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How to Play Terraforming Mars Dice Game if you hate rulebooks

I hate reading rulebooks and compiled this How to Play Terraforming Mars Dice Game rules to help get your game started quickly with minimal hassle.
If you are looking an overview of Terraforming Mars Dice Game, click here to get a quick summary of the gameplay, game mechanics, videos and find out what makes the game fun and suitable for you.

Terraforming Mars Dice Game Setup

Skip to Gameplay if you already have setup your game.

  • Put a transparent cube on 0% Oxygen and another on -32°C temperature.
  • Stack 7 ocean tiles on the ocean symbol on the board.
  • Each player selects a player cube and puts it at the start of the VP track (0 VP).
  • Put the dice next to the game board.
  • Place the wild tokens and tiles next to it.
  • Shuffle the Project cards and put the deck face down next to the gameboard, leaving room for a discard pile beside it.

Bonus Cards

Shuffle the Bonus cards and randomly choose:

  • 4 cards (1-2 players),
  • 6 cards (3 players), or
  • 8 cards (4 players).

Place them face down next to the game board and put the rest of the bonus cards back in the box.
Players will receive a bonus card when they reach the bonus steps on the VP track (at 5 VP and 12 VP).


  • Take 1 dice of each color from the Dice Pool, randomly select 3, roll them, and place them on the 3 award spots on the game board.
  • Players compete to have the most of these symbols on their played cards by the end of the game.


  • Randomly select 3 milestone tiles and place them on the game board. Return the rest to the box. T
  • he first player to reach a milestone goal receives the tile for free.
  • Each milestone tile is worth 4 VP at the end of the game.

Player Order

Randomly pick a player to go first and start the game. Turns proceed clockwise around the table.

Projects and Corporations

  • Deal 5 Project cards to each player.
  • Shuffle the corporation cards and deal 2 to each player. Players choose 1 corporation card to keep. Unused corporations are returned to the box.
  • In player order, place your chosen corporation face up in front of you.
  • Gain the starting bonus shown in the red box (e.g., 3 wild tokens).

Initial Production

  • Take the production indicated in thebrown box (in this case 2 yellow dice and 1 red dice).
  • The dice are rolled and stored in front of you. They are now your resources .
  • Throughout the game, you can gain more resources by performing a production turn.

First Player penalty

  • Before starting the game, the first player chooses one of their resources and gives it to the last player.

Terraforming Mars Dice Gameplay

Players take turns until two out of three global parameters are completed and the game ends

During your turn, you can either produce new resources (Production Turn) or perform actions (Action Turn).

Production Turn

  1. Keep up to 3 resource dice (wild tokens not included), and return the remaining dice from the pool.
  2. Discard any number of cards from your hand.
  3. If you have fewer than 5 cards, draw until you have 5.
  4. Produce new resources: Roll the dice in the brown boxes on your corporation card and green project cards in play. If there aren’t enough dice in the pool, take as many as you can and gain 1 wild token.
  5. Flip back blue project cards. They can now be reused.

Action Turn

Comprises 1 support action followed by 1 main action  

Support action (Perform one of the following):

  • Choose and roll 1 die from the Dice Pool.
  • Discard a resource to change a dice to any side.
  • Discard any resource to draw 2 card.
  • Use a support action on one of your unused blue cards and then flip it sideways to indicate it is used.

Main action (Perform 1 of the following):

  • Pay 3 heat resources to increase temperature by 1 step.
  • Pay 3 water resources to add 1 ocean tile.
  • Pay 4 plant resources to place 1 greenery tile (and increase oxygen 1 step). 
  • Pay 3 city resources to place 1 city tile. 
  • Pay 3 MegaCredit resources to immediately gain 2 VP.
  • Play a card from hand (see playing a card), paying its cost.
  • Use a main action on one of your unused blue cards. Then flip it sideways.
  •  Perform a second support action.

Free action

  • Certain blue cards offer free actions that can be taken before or after your support or main action, or at the start or end of a production turn.
  • Perform the effect and flip the card sideways.
  • All used blue action cards are restored during a Production Turn.

Playing a Card

  • When taking action turn, perform support action first before playing a card.
  • To play a card, pay the exact resources shown at the top by returning them to the Dice Pool. Wild tokens can be used as any resource.
  • Perform the card’s effects in any order. Ignore effects that can’t be performed.
Terraforming Mars Dice Game Green Cards

 GREEN CARDS have a brown production box in their upper right corner. When you play these cards, nothing happens. Stack them with the card cost and the brown production box visible. Gain and roll all dice in brown boxes during each Production turn. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game 1

 When you play a RED CARD, its effects are resolved instantly. Any gained dice are immediately rolled into resources. Stack red cards face up in a pile, showing the cost at all times (they may help you win Awards later!). 

