January 20, 2021 – Exciting news today, there were new Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition details released on The Board Game BBQ Podcast. Details were spilled on the show weeks ago, but the Australian board game group had to keep details under wraps until this exact moment. Ever since news originally broke that a new Terraforming Mars Card Game was coming, people have anxiously been speculating what it could be about. What we now know sounds great and now it’s just about waiting for the Kickstarter, coming in the middle of February!
“This game is the love child of Terraforming Mars and Race For The Galaxy”
– Nick Little
Director of Game Development at Stronghold Games Sydney Engelstein, and VP of Game Development at Indie Boards & Cards Nick Little were the guests on the show and it was Sydney who talked all about the gameplay details. She and Nick had just gone through dropping details about a new Aeon’s End expansion and then she hesitantly went into details about Terraforming Mars Ares admitting she had never spoken about the details before that time. The Aeon’s End details were a few episodes back, but out of secrecy, they held the TM conversation until now.
Listen to the full episode – Episode 70 – Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition in depth, plus the Top 10 Boardgames of 2019 [TRT 01:48:13]
Some Key Takeaways:
The same kind of game in terms of engine building and goals, at half the play time.
Smaller box, lower price point, much more accessible for new players.
Full card game. Still has central board like original but smaller. Paired down. You are only placing oceans.
End of game still triggers at three global conditions being met (temp, water, oxygen). The way you accomplish conditions is different, you must play projects over phases.
At the beginning of turn, players simultaneously decide the phase for the round of the five possible. You play every phase that was chosen, but you get a bonus in the phase you chose.
Blue, green and red cards exist but they do different things, and still are in the same spirit as the original.
All play is simultaneous. You are working within your own area, but interactivity comes with the race going after the win conditions.
Has all the thought provoking engine building of the original but snappy and quick.
Different things to help streamline decision making, like you don’t discard any cards from your initial hand, but you can for money.
Less stuff you have to track. You are not managing quantities of 6 resources, but they are all still present in some way.
*For all the details, colorful commentary from the hosts and two guests and additional Board Game BBQ goodness, check out the full episode!
What about drafting? I can’t imagine a Terraforming Mars game without the drafting element, so I’m hoping it’s still there.