Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

Terraforming Mars» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Teach me to play Terraforming Mars solo! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
OK, folks, time for a Terraforming Mars solo play game, detailed here in the comments. I've yet to make it within 20 points of the top scores that regularly get posted here on the forums, so here are my first five generations of a solo game. What am I doing wrong?

------

Corps:
Credicor
Teractor (Discarded)

Opening hand:
208: AI Central
203: Soletta
187: Aquifer Pumping
065: Building Industries
016: Domed Crater

Discarded:
161: Convoy from Europa
198: Immigration Shuttles
182: Corporate Stronghold
171: Magnetic Field Dome
058: Beam from a Thorium Asteroid
012: Water Splitting Plant



Gen1:
Play Soletta
Standard Project: Energy

Gen 2:
064: Mining Area
039: Deimos Down
051: Miranda Resort
032: Underground City


Play Building Industries.

Gen 3:
111: Business Contracts
001: Colonizer Training Camp
037: Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid
034: GHG Producing Bacteria


TempUp from Heat
Play Business Contracts:
* Select 159 Lichen, 003 Deep Well Heating
Play Deep Well Heating

Gen 4:
097: Nuclear Zone
145: Tectonic Stress Power
113: Solar Power
150: Anti-Gravity Technology


TempUp from Heat
Play Nuclear Zone (North edge of Map on Steel spot)
Play Mining Area (North edge of Map on Steel spot)

Gen 5:
083: Giant Space Mirror
052: Fish
095: Physics Complex
147: Herbivores


TempUp 2x from Heat
Play Aquifer Pumping
Activate Aquifer Pumping
(Ocean on 2-Steel reserved spot on the north of the map)
Play Lichen

22 TR
3 Steel production
2 Steel
0 Titanium production
1 Titanium
1 Plant production
2 Plants
1 Energy production
1 Energy
9 Heat production
0 Heat
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'll respond in more detail later, but I wanted to ask why you seem to have drawn eleven cards for your starting hand instead of ten.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Whoops. Miscounted. My sleeves are a bit sticky. Ignore the Water Splitting Plant.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mister mystery
msg tools
mbmb
Could you post the intermidiate income and such? So its easier to calculate for other decissions
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Brown
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My initial reaction is that you bought half of the cards during that first phase, and then spent all your money Gen 1 to play one, then bought two more cards Gen 2.

You’re buying cards you’ll never be able to afford to play. You spent 21 M€ on cards by Gen 2 with an income of only 14. Hardest thing to learn is what cards are worth buying to play later. The answer is not many. When you buy cards, it looks like you’re increasing your options, but you’re actually limiting them.

TLDR: don’t buy so many cards, especially if you plan on dropping almost all your start up cash on a big one.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mister mystery
msg tools
mbmb
general notes: ai central is an awesome card, you have no energy production and no science, but might also keep it.

defenitly not: cupola city costs 19+energy cost (max11 with stdpj) so assuming 27 cost is valid, a normal city costs 21 for credicor. cupola produces 2 MC more, so you need to place it 3 rounds earlier to pay for itself kind of, but you may lack the 3 early money for something else. I would not keep it in the case of not having other energy production in hand and already needing for AI (if kept) and mining industries.

Turn 4 i wouldnt get the nuclear zone (thats -2 points) and knowing already deep well heating and soletta you can get:
13*7=91
+10 free heat (round 5)+1 deepwell (of r4,+1 of r5)
+8 free heat (roun 7)
109 total without energy, with 2-3 extra energy form deepwell that wont be used by now from your card hand is min 112/8=13 steps+3 steps from your already bought deimos down and 1 deepwell and 1 free from oxygen is already 18/19 temp steps, so any acces energy and such is lost. Of course the nuclear zone directly gives you mining area and therefore a current income of 4 and also 1extra temp step one round earlier, but it also costed you 13 for the zone, couldnt do the math really easily now, but could you do aquifier and ocean that round? but it should work if you do this+lichen next round and worst if you saved the 3 from the cupola. That also gives you 1income and and place on 2 steel and next round another ocean only for the steel you have and produced. Probbaly place second ocean on on titan and try get deimos and continue oceans on plants (where is the 1 titanium from? anyhow with that and 2 titan ocean it might work to play deimos already instead of the lichen round 5, but not its to hard to do all numbers

If you go with nuclear I would go on the 2 plant
plant+titanium spot for early plants as you already have plant production. or use the south steel spots first as you will place the ocean on the top spot later anyway so these could be still benefitial for you later.


