Developing "Mining Mars"

  • Nov 9, 2020
  • Posted by David McCord
Post Title

Game In Progress

Strike it Rich on the Red Planet!

It’s been in the works for over a year now. One of those ideas that comes to me in the wee hours on a restless night. I always keep a pad and pencil on the nightstand for just such an occasion, but in this case, I rose from my humble cot and made my way to my drawing board. Sometimes the muse compels me to action.

Even in its earliest form I knew that I wanted a playful look to the game - something “fun for the whole family” and to appeal to the occasional game-player. My collaborators and I had been developing a standard small box for our recent game projects (see the Peg Pastimes series at https://store.redhentoys.com/historical-peg-games-p793.aspx). I knew this was a likely candidate for that package, being a cards-and-cubes game instead of a “board” game.

(Here's a link to the current product page.)

After my solo rounds of testing the mechanisms, I drafted a few of my grandkids to play a couple of rounds. Happily, they agreed “I would play this again.” But there were a few “buts” to be address - like the way the cards worked, and the way the end game didn’t work. The next iteration from the drawing board was good enough to create some “real” prototypes, and another round of “in-house” testing, which seemed to have smoothed things out pretty well.

Then I took it online. Through a few Facebook groups I located a half dozen folks willing to give it a shot, and I mailed out fully-functional prototypes, along with evaluation forms. I was pleased to see a fairly positive response, along with some good suggestions.

(One suggestion was quite simple. I had tried to put together a solo variant. It flat-out didn’t work.)

Another response that was telling was that most folks felt good about the “under $20” target for the MSRP. That would be a bit of a challenge due to the cubes in a cloth bag, unless I could commit to producing a large quantity of Mining Mars games.

Encouraged, I have most recently created a set of Print-and-Play files with the latest iteration of the game’s rules and cards, and looking for another (final?) round of testing before I commit to a Kickstarter campaign. If you want to give it a try, you'll have to supply your own bag full of "ore cubes" (or something similar). The PDF files can be downloaded here:

The Rules / The Large "Jumbo" Cards / The Poker-size Cards

As of this writing, I am waiting for to USPS to bring me another box of colorful little cubes so I can build a few near-production-quality prototypes to send to a few reviewers. If that response is positive, the Kickstarter is good to go.

Keep watching this space! And thanks again for your support.

* * *