Terraformers: First Steps on Mars is a demo for the main game. Terraformers is a turn based game where your main goal is to successfully colonize and terraform Mars into a habitable planet.
The game play is card based. Every turn represents one year and during each turn you can build buildings in your bases. Each building is represented by a card and you must draw one card from a selection of three at the end of every turn. If you have more than six cards, one must be discarded before the turn can be ended.
Each building has a different function. Some produce resources such as food, energy, and etc. while others will increase your population or create heat or atmosphere for Mars. The resources are used to build things while population is used to expand your control over the surface of Mars. Expanding to different tiles will let you build mines to automatically collect resources in that area.
You can build as many buildings as you want per turn as long as you have cards and resources available. You also have control over the leader of the expedition. Each leader has different abilities and bonuses available. For example, some will be able to mine resources directly or increase population satisfaction per turn.
The main ability is exploration. You can expend energy to move to a tile to collect resources and scout out areas for potential new bases or for mining. Only one leader ability can be used per turn.
The game feels pretty ok to play. The concept is simple and straight forward. There’s really no stress as nothing is timed and you have all the time in the world to plan out your moves. The demo seems pretty forgiving as well. It was pretty simple to maintain the satisfaction level of my population but it does get more difficult the longer you play. I have a feeling the full release will provide more of a challenge.
Resources were hard to come by but thankfully you can trade resources are abundant in for the ones you are lacking. Combined with the leader’s exploration ability, you’ll be able to make do.
Overall, Terraformers: First Steps on Mars is a pretty solid game about building up a colony on Mars. The demo did feel a bit on the shallow end in terms of mechanical depth but it still managed to provide a fun time.