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Terraforming Mars board game optioned for film adaptation

Will highlight “class struggle, colonialism and ecological collapse.”

Terraforming Mars, the board game about developing a human colony on Mars, has been optioned for a film adaptation.

The film rights for Terraforming Mars were acquired by Cobalt Knight, a studio co-founded by Christopher Kaminski – who has worked on video games such as Madworld - and Christopher Knox. (Thanks Gizmodo.) The company has already revealed some of the elements it aims to include in a film adaptation of the space board game, including a narrative that “highlights the game’s themes including existential tropes like class struggle, colonialism and ecological collapse.”

Terraforming Mars is a board game released in 2016 that has players competing against one another as ambitious corporations with the aim of making the red planet inhabitable for humankind. With the Earth’s environment in decline, humanity is looking to Mars as their next possible home. However, until the oxygen levels, water levels and temperature levels are made suitable for people, the plan remains a dream.

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As each corporation, players will be choosing from a selection of cards which will enable them to perform various actions such as working towards the required parametres for colonisation, as well as furthering their own company goals. Once cards have been drafted, players then decide whether to keep and pay for their chosen cards, with resources being needed for the purchasing and use of action cards. During their turn, players will have two main actions they can perform, with players able to have as many turns in a round as they have resources to spend.

Working towards parametres will grant players a higher terraforming rating, which will increase the amount of funding they receive every round. Building cities, growing forests and placing oceans can help players to increase the number of resources they have and can produce every round, giving them an advantage over their opponents. Playing certain cards can also grant players victory points, as will purchasing awards and milestones. Whichever player has the most victory points by the end of the game is declared the winner.

A close-up image of a card for Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars was designed by Jacob Fryxelius, a co-founder of the game’s publisher Fryxgames – alongside his brother and illustrator for Terraforming Mars, Isaac Fryxelius – with a number of spin-off titles being released for the board game such as Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition and Terraforming Mars: The Dice Game.

The potential Terraforming Mars film adaptation has yet to have a director, producer, cast and release date confirmed.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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