Million to Mars
A Game of Politics and Trade
You will want to come to the game with possible strategic ideas in mind and have a good understanding of the objectives and game mechanics. This game introduces new game mechanics in trade regarding exports and imports, cybersecurity and hacking, stock market investing, terraforming, operating costs, energy production and consumption, manufacturing, nation vulnerabilities, and mining in both the ocean and space.
As well, it introduces a new team, Alpha Enterprises, and several new game objects including airports, artificially intelligent military hardware, train stations and trains, ocean trading tubes and more...
Read below to prepare yourself and come to the first game day ready colonize Mars and solve the crises on Earth. In particular, think strategically about what items you choose to load on the Pioneer and Establishment missions heading to Mars. Making a critical mistake in the pre-planning phases of the game could sink your colony...
New Game Mechanics
Trade plays a central role in the game. You will need to plan for, and manage, your import and export requirements for your nation. There are an assortment of 64 goods and commodities being trading in the international market place on Earth as well as between the colonies on Mars. One of the key factors to consider in planning your strategy for success is to take into account the costs, transport time, and carrying capacity of the 3 modes of cargo transport: ocean trading tubes, container ships, and cargo planes.
Banking and Investments
The World Bank (WB) makes loans, creates financial instruments, audits countries, and manages the investment performance portfolios (IPP) of each country. Countries can invest in their own stock market or the stock market of other countries, and attempt to earn a rate of return on their investments. At the end of each game day, the WB determines the Rate of Return(ROR) for each country’s stock market by using the World Bank Guidelines for calculating the Rate of Return Table. After learning of their performance in that days stock market, a country can then decide what to do with this money: reinvest or take out the money, which is indicated by entry into the revenue section of their Revenue and Expenses sheet.
To develop a master hacker requires 3 successful hacks upon installations, factories, plants, or AI hardware of another nation, Earth or Mars- hackers on Earth can remotely hack on Mars. For each Master Hacker the other nation has, their defense against your attack goes up by dropping your success percentage 1 level. (e.g. you are an Expert hacker but your opponent has 2 Master hackers, you will hack at the Beginner level).
To acquire a hacker, a university is needed, where they will get a bachelors degree in cyber security. Each game day, for each university you have, 1 hacker is produced, up to a maximum of 4 hackers per day.
Hackers engage in both defensive and offensive duties. The higher your character class(expertise), the easier it is for you to hack. As well, with each new Master Hacker you acquire, the greater is your nation’s cyber security defenses, which allows you to better defend against hackers.
Hacking the Military Command and Control
To successfully cyber hack another MCC, their cyber defense net must be neutralized (hacked or destroyed) 1/3 of the way (1/3 of all existing cyber defense net towers) and the MCC hacked (4/5 coin toss with 1 master hacker; 2/3 with 2 master hackers, 1/3 with 3 master hackers). Successfully hacking an MCC gives you access to that nations CVT and prevents that nation from using their military for 1GD.
On Mars, there is no MCC, however, in order to hack something, you must first neutralize their cyber defense net (hacked or destroyed) 1/3 of the way (1/3 of all existing cyber defense net towers). Items you hack on Mars are inoperable for 1GD.
Central Cyber Unit
The Central Cyber Unit (CCU) is ground zero for a nations offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. When a countries number of cyber defense net towers drops below 1/2 of their largest size net yet achieved in the game, outside hackers can take it take with a successful hack and render that countries cyber capabilities incapacitated for 2 game days. To successfully cyber hack a CCU (3/5 coin toss with 1 master hacker; 2/3 with 2 master hackers, 1/3 with 3 master hackers).
Every 12 successful hacks allows you to steal the blueprints of one trade card type of your choosing from your opponent and begin manufacturing it for yourself (but you need to have factory capacity to do so, each manufacturing plant can produce 8 different products). So, in practice, you could produce the required containers worth of products in your required imports list for yourself instead of trading for that item.
On Mars, for every 12 items you hack of another colony, you can steal one blueprint of your choice.
Each country has its vulnerabilities and they are not always known until it’s too late… Prime ministers fall and nations are conquered by them, generals lose sleep over them, and public officials try their best to recognize them and implement measures to shore them up; however, they are always there, vulnerabilities hiding, sometimes in plain site. At other times, there is an Achilles heal that can’t be compensated for and you just pray your enemy doesn’t discover what it is…
No country knows exactly what it takes to conquer another country except for the Weather Goddess and prime minister of that country who can see the Country Vulnerability Tables (CVT) for that country. The CVT are held in the Wg’s possession, and can be revealed to those other country's PM’s that can successfully defeat the cyber defense net and infiltrate the Military Command and Control (MCC) of another country. Before the game begins, your PM should ask the Wg to see your countries CVT.
While defeating the cyber defense net is the surest way to obtain the CVT perhaps there are other ways… a spy, a bribe, or…?
Country Vulnerability Tables (CVT)
The items in the CVT must first be neutralized in order to conquer a country, including the cities and the capital: cities require 5 hits and the capital 10 hits (you must neutralize all cities and CVT items before you can take down the capital). Remember, to complete your take over, you must have at least 1000 troops inside the country’s territory.
