Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Terra Prime with the publishers

The last 2 nights I played Terra Prime - tonight with Mohan and one of the head honchos at Loose Cannon, and last night with some people who meet at a Microsoft building after hours. We played according to the latest changes... no Red cubes, and more valuable Yellow and Red planets. One of the players from last night posted a review on BoardGameGeek about it.

Last night's 4 player game was the closest I'd ever seen... I won by 2 points with a colonization strategy over a player who did some delivering and then hunted some aliens. I actually began with a Government Contract upgrade, which is only good for a delivery strategy, and then switched a few turns in. Jose only killed a few double aliens, so never cashed in the bog points. It was a really good and really successful game, I thought.

Tonight's game was interesting in that Mohan had a chance to colonize an early Yellow planet, but chose to make it blue. There were no yellow colonies made for quite some time, so noone bought an additional engine, and the Yellow delivery tiles didn't come into play. Also, many of the yellow tiles were devoid of Aliens. For this reason we weren't really slowed down as far as exploration was concerned, and I was able to drop 3 colonies, kill 2 sets of Aliens, and complete 2 delivery tiles. I had upgraded Battlestations (extra gun and shield) and bought 2 guns and 1 shield and went Alien Hunting in the late game after monopolizing the green planets in the early game.

I accidentally used the wrong number of Markers per player - should be 10 for a 3-player game, and as such the game felt like it ended a little prematurely. I don't think it would have changed the outcome though... I beat Mohan by 4 points, but with 2 more markers I would have scored a 9 point colony on my last turn and likely ended the game the following turn. But given enough time, Mohan could have dropped off a decent sized colony. Also, he forgot about the diplomacy rule - and could have scored a juicy colony if he'd remembered and picked up a couple resources to offer to the aliens.

We discussed some changes after the game, and will implement the following in tomorrow's games:

Shields will work differently - no more die rolling for them! Instead, each Shield tile will come with 3 counters - the ability to absorb 3 hits. Each time you are hit by an alien or an asteroid, instead of checking to see if your shields save you, you simply discard 1 of the shield counters off of your ship. If you have no shield counters then you have to start losing other modules as normal.

To go along with this, I am going to add automatic damage from the bigger aliens... 1/2/3 Aliens will get +0/+1/+2 damage modifiers - that's in addition to the number of hits rolled on the dice. This makes aliens a lot more scary, but at the same time you know going in that you are likely to just lose your shields... the purpose is to ensure that when you tussle with a triple alien, you can't come out unscathed, and therefore cannot mindlessly chain-kill triple aliens no matter how well prepared you are.

And finally, as a side note, I'll try adding partial scoring - 1vp per cube on your ship, and 3vp for each colony marker on your ship at the end of the game. For the record, I think this won't affect the outcome of the game in most situations, but it might make the players happier to get rewarded for their partial accomplishments.

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