And dont give up and also we with high scores have losses and bad games, and i still have to get above 130 but can easily imagine when i read about some other reports, have also like ended games with 18 titanium with phobolog and 120 points and advanced alloys some time....
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mister mystery
msg tools
mbmb
with not having cupola and not having any other placement cards probably wont take mining area too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fotouhi James
United States
flag msg tools
I'd have started with just soletta, aquifer and ai central personally. I'd play aquifer first, then ocean on DBL card. Then I'd play mining area on something good hopefully (depends on neutral city placement of course), ideally titanium. Next turn I'd ocean DBL titanium then play soletta. Not sure if the math is better, but I like getting oceans going early for all the placement bonus' and TR gains.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mister mystery
msg tools
mbmb
Peddler wrote:
I'd have started with just soletta, aquifer and ai central personally. I'd play aquifer first, then ocean on DBL card. Then I'd play mining area on something good hopefully (depends on neutral city placement of course), ideally titanium. Next turn I'd ocean DBL titanium then play soletta. Not sure if the math is better, but I like getting oceans going early for all the placement bonus' and TR gains.


but mining area requires another tile of yours.

the early oceans are probably worth less than the soletta in combination with that its a good sink if you dont get steel cards and have production later on and placement steel. I feel turn 5/6 is still fine money wise. I think soletta is fine, but too many total cards
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Your starting hand is great and I would have kept exactly the same cards. Oceans are taken care of, heat is mostly taken care of, so I feel confident about winning and am looking for points. I'd be hoping to draw some energy production, science tags, and something for oxygen. If Soletta wasn't in this hand I'd keep Beam From a Thorium Asteroid and hope for a Jovian tag soonish.

Generation 1: I would have played Soletta but not bought the standard power plant; you might draw energy production soon, and Building Industries doesn't justify the cost.

Generation 2: I would have kept the same cards and done nothing this generation.

Generation 3: I would have kept Business Contacts but also Colonizer Training Camp (good points that don't need to be played anytime soon) and Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid. There are a lot of plant tags and you have heat going, so I'd be hoping to play it around generation 10 for the full plant production bonus. I would play Business Contacts here; you don't say what the other two cards were but the ones you pick look good. I would play Deep Well Heating and then Building Industries (and raise temperature of course).

Generation 4: I wouldn't keep Nuclear Zone; you don't need temperature badly and the -2 points hurts. Yes it would let you play Mining Area but I'd be planning to use Domed Crater for that. I would in fact keep Tectonic Stress Power (I need energy and I'm looking for science tags anyway) and Anti-Gravity Technology (not unreasonably ambitious as long as I can get AI Central into play). I'd raise temperature and play Lichen.

Generation 5: I'd keep Giant Space Mirror and Herbivores, which is generally a bunch of points in solo. I'd raise temperature once and play Giant Space Mirror (if my calculations are correct I have exactly enough money); I need the energy production, especially if I can get one of the energy-for-oxygen cards, and the extra heat is useful.

Generation 6: If I don't keep any cards, I can play Domed Crater on Noctis Labyrinthus, play Mining Area on Pavonis Mons, and have enough plants for a greenery. Most likely I'll keep something and have to wait another generation to do this. (Edit: I forgot Credicor's refund, so I can keep two cards and still do this.) I'm still looking for oxygen and plant tags, especially ones I can play early. I want science tags but I'm not so desperate that I kept GHG Producing Bacteria or Physics Complex; Anti-Gravity Technology is a gamble but I don't need it in order to win.

I probably won't get eight oceans out of Aquifer Pumping but that's fine; five is still a substantial savings and I can produce a lot of steel without worrying that it'll go to waste. My primary goal early on is to increase my production rather than terraform. And you'll note that other strong players make different choices than I do; there certainly isn't one right answer.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexander Einich
Switzerland
Geneva
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd have kept Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid instead of Deimos Down. Your heat production started fine, oceans too; now you need to collect plants. 3 plant tags are not that hard to get in solo (and indeed, you already got one soon after letting it pass). In solo, Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid is kind of like AI Central: when gotten early, it should almost always be kept.

Other than that, I maybe would have gone for the Immigration Shuttles/Soletta start in gen1/gen2, but I'm not sure the result would be better. Your play looks fine to me (but then I'm not among the best).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fotouhi James
United States
flag msg tools
Right, was thinking mining rights.

I feel like early free cards are really valuable, but I could see why soletta would make sense. I just like offsetting the soletta cost with titanium, which flows nicely from ocean placements.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mister mystery
msg tools
mbmb
agree nitrogen rich asteroid might be a good choice cause oceans and heat you got. Maybe was just cause in my last 6games never got more than 2 plant tags before round 13 and 4 times not at all. But probably got catch.

