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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Big Mars Variant (Full/double Mars) rss

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Robert Schraut
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After playing the Hellas&Elysium Boards a couple of times I had the idea to play a game on both sides of Mars. Here is what we worked out and how it went.

Basic Rules:

Material:
One base game of TFM
Hellas&Elysium Board
9 additional Oceans (we have a second copy, but those 9 can be just as easily crafted)
2 additional cubes to mark temperature and oxygen on far side.
We fell short about 10 city/greenery tiles, but decided to work around instead of using those from the second game, because it was the last round.

Over the Horizon:
The leftmost hex of the central row on the near side (Arsia Mons) is identical to the rightmost hex on the far sight. A tile placed in one of them is considered to be in both of them. Placing player will chose on of the rewards. Same goes for the other end of the central row. For all other rows: The leftmost hex on one side of Mars is adjacent to the rightmost hex on the other side and vice versa. So every edge space has one more adjacent hex. There is no connection around the top or bottom of the map.

Global Parameters:
Global Parameters have to be raised on both sides of Mars. So essentially you need to do twice as much terraforming. If you raise a parameter first raise on the near side, then on the far side. Example: Deimos Down played as first card of the game will raise temperature to -28° on the near side, then to -28° on the far side, then to -26° on the near side. Oceans can be placed freely on the reserved areas of both sides.

Requirements:
A minimum requirement for oxygen or temperature is met, once BOTH scales reached that value. A maximum requirement for oxygen or temperature is met unless BOTH scales passed that value. Ocean requirements are doubled. So if a card needs 4 Oceans it now needs 8.

Rewards: Extra rewards for reaching a terraforming step are only awarded once, when the marker reaches that step on the near side.

Milestones/Awards:
Milestones and awards of both boards are available, but only three per board can be used. (We use a randomized system where Milestones/rewards are drawn from a big pool)

How it went:

There are multiple aspects to be viewed here.

It was a three player game. Sadly one player fell back during the game. This is just the one big problem of Mars which has been mentioned multiple times. The strong are getting stronger, the weak are getting weaker. Luckily she is one of the players who just enjoys building her own empire with no kind of frustration about how good the others are doing. A quality I cannot claim for myself.

Me and the other guy went head to head and to to toe the whole game, which made it an extremely good and exiting game game for us. But the danger of the game breaking apart with placement being decided far before the end is much bigger than in the normal game.
Final Score was 208 to 201 to 150 Points.

The close result was however not the only thing which made this game interesting. One big plus was the adjustment to a totally different game play. We knew the game would take some generations longer. In the end there where fifteen. So cards would have no longer the same value as before (we use drafting. the only way to play this game. #Ideology #PCmasterrace). Examples: I knew from the beginning that plant and heat production would be much more valuable because effect raising oxygen and heat directly are limited (Asteroids, strip mine, bacteria etc.). So the mohole for example would not only be twice as good, but MORE than twice as good. Cards that turned out exceptionally strong where: Arctic Algae, Martian rails, Card generators, Herbivores(modified).

Another very exiting part were the milestones and awards. As mentioned before we used our own system here. With 6 random milestones and 6 random rewards you have to find synergies there to optimize your drafting. The Metagame in this race was very interesting. Especially in the awards. When do I pay the 8M because it's cheap. How much risk am I going to take to block a slot in one of the award sections?

Yet another important aspect was card management. Since your economy will explode after generation 10ish you need to prepare for that. You need to build up a reserve of hand cards to not run out, because if you do you end up hard casting standard projects just to end the game. During the research phases of several early rounds I kept 4 cards. Something that would never do in a standard game. Maybe the would be wise to increase the cards drafted during the research phase to 5 after generation 7 and to 6 after generation 10.

Synopsis:
The biggest reason for this session to be great was definitely that it did not break apart. This was the foundation. Ont op of that foundation it was like playing the game for the first time, while at the same time knowing everything about the games. A really awesome experience, but not one you want to do every day. My brain felt somewhat liquefied after finishing and I had to take a break before playing some nightcaps.








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Örjan Almén
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Did you see my thread about our experiment with 3 maps? Mega Terraforming Mars.

Our experience with the cards you mentioned is that they did get better but wasn’t exceptional good so any player broke off.
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BD
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I had the same thoughts around a mega game of TM using multiple maps. At the time I thought the 3 map version may have been too complex with hex overlaps. The two map version seems more doable although covering global parameters on both maps, I'm not sure about that. One planet, one sphere, one set of global parameters? using a double set of oceans I think is needed for a mega TM game.

If a 4th expansion map is ever produced, perhaps it should be with the north pole of Mars featured and then a south/north pole double map could be played, that would be interesting.

Another consideration with a mega version of the game is to have a 6th player or even a 7th player. BGG sells inexpensively 8mm translucent cubes which would fit the game. I recently bought orange & cyan cubes to allow for a 6th & 7th player. Here is the link:

[uhttps://boardgamegeekstore.com/products/translucent-plastic-...

