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thegiantbrain
November 15, 2022
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Recollect Board Game Review

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Play Matt: Harrow County Review

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Digital Eye - Terraforming Mars on Steam Review

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18 Aug 2021 00:00 #325762 by oliverkinne
I know that this game has now entered the annals...

We were on Mars. Our colonization team had arrived. The mission of our corporation was to make this planet habitable and do so in the most economical and efficient way possible. There were many challenges ahead, but we had a great mix of engineers, researchers, technicians, managers and construction workers and everyone was fully committed to our goal. We were fully aware that this project would take us a number of generations and we were ready to begin Terraforming Mars by Stronghold Games.

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18 Aug 2021 10:20 #325763 by Sagrilarus
My draw to this game is almost exclusively the science. I get to be an actor in implementing this really cool stuff, even if it's as simple as crashing comets into the planet for their water. The cards and their art and their abilities are just worth the price of admission all on their own as far as I'm concerned. This is a space-nerdfest of a game.

And frankly, I don't even like all the cards. A lot of them are about biology and I couldn't give a damn about that. I don't take those cards, generally resulting in a big loss in the end game when others score a bundle of points. But that's ok, because I was the guy that got them the water, got them the oxygen they needed to grow. I got to do the cool stuff! How do you lose in a game where you got to be part of a huge scientific accomplishment?

With that out of the way, I shall not dignify your comparison to Scythe sir, which has the hokiest thematic elements in all of boardgaming and doesn't include a single comet crashing into anything. Oh God! It's a tractor coming for us! Walk for your lives!
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18 Aug 2021 13:37 #325790 by RobertB
The Steam version does let you play with other humans online, but it has serious UI/UX issues. Most of the bugs have been fixed, but it still kind of sucks.

As for the game itself, it's one of my favorites.

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18 Aug 2021 16:23 - 18 Aug 2021 16:24 #325805 by jason10mm
Does this have an AI or only human opponents?

So have you only ever played TM digitally or on the table and just the Steam digital version (if there are others on android or apple store)? I'm curious if the playtime is reduced (I gotta think it must be if everyone is paying attention) but maybe you have no basis for comparison.

And to kick off of Sag, if you DO crash a comet into Mars, is there an animation of it? Does the whole planet get kinda hazy as the atmo rises?
Last edit: 18 Aug 2021 16:24 by jason10mm.

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19 Aug 2021 00:27 #325823 by RobertB
I've played TM on Steam and on the table, a lot. For about six months my wife and I would play just about every day. Is the Steam version faster? I think it's a little faster but not notably so.

The Steam version has an AI, which is terrible. Seriously, you have to work at it to lose to the AI. It's a very, very bad player. However, it is an excellent way to play solo, where you have 14(?) turns to win.

You get to set up a free account with purchase, and can play head-to-head. Someone sets up the game and sets all the parameters; number of players, draft/no draft, Prelude or not, and max time for each player. I don't think I've ever played it asynchronous - it's always been h2h in real time.

There's some nastiness around the game's karma system. The first player to quit takes a 5-point karma hit, and it takes five games to get that back. After that, there's no penalty for leaving. More than once I've seen people in bad game situations just walk away and stay connected, hoping someone gets bored and quits first.

There a multiplayer points Elo system, that looks a lot like chess. The #1 player currently has a 2171 rating.

The comet smashing into the planet would be cool, but we don't get that. Most of the animations are kind of mediocre. But then again, the whole UI/UX is mediocre.
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