Welcome to the ultimate showdown between two of the most popular and critically acclaimed board games of our time: Terraforming Mars and Scythe. In one corner, we have Terraforming Mars, the epic space adventure where players compete to turn the red planet into a habitable world. And in the other corner, we have Scythe, the alternate history game of mechs and militaristic expansion set in an alternate version of 1920s Eastern Europe.
Being a strategic game-like sequence, both games are renowned for their strategic depth, stunning artwork, and immersive gameplay, and provide the benefits of a board game. But which one reigns supreme? Buckle up and get ready for a journey through the cosmos and across the battlefield as we explore the key features of Terraforming Mars and Scythe and determine which game comes out on top.
A brief explanation of terraforming Mars and Scythe
Amongst the many board games that physics lovers absolutely love, Terraforming Mars is a strategy board game where players take on the roles of corporations competing to terraform and colonize Mars. The game is set in the 2400s, where players must use their resources and technologies to increase the planet’s temperature, oxygen levels, and ocean coverage, while also building cities, greenery, and other infrastructure. Each corporation has unique abilities and objectives, and players must balance their actions carefully to gain points and achieve victory.
Scythe, on the other hand, is a strategy board game set in an alternate version of 1920s Eastern Europe. In this game, players control factions that are seeking to expand their territory, build mechs, and gain resources and power. The game features a combination of resource management, area control, and combat, with players vying for control of the land while also completing objectives and upgrading their faction’s abilities. The game’s artwork and design are heavily influenced by steampunk and dieselpunk aesthetics, and players must use their wits and tactical skills to outmaneuver their opponents and achieve victory.
Mechanics and Gameplay
1. Brief description of Terraforming Mars’ mechanics and gameplay
In Terraforming Mars, players take turns playing cards and performing actions that allow them to increase the planet’s temperature, oxygen levels, and ocean coverage. Players can also build cities, greenery, and other infrastructure to gain points and achieve objectives.
The game is played over several rounds, and each round consists of several phases, including a drafting phase where players select cards from a common pool, an action phase where players take turns performing actions, and a production phase where players receive resources based on their current infrastructure.
Players must carefully balance their actions to maximize their resources and gain the most points. The game rewards players who plan ahead and think strategically, as they must carefully manage their hand of cards and resources to achieve their objectives and outcompete their opponents.
Terraforming Mars also features a solo-play mode, as well as several expansions that add new cards, mechanics, and objectives to the game.
2. Brief description of Scythe’s mechanics and gameplay
Scythe is a strategy board game that combines resource management, area control, and combat mechanics. Players take on the roles of different factions and compete for control of the game board by managing resources such as food, oil, and metal. These resources can be used to build mechs, recruit soldiers, and construct buildings, all of which can help players expand their territories and gain control of the board.
In addition to managing resources, players must also engage in strategic combat with their opponents. Combat in Scythe is deterministic, meaning that the outcome of battles is based solely on the strength of the attacking and defending forces. However, players can gain advantages through their mechs and special abilities, making tactical positioning and timing crucial to success.
The game is won by earning the most victory points, which can be obtained by completing objectives, controlling territories, and constructing buildings. Scythe offers a deep and engaging gameplay experience, with multiple paths to victory and a variety of different strategies that players can pursue. With its unique alternate-history setting and beautifully designed components, Scythe is a must-play for strategy board game enthusiasts.
3. Comparison of resource management in both games
In Terraforming Mars, players manage various resources such as money, steel, titanium, plants, energy, and heat. These resources are used to perform actions and play cards that allow players to terraform the planet and achieve their objectives. Players must carefully balance their resources to maximize their actions and gain the most points.
In Scythe, players manage resources such as food, oil, metal, and electricity. These resources are used to produce units, move across the board, upgrade structures, and deploy mechs. Players must carefully manage their resources to gain an advantage over their opponents and achieve victory.
Both games require players to think strategically and plan ahead to manage their resources effectively. However, the resource management in Terraforming Mars is more complex and involves a wider variety of resources, while the resource management in Scythe is more streamlined and focuses on a smaller set of resources.
4. Comparison of worker placement and combat mechanics in both games
Terraforming Mars and Scythe have different approaches to worker placement and combat mechanics.
