Surviving mars rival colonies

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Surviving Mars - Space Race
Surviving Mars - Space Race

Citizens unite! The race to stake your place in space has begun. Surviving Mars: Space Race, the first major expansion from the survival management game Surviving Mars, is blasting off with a focus on mission sponsors and rival colonies. Pitting Earth’s greatest countries and...

Surviving Mars - Space Race

Citizens unite! The race to stake your place in space has begun. Surviving Mars: Space Race, the first major expansion from the survival management game Surviving Mars, is blasting off with a focus on mission sponsors and rival colonies. Pitting Earth’s greatest countries and most powerful companies against each other, Space Race encourages players to choose their sponsor wisely as each has its own benefits and objectives, and other colonies are competing for the limited resources on the red planet.
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“Surviving Mars is a lot of hard work, but managing a burgeoning colony never stops being compelling.”
“Surviving Mars tasks you with leading humanity's first colonies on the Red Planet. But Mars is hardly forgiving, and it will fight you every step of the way.”
“An enjoyable twist on the usual city building formula, that simulates the dangers of planetary colonisation impressively well – although it could have done with a slightly lighter touch.”
Reviews provided by OpenCritic
OSWindows 7 64-bit or newer
OSWindows 7 64-bit or newer
Processor4th Generation Intel i3 CPU or equivalent
Processor5th Generation Intel i5 CPU or equivalent
GraphicsHD 4600/Geforce 620/Radeon 6450 or equivalent GPUs with 1 GB of video RAM
GraphicsGeforce 750 Ti or equivalent with 4GB of video RAM
Storage6 GB available space
Storage6 GB available space
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Surviving Mars: Space Race — You’re not alone on Mars anymore

You’re not alone on Mars anymore.

Since I originally wrote about Surviving Mars, the game has upgraded itself into orbit. Tons of free content, additions and bug fixes have made an already excellent game even better. Along with the latest free (and huge) patch, Haemimont Games and Paradox Interactive have released their first DLC for Surviving Mars entitled Space Race. You’re not alone on the Red Planet anymore.

Now, there are other AI-backed colonies to not only contend with, but compete against. These rival sponsors will do everything in their power to keep you from becoming Mars’ superpower. The two new factions are Brazil and Japan.I made sure to pick Brazil so I could experience this all as new as possible. Obviously, my next game will be playing as Japan.

SurvMars Space Race

There a lot of new, interesting twists to the gameplay itself. Each sponsor has a different set of goals for you to complete. Also, each promoter has their own exclusive buildings and vehicles — strictly unique to that patron.

With the rivals alone, you can trade with them, send distress calls to them, answer their distress signals and, most importantly for me, steal their important colonists. Of course, they can do the same to you, as well.

Sometimes, anomalies will ‘overlap’, so you need to be able to race to get there first. You can contact other colonies and exchange technologies or (try to) open trade routes. You can also request help or provide aid to them. The more positive things you do with them, the higher your reputation grows. Conversely, getting caught stealing from them or sabotaging their stuff will not make them friendly towards you at all.I found that getting on their good side is a lot harder than making them mad.

SurvMars Space Race

Something else new to Space Race is ‘Events’. These are random situations that may occur and will require your immediate attention — and often, a hard decision. The events depend on your Commander Profile and Mission Sponsor — and, again, some RNG. You need both Space Race and Rival Colonies for these to fire up.

There are ten new achievements, most of which need to happen by Sol 100. For a couple of examples, the ‘Space Capitalism’ achievement means you have to play as the Blue Sun Corporation and produce $100,000 million Funding before Sol 100. For the Bushido achievement, you play as Japan and train two hundred specialists before Sol 100. You get the idea. They’re all sponsor-based.

Then, as has happened quite frequently to me, a huge patch came out during this review. The Gagarin Free Update Patch added Sponsor Goals — which, by completion, come with a wide variety of rewards/perks. Some of the more difficult ones are even timed.

SurvMars Space Race

They greatly expanded the Events I had mentioned earlier. There are more than 250 individual Events and more than a hundred of them chained together in various ways. These all add to the immersion of trying to eke out survival on Mars.

They expanded the Anomalies to being planet-wide, now. However, one cannot simply drive over to the far-off ones. No, you need whole expeditions that include a rocket plus drones, rovers and colonists. Once again, because you have rivals, you’ll want to get to them first — provided you have the time, money and equipment, of course.

On top of a slew of other, minor changes (which would take a long time to list), the last major addition is Supply Pods. How many times have you needed supplies from Earth, but your rocket(s) weren’t ready and/or refueled? Supply Pods are smaller and single-use only (but can at least be salvaged later). They’re also expensive ($100 million extra for launch!). However, if you need something in a hurry and can afford it…

SurvMars Space Race

The major point of Space Race was the addition of rival colonies. This massively changed the way to approach Surviving Mars. It’s no longer a free-wheeling, sprawling, build-wherever-you-want challenge. Now, there’s competition over all of the resources and goodies Mars has to offer. This is easily one of the better DLC for any game to come along in a while. It definitely changed my entire strategic approach.

