- 35 Project cards
- 5 Building cards
- 4 Spaceship cards
- 28 Colonist markers
- 4 Energy markers
- 4 Reference cards
- 1 Starting player card
Object of the Game
The main objective in Pocket Mars is to settle Mars with your colonists. Players will undertake projects to send their colonists to Mars, where they will work in pre-established buildings to improve and upgrade the colony, as well as build new constructions that will allow the colony to prosper.
The player who best allocates their colonists will score the most points and be victorious.
Each player chooses a color, and takes the Spaceship card
1and the 7 colonists in that color. Each player places their Spaceship card on the table in front of them.
Each player places 1 of their colonists on their Spaceship
2and then places their remaining 6 colonists in a common pool on the Earth Card in the center of the play area 3(henceforth referred to as "Earth"), together with the other players' remaining colonists.
Each player places 1 energy marker on the starting level space of the energy track on their Spaceship
Place the 5 Building cards face-up in a row, next to each other, in any order. (Leave enough table space beneath them
5for Project cards to be placed later in the game).
Shuffle the 35 Project cards together to form a single deck, and deal 4 Project cards face-down to each player. Place the remaining deck face-down within easy reach of the players, leaving space beside it for a discard pile
Variant: Experienced players may wish to use the Drafting rules described at the end of these rules.
Each player secretly picks 2 of their 4 Project cards and places their chosen cards face-down (side by side) in front of them in their personal tableau. This is called the player's prep module
7. The remaining 2 Project cards remain in the player's hand 8.
Note: A player may inspect the cards in their prep module at any time during the game.
Choose the starting player at random. The starting player receives the starting player card
9and begins the first round.
Colonists: The wooden bits shaped Like an astronaut helmet. Represented on rules and cards with or , these symbols have identical meaning and vary only for visual ease on different backgrounds.
SPACESHIP [Pic.2]: The card on which a player wiLL place their colonists when instructed to Launch from Earth
1. From there, colonists wiLL go to Buildings on Mars. Additionally, each player must keep track of the energy Level of their Spaceship 2.
Launch: This keyword appears on many cards. When a card tells you to "Launch 1 from Earth" It means "move 1 colonist from Earth to your spaceship card".
Earth: The place where all players' remaining colonists reside [Pic. 1
3]. In the course of the game, players will pick colonists up from Earth and place them on their Spaceship in order to transport them to one of the colony's Buildings.
Prep Module: The 2 Project cards in front of each player, placed next to each other face-down [Pic. 1
7]. These cards are kept secret from the other players, but each player is allowed to inspect the cards in their own prep module at any time.
BUILDINGS [Pic. 3]: There are 5 cards in play called Buildings, and 4 of these Buildings can hold colonists. On these, a space marked ★★ has a Limitation on how many colonists that space can hold
In a 2 player game, it can hold a maximum of 1 colonist. In a 3 or 4 player game, it can hold a maximum of 2 colonists. Each colonist on such a space at the end of the game wiLL earns 4 victory points.
A space marked ★ has no Limit to the number of colonists it can hold, and each colonist there will earn 2 victory points at the end of the game. The fifth Building (colored black) is the Habitation Building, and does not hold colonists.
Each Building has a special ability which may be triggered when a player connects a Project card to it. Additionally, 4 of the Buildings have a value of 3
4, which is referenced when connecting Project cards.
Project cards [Pic. 4]: These are the core elements of the game. Players will use them to Launch colonists from Earth to their Spaceship, and then move colonists from their Spaceship to Mars.
Each Project card has two actions
5 - the top action is triggered when the card is played from a players hand , and the bottom action is triggered when it's played from a prep module .
These cards have a value ranging from 0 to 7 0
6- this value is only used when a card is played from a player's own prep module.
The 4 Card Rule
As the last step in each player's turn, starting with that player and moving clockwise around the table, each player ensures that they have exactly 4 Project cards, consisting of 2 cards in their hand and 2 cards in their prep module. To do so, a player undertakes the following steps in order:
If a player has more than 4 cards in total, they must choose and discard cards from their hand until they have 4.
If a player has fewer than 4 cards in total, they draw cards from the Project deck until they have 4 total cards. (If at any time the Project deck is empty, create a new deck).
If a player has fewer than 2 cards in their prep module, they must choose cards from their hand and place them in their prep module until they have 2 cards in their prep module once more.
At the end of this step, each player must have 2 cards in their hand and 2 in their prep module. Always remember that cards from your hand go to the prep module, but not the other way around.
Once you place a card in your prep module, you can't swap it with another one from your hand. Choose wisely!
If the text of a card contradicts the text of these rules in any way, the text of the card takes precedence.
The game consists of a series of rounds divided into players' turns. Within each round, each player takes one turn, beginning with the starting player and moving clockwise around the table.
In a turn, the active player must perform exactly one of the five available actions. As the last step in each turn, players complete the 4 card rule described earlier.
