Front Page

Content

Authors

Game Index

Forums

Site Tools

Submissions

About

You May Also Like...

O
oliverkinne
October 23, 2020

Jaws Review

Board Game Reviews
MB
Michael Barnes
October 22, 2020
T
thegiantbrain
October 21, 2020

Spirit Island Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
AL
Andi Lennon
October 21, 2020
O
oliverkinne
October 16, 2020

Azul Review

Board Game Reviews
MB
Michael Barnes
October 15, 2020
AL
Andi Lennon
October 14, 2020
MT
Matt Thrower
October 11, 2020
O
oliverkinne
October 09, 2020
MB
Michael Barnes
October 08, 2020
SI
san il defanso
October 08, 2020
W
WadeMonnig
October 07, 2020
O
oliverkinne
October 02, 2020

Mini Memory Mischief Review

Board Game Reviews
MB
Michael Barnes
October 01, 2020
MT
Matt Thrower
September 28, 2020

Play Matt: Swatch Review

Board Game Reviews
T
thegiantbrain
September 28, 2020

Riftforce - First Thoughts

Board Game Reviews

An Anomaly on Mars: A Terraforming Mars: Prelude Expansion Review

Hot
W Updated January 16, 2020
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
3189 1
An Anomaly on Mars - Terraforming Mars: Prelude Expansion Review

Game Information

Players
1 - 5
There Will Be Games

By definition an expansion is the action of becoming larger or more extensive. When I think of an expansion for a board game the first thing that springs to mind is that it is going to be bigger, grander, larger...and they usually make the game take much longer.

Prelude is a compression. It addresses one of the most common knocks against Terraforming Mars: that it last just a little too long. The only thing you are going to find in this small box expansion is a stack of cards. And the purpose of the majority of these cards, the prelude deck, is to jump start the game: putting some high octane rocket fuel in your engine before you even start it up.

As part of the set-up portion of the game, you are now deal four prelude cards to each player. Out of these four cards, players will end up keeping two of them and discarding the other two. This is all done while the corporation cards are picked and while you decide which project cards you wish to purchase. Then, two of the prelude cards are played, in turn order, and the remaining two discarded. This is an important distinction, at least to me, because it doesn't require you to commit to which two cards you are keeping until you have all your corporate ducks in a row. There is no specific distinction in case you are using the starting/non-asymmetrical corporations but I would suggest you put on your helpful gamer cap if you are playing with newbies and give them some suggestions of which prelude cards to pick. That's right: Prelude is one of the expansions I would not hesitate to put into the game when teaching it to new players.

The high octane you are going to be putting into your engine via the Prelude Cards hits a wide range of advantages. Some are simple, instant boost like “Gain 21 Megacredits” while others will play out over time with long term benefits like “Place a greenery tile and increase oxygen one step. Reveal cards from the deck until you have revealed two plant tag cards, put those into your hand and discard the rest.” The eclectic mix means that it works equally well for Terraforming Mars veterans and new-ish players. It's hard to go wrong with “Mo' Megacredits” but if you want to point your corporation in a distinct advanced direction, you usually have a couple of choices in your hand.

Teraforming Mars Prelude

Prelude also includes 7 new project cards. Not only do they add a bit of new variety to the project deck, they also add Geek Cred in the form of the SciFi Memorial card that features a Mount Rushmore of the most influential Science Fiction authors. And for all of us silly fun pun fans, you'll also find the Space Hotels card with the flashing neon “Inn Space” sign slapped onto a space station.

Teraforming Mars Prelude

Also included are five new corporation cards. The equivalent of new characters in other games, the asymmetrical powers will provide you with plenty of “Starting out Titanium Rich and cash poor is a horrible strategy but if you combine that with a good selection of space cards or earth cards you can really take advantage of the Point Luna corporation's tendency to... ” conversations. I think I can actually hear my wife's eyes rolling from here.

Teraforming Mars Prelude

“I won't be playing without it” is generally the highest praise given to an expansion. And I certainly will be bestowing this title upon Prelude. It is a anomaly in the world of board game expansions, one that adds strategy and direction while subtracting gameplay length.

 

A review copy of this release was provided by the publisher. Therewillbe.games would like to thank them for their support.


Editor reviews

1 reviews

(Updated: December 08, 2019)
Rating 
 
4.5
Terraforming Mars: Prelude
“I won't be playing without it” is generally the highest praise given to an expansion. And I certainly will be bestowing this title upon Prelude. It is a anomaly in the world of board game expansions, one that adds strategy and direction while subtracting gameplay length.
Wade Monnig  (He/Him)
Staff Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for Gamearefun.com. He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

Articles by Wade

Wade Monnig
Staff Board Game Reviewer

Articles by Wade

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Log in to comment

jeb's Avatar
jeb replied the topic: #305276 19 Dec 2019 10:12
Great expansion, and like Wade mentioned, it's mixed in the default setup. I compared it to Injury/Madness from AH's DUNWICH expansion—it's making the base game so much better you should play with it every time. Basically, the first few generations of TM can just suck. You might have some great cards waiting for conditions, or only have enough $Me to play one a turn or whatever, and you are looking to see how things will gel for the game, and PRELUDE just skips all that. You have a theme, you have some more $Me, and you can start rolling. And because you and the others are rolling, the conditions get met faster. Great job by Fryxelius/Stronghold to see this issue and address it so succinctly.
jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #305279 19 Dec 2019 10:18
Agree. This is an every-time expansion, and of the best sort, as it adds variety and, maybe more important, some initial direction (in the form of corporation/Prelude synergy).
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #305284 19 Dec 2019 11:23
So how much playtime is shaved off? 10-20% A full hour off a normal 3-4 hour playtime? I love TM but it is a long game for me since I dont play it often enough to have a full set of informed players.
RobertB's Avatar
RobertB replied the topic: #305285 19 Dec 2019 11:39

jason10mm wrote: So how much playtime is shaved off? 10-20% A full hour off a normal 3-4 hour playtime? I love TM but it is a long game for me since I dont play it often enough to have a full set of informed players.


ssimeonoff.github.io/stats if you're entirely too much into Terraforming Mars,

Short answer - by those stats it shaves off about a turn/turn and a half across all player counts. That's about 10-20 minutes? The last turns are always the longest.
RobertB's Avatar
RobertB replied the topic: #305286 19 Dec 2019 11:45

jason10mm wrote: So how much playtime is shaved off? 10-20% A full hour off a normal 3-4 hour playtime? I love TM but it is a long game for me since I dont play it often enough to have a full set of informed players.


ssimeonoff.github.io/stats if you're entirely too much into Terraforming Mars,

Short answer - by those stats it shaves off about a generation and a half across all player counts. That's about 10-20 minutes? The last turns are always the longest.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #305287 19 Dec 2019 11:49

jason10mm wrote: So how much playtime is shaved off? 10-20% A full hour off a normal 3-4 hour playtime? I love TM but it is a long game for me since I dont play it often enough to have a full set of informed players.

My experience has been 20% shorter but that has varied depending on if there were new players involved or if they know with the game pretty well.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #305289 19 Dec 2019 13:28
Great review, if I pick up the copy at my local used bookstore I'll def add this.