Choice Provisions, Zach Gage, 2015
Custom Software

puts you in control of humanity’s first manned mission to Mars, just as it’s struck by a micrometeoroid storm. You must guide your crew through disasters, food shortages, and the unforgiving nature of space — all while maintaining your sanity amidst cryptic signals and warnings from Mars.

Tharsis is a collaboration between my friends at Choice Provisions and myself. There were so many amazing people who worked to make this game come together. Primarilly my work was in systems design, and in really pushing the use of "physical" dice. I really wanted to use dice because of how accessible and honest they are. I remember seeing a talk at GDC once where Sid Meier talked about how they had to fake the luck in Civ games because players couldn't understand losing an engagement that they had an 80% chance to win — and it made me realize, if you tell people they have 99% chance at success, and they lose, it feels unfair and broken, but if you give people a hundred sided die, and tell them "anything but a 1" and they roll a 1, it's actually kind of exciting in it's frustration. It's why "Snake Eyes" is a thing — it sucks, but you have to marvel at the majesty of your bad luck.

We actually put together a little video on the inspirations that I looked at when designing the dice systems, below.
For a ton more information about Tharsis, including a really great video on the aesthetic inspirations, check out