21 Board Games Like Terraforming Mars: Strategize, Monopolize, Play
Looking for boards games like Terraforming Mars? This is one of my favorite games to play solo, and with friends and family — and if you love it too, there are no shortage of games you’ll also love.
Since I’m always looking for the next great board game, I figured it’s high time we put a list together. These 21 games are the closest I find in gameplay and overall experience to Terraforming Mars.
From engine-building and resource management, to other interesting mechanics these are games you’ll want to consider:
Best games like Terraforming Mars
1. Settlers of Catan
Players: 3 to 4 players
Est. Time: 60 to 90 minutes
Settlers of Catan is a classic board game is full of strategy with easy-to-learn rules. Players use resources such as wool, ore, brick and lumber to buy development cards, build roads and settlements.
There is truly endless potential for fun, and it’s a great way to spend quality time with the family. It’s a bit of a longer game with the average play time around 60 minutes, and you’ll need 3 to 4 players.
Grab your friends and family for an afternoon of adventure on the island of Catan!
SIMCITY BUT A BOARD GAME
I often describe Suburbia as the board game version of SimCity. Building the city of your dreams is easy and fun with this board game.
Whether you want to play on your own or with friends, you can start building and creating one tile at a time. It’s a great way to spend time offline, and you can stop and start your game whenever it suits you (as long as you have the table space to leave it out.
There are plenty of options for customizing your dream city with this game – the possibilities are endless!
BUILD AN AVIARY
Wingspan is a bird collecting game that’s similar to Terraforming Mars and comes highly rated. It’s a great competitive, card-driven engine-building game that you can easily pack and go solo. If you’re a bird enthusiast, then this will be one of your go-to games.
Your goal is to seek and discover the best birds to attract to your wildlife preserve. The game also encourages strategic planning as you build up your network of birds by discovering new species with unique abilities.
Scythe takes you back to 1920s Europa.
In this alternative history board game, you have the chance to lead your faction to victory as you spend your board game time farming and waging war. Innovation is key as you explore the factory, building from the ashes and working the land.
With cunning strategy and a bit of luck, you can be victorious in leading your faction to glory!
PLAY WITH A GALACTIC CIVILIZATION
Race for the Galaxy is a card game for 2 to 4 players.
It’s a game of galactic civilization, where players build their own civilizations by playing cards that represent worlds, technical and social development. It comes highly recommended, but it is unfortunately not suitable for colourblind players.
There is a significant learning curve to this game which is similar to Settlers of Catan, so you may have a but of a challenge ahead of you. Nonetheless, it presents an engaging and immersive experience for those who are able to play it.
EXPLORE THE WORLD
If you LOVE board games like Terraforming Mars, 7 Wonders is another game for you. It’s a fast-paced civilization building game that is easy to learn, though some do describe there being a learning curve (play at your own risk!).
Many people compare it to Ticket To Ride and highly recommend it as a great strategy game. With this game, you’ll be able to build your own power and gain control of your civilization.
QUICK PLAY FAMILY FRIENDLY
7. Imperial Settlers
Players: 1 to 4 players
Est. Time: 45 to 90 minutes
Imperial Settlers is a game that’s easy to learn and fun to play.
This game is easy to learn and great for playing with family, but it’s also perfectly suited for those travelling solo. You choose your empire and build something great as you explore engine building and different strategies.
It only takes 10 minutes to learn the game, making it an excellent quality game that is highly recommended. With a variety of strategies available, this game will keep you entertained for hours.
8. Great Western Trail
Players: 1 to 4 players
Est. Time: 75 to 150 minutes
You’re a rancher in the early 19th Century America in the Great Western Trail. You can play this board game to herd your cattle from Texas to Kansas.
Hiring craftsmen and cowboys is just one of the many challenges along the way. For those looking for a travel-friendly twist, an updated version of Great Western Trail is now available with a solo mode as well.
9. Underwater Cities
Players: 1 to 4 players
Est. Time: 90 to 120 minutes
If you love world building, Underwater Cities is for you.
Your goal is to save the world from overpopulating by establishing a new home on the ocean floor. In this strategy game that mirrors Terraforming Mars, you get a chance to build an underground nation.
Most players who jump on board this strategy game absolutely love it. You can play it solo or with 3 of your best buds.
10. Century Spice Road
Players: 2 to 4 players
Est. Time: 30 to 45 minutes
If you’re looking to dig deeper into centuries old trading systems, then Century Spice Road is a game for you.
Century Spice Road is a stand alone board game that is easy to learn and provides a great gaming experience. However, there are also combinable expansions for those who want more challenge.
Players take on the role of caravan leaders travelling the famed Silk Road, earning points by delivering spices. What makes this game deceptively easy is that it’s a shorter strategy game.
