Update: Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is live on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 16 days. You may pledge for a copy of the game or combine it with any of the previously released Terraforming Mars games.
A solo playthrough will be posted on the campaign page on the 21st of February.
Our preview post below was published on February 10.
Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is a 1-4 player hand management game, and a streamlined version of the hugely popular 2016 game, Terraforming Mars. It will launch on Kickstarter on February 16.
Like in the original, you represent one of the available corporations. The cards in the game come in 3 different colours: green is for development and generating resources, blue is for additional actions or ongoing effects, and red is for events that have an instant effect. Each card has a cost to pay in order to play it, and some cards have a prerequisite that you have to meet. At the bottom of the card is the description of what it does, both visual and verbal. The main difference between Ares Expedition and classic Terraforming Mars is that the former has gameplay phases.
Each player gets a hand of the same 5 phase cards: 1) Development, 2) Construction, 3) Action, 4) Production, 5) Research. At the start of a round, all players simultaneously choose a phase card from their hand, and place it on the table face-down. On the first round, all phase cards are available to the players, but, in subsequent rounds, they will have to only use the four leftover cards they didn't put face-down. Then, the hidden cards are revealed, and this determines which phases will take place that round.
When a phase card is played, the player performs its main action, and gets to perform the bonus action at the bottom only if they played that specific phase card that round. For example, the green phase card says: "Each player may play 1 green project card". Any players who chose this particular card as their face-down card that round, will also get the bonus discount at the bottom.
Once again, players will be aiming to raise the temperature and oxygen levels, and place ocean tiles on the board to terraform the planet. The 9 ocean tiles are placed face-down on the board at the beginning, and will be flipped when a player gets to add one, to reveal a bonus for that player. Everyone will have their personal player boards too, where they will be marking income, heat and plants (no energy). The steel and titanium tracks will give discounts when the relevant cards are played. Unfortunately, no information on the solo mode has been released so far.