Skip to content

Martian Renaissance

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

BoardGame-Review

Mars themes had a renaissance this year. No less than three games set on Mars were released at the Essen Game Fair in October 2016. While not everyone cares for the red planet, it cannot be denied that it has spawned many interesting games, particularly with game mechanics.

At Essen, Terraforming Mars was the talk of the town. When I visited their stand to see what all the fuss was about, I was unimpressed by the unappealing art and graphic design, and left the booth without a copy. I bought a copy when only one was left due to the fear of missing out. The fair was full of people carrying a copy of this game.

Terraforming Mars is not a pretty game. Its sense of graphic design oozes ‘amateur’ or ‘1990s’. It feels like a relative or friend was hired to keep costs down. The situation became increasingly giggle worthy after realising that most card images are credited to the ‘Fryxelius’ surname, which appears very often in the credit list.

So how is the game played? A player heads a corporation trying to make the planet’s environment habitable. The game ends when the temperature, the landscape, and oxygen levels have reached levels amenable for life. At this point, the corporation that has built the most respect and cash wins. It becomes the market leader in humanity’s next chapter.

The game centres around project cards. These all require cash, or megacredits, to invest in. There are hundreds of these cards, and many are unique. The crux of the game lies in carefully investing in those projects that best benefit the player’s corporation. Each of these cards does something different on Mars, affecting the planet’s state, or terraform rating. This rating identifies how valuable a contributor your corporation is in making Mars a better place for everyone.

These game mechanics give Terraforming Mars one of the most exquisite and intricate game engines in recent memory. The game is vastly different every time it is played. It all depends on which projects come up during the game. It takes a bit too long to play, but is satisfying till the very end.

Terraforming Mars satisfies the classic idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, so cave in to peer pressure and buy it!

More to Explore

Adrift at Sea: Laws, Morals, and Policies in Malta’s Search and Rescue Region

Since 2016, EU member states have scaled down search and rescue operations that save lives at sea and replaced them with policies intended to reduce the number of migrant arrivals to Europe. These policies of non-assistance and forced returns to Libya render the central Mediterranean one of the world’s deadliest border spaces and force asylum seekers back to a war zone where inhuman and degrading treatment is well-documented. A growing network of civil society organisations continues to challenge these policies in the courts, on the streets, and at sea. This article, the second in a two-part series on migration, is based in part on interviews conducted with Dr Omar Grech, Senior Lecturer in International Law at the University of Malta (UM), Dr Derek Lutterbeck, Deputy Director at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies at UM, and Dr Felicity Attard, expert in International and Maritime Security Law at the Faculty of Laws at UM.

Concentration Camps in Libya

Following the NATO-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya descended into a decade of disunity and violence resulting in incalculable suffering and loss of life. Today, much of the country remains a war zone, and migrants in EU-sponsored Libyan detention facilities continue to suffer well-documented, gross human rights violations. This article, the first in a two-part series on migration, is based in part on interviews conducted with Dr Omar Grech, Senior Lecturer in International Law at the University of Malta (UM); Dr Derek Lutterbeck, Deputy Director at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies at UM; and Dr Felicity Attard, expert in International and Maritime Security Law at the Faculty of Laws at UM. 

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment