Game Review: Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars
Stronghold Games, 2016

In Terraforming Mars, you take on the role of a corporation working to make Mars habitable for humans, while competing with other corporations to make the most money (mega credits) doing so. To do this, you must manage your resources (mega credits, steel, titanium, plants, energy and heat.)

You will use your resources to raise the temperature and increase the oxygen on the planet, and to place ocean, greenery, city and special tiles on the board. You will also play project cards, which you must purchase each round. These cards do a variety of things. Some cards will give you continuing benefits, some will give you a temporary boost, and others may hurt your opponents. Some cards have requirements, like being above a certain temperature, that you must meet before the card may be played. You need to keep tabs on what your opponents are doing as well to make sure that you don’t give them something they need.

You may also claim milestones or fund awards. These tracks will give you additional victory points at the end of the game. To claim a milestone, you must be the first to reach and pay for those points. Only the first person to claim the milestone will get the points, and only three of the five available may be claimed. There is a lot of strategy to get to these, and they can be easy to forget, but very important at the end of the game. When you fund an award, you guarantee that points will be counted for that award at the end of the game, but only the first and second place players will receive the points, regardless of who funded the award.

Although there is a lot to manage in this game, it all flows very well and is fairly intuitive. There are many different strategies and all are valid ways to win. The cards are easy to understand and though the game tends to start a little slow, once the momentum gets going it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement.

I have been lucky enough to play every game with the insert from the Broken Token. I HIGHLY recommend getting an insert for this game, especially one with player trays. I would hate to have to keep track of all the different cubes on my player mat without them. With many of the board game inserts, I am ambivalent as to their necessity, but with Terraforming Mars, I believe you will find them a huge asset to game play.

This game has had a lot of hype, and it is all well-deserved. It is a strategic, exciting game, sure to give you many hours of enjoyment, and doesn’t seem to lose its luster with repeated game play.

On to Mars! Recommended.

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June 2017 Minutes

June 7th, 2017 7 pm Iowa City Public Library Room E

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – posted online, reading waived.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – we have more money than last month but lots of big bills coming up in July.
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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Game Review: Dimension

Dimension
Kosmos, 2014

Dimension is a fast-paced puzzle game where each player has three balls each of five different colors. Six rule cards are dealt into the center of the table, then all players must attempt to build a stack of balls on their player board that follows all of the rules on the rule cards.

Rules may be: Certain colors of balls must or must not be touching other colors, you may need to use a specific number of balls of one color, or colors may or may not be stacked above or below others. Players have one minute to complete their stack of spheres. Once time runs out, each player receives a point for each sphere they used, and a bonus token if they met all the rules and used at least one ball of each of the five colors. You lose two points for each rule you didn’t follow correctly.  Bonus tokens are very important becuase you receive negative points at the end of the game if you have less than two bonus tokens. Players play six rounds to determine a winner.

This is a fun, fast-paced, brain burner of a puzzle game. It’s best for quick thinkers. I really like puzzle games and enjoy this, but have some difficulty with keeping similar card types straight when trying to build quickly. The rule cards are symbols and I am most often tripped up by the above/below cards.

 

 

 

 

In the example on the left, blue must not be placed below any other spheres, so all blue spheres must be placed on a top layer. In the example on the right, orange spheres must not be placed above any othere sphere, so is only placed correctly if placed on the bottom layer. The white triangle in the background makes sure that you know which way is “up” on the card. I find it takes me extra precious time remembering which rule I am looking at. Players who play this game a lot will probably overcome this. I see this problem a lot since I am usually playing with people unfamiliar with the game.

Also, it is very difficult to watch the timer and play at the same time. I wish they could have included more of an egg timer, rather than a sand timer. I tend to use my phone’s stopwatch feature instead of the included timer. So quick play makes this game exciting, but very similar looking rule cards make it somewhat thinky and frustrating. If you like puzzling fast-paced games, give Dimension. Recommendation: not for everyone.

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2017 Annual Meeting Minutes

Mindbridge Annual Meeting Minutes – Sat May 13, 2017 at Coralville Public Library

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – posted online and on list
  3. Treasurer’s Report – we have money.
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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