Games about terraforming a planet are becoming more and more popular, and Asteroid Lab's Terraformers is the newest entry of the bunch. This turn-based game is part colony sim, part city builder, and a challenging experience that's rewarding to learn. Our Terraformers Guides will help equip you with the knowledge you need to make the Red Planet just a little more green -- let's dive in!
Quicklinks: Terraformers Guides | Beginner's Guide | F.A.Q.
- Leader Guide
- The Red Planet Awaits Guide
- Red Path Guide
- Green Path Guide
- Blue Path Guide
- Per Aspera Ad Astra Guide
Terraformers Beginner's Guide
Our Terraformers Guides can help you understand the basics of the game. It's not easy to figure out the first time you play it, but a basic understanding of the game's mechanics will make your first playthrough a lot easier.
Terraformers Mechanics You Need to Know
There are quite a few moving parts in Terraformers -- here's a quick explanation of all of the game's mechanics.
A view of Mars from space. You'll start with a City and some basic Resources to help you get started.
Locations are the little diamonds and hexes on the Planet View. Unexplored Locations are marked with a question mark (?) and will have icons for Resources above them; Exploring this Location will earn you a small amount of those Resources and make it possible to Build on that Location once you unlock some Expansions for your City.
You cannot move into new areas of Mars without Exploring locations first. All Leaders have the "Explore" Skill by default, and you'll also get Exploration Satellites for free a few Turns into a new game. You can Build Space Projects and other Buildings to unlock additional uses of Exploration. Exploration costs Power if done by a Leader, and other methods usually have a cooldown of several Turns.
Clicking on a City will take you into the city-building portion of the game. All Cities have a Headquarters that provides 1 Population and 1 Support per Turn. Beyond that, you have a whole lot of open spaces connected by roads.
Rocks may block some spaces in your City. You cannot build on these tiles until they're removed. Rocks can also block building on open spaces if there's no clear path from the space to your Headquarters. Rocks cost Power to destroy.
Certain buildings will grant a bonus if built adjacent (next to) another building. For example, the Soil Factory does not produce any Resources on its own, but it gives a +1 Food bonus to all Food-producing Buildings next to it. Therefore, the best strategy is to build it in the middle of a bunch of Buildings that produce Food.
Projects are the various Buildings you can make in the game. Each Turn, you can pick 1 of 3 random Projects. You can hold a total of 8 Projects. If you decide not to pick a Project, you can gain 1 Science instead; you can also discard Projects for 1 Science apiece.
Blue Projects vs. Red Projects / City Locations vs. Planet Locations
Blue Projects are used for placing Buildings inside of Cities at City Locations (the circles of empty land). Red Projects are used for Planet Locations, the hexes next to Cities on the Planet Map.
Mines can be built on certain Planet Locations without the use of a Project card; they will often generate some Resources or a Support bonus depending on what's on the tile.
Space Projects are a special type of Project that are built in Space. You'll need a Trade Route to get Resources up to these Projects. Space Projects often confer planetwide bonuses and are the most reliable way to increase Sea Level.
Support is a measure of how enthusiastic your Population is about your mission on Mars. If Support drops to 0, you lose. Completing at least 25% of your objectives will unlock several starting bonuses for your next playthrough, regardless of whether you succeed or fail.
Population & Robots
Population is a measure of how many people you have living on Mars. Each Population grants you 1 Expansion from a City. Robots also grant an Expansion, but they do not generate Support.
Comfort of Living
Comfort of Living is a measure of how comfortable your Population is; this number determines how much Support each Population generates. Increasing Comfort can lead to big boosts of Support. Terraforming can increase Comfort planetwide.
Radiation is a unique mechanic that negatively impacts Comfort of Living. Raising Radiation protection to its maximum of 5 will ensure solid Comfort of Living bonuses. Certain sites for Cities (such as Lava Tubes) have natural bonuses to Radiation protection.
Expectations are effectively a countdown to defeat. Every few Turns, your Population will demand more progress -- this is represented by a negative Support penalty. This penalty increases as time goes on, and higher difficulty levels will make Expectations increase faster.
Aside from the aforementioned mechanics, there are several Resources in Terraformers that you can acquire.
- Food - Typically used for founding Cities and building homes. You usually generate this through farms.
- Power - Used for Exploration and creating certain Buildings, especially Mines. Generated through power generators.
