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Subject: How much longer is the corporate era version? rss

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The Quirken
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I almost *always* play games with at least one new player, so I tend to shy away from buying games where it isn't recommended to play the "full" version the first time, as it means I will never, ever play the full version. (Ooops. I probably wouldn't have bought this if I had realized. This is why I don't own Through the Ages, even though it's one of my favorite games.)

From what I've read about the corporate era "variant" (i.e. the "real" game), it's not something that experienced game players would probably be that phased by, but it makes the game longer.

How much longer are we talking?

I have an upcoming game w/ 3 players. Terraforming Mars will be new to all of us. We only have ~4 hours to go over the rules AND play.

If it wasn't for the length aspect, I'd 100% just throw in the corporate era stuff and go for it. (Probably not the drafting, due to time considerations.)

Is it unreasonable to expect us to finish in that span of time w/ corporate era cards? How much longer does it make the game?
 
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Derry Salewski
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I dunno, I've been using them since game two and teach new players with them and it works fine.

You certainly will finish within four hours unless something is terribly wrong with one or more of you.
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Rich P
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Four hours should be enough for Corporate Era, given you're not drafting. However, I know people who actually prefer the game without Corporate Era (due to it being shorter and less mean), so you needn't feel like you're missing too much if you decide to play the "basic" game.
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The Quirken
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Slight addendum: I'm thinking about doing beginner corps only, but including the corporate era cards, as explained in this:

Snapshot wrote:
To be clear: Using Beginner Corp has nothing to with using the Corporate Era cards!
CE or not, new players are encouraged to use Beginner Corp, while non-newbies can play named corporations in the same game. This works with and without CE (and should be fairly balanced - Beginner Corp is a bit more powerful on paper, but that's a small edge they need vs opponents who are more familiar with the game).
So Beginner Corp + CE is not a homegrown variant as such.

Using CE, but giving everyone +1 production is. It's been suggested before and probably serves well to get the CE cards in play, but still get jumpstarted economies, resulting in a game length that's more on par with non-CE play.
It does devalue production cards a little bit, so it kinda offsets the "more focus on engine-building" angle that CE has. But still, if you like it that way, I don't see why you shouldn't play like that.

As for paying for initial cards as Beginner Corp, that is also entirely possible, as long as you don't mix Beginner with named corps (if you do, then Beginner loses most all of its edge vs named).
If you're going that route, tho, I gotta ask: Why not go all the way and play named corps?


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27393981#27393981
 
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Richard Young
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With even some familiarity I would say you could do it. The fact that it will be new to all three of you and there will have to be a rules explanation, I'm not sure that even the basic game will be done within your time-frame. The designers themselves suggest that you use the basic game rules with Beginner Corp, and leaving aside the CE cards, for your very first play.

If everyone likes the game I see no reason why, on your second time out, you couldn't use the CE version's rules. Even at that you should still finish pretty close to the time you have aimed for.
 
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Erik Twice
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If you can't finish Terraforming Mars in a couple of hours no variant will help you

There's no reason not to play with all the cards.
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The Quirken
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wow, those were quick replies!

woodnoggin wrote:
Four hours should be enough for Corporate Era, given you're not drafting. However, I know people who actually prefer the game without Corporate Era (due to it being shorter and less mean), so you needn't feel like you're missing too much if you decide to play the "basic" game.


Could you elaborate on the difference in feel? I haven't had a chance to look through the CE cards.

Shorter is better, but I don't want to feel like I didn't get the real experience.
 
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The Quirken
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Bubslug wrote:
If everyone likes the game I see no reason why, on your second time out, you couldn't use the CE version's rules. Even at that you should still finish pretty close to the time you have aimed for.


Let me repeat: second time, I'll likely be the *only* person who has played the game, and everybody else will be a newbie. If a 3rd or 4th play happens (rare), there might be somebody else who has played before, but there will still likely be 1-2 newbies.

Quirken wrote:
I almost *always* play games with at least one new player, so I tend to shy away from buying games where it isn't recommended to play the "full" version the first time, as it means I will never, ever play the full version. (Ooops. I probably wouldn't have bought this if I had realized. This is why I don't own Through the Ages, even though it's one of my favorite games.
 
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Andreas Krüger
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The corporate era cards don't add complexity in rules, but they emphasize engine building and new players sometimes get a bit carried away with that. This can make the game unnecessarily long; but anyway, it adds a little bit of time to get the engines running.

