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Easter Eggs with Jacob, #6

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

Starry backgrounds

Here’s another cool science fact about Terraforming Mars, and I leave it to Isaac to explain since he was the one who did it:

Thanks Jacob! When I first developed the design for the gameboard… I have to halt here to say that the development of the gameboard is a chapter of its own where I only came in at the end, building on my brothers prototypes… anyway, I put in some random stars for the background. But then I thought, why not have a real background? So I downloaded a space app, Celestia, and travelled to the future Mars, to around 2400, to find a correct and interesting background. So in the main game you can find Mars in the fishes constellation, with the connecting and important star Al Rescha named. I’ll leave any deeper meaning of choosing that star to you… After our first printrun I came across an astronomy book that pointed out that Al Rescha is actually a blue star, so I felt obliged to change that.

I used the same procedure for the Hellas & Elysium map, where I named one star on the map for reference, so it could be possible (if yet very hard) to figure out what stars you are looking at. Those larger stars on the maps are the ones that you can connect to constellations, but even the smaller ones are correctly placed.

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Easter Eggs with Jacob, #4

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


Corporations are sometimes lead by eccentric CEOs, and this is true for CrediCor. This has the effect that CrediCor prioritizes big and spectacular projects!

The CrediCor logo is based on one of the many alchemic symbols for gold, which, suitably, is also similar to the symbol for Mars. It was only slightly altered to have ‘credits in the core’, and even more resembling an asteroid impact – a typical project for CrediCor.

CrediCor’s business activities can be seen in cards like Earth Office and Business Contacts… and they are of course your Allied Bank of choice if you play with PRELUDE (which you do, right?)

The CrediCor logo is based on one of many alchemic symbols for gold, which also resembles an asteroid impact, and also the symbol for Mars. Very suitable!
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Easter Eggs with Jacob, #3

Most of our publisher partners for Terraforming Mars have their logos somewhere in the artwork. Our first 3 partners Stronghold Games, Rebel Games and Schwerkraft Verlag are featured on the cards Corporate Stronghold, Hired Raiders, and Mass Converter. The cards seemed like obvious choices, but seeing their logos may not be as easy, even though Stronghold Games actually has its logo 3 times, and the face of its CEO Stephen Bounocore 3 times as well!

Our first 3 publishing partners. NOTE: Rebel Games has since changed its logo.

After the first year of success, more partners joined Terraforming Mars, and are in later printings featured on cards such as Colonizer Training Camp, Peroxide Power, Media Group, Artificial Photosynthesis, Dust Seals, Import Of Advanced GHG, Energy Saving, Invention Contest, and Medical Lab, just in the base game. Can you find them?

Other partner logos that appear in the game art.
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Easter Eggs with Jacob, #2

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

Tharsis Republic

The logo of Tharsis Republic corresponds to the 4 large volcanoes on Mars and their positions.

When creating factions for Terraforming Mars, I wanted most of them to be corporations, but not all. Tharsis Republic is the first democracy on Mars, centered in the Tharsis region, which covers most of the base game board (which we call the Tharsis map). Many of Mars’s most iconic features lie here: Valles Marineris with Noctis Labyrinthus, the triplet volcanos Arsia, Ascraeus, and Pavonis Mons, and the biggest peak in the whole solar system – Olympus Mons (just beyond the left horizon on the Tharsis board. These four massive volcanos are also the basis for the Tharsis Republic flag, with a simplified but correct configuration on a Martian surface.

Tharsis Republic is of course featured elsewhere in the artwork as well, most prominently on the box cover that we promised to talk about last week. Both astronauts have the Tharsis emblem on their shoulders.

Lets talk a little about the box before going back to Tharsis Republic. The box cover is framed with a real Martian map with the great canyon system Valles Marineris at the top. The frame style was chosen in conjunction with our decision to make this a future-optimistic game, and can even be reflected in the shape of the bar code on the back. On the side of the box is a TM emblem that was once a prototype box front, as seen in our first no-budget teaser video (here).

The panorama is a representation of the terraforming itself, with a barren, unterraformed Mars at the far left, being gradually colonized and terraformed towards the right until it is actually somewhat green and with birds in the sky. In the center of this process are the two human astronauts from Tharsis Republic, overseeing the process and helping it along. Some people think women are underrepresented in the game. What they don’t realize is that Isaac’s wife Lovisa posed for both of the box front astronauts. Women don’t have to have super-accentuated features, especially in a space suit.

