FryxGames wishes everyone a Happy New year, with new content for Terraforming Mars! Somebody asked for presents and fireworks?
One of the few attractive features of the Venusian surface is the possibility of finding interesting compounds in the soil. Those compounds can be interesting as additions in Martian soils, allowing for new specialized organisms, and exotic nutrients. This was Aphrodite’s main business until they joined the terraforming process and got a contract for developing Venus. Now they are also looking into making the Venusian soil itself fertile, for use in the new colonies there.
Survival lesson #1
When dealing with zombies, you need to know some basic facts:
A) You definitely need weapons.
B) Unfortunately, weapons have a tendency to run out of ammunition.
C) In those circumstances, you may have only one option.
Yes, apparently. Just like Jacob one day thought : ‘I should make a game about the terraforming of Mars’, he had another revelation: ‘I should make a game about zombies’. Not quite as unique a theme as terraforming, but he managed to get FryxGames to like the game enough for publishing, and now the time has come for…
A cooperative deck building game where your deck is invaded by more and more zombies each time you reshuffle, your tension building while you desperately try to complete the current mission. In most deckbuilders you mainly add cards to your deck to get stronger, but in After the Virus many cards stay in your play area and you have to deal with your deck getting worse as the game progresses.
How it plays? You figure it out (for now):
You may have noticed that our heroes (and zombies) have rather large heads. Our graphic designer for this game, Daniel Fryxelius explains:
When I first got the challenge to make the art for After the virus I was into some kind of comic book style. Kind of like what they used for Zombicide. Blood, slime, decay, but in a comic style so that it will not be too scary if younger kids happen to walk by and watch. I played the early prototype of the game with my daughter when she was only 11 years old, and she was really into this game for a while. I started to draw a few zombies and thought I was making a good job… until I showed her my sketches.
Dad, I don’t like them. They are too scary. I can’t stop thinking about what happened to them and who they were before.
This was a problem. As for myself, I have no problem with killing soulless monsters in games, but if these zombies had too many characteristics they would tell the story of how they died and who they were before. They had to be less realistic, and something that makes you feel like it really doesn’t matter what happens to them. Like they were toys!
I settled for the blob-head style. My brothers were not too easy to convince, and still today I’m not sure if they would rather have a more serious style. But I’m pleased when I see my kids 10- 12 years playing the game and other kids hanging around, knowing that I have taken away the edge of the otherwise very serious and terrifying theme of zombies.
We hope that both young and old will enjoy this game!
And now something for our Terraforming Mars fans:
Last week we showed you how to live in style on Venus. In order to live among the clouds though, you need fancy transportation between the floating structures:
Last week we visited the surface of Venus, a quite unpleasant place. Now we take a look at the more benign conditions in the Venusian atmosphere. Where the surface confronts you with a smouldering 462 degrees centigrade, and a pressure 92 times higher than on Earth, the clouds at an altitude of around 60 km offer a relatively pleasant 25 degrees and a pressure equal to that of Earth!
Still, you need to deal with the strongly acidic atmosphere, and make sure you don’t lose buoyance, or you’ll go to hell. Literally. It takes some science to build there and to make it work properly, but a cloud city is actually not as impossible as one might have thought.
In Venus Next, you can build many different structures for projects in the clouds. Some are for very specific purposes, and some for supporting various other projects. For example, people working there need to live somewhere:
To represent structures floating in the Venusian atmosphere, there is the new ‘floater’ resource. There are quite a few cards using this new resource, which mechanically works very similar to microbe cards. Floating Habs and Stratopolis are great in any floater strategy, since they can both enhance other cards and use their own effect. If you get them together, Stratopolis is a fantastic support for Floating Habs, accumulating Victory Points at an incredible rate.
And by the way, [Maxwell Base] down on the surface can also help your floater cards. They really have expertise on how to handle Venus!
Next week, we will have a special announcement, so stay tuned!
