There’s now a video game version of the board game Terraforming Mars – and I played it

I wrote my first article for Rock Paper Shotgun this week, and it’s a preview of the video-game version of smash-hit board game Terraforming Mars:

Terraforming Mars but without the fiddly bits

Board game conversions are tricky things – one big plus of the video-game version of Terraforming Mars is that you don’t have to deal with the dozens and dozens of cubes that keep track of your terraforming, cubes that have a habit of sliding all over the place with the slightest nudge. But then again, those tactile cubes are also part of what gives the game its appeal, with the satisfaction of tip tapping them up and down the board.

I’m also divided over the hilariously bad artwork on the game cards. Objectively, the cards are clearly naff, populated with public-domain stock photos that sometimes look like they’re from different games entirely. I mean, just check out the cards below to see what I mean.

BUT, they do kind of have a wonky, charming brilliance, so the inclusion of the same pictures in the video-game version isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That said, the game could do with a bit of spit and polish all over to really capitalise on its digital nature – a few whizz bangs when you crash an asteroid into the Red Planet wouldn’t go amiss, for example.

Still, the version I played was pre-alpha, so there’s plenty of time for improvements to be made. Terraforming Mars is due out on PC later this year.