The standard project energy is a good suggestion.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus S
Canada
Calgary
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Peddler wrote:
I'd have started with just soletta, aquifer and ai central personally. I'd play aquifer first, then ocean on DBL card. Then I'd play mining area on something good hopefully (depends on neutral city placement of course), ideally titanium. Next turn I'd ocean DBL titanium then play soletta. Not sure if the math is better, but I like getting oceans going early for all the placement bonus' and TR gains.

With Aquifer, you only need to trigger it a max of 8 times in a game... And it can be offset with steal, so playing it first generation isn't always great when money is tight. Having it in play for more than 8 generations isn't really helping you. Production from Soletta will always help you, the sooner you get it out, the better... Additionally, i don't really like having to "save up" for several generations to play something like Soletta... if you can play it in the first generation i like to do that, and play less expensive cards in subsequent generations.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Impressario Raiddinn the Beatdropper
msg tools
mbmbmb
I would have taken Terractor and taken these cards:

Aquifer Pumping
Immigration Shuttles
Soletta

and 51 gold. From there I would have done:

Aquifer Pumping (33)
Use Aquifer (25) on 2x titanium space
Immigration Shuttles (3)

TR 15, Income +5

Soletta still in hand.

Rationale... Soletta is a terrible turn 1 card. The above line has +6 gold ready to spend on turn 2. Soletta plus SP Energy line won't even be at +1 gold on turn 2.

The long game economics look more like this...

Turn 2, my line +6 gold, Soletta line +0 gold.
Turn 3, my line +12 gold, Soletta line +1 gold
Turn 4, my line +18 gold, Soletta line +3 gold
Turn 5, my line +24 gold, Soletta line +6 gold
Turn 6, my line +30 gold, Soletta line +10 gold
Turn 7, my line +36 gold, Soletta line +15 gold
Turn 8, my line +42 gold, Soletta line +21 gold (same gen/turn now, still 21 raw gold behind)
Turn 9, my line +48 gold, Soletta line +28 gold
Turn 10, my line +54 gold, Soletta line +36 gold
Turn 11, my line +60 gold, Soletta line +45 gold
Turn 12, my line +66 gold, Soletta line +55 gold
Turn 13, my line +72 gold, Soletta line +66 gold
Turn 14, my line +78 gold, Soletta line +78 gold

It takes until the very last turn of the game for the Soletta line to even equal out the turn 1 advantage from the other side. If one simply just saves up the cash difference from my line and then buys Soletta with it when the money is available, the Soletta first line will never come close to equalling out my line.

Indeed, that's basically the intent with my line, to get a turn 4 or 5 Soletta and keeping a strong lead for the rest of the game.

IMHO, Soletta is just a terrible first turn card. It's way too slow to create the kind of starts that allow easy finishes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Kristensen
Denmark
Herlev
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I feel like you are disregarding the heat in your accounting. 21-28 heat lost by building in turn 4 or 5, is a good chunk of cash if we use the cost of an asteroid as a benchmark. Sure, the benefit is postponed, so I am not saying it wins out. But ignoring it seems like making half an argument.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Impressario Raiddinn the Beatdropper
msg tools
mbmbmb
Below will compare GIA vs Soletta. Its simpler that way and i think GIA is about the same value as what i described.

You might be discounting the benefits of lots of early game cash. Also tile placement bonuses.

GIA is probably just a strictly better card. No matter what conditions there are. If you maximize play afterwards.

Gia is much better on the turn you cast it. That makes it much better late game no matter what.

Early game though, runs into the above math.

Imagine if you had both cards and you wanted to play both and you couldnt add outside resources. It would take much longer to play soletta then GIA vs the other way around.

GIA lets you get 2 titaniums and turn 1. Thats a large chunk of Soletta by itself. Not to mention 2 leaves helping earlier more than later.

GIA also jumps you ahead on the temp track right away putting you to the free heat gen sooner.

GIA also doesnt penalize you for drawing other good cards like Soletta does. Soletta needs max value to be as efficient as possible and GIA doesnt. If you play Soletta it makes a subsequent GIA less good because it steps on solettas toes. Soletta second doesnt really step on GIAs first's toes.

I am taking pertty much everything into account here.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus S
Canada
Calgary
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
What is GIA? Giant Ice Asteroid? If so, why are you even talking about it? It was never discussed in this thread... I don't understand what relevance it has.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Impressario Raiddinn the Beatdropper
msg tools
mbmbmb
I said because it's less complex and about the same net effect, if you read the first sentence.

