I finally had the chance to play Terraforming Mars last night. I'd seen bits of it before, but didn't know how the game actually worked before then. Pictures are from BoardGameGeek, not my play of the game.
This game is a mix of cooperative and competitive, in that the game lasts until Mars is sufficiently terraformed, that is, with 8% atmospheric oxygen, 8 degrees Centigrade, and 9 water tiles placed. I use the term tiles, as they would be giant glaciers for much of the game, before the melting point is reached, and the planet gets water, mine, city, and greenery tiles placed on it.
Some of you are already asking about the cubes, I can hear it. Each player has a color of cube, and for non-water tiles, it matters who placed them at the endgame for scoring.
The game is divided into generations and turns, with a generation being the turns taken until everyone passes. At the start of game, and each generation, starting with first player, each draws cards and pays for those they wish to keep. On a turn a player takes one or two actions. Many of these come from cards, but there are standard projects that just need paying for: building a city, adding water, and increasing production. Milestones can also be claimed, awards funded, and some cards grant actions as well.
Card play: cards have a cost and prerequisites in the left top corner, and give icons(for milestones and prereqs) in the top right. These stay in tableau once played, and some grant endgame points as well.
Just to the right of that huge tableau is the player board, which keeps track of income levels and current stocks of money/commodities. The player board is my biggest complaint, as it is very easy to knock cubes around and lose track of where they are if you're not careful(I am, but that's not the point).
Before I had played, I was concerned about the solvability of the game, and I think it might still be somewhat, but the cards go a very long way to fight that. If you like brain burners, this might fit your wheelhouse, but it's not that heavy compared to others. It's a nice mid complexity game.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.