5 Games Like Terraforming Mars
Welcome to the board game favorite, Terraforming Mars. Earth as we know it has become uninhabitable. People must venture into space and create environments where humankind can thrive again.
There may be a threat to humanity, but competition lives strong – and building these civilizations is the key to success. In Terraforming Mars, you’ll work together to establish the basics: oxygen, temperature levels, and water availability. However, players will ultimately compete for points by creating the best conditions for life on this new planet.
Terraforming Mars is only one option for empire-building or developing societies. Many games have similar elements – space exploration, building civilizations, or the basic mechanics and gameplay.
You’ve come to the right place if you’ve enjoyed Terraforming Mars and want to find something along the same lines. Read on to learn about the best 5 Games Like Terraforming Mars.
- Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition
- Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
- 7 Wonders
#1. Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition
Playing time: 150 minutes
Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition is a versatile game, allowing you to play competitively, cooperatively, or solo. Like Terraforming Mars, cooperative elements are present in building the foundations of an inhabitable world together. However, at the end of the competitive version, the player with the highest points rules the kingdom.
In this empire-building game, you are one of 4 Mage Knights adventuring through the Atlantean Empire to build the land and gain power. You can choose to rule with compassion or brutally conquer. Regardless of how you play, earning points by building Fame and resources is the ultimate goal.
#2. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Playing time: 240-480 minutes
Twilight Imperium shares a similar theme, setting, and game mechanics as Terraforming Mars. If outer space worldbuilding games are your thing, you will probably enjoy the upgraded Fourth Edition of this board game.
The layout is quite similar – players gather resources and cards individually while adding tiles and pieces to a shared central galaxy. Both games require collecting action cards and taking those actions when certain conditions are met.
Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition differs in that an Agenda phase occurs at the end of rounds to determine new laws. This allows for higher player interaction and some interesting debate.
This game does not require as much teamwork. Players don’t need to work together to establish basic conditions for life. Twilight Imperium simply ends when one player achieves 10 Victory Points.
Playing time: 40-70 minutes
Wingspan brings the art of bird-watching to your tabletop.
Like Terraforming Mars, Wingspan is a well-made American-style board game with an extensive selection of cards to drive actions. The goal is also similar. In Wingspan, you must build a thriving habitat for birds. Manage your resources and build your deck wisely to develop the environment. Points are awarded for all growth-related activities, such as eggs, collected food, and spotted birds.
Wingspan is a relatively peaceful game compared to Terraforming Mars. The competition is focused on collecting points individually without options to attack opponents. Wingspan has similar mechanics to Terraforming Mars with a much lighter theme.
Playing time: 90-115 minutes
Terraforming Mars is an engine-building game of the future, while Scythe is one based in an alternate past. The settings might be different, but the pieces and game elements in both are reflective of strong themes.
Overall, they have a lot in common. You start off with little resources and power. Build as you go, encountering opponents and potentially attacking them. However, Victory Points are not the driving force in Scythe. Instead, you are given a hidden goal as the objective of your game.
Scythe comes with a single-player option as well. Whether solo or in a group, Scythe is a great addition for Terraforming Mars fans.
#5. 7 Wonders
Playing time: 30 minutes
Which of the 7 Wonders of the world would you visit? Here’s your chance to visit and develop the wonder of your choice.
7 Wonders and Terraforming Mars are about building civilizations. While both games can use card-drafting, it is the focus in 7 Wonders.
Build up the science, infrastructure, and military to be the strongest on Earth. Played over 3 rounds, players choose a card to hold onto and pass the rest in a circular fashion. Use gold to activate cards and gain resources. But bear in mind that the cards you pass on can help or hinder your opponents.
7 Wonders is also a point-based game. Overall, it has simpler mechanics and plays much faster. So if you’re looking for a game similar to Terraforming Mars on a time crunch, 7 Wonders is for you.
We hope you enjoyed our list of 5 games like Terraforming Mars! If you liked any of these games, we can guarantee that you’ll love these other titles too: Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, Brass: Birmingham, Caverna: The Cave Farmers, Root, A Feast for Odin, and Viticulture: Essential Edition.
Have you tried any of the games on this list? How did you think they stacked up to Terraforming Mars? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.