I'd recommend to use Beginner corporations for the new players, standard corporations for anyone else (you can mix). Use the Corporate era depending on how much time you have.
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Rich P
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Quirken wrote:
Could you elaborate on the difference in feel? I haven't had a chance to look through the CE cards.

Shorter is better, but I don't want to feel like I didn't get the real experience.


In addition to what Andreas wrote above, note that there are quite a few more abilities in Corporate Era which allow you to draw more cards. This gives players more choices but adds to game length. There are also more cards which negatively impact your opponents, stealing their resource production, so it can feel more take-that. CE gives you the chance to build a more personalised engine: when you're not given any free production to start with you can feel like you've earned whatever you do make. (But from your other comments above it sounds like you may start everyone with 1 production anyway.)
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Peter Bakija
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Quirken wrote:
From what I've read about the corporate era "variant" (i.e. the "real" game), it's not something that experienced game players would probably be that phased by, but it makes the game longer.


I don't think the Corporate Era cards/rules make the game significantly longer. They add more engine building abilities (i.e. your space/titanium plan can get more titanium; your heat engine can get more heat), but the game isn't necessarily more difficult.

I have played the game with a table full of 4 new players (plus myself), using full, corporate rules, and the game didn't take more than 4 hours, including explaining all the rules. It was, like, 3 hours, easy.
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Mil Myman
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It depends on what you mean by "new player". Do you mean someone who has never played Terraforming Mars before, or do you mean someone who has never played *any* Euro-game before?

If they've played Puerto Rico, Caylus, Race for the Galaxy, Agricola, Carcassonne, Catan, Terra Mystica, or any game with a production engine, then they're ready to play with the Corporate Era. There is no need to use the training wheels.

If all they've ever played before is Risk, Stratego, Monopoly, Sequence, The Game of Life, and Candyland, then they might need the training wheels.

I've never played the game without CE, and neither has anyone I've ever played it with. So I don't really know how much longer it takes, but it doesn't seem like it would make that much of a difference. Fifteen minutes? A half an hour? It's not like it could double the game length, could it?

Definitely don't play with drafting for the first few games, until everyone is reasonably familiar with the deck. Drafting will make the game longer by about 15-30 minutes, depending on how AP-prone the players are.
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Ian Klinck
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I'll also chip in with a vote for "if the players are reasonably-experienced gamers, then Corporate Era will be fine."

With several new players (including one AP-prone one), three hours was enough for us.
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Jeff Noel
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4 hours should probably be enough time for an intro CE game without drafting. Though if your players are very AP prone and there are lots of distractions, you might need slightly longer. You may want to try the non-CE version first to gauge the time needed, then add about 50% to get the time for the full CE game.
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scifiantihero wrote:
You certainly will finish within four hours unless something is terribly wrong with one or more of you.

This is somewhat .. uncharitable.

TFM is known to take significantly longer on first play for most people. For three first timers, working from the rulebook with no experienced player to help out, four hours would not surprise me. Playtime shortens with further plays.

I'd say corporate era typically adds about two generations. That is probably 30-45 minutes for new players. If you are time constrained, it might be better to play without them. Not because it is too complicated - it isn't - but just to be sure you fit your time window.
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Andi Hub
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bakija wrote:
Quirken wrote:
From what I've read about the corporate era "variant" (i.e. the "real" game), it's not something that experienced game players would probably be that phased by, but it makes the game longer.


I don't think the Corporate Era cards/rules make the game significantly longer. They add more engine building abilities (i.e. your space/titanium plan can get more titanium; your heat engine can get more heat), but the game isn't necessarily more difficult.

I have played the game with a table full of 4 new players (plus myself), using full, corporate rules, and the game didn't take more than 4 hours, including explaining all the rules. It was, like, 3 hours, easy.

Not having the starting bonus in production makes the game longer. I think it is about half an hour. For the first game I would not use the corporate era cards and play with bonus in production. You are not missing out on anything. In contrast, you will certainly use steel and titanium which you would not necessarily do, if you do not get the right cards.
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Richard Young
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Quirken wrote:
I have an upcoming game w/ 3 players. Terraforming Mars will be new to all of us. We only have ~4 hours to go over the rules AND play. Is it unreasonable to expect us to finish in that span of time w/ corporate era cards? How much longer does it make the game?
For the reasons I stated earlier, yes, it would be unreasonable. New players will be taking a long time just trying to figure out what cards to keep and pay for, then which cards to play, when, and in what order, and where to place stuff on the board (and why), and so on. Everyone's first game is far from the routine turn taking it will soon become. Quite the opposite.

