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Terraforming Mars: Turmoil» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Terraforming Mars: Turmoil - A True Gamer's Expansion rss

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Caleb Bunch
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Disclaimer: All reviews are subjective. My reviews are subjective. I will do my best to be fair and note any biases I have towards a game. Thank you for reading.
ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: THE COPY OF TURMOIL WHICH I PLAYED WAS A FREE PROTOTYPE PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER. ALL COMPONENTS PICTURED BELOW ARE IN DEVELOPMENT AND ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BEFORE FINAL PUBLICATION.

TURMOIL is the final full expansion for Terraforming Mars. (I expect that there will be other small promos and corporations and such being released over time, but this should be the last time new game mechanisms are introduced.)

This is certainly the heaviest of all the expansions. There are two new side boards which require a good bit of new mindspace.

1. Terraforming Committee Board
The majority of the gamesmanship in the Turmoil expansion takes place on this board. The government of Mars seems to have a six-party system and the players are able to influence these parties. Each player is given six delegates; one of which will be free to place each round, the others cost 5MC to place in a factions delegation. The six parties are: The Mars First Party, The Scientists, The Unity Party, The Kelvinists, The Reds, and The Greens.

Each round a new faction will become the 'Ruling Party.' Without simply pasting the rules here; I will simply say that the most exciting element of the Committee Board is that each faction has a 'Ruling Bonus' and a 'Ruling Policy.' The 'Ruling Bonus' is an immediate bonus that is implemented when the faction takes office. (Example: The 'Scientists' give 1MC for every Science Tag you have when they take power.) The 'Ruling Policy' is an ongoing effect that offers special discounts or bonuses. (Example: 'The Greens' give you 4MC every time you place a greenery tile as long as they are the ruling party.

As you might imagine, it is very important to use your delegates wisely in order to push the party into power whose bonuses are most beneficial to your strategy. It is equally important to avoid letting your opponent gain the bonuses that complement their engine.

There is much more to the Committee Board, but I will simply mention a few of them. First, the bonuses that arise from the different parties can be very valuable and (as will be explained in a moment) the events can make them very lucrative as a way to harvest MC. As a way to offset this boost in production, the game has implemented a new kind of tax, which causes all players to lose 1TR each round. Also, it is important to note that there is a neutral 'dummy' player whose delegates will also be placed during the game. This neutral player has opportunities to influence the parties, and even become the chairman of the Terraforming Committee.

2. Global Event Board
Global Events will arise that effect the entire planet (and therefore the players). These events will be placed out in such a way that you will know what is coming for three full generations before the event takes place. This gives players ample time to prepare for them. Some of these events cause players to lose TR or Steel or other production units. Some of the events will give you bonuses based upon your influence on a particular faction + some other factor. (Influence is calculated based upon your number of delegates, if you are the party leader of the faction, and if you are the chairman.)

The events are wide ranging, but always interesting. This is the first time I have ever really paid much attention to the flavor text in Terraforming Mars. Players should pay close attention to the bonuses or penalties of these events in order to gain significant advantages from them.

So what are my persnoal thoughts? I am glad you asked!

Rulebook:
The rules are the most complex for TM since the first game. I have never been a huge fan of the TM rulebook, but I found that this expansion was pretty well explained and organized in an understandable manner. Perhaps it could be explained more thoroughly with more examples, but I found the rules to be clear enough to read them and play without referencing the book at all.

Components:
I was given a prototype copy of the game, so the components are not final, nor are they as nice as a final copy would be. So it would be unfair for me to cull stars for production. I anticipate that the components will be on par with the rest of TM products.

Artwork:
The artwork is consistent with the other expansions and the base game. At this point, if the artwork was greatly changed, it would be jarring and unappealing.

Theme Integration:
The two thematic additions are the governing parties and the global events. My favorite part of this expansion is the ability to influence the direction of the government. It takes the player to ground level and makes the feeling of terraforming even more real. There will always be arguments about the best way to advance civilization. Perhaps the most opposite parties are the 'Reds' and the 'Greens.' The 'Reds' penalize the player for developing the planet while the 'Greens' incentivize it.

The Global Events are also deeply thematic as they simulate the real struggles and triumphs that might arise after several generations of terraforming efforts on an alien planet. As mentioned before, this is the first time I have been drawn into the flavor text in TM.