Settling the surface of Venus is a difficult affair; the pressure is crushing and the heat unbelievable. In fact, it’s too difficult. You need to do a bit of terraforming first, unless you want to just make short landfalls in corroder suits. But when conditions improve from impossible to only hellish, the surface has a lot to offer in terms of resources and science. Atalanta Planitia harbors the lowest point on the planet, perfect for research. In the north, the mountains of Ishtar and Maxwell offer milder conditions and an abundance of metals.
Oh, yes, the Venus surface will be an extremely dangerous place for a long time, only accepting the bravest and toughest of residents. But people will come, if not for the challenge, then for the super-sized paycheck.
With one more day of transit before reaching Venus orbit, you can already see the giant strip across the white planet through the viewport. As the hours pass, the strip slowly separates into a broad orbital ring and its shade on the cloud cover. It’s still too far to see the waystation or any of the dozens of arriving and departing ships.
Next morning, the waystation is visible as a small button against the blackness of Venus’ nightside, becoming almost invisible when it moves in across the glaring whiteness of the dayside. The space wheel slowly grows like zooming in on a pebble, with the solar shade as the broad band of the beach, filling the sky.
Ships are visible now like grains of sand against the pebble. Big freight ships that bring in hydrogen from Jupiter, and leave with greenhouse gases bound for Mars.
Smaller still are the shuttles that ferry people and goods between the ships, the station, and the planet. But they are not really small either. You are.
The loudspeaker announces: “Welcome to Venus!”
Great news was delivered at GenCon. Asmodee Digital will make Terraforming Mars an app for mobile and tablets. For now, we stay silent on what specific features it will include, but the app is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2018.
As we wrote last week, Hellas & Elysium has finally been released. With two new game boards, who could ask for more replayability, right? So here we go, producing Venus Next, the second expansion for Terraforming Mars. It is scheduled to be released this year at Essen, and just as we gave some thematic background for cards before the release of the main game, we will present some exclusive content that will appear in Venus Next along with some thematic context. Enjoy!
When the World Government realized that the terraforming of Mars would succeed, they set another lofty goal: the terraforming of our sister planet Venus. Venus is similar in size to Earth, but there the similarities end. Venus has extremely long days, a crushing atmospheric pressure, and a furnace for a surface. It is a huge project indeed, and it is expected to take a millennium to complete, but the WG is determined and ready to devote even more resources to the terraforming process!
Venus Next adds a new global parameter to your game of Terraforming Mars, similar to the oxygen track but signifying the progress on Venus. The terraforming of Venus is complex and has many different aspects, and many of those are totally different from those on Mars. Therefore, 49 new project cards are added to the deck (as well as 5 new corporations!) to represent this completely new arena where corporations can compete and contribute.
Before we go there, let’s take a look at our own back yard, because our Moon is being developed too:
Last week, the first expansion for Terraforming Mars – Hellas & Elysium – finally arrived from the factory. After many delays we can finally offer you an even more varied experience, as the expansion features two new maps you can play with instead of the regular Tharsis map in the main game. Each new map has its own set of ocean placement configurations, placement bonuses, milestones, and awards.
• Elysium takes players almost to the opposite side of Mars’ equator, with vast lowlands for oceans in the north and a dry, mineral-rich south. Place a tile on Olympus Mons, the highest peak in the solar system, to gain three free cards!
• Hellas, the southern wild, includes Mars’ south pole and the enormous seven-hex Hellas crater that just begs to become a giant lake. Building around the pole gives you new placement bonuses in the form of heat and possibly even water.
Terraforming Mars has been nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2017, the most prestigious board game award in the world for strategy games (the more famous Spiel des Jahres is only awarded simpler games). It is the first Swedish game ever to be nominated, and there were only three nominees. The final verdict from the SdJ jury is expected this summer, and we look forward to their decision regardless of the outcome.
In Sweden, we’ve had a Terraforming Mars tournament at LinCon, a large convention for board gamers. We congratulate Valentina, Terraformer of the Year, for her success in the final. A good combination of Jovian tags paved the way for her victory.