The ISA has pinpointed a location where some valuable resources can be obtained, but human input is required in order to discover the deposits and flag them for retrieval. The expedition mini game is designed as a more active, skill-based way for players to earn resources for their supply chain. Players who master this game will reap greater rewards than those who opt for the more passive gameplay, but there are risks involved—find nothing and the rewards screen will be as empty as your vehicle’s cargo hold.
The mini game is a logic puzzle in which players navigate vehicles around the surface of Mars, collecting resources along the way. A timer represents the vehicle’s power supply and the player’s remaining time to find the hidden deposits. When this time expires, the vehicle automatically returns to base and the game ends regardless of the player's progress or proximity to a deposit. The vehicles are unmanned and controlled via ISA satellites above the Martian surface, so many of the onboard processes are automated.
Each vehicle plays differently—some will move faster around the map, not be stopped by difficult terrain, scan more easily, or collect larger quantities of resources when they locate a deposit.
Upon selecting a vehicle and loading into the game, the player will be presented with a randomized area of Mars to explore and randomly hidden deposits to locate. These resources are on hexes which contain no visual difference from any other tile on the map. The vehicle’s movement around the map is via a hex-based grid, and onboard 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, and it is up to the player to attempt to figure out the best direction to travel in order to locate the deposits. These can be located anywhere the vehicle can travel, and information provided by scanning can give clues where rewards can be found and the direction to head in. If a player completes a scan on a hex which contains a hidden resource, it’s discovered and added to that player's rewards to be claimed at the end of the game.
Although an area rich in resources has been identified by the satellite, it’s not until the more localized scanners of the vehicles have had a chance to assess the area that more precise information can be obtained about the quantity of resources waiting in each deposit. Each map will have this information generated individually, with each deposit ranging from a low quality up to a high. 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.
Players are able to pan the satellite’s camera around the map and have a variety of lenses which can assist with zooming in for detailed searching or zooming out to assess the overall terrain.
The player’s goal is to play a rapid, skill-based mini game and attempt to track down three separate resource tiles which are hidden around the map. Using the vehicle’s onboard scanner, the player will reveal their proximity to hidden resource deposits and attempt to locate them.
The scanning mini game 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).
Players 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, although no directions are provided. Failure to get some or all of the lines correctly on the target hex leads to inconclusive scan results which contain a margin of error, and this 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, thus it becomes easier to stop the triangulation line correctly.
Before resource gameplay goes live, players will need to spend MARTIA tokens to start the mini game. The cost increases proportional to the amount of collection strength the player has for that vehicle.
Once resource gameplay is live, players will have the choice to spend MARTIA tokens or Power tokens in order to initiate the exploration mini game. This cost is modified by the player’s active collection strength for the vehicle they plan to use and the health of the Ownership Card they are supporting.
There are currently eight types of resources possible to be earned via the mini game. Three of these resources will be randomly hidden around the map, and the player will have to track each down, earning only the rewards for those that they discover. Each deposit will also have different “richness” of their resources. Players will be given this information upon loading into the map via a user interface at the bottom of the screen.
Resources won are based on the collection strength of the player’s collection which are active and enabled at the time of playing the mini game. Any cards which are inactive—most likely due to being impacted by a hazard—will not be used in the reward calculations. As with other resource gameplay, the Ownership Card’s health to which the player is supporting will act as a % modifier to the rewards earned.