Zillionaires on Mars reminded all of us of Monopoly — specifically the auction phase in Monopoly, where you’d auction to purchase properties. I did not really play much like it beyond that though, instead taking notes from Bingo. Regardless of this, we found Zillionaires on Mars to be a really fun game, in it’s own right.
This board game is sort of like Bingo, where you have a huge map with spaces on it. These spaces are empty, a grid, full of squares. On a player’s turn, they turn over a random card. This card will then refer to a point on the grid and show you a cool shop or building or business that is located there. Many of these places are like space versions of what we know of on Earth, but with a pun or play on words to make it Martian/Space-themed, bringing a lot of humor and fun into the game.
The card states what the bidding starts at, and then going left from whoever’s turn it is, everyone can say if they are bidding (by increasing the bid) or that they are passing on this. This continues to go around until everyone says no but one, and that person needs to pay and claim that spot. If, for whatever reason, that person doesn’t have enough money, they lose a space they have already received on the board and the property then goes back to auction, but the person who couldn’t pay cannot bid on it.
If you purchase a property in Zillionaires on Mars, you get to put your special token on it. The game ends when you have three tokens in a row, connected to each other, making you the winner in Space. Much like most of Big Potato’s games, this board game has so many great little features. There is a gavel painted silver for whoever’s the leader of that turn, that they can use when they are leading the auction. A small flag, with a For Sale sign in it, is placed on the board to showcase what space is up for bidding. The tokens and money are fun looking, and start in the Zillions.
When it comes to earning more money for the auction, you will find that there are a bunch of Pay Day cards in the pile. These cards, when drawn, give everyone a bunch of money depending on how many different spaces they own on the map. Sometimes, the card also has a point on the map which is up for auction, before you are paid. This is often the golden space.
In the middle of the board, there is a gold space, which is the only space people can lose. You get extra money on Pay Day for having this space, but it is often expensive and then taken back from you if it is drawn again, which has to be taken into consideration.
Zillionaires on Mars is a game about bidding and bluffing, but not bluffing too much. It gets intense when someone’s final spot appears and everyone tries to outbid them or at least drive the price up until they fold. Watching the end of the game happen during an intense auction is really thrilling, and it’s a big game of hiding your money and your intentions.
Our group had a really good time with Zillionaires on Mars, as it’s an easy game to play and understand, with the complexities coming from guessing if your friend is actually just driving up the price.
You can grab a copy of Zillionaires on Mars on Amazon.
Looking to get your friends or family into board games? Check out our list of great, accessible games, perfect for just that, here.