Out of this World: A Review of Terraforming Mars Board Game

With a focus on strategy and creativity, the Terraforming Mars board game gives players a glimpse into what the world might be like if we colonized Mars. The game combines the elements of a standard strategy game with those of a tile game. This creates a game that allows players to be immersed in the red planet. The goal? To work as independent companies together to successfully colonize Mars and terraform the planet to be more like Earth. Players complete other tasks and projects that help move the game and the independent companies forward too. Because this is a cooperative game, it’s best played with 3 players. But, it can accommodate up 1-5 players. In this review, we’ll learn a bit more about the Terraforming Mars board game. We’ll explore its best and worst features and some of the reasons why Terraforming Mars should be on your board game list.

Game Components

The game includes several key components. This includes a main game board, hexagon tiles, plastic cubes, and cards. The game also includes player mats which can be used to keep track of your terraforming progress and score keeping. Though the game may look complicated at first glance when unboxing the components, the gameplay quickly comes together. With the goal of helping terraform Mars, players will be able to use key elements to change the temperature, environment, and presence of water on the red planet. This will ensure that the planet can be eventually used for permanent settlement.  

Terraforming Mars Board Game

Photo Copyright Mikko Saari / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

How to Play Terraforming Mars

Since the Terraforming Mars board game is about terraforming the planet, its focus is on resource management and strategy. Each of the players controls a specific corporate entity involved in transforming Mars. Before the game can begin, players will need to make sure that the following are set-up and put in place:

  • Three main game timers: This helps the players stay on track and ensures that the gameplay takes no more than 120 minutes.
  • Sources of terraforming: This helps players know what resources to use when terraforming Mars.
  • Tracking markers: These are placed on both the Temperature Track and Oxygen Track so that the players can see their progress in achieving the perfect levels of temperature and oxygen on Mars.
  • Water tiles: There are 9 water tiles placed in a stack that are eventually placed on the game board.

Once all of the tracks have reached their end and every water tile has been placed on the game board, the game is finished. But, how do you successfully do this in the Terraforming Mars board game? Players achieve success by completing a series of projects throughout the game. Using the Project Cards, players can take on projects that impact the environment, like raising the temperature. It’s important to note that certain cards require resources, like money, to complete.

Players can also work cooperatively together by creating milestones and awards. This does require some strategy and can involve some competition. To complete the actual gameplay, players take turns taking actions or passing onto another player. Once a turn has been completed, a player gets new project cards and resources. Players use their project cards wisely to complete the terraforming of Mars in the most efficient and best possible way. Once this is done, the gameplay is complete.

The Best and Worst Features

The Terraforming Mars board game is a fun game to play. It allows for a lot of replayability and creative thinking. It’s excellent for a small group of players and works well for those who like a bit of strategy. The various projects and tiles make for a game that will appeal to those who love classic games like Settlers of Catan. But, Terraforming Mars is not without its flaws. For those who appreciate well designed games, you’ll find that this game has some inconsistency in the artwork and game pieces. Some components, like the project cards are beautifully designed and intricate. But, the player game boards feel like they should go with another game. Additionally, the rules and general gameplay of Terraforming Mars may be confusing at first. This makes it a game best played by adults and not children.

Bottom Line

TheTerraforming Mars board game combines all the great elements of a strategy, cooperative, and tile-based game. With all of these elements, players will find themselves immersed in a game with an excellent theme, unique gameplay, and versatility for repeat gameplay. We recommend the Terraforming Mars board game for those players who are a bit more advanced or prefer games with gameplay that requires a lot of different gaming skills.

Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars
7.8

Fun

8/10

Value

8/10

Quality

8/10

Pros

  • Excellent theme
  • Unique gameplay
  • Replayability

Cons

  • Inconsistency
  • Can be confusing
  • Not ideal for children

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