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Peril, dice, and cannibalism in Tharsis, a game about our first mission to Mars

Tharsis Screen

The fate of the first manned mission to Mars was sealed with a six-sided die. Tharsis is one of the most interesting games at PAX, an intersection of boardgames, FTL-style presentation, a mostly-realistic representation of space travel, and roguelike-like permadeath. And cannibalism, or at least the possibility of it.

Responsible for a small crew, you have to direct astronauts to complete repairs and tasks across different modules of the spacecraft (each of which provide different bonuses), all while keeping them alive, fed, and sane. Tharsis plays out like a digital board game, with dice spent each round to fix stuff on the ship or complete research, and how you manage the risk of spending those dice (or re-rolling them to get a better result) determines the fate of your tiny astronauts, and which of Tharsis' different endings you'll arrive at.

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Evan Lahti

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.