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Terraforming Mars solo mode expansion will offer a “more complex and interesting” single-player variant for the board game

Alone on Mars.

Terraforming Mars will receive a revamped single-player variant in an upcoming solo mode expansion, its creators have said.

Enoch Fryxelius, CEO of the game’s family-owned publisher FryxGames - which includes designer Jacob and artists Isaac and Daniel - revealed on Facebook that the studio is currently working on a dedicated solo expansion to the 2016 game that would introduce a new way of handling its solitaire challenge.

The original Terraforming Mars does include a way to play with a single player by challenging the player to reach specific levels in the game’s three key terraforming parameters - oxygen, temperature and ocean tiles - before the end of 14 rounds.

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Enoch said that the existing solo mode, designed by Jacob, had been created to offer a single-player experience with minimal changes to Terraforming Mars’ multiplayer rules, but admitted that the use of cards designed with multiple players in mind had led to a lack of balance, with some corporations faring better against the single-player challenge.

The planned solo expansion for Terraforming Mars will introduce dedicated elements - including cards and other components - designed specifically for use with a single player. Rather than testing the lone player against the clock, the expansion will simulate rival corporations using what Isaac described as “algorithms”.

The simulation of a multiplayer match also means that Terraforming Mars’ other expansions will be supported by the solo mode, as well as the base game.

Rather than one of the Fryxelius brothers, the new solo expansion will be designed by Nick Shaw and Dávid Turczi, who have previously worked together on hefty dice game Rome & Roll and solo modes for games including Cerebria, Caesar! and Mythic Mischief. Shaw previously designed a solo bot for Terraforming Mars last summer under the name MarsBot, which was released as a free print-and-play add-on.

“The new automa is designed to make the solo experience more complex and interesting,” Enoch explained. “Considering that there seems to be so many players enjoying TM solo, we're happy to offer them an improved experience, even if it's not developed by us.”

Enoch teased the solo expansion - which is currently titled Terraforming Mars: Automa, though the name is yet to be confirmed - as being available during the publisher’s next Kickstarter campaign. A crowdfunding campaign for Terraforming Mars’ sixth expansion, Prelude 2, is planned to launch in September.

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Matt Jarvis

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After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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