TCK Roleplaying

Mars Colony Book Cover

Mars Colony is political science fiction with a great core of humanity and personal player input.”

— Ron Edwards, author of Sorcerer and S/Lay w/Me

Mars Colony

Mars Colony is available as a full-color softcover book and PDF. The PDF is $8. The book is $12 + s/h. The book plus PDF are available together for just $15 + s/h. PDFs are delivered via email, generally within 24 hours.

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Political power and an isolated populace? Scandal never seemed so appealing.

The colony was created by a coalition of Earth governments that advertised the project as a multi-national utopia. Now, after years of incompetence and disaster, the colony is dying. You have been nominated to turn things around. While you were a celebrated expert on Earth, Mars is a different environment entirely. Good luck…

Mars Colony is a roleplaying game designed specifically for two players. One will take on the role of the colony’s appointed “savior,” while the other will be responsible for all the various problems that are plaguing the citizens of Mars. As the game progresses, the savior will face a constant struggle between competence and failure, honesty and deception. It is a game custom built to explore the cult-of-personality present in modern-day politics, but playable in the time it takes to watch a long movie.

Mars Colony was a runner-up for the 2010 Indie RPG of the Year! You can also check out the sequel, Mars Colony: 39 Dark, available now.

This is a photograph of an actual sunset on Mars. I’ll never get over this shot. Thank you, NASA.

Learn About Mars Colony

Here’s what David Gordon of The Cardboard Republic had to say about the game:

It plays fast, cuts close to the bone, and guides players through the challenges and empowered disenfranchisement of being the person in charge. Mars Colony is a game that never loses sight of the idealism of science fiction, even from the crushing depths of compromise and failure that abounds in politics.

Read his entire review, “You Should Be Playing Mars Colony,” for an overview of the game’s premise and mechanics.

For another look at the game, and especially its push-your-luck roots, read Lowell Kempf’s concise review: “Using Can’t Stop as the basis for a role-playing game. Seriously. And it’s good!

For a quick introduction to the game, check out the Mars Colony book sample.

You can watch Pete Figtree interview me in a video session called “Mars Colony 101,” which covers a lot of the game’s basics.

You can also take a look at some of the amazing photographs included in the book that were taken by NASA during the Mars rover and orbiter missions:

A Crater on Mars Mountainous terrain on Mars

But the best way to learn about the game is to read other people’s actual play experiences:

Finally, you can email me with any questions or comments (tim “at” tckroleplaying “dot” com).

Player Aids & Resources

Character Worksheet
Keep track of Kelly Perkin’s reputation and progress towards stabalizing the colony.
Organization Map
Create the four major political parties and organizations on Mars.
Variations (or “This Game is Too Hard”)
Kelly Perkins does not have an easy job. Saving Mars Colony from destruction is hard work. If you prefer a gentler game, you may want to try one of these two game variations.
Design Notes: From Ashcan to Final Release
If you purchased the Ashcan version of Mars Colony, this document will tell you what has changed and why.

Praise for Mars Colony:

“I’m immensely pleased at how the system continually teased relevant and punchy content from the players. Once play began, I was never worried about what was coming next. Playing Mars Colony isn’t just an exercise in passing time; the game grabs you by your politics and forces you to lay them bare with your partner.”
— Darcy Burgess, author of Black Cadillacs