Venus Next is an expansion for Terraforming Mars. Venus Next is not about Terraforming Venus in the sense of providing a Venus board, instead it provides a set of cards which are mostly Venus related, some new corporations, rules around these and some optional rules.
The whole expansion fits seamlessly with Terraforming Mars so if you are like me you'll simply shuffle those extra cards into the big deck, add in the new corporations and be very happy.
So, What's New in Venus Next?
49 Project cards, many of which are Venus related and have Venus tags. These can easily be incorporated into the regular cards and like those from Corporate Era are marked on the face so are easy to remove if so desired and indistinguishable on the backs so are easy to fully incorporate into the main deck.
There are five new Corporations. These alone are fantastic, adding more options for play, more variety. Most have Venus connections and like the Project cards are easy to remove if so desired.
The Venue Track. This is another terraforming track, like Temperature and Oxygen on the Mars game board. This gives players more things to consider, more actions to take and potentially more ways to collect victory points.
A new Milestone and Award which are Venue related. As I said more ways to obtain victory points.
Then we have the Optional Rule – World Government. For me this is where Venue Next stands out. Before I get into the details let me first say a bit in general about the Terraforming Mars optional rules. Firstly all the optional rules are fully compatible with each other and any number cane be used. You could, if you wanted, remove Corporate Era (now bundled into the regular game), and only add the World Government rule – this will shorten the game but some may like this and it does add some interesting tactical considerations.
Alternatively you can leave in Corporate Era, add the Venus cards and corporations, add drafting, add World Government, so playing with everything, or add everything other than World Government for a longer game, or anything in between.
You can now tailor your game with even more flexibility, longer or shorter, more or less complex, more or less interactive and so on, and this is why Venus Next is such a good expansion.
But back to World Government. What does it do? One simple thing, each turn the player who is first player gets to raise one global parameter for free. That player does not get any points for it, no player does, it simply represents an action by the World Government. Clearly this rule will shorten the game, some may think this a good thing, some a bad thing.
To me what is really important is this free raise of a global parameter can be used to mess with an opponent who may be working on holding that one low for a bit longer. So, use World Government or not, because it is optional, it is going to do more than simply change the game length.
Of course, now I have told you the World Government rule you can use this without the Venus Next expansion. But why would you? There are those extra corporations, extra Projects and the rest and all those different options to tailor your game. As expansions go Venus Next really is worth the extra investment.