First of all thank you for all the feedback below my previous post. I very much appreciate all the comments.
One important note - many of you posted solutions how to fix the game. The game is not broken, there is nothing to fix. I wrote the article to show you how the players' behavior changes with the theme. The same mechanism, a different theme, different behavior. There is no problem with the game itself, though. Listen to today's story...
When we play games, we have a clear goal to achieve. Get 25 points. Control most regions. Build 10 Wonders. When we get there, we win the game. It's like a touchdown.
Magic the Gathering is about reducing enemy's Life to 0. No matter how many points we have, no matter how great monsters he has, no matter what he would do to us next round and how badly he would kick our ass. Reduce him to 0 and you've won. Touchdown!
Race for the Galaxy? Build this tableau of 12 cards in front of you and finish the game - even if your opponent has a better Production/Consume combo under way and would win in the long run, you just score a touchdown and win the game.
Kemet? Grab 8 Victory Points - even temporary ones and you will be fine! No matter what happens next, no matter how weak your forces are, if you manage to get 8 points, you'll win no matter what.
Games teach us achieving goals. This is what you have to do. Do it, win. Touchdown.
And to be honest... actually that's what the games used to teach us. Because then Rob Daviau came and shook the box a little.
It turned out that blocking China in Pandemic: Legacy is awesome and will let you win the game, but now the road is blocked and you will have problems with that blockade for the next 6 long months. Legacy style game changes your approach. Suddenly you need to play wisely.
The case with “I am not rolling these fucking dice in space” is a perfect example of a classic approach to games. The player wants to achieve the scenario's goal and is not thinking about the upcoming scenarios or the big picture. He plays the way most games are played. He plays safe, he focuses on the goal and on nothing else, he achieves the goal. Touchdown, win.
In the second scenario he dies of hunger.
That's an interesting lesson, huh?
So he's learned his lesson. He plays again. And this time he does all he can to see the whole picture. The whole campaign.
A small problem with the Oxygenerator? It is a problem that might kill you sooner or later.
A warning of sand storm that might be heading towards the HUB? It is a signal that cannot be ignored.
Suspicious noises from the Command Control computer? They are no longer only stupid distractions. They are a clear signal that there is a problem with the Command Control and you'd better find out what's going on in there. Because sooner or later it might kick you in the guts.
In Legacy games, or let's call them Campaign games, everything matters because you play with a longer perspective in mind.
Playing Legacy games, or any campaign games, or playing First Martians, is actually learning to play board games from scratch. You will learn that your environment is so important. That you cannot devote all your attention to the goal of the game and ignore everything else, ignore things that keep your character alive or protect the cities from infection. You act in a more realistic manner, you act more like in real life. You care about your life and then you try to achieve the goal. Not the other way around.
Achieve the goal? Yes.
At any cost? Nope.
And that's something super interesting that changes entirely the way we play. When you play First Martians, there is no touchdown moment. Because there is always a new story behind the corner. And you'd better prepare yourself for that.