Variability/Replayability:
One word: exponential. Turmoil offers an entire new world of decision space as the players jockey for political dominance. The prototype that I received includes 16 project cards, 5 new corporations, and 31 global event cards. The project cards have requirements based upon which party is currently ruling, or how many delegates you have influencing a particular party. All in all, this adds a mass of new options to the already versatile options available in the base game and previous expansions.

Tactics/Strategy:
I love that this expansion seems to remove some of the 'luck-of-the-draw' that can arise from the game. By planning well and influencing which party becomes the ruling authority, players can seek to control the flow of the bonuses in their favor. Putting a party into power at a time when it is a disadvantage to your opponent may be the most satisfying move available in TM to date. In particular, 'The Reds' penalize players for raising their TM while they are in power. They can even make it impossible for a player to advance their TM marker if they don't have the money to pay the 'Reds' development tax. That means that putting 'The Reds' into power when your opponents are about ready to advance the global parameters a brilliant play. This sort of tactical maneuvering offers a plethora of excellent options for players to explore.

Length of Play:
In my experience, Turmoil has added about 15 minutes to the gameplay. While the bonuses given throughout the game inject goods and MC into the game, losing a TR each round counterbalances that nicely. (For reference, I am very OK with games being long, just so long as they do not overstay their welcome. TM has never felt too long to me, and this expansion does not change my mind about that.) However, the game can begin to feel bloated if all of the expansions are included. I personally think that this expansion is most enjoyable when played without 'Venus Next.'

The ‘It’ Factor:
Terraforming Mars evokes a sense of joy because it draws me into the hopeful dream of the generations of men and women dedicating their lives to the colonization of Mars. This expansion pushes the reality of that dream even further by making taking the player into the realm of global politics and events.

Fun Factor:
Terraforming Mars is always fun. I have enjoyed all of the expansions, but this is now my favorite. There are so many new levers to pull and punches to dodge.

Final Scoring: 49.5/50
All in all, this is an incredible addition to an excellent game. I fully expect the final product to be even better than the prototype I experienced. However, if it was exactly what I played I would argue that it should win expansion of the year. This is not an expansion for beginners. It does add a good amount of complexity. Turmoil has scratched an itch I didn't even know I had.









[I utilize an aggregate method of reviewing. To learn more about each category, please read my criteria here - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/86290/review-criteria]

If you want to read my reviews of the base game and each expansion, you can find them below.
Terraforming Mars: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2150760/terraforming-mars-a...
Hellas and Elysium: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/218127/terrafor...
Venus Next: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/231965/terrafor...
Prelude: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/247030/terrafor...
Colonies: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/31249806

*Edited for typo 4/5/19
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Bill Buchanan
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This looks so fun, I can't wait to get it.
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corum irsei
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Thanks for the review!

I have just one question:
lasttruegypsy wrote:
Length of Play:
In my experience, Turmoil has added about 15 minutes to the gameplay.
Is that 15 minutes per player or in total?
If the latter, with how many players have you playtested it?
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Rikard Johansson
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Nice review. Still don't now if I'm excited or not. It feels like it will be a action paralysis nightmare


Btw, since Turn means something else in this game, I would use Generation instead.

Also, "The 'Ruling Bonus' is an ongoing effect" should probably read "Ruling Policy" right?
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J J
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Any thoughts on how the expansion will be for solo play specifically? Thank you!
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Caleb Bunch
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jhaelen wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I have just one question:
lasttruegypsy wrote:
Length of Play:
In my experience, Turmoil has added about 15 minutes to the gameplay.
Is that 15 minutes per player or in total?
If the latter, with how many players have you playtested it?

In total. Although players can use action to effect the Goverment board, the main time consumption from the expansion happens after the production phase. If you look closely at the board pictured above you will see that the additional steps are printed on the board. This means that the additional time is static across all player counts. The only exception would probably be if other players had AP as there are more decisions available now. But that has always been a concern with TM, so I do not play with players who have major AP problems.

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Caleb Bunch
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Jy0831 wrote:
Any thoughts on how the expansion will be for solo play specifically? Thank you!

I have only ever poked around with TM's solo game in order to learn the rules about a year and a half ago. I have not done anything other than read the rules for the solo version of Turmoil, which are almost identical to the base game just with a simple tweak for the bonus of 'The Reds.' I get the sense that it will feel similar to the multiplayer game, just with a little less competition for government control.
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Caleb Bunch
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Hoogard wrote:
Nice review. Still don't now if I'm excited or not. It feels like it will be a action paralysis nightmare


Btw, since Turn means something else in this game, I would use Generation instead.

