How to Play Terraforming Mars: A Step-by-Step Guide
Have you ever wanted to be a pioneer in space, living on another planet and working to prepare it for successful human habitation? Then Terraforming Mars is for you. The Terraforming Mars rules are straightforward: work to make life on Mars possible by caring for the environment and building cities. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins, but getting there won’t be easy. Here is a step-by-step guide to playing Terraforming Mars.
Understand Terraforming Mars Rules for Global Parameters
To make Mars inhabitable, there are three global parameters that players work to influence. The most significant parameter is oxygen. No one can live on the planet without adequate oxygen, thus making any other development irrelevant. When you successfully increase one of the global parameters, such as oxygen, you increase your terraform rating and your score. The other essential parameters are temperature and oceans. These two parameters work together. A positive mean temperature allows oceans to remain liquid instead of frozen, and a liquid ocean is necessary for several critical environmental features, including the moderation of temperature swings. As you play, keeping these global parameters in mind is essential. Not only do they influence your score, but you won't be able to complete other vital developments without the correct environmental factors.
Choose Your Corporation and Project Cards
If you are new to this game, the Terraforming Mars rules state that you receive a Beginner Corporation card and follow the rules on it to set up your hand. If you've played before, you can choose your corporation. Each player will also get ten project cards to start. Each player chooses any number of project cards from their hand to buy to begin the game.
Set Up the Terraforming Mars Game Board and Tiles
For smoother gameplay, make sure that everything is set up completely before you begin. Each person gets a player board to help keep track of their resources and production. This tracker is essential because you must have adequate resources to meet any requirement on a card you intend to play. For example, keep track of your steel resources to complete actions with a building tag. But take note! Some cards have global parameter requirements that must be met before you can complete an action. That's where the game board comes in. While each player keeps track of their personal resources and production, there is also a game board that keeps track of the global parameters for Mars, which Generation you're playing, and other special categories such as bonuses and awards.
Terraforming Takes Generations
It takes a long time to develop infrastructure, so Terraforming Mars represents the passage of time by having participants play through Generations. Each Generation has four phases. The first phase is Player Order. Once the marker on the game board arrives at the first player again after each player has played through all four phases, the next Generation begins. This phase is skipped in the initial round of play.
The second phase is the Research phase. (Note: This phase is also skipped in the first round of play.) In this phase, each player draws up to four cards during his or her turn. You must buy these cards to play them so that you may buy from zero up to four cards.
The third phase is the Action phase. Each player may take one or two actions during their turn, or they may choose to pass. If you pass, you sit out of play for the remainder of the Generation. Play continues with the other participants until everyone passes their turn. Then the Generation is over. See the official rule book for how to play Terraforming Mars actions during this phase.
The final Generation phase is the Production phase. In this phase, all players play at the same time. The remaining energy is converted to heat, players receive new resources, and used action cards are returned to the draw pile. Now this Generation is complete, and play continues at Phase One but as a new generation.
There are seven possible actions that you can take during the Action phase of each Generation.
1) Play a card from your hand.
This option has many possibilities based on the cards in your hand. Refer to the official rule book to determine how to effectively play your hand. The most important thing to remember is that you must check the card's requirements. To play the card, you must meet the requirements with a few exceptions noted in the rule book. This may include having enough resources as well as certain global parameters.
2) Complete a standard project.
There are six printed projects on the game board that a player may choose during his or her turn.
3) Achieve a milestone.
Milestones have big benefits, but only three of five may be claimed, so get yours when you can!
4) Provide backing for an award.
Only three awards can be funded at any time, and the award winner wins victory points.
5) Do the action on a blue card.
The action on a blue card can only be used once in a Generation.
6) Change plants to greenery.
Increase the oxygen level on Mars, thus also increasing your terraforming points.
7) Make heat into temperature.
Spend heat resources to increase the temperature and your TPs.
In addition to the original board game, the creators also produced the Terraforming Mars Dice Game, which is scheduled to be released in July 2023. Though no official rule book is available, play is said to be very similar to the original game but can be played in a much shorter time frame. Though dice-based, this version of the game will still have cards and some of the other same pieces from the original.
Protect Your Terraforming Mars Game with Card Sleeves
When you play a game often, especially one like Terraforming Mars, that requires long periods of play with the same cards, you want to ensure that your game will last. Card sleeve bundles, whether for the original or the dice version, can protect each and every card in your game from spills, rips, and regular wear and tear. See all that Sleeve Kings has to offer to protect your favorite games.