Once a round has been completed, players check if the endgame condition is met, in which case the game is finished and the winner is determined. Otherwise, proceed to the next round which again commences with the starting player.
In your turn, you must perform one of the five following actions:
- Play a Project card from your hand.
- Play a Project card from your prep module.
- Play a Project card from any other player's prep module.
- Launch 1 from Earth.
- Gain 1 energy by discarding a Project card from your hand or prep module.
A. Play a Project card from your hand
Play a Project card of your choice from your hand and trigger its top action j). Discard that Project card.
Example: Filip plays a Project card with a value of 6, which tells him to 'Draw 2 cards'. He draws 2 Project cards from the Project deck and now has 3 in his hand and 2 in his prep module.
As the last step in his turn, Filip must ensure he has exactly 2 Project cards in his hand and 2 in his prep module. As such, he chooses 1 of the Project cards in his hand and discards it, placing it face-up on the Project discard pile.
B. Play a Project card from your prep module [Pic. 5]:
Play a Project card from your prep module, connecting it to a Building of the same color by placing the Project card face-up beneath that Building.
If there's already a Project card there, place your card on top of it, leaving just the value of the previously played card visible [Pic. 5
1].Then, perform the following steps in order:
Compare your card's value with the value of the card directly underneath it. If your card is the first one connected to a Building, compare its value to the Building value instead.
If your card's value is is higher, you may move 1 of your colonists from your Spaceship onto the Building, placing it on the space marked ★.
Important: The Habitation Building does not have spaces designated for colonists. Ignore this step when you connect a Project card to that Building.
You may trigger the Project card's bottom action . If you can't fulfill the requirements of an action however, you can't trigger it (for example, if you don't have enough energy to pay for the action).
You may trigger the Building's special ability.
These steps are independent of each other, and are resolved separately, but if any or all are resolved, they must be resolved in this specified order; move colonist, execute card effect, execute Building effect.
Remember: If your Project card's value is not higher than the underlying card's value, you may still use the two remaining options.
C. Play a Project card from any other player's prep module
Play a Project card of your choice from another player's prep module. Turn the chosen card face-up and connect it to a Building of the same color, in the same manner as you would if it were from your own prep module. Then perform the following steps in order:
The player who owns the Project card may trigger its bottom action as if they played it from their own prep module. The player needs to meet the conditions required for triggering the action as usual and/or be able to pay any energy cost required by the text on the Project card.
You may use the Building's special ability.
D. Launch 1 from Earth
Launch 1 from Earth and place it on your Spaceship. This action cannot be performed if you have no colonists left on Earth.
E. Gain 1 energy by discarding a Project card from your hand or prep module
Choose and discard 1 of your 4 Project cards. Then, increase your energy level by 1, indicated by moving the energy marker on your Spaceship up 1 space.
This action can be performed if your energy marker is already at the top space of the energy track, but in this case, you would just discard a Project card without gaining energy.
If the Project deck is empty at any time during the game, immediately create a new Project deck.
From the Building sites, take all Project cards that currently lie underneath another Project card, and place them in the discard pile. Then, shuffle the discard pile to form a new Project deck.
Description of Building Abilities
Greenhouse - you may move any colonist belong- ing to any player in a Building of your choosing from a space marked with ★ to a space marked with ★★, or the other way around.
Energy Bank - you may increase your energy level by 1, as indicated by moving your energy marker up 1 space on the energy track on your Spaceship.
Comms Center - you may launch 1 of your front Earth and place it on your Spaceship.
Aqualab - you may choose 1 of your Project cards from your hand or your prep module and place it face- down at the bottom of the Project deck.
Habitation - you may move 1 of your colonists from your Spaceship to a Building of your choice, placing it on the space marked ★ within that Building.
End of the Game
At the end of a round, if at least 1 player has all of their 7 colonists placed in Buildings on Mars, the game ends immediately.
Each player then earns victory points as follows:
- 1 victory point for each colonist on their Spaceship.
- 2 victory points for each colonist on a Building space marked ★.
- 4 victory points for each colonist on a Building space marked ★★.
- 2 victory points for having at least 1 colonist on each of the4 Buildings that can hold colonists.
- 3 victory points for having at least 4 colonists in 1 Building.
The player with the highest energy level earns 1 victory point. In the case of a tie, all tied players earn 1 victory point.
Colonists remaining on Earth earn no victory points. The winner is the player with the most victory points.
In the case of a tie, the tied player with the most colonists on Buildings wins the game. If still tied, the tied players share the win.
Variant: Drafting Project Cards
During setup, each player is dealt 5 cards face-down. Each player chooses 1 of those cards to keep, and passes the remaining cards to the player on their left.
Repeat this process (choosing 1 and passing the remainder) until all players have chosen 4 cards to keep. The remaining cards are shuffled back into the Project deck.
Each player then secretly chooses and places 2 of their 4 kept cards face-down in their prep module, and the other 2 cards form their hand.