THE CLASSIC PICK
Risk is the classic world-building strategy game.
It’s a board game focused on global domination, allowing players to battle it out for control of territories. It is a complex game that can be as detailed as you want to make it, perfect for those who have their sights set on world domination.
Lots of people love playing Risk and it’s definitely a heavy hitter in any gaming collection.
Mage Knight hits on the fantasy a bit harder than some of our other picks, but it his high ratings from its die-hard fans.
It’s a critically acclaimed game with a big learning curve — so be ready. But there’s so much to do, which makes it ideal for solo play if you want some non-computer time.
This engaging deck builder takes longer the more players you add, so be prepared!
BUILD A WORLD
Build cities, towns, and entire world in Mosaic.
Similarly to Terraforming Mars, you’re building a civilization in this game.
What makes it great is that it’s an open-ended experience, so each game is different.
Playtime is roughly 2 hours, and while there is technically a solo version, you need to have an original kickstarter to get the instructions.
BUILD A GALACTIC SPACE OPERA
If you’re looking for something you can play all day long, Twilight Imperium is for you.
This sci-fi strategy board game has a LONG play time and a ton of pieces (as in, over 1,000).
You essentially create your own galactic space opera in a massive thrilling and competitive game.
Grab your 2 to 5 closest friends and get into this game of galactic conquest.
GET YOUR PIRATE ON
Wage war against other pirates in this fast-paced strategy game. Plunder is a modern-classic that lets you wage war in the ocean against your closet family and friends.
This strategy game is perfect for swashbuckelers looking for a thematic pirate game.
It’s easy to learn, highly replayable and comes recommended by big names in the board game community.
Whether you have an adult friends group or want to have a family game night, it’ll be a fun experience for you.
VISIT THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
You’ll find yourself lost in the Industrial Revolution in Brass: Birmingham.
This game takes playing during England’s Industrial Revolution — between 1770 and 1870.
This is a heavy game and might not be for you if you’re not into board games, but those who love ‘em thoroughly enjoy it.
It’s a great gaming experience with some seriously beautiful artwork.
If you’re looking for a little underwater adventure, you’ll find it in Aquatica.
This game is like an underwater version of Terraforming Mars (I know, another one). But it’s easy-to-learn and fun for everyone.
The basics are pretty easy, but it can take you a whole to get a hang of the strategy to win it.
Take the opportunity to recruit new characters, capture or buy locations, and complete goals, al while building a dream underwater kingdom.
DISCOVER A LAND
18. Discover: Lands Unknown
Players: 1 to 4 players
Est. Time: 30 minutes to 3 hours
For the explorer in you, there’s Discover: Lands Unknown.
What makes this game unique is that there are different copies and no two games are the exact same.
I’ll admit it’s a complicated game to set up, and you’ll want to be prepared for a few hours of long gameplay.
But overall, it’s a ton of fun that can entertain you and your closets friends.
BUILD A GARDEN
For a little bit of a different experience, there’s Arboretum.
Your goal? Build thee most beautiful garden you can.
It comes highly recommended and come with cards that feature some pretty impressive artwork.
This is a quick, strategic card game with simple rules that’s easy to learn and play.
While some do report there being a bit of a learning curve, I think it’s a great way to pass the afternoon.
MANAGE YOUR RESOURCES
For something a little more fun and unique, there’s Everdell.
It’s a worker placement game that’s simple to learn and often compared to Terraforming Mars.
This resource management game is described as having stunning artwork and being a lot of fun to play.
BUILD A ZOO
Lastly, if you love “starting over”, you’ll love putting together a roster on Ark Nova.
It’s a fun zoo conservation game that allows you to build a zoo the way you want with over 250 unique cards. It has smooth and fast gameplay, and overall this strategy game well designed,
However, some players report that the instructions aren’t well-designed, which makes the game a little bit hard to learn.
What is Terraforming Mars?
Terraforming Mars is a great choice for total beginners. It provides a longer game time (which can be a pro or con, depending on your players), and is a TON of fun.
You are a corporation in the year 2,400, helping to prepare mars as an eventual home. Your goal is to contribute to the overall health of the planet by building parks, cities, placing oceans, increasing the temperature and oxygen.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite solo board games, I’ve spend manya power outages enjoying it. If you’re a wanna-be space explorer, it’s the perfect game for you.
Players: 1 to 5
Est. Time: 120+ minutes
Final thoughts: Games like Terraforming Mars
Board games like Terraforming Mars can provide hours of fun and entertainment for friends and family. They are a great way to pass the time, give your brain a workout, and have some friendly competition with those you love.
Grab one of these awesome strategy games, explore new worlds, build skills, and create interesting strategies to win. Not only do they encourage social interaction, but board games can be used to bring out the best in players, whether it’s teamwork or creativity.