On eBay there is a seller that custom makes player mat templates for the game to keep those pesky cubes from being knocked around. He very kindly agreed to make an orange & cyan colored version for me. Here's the link to contact him and ask the same if you're interested:

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam...gFPsAAOSw3ONZoRIN

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Robert Schraut
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orjanalmen wrote:
Did you see my thread about our experiment with 3 maps? Mega Terraforming Mars.

Our experience with the cards you mentioned is that they did get better but wasn’t exceptional good so any player broke off.


I saw it some hours after publishing myself. I assumed I wasn't the only one with the Idea. We would not have used three maps (even if we had them) because I thought a lot of hexes would be doubled. But big respect for pulling that one off.
 
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Robert Schraut
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[q="2geminis"]I had the same thoughts around a mega game of TM using multiple maps. At the time I thought the 3 map version may have been too complex with hex overlaps. The two map version seems more doable although covering global parameters on both maps, I'm not sure about that. One planet, one sphere, one set of global parameters? using a double set of oceans I think is needed for a mega TM game.


If you don't use double parameters the game will be over in the same time as a regular and tiles will be very scattered around the globe very thinly.

Thank you for the link for the cubes.
Overlays are already in work.
 
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Örjan Almén
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RobAntilles wrote:
orjanalmen wrote:
Did you see my thread about our experiment with 3 maps? Mega Terraforming Mars.

Our experience with the cards you mentioned is that they did get better but wasn’t exceptional good so any player broke off.


I saw it some hours after publishing myself. I assumed I wasn't the only one with the Idea. We would not have used three maps (even if we had them) because I thought a lot of hexes would be doubled. But big respect for pulling that one off.


I don't think there is more than two spaces that overlap as I can see, but I haven't looked at the maps too closely in that aspect. We did not take any overlaps in consideration when we played, firstly because we didn't think of it, and secondly, it could be somewhat messier. I think that if you take them in consideration like you did, it's important to mark the non-used space out of the two so it's not getting taken again.

How did the deck work out for you? We had issues with running out of cards in the end, were you in the same trouble?
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Robert Schraut
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No,

we had plenty of cards left. But we were just three players and two boards.
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Örjan Almén
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RobAntilles wrote:
No,

we had plenty of cards left. But we were just three players and two boards.


True that. How many generations did your play last?
Any particular balance issues you met? Was there some gap in playing experience between the players?
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Matt Shields
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I think I'm going to lobby for playing this the next time we have 6 people who want to play.

Incidentally, what is "Herbivores (Modified)"? Is there some kind of optional rule about how Herbivores works? I've always thought this card was a bit under-powered, though obviously could be great in this game.
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Robert Schraut
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orjanalmen wrote:
RobAntilles wrote:
No,

we had plenty of cards left. But we were just three players and two boards.


True that. How many generations did your play last?
Any particular balance issues you met? Was there some gap in playing experience between the players?


It lasted 15 Generations.
Of course there where a lot ob balancing issues, as I mentioned in the Balancing section. The Mining guild is exceptionally strong, since there are so many hexes that give metal bonuses. And all those cards that will give you bonuses for a certain amount of other things in play go berserk.
The gab was not really in player experience, but in the "power level" of the players. The 25% gap to player three was not unusual. But as I mentioned: we were lucky that it did not break apart.
 
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Robert Schraut
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TwitchBot wrote:
I think I'm going to lobby for playing this the next time we have 6 people who want to play.

Incidentally, what is "Herbivores (Modified)"? Is there some kind of optional rule about how Herbivores works? I've always thought this card was a bit under-powered, though obviously could be great in this game.


In our group it was never used at all, so I changed it from getting one herbivore per own greenery to one herbivore every time a greenery is placed and to 1VP for every three herbivores. Now it is used from time to time but it is still a weak card, due to our metagame.
 
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Patrick
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I played a double board variant yesterday.
It was seriously double the fun!

We played with four people and it took about four hours to complete.
Very long rounds and massive moneyproductions ;-)

Maybe some corporations were too powerful, such as Tharsis republic and Mining Guild, but other than that it was awesome.

Seriously recommend other to try it aswell!
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Robert Schraut
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Patwick wrote:
I played a double board variant yesterday.
It was seriously double the fun!

We played with four people and it took about four hours to complete.
Very long rounds and massive moneyproductions ;-)

Maybe some corporations were too powerful, such as Tharsis republic and Mining Guild, but other than that it was awesome.

Seriously recommend other to try it aswell!


Please tell us more.
How Many Genrations? What where the final scores?
Which set of rules did you use?
 
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Patrick
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Hi Robert.

We played a 4 player game, wich last for 15 generations and 4 hours.
Genarations took long to complete because of the massive money and resource productions.
It was a great intense game with lots of things to keep track on.

The endscores were 122 (Tharsis), 116 (Mining Guild), 102 (Credicor) and 99 (Helion).

The set-up:
1 Regular Board
1 Elysium Board
1 Deck of Cards
2 Sets of Ocean Tiles (18 in total)
2 Sets of MC Cubes

Rules Adjustments:
1. Using all awards and milestones.
2. Ocean Tiles may be played on both maps. No restrictions other than the reserved areas.
3. Cards with restrictions/requirements or marked bonuses on the playerboard, can only be played/obtained when the last white cube marker is positioned on this specific parameter.
4. Raising a parameter must be done alternately. First on the near side, then on the far side.

