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Digital port of Terraforming Mars set to launch on Steam October 17

PC (for now) •

Last year we’d gotten used to Asmodee Digital pumping out so many titles it felt as if a new one arrived each week or so. This year has been a different story. While they’ve had a number of releases (Onitama is fairly fantastic), most of the Asmodee news has focused on the anticipation surrounding two huge board game ports set to release this year: Scythe and Terraforming Mars. Scythe made the leap to Steam last month so all our focus turned to the, hopefully, imminent release of TM. Without a public beta, it’s been tough to discern just when it might be going live, but today we got our answer. We can expect Terraforming Mars to land on Steam for PC on October 17.

Terraforming Mars (see our review of the tabletop version here) is the card-driven euro that pits players as competing corporations trying to make the most lucre as they slam asteroids into the red planet. Actually, money is only one of the many resources in this game and, in the end, it comes down to the most non-Mars-like of all resources: Victory Points.

Players will play cards which will get their engine eventually creating oceans and forests on the barren wastes, raising the O2 in the atmosphere, and also increasing the surface temp so it’s warm enough for a light parka and long johns. You can also build cities, raise livestock, do molecular biology, and more. You can even start importing pets to keep your three-breasted sex workers happy when they’re off-duty. Of course, this being a euro, a lot of this is highly abstracted with animals and prokaryotes portrayed via shiny cubes and “research” being as easy as taking an action. Even slamming that aforementioned asteroid into the polar caps is as anticlimactic as playing a card.

Still, the game is a hoot and one of my kids’ favorites. Unfortunately, due to its success, it’s become a victim of expansion bloat with at least 428 expansions currently on the market and, I’m sure, at least that many still on the drawing board. It’s a shame, because the base game is pretty fantastic as-is (other than the shitty quality of the player boards) and the expansions only serve to complicate a game that didn’t need complication. I know I’m not on the same page as the board game hobby when it comes to expansions (most people love them, I tend to loathe them), so your mileage may vary. Of course, we don’t know if any of the expansions will be in the game when it releases in a couple weeks. My guess is we’ll start with vanilla TM and get new boards and whatnot via IAP down the road.

This is all well and good for those of you with Windows PCs at your beck and call, but what about us Apple folk with our overpriced MacBooks and iPads? Well, we’re not sure. We haven’t “officially” been told that a mobile port is on the way. Then again, we haven’t been told it’s not on the way. In fact, at Gen Con, we were told the Steam version would be out first with the mobile to follow unless they couldn’t make it work. Can they make it work? We’ll have to see but, and I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you this, I did see TM working on a phone while I was at Gen Con, so my thought is that the mobile version isn’t too far away.

No word on the pricing yet, but if you want to add Terraforming Mars to your Steam wishlist and be notified when it arrives, follow the link below.

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Notable Replies

  1. The expansion situation isn’t that bad. Hellas & Elysium is just extra maps, which offer more variety via different awards and milestones. Prelude offers a starting draft of jump-start cards to get your engine going, speeds up the game. Venus Next I’m a bit iffy on, offers a sideboard and extra cards, there is some deck bloat there.

    Two more to come I think?

  2. This is certainly good news, however, for those of us Mac users (I know, I know, save the vitriol), do we have a sense for when this might release, if ever?

  3. Think Asmodee has betas coming up soon for the mobile versions.

  4. Yes, they have mobile beta listed for October

  5. I just read “Terra Mystica” every time I saw TM…let the confusion begin.

  6. Oooh…didn’t even think of that. Sorry, I was just too lazy to keep typing out “Terraforming” each time. I can force my fingers to do so next time we post about it (when it shows up on a platform I own and can review it on).

  7. The cool kids (me) use TFM.

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