Also, "The 'Ruling Bonus' is an ongoing effect" should probably read "Ruling Policy" right?

Good catch, corrected.
I found that the AP was pretty heavy for the first couple rounds as players are learning how the game worked. But after a three rounds it was pretty intuitive. But as I mentioned, I played with rather seasoned gamers who understand TM very well, so this was not a big leap for them. This would possibly amplify AP if a player is prone to that.
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Derry Salewski
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Pristar looks kinda terrible...
 
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H-B-G
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scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

There looks to be something wrong with that version of Pristar. The card shows - with 2 TR icons but the text says to lose 4TR. As the usual rule is that the icons supersede the text (unless there's an asterisk which there isn't.) I would have thought that the loss should be 2 TR.

It still doesn't look good though.
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Caleb Bunch
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scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

Just as a thought, you may find that Pristar becomes much more valuable in games where 'The Reds' are consistently in power. That party does not allow players to advance in their TR without losing 3MC each. If one does not have the MC to pay, they cannot advance. This make it much more strategic about which generations to avoid gaining TR. Pristar can use this to their advantage.

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia
2. Terralabs
3. Septem Tribus
4. Pristar
5. Lakefront Resorts

*Edited for a spelling error
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Caleb Bunch
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DaveD wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

There looks to be something wrong with that version of Pristar. The card shows - with 2 TR icons but the text says to lose 4TR. As the usual rule is that the icons supersede the text (unless there's an asterisk which there isn't.) I would have thought that the loss should be 2 TR.

It still doesn't look good though.

I playtested according to the icons, not the text for Pristar. As noted, these are all prototype components and subject to change.
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G K
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lasttruegypsy wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

Just as a thought, you may find that Pristar becomes much more valuable in games where 'The Reds' are consistently in power. That party does not allow players to advance in their TR without losing 3MC each. If one does not have the MC to pay, they cannot advance. This make it much more strategic about which generations to avoid gaining TR. Pristar can use this to their advantage.

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia
2. Terralabs
3. Seplem Tribus
4. Pristar
5. Lakefront Resorts

Am I understanding the maintenance steps on the event board properly - do parties get completely swept out of the TCB (all right) at the end of a generation they ruled in? Pristar's strength depends on the ability to keep the Reds in power.

Do all players get the party bonus, or just members/the leader of the party? And what is the Red bonus - A TR for the player(s) with the lowest TR?

 
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lasttruegypsy wrote:

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia

The effect for Utopia corps is covered. What does that corp do exactly?
 
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lasttruegypsy wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

Just as a thought, you may find that Pristar becomes much more valuable in games where 'The Reds' are consistently in power. That party does not allow players to advance in their TR without losing 3MC each. If one does not have the MC to pay, they cannot advance. This make it much more strategic about which generations to avoid gaining TR. Pristar can use this to their advantage.

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia
2. Terralabs
3. Septem Tribus
4. Pristar
5. Lakefront Resorts

*Edited for a spelling error

Thank you for your review!

Could you post a picture of the 5 corp cards so we can see each of them clearly? I am very curious to see what their entire effects are. thank you.
 
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Caleb Bunch
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gersonk wrote:
lasttruegypsy wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

Just as a thought, you may find that Pristar becomes much more valuable in games where 'The Reds' are consistently in power. That party does not allow players to advance in their TR without losing 3MC each. If one does not have the MC to pay, they cannot advance. This make it much more strategic about which generations to avoid gaining TR. Pristar can use this to their advantage.

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia
2. Terralabs
3. Seplem Tribus
4. Pristar
5. Lakefront Resorts

Am I understanding the maintenance steps on the event board properly - do parties get completely swept out of the TCB (all right) at the end of a generation they ruled in? Pristar's strength depends on the ability to keep the Reds in power.

Do all players get the party bonus, or just members/the leader of the party? And what is the Red bonus - A TR for the player(s) with the lowest TR?

During the Turmoil phase, the dominant party becomes the ruling party. At that point the delegates for that party reset to zero. However, the Pristar corp. may pursue plant, animal, and microbe tags that allow points to accumulate on cards so that the endgame TR would be significantly boosted.

The bonus is applied to all players. Yes, +1 TR for the player with the lowest TR. Ties are friendly. In solo, you gain a TR if you have 20 or less.
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Bill Buchanan
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scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...


