How to Start Surviving Mars

Rate this post

“Surviving Mars,” developed by Haemimont Games and published by Paradox Interactive, challenges players to establish and maintain a sustainable colony on the Red Planet. As a city-building and management simulation game, “Surviving Mars” requires strategic planning, resource management, and resilience in the face of Martian challenges. This comprehensive guide aims to provide new players with a detailed walkthrough on how to start their journey on Mars, from initial preparations to thriving colonization.

Introduction to Surviving Mars

Game Overview

“Surviving Mars” puts players in control of a mission to colonize Mars, managing resources, technology, and the needs of colonists to ensure survival and growth. The game offers a blend of exploration, construction, and strategy, set against the backdrop of a hostile Martian environment.

Key Features

  • Colonist Management: Recruit, manage, and satisfy the needs of colonists with diverse skills and traits.
  • Resource Gathering: Extract and utilize essential resources like water, oxygen, and metals to sustain the colony.
  • Technology Development: Research and unlock advanced technologies to expand capabilities and overcome challenges.
  • Terraforming: Transform Mars’ environment through terraforming projects to make it more habitable.
  • Challenges and Events: Navigate dynamic challenges such as dust storms, meteor showers, and electrical storms that threaten colony stability.

Getting Started: Preparing for Your Mission

1. Choosing a Sponsor and Commander Profile

When starting a new game in “Surviving Mars,” you have the option to select a sponsor and commander profile, each offering unique bonuses and challenges:

  • Sponsor: Choose from different corporations or countries, each providing initial funding, resources, and specific advantages (e.g., increased research speed, additional starting supplies).
  • Commander Profile: Select a commander profile that influences gameplay, such as enhancing certain technologies, reducing construction costs, or improving colonist traits.

Tip: For beginners, sponsors and commander profiles that offer additional starting resources or reduced costs can provide a smoother start.

2. Selecting a Landing Site

Choosing the right landing site is crucial as it determines the environmental conditions and available resources for your colony:

  • Region: Mars is divided into different regions with varying levels of difficulty and resource abundance.
  • Terrain: Consider factors like terrain flatness for building efficiency and proximity to resource deposits (water, metals).
  • Anomalies: Some regions feature anomalies that provide unique benefits or challenges when scanned and researched.

Tip: For beginners, landing sites with abundant basic resources (water, metals) and moderate environmental challenges (temperature, dust storms) are recommended.

Phase 1: Establishing the Foundation

3. Initial Supplies and Structures

Upon landing, focus on setting up essential infrastructure to sustain your colony:

  • Basic Resources: Establish water extraction, oxygen production, and power generation facilities to meet immediate needs.
  • Dome Construction: Build a basic dome to house initial colonists and essential services (residences, life support, food production).

Tip: Prioritize establishing a stable supply chain of water, oxygen, and power before expanding your colony further.

4. Colonist Recruitment and Needs

Recruit your first colonists and manage their needs to ensure their well-being and productivity:

  • Recruitment: Use the Passenger Rocket to recruit initial colonists with diverse skills and traits suited for early colony needs.
  • Basic Needs: Provide essential services such as housing, food, medical care, and social activities to maintain colonist satisfaction.

Tip: Assign colonists to appropriate jobs based on their skills to optimize resource production and facility operation.

Phase 2: Expansion and Growth

5. Resource Expansion and Management

Expand resource production and management capabilities to support colony growth:

  • Resource Extraction: Establish additional resource extractors (metals, rare metals) and storage depots to maintain supply chains.
  • Advanced Production: Research and build advanced production facilities for food, electronics, and machine parts to meet evolving colony needs.

Tip: Monitor resource consumption and production rates to avoid shortages and maintain a balanced economy.

6. Technology Research and Development

Invest in research to unlock new technologies and capabilities for your colony:

  • Research Stations: Construct research outposts and allocate scientists to accelerate technology development.
  • Priority Research: Prioritize research on essential technologies such as improved infrastructure, terraforming projects, and advanced resource processing.

Tip: Balance research priorities between immediate needs (e.g., life support upgrades) and long-term goals (e.g., terraforming technologies).

Phase 3: Sustainability and Adaptation

7. Colony Sustainability

Focus on ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience against Martian challenges:

  • Terraforming: Initiate terraforming projects to gradually improve Mars’ atmosphere, temperature, and water availability.
  • Infrastructure Maintenance: Regularly maintain and repair infrastructure to prevent breakdowns and ensure continuous operation.
  • Population Growth: Expand residential capacity and attract new colonists to support economic growth and specialization.

Tip: Implement sustainable practices such as recycling waste and optimizing power consumption to conserve resources.

8. Adaptation to Challenges

Prepare for and adapt to dynamic challenges and events that may impact your colony:

  • Disasters: Mitigate risks from dust storms, meteor showers, cold waves, and other environmental hazards with protective measures and emergency protocols.
  • Crisis Management: Develop contingency plans for emergencies such as power failures, resource shortages, and health crises among colonists.

Tip: Maintain a reserve of emergency supplies and establish redundancy in critical systems to minimize disruptions during crises.

Advanced Strategies and Tips

9. Specialization and Optimization

Optimize colony operations through specialization and efficiency improvements:

  • Sector Planning: Divide your colony into specialized sectors (residential, industrial, research) to streamline operations and resource distribution.
  • Automation: Utilize drones and automated systems to reduce manual labor and improve efficiency in resource management and maintenance.

Tip: Experiment with different colony layouts and sector designs to optimize workflow and resource utilization.

10. Long-Term Goals and Achievements

Set and pursue long-term goals to achieve milestones and unlock achievements:

  • Milestone Objectives: Complete milestone objectives such as terraforming milestones, population targets, and scientific breakthroughs.
  • Achievements: Earn achievements by accomplishing specific challenges or milestones within the game, demonstrating mastery and progression.

Tip: Maintain a balance between short-term survival strategies and long-term development goals to sustain momentum and growth.


Starting “Surviving Mars” requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and adaptability to overcome the challenges of colonizing the Red Planet. By following this comprehensive guide, beginners can establish a strong foundation for their Martian colony, expand their capabilities, and achieve long-term sustainability and success.

Remember to embrace the dynamic nature of “Surviving Mars,” learn from challenges and failures, and continuously innovate to thrive in this unique city-building and management simulation. With perseverance and strategic foresight, you can conquer the harsh environment of Mars and build a thriving human civilization among the stars.

Leave a Comment