Mars Rules!



For those of you that wanted to know a bit more about how the game works, here is a taste:

Mars Attacks beta rules.

The introductory scenario is included to get you started and give you a flavour of what’s to come. This is just a start though. There’s loads of heroes, extra cards and new troops (and saucers and bugs) to add as we go on.

A gameplay video will be posted on the Kickstarter on monday.

Any questions, just comment below 🙂




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24 Responses to Mars Rules!

  1. Mike Harsch says:

    Jake, What are the odds we are going to see some parameters about force selection and unit construction for the game, and how that fits in the scenarios as well?.. IE currently you can get 3 saucers or 1 saucer.. do I need 3 or will 1 get it done 90% of the time.. we need to know how this applies to the game to make decisions about how to spend funds, and or how much extra funds we might need.. do I need 30 US Army guys or is the 9 in the box enough?


    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hi Mike. At present the plan is to focus mostly on set scenarios so they can be closely balanced. The mix of forces will be part of the overall story arc, and the obvious thing to do is to showcase one or two types in each scenario. I’ve got to have a chat with the Mantic guys about what I can include in the scenarios and in some respects this needs to wait till the final contents has been locked down (at the end of the KS). You really want the scenarios that come in the box to include all the contents at some stage, possibly all at once in a finale. As to expansion things such as saucers, once you go beyond the box contents then you’re much less restricted. By that I mean you can just make the coolest scenarios, and if they need 3 saucers then that’s what they need.So in principle, you’ll need the box contents to play the first set of scenarios, and rather more to make use of all of the extra ones.

      I’ll be able to tell you more detail once we’ve got more of the KS under our belts.

      • Mike Harsch says:

        Hi Jake,
        Thanks for getting back to me.

        We as consumers have no clue what we are buying into. The point of the single saucer or buy three is still valid, even more so.. I respect the classic building complexity missions in the core rule book, with the final mission using all the assets in the final game box.. those kinds of games hardly have open ended add on purchases.

        I see this as one of two paths
        1) Fixed game, fixed expansions, fixed missions. No point system for build your own force selection.

        2) Fixed Box, add on expansion, add on single models. Some predesigned missions, and balanced point system models that make for open ended play, random scenario generator etc..

        Right now it seems like Mantic’s KS is blending both, and I am not sure it benefits anyone but Mantic. Some of the models come with a mission? Does the mission assume you only have the base set and the single model involved.. that seems hardly robust.. here’s the base game plus a single add on only… yawn..

        It is an idealistic hope that random gamers can agree to a scenario that is made up by another random game with out the game company having at least established some kind of baseline (IE points).. I have gamed in a few countries for more then a couple decades, gamers are gamers.. and unless you are just screwing around with friends, or at an organized venue the make your own scenarios stuff seldom flys.

        In my opinion; from what I have seen so far, if this game doesn’t have at it’s core a point system, the way that it is being sold / marketed on KS is horrible.. My only experience with Mantic is Dreadball which I backed everything, and have been very pleased with (although I am still awaiting my 3rd season stuff). The add on system made sense, MVPs whole teams, seasons the works.. This just seems like a mess..

        Currently I am sitting at the 300$ level, but I must confess I am thinking hard of pulling out.. it is not the sum of $ but my above concerns.. I know you are not mantic Jake, however I know you designed the system.. So please at least share the general strategy if you can without compromising the secret stuff in the KS.. IE please sell me on this..


        • Vinsssounet says:

          Yep. If there’s one mistake to be avoided, it’s to throw Stretch Goals add-ons that serve no clear purpose.
          Zombicide did exactly that, with trays of zombies that completely transform the game balance, and extra special Zombies sometimes in direct contradiction with the rules, like an extra Abomination… a zombie that can only be present once on a map.
          Result : there are miniatures you simply don’t use. They were just additional options for the sake of it. Under the explanation “it’s your game, do what you want with it”.

          I’m not saying 3 saucers are useless. I’d just like to know why they would be useful !

          And I’m on the same fence than Mike : I only hope to be convinced =)

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’ll explore this a bit more in a post, but for now I think there is a simple solution to your problem: do both.

          The game and any expansions will include a load of story driven scenarios that can be played in sequence to tell the sorry tale of poor old Greenville as it gets invaded by the Martians. However, as you rightly point out, this means that we either make the pool of models we draw from in writing the scenarios overly restrictive, or risk requiring gamers to have an unreasonably huge stock to draw from. Neither is a good plan.

          The answer is to write the best and most characterful set of scenarios we can, and then include a points value for the models involved as well. This means that anyone who hasn’t got the specified models can substitute models they do have for the missing ones and still play through the scenario without it being horribly unbalanced. There may be a few which require a specific thing, but most of the models in any given scenario should be interchangeable.

          What this means for you guys is that you don’t need to worry about the detail so much. You can get whatever looks cool to you and collect your own idea of a balanced and fun army.

          Personally, I like the saucers and think that the game is fast and destructive enough to work as a multi-mat (possibly multi-player) battle. That’s what I can see us playing down the club next year. At home I’m more likely to play smaller battles. Overall, having a variety of troop types will allow me to get more replay value out of the game, so that’s what I’d aim for. Of course, like many gamers, I’m a bit of a magpie, so I’d always want a variety anyway. Depending on how bad your affliction is you may be able to escape with less 😉

  2. David Smith says:

    Being a little picky here, but for the VP’s there is no point in saying that both the martians and humans ignore the first casualty caused, as the same rule applies to both and makes no difference to the outcome.