Lots of money early plus lots of placement bonuses early make a big difference compared to an engine that takes a long time to get going.

GIA is more in that direction, but what I suggested is still in that same direction.

Soletta needs some kind of second plus heat (Micro Mills)? on turn 1 in order to even get an actual temp increase on the 2nd turn. Most likely the first temp increase isn't even going to come until turn 3. After that, the increases will likely be pretty consistent the rest of the game as many as you can get with it.

This is a 10 turn game, so that's probably going to be not more than 7. Again, if other players compensate you might get less. In solo, you probably get 11. That's a lot of value out of one card for sure, but it's also fighting against other stuff too. You might not get full value out of other cards because you used Soletta.

The other cards that give more value sooner can snowball too. The Aqua Pumping can get all those waters out quickly/cheaply and get a lot of placement bonuses quickly which is a lot of advantage early game.

Pretty much all the games where I score high (solo or 2p is usually what I play) it's because I got Aqua Pumping and lots of plus cash per turn going in the first 2 turns. The games I play Soletta on turn 1, I struggle to even win. Soletta is just too slow to get rolling.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus S
Canada
Calgary
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Raiddinn wrote:
I said because it's less complex and about the same net effect, if you read the first sentence.

I did in fact read your entire post, but fail to grasp how this is relevant. You are not comparing apples to apples. The 3 engines you describe (5Mc prod, 4TR through GIA, 7 heat prod) are completely different and not directly comparable. If the OP had been dealt GIA in their starting hand, this whole discussion would be different, making your comparison irrelevant to this thread. (I do believe there is value in the comparison between Soletta and immigration shuttles though)

Raiddinn wrote:
Soletta needs some kind of second plus heat (Micro Mills)? on turn 1 in order to even get an actual temp increase on the 2nd turn. Most likely the first temp increase isn't even going to come until turn 3. After that, the increases will likely be pretty consistent the rest of the game as many as you can get with it.

The benefit of soletta may not be as immediate, but the benefit of playing it early is that you have 1 of 3 parameters almost taken care of on turn one, which can be quite strong.

Raiddinn wrote:
This is a 10 turn game, so that's probably going to be not more than 7. Again, if other players compensate you might get less. In solo, you probably get 11. That's a lot of value out of one card for sure, but it's also fighting against other stuff too. You might not get full value out of other cards because you used Soletta.

When is it ever a 10 turn game? We aren't talking multiplayer here, because again, the discussion would be completely different (I agree that Soletta is weaker in MP except with Helion). In solo you will get more than 11 heat bumps out of it (doesn't matter how many generations you can use it, it matters how many increases in temp you get). Saying you may not get full value is a silly argument because it can be used for any kind of production cards... In fact, I would argue the same thing about playing Aquifer on turn one, seeing as you are only going to fire it at most 8/14 generations, which means you are "wasting" early game money to get a few oceans out a few generations earlier.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Kristensen
Denmark
Herlev
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
CarcuS wrote:
In solo you will get more than 11 heat bumps out of it


13 to be exact.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Impressario Raiddinn the Beatdropper
msg tools
mbmbmb
A "Hypothetical Soletta" card that costed the same and which did nothing until the last turn of the game and then caused heat to be maxed out wouldn't be "better", but it would be better using your method of accounting.

Half of the game centers around efficiently generating lots of "money" and the other half of the game centers around efficiently converting "money" to "win conditions".

You get ahead by maximizing where you are on the resultant curve.

I you generate 100 "money" and spend with 10% efficiency, then you are left with 10 "value". If you instead generated 10 "money" and spend it with 100% efficiency, then you are also left with 10 "value".

If you instead generate 50 "money" and spend it with 50% efficiency, you are left with 25 value.

One can neither focus entirely on efficiency and generate little money nor can they focus entirely on generating money and just waste it all if they want to win.

More money sooner is a big deal, as long as you can get "good" efficiency from it. Doesn't have to be "great efficiency". Indeed, you probably won't find great efficiency and great money at once. Such a card would make the game auto-win if drawn.

In this context, Soletta is more efficiency, but it takes a lot longer to play out to achieve that efficiency. The same money spent on something slightly less efficient but with a lot more up front power will overtake it in total value.

I would suggest GIA is such a card.

I would suggest Immigration Shuttles + Aquifer Pumping to be in the same vein. I would much rather start with turn 1 Immigration Shuttles + Aquifer Pumping than turn 1 Soletta for that reason.

The long term impact of IS + AP giving you a lot more "up front" should outweigh Soletta most of the time (as long as you get "good" or better efficiency from those up front resources), particularly in solo where both can easily be "maximized" in their impact.
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.