Tharsis

A mysterious signal originating from the Tharsis region of Mars set us on a frantic mission. Who sent it? And why? Impossible questions, but in them lie the key to humanity’s survival.

Now, millions of miles away from home, a micrometeoroid storm has left us with a severely damaged ship, two deceased crew, and the sneaking suspicion this trip was doomed from the start.

Tharsis is a turn-based space strategy game. With dice. And cannibalism. It puts you in control of humanity’s first manned mission to Mars, just as it’s struck by a micrometeoroid storm. You must guide your crew through disasters, food shortages,  and the unforgiving nature of space — all while maintaining your sanity amidst cryptic signals and warnings from Mars.

Defy the odds, make the difficult decisions, and embark on the most important mission in human history.

Make a funny image about Tharsis and (maybe) win a physical mission patch!

Dant Rambo

Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 3:42pm

Hey folks!

The launch of Tharsis has been a really crazy time for us, and I mean that in the best way possible. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the people who enjoy it seem to really enjoy it. This enjoyment has led to:

  • Streams that last 5+ hours
  • A ton of positive tweets
  • People defending us in the comments section of negative reviews
  • Some of the nicest emails we’ve ever received
  • The creation of some really funny images (or “memes,” if you prefer)

We’d love to talk about all of these things (if only to stroke our own egos), but we’re going to just talk about that last bullet point for now. It’s been amazing to see all of the goofy pictures people have made about Tharsis, and we’d love to see even more of them. Although we could just politely ask for them on Twitter, we thought we’d do something a little more fun for everyone. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and devised a contest, which is maybe going to be the most lax contest ever held. The rules are as follows:

  • Create a funny image and send it to contests@totallychoice.com
  • If we deem it to be one of the funniest, we’ll send you a physical Tharsis mission patch
  • Make sure you send it by 9PM PST on January 29, 2016

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. A select batch of people will receive a rad patch (which cannot be purchased anywhere), and everyone who enters will have their image shared on our site.

There aren’t any guidelines in terms of structure or content. If you want to make it meme-like, you can totally do that. If you’d rather do something different, that’s fine as well. The sky’s the limit!

Here are some examples to get you started:

Courtesy of Sputnik on Steam

For some reason people who watch Tharsis streams think Allison deserves to be cannibalized

Good luck!

Tharsis: Developing a Strategy

Alex Neuse

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 5:11pm

The unforgiving nature and unpredictability of space, the frailty of human emotion, dwindling resources, and the fragility of a spaceship that has been dealt a death blow by an unfortunate accident; this is what you have to overcome in Tharsis.

Your only resources are your wits and a handful of six-sided dice.

On the surface, Tharsis might look like space-Yahtzee (which by the way, sounds amazing), but once you get past the knee-jerk assumption that because there're dice involved, Tharsis is just a game of chance, you'll discover deep strategies that will assist you on your mysterious trip to the Red Planet.

Since I wasn't directly involved on the development side of Tharsis, I thought I'd share some of the strategies that I've developed as a player, which have helped me to excel at the game.

Be warned, every decision you make in Tharsis has massive repercussions, and you often have to be planning several turns ahead. 

Tharsis is a game about how well you manage resources that are out of your control. When your dice settle, that's what you have to work with, so think carefully before you commit to a plan--if things go south, what options will you have? How you use your resources, and which risks you choose to take, is entirely up to you; developing a solid strategy will ensure your success at the mission. 

Kind of like real life, really, if you want to get all existential...

So, here are five tips utilizing strategies that I've developed which have helped to keep me in the game...

  • Manage your Stress
    • The Side Project Phase is an amazing resource that should not be ignored. You can get wonderful perks from having your crew perform beneficial side projects. But they'll only suggest their best options when they're low on stress. So a strategy that I use is to regularly use stress-reducing research cards--especially once someone is over 50% stress.
  • Take a Hit now and then
    • One thing I've seen a lot of first-time players do is try to solve every event on the turn in which it occurs. Just keep in mind that the mission is solely to make it to Mars--you don't have to have a healthy crew or ship to succeed. As such, sometimes I will prioritize resource gathering over Crew Health or Ship Integrity.
  • Keep some Low-Risk Events in your Back Pocket
    • This can bite you in the ass if you're not careful, but one of my favorite tactics is to keep something easy to fix on the verge of completion and let it sit for a few turns. As everything starts spiraling out of control, if you've got some easily-solvable events just waiting for you, it could be what allows you to scrape by by the skin of your teeth.
  • Load up your Ship Integrity Early
    • Since there are more (and harder) events towards the latter half of the journey, I use the more calm first half of the game to get my ship in, well, ship-shape.
  • Don't be Afraid to Eat Allison
    • Unless you're vying for a high score, cannibalism is a great solution to a lot of problems. When considering whether to cannibalize, I consider the Max Health hit and weigh the likelihood of whether I'll need that top Health slot anyway. If not, dinner's served.

I'm sure you'll develop strategies of your own as well. The above list is just the tip of the iceberg, and are strategies that work for me. So remember, Tharsis is a game about respecting and managing the luck of the dice, not succumbing to it. Once you accept luck, the real strategy begins.

I kind of look at Tharsis as a parallel to the pinball-is-a-game-of-chance debate of the early-mid 1900s so wonderfully explored in the Special When Lit documentary. 

Tharsis, like pinball, is only a game of chance if you're unwilling to learn its strategies. 

Tharsis is available now on Steam

Dant Rambo

Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 12:04am

Greetings, folks!

Our latest game, Tharsis, is available now on Steam! Better yet, it’s currently 34% off! 

We’ve been hard at work on Tharsis for over two years now, and we’re extremely excited to finally be able to share it with the world. We hope you love playing it as much as we loved making it.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the game’s PS4 launch, which should happen sometime today around 2PM PST!

We’ll have a lot more to say about Tharsis in the days ahead, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, good luck on your trip to Mars! 

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