Last week I played the most gruelling match of Terraforming Mars I’ve ever had. It took seven hours, used thousands of cards and had a massive board that covered the whole table. It was the GIGA variant, a fan-made expansion combining a deluge of unofficial content. This is the kind of experience made for fanatics like myself. How did it go?
Dune has always had a shaky ruleset. Its split into several variants has been a source of controversy for forty years, leaving the community divided on the best way to play. The new edition, while great, hasn’t changed that fact. Which ones are best, advanced or basic? To me, neither. I would like to share the rules I use and why I recommend them.
Not all cards in Terraforming Mars are good. While most are welcome in the right circumstances, the opportunity to play some of them is too small. Be it out of inefficiency, poor design or lack of synergies there are at least six cards I’ll avoid in all but the extreme minority of games.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is widely praised, but not without controversy. The scoring, which costs five points to the player for each clue taken, is often declared to be at odds with the narrative. In fact, many players and even critics recommend ignoring it completely.
I disagree. I believe the scoring is not only an integral part of the game, but an important driver of its aesthetics.
If you’ve played cooperative games, you might have heard of the “alpha player”. The guy who tells everyone what to do – to the point of not letting others play – is a common source of contention. Critics, players and designers alike often debate about its implications and what steps can be taken to curtail it.
However, I believe the alpha player is but a symptom of deeper issues.