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Terraforming Mars appears in new romcom space film Moonshot

Now with dice rolling!

Moonshot HBO Max screenshot
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Berlanti-Schechter Films; Entertainment 360

Terraforming Mars, the popular board game about space exploration, makes an appearance in the newly released film, Moonshot.

In a clip posted on Reddit by user u/ManBearPig801, Terraforming Mars – the space-themed board game about corporations making the red planet a habitable place for humankind – is being played by characters in Moonshot, a new science fiction romantic comedy. During a montage scene put to a song, a group of people sit round a table on which, unmistakably, a copy of Terraforming Mars is placed on.

However, the players appear to be experiencing a unique version of the board game as they’re seen rolling dice at one point, which is not a gameplay mechanic found in the original Terraforming Mars nor in any of its official variants. It’s more than likely that the production team wanted to make it clear to those viewers who weren’t familiar with Terraforming Mars, that the characters are indeed playing a board game.

Despite this inaccuracy, the appearance of Terraforming Mars in Moonshot continues a recent trend of modern hobby board games – or more complicated tabletop titles than any classic family board games - being featured on-screen. Earlier this year, a scene in the long-running soap opera television show Coronation Street saw the characters perusing a copy of the rulebook and appendix for Wingspan, the hobby board game about attracting birdlife created by Elizabeth Hargrave. Wingspan was included in the episode thanks to its writer, David Isaac, who contacted the game’s publisher – Stegmaier Games – for permission to use it.

Moonshot is a film directed by Chris Winterbauer and starring Cole Sprouse (Riverdale) and Lana Therese Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before). The film sees a student and a barista inadvertently falling in love as they attempt to be accepted into a corporate program that transports people to Mars. (An appropriate film to feature a board game like Terraforming Mars.)

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Terraforming Mars – created by Jacob Fryxelius and considered to be one of the best board games available – sees players becoming CEOs of rival corporations that are competing to develop and build on Mars. At the beginning of each round, players draft cards from a shared pool that’s gradually passed around the players’ hands. Players then take turns to use their funds and resources to play cards or perform various other actions, such as boosting the temperature of the planet or placing lakes or forests down. Once Mars has been fully terraformed, the game ends and the player with the most victory points wins.

Moonshot is available to watch on the HBO Max streaming service now.

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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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