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Subject: First solo play! rss

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I tried solo play for the first time: it's pretty fun! Took me about 2 hours of play and I made 113 VP.

Got Hellion and (*again* haha) Mining Guild; I went for MG since I draw 0 heat prodcution cards, and 3-4 Building types/tile cards. The first 6 generations I was sweating bullets, the terraforming objectives seemed impossible... I was playing with around 14-19 M€ per generation until gen 7, so my options were pretty limited. But by generation 10 I had a solid enough income so I started delaying the terraforming in order to place the last level (in this game it was the last ocean for 8 M€ (y) ) on generation 14, just before ending the game.

I used I-Sheng Yang's "A Quantified Guide to TM Strategy" and it helped improve my game A LOT, I strongly recommend reading it if you haven't: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1847708/quantified-guide-tm....

Got a couple of questions:
1. How many points should I be aiming to while playing solo?
2. Does the game end *immediately* when you finish terraforming? I delayed the last level to the last round on purpose because I belive it does.

(Yep, I realized too late I misplaced the Industrial Center tile)



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LSU LSU
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Nice write-up. Always glad to see people trying out the solo mode.

In answer to your questions...

1) the game does not end when you finish terraforming. You finish generation 14, produce, and then plant any additional greeneries that you have plants for. (you must meet the win conditions BEFORE placing these last plants though).

2) 113 VP is a very respectable score, especially for a first game. I find that typical winning scores are between upper 90s and 110-115. Over 120 is a good bit harder, and 130-150 requires some really good card draw timing. In my limited experience (25ish solo games) that opportunity is going to come up in less than 1 in 5 games, even once you have a handle on how to take advantage of it.

Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?
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Eric
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I believe the rules state: "You always play 14 generations" so I have always played it 14 generations regardless of the status of my Terraforming parameters. (not meant to be snarky, I always feel like when I post about the rules it sounds snarky to me--not my intent if it does)

I have played solo 25 times and admit that I still basically play to "win" the game and am a little less concerned about my score. When I successfully Terraform Mars I believe I am typically somewhere between 75-100 points.

I don't know if you will find this helpful, but I personally frequently found I would forget whether I had moved the generation marker when playing solo. If you find this to be an issue for you, I recently made some deck divider cards to track generations. You create a deck of your draw cards by dealing out four cards for each generation with the appropriate generation divider between each set of four cards. I have played a few times with them and have really found them helpful. They aren't anything special but here is the file link if interested: Terraforming Mars Solo Generation Deck Dividers
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General Norris
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I consider any score over 100 points to be a great score.I generally try to get over that threshold.

You do not need to delay terraformation, the game ends at the end of the 14th generation either way
 
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Dan P
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LSUtigers wrote:
Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?
24, actually. And it looks like just one plant tag card in the whole tableau. So my guess is by applying Mining Guild's special ability to plant production as well, instead of just steel and titanium?
 
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Marcus S
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Bobb Feta wrote:
LSUtigers wrote:
Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?
24, actually. And it looks like just one plant tag card in the whole tableau. So my guess is by applying Mining Guild's special ability to plant production as well, instead of just steel and titanium?

Yeah, this looks suspicious. The tableau is really small, and getting plant production that high is quite difficult... I am generally suspicious of first solo games above 100 points.
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Bill Collins
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CarcuS wrote:
Bobb Feta wrote:
LSUtigers wrote:
Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?
24, actually. And it looks like just one plant tag card in the whole tableau. So my guess is by applying Mining Guild's special ability to plant production as well, instead of just steel and titanium?

Yeah, this looks suspicious. The tableau is really small, and getting plant production that high is quite difficult... I am generally suspicious of first solo games above 100 points.


There’s a good sized stack of cards under Archebacteria.
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LSU LSU
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CarcuS wrote:
Bobb Feta wrote:
LSUtigers wrote:
Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?
24, actually. And it looks like just one plant tag card in the whole tableau. So my guess is by applying Mining Guild's special ability to plant production as well, instead of just steel and titanium?

Yeah, this looks suspicious. The tableau is really small, and getting plant production that high is quite difficult... I am generally suspicious of first solo games above 100 points.



Maybe. I don't want to accuse anyone of getting rules wrong, and it looked to me like the OP might have stacked cards on top of each other. But maybe there was a simple mistake or two.

I suppose it is possible the OP accidentally confused the Mining Guild's ability and misused it.

And yes, scoring over a 100 in a first solo game would be unusual, but if the player had already played a lot of multiplayer games, it doesn't strike me as impossible. Now I lost my first solo game. But I won the 2nd with a score in the 90s. And my third was around 115.

Also, I would always get the number of generations confused -- IF I didn't start by making a separate pile of 52 cards and ONLY drawing the four cards each research phase from them. Otherwise it's very easy to accidentally play 15-17 generations, and of course, get a much higher score.

Either way, part of the fun of playing solo and reporting sessions is talking about how to play the game, checking rules errors, and conversing. I might try to write up a short session report of my next game to get some feedback.
 
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I piled up most of the cards. I played A LOT of cards, many of them pretty cheap, and had one of the blue discount cards (can't remember which one).


LSUtigers wrote:
Also - wow - I've never seen 21 plant production. How did you do that?

