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Easter Eggs with Jacob, #5

Jacob Fryxelius, designer of Terraforming Mars, reveals some of the easter eggs hidden in Terraforming Mars in this weekly article series.

Mining Guild

As with Tharsis Republic, the Mining Guild is not a typical corporation, but rather a cooperative of smaller actors in the mining business. This of course makes no difference in the game.

Its logo is a Mars symbol with a drill into Mars, alluding to metal exports from Mars.

In contrast to CrediCor, which has a lot of business on Earth, the Mining Guild logo can be seen in cards such as Rover Construction, Carbonate Processing, Mining Rights, and Power Supply Consortium.


Being an extension of the World Government, the United Nations Mars Initiative will initiate terraforming before other corporations are ready to step in.

Its logo and color scheme is very similar to the UN logo, but with a mesh between an Earth and a Mars symbol, indicating its intent to make Mars earthlike. This symbol is very similar to the terraform rating icon, as well as the Terraforming Committee emblem.

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Sleeves for everyone!

The new sleeve set for Terraforming Mars is now in stock at our webshop. There are 4 types of sleeves, one for each type of card in Terraforming Mars: Project cards, corporation cards, prelude cards, and the new Global Event cards that comes with Turmoil (which is expected to be in stock in late October).

You can buy the sleeve packs separately or as a full set, containing 11 packs to cover all cards even if you own all expansions.

Factory Visit

Last week, Jonathan and Isaac visited LudoFact – the factory in Germany which manufactures most of our TM copies. We managed to get hold of a few newly-assembled copies of Turmoil. While there are many thousand copies left to assemble, this still tells us that end is near, and Turmoil is coming. The factory floor was loaded with Terraforming Mars components, both for the base game and Turmoil.

Jonathan and Isaac in front of over 20 pallets of punchboards for the base game.
Pallets full of Terraforming Mars game boards.
The punchboard for Turmoil
The Kickstarter Promo Pack
Finished copies of Turmoil – Kickstarter Edition

The full TM experience

As soon as we got home to Sweden again, we just had to play a game of Terraforming Mars with EVERYTHING! Venus, Prelude, Colonies, Turmoil, the new Player Boards, the new Promo Pack, and the new sleeves. It was majestic, and we long to bring this experience to all of you.

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Preorder for Essen

Hi friends! We’ve finally published our preorder tool for Essen, where you can make sure you will get what you want at our booth. Please visit the preorder page here.

As all our newsletter subscribers already know, the next special item for Terraforming Mars is special designed sleeves to help you protect your cards while also making them gorgeous. They will be available in our webshop soon, as well as in Essen.

Sleeves for Prelude cards, corporation cards, global events, and project cards.
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Save the Planet!

The Reds is a political party and a social movement worried about the reckless terraforming taking place before their eyes. They are the true environmentalists, and they want to keep the red planet red, if possible. They obviously don’t have much going for them in this game, but once in a while, they convince the Terraforming Committee to put the brakes on at least.

In the game, this is reflected in their ruling bonus, giving a TR to the corporations that has done the least to destroy the planet, and the ruling policy that taxes each terraforming with 3 MC.

These policies are of course very annoying for the corporations, but some have learned to live with them and profit from them. Pristar, short for ‘pristine star,’ also has a vision of keeping Mars largely red. Terraformed, yes, but with large parts in more or less pristine conditions for tourists and future generations to enjoy.

Yes, Pristar is a tourist-oriented corporation, methodically preserving parts of Mars and making money off it. For this, they can expect to be rewarded by the Reds whenever they have any say in the Terraforming Committee. The Reds will probably need a little help in order to make themselves heard in the Committee, but since they help the corporation often seen as weakest, not many will try to counteract them, especially if they’ve gotten some public support as well due to some global event.