Similar to workers in arc nova, in Terraforming Mars, there is no worker placement mechanic as such. Instead, players take turns performing actions using cards from their hands, which can include actions such as increased temperature or oxygen levels, building cities or greenery, or drawing additional cards. There is no direct combat mechanic in Terraforming Mars, although players can compete for resources and objectives, and there are cards that allow players to sabotage their opponents.
Scythe, on the other hand, features a worker placement mechanic where players place their workers (represented by tokens) on various action spaces on the board to perform actions such as producing resources, upgrading structures, or deploying mechs. Combat in Scythe is a key element of gameplay, with players vying for control of territory and engaging in battles using a unique combat system where players assign power to their units and reveal them simultaneously to determine the outcome of the battle.
Complexity and Difficulty
1. Comparison of the complexity and difficulty of both games
Terraforming Mars and Scythe are two popular strategy board games that offer different gameplay experiences in terms of complexity and difficulty.
Terraforming Mars is a complex game that can be challenging for new players. The game requires players to manage a variety of resources and build infrastructure to terraform Mars and make it habitable for human life. There are a wide variety of cards that players can play to gain advantages and alter the game state, and players must balance their resources and objectives to achieve victory. The game has a relatively steep learning curve, but once players are familiar with the mechanics, it offers a deep and engaging gameplay experience.
Scythe, on the other hand, is also a complex game, but it is generally considered to be more accessible to new players than Terraforming Mars. The game’s mechanics are relatively straightforward, with players managing resources, building mechs, and engaging in combat to control the game board. While there are a variety of different strategies that players can pursue, the game’s rules and objectives are clear and easy to understand. Scythe offers a high level of replayability and strategic depth, but it is generally considered to be less difficult to learn than Terraforming Mars.
2. Explanation of the learning curve of each game
Terraforming Mars requires players to understand the various resources, cards, and actions available to them, as well as the effects of temperature, oxygen, and ocean levels on the game. There are also various special rules and card interactions that players need to be aware of. The drafting phase, where players select cards from a common pool, can also be overwhelming for new players as they try to understand the various options available to them.
Scythe has a more complex set of rules and mechanics, with players needing to understand the various actions available to them, the different factions and their abilities, the combat system, and the importance of balancing resources and actions. Additionally, the game features a variety of tokens, boards, and cards, which can be overwhelming for new players.
Comparison of the game length and playability
The game length and playability are important factors to consider when comparing strategy board games such as Terraforming Mars and Scythe. Here’s a comparison of these factors for each game:
1. Game Length: Terraforming Mars typically takes around 2-3 hours to play, depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the game’s mechanics. The game includes multiple rounds, and players must manage their resources and objectives throughout the game to achieve victory.
Scythe is generally faster to play, with games typically lasting around 90-120 minutes. The game has a set number of rounds, and players must carefully manage their resources and actions to control the board and earn victory points.
2. Playability: Both games offer a high level of playability, with deep and engaging gameplay mechanics that offer a variety of different strategies and paths to victory.
Terraforming Mars can be challenging to learn, especially for new players, but it offers a rewarding and satisfying gameplay experience once players are familiar with the mechanics. The game’s replayability is also high, with a variety of different cards and objectives that can change the game’s outcomes.
Scythe is generally considered to be more accessible and easier to learn than Terraforming Mars, with straightforward mechanics and clear objectives. However, the game still offers a high level of strategic depth and replayability, with multiple paths to victory and a variety of different factions and abilities to explore.
Thematic Elements and Artwork
1. Comparison of the thematic elements of both games
Terraforming Mars is set in the future where players represent corporations competing to transform Mars into a habitable planet for human colonization. The game emphasizes scientific and technological advancements, as players manage resources and invest in projects to increase temperature, oxygen, and ocean levels.
The game’s cards feature real-life scientific concepts and inventions, such as nuclear power plants and algae farms, which add to the game’s immersive and educational aspect. The game’s artwork features a realistic depiction of Mars and its terrain, as well as futuristic buildings and technology, which contribute to the game’s sci-fi atmosphere.
Scythe, on the other hand, is set in an alternate history where players control factions competing for resources and control of a post-World War I Eastern Europe. The game emphasizes themes of industrialization, militarization, and nationalism, as players deploy mechs and engage in battles to expand their territories. The game’s cards and artwork feature historical and steampunk elements, such as airships and coal-powered machinery, which add to the game’s immersive and unique atmosphere.
