Terra Formars, a game by Nicolas Badoux, published by Japanime Games is crafty and campy. The game based on the Terra Formars anime series where players take on the role of a genetically modified warrior dispatched to Mars to combat and defeat the giant cockroaches that were initially sent to heat up Mars atmosphere to make it suitable for colonization. When the last Cockroach is destroyed, the player with the most victory points will be declared the winner. Choose a hero and support team that, with the dice’s luck, are the initial mechanics to desolate the enemy. Time to build a deck with cards that the effects used per turn then played or a few with permanent abilities. With the support of Equipment and Squad cards, the ever changing hand kept the quest of a forceful mechanic evolving. The addition of dice lend another layer of maneuvering before combat is even initiated.
The dice have potential, if you roll three Serums, you can add the Special Green dice. Some support cards has the effect to re-roll dice or limit the amount of dice rolled. The entirety of the options do not slow the game but give a fuller experience.
Players pick their Hero Card, matching Token and two Support Cards as starting deck. The remaining cards are shuffled to make the Support Card Draw Deck face down. Turn three of the support cards face up next to the draw deck. Shuffle the Cockroach Cards and reveal a few Cockroaches equal the number of players face up. The rest of the Cockroach cards face down for a draw deck. Place the Combat Dice and Special Dice close to the play area. The top of the game box makes a splendid dice tray due to the perfect dimensions.
The starting player (we roll a D20) to pick a Cockroach they will combat and put their Marker on the card. Each player then places their Marker on an empty Cockroach card.
During a turn each player follows in this order:
Roll the six Combat Dice
Spend Stars and Serum
Spend Serum to Roll Special Die
Activate Hero’s Techniques by spending Stars and Serum
Acquire a Support Card by spending Stars and Serums
Attack the Cockroach and inflict injuries shown on the dice to Cockroach
If you defeat the Cockroach you receive the Victory points and hand out the Spoils. Draw a new Cockroach and move your Marker to a new card.
When a Cockroach is injured, place an injury counter on the card. The Injury counter equals or is higher than the Health of the card destroys the card. The final player to Injure the Cockroach takes the Victory points and hands out the spoils. If you are the only player on the card, no one gets the Spoils. Each Cockroach card has a Talent, which activates during the player’s turn if their Marker is on the card.
Play the moves to the next player.
The end game is triggered when the last remaining Cockroach card is face-up for combat. When One of the last Cockroaches is eliminated, the game ends. The player with most Victory points wins.
Bits and Bobs
Four Hero Cards and Markers -each hero has unique Techniques and Talent.
Thirty -one Support Cards that show the Acquisition cost and the effect when played.
Fifteen modified Cockroach cards – they are the threats on Mars that the team has been tasked to eliminate. The Cockroach has health points and a Talent, and once defeated, they can award Victory Points and Spoils.
Six Combat Dice and One Special Die. Symbols for Injury, Star, Serum, Danger, Victory Point, and Support Card.
Tokens: Twelve Stars with a value of one, Forty-Two Injury counters value 1, 3, or 5.
Thirty Victory Points value 1, 3, 5.
The game is swift to learn and can be played in less than 30 minutes. The artwork is an impeccable representation of the anime.
There is a sizable amount of strategy involved to minimize the danger to yourself and a big dose of sabotage to opponents. Compared to the Cowboy Bebop- Space Serenade, this game is highly competitive with a big dose of cutthroat.
There are fifty cards of Support and Equipment that have particular effects. They have vastly different abilities, and the rulebook has a complete list of Talent, Techniques, and Equipment description. It takes a few games to recognize their strengths. We had one player narrating their attributes as we played. We would have preferred to have an information card for each player with the description of these effects to alleviate one player reading the rule and knowing our cards or endless passing of the rulebook. We have discussed in abundance about cockroaches that would generally bring the emotion of yuck; however, the artwork portrays them as trendy baddies worth eliminating.
The amount of Support and Equipment cards do add replayability and necessity to adapt your deck building. The rest is up to the luck of the dice. The diverse options on the dice offer significant advantages or crippling defeat. The winning maneuvers are acquiring the Equipment and Support cards that will balance the dice rolls. There are a few scenarios to ace a win. One mechanic chosen that proved effective was to occupy the same Cockroach as another to either gain the Victory points or the Spoils. Piggybacking off another player proved to be productive. A higher player count was more gratifying than a two player game.
*The top of the game box served as a perfect dice tray!
We take games with us when we travel, and this game fits the bill completely.
Terra Formars is wildly popular at The Nerdz Garage. Happy Hunting!
Year Published – 2016
Designer – Nicolas Badoux
Publishers – Japanime Games
Mechanisms – Dice Rolling – Combat
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