Terraforming Mars gets its first expansion: Hellas & Elysium

2 min read

terraforming mars

Mars has recently become a common theme in tabletop games. It’s understandable, the allure of space travel and the closeness of Mars makes it an object of… dare I say… curiosity. Ha! Geddit? Curiosity! Anyway, one of new games that uses the Mars theme to great effect is Terraforming Mars – a strategy game from Stronghold Games and Fryxgames.

In Terraforming Mars, you play as a corporation from the 2400s, tasked with raising the temperature, oxygen level and ocean coverage of Mars to make it habitable. You work together with other players in the terraforming process, but you compete for victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system.

Despite only being released last year, Terraforming Mars is already getting its first expansion in June 2017 in the form of TM: Hellas and Elysium. The new expansion comes with a new, double-sided game board representing two new areas of Mars.

Elysium will take the players on a trip to almost the exact opposite side of Mars, where there are vast lowlands for oceans in the north and a dry, mineral-rich south. Hellas, the southern wild, includes Mars’ South Pole and an enormous 7-hex Hellas crater.

Each of these maps consists of completely new sets of Milestones and Awards with relevance for each particular map. Place three tiles in the south to become Polar Explorer, or race to have the most tiles adjacent to water on Elysium. How you play is obviously up to you!

Read  Settlers of Catan: Chocolate Edition is the most delicious boardgame imaginable

I haven’t had a chance to play Terraforming Mars yet, as I mentioned it’s a pretty new game, but if you’ve played it then let me know. Are you excited to be expanding your terraforming opportunities, or are you happy with the core game for now?

Last Updated: January 16, 2017

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

  • MonsterCheddar

    The only thing I terraform is my garden every now and then.

    • Admiral Chief

      I terrorform any food I eat

      • MonsterCheddar

        Not the poop thing again……geez

        • Admiral Chief

          Everybody poooooooops, sometimes
          (sung to REM)

          • MonsterCheddar

            XD. Yes, but they don’t constantly discuss and make GIF’s of poop. LOL

          • Admiral Chief

            I need to MAKE a poop GIF, yessss, this will be cringe-worthy.

            Thank you for the idea, I will give you credit for it

          • MonsterCheddar

            Please don’t.

          • Admiral Chief

            Going live on Discord as soon as a payload is ready

          • Hammersteyn
          • MonsterCheddar


        • Hammersteyn

          Circle of life

      • Hammersteyn

        I love terraforming

    • miaau

      I try so very hard not to do that.

      One of my goals in life is to earn enough money to NEVER have to do that. Garden. Yeechh. I want

      1. Roses, different colours, looks cool
      2. Some trees
      3. Grass, cut neatly and shaped around the beds

      That is it, simple, elegant and low maintenance

      Wife, on the other hand has . vegetables and stuff. Sigh. Is nice to get fresh…, but….. I hate the garden.

    • Hammersteyn

      I saw a garden once

      • MonsterCheddar


  • Admiral Chief

    First tabletop article of CH?

    • Tracy Benson

      Uh, nope. Check the Tabletop tab, it’s been going since last week!

      • Admiral Chief

        Just glad to see this category getting articles!

        • Hammersteyn

          Everything but game reviews 😛

          • Admiral Chief

            Bah, who reads those anyway?

            We all just skip to the score, then the comments, eh?

  • miaau

    Not seeing the point of other games yet. Settlers of Catan is fun.

    Other games run on similar principles to Settlers (in my mind at least) OR are complicated and take like 8 hours to get somewhere. Cylons, I am looking at you. Fun, but so complicated.

    Again, if I still enojy Settlers, why shift around? I suppose for the mars themes and changes, but I a the Sci-fi nut, not the Wife and friends.

    • If you’re satisfied with Catan, stay with Catan. But this does not mean everyone is satisfied. I despise Catan, can’t play it. It’s good that there is games for everyone.

      • miaau

        Very happy to hear that. I am a firm believer in each to their own and that there are many, many tastes and feelings out there.

        I do, however, think that some of the games out there (do not know this one exactly) borrow a lot from Catan in some ways. That was more my point, fairly accessible, simple board-games, meant for a night of fun with friends, after supper perhaps, follow a similar pattern.

        Ok, I assume borrow from Catan. Perhaps not.

        • Keith Langley

          there is a world of games out there, and most of them are nothing like Catan – though as the first Euro-style game to go “mainstream”, Catan is what people think of when they think of strategy games. But to say “if you have Catan, why get another game” is like saying “if you have pizza, why get different food?” Catan is about as similar to TM as pizza is to raspberry ice cream. You might like one and not the other, or love both, but if you like games (or food) at all, it’s worth trying several different types. To capture a bit of the different flavors out there, without getting into anything too complex, look for:
          Ticket to Ride
          Dominion, Mystic Vale or Trains
          Coup, Werewolf, Love Letter, or Sheriff of Nottingham
          Agricola, Viticulture or Lords of Waterdeep
          Seven Wonders
          that should give you a sampling of some of the broad families of games (or to continue the analogy, a salad, a dessert, some seafood, etc). Then you’ll know what families you tend to enjoy, and can seek out new challenges – http://www.boardgamegeek.com is a great guide.

  • Craig “Crios” Boonzaier

    The Dice Tower guys rated the base game pretty well. Been looking to get a strategy tile placement game. Also been looking at Carcassonne.

    • That’s not at all in the same categories. Carcassonne is a gateway game really nice. I found it best at 2, but it’s a really personal preference. It’s almost always short (except if you play with all the expansions, but don’t do that), like 1h for 4 people. The tile placement is almost the only mechanics.

      Terraforming Mars is a beast of a game. 4 players will be 3 hours for most, sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s a deep and long and complex strategy games (the rules are fairly straightforward, but the strategy is complex). The tile placement element is secondary (at least it’s what I think from my first plays). The main aspect is your engine building.

      I like both games, but after your comment I was not sure if you knew this, and getting TM might be overwhelming if you want a simple and fun tile placing game.

      • Craig “Crios” Boonzaier

        I understand they are not fully in the same category, I was more referring to the tile placement part, as I yet to own a game personally that has that mechanic. Our game group has a few of these though like Carcasonne, Tsuro and Betrayal, yes they are all slightly different but they all involve a Tile Placement aspect. At the end of the day however, we all try to get games that the others don’t have yet, so that we can share them.

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