The CE cards delay the game's ending by inserting many cards between those that actually effect the terraforming activity directly, and focus on building up your resource incomes (that now start at zero) which further slows things down. With the four of you in the specific circumstance you described, I would expect a basic game to push the four hour limit, unless you are incredibly talented at teaching a new game that you, at that point, haven't yet played yourself.

If, as you say, you will always be playing with at least one new player to the game, every time out, then you will soon be able to gauge from your own experience which of the several variations of start conditions will work for you...
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Mark Jackson
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I prefer it without the CE cards and without drafting even after many plays. It's significantly faster with the people I play with that way, and the added time outweighs the added fun imo with CE/draft. It's lucky that way, but it's lucky with CE/draft anyway so why drag it out so much?
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Ah_Pook wrote:
I prefer it without the CE cards and without drafting even after many plays. It's significantly faster with the people I play with that way, and the added time outweighs the added fun imo with CE/draft. It's lucky that way, but it's lucky with CE/draft anyway so why drag it out so much?
The more we play, the more I am tending to agree with you, but the desire to add more and different cards is compelling in a game based all around cards (why there were so many expansions to Dominion). I'm starting to think of the draft that way too, as it starts to become more about hoping for a key card in your first four then grabbing cards to hose your opponents after that. Adds time to do and slows things down by denying cards to others, for a while at least. We tend to like drafting (7 Wonders effect), but are experimenting with a system of passing one way (odd left, even right), but holding in between each round of passing. We are thus only drafting every other turn which speeds things up a bit and takes the nastiness out of it a bit as well.
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thanks everybody. We were playing in a gaming bar and there were a lot of distractions, and we started rules instructions about 45 minutes later than planned, so in a time-crunch panic, I decided against using the CE cards.

I haven't looked through the cards, but the game already was pretty long. I think we finished rules and started actually playing probably 8:15ish? And finished maybe 11:30ish.

Even so, I think we were focusing more on engine building (as much as was possible) more so than terraforming, so perhaps the CE cards wouldn't have made it that much longer. (Since we were focusing on production, using different cards for production probably wouldn't have made that much difference. Until late game, we'd really only been upping the O2 level, before RAPIDLY raising temp and building oceans) We really didn't put significant effort into terraforming until we were already past our original stop time and only still playing because we got competitive and we were willing to sacrifice sleep on a work night.

It was a *very* close game, though. The difference between first and last was only about 5-7 points, and would have had a differing order except I made a mistake on the final round (it was late) and forgot I was planning to build the last ocean. As a result, everybody got an extra turn, and the person in last place leapfrogged into first.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback! I'll try to remember to report back once I've tried the CE cards (w/ new people probably), so that other people in similar circumstances get one more data point.
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Quirken wrote:
I haven't looked through the cards, but the game already was pretty long. I think we finished rules and started actually playing probably 8:15ish? And finished maybe 11:30ish.

I think this is very typical for new players. It will get faster! Judging from comments here and my own plays, experienced players tend to finish in around 1.5-2.5 hours.
 
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Quirken wrote:
thanks everybody. We were playing in a gaming bar and there were a lot of distractions, and we started rules instructions about 45 minutes later than planned, so in a time-crunch panic, I decided against using the CE cards.

I haven't looked through the cards, but the game already was pretty long. I think we finished rules and started actually playing probably 8:15ish? And finished maybe 11:30ish.

Even so, I think we were focusing more on engine building (as much as was possible) more so than terraforming, so perhaps the CE cards wouldn't have made it that much longer. (Since we were focusing on production, using different cards for production probably wouldn't have made that much difference. Until late game, we'd really only been upping the O2 level, before RAPIDLY raising temp and building oceans) We really didn't put significant effort into terraforming until we were already past our original stop time and only still playing because we got competitive and we were willing to sacrifice sleep on a work night.

It was a *very* close game, though. The difference between first and last was only about 5-7 points, and would have had a differing order except I made a mistake on the final round (it was late) and forgot I was planning to build the last ocean. As a result, everybody got an extra turn, and the person in last place leapfrogged into first.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback! I'll try to remember to report back once I've tried the CE cards (w/ new people probably), so that other people in similar circumstances get one more data point.
Were you playing just using Beginner Corp? Or a combination of those plus the additional (minus CE) Corps? Beginner Corps have no special characteristics other than getting their initial ten project cards for free (a 30 CR value)! But you also start with one production in each resource which is also very valuable - a real kickstart to your economies. According to my reading of the rules those players opting to use non-Beginner Corp do not get the ten free card start nor the headstart in resource income (other than what the specific Corp might allow). Lots of folks mix and match those conditions depending on how quickly they want to see the game unfold. The pure basic version is intended to see less emphasis on engine building and more on terraforming. But how that works itself out is a function of card draws and player dynamics, so it is hard to generalize.

