In 2037, the first settlers arrived on Mars! The base camp was already settled and now, during the next fifty years, a group of very brave people from private space exploration companies are establishing a major colony ruled by a terrestrial organization, the OMDE (Organization for Mars Development and Exploration).
As a chief astronaut from a private space exploration company, you want to be a pioneer in developing the biggest, most advanced colony on Mars, achieving the OMDE mission goals as well as your company's hidden agenda. By bringing in and managing settlers, you can explore, mine, build, power, and upgrade buildings. You will lead the construction and assembly of greenhouse farms, water compounds, O₂ factories, power generators, and mines. The goal of humanity on this new planet is to learn how to value water, air and the the things we need to live more than money — and in the end, become a self-sufficient colony independent of any terrestrial organization. Do you dare to take part in mankind's next biggest conquest?
On Mars is played in turns using different phases:
- Players decide which OMDE goals will be part of the game, how the new settlers from earth will be distributed through the different colonies, and which community buildings and materials Earth needs to authorize and provide.
- Players will have available to everyone a limited set of actions they can take in their turn and the raw materials sent from Earth.
- In turn order, players take one action, but they need to plan carefully; builds consume power and a second building may not be placed before a generator is upgraded.
- Last, all the Colony parameters are adjusted.
Actions may be to build buildings, rovers or ships; to produce; to buy or sell resources; to explore; and to research. Actions take the form of worker placement, cards in buildings, scientists tokens, or tech tiles. All actions have an energy cost, so upgrading the generators and the existing power grid is very important. At the same time, most of the buildings need ore to be built, plus energy, people, and O₂ to run. Settlers need food, water, and shelter to be able to survive. Food, water, and O₂ needs to be stored. If you can't store enough resources, the population will not grow...