|(previously known as Mad Dog)
The bad news is the scientists on your home planet of Mars have
determined that the water on the planet surface is slowly drying up
and soon the planet will be unable to support life.
The good news is that Martian government has started a program to
send search parties into space to look for other suitable planets.
The even better news is that you and your family have been training for this
for some time now and are likely to be chosen as the first Martians to go
on such a mission, quite an honor indeed. The bad news is that there
are some other families around that are similarly well-trained. The good
news is that government will send on the exploration mission whichever
family signs up for the contest and the gets to the rocket first. The
bad news is that you haven't signed up or
gathered any of the supplies you'd need for such a trip.
The good news is that nobody else has either.
You better get moving!
The object of Martian Race is to be the first player to get all of the
Martians from your family from your Home to the Government Center (to
sign up for the program and get supply vouchers),
the Supply Depot (to get, well, supplies),
and then to the Launch Pad (to head off into space and down
2-4 players (3 or 4 is best), Backgammon age and up.
A chess/checker board. The four squares one away from the corners
on opposite sides are specially named. Using algebraic chess notation,
square A7 is Home, H2 is the Government Center, A2 is the Supply Depot,
and H7 is the Launch Pad.
Two 6-sided dice.
A set of
The pieces represent the individual 'Martians' from the players' families.
Each player will need a single stash (all the pieces of one color),
but a maximum of 5 will be on the board at any one time. The number
of pieces required per player is dependent on the number of players,
as shown in this table:
The different sized pieces represent Martians that have achieved
|Number of Players
||Number of pieces of each size per player
- The smallest piece represents a Martian just starting out (on
the way to the Government Center).
- The medium piece represents a Martian that has signed up for
the program and gotten the voucher good for free supplies, but with
no actual supplies yet (on the way to the Supply Depot).
- The largest piece represents a Martian with supplies
(on the way to the Launch Pad).
Start of Game
All pieces start off the board.
Decide order of play.
Roll both dice and take two moves as indicated. Each move consists
of one of your Martians performing the number of steps indicated on
one of the dice. As in backgammon, the number rolled on each die
can be used by different pieces or the same piece, but the move
indicated by each die must be legal. (Note: 1 turn = 2 moves;
1 move = 1-6 steps)
- A Martian may step from one square to another only if it is
lying down and pointing at that square.
- Each orientation change (standing up, lying down, or turning
in place) also counts as a step.
- Every Martian starts his first move from Home. Putting a Martian
(in any orientation) on the Home square counts as the Martian's first
- Only a small piece may end a move on or pass through the Government Center.
Only a medium may end a move on or pass through the Supply Depot.
Only a large piece may end a move on or pass through the Launch Pad.
Only one piece of any one color can occupy the Home, Government Center, Supply Depot,
or Launch Pad square at a time.
|Here are two examples of a Martian using a die
roll of 5 for its first move.
To prevent being pushed (see below), multiple pieces owned by the
same player can occupy the same square. The number and orientation
of pieces in a square determine how vulnerable they are to enemy
- If a square is occupied by a single Martian or by two, both
lying down, an enemy Martian can land there (and 'push' the current
- If a square is occupied by three lying down Martians or one
standing and one lying down Martian, the square is partially
blocked -- an enemy Martian cannot end its move there but may pass
through the square (including changing orientation).
- If a square is occupied by any stronger force, the square is
totally blocked, and enemy Martians may not even pass through.
- Only opponent Martians are subject to Blocking rules. Martians
from the same family (pieces of the same color) can pass through
or land on partially or totally blocked squares freely.
- If there is ever a situation where the number rolled on one or
both of the dice can not be used (such as when a player's last
Martian is blocked into the Supply Depot) the player loses the use of that
The easy way to calculate the vulnerability of the Martians in a
square is to assign any lying down pieces a value of 1 and any
standing pieces a value of 2. The total occupying value determines
the vulnerability of the Martians in the square. The sizes of the
pieces don't matter - just the orientation and number.
||<3 - Vulnerable Enemy may land and 'push'.
|=3 - Partially Blocked Enemy may pass through but
may not end a move.
|>3 - Totally Blocked Enemy may not even pass
If a Martian ends a move (not necessarily a turn) in a square
occupied by one or more vulnerable enemy Martians (see Blocking
rules), the Martians are 'pushed' to other squares as decided by the
owner of the newly arriving Martian. The number of squares the
current occupant(s) are moved is...
||if the arriving piece is bigger than the
||if the arriving piece is more standing up than
the current occupant(s)|
(A piece is "more standing up" than another if it is
standing and the other pieces is lying down.)
