The Red Planet has been a trendy topic worldwide for the last couple of years. Space X even launched project Mars & Beyond. They portray how ambitious, adventurous we are; especially in finding a new home.
Speaking of terraforming Mars, board game is also not an exception. There have been so many games on the market that are related to this topic. However, most of them have one minor problems: a huge learning curve for kids. I recalled that when I was a kid, I love Astronomy. I enjoyed the experience of seeing Earth, seeing the shooting stars and all the planets in the solar system. However, with board games as Terraforming Mars, On Mars, Mission to the Red Planet, they have such a huge learning curve for young scientists. Fortunately, the creator of Coder Bunnyz created a more kid-friendly to us. It is CoderMarz.
The concept of the game is very simple. Each player will take a color of their choice and control an astronaut of that matching color. Then you will have to collect one resource of each type. After gathering everything, you will have to deliver them to the house matching your color. That is the high-level overview of the objective.
In CoderMarz, there are three different levels. In each level, there are two more mode: basic and advanced. Regardless of what level you play, the gameplay remains the same. In your turn, you always roll the die. The result of the die indicates the number of cards you can draw and use for this turn. You must use all the cards.
In the first level, players only have access to the basic movement cards. These cards will help players to move their astronaut around. They will also use these cards to pick up the resources and bring them home. The second level introduces a new concept to the game: power cards. With these power cards, players can active them to have an advantage in their active turn. Finally, the last one is the Exploration Full Throttle level. In this mode, players will need to collect two extra mineral tokens besides the resources. Players will place these tokens at the spot, depending on the locations from their drawn cards.
However, the real game starts in the advance mode. There will be one advance mode in each level. It does not change much, besides the fact the that players can access to the advanced cards now. These cards introduce players to the basic concept of programming, such as loop, condition, and functions. In the turn, players can draw one card from the advance deck to use. The rest has to be from the basic advance deck. The interesting thing is, they can use the cards in any desired order.
There are so many things that I like from this game. First, it is the production quality. The meeples are solid and printed. They are really stand out. In addition to that, the tokens are very durable, which can last for lots of plays.
Another thing I like from this game is how accessible it is. The game is very simple for players at all age and experience. You don’t have to be a hard-core gamer to learn and play the game. Thanks to different game levels with different difficulty, players can select the one they are most comfortable with. The more they play, the more comfortable they will be with the game and the code. Moreover, the designer put a lot of thoughts in making the rulebook. It comes with lots of explanation, as well as detailed instructions. These are very helpful in helping players on board with the game. Moreover, the game play is relatively short. A 4-player game won’t last more than an hour. In addition to that, each turn is quick as well. Players will have at most three actions to perform in their turn.
Besides the accessible gameplay, CoderMarz is excellent at introducing the players to simple coding or programing concept. I really like the separation between the basic and advanced deck. This prevents new players from being overwhelmed with all the new concepts. Moreover, these advanced cards offer players more interesting choices each turn. Based on the card they draw; players must figure out the most optimal way to make use of the card. This pushes players to be out of their comfort zone. They need to play the cards in the right order to get the most out of it.
CoderMarz was a real surprise for our gaming group. Thanks to its simple rules and concepts, we can introduce the game to a lot of different groups. Moreover, with a lot of facts about Mars, this game will also provide lots of educational value to the junior scientists as well.
You can purchase a copy of CoderMarz at this link
If you can’t find me at the table coding, then you can find me at another table playing boardgames. I want to share the fun, the intense, the `ah-ha` moments, the sabotage, the nerve wracking experience … that Boardgames can offer to the community.