Like I said, the game experience was great.
There were a lot of things going on, wich in some cases were difficult to keep an eye on.

Some cards e.g. 'Arctic Algae' tend to be overpowered.
The same goes for the corporations. Tharsis Republic and Mining Guild were dominating the game because of their production benefits.

Dispite beeing a little bit unbalanced, we have played three more games like this after since.
A big game like this, feels a bit like an intravenous injection of an even more addictive variant.
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Örjan Almén
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Patwick wrote:
Hi Robert.

We played a 4 player game, wich last for 15 generations and 4 hours.
Genarations took long to complete because of the massive money and resource productions.
It was a great intense game with lots of things to keep track on.

The endscores were 122 (Tharsis), 116 (Mining Guild), 102 (Credicor) and 99 (Helion).

The set-up:
1 Regular Board
1 Elysium Board
1 Deck of Cards
2 Sets of Ocean Tiles (18 in total)
2 Sets of MC Cubes

Rules Adjustments:
1. Using all awards and milestones.
2. Ocean Tiles may be played on both maps. No restrictions other than the reserved areas.
3. Cards with restrictions/requirements or marked bonuses on the playerboard, can only be played/obtained when the last white cube marker is positioned on this specific parameter.
4. Raising a parameter must be done alternately. First on the near side, then on the far side.

Like I said, the game experience was great.
There were a lot of things going on, wich in some cases were difficult to keep an eye on.

Some cards e.g. 'Arctic Algae' tend to be overpowered.
The same goes for the corporations. Tharsis Republic and Mining Guild were dominating the game because of their production benefits.

Dispite beeing a little bit unbalanced, we have played three more games like this after since.
A big game like this, feels a bit like an intravenous injection of an even more addictive variant.


How come you choose to let all 10 milestones and awards be claimed rather than, at least for me, more obvious to let 3 out of 5 on each board be taken?
 
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orjanalmen wrote:
How come you choose to let all 10 milestones and awards be claimed rather than, at least for me, more obvious to let 3 out of 5 on each board be taken?

And what price did you set for the 4th-10th awards?
 
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Robert Schraut
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Actually with TF parameters and space doubled I think it's quite obvious to double the awards as well. Milestones and awards stick to their boards, so you can claim 3 milestones on each board and fund 3 awards (8/14/20) on each board.

This is how we did it.
 
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Robert Schraut
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We also think that the Mining Guild is a Monster in the Big Game. But also on the new Maps in general, since there are more metal spaces.

Tharsis also becomes stronger, but not until about generation 10 when things get really out of control. So it's not that bad. Helion of course won't scale during the final burst. Ecoline is pretty powerful as well, since the demand for oxygen doubles, but the number of asteroids won't.
Credicor will also go berserk if the get the card that returns an additional 3 on standard projects.
 
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Steve Clark
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Someone had to do it eventually...so last night I tried this solo.

Same rules except for the fact that I allowed temp/O²/oceans to be raised freely on both sides (to aim for bonuses), but cards still require temp/O²/oceans on both sides to be at the required level. Set a time limit of 20 generations (based on the multiplayer taking ~50% longer) and started with 20 TR (to match the new number and because I thought it would perhaps be too hard). I also went with Beginner, so there was no abilities to scale out of control.

Opening hand: Viral Enhancers, Decomposers, Arctic Algae, Herbivores, Fueled Generators, Deep Well Heating, Immigration Shuttles, Plantation, Soil Factory, Mining Area.

Early game: Shuttles and Generators (gen 1), followed by both mining tiles and Industrial Microbes (gen 2) plus Building Industries (gen 3) for early steel. GHG Factories, Black Polar Dust and plenty of power cards took care of the temp, an Ore Processor started the O², plants came from the Algae and Virals, while oceans were hard to come by.

Mid-game: Business Network helped out with cards, and Standard Tech came along to help with the vast number of oceans. Extreme Cold Fungus was abused a lot for plants/Regoliths/Decomposers while the gauges rose and income started to spiral out of control...at this point it was clear that it wasn't going to be that hard after all.

Late game: The last few turns were spent playing every card I could, followed by a ton of standard cities/greens (while watching the temp track slowly max out, which it did on the last turn with 9 heat to spare). In the end I ran out of tiles (resorting to green cubes instead), went through half the deck (inc. every card spot) and covered just over 1½ boards.

TR: 106 (+2 Inert Gases)
Cards: 89 (inc +13 Decomposers, +23 Herbivores, +12 other animals)
Greens: 55 (counting the 2 edge spots as duplicates)
Cities: 93 (using the adjacency rules posted at the top)

Total: 343

So yeah...took about 3 hours, wasn't hard at all really - even if I'd left the TR at 14 it wouldn't have stopped me (and I could've finished terraforming 2-3 gens earlier with SP's, despite no asteroids appearing whatsoever) but was still a fun experiment.
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