Terraforming Mars is one of the highest rated games on Board Game Geek. It’s a bit of a feat of competitive gameplay with out really playing against your opponents.

What is it?

What we have here is a 1-4 player game that races players to collect points before Mars has finished terraforming through its various eco developments. The winner is declared as the person with the highest score which is determined through various bonuses and immediate effects.

What do you get?

Terraforming Mars is not that special in regards to components. There are a sack of cards, player boards and the main board as well as the resources which are all decent quality. The game is not outstanding for quality but it also doesn’t feel cheap. The artwork is so so but pretty explanatory.

How does it work?

Taking turns, players pick cards, discard ones that don’t wish to keep and try manage their resources as well as spend to buy upgrades to their plantation. Colour coding on the cards grants different effects and several high powered cards come at great cost.

Is it any good?

Its borderline a solo experience and the other players are just there to irritate the board a little or take some resources that you were just about to grab for. The card mechanic is really clever and borderline perfect. It had to be to get the grade it did for what it is. There is a real feeling that the developers understood exactly what they were making and the requirements of every card feels very balanced. Almost scientific….


Personally, I like a game with a bit more war to it. If not war in-game, then war should present itself with each player really trying to put down the next player. I get it though, it’s not that sort of game and in a strange sense the narrative is each player is working towards a big goal, by themselves and relatively unhindered. In that regard, there is a certain player base that loves this type of game as the market is obviously flooded with player versus player games. The rise of high scores games has in fact really made a big comeback and solo gaming has taken off in a big way too.

Terraforming Mars may not by our favourite game, but it has a place for those looking to beat their previous efforts.

Steam (2009)
The Voyages of Marco Polo