How to Play

Exploring Mars

The ISA has detected locations where valuable resource deposits can be found, but human input is required in order to discover them and flag them for retrieval. They need your help!

The expedition mini-game is designed as a more active, skill-based way for players to earn resource tokens for their supply chain. Players who master this game will reap greater rewards, but there’s risks involved — find nothing and the rewards will be as empty as your vehicle’s cargo hold.

The game is a logic puzzle in which players navigate vehicles around the surface of Mars, locating resource token deposits along the way. A timer represents the vehicle’s power supply and the player’s remaining time to find the hidden deposits, ensuring the vehicle has adequate power to retrieve anything found before returning to base.

Starting an Expedition

Expeditions will be available on the map page. Click the “Start Expedition“ button on the bottom center of the map. This button is only displayed on desktop browsers, since the mini-game is not designed for mobile right now. Once you click this, the game will load a unique point of interest for you to explore.

Next, you need to select a vehicle to use on your expedition. Each vehicle plays differently — some will move faster around the map, fly directly over difficult terrain, scan more easily or have a longer battery life.

You will only be able to select vehicles in which you own at least one NFT base card. If you do not own any cards of that vehicle type, the vehicle will be grayed out and not selectable.

Vehicle Types

There are 4 vehicles to choose from:

  • Rover — Selectable & playable if you have the cards.
  • Scouting Drone — Selectable & playable if you have the cards.
  • Buggy — Selectable & playable if you have the cards.
  • Quad Bike — Not selectable by anyone until Mission Four comes out.

Vehicle Stats

To the right of each of the vehicles, you will see a few stats:

  • Battery life — The time you have to complete the game.
  • Speed — The vehicle’s movement speed.
  • Scan Accuracy — The size of the green target hex in the scanning UI.

Higher Risks, Higher Rewards

The objective of an expedition is to find resource token deposits. Expeditions require a small Martia Token fee, representing the power cost for using the vehicle. The higher your earning power per vehicle type (Base Card quantity and rarity), the higher the fee and subsequent rewards.

The game is balanced so that skilled players will typically come out with more resource token rewards than the fee cost to play.

You can play as many times as you want per day, but the fee and rewards increase with each subsequent game. The costs will eventually outpace the rewards, so it becomes important to maintain focus the more you play. At Midnight UTC, the play counter resets so you can go back to the default fee and reward amounts.

There are currently eight types of resources possible to be earned via the mini game:

  • Ore
  • Water
  • Data
  • Construction
  • Repair
  • Regolith
  • Fuel
  • Oxygen

Three of these resources will be randomly hidden around the map as deposits. Each deposit will have low, medium or high quality which increases or decreases the reward amount slightly. Players will be given this information upon loading into the map via a user interface at the bottom of the screen:

Giving priority to high quality deposits will help maximize rewards, and it may be worth throwing a pre-game plan out of the window if the quantities discovered don’t align with the player’s initial ideas.

The Map

Each map will be generated individually, so no two games will be alike. Resource deposits are hidden on hexes which contain no visual difference from any other tile on the map.

To get around the map, you can pan the satellite’s camera and have a variety of lenses which can assist with zooming in for detailed searching, or zooming out to assess the overall terrain.

The vehicle’s movement around the map is via a hex based grid, and on board systems automatically locate the fastest route around obstacles to any destination and allows the player to focus on triangulating the deposits.

The vehicles always begin from the center of the map area. It is up to you to find the best direction to travel in order to locate the deposits.


Using the vehicle’s on board scanner, you can reveal the proximity to hidden resource deposits and attempt to locate them.

Scanning works by showing the user a large hexagonal scanning zone, in which a random location is selected to be “the objective”. The triangulation line passes rapidly from one side of the hexagon to the opposite side at a random speed, and the player must attempt to stop the line where it intersects the objective. This process is then repeated two more times (for a total of three lines, each from a different face of the hex).

Player’s able to get all three lines in the objective hex will be presented with perfect results and given the exact number of hexes their vehicle must travel to reach each of the deposits. Failure to get some or all of the lines correctly on the target hex leads to gradually worsening range results depending on how inaccurate the user was.

This information contains a margin of error that quickly becomes difficult for users to work out directions at longer distances. It will be important to use these results as the basis for solving where the hidden deposits are located, and there’s no shame in rescanning nearby hexes multiple times if the results are poor, but time is always ticking…

A player scanning on a tile containing a deposit will always obtain it irrespective of how well their scan performed, and the quantity and type of resources found will be used to calculate the player’s rewards at the end of the mini game.

Different vehicles have different scan strengths, and this will impact how large the objective target location is — vehicles with good scanning capabilities will have a larger target, and thus it becomes easier to stop the triangulation line correctly.

Ending an Expedition

Once the battery has run out on your vehicle, or you have found all of the resource deposits. It is time to collect your reward! A results panel will come up which summarizes your expedition:

Clicking “Claim Resources” will bring up a blockchain transaction modal, so you can deposit your rewards into your wallet.


The expedition mini game is meant to mimic exploration missions that astronauts might conduct one day on the Martian terrain. The interactive experience brings a unique skill and strategy element to the Colonize Mars game. Players also have an opportunity to learn more about the vehicles on Mars and the scientific reasons they may have different performance from one another. Happy exploring!