Ya, it's incredibly thematic though. I'm trying to wrap my head around it.

One thing I don't like is having to "remember" if you increased your TR this generation or not. Going to have to come up with a reminder token or something for this.
 
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Caleb Bunch
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rarnom wrote:
lasttruegypsy wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Pristar looks kinda terrible...

Just as a thought, you may find that Pristar becomes much more valuable in games where 'The Reds' are consistently in power. That party does not allow players to advance in their TR without losing 3MC each. If one does not have the MC to pay, they cannot advance. This make it much more strategic about which generations to avoid gaining TR. Pristar can use this to their advantage.

I really enjoyed all of the corporations in Turmoil. That being said, here is my ranking for my favorites:
1. Utopia
2. Terralabs
3. Septem Tribus
4. Pristar
5. Lakefront Resorts

*Edited for a spelling error

Thank you for your review!

Could you post a picture of the 5 corp cards so we can see each of them clearly? I am very curious to see what their entire effects are. thank you.

Thanks for asking. I originally posted that way because I know that they may be changed in final production. There are also limitations from BGG about uploading high quality images of individual cards that may possibly be used by nefarious types to make their own. I do not have them with me at work, but I can tell you what each corp. does either late tonight or sometime over the weekend.
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Eric Greaves
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lasttruegypsy wrote:

Thanks for asking. I originally posted that way because I know that they may be changed in final production. There are also limitations from BGG about uploading high quality images of individual cards that may possibly be used by nefarious types to make their own. I do not have them with me at work, but I can tell you what each corp. does either late tonight or sometime over the weekend.

That'd be great. I am really just curious about the effects of each corp, the image is not needed. Thank you and I look forward to reading more detail about each corporation.
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Tyler Spittel
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Great review, I'm really getting hyped. When you played, did you add any other expansions? I'm wondering, with only 16 added cards that interact with the delegation, did you feel like you saw those cards enough to properly try to use them? That was something I felt about colonies, that the trade synergy cards could be too diluted in the total deck to truly plan for them.
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Caleb Bunch
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The 16 cards are definitely diluted throughout the deck. However, they are a very minor part of the expansion. I am not sure if there will be more included with the Kickstarter, but I was very happy to see them pop up throughout the game on occasion. The majority of the new material is based around the boards and the 16 project cards are just a nice addition.

In short, I found that the expansion was plenty robust without more project cards.

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Eric Greaves
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lasttruegypsy wrote:
The 16 cards are definitely diluted throughout the deck. However, they are a very minor part of the expansion. I am not sure if there will be more included with the Kickstarter, but I was very happy to see them pop up throughout the game on occasion. The majority of the new material is based around the boards and the 16 project cards are just a nice addition.

In short, I found that the expansion was plenty robust without more project cards.


Is there any chance you off hand remember the ACTION effect of the Utopia corp? That is the one I am most curious about...
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Caleb Bunch
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rarnom wrote:
lasttruegypsy wrote:
The 16 cards are definitely diluted throughout the deck. However, they are a very minor part of the expansion. I am not sure if there will be more included with the Kickstarter, but I was very happy to see them pop up throughout the game on occasion. The majority of the new material is based around the boards and the 16 project cards are just a nice addition.

In short, I found that the expansion was plenty robust without more project cards.


Is there any chance you off hand remember the ACTION effect of the Utopia corp? That is the one I am most curious about...

As an action a player may decrease any production to receive 4 resources of that kind.
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lasttruegypsy wrote:
rarnom wrote:
[

Is there any chance you off hand remember the ACTION effect of the Utopia corp? That is the one I am most curious about...

As an action a player may decrease any production to receive 4 resources of that kind.

Huh, that's fun.
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Steve Clark
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I thought you'd look here...the answer is slightly cryptic
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I believe that one was in the corp contest too. (lose prod. to gain resources)

I think we have a winner for the worst solo corp ever though...is Pristar even playable? (all that lost income and you'll get nothing out of it's ability whatsoever, except for recovering the 2 lost points from TR)

lasttruegypsy wrote:
I have not done anything other than read the rules for the solo version of Turmoil, which are almost identical to the base game just with a simple tweak for the bonus of 'The Reds.'

Do you still lose 1 TR every turn? (as that would surely make it impossible to win, let alone score more than 70. I guess a "full enchilada" solo with all the expansions is mere folly to attempt...)
 
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