Terraform Mars with this innovative combination of tile placement and nonviolent 4X gameplay.

Terraformers is an upcoming strategy game with a familiar premise—terraforming the planet Mars—but a unique gameplay execution that is unlike anything else I’ve seen. I had the opportunity to play it at the Steam Next Fest 2021 and was impressed by the emphasis on strategy, which reminded me more of Civilization V or a tile placement board game than the current real-time base building games with a similar premise.

Terraformers’ turn-based gameplay focuses on the construction of numerous settlements on Mars’ diverse zones. Those cities are given control of different adjacent areas, and the decision between handing a newly discovered region to an existing city to enhance its output or establishing a new city proved rather fascinating.

As the game progresses, you will draw new construction cards and acquire them through events, as well as cycle among a cast of people for Mars’ leadership. These leaders might get old, retire, and die as decades pass.

Aside from the basics of exploring and expanding, each city featured a minigame in which new structures were placed near each other to create synergy. As a result, the decision was always between building now and risking missing out on future synergies, or dedicating particular towns to a certain specialty, even if it meant missing out on output in the meantime.

The final version of the game will randomly generate the surface of Mars for each playtime, altering which resources you have access to. Terraformers may be found on its own website as well as on Steam. It hasn’t been given a release date as of yet.

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