Because of their aversion to the terraforming that the corporations are doing on Mars, the Reds are very skeptical of the corporations as a whole. This makes them the unofficial anti-corporation party, gaining support from dissidents as well as environmentalists and idealists. Or rebels, moralists, and backwards people, depending on how you see it.

But how can Pristar win when terraforming is such a big part of the game? You might ask. Terraforming will not mix with their ability, true, but many types of terraforming can be saved up. You don’t need to convert heat into a temperature raise this generation – do it later when you have more terraforming to do anyway. Same goes for plants and terraforming events. You can save up a few generations while you do your thing as Pristar, and then BAM! Convert heat 3 times, play Big asteroid and Towing a Comet, and finish off with a greenery conversion. And a Bribed Committee. Next generation you go back to being very conservative again.

Just make sure the Reds aren’t ruling when you make your move…

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Bioengineering the Future

Hello, Martians!

An important part of terraforming is the use of organisms, capable of reproduction. As long as they survive, they will multiply and affect the environment. In order for them to survive though, and affect the environment in a useful way, cutting edge bioengineering is needed.

The corporations who wish to apply biological means for terraforming are not alone either. The Greens party in the Terraforming Committee has the exact same focus and will do anything to make Mars green as soon as possible. If allowed to dominate the Committee, the Greens may even grant you a GMO Contract, compensating every biological project you launch!

The power struggle in the Terraforming Committee is sure to give the Greens some competition, not the least from the Reds, the true environmentalist party that wants to preserve Mars as the red planet. The Greens can gain strength from public support though, if the tides of time turn in their favor, such as a bioengineering boom where bio technology rapidly develops and new possibilities open up. Even so, there can be backlashes. Experimental lifeforms sponsored by the Greens may seem like a good idea, but may ultimately cause people to develop a disgust towards reckless terraforming.

The corporations are not alone on Mars. There are politicians, populations, and independent factions to take into account as well. And a big red planet that will not always cooperate.

Welcome to the turmoil of the human colonization of the solar system!

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Rank 3!

We are thrilled to announce that Terraforming Mars just increased its worldwide ranking on BGG, and it is now the world’s 3rd best board game! The ranking is based on the average rating among voters (8.4/10) and the sheer number of votes, in this case over 40 000! The 2 games that are ranked higher are Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, both of which are legacy games, a very special kind of game in which the game rules – and often components – change between each play. Terraforming Mars is thus the highest ranked non-legacy game in the world!

How will we celebrate this? By creating more merchandise and expanding our webshop! We have started the production of the next special item for all TM lovers. We’ll have more news about this within a few weeks. Have a great weekend, and as someone on Mars said: “There’s no place like dome”.

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Cubes for everyone!

Time flies, and we’re deep into the process of getting the production of Turmoil started. This includes coordinating the translation of the expansion into more than 15 languages, setting color profiles for the printer, double-checking grammar, iconography etc. Since Turmoil is our first Kickstarted expansion, we also have a lot of new tasks to handle, from sorting out who will send which package to which backer to preparing packaging materials, labels, tape, markers etc. For me, it means I will prepare my home to have 19 fully loaded pallets of games and packing material delivered to my front door in Karlstad, and try to fit them in whatever room possible, even in the bathroom if necessary (no worries, I have 2). From there (my home, not my bathroom), over 4000 packages will be sent to backers in Scandinavia and many other European countries. I am so pumped for this, and really look forward to hearing all your feedback on Turmoil, which has been my favorite expansion since the release of the base game in 2016. Since then, we’ve maintained and enriched the theme of the expansion, but have reworked the mechanics to make a worthy follow-up to Colonies. I recently searched my computer folders for old prototype versions of Turmoil, and came up with a few cards I would like to share. This is the oldest one I found, a global event from long before the release of the base game. These cards were shuffled into to project card deck (the project cards also had this design back then. Good thing Isaac came along to make something better!)

