Blake00

FreeMars Game (Sid Meier's Colonization + Civilization 2 Mars scenario + SMAC)

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Anyone here played the FreeMars fan game project? As a big fan of FreeCiv and FreeCol I’m shocked that I didn’t know about this game too! I grew up playing Sid Meier’s Colonization and the Mars scenario in Civilization 2 so someone combining these 2 things together into a standalone game is just a brilliant idea! Also has some slight Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri influences there as well I think but it mostly feels like Sid Meier’s Colonization but on Mars!

I stumbled across it a week or so ago as part of my ongoing search for Mars Scenario Mods (among many other cool mods) for all the Civilization games and thought I was seeing things lol! I downloaded it and tried it out and have been addictively playing it all day every day since (thankfully I’m holidays lol). Very impressive and it’s fully playable as I was able to complete the game however sadly it’s a bit unfinished as a number of missing features made it hard for me to enjoy the late game, but the early game was super fun! You get to choose between all these different sized Mars maps (or randomly generate your own) and can have up to 16 nations in the game all with their own interesting advantages. Mars appears to be partially terraformed in the game as there’s grassy plains and plantations of forests and giant mushrooms bread to survive there that you can harvest. Other than some useless swamps there’s no oceans so you’ll be using big space freighters instead of sailing ships that go into orbit and fly between Mars and Earth to trade goods. Instead of the usual Civ unknown village huts or Col lost cities offering random treasure to your scouts in FreeMars you get asteroid and crashed satellite debris appearing all over the map for you to pick up resources from, they’ll keep coming too so it’s good to have lots of scouts all over the map hunting for treasure lol. City managing is very very similar to Col except instead of dragging around little workers representing communities, you can instead allocate the communities themselves using slider bars (eg put 100 people on food harvesting and put 50 people in this factory etc) which feels strange at first but is actually pretty cool once you get used to it as it leads to more player customization and strategy, plus some parts can be automated to save time. Just like your greedy King in Colonization, Earth will keeping raising taxes and building up a expeditionary force to quell any uprisings so you’ll need to build your own army of futuristic soldiers and mechs to fight back when the time comes for independence! (makes me think of The Expanse tv show) Earth also sends you all these expansion based missions to keep you busy, which some might appear daunting but I didn’t have any trouble completing them way before their deadlines.

As previously mentioned the game is unfinished but I was amazed by the lack of bugs I encountered as the game didn’t even crash once on me! The AIs will expand and build their empires however it doesn’t seem to attack, trade or interact with you in any way sadly. Also I’ve seen the dev post about a number of colony buildings yet to be implemented such as top tier energy and water production, and yeah boy are they needed. I had to rush to independence before my civ collapsed in on itself from too many people and not enough food and water lol. The war of independence was fun much like in Col as dropships will put Earth troops, mechs and tanks around your empire and you’ll have to fight them off to win the game! The game supports other win conditions too such as sending all your Mars rival nations to oblivion or achieving a certain amount of resources but obviously independence is the one all us Col players go for haha.

As for extras there's no multiplayer that I can see sadly but just like FreeCol and FreeCiv it does come with a map editor which means someone could probably make a true mars map at some point as I've seen some good attempts at geographically correct ones made for Civ games over the years.

The game hasn’t been worked on since late 2019 so hopefully it’s not dead. The sourceforge forum looks quiet too, so it would be sad if a game with such great potential and has come so far ends up abandoned due to lack of fan interest help and support. I might see if I can contact the author to see how it’s all going!

Project site:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/freemars/

Screenshots from my test game:
Selecting my nation
image02-png.581480

We have arrived!
image03-png.581481

Trading with Earth
image05-png.581482

Managing a colony
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My growing empire and Mars orbit view
image11-png.581484

The war of independence rages on, I'm surrounded on all sides!
image18-png.581485

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