The main thing is that without the CE cards you should see more direct terraforming action, because the number of direct terraforming cards doesn't change but the interval between them could by the addition of a lot more engine building type cards. But that depends on how the deck is shuffled and distributed. I've seen games where oceans and cities, and even plants, soon litter the landscape while in others it seems to take a lot longer.

Glad you enjoyed the game, and it appears that the other did as well if they were willing to play on past the target deadline. Playing times for non-noobs will definitely come down, but you've now seen the "noob effect" first hand and should be able to judge how best to proceed with other new players.
 
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Bubslug wrote:
Quirken wrote:
thanks everybody. We were playing in a gaming bar and there were a lot of distractions, and we started rules instructions about 45 minutes later than planned, so in a time-crunch panic, I decided against using the CE cards.

I haven't looked through the cards, but the game already was pretty long. I think we finished rules and started actually playing probably 8:15ish? And finished maybe 11:30ish.

Even so, I think we were focusing more on engine building (as much as was possible) more so than terraforming, so perhaps the CE cards wouldn't have made it that much longer. (Since we were focusing on production, using different cards for production probably wouldn't have made that much difference. Until late game, we'd really only been upping the O2 level, before RAPIDLY raising temp and building oceans) We really didn't put significant effort into terraforming until we were already past our original stop time and only still playing because we got competitive and we were willing to sacrifice sleep on a work night.

It was a *very* close game, though. The difference between first and last was only about 5-7 points, and would have had a differing order except I made a mistake on the final round (it was late) and forgot I was planning to build the last ocean. As a result, everybody got an extra turn, and the person in last place leapfrogged into first.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback! I'll try to remember to report back once I've tried the CE cards (w/ new people probably), so that other people in similar circumstances get one more data point.
Were you playing just using Beginner Corp? Or a combination of those plus the additional (minus CE) Corps? Beginner Corps have no special characteristics other than getting their initial ten project cards for free (a 30 CR value)! But you also start with one production in each resource which is also very valuable - a real kickstart to your economies. According to my reading of the rules those players opting to use non-Beginner Corp do not get the ten free card start nor the headstart in resource income (other than what the specific Corp might allow). Lots of folks mix and match those conditions depending on how quickly they want to see the game unfold. The pure basic version is intended to see less emphasis on engine building and more on terraforming. But how that works itself out is a function of card draws and player dynamics, so it is hard to generalize.

The main thing is that without the CE cards you should see more direct terraforming action, because the number of direct terraforming cards doesn't change but the interval between them could by the addition of a lot more engine building type cards. But that depends on how the deck is shuffled and distributed. I've seen games where oceans and cities, and even plants, soon litter the landscape while in others it seems to take a lot longer.

Glad you enjoyed the game, and it appears that the other did as well if they were willing to play on past the target deadline. Playing times for non-noobs will definitely come down, but you've now seen the "noob effect" first hand and should be able to judge how best to proceed with other new players.


Using CE cards => Everybody start with 0 production
Not Using CE cards => Everybody start with 1 production

Corporation choise is independent of this.

Beginner corporations get their 10 cards for free, it’s that corporations special ability, all named corporations pay 3 M€ for each card they wish to keep.
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orjanalmen wrote:

Using CE cards => Everybody start with 0 production
Not Using CE cards => Everybody start with 1 production

Corporation choise is independent of this.

Beginner corporations get their 10 cards for free, it’s that corporations special ability, all named corporations pay 3 M€ for each card they wish to keep.

Absolutley correct. This confusion could have been easily avoided if the "expansion" would have been called something different from Corporate Era, maybe Era of Martian Development or whatever.
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ringo84 wrote:
orjanalmen wrote:

Using CE cards => Everybody start with 0 production
Not Using CE cards => Everybody start with 1 production

Corporation choise is independent of this.

Beginner corporations get their 10 cards for free, it’s that corporations special ability, all named corporations pay 3 M€ for each card they wish to keep.

Absolutley correct. This confusion could have been easily avoided if the "expansion" would have been called something different from Corporate Era, maybe Era of Martian Development or whatever.
Agreed, the rules are quite clear - but it is equally clear that several variations on the combination of basic and CE rules are being used and can help tailor games for levels of experience, game duration, etc...
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