- Science - Used for building certain Buildings and Space Projects. Typically earned through scientific buildings.
- Water - Used for founding Cities and building certain homes and farms. Usually mined from Planet Locations.
- Nitrates - Used for certain farming and Terraforming buildings. You usually get this from Mines placed on Planet Locations.
- Silicates - Used for constructing a wide variety of Buildings. Typically acquired thorough Mines on Planet Locations.
- Titanium - Used for Mines on Planet Locations and other construction. As with most things here, you usually get it from Mines on Planet Locations.
- Tritium - Typically used for Power-generating Buildings and certain Space Projects. Acquired through Mines on certain Planet Locations.
Trade Routes allow you to exchange one Resource for any other Resource with Earth. You get one Trade Route for free a few Turns into the game; after that, you'll need to build Landing Pads or Space Ports on Planet Locations to increase the number of Trade Routes. Trade Routes are also used to facilitate the construction of Space Projects.
Leaders are the people in charge of your civilization on Mars. All Leaders have 3 Skills you can choose from and one Specialization, and all Leaders have the Exploration Skill by default. You can only use one Skill per Turn; not using a Skill and ending your Turn will instead get you a small Support bonus.
Specializations are permanent passive bonuses that apply for the rest of the game. It should be noted, however, that some of these require you to complete certain objectives to unlock their full potential.
Terraforming is the process of making Mars into a habitable world. There are four aspects to Terraforming:
- Temperature - Increases the Comfort of Living. Pretty much all Lifeforms have a minimum Temperature requirement.
- Oxygen - Increases the Comfort of Living and fulfills requirements for some Animals and Bacteria.
- Sea Level - Increases the Comfort of Living in Cities that own an Ocean Location. Some Planet Locations may flood at each Sea Level stage, rendering those tiles unusable. Plants and some Bacteria require a minimum level of Local Rain, which you can increase by raising the Sea Level.
- Atmosphere - Increases Radiation protection in all of your Cities, which ultimately increases Comfort.
Completing each Terraforming stage will give you a one-time boost in Support. It will also likely give you a permanent boost to Support generation through increased Comfort of Living or Radiation protection.
Climate Zones are the regions of the map separated by bright orange lines. Each Climate Zone has its own Temperature, Oxygen, and Rain Levels, all of which determine which Bacteria, Plants, and Animals can live there.
Lifeforms are the various Bacteria, Plants, and Animals that you can spread on Mars aside from humans.
Bacteria - Bacteria will typically aid in Terraforming or Resource generation.
Plants - Plants will typically aid in Terraforming and provide a Support bonus if there is a City in the affected Climate Zone.
Animals - Animals give a huge boost of Prestige for scenarios where that matters (such as Green Path) and will usually provide a Support bonus if there is a City in that Climate Zone.
You can only have 1 Bacteria, 1 Plant, and 1 Animal in each Climate Zone.
How to Beat the Terraformers Tutorial
The Terraformers Tutorial is fairly forgiving when compared to the other Scenarios in the game. All you need to do is focus on progressing without any specific goal in mind -- keep gaining Resources, expanding your territory, whatever. As long as you're making progress, you're doing well.
The Tutorial requires you to earn 300 Victory Points. Victory Points are awarded by accomplishing the following goals:
- Support Income
- Resource Income
- Resource Income Combinations
- Trade Routes
- Trade Routes from Mines
- Total Project Suggestions
- Total Project Researches
- Terraforming Steps (Heat, Oxygen, Water, Atmosphere)
Focus on building out your first City. Then, explore and expand to a second City and further increase your Resource income. You may want to dabble in some Terraforming, but you can probably beat this Scenario without going too deep down that path.
Once you've completed the Tutorial, you'll discover that you've actually completed The Red Planet Awaits Scenario on the easiest difficulty. This opens up access to the Red Path and Green Path Scenarios, each of which have somewhat different objectives than what you're used to.
What is Terraformers?
Terraformers is a colony sim and city builder developed by Asteroid Lab and published by Goblinz Publishing and IndieArk. It challenges players to terraform Mars and complete specific objectives depending on the Scenario.
Is Terraformers Multiplayer?
No, Terraformers is not multiplayer.
Is Terraformers Real-Time or Turn-Based?
Terraformers is a turn-based game.