Terraforming Mars is a tabletop/board game set in a far flung future. Mankind has spread through the solar system, and now has the technology and resources to begin a titanic project. Players take the role of megacorporations given funding from the World Government to accomplish the impossible - turn Mars into a living planet.
The game takes place over several "generations" as the players research projects (cards), spend their funding on making those projects happen, and acquire the resources and support to take larger and larger steps towards making the planet livable. Mars needs three things - oxygen, temperature, and a working water cycle. Contributing directly to any of these will increase your score and raise more government funding. Creating your own infrastructure - whether industrial, space-bound, economic, or biosphere - will aid your efforts and give more opportunities to score, as will some good PR for hitting the right milestones. The game ends when Mars reaches a threshold of "uncomfortable, but habitable", and the winner will be forever known as the leading pioneer of Mars.
The game contains examples of following tropes:
- Domed City: Early cities on Mars are by necessity domed. A project playable late in the game can construct the first open-air city, with a bonus to income and victory points.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Rates near a 5 - most of the proposed projects are theoretically possible, just not currently possible with available technology.
- Orbital Bombardment: There's quite a few positive ways to affect Mars that would normally fall under planet killer territory if used on Earth. Hitting Mars with a comet will produce water for example, or you can set up shop on a nuclear-rich asteroid and use laser-beams to heat up the atmosphere.
- Settling the Frontier: One card lets you set up an immigration center to speed up the flow of travelers and settlers.
- Terraform: The Board Game.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Avoided for the most part. There's a lot to do over a lot of time, so projects concentrate on the positives. That said, there are occasional opportunities for stealing your rivals thunder - that comet may incidentally impact a competitor's plants, or the predators you introduce may not be too picky about whose animals they hunt down.