Mars Colony

The Mars Colony is dying, torn apart by environmental hazards, shoddy infrastructure, and social unrest. You, Kelly Perkins, have been nominated to turn things around.

Mars Colony is a roleplaying game designed specifically for two players. One will take on the role of Kelly Perkins, 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.

To play, you will need:
• 9 small tokens (preferably “Martian Red” in color)
• 2 six-sided dice (also red)
• 6 small index cards
• A copy of the Political Party List, Organization Map, and Character Worksheet (all included)
• A pencil for each player


S T A G E 1
The active player names an appropriate scene type of his choice. He begins by describing the setting, the characters present, and the initial situation.

S T A G E 2
If the scene-type is Personal or Opposition, the players collaborate to describe how the scene unfolds. Generally, the Savior narrates for Kelly Perkins, and the Governor narrates for all other characters. The players may narrate in the first or third person. If a conflict arises, the players reach an agreement about how the conflict is resolved. If the scene has served its purpose in the story, the players end the scene.

Any time the players introduce a new character from one of the four major Organizations, they choose a political party for that character and record it on the Map. Players should try to introduce characters listed on the Map, but may also invent new characters when appropriate. If a player needs inspiration, he may introduce a fictional element derived from one of the face-up Fear Cards. When the players agree, they may turn over a new Fear Card. Older Fear Cards remain on the table throughout the game.

If the scene-type is Progress, then Stage 2 follows an expanded path, described in the next chapter. The Savior will roll dice. Kelly will be tested. Mars Colony will begin to stabilize or sink deeper into chaos.

S T A G E 3
The scene ends. The active player becomes the inactive player. Another round begins with a new scene at Stage 1. Scenes do not have to follow one another chronologically. The players may frame flashbacks or jump ahead in time. They should choose to frame whatever is most powerful in the context of the story. The players repeat Stages 1–3 until they have completed nine Progress Scenes, or until there are five tokens in the Contempt circle and the people of Mars Colony prematurely remove Kelly Perkins from office. The more Kelly is able to accomplish during her time as consultant, the more likely Mars Colony is to succeed.

Tim Koppang
Game Type: 
Roleplaying Game
Collaborative Story
2 - Focus/Imagination


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