Some additional 'pushing' notes:
- The push distances are determined separately for each of
the current occupants in the sqare.
- Pushed pieces keep their orientation.
- Multi-square pushes do not have to be in a straight line.
- If a pushed piece ends up in an occupied square, those pieces
also get pushed (the initial pushee becomes the new pusher).
- Pushed pieces follow the blocking and other movement rules.
They may not be pushed onto a partially blocked square nor onto or
through a totally blocked square if the current occupants are a
different color. Nor may pushed pieces be pushed onto one of the
goal squares if a piece of the same color is already there.
- If there are no legal squares on which to push an opponent the
full distance, the push distance is reduced by just enough to make
the push possible. If there are no (non-zero) pushes possible,
then the attacker (the piece whose turn it is) may not move onto
the square to begin with.
Picking up Stuff
As mentioned earlier, the different sized pieces represent
achievement of various goals. All small pieces are trying to reach
the Government Center to sign up for the exploration program.
All medium pieces are trying to
get to the Supply Depot to get supplies. All large pieces are
Martians that have finished their preparations and are on the way to the
Launch Pad to head off into space.
In order to change from small to medium, a piece must end a move
standing up on the Government Center. In order to change from medium to large,
a piece must end a move standing up on the Supply Depot.
- Only one piece of any one color can occupy the Government Center,
Supply Depot, or Launch Pad at a time.
- If an enemy piece is already occupying the Government Center,
Supply Depot, or Launch Pad, it may be pushed to another square.
(Push first; then change size.)
|Example:Here is an example of a piece
getting to the Government Center on a 4, picking up the program
forms and supply vouchers (growing), and leaving with a 5.
Winning the Game
A Martian that has completed all the requirements (a large piece)
that stands up on the Launch Pad has finished the course and is
removed from the board. As with the Government Center and Supply Depot,
if there is already an opposing Martian there, it may be pushed
to another square.
The first player to have all of his/her Martians finish the
course wins the game.
There, that's all there is to it. Have fun.
P.S.: The Mad Dog
As you can see from the top of this page, this game was previously known
as Mad Dog. The biggest difference between that game and what you see
here is the removal of the "Mad Dog Phase". In that original game, the
first player to have all his/her pieces finish the course would get to
control the single "Mad Dog" piece. This piece could roam about the board
attacking any opponent pieces that haven't finished the course yet. The
effect of an "attack", in addition to normal pushing, was to replace the
opponent's piece with one the
next size down. This meant that the attacked/shrunk piece would have to
revisit one or more of the goal squares.
As an option to Martian Race you can try adding the Mad Dog phase back in.
You can find the details on
this page. Read the Releasing the Mad Dog and End of
Move Timing sections. The Mad Dog phase works for working out
finer grades than just one winner and N-1 losers. It could increase
the magnitude of a win (based on the number of killed opponent pieces) for
a series of games or
provide a ranking of non-winners (based on the number of pieces each player had
that completed the course). While you're on the Mad Dog page, read the
History/Design Philosophy section.
||Oct 3, 2001
||Initial Version Created from Mad Dog v3.
Changes from that game:
For an in-dpth discussion of the design history and other
subjects related to these two games, see
the Mad Dog page.
- Removed the Mad Dog Phase.
- Different Pushing Calculation.
- Remove the Triple-Block Rule. This was changed to a "if you
can't use it, you lose it" rule.
- The Martian Backstory
||Dec. 29, 2004
- Increased the number of martians per player for 3 and 4 player games.
- Ray traced pictures.
- Allow the wasting of steps.
Initial Concept: Ryan McGuire
Rules Development: Ryan McGuire and Dan Isaac with help from
Name/Backstory/Theme: For Mad Dog, Ryan. For Martian Race, Dan Isaac and
Elliot 'Eeyore' Evans
Playtesting (so far): Ryan McGuire, Dan Isaac, Clayton Castle,
Scott McCoy, Jennifer McGuire, Joshua McGuire
Icehouse Pieces designed by:Andrew Looney
Other Icehouse Games designed by: Andrew and Kristin Looney, Jacob and John and Kory and Kristin, and many others
Comments and Suggestions are Welcome --