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Subject: Brief thoughts on the expansions rss

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Ian Toltz
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So ignoring the various promos and the BGG corporation pack, Terraforming Mars has 4 major expansions:

Hellas & Elysium
Venus Next
Prelude
Colonies

I've played with the last three together a fair number of times. I've found I prefer the original game board, so I don't use H&E anymore unless someone specifically requests it.

I love the floaters in Venus Next, but otherwise I could take or leave the expansion. Since Colonies adds floaters as well, I'm probably going to start taking out VN entirely, as even with Prelude and the World Gov't rule the game takes a very long time to play.

Prelude is 100% solid. It's earned its place as a permanent addition to the game. In particular, I like to play with a variant where we deal out starting hands and lay corporations and prelude cards face up, then draft them.

I like Colonies a lot. I could see it settling alongside Prelude as an always-there, but it's not inconceivable that I could tire of it. Need more time with it to cement my opinion in place. I like that it adds some less adversarial interaction to the game (which already has plenty of interaction, but it's all either directly attacking someone or indirectly attacking by competing to get something first). Plus, the theme is fun and a good fit for the game.

So going forward, I'm probably going to be using only Preludes and Colonies, plus possibly H&E if someone requests it. Venus Next will be removed from my copy.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Duly noted.
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Your thoughts are identical to my own Ian.
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Michael Ptak
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It seems like everyone is removing Venus Next, or passing on it, when expanding their game...

I got Prelude for the friend who got me into TFM, and got it myself for Chstimas. Followed up with the new map boards as well and got a play on the south pole map. I think of the two of them Prelude has had the most impact, and I can agree it's a great pack to have regardless of what mode you play.

I had three new players give it a whirl with me using the beginner corp setup with the prelude cards (I wanted the game to go as fast as possible) and everyone had fun with it.I think it works well even without the corporate era cards.

I'm curious about Colonies but I have no experience with what it'll do for the game. I gather Venus Next is problematic because it depends on project cards which are few and far between in the project deck.
 
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Norsehound wrote:
It seems like everyone is removing Venus Next, or passing on it, when expanding their game...

I got Prelude for the friend who got me into TFM, and got it myself for Chstimas. Followed up with the new map boards as well and got a play on the south pole map. I think of the two of them Prelude has had the most impact, and I can agree it's a great pack to have regardless of what mode you play.

I had three new players give it a whirl with me using the beginner corp setup with the prelude cards (I wanted the game to go as fast as possible) and everyone had fun with it.I think it works well even without the corporate era cards.

I'm curious about Colonies but I have no experience with what it'll do for the game. I gather Venus Next is problematic because it depends on project cards which are few and far between in the project deck.


Venus is problematic simply because it adds new strategies and cards which provide compelling routes for generating victory points but do not actually advance the game towards a conclusion. Thus, it just inflates the game length.

I'm going to be very sad to be rid of it, though. Other than the added playing time, there's really nothing wrong with it, and as I mentioned I really like the floaters. They're basically a new resource that's more fungible than other card resources and there are more and more interesting interactions with floaters.

As I mentioned, Colonies adds floaters as well, which I think should scratch that itch. But it's still going to be sad, as removing Venus means losing all those interactions between Colonies floaters and Venus floaters.
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Norsehound wrote:
It seems like everyone is removing Venus Next, or passing on it, when expanding their game...



Honestly I don't know anyone personally who is doing this. And I do know a fair amount of TM players.
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Brett Smith
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Im in the opposite boat passing on Prelude cause I love the long game Terraforming mars and hate the short game. To me we play with all the expansions except Prelude, thats the beauty of this modular system of expansions you can play and buy what you want for your play style.

Around me almost no one who has Terraforming mars likes prelude so its funny to me to see so many people on BGG loving that expansion.
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Michael Ptak
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corkysru wrote:
Norsehound wrote:
It seems like everyone is removing Venus Next, or passing on it, when expanding their game...



Honestly I don't know anyone personally who is doing this. And I do know a fair amount of TM players.


This present thread thread, this other thread and the posts within gave me the impression that TFM players are kind of rejecting Venus Next. I found it when I was researching the expansions and deciding what to buy with christmas / birthday money.

Obviously I don't mean it's a total dud, but in general fans are finding the game plays better without it. So i didn't think I was missing anything by passing on it.
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Ultimately none of the expansions are truly great or something that really improve the game beyond what is in the box.

Prelude is the best one. It (paradoxically) makes the game tighter because it makes the game shorter and hence each individual card has a smaller payoff.

Hellas & Elysium is kind of a fix. The base map has an intentionally beginner-friendly set of milestones that end up playing the same and which greatly favour some strategies over others. Moreover, I believe the original map plays poorly with the big bonuses of Prelude and one of the included milestones is awful anyways. Had the original game included randomized milestones and awards this wouldn't be needed but here it is.

