PC • When Terraforming Mars first hit the cardboard scene back in 2016, the hype was up there with the likes of Agricola and Dominion. You couldn’t listen to any game podcast, Twitter feed, or YouTube channel and not be overwhelmed with tales of just how good this game was. I held off as long as I could but, when I finally got Terraforming Mars to the table, I had to agree. It was a keeper. Maybe not the best game I’d ever played, but it came with enough variety and decision points hidden beneath a fairly simple facade that I could see it hanging around and being a family favorite for a long time. That was the cardboard version. Today I’m starting a new Terraforming Mars hype train, but for the digital version. It deserves it. The PC port from LuckyHammers and Asmodee Digital is nearly flawless and is easily one of the best digital board games I’ve ever played.
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.
PC, iOS, Android • If you’re one of those folks who live in a perpetually sunny clime and think Seasonal Affective Disorder is something conjured up by the weirdos in flyover country to explain why people on Fargo ain’t that bad, let me introduce you to weather in Wisconsin. Last Tuesday–April 10th if you don’t have a calendar–I was wearing shorts and short sleeves while working outside in mid-60 (Fahrenheit) degree temps. Like all warm and sunny days that occur after months of being perpetually chilled–even while indoors, mind you–it felt like a miracle. Yesterday–April 15th–I spent a couple hours outside, only this time I was shoveling the heaviest, wettest snow there is. Any heavier or wetter and it would have been classified as slush. It snowed, literally, all day with the sky a dark gray and the temperature never exceeding 30. It’s enough to make you want to pour a hot bath and leap in while holding a toaster. The worst part isn’t my frozen toes or numb fingers (we had, stupidly, socked all the boots and gloves away in the attic assuming that Spring was finally here), but the fact that I couldn’t spend the day in front of my laptop. On Friday, Asmodee gave me the keys to Terraforming Mars and I was dying to take it out for a spin. Luckily, I got my chance this morning (yes, it’s still snowing outside, but I’ve given up).
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • The biggest player in both the cardboard and digital board game realm right now is the French company, Asmodee. If there’s a board game publisher you like, there’s a good chance they fall under Asmodee’s umbrella, and not just the cardboard version. Starting with Colt Express last November, they’ve published a ton of digital board games like Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Onirim, Pathfinder Adventures, and more. They’re only beginning, too, with upcoming titles both from their own cardboard catalog as well as tabletop titles that Asmodee has nothing to do with. It’s kind of crazy.
If you’re only exposure to the Red Planet comes from visuals of Matt Damon pooping on his potatoes or mutant women with three breasts, I have some news for you. First of all, those are movies and, secondly, those weren’t real breasts. Don’t worry though, because Mars is an actual, real-life place and it’s only 140 million miles away. Best of all, according to Terraforming Mars from Stronghold Games, its surface is covered with a resource more valuable than unobtainium: Victory Points.