Space Race is available now for PC, Mac and Linux.

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Rival Colonies - Who to pick?
Do different rival colonies perform differently?

If I choose a Hard sponsor for a rival colony (Russia, Japan, Church etc) will the rival colony develop slower & make it easier for me?

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Maximum Comfort - Surviving Mars: Space Race
I've played a few games now, half the time I have rivals, half I don't. I feel like I'm cheating by turning them off, but honestly, they seem like a super lame concept for the game.

You get trade offers that are always always not worth it.
They can beat you to things, making those things no longer available to you.
They attack you randomly, doing horrible things to you, like blowing your stuff up and killing people.

Is this basically just a way to increase difficulty through annoyance? Or am I missing something with them?

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Rival surviving colonies mars

Rival Colonies

This article has been verified for the current version (Evans) of the game.

Rival Colonies are Mars colonies founded by Sponsors which weren't selected as the player colony and compete for Milestones and Planetary Anomalies. Up to three Rival Colonies can be added. As Rival Colonies expand and develop their infrastructure their progress can be followed in the Planet View. The Colony has a Standing with each Rival Colony, ranging from -100 to 100.

There are two Story Bits that can take place once per game that have the potential to destroy or create a Rival Colony.

Diplomacy[edit | edit source]

Each diplomatic action can only be used once every 5 Sols for each Rival Colony.

Offer Resources +20 if not Politician
+40 if Politician
  • Requires a landed rocket to be refueled, loaded and sent
  • Basic resources require a larger quantity than advanced resources
  • If the Rival Colony has an abundance of the selected resource it will refuse
  • Once per game the Doctor Commander Profile can offer medical expertise instead of resources
Initiate Trade None
  • Requires at least Neutral Standing
Exchange Technologies None
  • Requires Good or Excellent Standing
  • Both colonies must have at least one technology the other doesn't
Request Resources -20
  • Requests the Rival Colony doesn't have enough resources for will be grayed out
  • With the Rocket Scientist Commander Profile, players may request an additional 2 Shuttle Hub prefabs for a total of -25 standing
  • If Standing is Bad or Hostile the Rival Colony will refuse and give another -10 Standing
Insult -40 with the insulted Rival Colony
+10 with all other Rival Colonies
  • Once per game the Astrogeologist Commander Profile can say an insult which gives +20 Standing with all other Rival Colonies instead

Covert Ops[edit | edit source]

Covert Ops require a Rocket loaded with 15 Fuel and enough Officers, will lower Standing and have a chance to fail. Successful Covert Ops they will bring benefits to the Colony at the expense of the Rival Colony but failed Covert Ops will have the Officers arrested and lost. Each Covert Op can only be done once every 10 Sols for each Rival Colony.

Covert opOfficersFailure chanceStandingNotes
Steal Drones35 if Standing is not Hostile
20 if Standing is Hostile
-20Japan cannot steal Drones or have Drones stolen from them due to the incompatible Drone technology.
Steal Technologies35 if Standing is not Bad or Hostile
20 if Standing is Bad
40 if Standing is Hostile
-20If the Rival Colony doesn't have any new technology it will steal 1,000 Research.png research points instead.
Recruit Colonists65 if Standing is not Bad or Hostile
40 if Standing is Bad or Hostile
-30Recruits 5-25 Colonists
Sabotage Buildings620 if Standing is not Bad or Hostile
40 if Standing is Bad or Hostile
-40Delays the Rival Colony's milestones progress

[edit | edit source]

The Sponsor of a Rival Colony determines its behavior and initial Standing with the Colony.

They're Shooting What?! (1040% Difficulty Robot Colony Episode 37) - Surviving Mars Gameplay

I kidnapped botanists to keep my Surviving Mars: Space Race colony alive

The colony desperately needed botanists. Well, it really needed food, but that wasn’t going to happen without the appropriate specialists running the farms. Starvation was imminent, the prospective pool of recruits back home wasn’t good enough and the colony was in trouble. With disaster nipping at my heels, it was one of Surviving Mars: Space Race’s rival colonies that saved the day. 

Space Race follows the Paradox DLC model. It’s a meaty expansion that brings with it some significant changes and, importantly, gives every player something new thanks to the free features that accompany the paid ones. The most significant of the premium additions is the titular space race. Instead of having the red planet all to yourself, you can optionally share it with up to three competing colonies. 

You can’t visit these colonies, but you can see their location on Mars via the new planetary screen, from which you can get their vital statistics—population, number of buildings, resources—and call them up. There’s trade, espionage, even a bit of charity. It’s a whole family of systems, so you’d probably expect them to have a big, noticeable impact right from the get-go, but my first few hours fiddling with my new colony didn’t inspire me to interact with my rivals at all.