Yep, that was insane haha. The cards I remember using were:
- Archaebacteria +1
- Insects +1 per plant Tag, which I believe I used for 4 or 5 production increase (I confused this with Cloud Seeding).
- Adapted Liquen +1
- Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid event +4 plant production (I saved this event for about 5 gens, got it in the 2nd draw as far as I recall, until I got 3 plant prod. to fully exploit it)
- Kelp Farming +3
- Trees +3
- Algae +2

Not sure about the rest but that's about 20 production, it's not that difficult to get 4 more since there are 25 plant production increase cards for a total 36-50 or more production...

I rushed Steel production with the Mining Guild ability and that helped me buy some important cards on generations 4-6, when I had little to no money since I was buying 1-2 cards per turn, some of them plant cards that were very cheap.

By generation 9-10 I started buying 3-4 cards per turn, since my income skyrocketed once I managed to increase my TR to around 30. It's also important to note that I had two card drawing blue cards (the one that let's you draw and buy or discard, and the one that let's you change a card from your hand every time you play a Science type card). One of the cards I drew with actions was either Kelp Farming or Trees, can't remember which one. The other one I got at gen 12 or 13 I think. I also got at least 3 cards from card drawing events and got another 3 more from the ocean tiles.

overhaul wrote:
I don't know if you will find this helpful, but I personally frequently found I would forget whether I had moved the generation marker when playing solo.

I always try to strictly follow the help cards phase order, so I check it every time I decide not to play anymore cards (or can't)
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Yeah, most of that makes sense. Getting a blue card or two that lets you draw cards, and getting something like earth catapult, that reduces the cost of cards, is often key in solo games. That can work especially well when you boost steel (as you did) or titanium a lot because it helps you get building cards. The last time I played MG I had a ridiculous amount of metals by midgame - 8 or 9 steel and 7 titanium. But I never drew cards that gave me more card draw and after round 10 I never drew buildings/space tags. So I had close to 200 credits worth of metals I couldn't spend.

On the plants, I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding what you did though - but I don't think Cloud Seeding works as described. It's a one time play that requires three oceans out, and it reduces your money production by one and increases your plants by two. So that couldn't have increased your plant production by 6. But it's possible that after the fact you're confusing it with a different card.
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LSUtigers wrote:
On the plants, I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding what you did though - but I don't think Cloud Seeding works as described. It's a one time play that requires three oceans out, and it reduces your money production by one and increases your plants by two. So that couldn't have increased your plant production by 6. But it's possible that after the fact you're confusing it with a different card.

Yep, I was trying to remember what I used and you're right. I believe it was Insects, probably.

I did not discard plant production cards as far as I remember, but I did pass on most VP cards until Gen 7-9, once I realized I could finish the Terraforming process.
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Max Maximus
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How did you manage to get the temperature that high with such small energy and heat?
 
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Actually, I had like 16 heat production but once I hit the temp requirement I exchanged it for M€ production with the 2M€ card that exchanges productions at a rate of 1x1.
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Max Maximus
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Nekrocow wrote:
Actually, I had like 16 heat production but once I hit the temp requirement I exchanged it for M€ production with the 2M€ card that exchanges productions at a rate of 1x1.


Ooooooo, I've never seen that card
 
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Bill Collins
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Kingtreelo wrote:
Nekrocow wrote:
Actually, I had like 16 heat production but once I hit the temp requirement I exchanged it for M€ production with the 2M€ card that exchanges productions at a rate of 1x1.


Ooooooo, I've never seen that card


Neither have I. Or I’m not remembering. What’s it called?
 
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I have a spanish version, let me check the card list thread...

It's this one:

152: Insulation
Cost: 2
------
Decrease your heat production any number of steps and increase your M$ production the same number of steps.
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Morten Kristensen
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Pro tip: Mark the neutral tiles (possibly with a different colour) - then you don't have to put a marker on all the ones that you put down later.
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Simon
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Tip: If you have the Hellas & Elysium expansion and can't decice which board to use:
- from the project cards, pick 3 cards: red, blue and green
- shuffle
- pick 1
(the boards colours are orange+blue+green so it is obvious which card corresponds to which board)
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David Mcgamin

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Viximo wrote:
Tip: If you have the Hellas & Elysium expansion and can't decice which board to use:
- from the project cards, pick 3 cards: red, blue and green
- shuffle
- pick 1
(the boards colours are orange+blue+green so it is obvious which card corresponds to which board)


I like this idea!
 
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Morten Kristensen
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Nekrocow wrote:

- Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid event +4 plant production (I saved this event for about 5 gens, got it in the 2nd draw as far as I recall, until I got 3 plant prod. to fully exploit it)


Just to be clear, that requires 3 plant tags, not 3 production. Might be a "typo", but for future readers that might actually make that mistake, I thought I would point it out.
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Max Maximus
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bombmk wrote:
Nekrocow wrote:

- Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid event +4 plant production (I saved this event for about 5 gens, got it in the 2nd draw as far as I recall, until I got 3 plant prod. to fully exploit it)


Just to be clear, that requires 3 plant tags, not 3 production. Might be a "typo", but for future readers that might actually make that mistake, I thought I would point it out.


Which may explain a lot, 3 plant tags is a huge difference to 3 plant production
 
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bombmk wrote:
Nekrocow wrote:

- Nitrogen-Rich Asteroid event +4 plant production (I saved this event for about 5 gens, got it in the 2nd draw as far as I recall, until I got 3 plant prod. to fully exploit it)


Just to be clear, that requires 3 plant tags, not 3 production. Might be a "typo", but for future readers that might actually make that mistake, I thought I would point it out.


Yep, it confused me during the game also. I hold it for some turns then realized I was reading it wrong.
 
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