Sunday, December 27, 2009

Terra Prime - Pros and Cons

Got in a second game of Terra Prime with the wife tonight.  How'd it go?  Let's break it down.

Pro#1 - Box open to box close was 60 minutes.  That included setup and tear down.  Very good news compared to our 120 minute first excursion.

Pro#2 - Scores were close.  Nobody got totally blown away by the Aliens.  We equally explored and delivered.  I won by about 10 points.

Pro#3 - The game did feel different this time.  For one, we never had a green colony.  There was only 1 green planet in the hexes chosen, and it was on the red edge of a yellow tile.  Means fulfilling demand tiles was a bitch and had to use rewards to pay for things.

Pro#4 - Made better use of the bribe method of getting rid of aliens.  Less VP (By a lot.  Since you don't get a reward and have to lose resources to do it.), but also a lot less actions.

And then the cons:

Con#1 - We both ended up doing more or less samey things.  Explore some, deliver some.  It didn't feel as diverse as the first time.

Con#2 - The turns were so staccato.  I really don't like having some turns where it's just "move, pickup, move".  Sitting at Terra Prime in the middle of your turn and trying to figure out how many actions you've taken is annoying as shit.  This is code for the turns were not smooth.

Con#3 - My wife in particular got annoyed at being able to plan 3 turns in advance and then taking 5 minutes to play those out due to play time.  She knew she wanted to drop off cubes on the way to TP and go colonize the one dang Green world.  I was going a little slow on my turns and it was basically boring the crap out of her.  I can only imagine that feeling would get worse with more players.  There just wasn't a large number of important decisions per minute of playtime.  The important decisions were at the macro level "grab a cloaking device with some cube space to bribe some aliens and settle distant colonies".  But the decisions that dominated the playtime were the micro ones: "should I give up my last action so I can pick up this cube that will respawn or just go ahead and pick it up on my way back through".

So, in the end, I don't think Terra Prime is for us.  I think our copy shall join the giant math trade going on over here:

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Behave. Your mamma could read this.