  3. MM says:

    Hello Jake,
    I’m a little confused about some support cards: when I read “Collect up to X” it means that there must be X cards played in front of me before being able to trigger the effect? (and after it’s triggered all X cards in the set are consumed)
    I’m just confused by the “up to” it make it seem that the number of cards is variable up to a given value instead that a set is composed by a fixed amount of cards equal to X

    • Quirkworthy says:

      “Up to X” means that the number given is the maximum number that has an effect. For example, if you look at Artillery Strike there is a different effect of having 1, 2 or 3 cards in the set in front of you. One card on its own does nothing. Although you could use 2 cards, you can alternatively choose to collect “up to 3” and thereby have the greater effect. You could choose to play them when you have 2 or wait till you have 3. Once you’ve got 3 then you can’t add a fourth – instead you can start a new set. The first set of 3 would be ready to be used when you need it.

      So, a set is variable in size. In the case of Artillery Strikes both sets of 2 and sets of 3 do things. The skill is in deciding whether to use the set of 2 for the lesser effect, or save them to use as a set of 3.

      Does that explain it more clearly?

      • MM says:

        yup, much more clear now
        for some reasons I also assumed that it wasn’t possible to have multiple sets of the same card in play 😉

      • Gritchy says:

        Does activation of the set use up an “activation” in your turn?
        To clarify: In a turn, you can act with two models or act with one model + play a card, etc. Would “act with one model + launch an Artillery Strike (ie. blow up people)” be an example of a turn, or is the activation of the Artillery Strike-set separate from the turn. This also leads to the question of when exactly can I activate the Artillery Strike-set.

        (I am assuming here that playing an Artillery Strike card in front of you, without actually blasting someone with it, uses up part of your turn because that’s what it looked like in the gameplay video.)

  4. Hello, played 3 games over the weekend and really enjoyed the game, fast paced and fun. one situation came into play that seemed a bit overpowered. A model performed a ‘shoot and move’ shooting at one model, moving and fighting another model and then playing a ‘sneak/alien cunning’ card to make another move and another fight action (both with the extra dice buff for moving into combat). In total the one model was able to engage the enemy 3 times in a single turn with no possibility of death as hand to hand combat is one sided. Also the model (if the enemy isnt killed) is then invulnerable to being targeted by ranged weaponry. In light of this I have 3 questions

    1 – What do you think of the current fight action as a one way attack (no attack back from the defender)
    2 – Is Shoot then move(fight with move buff) a balanced action in terms of the game.
    3 – Is the sneak/alien cunning card balanced in allowing the extra fight action in addition to the extra move?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hi Jason, thanks for the feedback.

      1. They aren’t. The target can choose to Fight back, and if they win then they damage their attacker. One of the items on my “to do” list was add an example here to clarify this point as it’s easy to miss.
      2. I think so. It’s powerful, but doesn’t happen a lot and is only possible when the model starts their action in an adjacent square to their opponents. people only get into this situation when someone has been careless, been clever, or in the middle of a swirling melee. I think penalising mistakes is OK in games, as is rewarding skilled play. And when I say it doesn’t happen much I’d say that it doesn’t happen in the majority of games I’ve seen.
      3. The alternative is to have an exception where it becomes a second type of movement which does not allow move into enemy squares, and I think the fiddliness of this is worse than the potential potency. Again. it rewards skilled play, which I’m all for.

      • 1 – Ahh that makes alot more sense. We took it (incorrectly) that the defender using the fight skill was just using a better ‘defence’ than when they are rattled and only get to use their survival. Having the Fight being an opposed roll where either side could win is great.
        2. I think with the clarification to 1 this concern become alot less.
        3. Similar to 2 but it could still be powerful depending on the stats for future models and whether there are some HTH combat monsters in the pipeline.

        Thanks for the clarification!

        • Quirkworthy says:

          3. Possibly, but then if it’s only really an issue with those specific models then it just has to be factored into the way they work and the points they cost.

  5. Another thing that came up was the deployment of counters. In 2 of our games there were an uneven amount of VP tokens (5 vs 3) which gave one side a significant advantage especially when you consider if the humans have only 3 objectives (2VP max) then they need to kill all 5 aliens or kill at least 1 in a Fight for the extra vp (to get to 8 VP). Combining this uneven VP spread with the randomness of deploying the tokens (strangely enough both games that one side had 5 tokens the majority of tokens were in their half of the board) meant that the token deployment and randomness gave a significant advantage to one side of the other.

    Now I can certainly see that MA is a fun lighthearted game and myself and my opponent both agreed that we can live with that extra imposed difficulty as a challenge of the game or possibly extra difficulty of the scenario’s randomness but I thought it worth mentioning as it might be perceived as poor scenario design especially if that scenario was a demo scenario meant to introduce new players and I could certainly forsee some players observing that randomness and possibly being turned off by the game.

    Anyways, just an observation of 3 games 🙂

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Indeed. Randomness sometimes makes things lopsided. Oddly, the original version was placing 8 from a set of 8 so that it was always even numbers and only the positions changed. It was changed as a result of playtest feedback who felt it would be more fun if it was more random.

      I’ve been considering adding a commentary box that suggests reverting to the original rule if people think it too unbalancing. Even in that situation the placing is random, but at least the numbers available will match.

      Thanks again.

  6. jason says:

    Just wondering if i’m following the activation rules correctly…

    If, on a turn, i activate a model to move and shoot with my first action and i want to play a Human Ingenuity card on that model, it will require my second action to play that card, correct? And the othe player may play a Tough Little Suckers card for the target without suffering the loss of an action, correct?

    It follows then, if on a turn, i activate a model to move and shoot with my first action, then activate a second model to move and shoot with my second action, i would not be able to play a Human Ingenuity card on the second model because there are no available actions? However, the other player may play a Tough Little Sucker card for either or both of the targets because he does not have to spend actions to play them, correct?

    In essence, cards played by the attacking player require actions, but cards played by the target of attacks do not?

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