From the time I was a small child to my adulthood I have always wanted to visit our bright red neighboring planet, Mars. This giant rust colored planet has always been on the minds of would be space explorers.

Many questions about Mars have been answered over the past few years but we have yet to answer the very main question we truly seek. Can we live on Mars? If so how do we go about building a colony? And can we survive in such a harsh environment?

Without actually going to the big, red planet how can we answer these questions? Look no further than Mars 04:45 from TGIK Games. This two to six player card game can be played in fifteen to thirty minutes, for ages thirteen years to adult.

Each player with start out with their own colored deck of cards. Once they receive the deck they will shuffle & deal out fifteen cards to themselves face-down. This becomes their back-ordered supplies. These cards will become available as space opens up in the Warehouse.

After the back-ordered supplies are set each player will draw three cards face up, side by side. These cards become the player’s Warehouse shelves where players will be able to store parts to be used to build modules.

The rest of the cards will remain face-down as On-Hand Supplies. The center of the table between players will become the Factory Floor. The Factory Floor will be the construction area to build modules.

Once everyone has finished setting up, one player with say “Go!” & the chaos starts. All players will play at the same time.

Players will take three cards as a group from their On-Hand Supplies. The top card of the On-Hand Supplies may either be played onto the Factory Floor or into the Warehouse.

When playing onto the Factory Floor, a player can add a card with the number one labeled on it to start a new module. Or player’s may play a card one number higher onto an existing module. Players must note that all modules are opened to every player.

If multiple players play onto the same module at the same time, the first card onto that module wins. Players may complete a module by placing a “ready for launch” card onto the module. That module, once completed, will be scooped up & placed to the side for scoring at the end of the round.

When placing cards onto a Warehouse Shelve, players may place a card one number higher & of a different module type on top of the card already on the shelve. Cards in the warehouse may be moved around during play. If at any time a shelve is emptied, a player may fill it by adding a card from the Back-Ordered Supplies, by moving a card from another shelf if it is a “ready to launch” card, or moving the top card from on-hand supplies as long as it is a “ready to launch” card.

If at any time a player can not play a card from their face-up pile, then they may flip three cards from their On-Hand Supplies on top of their face-up pile. If a player has less than three cards in their On-Hand Supplies then they will just add those to their face-up pile. If no cards can be played from the face-up pile & there are no cards in their On-Hand Supplies, that player will pick up the pile & use that deck as their new On-Hand Supply deck.

If all players can not play a card, then all players will flip one card from their Back-Ordered Supplies into their warehouse to create a fourth warehouse shelf. This new addition is only available for the rest of the round.

Play continues on until one player calls out “Launch!” This will stop game play. To call “launch” a player must have three power modules, two science modules, one resource module, & one exploration module.

Once play stops the scoring round will begin. Players will first gather all their remaining cards: back-ordered supplies, warehouse shelves, on-hand supplies, & face-up cards. These cards are not used for scoring.

Next players will collect all cards still left on the Factory Floor. These cards will be placed in a single pile.  This is the pile of Wasted Supplies.

After collecting the Wasted Supplies, each player will collect all of their completed units from their colony. Each player will separate their launch cards from their colony. The face value of each of the launch cards will be added together. These are the points added to the player’s score.

During the scoring round players must be careful about losing points from being sabotage or calling launch to soon without having the correct number of units for their colony. Also having the most Wasted Supplies can have a negative affect on a player’s score.

Play will continue onto the next round. This goes on until a player reaches 150 or more points. The first player to score that many points wins the game.

I love card games of all shapes & sizes. Mars 04:45 is a wildly, fast-paced, & chaotic game. Mars 04:45 is just fine with two & three players but can get super competitive with four to six players. I haven’t played it with more than three so I can just imagine how nuts this game can be with six players.

I really like the chaotic & fast-paced aspect of the game. Reminds me of an extreme version of Solitaire. This is definitely a race to see who can colonize Mars the fastest.

Now TGIK Games is set to launch Mars 04:45 as a Kickstarter Project on September 15th. So look for it here: Mars 04:45.

Gear up to set your colonies on Mars & Game on!

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW