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Subject: First playthrough for a group familiar with Terra Mystica rss

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Son of Burrito Bean III
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My game group will be playing Gaia Project for the first time this evening. We are all somewhat experienced with Terra Mystica plus its expansion, and I've read the GP rulebook and will be teaching the other 3 players.

The Gaia Project rulebook encourages several special changes for your first playthrough:
1. Start with set races as opposed to choosing in clockwise order.
2. Start with a suggested specific initial structure placement.
3. Turn order is clockwise from first player as opposed to variable.

I'm considering following changes 1 and 2, but still using the variable turn order since we've done that ever since the release of the TM expansion. This way we can just learn about the abilities of the 4 suggested races and start with what I assume to be a decent initial Mine placement for all. For 4 players not familiar with the details of every race and the board layout of Gaia Project, this feels like it will save a pretty good amount of time for our first game.

Another part of me feels like we are shorting ourselves on the full game experience, and we can safely skip the suggested first-game rules without a huge hit to setup and playtime. I mean, you've got to learn about those races some time or another....

For others that came into Gaia Project with a decent amount of experience, which first-game rules did you opt for and what's your opinion?
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Sergio Perez
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Used the suggested board layout, and that's about it. We did use a couple of the suggested starting factions as they seemed pretty straightforward, and the Terrans seemed like a good selection based on how our scoring, tech tiles and the like came out, but I opted to use a faction of my choice and still did fine (~160 point range). We placed our own starting structures, used variable turn order, randomized tech board tiles, scoring tiles, bonus tiles, etc. It all worked out well.

If you're moderately familiar with TM, I think your group would be fine doing the same.
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Shaun
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Our group wasn't patient enough to start with the beginner setup. We just went right for randomizing the game board and picking our own factions and such and it went great. I only think you would need to use the beginning setup if you were unfamiliar with Terra Mystica or Gaia Project. If you and your group have already played TM, I would go right for the more advanced setup IMO.
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Attila Kisvári
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As Sergio said. If your group is experienced with TM you will find no problem with variable turn order. Since anybody knows no factions no advantage can come from it so feel free to choose the one you want. Maybe keep the initial board layout to be equal for anyone.
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Dave Eisen
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We used variable turn order, but followed the rest.

The variable board rules are wonky and I'm already thinking of different ways to house rule them going forward. The standard board looked reasonable enough and, of course, had not gotten played out by anyone at the table.

As far as faction selection, letting players choose is not unreasonable for experienced Terra Mystica players, but would take a LONG time as players had to learn all of the factions, identify their strengths, etc. etc. I suggest some way of either randomly allocating them or permitting selection from a limited range or something of that nature just to save time. Full selection from all 14 factions will end up wasting a lot of time on players making decisions they aren't equipped to make anyway. Just accept that that the first few games will be "unfair" and move on.
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James Wolfpacker
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If everyone in your group can usually score 140vp+ with final scoring tiles (outpost, distance, etc) in Terra Mystica, feel free to randomize or choose everything in the setup except the suggested map for your first game. This means random rounds, techs, final scoring, and boosters and then you guys choose your factions on what you think will work.

Definitely use VTO as you said.

I would say if your group can reach the 160vp (all 4p) in a Gaia game then go for random map in your next game. I'd recommend building the setup and map before you even know who the first player will be. That way all players have incentive to make the map balanced. Someone suggested this in another topic and I wholeheartedly agree with that.

Please keep in mind that there is an error in the variable game board setup section in the rulebook. Here's the correction: Instead, after before players have chosen their factions, the last player in turn order assembles the game board.
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Ola Caster
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The one thing you might want to keep is the recommended board. The modularity of the board is really to avoid repetition, and that is not an issue on the first game.

As has been discussed elsewhere, arranging the board according to the rules is quite tricky and puts a lot of responsibility on player 4 to make it balanced. On your first game you will be confused about the terraforming steps (e.g. blue is next to red), so assessing whether there is any colour that benefits too much from a certain board setup will be very difficult in my opinion.
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Robert
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kruppy wrote:
The one thing you might want to keep is the recommended board. The modularity of the board is really to avoid repetition, and that is not an issue on the first game.
With people who know TM, this has been my approach so far too. Sometimes I've also used the recommended faction set, never the recommended initial mine setup, and don't even think about asking me to play GP with you without VTO.
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Jack Spirio
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I don't Use VTO in 2 Player
 
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James Wolfpacker
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Jack Spirio wrote:
I don't Use VTO in 2 Player


Actually, everyone uses VTO in 2p and no one uses VTO in 2p at the same time!
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Colin Marsh
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SirTacoWatson wrote:
My game group will be playing Gaia Project for the first time this evening. We are all somewhat experienced with Terra Mystica plus its expansion, and I've read the GP rulebook and will be teaching the other 3 players.

The Gaia Project rulebook encourages several special changes for your first playthrough:
1. Start with set races as opposed to choosing in clockwise order.
2. Start with a suggested specific initial structure placement.
3. Turn order is clockwise from first player as opposed to variable.

I'm considering following changes 1 and 2, but still using the variable turn order since we've done that ever since the release of the TM expansion. This way we can just learn about the abilities of the 4 suggested races and start with what I assume to be a decent initial Mine placement for all. For 4 players not familiar with the details of every race and the board layout of Gaia Project, this feels like it will save a pretty good amount of time for our first game.

Another part of me feels like we are shorting ourselves on the full game experience, and we can safely skip the suggested first-game rules without a huge hit to setup and playtime. I mean, you've got to learn about those races some time or another....

For others that came into Gaia Project with a decent amount of experience, which first-game rules did you opt for and what's your opinion?


during the playtest we did exactly what you did - set races, set board but variable turn order since we were very used to that from TM.
 
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Jack Spirio
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Even in TM when I played with new players I always used VTO, even if we didn’t had the expansion.
There was never ever a problem, so I continue to do this here also with newbs
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Kareem Koh
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Fixed board and starting / recommended races seemed like the way to go for us. We used variable turn order and placement as in TM.
 
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Mitch Harding
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For our first game (all of us experienced TM players), we used all of the recommended beginning setup except we used VTO. We didn't pick factions since they were all new to us anyway, and we didn't pick starting locations just to save time and get right into the game. Our first game was mainly about exploring the new game and seeing how it differed from TM.

And for my second game, one of the players from that first game returned, plus two TM veterans who had never played GP before. We did the same thing as before, except that we made sure that the two repeat players got different factions.

Everyone thought it worked very well and nobody was unhappy about using the default setup choices. That said, I'm sure we'd have had little problem selecting our starting mine locations, had anyone wanted to do that. Picking factions would have added a fair amount of time since we'd have had to explain all 14 factions before we chose, rather than just explaining the pre-selected factions.

For us, VTO was a no-brainer, since we always use that in TM, even when playing with new players.
 
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