:With the Achilleas Heal Item (AHI) eliminated, an attacking nation can bypass the requirement of defeating the cities first and can begin immediately attacking the capital after neutralizing the CVT items which are reduced by 1/2. In other words, a nation can now be conquered by eliminating just half of the normally required CVT items, cities are by-passed and capitals hp is reduced to 5 hits (i.e. no need to eliminate cities before attacking the capital). Remember, to complete your take over, you must have at least 1000 troops inside the country’s territory.
Two decades ago the first human settlement on Mars was established by a private company, Alpha Enterprises. The visionary CEO, Efron Dusk, and his settlement of employees, have been living on Mars for 12 years now. It was their pioneering spirit that was instrumental in developing many of the technologies and foundational understandings of what it would take to support large numbers of humans sustainably on Mars. AE is the sole manufacturer and vendor of military hardware on Mars and Earth. Their main businesses on Mars are mining for precious ores, research in terraforming, selling military hardwares, and selling manufacturing blueprints- AE holds several infrastructure manufacturing patents that must be purchased from them if your colony wishes to produce them in your manufacturing facility (refer to the Manufacturing, Operating, and Electros Costs Table). AE is not willing to sell AI military blueprints so you will have to purchase them directly from AE.
Alpha Enterprises is demanding that all future colonies pay them a Founders Fee of $100M/game day. They contend that the technology and know how of Martian habitation and sustainable living is due to their early investments, and this is a way to recover some of those research costs- Alpha Enterprises does have military hardware to enforce their interests! They also claim ownership of all the ice of the Northern polar ice cap and part of the Southern polar ice cap too, which they may consider leasing to you.
Alpha Enterprises is driven by profit and not the altruistic spirit of the International Unified Mars Colonization Treaty, which was created to afford all countries of Earth a new home for their people. As such, colonies will have to deal with Alpha Enterprises presence, including their demands, restrictions, and potential armed conflict. Alpha Enterprises is also the arms supplier back on Earth, as such their finances and power are significant.
Alpha Enterprises (AE) Game Play
A team of students will play the role of the Alpha Enterprises. In effect, they are a “country” team onto themselves. The roles are:
CEO- Chief Executive Officer Efron Dusk
CFO- Chief Financial Officer
COO- Chief Operating Officer
CTC- Chief Trade and Commerce Officer
The team of AE will be managing both the Earth based arms dealer store and the AE operations on Mars.
AE operations on Mars
Alpha Enterprises won the contract to build out a colony for Paradise Island on Mars. As such, AE will need to create a functional colony in its north polar region of Mars that can house up to 250,000 colonists from Paradise Island. The colonists will arrive at the start of GD3. So, in essence, AE is creating a 5th colony under the same conditions and requirements as the other colonies except that they do not have to worry about buying AE blueprints, of course.
United Nations and Paradise Island
The various ethnic groups on Paradise Island (Kajaz, Secret Empire, Krell) are each represented by one member of the UN. The Secretary General will assign the roles. Paradise Island is in essence a 5th country in this version of the game. The UN members will run the country just like any other country with some important differences: Paradise Island can not have a military, they can only make money off their existing inventory as described in the crisis document (no purchasing factories etc.), can not be connected to Ocean Trading Tubes, all trade by air or sea are next day delivery.
The UN representatives of the ethnic groups must each play their role keeping the best interest of their ethnic group in mind as stated in the crisis document.
In some instances, such as determining mining discoveries or cyber hacking, you will roll multisided dice. Each team is given a set of dice including a d20 (20 sided die), d12, d10, d8, d6, d4.
The Weather Goddess will still flip the coin in many instances just as before in the original game but this new game mechanic of using dice in some probability determination is to help speed up game play.
Asteroid and Ocean Floor Mining
Mining the ocean floor is a matter of discovery, and success is not guaranteed. The Weather Goddess hold a secret table that indicates which cells on the ocean floor actually contain minerals, not all cells do. If you do select a cell with minerals, you will flip a coin (1/1) to determine if you were successful. If so, the Wg will roll a 12d to determine your find. Ocean mining ships can remain in their mining location for 3 GD, and that point they must move on to find a new location and that location is now considered mined out for everyone for the rest of the game. No mining of the Lost City is allowed while the pirates and Leviathan control it. Mining the Lost City reduces the World Bank’s $ holdings and threatens the world economy.
To mine an asteroid, you must move one of your asteroid mining ships onto the top of the asteroid. The Wg will flip a coin (1/1) to determine if you were successful. If so, the country will roll a 12d to determine your find. You may only mine an asteroid for 1 turn before you must then move your mining ship to another asteroid. A single asteroid mining ship can only mine each asteroid once in the game.
After the game, you will complete the assessment rubrics. You can open the two windows side by side for convenience: the rubrics and the Google form where you will enter your responses. Click here to download the rubrics .pdf. Click here to open the Google form. Alternatively, you can use the embedded documents below, whichever you find easier and works best for you.