My Thoughts on Terraforming Mars
I have played the game three times now. It is a weird, but great game. The first time I played it, I wanted to play it again immediately. I was left knowing that while I didn’t score well, knowing the game would return a deeper strategic experience. The second time it got to the table, I was eager to play knowing how the game works. However, that game left me slightly perplexed; it seemed to deny me the cards that I knew I wanted which ended up frustrating me. However, I tend to dislike card drafting in games, so I don’t fault the game for that. The third game was down right fun. The game design is elegant and quick despite having so many options for play. I knew my wife would love it. She learned it so much quicker than I did; and no surprise there, she just “gets” games and patterns. I don’t expect to beat her much in the future.
Additional Thoughts on the Components
If you read the forums on BGG, which you should, you will see that the components vs the price tag is an issue for some. I will go on record and say that for a $70 game, in general, the components should be a work of art. However, they are not. The overall design is inconsistent, at best, and downright ugly in some cases. Ooooooh, metallic cubes you say? Look at the corners:
The corners have the metallic “paint” chipped off. The first time I played this game I thought this was due to standard game play. However, when I purchased my copy, it was the first thing I checked. There they were. Chipped. I have later learned it is from the cubes being on a the sprue and when they are knocked off, behold, no paint. Remember, this is a $70 game. 🤔
And yet, sometimes the game looks great.
Some of the photos on the cards are illustrations and some are photos, seemingly stock photos. I wish I kept the link so I could properly source it, but someone on boardgamegeek.com said the game reminded them of their high school science textbook. Sums up the design and might lead to some of its quirky charm.
Here is the deal, the game is great. Price and components aside, the game is just down right fun. It has all the complexities of Through the Ages, but somehow manages to be “easier” and more fun. Perhaps streamlined? Not sure. In the end, the weird art design choices leave this game with a lot of charm. If that was intentional, the designers are brilliant.