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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Variants

Subject: project decks by generation/phase rss

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Disclaimer: I'm only getting this game for Christmas, so I've so far watched a couple of reviews and run throughs. One issue that stuck out was that noticeable often one or two of the four project cards at the beginning of a new generation/turn is suited for a different generation. Due to temperature and oxygen being requirements for some projects, the generation they're being drawn doesn't seem to make much sense.

Since I play 7 Wonders Duel and enjoy it a lot, I wondered whether it's possible to introduce decks of cards for different generations, perhaps divide them up into three for early, mid and late game (depending on their prerequisite. So cards with high temperature and oxygen would only be in the third deck, and so on. Thoughts?
I'll try it out after the holidays in any case.
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Bill Buchanan
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That's part of the game. Drawing cards you can't use right away, but having to decide if they are worth paying 3MC to keep in your hand in order to play later in the game.

But as always, people are free to house rule anything they want.
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Ido Abelman
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WBuchanan wrote:
That's part of the game. Drawing cards you can't use right away, but having to decide if they are worth paying 3MC to keep in your hand in order to play later in the game.

But as always, people are free to house rule anything they want.


+1 for that
What I dislike a little is when you get a card with a max requirement after that parameter already passed the max point, so you don't even have a chance to play it. If you get it when the global parameter is close to or right at the max level, well there's a dilemma for you - do I keep it and hope I can build it fast enough that other players don't increase the global parameter? In drafting others might even know you might have that card. I had some very close calls with such situations, in both directions.

Getting cards with minimum requirements early is also something that generates interesting decisions. Often the high minimum requirement cards can be pretty powerful cards that can be the centerpiece of your strategy. Animals especially. You can try to raise their parameter (usually oxygen, heat for fish) as fast as possible and then get them out early to get a lot of points. You can also keep some of the "import" cards along the way to combo with the animal. I had some games where I kept an animal+import card from generation 1 until the time I could play them.
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Marcus S
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This has been discussed several times so far, and besides what Bill mentioned, there is one really big hurdle: How do you divide the cards up? Base it on requirements? Base it on cost? As far as I am concerned, this is a fruitless effort, once you begin it you will begin to notice that this is not an easy process. Additionally, most ways you divide it up, will not apply to every game... Some games heat goes up super quickly before O2 and Oceans even get started (or vice versa)... This makes some cards situationally really good... But if you knew they weren't coming till the "end game", that would take something away from the game. Making tough decisions about balancing what you can play immediately and really good cards that you will have to wait to play is half the fun in the draft/research phase.

Either way, let us know how it goes.
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Örjan Almén
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After a few generations, when having built up a hand of cards, best possible research can be a worthless hand so you can throw them away and keep the money for playing cards instead. The mechanics of buying cards to your hand mitigates a lot of the issue, and is one of the most genius part of this game, I think.
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AJ Cooper
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You are free to try it, of course. I'd be interested to hear how it works out. But I think you will find that what Marcus said is very true, you will have a difficult time dividing the cards in a sensible way.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Joining the chorus, I think that it would be a good idea to try the base rules first, before testing variations.

As far as I know there are no cards with requirements for more than one of the parameters (temperature, oxygen and oceans). So no cards like you described, with requirements for high temperature and high level of oxygen.
And that brings the question when a card should fall in the 'late' category. Because you can never tell which parameters develop quickly and which will lag. It can happen that several players build a heat engine, with the result that the temperature reaches its max very swiftly, while oceans and oxygen level have hardly started growing.That makes it difficult to determine which cards should be in which stack. Would you discard the 'early' stack when temperature is higher than zero degrees, and replace it with the 'late' stack? But do you then also discard all those cards with a low maximum on oxygen that are in the 'early' stack, even if oxygen has not really developed yet? Or do you wait with introducing the 'late game' stack until all parameters have developed to somewhere over the middle - but that means that people cannot profit enough rounds from those cards in the 'late' stack that require require a high oxygen level, if that parameter developed quickly. In the standard game, in such cases those cards pay off, as you can cash in points (in the form of animal tokens, for instance) each round while you wait for the other parameters to reach their max.
In the standard game it is a valid strategy to rush one parameter if you have point-generating cards with high requirements for that parameter, precisely because you can then get those points in the next rounds, waiting for the other parameters to finally catch up. If such cards would be in the 'late game' stack, they virtually never pay off.

If you would divide the cards into early, middle and late game stacks, you would have to remove Inventrix (a corporation card) and a project card that does the same, since their special powers of circumventing the min and max parameter requirements are worth a lot less.

Finally, you would have to change the game in a couple of aspects. In the standard rules, players draw four cards each turn. Drawing this amount of cards helps against drawing unplayable cards; it is highly unlikely that none of the cards you drew can be played. If you reduce the chance of getting unplayable cards, you should consider drawing fewer cards each round as well. The compensation in the standard rules is not necessary anymore.
Then, you should get out a sharpie and change the costs for playing the cards. In the current game, cards with restrictions on play (such as a minimum required temperature) cost less than similar cards without those restrictions. If you divide the cards into separate stacks, so that players have no chance of drawing cards that cannot yet be played, I guess that the costs of those cards should change a bit as well.
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Talmanes wrote:
You are free to try it, of course. I'd be interested to hear how it works out. But I think you will find that what Marcus said is very true, you will have a difficult time dividing the cards in a sensible way.


Ok, I basically just started, but after only four games it's pretty obvious you guys were absolutely right. There's no way it's possible to divide cards up into phases, even early/late stage cards is difficult, if not impossible due to there being more than one value (temperature and oxygen). In one game we didn't terraform until the last three rounds, in the first temperature was high, but oxygen was comparatively low. Then I thought about dividing cards up in regard to cost, but that was also nonsensical. Finally, games can be over quick, some take forever - it's not possible to decide on which generation is the last in the first stage, etc.

I'm happy with the base game though, even if the gaming group thought that a time-limited trading mechanism a la "you want my project x? give me y" might improve the players' interactions as they're mostly negative as they are (sabotage, hacking, asteroid attacks etc.), whereas the intro of the game aligns all corporations to terraforming Mars together. I have a feeling though that this might unbalance the game. Thoughts?
 
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