That’s not to say that it was all business as usual. I was playing with one of the new mission sponsors, Brazil. Every sponsor now comes with a unique building or vehicle, and Brazil provided my burgeoning colony with an extremely handy refinery that turned the utterly useless waste rock generated by other buildings into resources that could be exported to Earth. Exports in general also earn more cash. 

Friends with benefits

Picking a mission sponsor now feels more like picking a faction. Your choice encourages a particular approach, not just through the traits and extra tools, but through bespoke objectives that dole out big rewards. The objectives themselves are a bit plain and too easy to forget about, but it’s convenient simply to have a checklist of things to do, giving you some direction. 

Doling out a few quid more for Space Race Plus also gets you some extra cosmetic options. They’re not remotely essential and DLC for DLC is always cheeky, but they do spruce the place up, particularly the domes. You can given them blinds if you want, but watch out, they get filthy with Martian dust. 

On the subject of domes, they can now be linked up! This feature arrived in an earlier free update but having not played for a while, it’s still new to me. It means colonists can independently move between linked domes, travelling through tubes. Services, power and life support get shared by the network, too. It’s extremely convenient and takes some micromanagement pressure off you. 

While I was working away, expanding my colony, I got intermittent messages from my rivals, offering trade deals. Rather than picking resources to trade, you have to wait for your rivals to offer you a specific swap, like some of your concrete for some of their metal. Early on, none of the deals were asking for anything I had in abundance, so I just learned to ignore them. It wasn’t until disaster was looming that I felt compelled to see if I could exploit my rivals.

I finally had resources to trade, but the one thing colonies won’t trade is, not surprisingly, colonists. I could have held out for a food deal, but then I’d be reliant on that finite trade route, and I’d have to keep supplying the colony with another resource. There was another option, however. Covert missions can be undertaken to sabotage rival colonies, steal tech and kidnap ('recruit' is definitely a euphemism) colonists. Unfortunately, you can’t specify a specific type of specialist, like a botanist, but it’s still a viable way of filling in gaps. It also really pisses off the other colony. 

Space saunter

Before that point, I’d never really considered the other colonies to be my opponents, which is strange, given how Space Race is framed as a competition. They just don’t really act like adversaries. They might scan a planetary anomaly before you do, or reach a milestone, taking a potential reward away from you, but they don’t seem to be in a rush to do that either. Even when they beat you to the punch, it doesn’t really feel like a setback. 

The exception to this is when the rival colonies intersect with the new events system. Inspired by Paradox’s grand strategy romps, Space Race throws random narrative events into the mix that confront you with a few choices. Earlier in the game, my colony discovered lots of food inside an unmarked rocket, which nobody was claiming. I decided to bring it into the dome. Big mistake! It had been tampered with by a rival and caused a mini-crisis. Often, they flesh out things that were just glossed over before. Instead of just finding out one of your colonists is unstable, you might instead get an event where they go on a rampage and you have to decide how best to deal with them. 

All the flavour text gives the colony and its inhabitants a lot more character, but it’s more than fluff, getting you directly involved with these problems and story arcs. It’s not overt, but it does feel a little bit like you’re defining your colony through these choices. Sometimes you’re just trying to make the best of a shitty situation, but there’s occasionally a moral component. Upon discovering that a colonist is a troubled savant, for instance, you can choose to sympathise, but you can also choose to see it as an opportunity, exploiting someone vulnerable. 

It wasn’t until I started pissing off my rivals that it started to feel like a race. Annoying them is a risk, of course. They’re not going to offer any trade deals to someone who’s pinching their tech and colonists. I was ready for some pushback. This came in the form of one of my competitors trying to undercut me back on Earth, selling resources for 25 percent less. Since I was loaded, I reckoned I could take the hit, choosing to let the event run its course. They couldn’t afford to do it forever. And that’s how I became the richest man in the solar system, somehow. 

Instead of reducing the amount of money I earned exporting stuff to Earth, it multiplied it by… well, a very big number. Instead of making millions with each cargo rocket, I was making billions. It was very generous, but the bug also meant every obstacle became barely a blip on my radar. Resource scarcity is the the ultimate source of almost every problem in Surviving Mars, but with a nearly infinite supply of cash, I could just keep importing food and metal and all the other stuff I needed from Earth. Just when things were getting a bit competitive, Space Race gave me some rocket boots and launched me towards the finish line. 

I expect I’ll take another crack at nurturing a colony in Surviving Mars: Space Race. It was a frustrating end for my first attempt, but up until that point I was enjoying revisiting the dusty planet. The rival colonies could definitely do with being more aggressive, but each new system ends up making Surviving Mars a richer management game. I just wish it hadn’t made me so rich. 

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. As the online editor, he's actually met The Internet in person, and he keeps a small piece of it in a jar.


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