Terraforming Mars Game Setup and Concepts

This section covers the Terraforming Mars Game Setup. To find out more about Terraforming Mars Gameplay rules, click here.

Terraforming Mars Game Setup

  • Start 9 tiles on the Ocean tile stack on the game board
  • Place the temperature marker at -30 deg on the Mars game board.
  • Place oxygen marker on oxygen level tracker on game board.
  • Shuffle the Project Cards deck and place it next to the game board.
  • Players choose colours and the first player. The first player gets 1st player marker.
  • Players place player markers on their starting Terraform Rating (TR) level on the TR track. Place the player marker on 20 on the track.
  • Shuffle and deal 2 Corporation Cards to each player.
  • Beginner players get Beginner Corporation cards instead.
  • Experienced players choose which of the 2 cards they wish to play.
  • Beginner players follow the instructions on their Beginner Corporation cards.
  • Deal 10 project cards to Experienced players who did not take the beginnner corporation card. Players choose which 10 project cards they wish to keep in starting hand. Keeping a project card costs 3 MegaCredits.
  • You are now ready to start the game and the 1st Generation (round). Start from the Action Phase for the 1st Generation

Information about Game Tiles

  • Tiles are placed on game board
  • Certain areas are reserved for specific tiles: check if there are placement restrictions
  • Each tile may have specific restrictions printed on their respective card summaries
  • When placing a tile, you receive a placement bonus printed on that area
  • There is also a bonus for placing tiles next to ocean tiles

Ocean Tiles

Ocean Tile - Terraforming Mars Rules
  • can only be placed on areas reserved for ocean
  • placement results in TR increasing by 1 step
  • Each ocean tile provides 2 M placment bonus for any player who later places a tile next to it

Greenery Tiles

Greenery Tile
  • If possible, must be placed next to another tile you own
  • if no available area next to your tiles or if you have no tiles, place greenery tile on any available area
  • Place a player marker on it to mark ownership
  • Placement results in an increase in oxygen level and if possible, also your TR
  • Each tile worth 1 VP at end of the game

City Tiles

Terraforming Mars Rules Guide - City Tiles
  • May not be placed next to another city
  • Noctics city must always be placed on the reserved area
  • Add player marker to mark ownership
  • Each tile worth 1 VP for each adjacent greenery tile (regardless of owner) at end of the game

Special Tiles

Terraforming Mars Special Tile uses
  • Some cards allow you to place special tiles
  • Function or placement restriction is described on the card

Information about Game Markers

  • Resource cubes
    • Bronze = 1
    • Silver = 5
    • Gold = 10
  • Player Markers are used by each player to:
    • mark TR
    • mark tile ownership
    • mark production
    • indicate used blue card actions
  • Temperature, oxygen and generation markers are used to track progress on gameboard
  • First Player Marker shifts clockwise to the next player after each generation

Player Boards

  • Player boards keep track of your resources and production.
  • Resource icons refer to resource cubes
  • Resource icons in brown boxes refer to the production of that resource

1. Production Track
When you gain the production of a resource, mark new production level with a player marker. Production is not limited to 10. If you increase above 10, use 2 player markers to mark the level.

2. MegaCredits
Used to pay for cards and things. MegaCredit income is the sum of MegaCredit production and TR. MegaCredit production can be negative but not lower than -5

3. Steel
Used to pay for building tag cards and is worth 2 MegaCredits/cube. Can be combined with MegaCredits for payment but no change is given.

4. Titanium
Used to pay for cards with space tag and is worth 3 MegaCredits/cube

5. Plants
Can be changed to greenery tiles using actions

6. Energy
Used by many cards. Leftover energy is converted to heat at the beginning of the production phase

7. Heat
Can be used to raise the temperature by 1 step using actions

Enter Contents here

Terraforming Mars Player Boards
Player Board


Each player starts with Corporation Card. Players buy and play project cards to get benefits.

There are 3 types of cards:

  • Active (cards have a Blue Frame)
  • Automated Cards (Green)
  • Event Cards (Red)

Tag – Identifies the category of card

Starting Conditions – Tells you starting MegaCredits, resources or production

Effect/Actions – Blue ribbon boxes indicate ongoing effects or actions that may be used during the game

Background Summary – Background information about the card

Cost – Cost to play the card from your hand

Requirement – Conditions that need to be met to play the card

Immediate effects: Cards that have immediate effects that affect resources or production

VPs: Cards that provide victory points at game end

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