraforming, because they are more likely to get good use out of those cards. I think the average player has a different idea from your group about which types of cards should be drafted. They are not prioritizing terraforming, and so the game takes more rounds, not fewer. Mind you, this isn't the fault of drafting per say, but I think it's a problem that is less apparent sans drafting. When players are less likely to get the "perfect combo", they are more likely to settle for a terraforming action.
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eagleeye42 wrote:
Gumps wrote:
You know, I struggle with people saying the game lasts too long when drafting. I have played the game multiples with and without drafting, and each time the games average around the same length in time. Yes, the Rounds do take more time to complete due drafting cards, but in every game where I drafted, the game finished in 3-4 fewer rounds than it does if we don't draft. I am confident this is because by drafting, players are better able to get the cards they need/ want to build their terraforming engine and thus the various gome goals are reached in fewer rounds.


This is essentially the exact opposite of what I have seen with every drafting game. In theory, I agree that drafting should mean fewer rounds, but in practice, I don't think it works that way in most groups. Instead, people get caught up in all the ways to earn points that aren't terraforming, because they are more likely to get good use out of those cards. I think the average player has a different idea from your group about which types of cards should be drafted. They are not prioritizing terraforming, and so the game takes more rounds, not fewer. Mind you, this isn't the fault of drafting per say, but I think it's a problem that is less apparent sans drafting. When players are less likely to get the "perfect combo", they are more likely to settle for a terraforming action.

I think it depends whether the group tends to draft constructively or obstructively. If everyone is drafting constructively then the game could be shorter (although 3-4 generations is a huge difference that I find hard to believe). If obstruction is prevalent, I would expect it to go a little longer than normal.

As for the OP, games are for enjoying. Don't fight that you like it!
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Tim
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Thunkd wrote:
deserter85 wrote:
This game is just driving me nuts.

On one hand, when I look at the game critically, I don't think it is a brilliantly designed game. It is very swingy/luck dependent if you don't draft, and so incredibly long and boring if you do. The game is also a bit too fiddly for my taste.

On the other hand, I can't stop wanting to play this game! I've never had a game that has captured my attention quite like this. It is just so much fun!
You are conflicted, but it's not about the game. You're conflicted because you're torn between "what you like" and "what you think you should like". For whatever reason, you've enshrined some metrics about "good" that don't fully represent your tastes. And so when you find yourself liking something, you feel torn because this "isn't what you should like".

It's actually forcing you to choose between two things you like. The game and your perception of yourself as having "good" taste. We all like to think that we have good taste. The problem is when you buy into other people's definition of what "good" is. Maybe you don't like art house films, James Joyce, caviar, or whatever else society lauds as "good". That's okay. Just because society says these are the high brow things that refined people enjoy doesn't mean you have to enjoy them (although all of them are actually good things that you could very well enjoy).

Let go of this need to see yourself as someone who only likes brilliant games, and who abhors luck, and only enjoys clean, elegant designs. Sometimes, flawed games (not to say I myself think TM is flawed) are fun. And there's no shame in liking fun.

Maybe the game has more luck than you usually care for, or runs longer than you normally like, or has more fiddliness than you think is good. That's okay. It's fun! So yeah, maybe you won't be able to see yourself as someone who only respects haute games anymore, but so what? Be willing to find fun even in imperfect messy games. You can still love brilliantly designed games that are clean, elegant and low-luck. It turns out that you can also appreciate other factors as well. I love fancy five star restaurants... but there are times when I just want a burger.

Let go of "shoulds" and instead of worrying about what things you should like, figure out what it is about this game that you do like, and then put that on your list of "good" things and seek out more of that.


That will be $20 and make an appointment next week to talk about your mother.
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Phytoman wrote:
That will be $20 and make an appointment next week to talk about your mother.

"My mother? Let me tell you about my mother!"
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Tom C
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I think the argument of what you like versus what you 'should' like is probably spot on.

Maybe Monopoly is your favorite game. Bring that up at a game night or on BGG and you will get chastised for liking 'Ameri-trash' games. Is it skillful? Not really. Is there a theme? Not really. Does it have replay-ability? Well I guess there is a reason it has existed since 1903, and it isn't because the creators are just persistent.

What is a "good" game, is completely up to the person making the comment. Ton of people think Pandemic is the best thing since sliced bread, but personally I am not a fan.

TM is my current "favorite" game, even comparing it to others that are pretty high on the popularity contest (Pandemic, Scythe, Caverna, Lords of Waterdeep, Splendor, Carcasonne, etc.)
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