Turn order in Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars, much like other games, has a set of phases that need to be completed by each player to keep the game moving in order.

Every game has a set of rules to follow, but in particular, there are different levels of play with many games having different phases, phases that need to be completed by players for the new phase to begin.

The same can be said for the Terraforming Mars board game, which consists of various phases to be completed, with one being the Turn Order Phase.

So what is the Turn Order in a game of Terraforming and what does it entail to be able to move onto the next phases of the game?

Terraforming Mars board game

In the Terraforming Mars board game, gameplay is based on the solar system and as a player, you are in charge of a corporation which you need to purchase and play cards giving you different projects to work on.

Often, projects will be tied to the terraforming process and will be made up of several types of business enterprises. To win in the game, players need to accrue a good terraform rating (TR) and as many Victory Points (VPs) as possible.

Each time you can increase a global parameter such as the temperature, oxygen or ocean, your terraform rating increases. A player’s TR is like their basic income and their basic score.

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Turn order in Terraforming Mars

Every game has its own particular gameplay, order of playing, actions to take, cards to draw and a bunch of other rules to follow.

In some games, rounds might be completed in certain phases, and this is the case when it comes to the Terraforming Mars board game. This game consists of four phases that players should complete.

In the game, the idea of time is measured in generations and each generation starts with a Turn Order phase followed by the Research phase, the Action phase, and the Production phase.

The Turn Order phase is known as the Player Order phase. In the first generation, this phase is skipped, since during the setup of the game, the Player Order is already performed, as well as the Research phase. The game then goes straight into the Action phase.

The reason the Turn order, also known as the Player order phase is skipped is because during the setup of the game, players choose their colour, take a player board, and mark a starting production by placing their markers at “1” on the six production tracks.

Whoever the first player is deals 10 project cards and two corporation cards to all players who have looked at their cards and made a choice about which cards and corporations they will play, and have revealed them in player order.

Simply put, the Turn order phase is when the first player’s marker has moved one step in a clockwise direction and the generation marker has been moved one step up.

The Research phase

In this phase players draw four cards and choose which one they want to buy. Each card costs three M€ to buy to the hand, and players can buy up to four cards.

The rest of the drawn cards are then castoff face down on the “Discard” pile. There are no hand limits in this phase. This phase is not played in the first generation since it is also performed during the setup of the game.

The Action phase

In this phase, players can take one or two actions per turn or pass. This is in a clockwise direction and actions can be joint however the player decides.

If you choose not to take an action, you forfeit the round and you will not be able to take any actions in that generation.

Actions What they entail
Action 1 Play a card from your hand
Action 2 Use a standard project
Action 3 Claim your milestone
Action 4 Fund an award
Action 5 Use an action from a blue card
Action 6 Alter eight plants into a greenery tile for increased oxygen
Action 7 Alter eight heat into temperature increases

The Production phase

This phase is performed by all the players at the same time. Energy is first changed into heat by moving all resource cubes from the energy box to the heat box. Players then get new resources.

Players get M€ based on their Terraform rating and M€ production. All resources need to be placed in their respective boxes and player markers must be removed from used action cards to mark them as used in the next generation.