Some time after the release of the base game, we had time to come back to the development of Turmoil, and Jacob had the idea to have one event lead to another event a few generations later. We referred to the events as “sow” events and “reap” events. The essential ideas from the above card were carried over to the new system. In the following example, which made it all the way to the final version, Separatist Movements start gathering support, which leads to War on Earth 3 generations later.

A war on Earth would drastically change the amount of funds available for the terraforming efforts (“Waning funds”), which reduces the Terraform Rating for all players equally. As you can see, in the first version, all players lost 8 TR, without any possibility to protect themselves. Back then, the political system was completely different and players didn’t have “influence”. The theme was there, and it was great. But the mechanics were not interesting enough, and too harsh. The real break-through for Turmoil came after some heated discussions about the expansion in 2018. That’s when the game mechanics started falling into place. The middle card above was the last prototype before the final version. By then, we had added delegates, ruling policies, the chairman, and some cards to interact with those. Suddenly, Turmoil was much more dynamic, allowing for a range of new tactical moves, long-term planning, player interaction, and an ever-present narrative of the growing human civilization on Mars.

Cubes for Terraforming Mars

In other news, we just received a batch of extra cube sets for Terraforming Mars, and we have started to offer them in our webshop. It is the same set that comes in the game, so just over 400 cubes. If your cubes are worn out, or if you want extras, you can order them here.

If you haven’t seen the Terraforming Mugs there already, go check them out as well here.

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Merry Christmas!

Time flies by, and we are deep into the play-testing of the 5th expansion for Terraforming Mars. That was just a tease, we’re not going to say anything more about the Turmoil expansion now. Oh, did I say that out loud? Oh well, now you know. Turmoil will probably be the only addition to Terraforming Mars in 2019, as we have more projects in our pipeline that need some love. 2 of them will be briefly described in our second newsletter, which will be sent out in a week or so, so please subscribe if you haven’t done so yet.

In Essen, we released the third extra character for After the Virus, our zombie card game. It is now available as a printable pdf in the side menu of its After the Virus game page but here it is in all its glory:

Starting with the tunnel in play, Bill can make really good use of persons in the deck. Saving survivors is a thrill, almost too easy. But having all those persons in play means your deck is quickly running out, and will soon be overrun by zombies which you’d rather have outside the tunnel. As stated, this is the third new character for After the Virus, the other two being Angela and Mac (also available from the game page). With a total of 7 characters, you’ll have many hours of joyful zombie-maiming action and desperate escapes as you complete the campaign with each one. Which one do you prefer? Which one is the best? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thank you for this year, we hope you’ll continue to follow us as we enter 2019. But first, let’s take a long and jolly Christmas break to play some games with friends and family 🙂

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

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The Importance of Earth Connections

Terraforming Mars is very much about colonization, futuristic technologies and settings, but we also believe people will bring society into the solar system, and the Colonies expansion gives us another chance to include mundane ideas that nevertheless are bound to follow humanity wherever we go. For example, species that are introduced on Mars will be chosen for their usefulness, resulting in a different ecosystem than those on Earth. Some animals that are quite common here, like horses, will be rare on Mars, even exotic! So why not ship some exotic animals to Mars to show them off for money in a Zoo? Having good connections on Earth will allow you to use taxpayer money to fund this and other projects. Your increased influence might even be enough to appoint the Luna Governor, with the power to get you through all the red tape of shipping animals.



The Zoo is giving animals a new role on Terraforming Mars as cash-cows. This will give the player new ways to consider Earth cards which are usually best to play as early as possible. But now you’d like to get the Zoo out first, but that requires a couple of cities in play…

It also gives you a new interesting option for animal shipment cards such as Large Convoy: do you save them for late game animal points, or do you send them to the Zoo as soon as possible to enhance your engine?

One thing is for sure – corporate monkey business has never been so profitable!


Terraforming Mars app is live!

The PC version of Terraforming Mars is live on Steam now. We are very thrilled to be able to play the game with each other, even though we all live in different Swedish cities. In fact, we’ll start one right away. Cheers!