Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
Terraforming Mars is a board game inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson's hard sci-fi "Mars trilogy." Though not endorsed by the author, Sweden's Jacob Fryxelius has enlisted his family members to produce a science-driven game that is pure homage to Robinson's classic series; even the players in the manual's examples are named "Kim," "Stanley," and "Robinson."
The goal is simple: make Mars habitable. Forget Matt Damon as the primitive first "Martian"; Terraforming Mars takes place much further in the future and unfolds over centuries, ending with a green and blue map of a Red Planet covered with cities, vegetation, and oceans.