Ok, back to Tharsis Republic, which is also featured on the card Power Supply Consortium (they need electricity for their cities, right?). It is also featured on Martian Rails, with its ‘Vote for MFR’ on the side of the train. MFR stands for Mars Free Republic, an early name for Tharsis Republic.

Martian Rails has another corporation on it as well. Can you spot it?

References to Tharsis Republic on other cards.

With this update, we also want to wish you all a Happy Easter holiday! See you next week with more Easter Eggs 🙂

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Easter Eggs with Jacob

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

When Isaac created the logos and artwork for Terraforming Mars, many small details were put in that may not be obvious to most people. There are references, cameos, corporation logos, logos from our printing partners, real landmarks, and more. Now that Easter is upon us, we want to give you a taste of this, so we will present some of them in this article series, starting with everything Ecoline.

We like small actors playing big roles, and Ecoline is one such example. It has a typical sea shell icon as its logo, and with an interesting note that it also symbolizes a flexible fuse in the field of electronics. These meanings combine to say that Ecoline engineers lifeforms to withstand the harsh environment on Mars.

The tag line ‘Evolving Your World’ just seemed appropriate.

Ecoline is one of the more featured corporations in the game art, and can be found on cards such as Grass, Earth Office, Zeppelins, Micro-Mills, and Soil Factory (and Lunar Exports and Venus Soils from the expansions).

The zeppelins carry their message, the grass is sown by them, and they already pop up on electrical fuses today.
Spoiled with soils, Ecoline manages growth both on Mars and on Venus.

The picture from Grass, done by brother Daniel, was once suggested as part of the box cover art, but Isaac made a much more fitting art for the box. We’ll talk more about that next week.

Micro-Mills represents the first terraforming method employed in the Red Mars book series by Kim Stanley Robinson. Soil Factory includes 3 cameos, which are just as difficult to spot as the corporation logos, while Earth Office features 6 corporation logos, 2 of which are not released yet. Zeppelins has the tagline on its side, also fairly difficult to see. These things were done for our own entertainment, but also for anyone taking out the microscope to scrutinize our pictures. Isaac hid things even I didn’t know existed in the artwork… trying to keep some of the fun for himself!

As you can see, there are even more things to see than can actually be seen.

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Cubes are back

Hello all! Just wanted to say that the cube sets are back in stock!
Within a few weeks, we will also get a restock on the Dual Layer Player Boards and the promo pack, which will make the NUTZ Bundle and the Goodie Bag Bundle also available again. Cheers!

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Web Shop Update

For a long time, we’ve been negotiating a decent shipping contract for the US. Well, we’re still negotiating, but we’ve got so many requests from US customers that we felt compelled to offer shipping at the prices we do have. We’ll try this out for a week or two, and if it works well, we will also add more countries.

The shipping cost for a package up to 1kg is 200 SEK (approx $20).
The shipping cost for a package up to 2kg is 300 SEK (approx $30).
We cannot send packages over 2kg at this point.
We also offer untracked shipping for the smallest packages only containing promo cards. For up to 100 grams (enough for both promo packs), shipping is 50 SEK (approx $5). For up to 250 grams (enough for more sets of the promos), shipping is 88 SEK (approx $9).

The weight of each item can be seen under the “Additional Information” tab on the respective product page.

Hopefully, these prices will become better soon and hopefully, we’ll have prices for heavier packages. But for now, we just wanted to say: welcome to our web shop, dear Americans!

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Turmoil Tutorial

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Isaac just finished the official youtube tutorial for Turmoil. This is probably the easiest way to learn the rules of our newest expansion. Enjoy!

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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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Kickstarter and Space Station

Hi everyone!

Things are happening fast right now, so we have 2 great news for you. The first one is that the Kickstarter campaign for our 5th expansion for Terraforming Mars: Turmoil, is soon finished. It has collected over 1,000,000 USD in funds from over 20,000 backers from all over the world! With approximately 40 hours left, this is your last chance to support the campaign and be one of the first to receive the new expansion with the bonus dual layer player boards and the new massive promo pack. Visit the Kickstarter Campaign here:


The second thing is that one of our oldest games, Space Station, will get a face lift and be published as a new edition by Hexy Studio.

We have streamlined the game mechanics, and Hexy Studio will make the new graphics so that the game fits their Star Scrappers universe. We think that this collaboration will be a great benefit for the game, and hope you’ll enjoy it a lot!