Jacob Fryxelius, designer of Terraforming Mars, reveals some of the easter eggs hidden in Terraforming Mars in this weekly article series.
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?
With this update, we also want to wish you all a Happy Easter holiday! See you next week with more Easter Eggs 🙂