2. Comparison of the artwork and visual design of both games
Terraforming Mars and Scythe are two visually striking board games, each with its own unique art style and visual design. Here’s a comparison of the artwork and visual design of both games:
- Terraforming Mars: Terraforming Mars has a futuristic, science-fiction aesthetic, with detailed illustrations of Martian landscapes, spacecraft, and infrastructure. The artwork is detailed and colorful, with a variety of different styles and themes represented throughout the game’s many cards and game components.
While the artwork in Terraforming Mars is generally well-regarded, some players may find the design to be somewhat busy or overwhelming, particularly during the early stages of the game when players are trying to learn the rules and mechanics.
- Scythe: Scythe features a distinctive, steampunk-inspired art style, with beautiful illustrations of mechs, characters, and landscapes. The game’s visual design is cohesive and consistent, with a muted color palette and detailed, hand-drawn illustrations that give the game a unique and immersive atmosphere.
The artwork in Scythe is generally well-regarded, with many players praising the game’s beautiful and evocative illustrations. However, some players may find the game’s visual design to be somewhat dark or somber, particularly when compared to other, more brightly-colored board games.
Player Count and Strategy
1. Comparison of the optimal player count for both games
Terraforming Mars is designed for 1-5 players, but the optimal player count is 3-4 players. With fewer than three players, the game may feel less competitive, and with more than four players, the game can become too crowded and slow-paced. Playing with three to four players allows for a good balance between competition and strategy, as players compete for resources and projects while still having enough space to pursue their own goals.
Scythe is designed for 1-5 players, but the optimal player count is 3-4 players. With fewer than three players, the game may feel less competitive, and with more than four players, the game can become too crowded and take longer to complete. Playing with three to four players allows for a good balance between competition and strategy, as players compete for resources and control of territories while still having enough space to maneuver and plan their actions.
Ultimately, the optimal player count for both games may depend on individual preferences and the level of gameplay experience. Playing with fewer players may allow for more focused gameplay and deeper strategic planning, while playing with more players may offer a more social and interactive experience.
2. Discussion of the different strategies players can employ in each game
Both Terraforming Mars and Scythe offer a variety of different strategies and paths to victory. Here’s a discussion of the different strategies players can employ in each game:
Terraforming Mars: In Terraforming Mars, players must work to transform the Martian landscape by increasing the planet’s temperature, oxygen level, and ocean coverage. There are a variety of different cards and actions available to players, allowing them to focus on different strategies and objectives.
Some of the key strategies in Terraforming Mars include:
- Terraforming: Players can focus on increasing the planet’s temperature, oxygen level, and ocean coverage in order to reach the terraforming milestones and earn victory points.
- Card Synergy: Many of the cards in Terraforming Mars offer powerful synergies with other cards, allowing players to build powerful combinations and strategies.
- Resource Management: Players must carefully manage their resources, including money, energy, and resources, in order to execute their strategies effectively.
- Building and Expanding: Players can focus on building a network of infrastructure and expanding their territory in order to control more of the planet and earn more victory points.
Scythe: In Scythe, players must control different territories and resources in order to earn victory points and achieve their objectives. There are a variety of different factions and abilities available to players, allowing them to pursue different strategies and play styles.
Some of the key strategies in Scythe include:
- Resource Management: Players must carefully manage their resources, including food, oil, and metal, in order to build their armies and control territories effectively.
- Combat: Combat is an important aspect of Scythe, and players can focus on building powerful armies and engaging in battles in order to control more territory and earn victory points.
- Expansion: Players can focus on expanding their territory and controlling more resources in order to dominate the game board and earn more victory points.
- Objective Completion: Each player has a set of unique objectives that they must complete in order to earn victory points. Players can focus on completing these objectives quickly in order to gain an early advantage.
Reception and Legacy
A brief history of the reception and legacy of both games
Terraforming Mars was first released in 2016 by Stronghold Games and quickly gained popularity due to its unique gameplay mechanics and deep strategic elements. The game has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Golden Geek Board Game of the Year award in 2017. Since its release, the game has also spawned several expansions and spin-off games, demonstrating its lasting impact and popularity among board gamers.