Terraforming Mars Blue Card Example

 When you play a BLUE CARD, nothing happens – just place it separately. These cards have actions (support, main, or free) that only you can use. Pay the cost (if any) before the arrow, gain the benefit after the arrow, and flip the card sideways to mark it as used. All used blue cards are unflipped during your Production turn, so they can be reused.

Game Concepts

No re-rolls 

Dice resources are never re-rolled

Terraforming awards 2 VP

When terraforming (placing an ocean tile or raising temperature/oxygen), gain 2 VP.   

Keep on terraforming

If you complete oxygen, temperature, or ocean, you can still terraform these parameters. Gain 1 VP instead of 2 VP.   

2 of 3 ends the game 

When the second parameter is completed, it triggers the game’s end. All players then get one final turn, including the player who just completed the second parameter.   

Immediate VP vs VP at the end of the game 

You earn VP instantly through terraforming, tile placement, and playing cards with a VP symbol featuring a green ribbon. Move your cube up the VP track! Red ribboned VP symbols count at the end of the game. You also earn VP for Milestones and Awards.   

Placing tiles on the board 

An icon depicting an ocean, greenery, city, or special tile means placing a tile with that symbol on the game board. Only 1 tile may be placed on each area. Place the tile and gain any placement bonus printed on that area. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game Ocean Tile

Ocean Place an ocean tile on a blue-marked ocean reserved area. No other tiles can be placed there. Gain 2 VP as it counts for terraforming. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game 2

Greenery Place a greenery tile on the board and earn 1 VP for each nearby city. Increase oxygen by 1 step, gaining 2 VP for terraforming. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game City Tile

City Put a city tile on a spot that’s not next to another city. You’ll get 2 VP for placing this tile, plus 1 VP for each greenery nearby. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game 3

Special tiles Put the brown tile with the matching symbol in the designated area. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game Bonus Parameter

 Bonus on parameter The oxygen and temperature parameters have bonuses along the way. The player who increases a parameter receives a bonus. Bonus Cards When you reach the bonus steps on the VP track (5 VP and 12 VP), you gain a bonus card at the end of your turn. Secretly look at all available bonus cards, choose one, play it for free, and return the rest face down. The next player can then take their turn.   Dice and resources: There are 5 dice colors, each with 3 resource symbols. Each dice has one common resource (on 3 sides), one uncommon resource (2 sides), and one rare resource (1 side).    

Terraforming Mars Dice Game 4
Dice Resources

Rotate a dice If a dice icon has pink arrows, it means you can rotate a resource dice to change it to another of the same color. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game Wild Tokens

Wild tokens Wild tokens can be used as any resource you want. 

Terraforming Mars Dice Game - Red Borders

Red borders on resources If a resource icon has a red border and a minus symbol, opponents must lose one resource if possible. Opponents may choose resource dice in this case. No available dice in the dice pool: If there aren’t enough dice in the Dice Pool for a production turn, gain 1 wild token and your maximum production. In any other situation, missing resources or dice are lost without compensation.  

How do you win?

End of Game

  • Game ends when 2 out of 3 global parameters (ocean/temperature/oxygen) are completed.
  • All players get 1 last turn. Note that increasing the 3rd parameter still gives 2 VP, and you still receive 1 VP for raising already completed parameter.
  • When the last turn is completed, discard remaining resources and cards in hand.
  • Add VP from Awards, Milestones, and cards to determine your final score.

Final Scoring


For each Award, players tally the number of that icon in the costs of their played cards. The player with the highest number of that icon earns 5 VP, and the runner-up earns 3 VP. Ties are friendly: If 2 or more players tie for winning an Award, both players score 5 VP, but no second place is awarded. If 2 or more players tie for second place, both receive 3 VP. In a 2 player game, there are no VP for second place.


Each milestone tile is worth 4 VP. Milestones are earned during the game when a player meets the requirement.

VP from Cards

Each player tallies up the VP from their played cards (medal symbol with red ribbons at the lower right).The player with the highest score wins the game! If tied, the player with the highest dice production (count all dice symbols in brown boxes on corporate and green cards) wins. If still tied, then determine the winner by a re-match.

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