Venus Next is mostly more of the same. Its main value comes in two areas: It opens up strategic paths with non-Greenery scoring and it makes the game lenght more variable when it comes to # of rounds. Note that if Prelude makes the game longer and VN makes it longer, the combination makes it pretty much the basic game.

Colonies felt like yet another addition that didn't add much. It really doesn't make the game better ot the actions more interesting, it just adds another way to transform one resource into another. I do not care much about this expansion and would rather play without it.
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We recently played a whole bunch of times two player only, mixing and matching combinations of expansions including all expansions at least three times.

Melissa and I are both engine builders at heart so our two player games go long (longer than four player games when we have extra people playing!).

We found that Venus Next added to the length of the game, it added some interesting cards and combos, but the added length was not worth our while. It has now been removed from our standard play set. We will add it back in for special occasions, but it is no longer part of the regular out of the box set up.

Prelude and Colonies are in and staying in the out of the box mix. I think we slightly prefer the original map, but are happy to play on Hellas or Elysium as well.
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General_Norris wrote:
Ultimately none of the expansions are truly great or something that really improve the game beyond what is in the box.


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Asmor wrote:
Norsehound wrote:
It seems like everyone is removing Venus Next, or passing on it, when expanding their game...

I got Prelude for the friend who got me into TFM, and got it myself for Chstimas. Followed up with the new map boards as well and got a play on the south pole map. I think of the two of them Prelude has had the most impact, and I can agree it's a great pack to have regardless of what mode you play.

I had three new players give it a whirl with me using the beginner corp setup with the prelude cards (I wanted the game to go as fast as possible) and everyone had fun with it.I think it works well even without the corporate era cards.

I'm curious about Colonies but I have no experience with what it'll do for the game. I gather Venus Next is problematic because it depends on project cards which are few and far between in the project deck.


Venus is problematic simply because it adds new strategies and cards which provide compelling routes for generating victory points but do not actually advance the game towards a conclusion. Thus, it just inflates the game length.

I'm going to be very sad to be rid of it, though. Other than the added playing time, there's really nothing wrong with it, and as I mentioned I really like the floaters. They're basically a new resource that's more fungible than other card resources and there are more and more interesting interactions with floaters.

As I mentioned, Colonies adds floaters as well, which I think should scratch that itch. But it's still going to be sad, as removing Venus means losing all those interactions between Colonies floaters and Venus floaters.


Then I invite all dissatisfied with pure VN to try my Venus Mod - it adds additional things to do on Venus, makes Venus terraforming snow-balling, making hi-req Venus cards viable and players on the verge - push your luck for additional points or taking other risk and finishing quickly

Here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2115729/alternative-venus-b...

First draft only, but gives idea of general shape, improved, less OP version comes this or next week.
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The Venus expansion was worthwhile originally for the new cards, which gave some much-needed variety to the cards in the original game. The later expansions both came with their own hefty card deck, though, so the variety can be reached without Venus Next.

However, by now the groups I play with have gotten used to playing with all the expansions. We usually play with everything, and skip the Solar Phase, for a long, immersive game. It hasn't led to complaints yet.
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Désirée Greverud
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my family has only played base game. I got Preludes, Venus and Colonies for Xmas (the advantage of asking for expansions to games you know the family likes is you are almost certain to get them). The next time we play, I plan on using all of them. Has any one else tried going from base game to all of them at once? how did it go? too much new rules overhead or is it mostly the same?
 
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I think you'll be fine. The only really new concept in the expansions is the colonies from Colonies, and they're fairly simple (although IIRC the rulebook doesn't do a great job of explaining them, so I'd recommend learning it ahead of time so you can teach them).

Preludes is dead simple and feels like it could have been part of the base game. Venus Next doesn't really introduce any new mechanics, it just adds a new track.
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We play with all the expansions, Venus is not always finished, but most of the time everybody get a chance to earn some TR from it, I really like the Venus projects, so I wouldn't remove them.
I'm quite saddened and don't really understand all this désamour for this expansion, but after all everybody plays as they want :)
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Venus Next doesn't add that much time in my experience. Certainly not enough to make me want to take it out. AP and min/max players do. I use them all. Firstly and mainly because I like them and secondly because I'm not pulling the cards out in any case.
Where's the fire anyway? Do you really need to get to that next game a half hour earlier than you otherwise would?
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Duinhir wrote:
We play with all the expansions, Venus is not always finished, but most of the time everybody get a chance to earn some TR from it, I really like the Venus projects, so I wouldn't remove them.
I'm quite saddened and don't really understand all this désamour for this expansion, but after all everybody plays as they want


I play with everything too, more options, more variety, and more rewards for the better drafters!
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smith2332 wrote:
Im in the opposite boat passing on Prelude cause I love the long game Terraforming mars and hate the short game. To me we play with all the expansions except Prelude, thats the beauty of this modular system of expansions you can play and buy what you want for your play style.

Around me almost no one who has Terraforming mars likes prelude so its funny to me to see so many people on BGG loving that expansion.


