Essen 2016 – Terraforming Mars

Posted on by Jesta

Cards, Tiles and Cubes.

Shiny, Shiny Cubes…

In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable.

Each player plays one of these corporations which gives a starting amount of cash, a special ability and in some cases an action you need to take on your first turn.

Then you get a hand of 10 cards and you use your newly received cash to buy them for 3 each, as many or as few as you wish. Then you start a turn and each player gets 4 more cards to buy for 3 money.


Then the start player takes 1 or 2 actions and player continues clockwise with everyone taking one or 2 actions. If you don’t want to do anything, or you can’t do anything you pass, when everyone passes the round ends.

The first action you can take is to play a card from your hand. To do this you pay the cost of the card, resolve it and place it in front of you. The cards have ‘tags’ (symbols on the top of the card)and some cards have a requirement for 1 or more of these tags on cards already in your play area.

Some cards, including your Corporation card may have an action on them and you can activate it as an action.


The next action is to play a standard project. These let you do stuff without using a card and you pay the cost to increase your Power income, increase the temperature, place a water tile, place a forest tile or place a city tile on Mars. You can also sell a cards for 1 money each.

On your player board, which I forgot to take a picture of, you track your levels for various resource income and they gather up as the game goes on. You can also gain them from cards you play.

Once you have 8 plants or 8 Heat you can spend these to play a Forest tile or increase the Heat on Mars.


You can claim a milestone by being the first person to achieve one of the 5 goals, you pay 8 money to claim one and only 3 can be claimed per game so be quick!


Finally you can fund a reward. There are 5 categories and only 3 can be claimed. The first player pays 8, the second 14 and the third 20. These show you which 3 of the 5 categories will score at the end of the game.

Then you all gain resources depending on your tracks for both resources and money and you deal out 4 cards to buy and a new round begins.


Once all the Water tiles have been placed and the Oxygen and Temperature levels are full, the game ends.

You score points for Awards and Milestones, tile placement, bonuses on cards you played as well as points picked up for doing things through the game, most points wins.

This is a good game. I played it 2 player at Essen then 5 players 7 days later and got to do different things so that’s always good.

I’m looking forward to a few more games so I can actually concentrate on that ‘Scoring Points’ thing that seems so important 🙂

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