Scythe was also released in 2016 by Stonemaier Games and was quickly recognized for its innovative combination of worker placement, area control, and combat mechanics. The game has received several awards, including the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year award in 2016. Since its release, the game has also spawned several expansions and spin-off games and has become a beloved favorite among board gamers worldwide.
At the same time, both these games are great for being who often wonder as to which is better, online games, or board games. Both games have left a lasting legacy in the board gaming industry, and are often cited as must-play games for anyone interested in the hobby. They have inspired numerous similar games and mechanics, and have set a high bar for strategic and immersive gameplay. With their continued popularity and influence, it is clear that Terraforming Mars and Scythe will remain significant games in the board gaming world for years to come.
Comparison of the awards and recognition received by both games
Both Terraforming Mars and Scythe have received numerous awards and recognitions for their gameplay, mechanics, and overall quality. Here’s a comparison of the awards and recognition received by both games:
- Terraforming Mars:
Terraforming Mars has won several prestigious awards, including:
- Golden Geek Award for Best Strategy Game (2016)
- International Gamers Award for General Strategy – Multi-Player (2017)
- Deutscher Spiele Preis (2017)
In addition to these awards, Terraforming Mars has also been highly praised by critics and players alike for its depth of strategy, engaging gameplay, and replayability.
Scythe has also received numerous awards and recognitions, including:
- Golden Geek Award for Board Game of the Year (2016)
- Origins Award for Best Board Game (2017)
- International Gamers Award for General Strategy – Multi-Player (2017)
Like Terraforming Mars, Scythe has been highly praised for its engaging gameplay, deep strategy, and immersive world-building. The game’s distinctive visual design and unique mechanics have also been singled out for praise by critics and players alike.
Overall, both Terraforming Mars and Scythe have received numerous awards and recognitions for their high-quality gameplay and mechanics. While Terraforming Mars has won more awards overall, both games have been highly regarded by players and critics alike, and have a dedicated fanbase of players who appreciate their unique and engaging gameplay.
Terraforming Mars has gained a strong following since its release in 2016, with many players praising its innovative mechanics, deep strategy, and high replayability. The game has received numerous awards, including the 2017 Golden Geek Board Game of the Year award, and has spawned several expansions and spin-off games.
Scythe, released in 2016, has also gained a large following due to its unique combination of worker placement, area control, and combat mechanics, as well as its stunning artwork and immersive alternate history setting. The game has won several awards, including the 2016 Golden Geek Board Game of the Year award, and has also spawned several expansions and spin-off games.
Both games have a strong presence in the board gaming community, with active player communities and regular tournaments and events. Both games are also frequently recommended by board game enthusiasts and reviewers and are often included in lists of the best board games of all time.
Ease of accessibility
Ease of accessibility is an important factor to consider when comparing board games, as it determines how easy it is for players to learn and play the game. Here’s a comparison of the accessibility of Terraforming Mars and Scythe:
Terraforming Mars: Terraforming Mars is a complex game with many rules and mechanics to learn, which can make it challenging for new players to pick up. It may take several games to fully understand how to play and strategize effectively. However, the game does come with a comprehensive rulebook and player aids that can help new players get started.
In addition, Terraforming Mars has a high degree of replayability, with a wide range of different cards and strategies to explore. This means that players can continue to enjoy the game even after they have mastered the basic rules.
Scythe: Scythe is generally considered to be more accessible than Terraforming Mars, with straightforward mechanics and clear objectives. The game does have some complexity, particularly when it comes to combat, but the rules are easy to learn and the game includes helpful player aids to guide players through their turns.
Scythe also offers a range of different factions and abilities, which can add to the replayability of the game. However, some players may find that the game becomes repetitive after multiple plays.
In conclusion, Terraforming Mars and Scythe are two highly popular and engaging board games that offer deep strategic gameplay and unique mechanics. While both games require some level of learning and strategic planning, they differ in their approach to resource management, worker placement, and combat mechanics. Terraforming Mars emphasizes resource management and long-term planning, while Scythe focuses more on area control and tactical maneuvering.
Despite their differences, both games have gained a strong following in the board gaming community and are frequently recommended as must-plays for board game enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the sci-fi setting of Terraforming Mars or the alternate history world of Scythe, both games offer hours of engaging gameplay and rewarding strategic thinking.