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Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars is a strategic board game where players compete to terraform and colonize the planet Mars by managing resources, building infrastructure, and completing objectives while facing various challenges and obstacles.

8.36 / 10
BGG Rating
published year
1 - 5
player count
1 - 4
Recommended player count
120 mins
play time

How Complex is Terraforming Mars?

3.26 / 5

Terraforming Mars has a moderate complexity, with a steep learning curve due to the many rules and card interactions, but becomes intuitive after a few plays.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of Terraforming Mars?

1.5 / 5

Luck plays a minimal role in Terraforming Mars as players have control over their actions and the game's randomness is limited to card draws and initial corporation selection.

How much Player Interaction does Terraforming Mars offer?

2.5 / 5

Terraforming Mars has limited player interaction as players focus on their own objectives and strategies, with only minor opportunities for blocking or competing for resources and milestones.

How much Replayability does Terraforming Mars offer?

4.5 / 5

Terraforming Mars has high replayability due to the vast number of cards and corporation combinations, variable player powers, and randomized board setup, leading to different strategies and outcomes each game.

Why you should play Terraforming Mars

Strategic gameplay

Terraforming Mars is a highly strategic game that requires players to carefully manage their resources and make strategic decisions in order to achieve their goals. The game offers a variety of different strategies and paths to victory, making each playthrough unique and engaging.

Unique theme

The theme of Terraforming Mars is both unique and fascinating. Players take on the role of corporations competing to terraform Mars and make it habitable for human life. The game is filled with interesting scientific concepts and ideas, making it a great choice for science enthusiasts.


With a large variety of cards and different strategies to explore, Terraforming Mars offers a high level of replayability. Each game is different, and players will need to adapt their strategies to the changing conditions on the board.

Engaging mechanics

The mechanics of Terraforming Mars are engaging and fun to play with. Players will need to manage their resources carefully, make strategic decisions, and work together to achieve their goals.

Why you should avoid Terraforming Mars


Terraforming Mars is a complex game that can be overwhelming for new players. The game has a steep learning curve, and it may take several playthroughs to fully understand the rules and mechanics.

Lengthy gameplay

The game can take several hours to play, which may not be ideal for players who prefer shorter games. The length of the game can also make it difficult to find players who are willing to commit to a full playthrough.

Luck-based gameplay

While Terraforming Mars is a strategic game, luck can play a significant role in determining the outcome of the game. The luck of the draw can heavily influence the cards and resources available to players, which may frustrate some players who prefer games with a greater emphasis on skill and strategy.

Lackluster artwork

The artwork in Terraforming Mars is polarizing, with a mismatch of cartoon artwork and stock photos, leading to an overall lack of cohesion in the artwork.

Component quality

The component quality is very poor. The cubes start losing color over time and the player boards are quite thin and flimsy.

Where to play Terraforming Mars online?

Where to find the Rules of Terraforming Mars

Check the rules of Terraforming Mars in a PDF file.

You can also find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the Terraforming Mars files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Beginner Strategies for Terraforming Mars

These strategies are for players who have either not played or played one or two games of Terraforming Mars.

Focus on generating income early on

In the beginning, it's important to generate as much income as possible so that you can afford to buy cards and take actions later on. Try to play cards that give you extra income or increase your production of resources.

Prioritize terraforming

The game is called Terraforming Mars for a reason, so it's important to focus on increasing the temperature, oxygen, and ocean levels on the board. This will not only give you points, but it will also unlock new actions and cards.

Don't neglect your hand

It's easy to get caught up in terraforming and forget about the cards in your hand. Make sure to play cards that will help you achieve your goals, whether it's increasing your income, terraforming the planet, or gaining points.

Keep an eye on your opponents

Pay attention to what your opponents are doing and try to anticipate their moves. If you see someone working on a particular strategy, try to block them or find a way to counter it.

Balance your resources

It's important to have a balance of resources (steel, titanium, plants, etc.) so that you can take advantage of different actions and cards. Don't focus too much on one resource at the expense of others.

Plan ahead

Terraforming Mars is a game that rewards planning and foresight. Try to think several turns ahead and anticipate what you'll need to achieve your goals.

Don't be afraid to take risks

Sometimes, taking a calculated risk can pay off big time in Terraforming Mars. Don't be afraid to try something new or take a chance on a card that could give you a big advantage.

Advanced Strategies for Terraforming Mars

Focus on synergy between cards

As you become more familiar with the game, you'll start to notice how different cards can work together to create powerful combos. Try to focus on cards that have synergy with each other, whether it's by increasing your production of a particular resource or giving you bonuses for playing certain types of cards.

Pay attention to milestones and awards

Milestones and awards can be a great source of points in Terraforming Mars, so it's important to keep them in mind as you play. Try to position yourself to be able to claim a milestone or win an award by the end of the game.

Use standard projects wisely

Standard projects can be a useful tool for terraforming the planet, but they can also be expensive. Try to use them strategically, whether it's to gain a quick boost in terraforming or to block an opponent's move.

Consider the long-term effects of your actions

As you become more experienced with Terraforming Mars, you'll start to see how your actions can have long-term effects on the game. Try to think about how your moves will impact the board several turns down the line.

Keep an eye on the global parameters

The global parameters (temperature, oxygen, and ocean levels) are key to terraforming the planet, so it's important to keep an eye on them and plan your moves accordingly. Try to position yourself to take advantage of changes in the global parameters.

Be flexible

Terraforming Mars is a game that requires flexibility and adaptability. Don't be afraid to change your strategy mid-game if circumstances dictate it.


Tile Placement
Set Collection
Variable Player Powers
Hexagon Grid
Hand Management
Take That
Solo / Solitaire Game
Turn Order: Progressive
Tech Trees / Tech Tracks
Victory Points as a Resource
End Game Bonuses
Variable Set-up
Closed Drafting


Science Fiction
Territory Building
Industry / Manufacturing
Space Exploration