My group played with Preludes for the first time this past weekend. I had been curious about it due to all of the love on BGG, even though the description made it sound like something I didn't want to add to my game. Why would I want to make the game shorter and simpler?

After 1 play, I still find myself asking that question. Round 1 felt like Christmas, with all players making ridiculous plays using their new toys. And then the game was over in Gen 8 (5 player game). I'm not opposed to playing it again, I guess. It just seems like an expansion for people who don't like Terraforming Mars that much.
 
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countertorque wrote:
After 1 play, I still find myself asking that question. Round 1 felt like Christmas, with all players making ridiculous plays using their new toys. And then the game was over in Gen 8 (5 player game). I'm not opposed to playing it again, I guess. It just seems like an expansion for people who don't like Terraforming Mars that much.


gen8 is, maybe, 1 generation earlier than a regular 5P game would end without Preludes, but the earlier couple of generations are generally much more interesting with Preludes. And it is fun mixing and maxing your prelude cards with your corps (and when you have Colonies, what Colonies are in play). Preludes gives you more fun choices to make, and more player differentiation. Which most folks like a lot.

If you feel like Preludes is making your game go too fast, add Venus Next in the mix, and play without the Solar Phase; games will generally go about the same length as a non Prelude related game. And will have a lot of fun options.

Preludes. It is awesome. Probably the best expansion so far. I play Terraforming Mars all the time. So I'm not someone who doesn't like Terraforming Mars that much.
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smith2332 wrote:
Im in the opposite boat passing on Prelude cause I love the long game Terraforming mars and hate the short game. To me we play with all the expansions except Prelude, thats the beauty of this modular system of expansions you can play and buy what you want for your play style.

Around me almost no one who has Terraforming mars likes prelude so its funny to me to see so many people on BGG loving that expansion.


Same here. Love Venus and Colonies, don't like prelude - too short, too random.
Fortunately, everybody can take what he likes.
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Asmor wrote:
As I mentioned, Colonies adds floaters as well, which I think should scratch that itch. But it's still going to be sad, as removing Venus means losing all those interactions between Colonies floaters and Venus floaters.

I was thinking this is probably the biggest loss when VN is dropped. There are quite a lot of cross-floater combos with Colonies.

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Brutus44 wrote:
smith2332 wrote:
Im in the opposite boat passing on Prelude cause I love the long game Terraforming mars and hate the short game. To me we play with all the expansions except Prelude, thats the beauty of this modular system of expansions you can play and buy what you want for your play style.

Around me almost no one who has Terraforming mars likes prelude so its funny to me to see so many people on BGG loving that expansion.


Same here. Love Venus and Colonies, don't like prelude - too short, too random.
Fortunately, everybody can take what he likes.

We draft prelude. I didn't think I would like prelude... and I didn't at first. But once we thought to draft it...I like it.
 
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countertorque wrote:
smith2332 wrote:
Im in the opposite boat passing on Prelude cause I love the long game Terraforming mars and hate the short game. To me we play with all the expansions except Prelude, thats the beauty of this modular system of expansions you can play and buy what you want for your play style.

Around me almost no one who has Terraforming mars likes prelude so its funny to me to see so many people on BGG loving that expansion.


My group played with Preludes for the first time this past weekend. I had been curious about it due to all of the love on BGG, even though the description made it sound like something I didn't want to add to my game. Why would I want to make the game shorter and simpler?
Eh, it gets you into the meat of the game more quickly. Sometimes, with the base game only, on generation 1 you might only play a single card. Or even just hoard money to play a big card in the second generation. TM is largely an engine builder, and like most of those, it starts off slowly and picks up speed. Preludes fast forwards you a couple of steps and lets you get up and going and doing stuff quicker, which is more fun. And I find it tends to only shorten the game by about a single generation most of the time.

It also makes the initial corporation and card selection more interesting as there's another factor to consider when looking for synergy.

So yeah, you lose a generation, but it makes your first couple of generations less of a build up to doing something and more straight out doing things. I'd rather have 9 generations where I'm doing lots of stuff each generation, than 10 where the first two generations I'm barely doing anything.

countertorque wrote:
After 1 play, I still find myself asking that question. Round 1 felt like Christmas, with all players making ridiculous plays using their new toys. And then the game was over in Gen 8 (5 player game). I'm not opposed to playing it again, I guess. It just seems like an expansion for people who don't like Terraforming Mars that much.
I guess you'd consider me one of the people who "don't like Terraforming Mars that much" then because I love Preludes. But as I have it rated a 10 and I've played it 100+ times, it seems like maybe you're mischaracterizing who likes Preludes.

I get that it just didn't click with you, but to me it seems like an expansion that gets tons of love from most Terraforming Mars fans.
 
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THe main benefit of prelude for me is the ability to choose a more niche specialization strategy from the get go. In the same vein of though, more corporations have become viable to play imo, cause the prelude cards can be the thing that gives them the impetus they need for being playable in a given scenario.
 
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