Surviving Mars: Challenge Maps Walkthrough

A comprehensive guide to all the challenge mode maps. Quick tips aswell as detailed guides for each map that will enable you to smash all of the gold times the game challenges you to beat.
Includes uses general strategies for min-maxing that can also enhance your vanilla game.

Disclaimer – This was written before Abstraction took over and release some significant new patches. They appear to have made some minor changes to some of the game seeds so resource deposits may be a slightly different grade. It appears anomaly sites and breakthroughs are unaffected.

 

Introduction

Disclaimer – This was written before Abstraction took over and release some significant new patches. They appear to have made some minor changes to some of the game seeds so resource deposits may be a slightly different grade. It appears anomaly sites and breakthroughs are unaffected.
I started writing this due to the Pandemic, it is incomplete but I have gold stars in all challenges, I may try to continue updating it with more maps.

Challenge Mode is Surviving Mars is, in my opinion, an underrated and fantastic part of the game.
In this guide I will detail some general strategies to you and go into specific detail of each challenge map. There are 33 in total so this may take some time to complete fully.
I’ll also include a table here with my best scores. If you are able to beat any of my scores I’d love to hear from you and your strategies and I’ll edit the guide to have you with the top score.

Disclaimers:
You could run mods to make these challenges easier, effectively cheating, I choose not to so these games are effectively vanilla. I do run mods but they are all superficial such as new radio stations or UI enhancements such as showing dust grids during construction or popups for when research outsourcing ends. All times achieved can be completed without any mods.

Challenge maps are static meaning you can load up the same challenge again and again and the map will have the exact same resource locations, breakthroughs and anomaly sites. Because of this there is no way to avoid advanced knowledge of a map so on many we will be using this knowledge to bee-line certain anomaly sites or breakthroughs aswell as knowing what sectors to scan in order to get them. Landing sites are also determined in advance. Where applicable I will upload maps showing where everything is.

These maps have been significantly altered by patches in the past. Hopefully it won’t happen again and this guide can remain accurate.

Best Scores

The following is a list of the best scores for each map. Currently it only has my scores, hopefully some other players will use this guide and beat some of these times and I can update this list with their scores! For now see if you can beat my best.

Challenge
Mission Sponsor
Commander Profile
Objective
Deadline Sol
Perfect Time Sol
Best Time
Completed By
Housing Bubble
China
Futurist
Have 4 fully occupied Living Complexes
30
13
5
Jon_Smith
Earthbound
Japan
Hydro Engineer
Refuel and launch a rocket
6
3
1
Jon_Smith
Founding Fathers
USA
Rocket Scientist
Complete the Founder Stage
12
6
4
Jon_Smith
The Gold Must Flow
Blue Sun Corporation
Astrogeologist
Export 30 Rare Metals
30
10
3
Jon_Smith
Baby Steps
Church of the New Ark
Rocket Scientist
Have 5 Martianborn Colonists
26
13
7
Jon_Smith
City Building
India
Psychologist
Have a dome with a population of 100 Colonists and no homeless citizens
70
35
13
Jon_Smith
Russian Concrete
Russia
Oligarch
Produce 1000 Concrete
34
17
7
Jon_Smith
The Means of Production
SpaceY
Psychologist
Produce 5 Polymers, 5 Machine Parts and 5 Electronics
30
15
8
Jon_Smith
Hello, Neighbors
Brazil
Hydro Engineer
Have a complex of 3 connected Domes and population of 50 Colonists
50
25
14
Jon_Smith
Tech Boost
Europe
Futurist
Research 25 technologies (repeatable technologies are counted once)
40
20
14
Jon_Smith
New Eden
Church of the New Ark
Doctor
Have a colony with at least 50 Colonists with average comfort 80
80
40
8
Jon_Smith
Tourist Trap
SpaceY
Rocket Scientist
Earn $2000 M from Tourists
80
45
32
Jon_Smith
Serve the People
China
Oligarch
Have a population of 200 Colonists
80
40
24
Jon_Smith
Under the Microscope
Europe
Astrogeologist
Analyze all anomalies
80
40
19
Jon_Smith
Cold Fusion
India
Ecologist
Have 4 fusion reactors fully staffed and on 3 shifts
140
70
31
Jon_Smith
Fiscal Profits
Blue Sun Corporation
Politician
Accumulate $35000 M
140
80
63
Jon_Smith
Specialized Training
Brazil
Psychologist
Have 50 Specialists
140
70
29
Jon_Smith
Operation: Katana
Japan
Inventor
Deplete 10 Metal underground
deposits
140
80
51
Jon_Smith
Vocation Destination
Russia
Doctor
Have a VR Workshop, Art Workshop and Biorobotics Workshop
150
75
38
Jon_Smith
Wonderful Life
USA
Politician
Construct a Wonder
120
60
38
Jon_Smith
Arco-Logistics
Brazil
Oligarch
Have 8 fully occupied Arcologies
200
100
37
Jon_Smith
A New Nation
USA
Rocket Scientist
Have 5 domes, each with a population of 200 Colonists or more
200
100
68
Jon_Smith
Campus Life
Europe
Ecologist
Have 200 scientists
240
120
63
Jon_Smith
Ark 2.0
Church of the New Ark
Doctor
Have 200 Colonists
240
120
63
Jon_Smith
Elbrus++
Russia
Futurist
Produce 250 Electronics
200
100
35
Jon_Smith
Unconventional Desires
Japan
Inventor
Research 12 Breakthroughs
200
100
62
Jon_Smith
Drill Baby, Drill
Blue Sun Corporation
Inventor
Have a fully upgraded Mohole Mine
250
150
81
Jon_Smith
Seven
China
Astrogeologist
Have 7 Wonders
250
150
83
Jon_Smith
The Boundaries of Knowledge
SpaceY
Politician
Research 100 technologies (repeatable technologies are counted once)
250
150
88
Jon_Smith
Civil Disorder
India
Oligarch
Reach a population of 2000 Colonists
300
200
129
Jon_Smith
Breath of Fresh Air
Terraforming Initiative
Futurist
Have breathable atmosphere on Mars, 95% Atmosphere and 50% Temperature
120
55
39
Jon_Smith
Terrafinito
Terraforming Initiative
Geo Engineer
Completely Terraform Mars, 100% Atmosphere, Temperature, Water & Vegetation
550
250
156
Jon_Smith
Wet Water
Terraforming Initiative
Oligarch
Have liquid water on Mars, 25% Temperature
40
20
13
Jon_Smith

General Tips

Challenge Maps need to be played differently to normal playthroughs.
As the game says you must focus on a single objective, you are not trying to build a long term colony so get used to make decisions that will hurt long term viability in return for achieving your objective, these are also general tips here useful for normal play which if applied I think will enhance your gameplay.

Get Founders ASAP
Whenever you are on a map that needs colonists you should get your founders to Mars immediately. Launch a passenger rocket full of ‘Sexy’ colonists on Sol 1. They can survive a long time in Mars orbit and it should be plenty of time to get up a dome. You want zero lag time in getting them into a dome since the founders stage is a bottleneck to growing your population and productivity.

First Dome
The first dome needs to be up extremely quickly. Either make a small Trigon dome or a barrel dome depending on how large you expect your population to be. These are the most efficient domes when it comes to size vs resource cost.
Double or triple up on concrete extractors on each resource in order to get the early game concrete you need. You’ll end up with a huge surplus after around 5 sols but don’t worry, that surplus comes in very handy and its good to get those resources out of the ground asap.

Aggressively Scan Anomalies
This is a fairly basic strategy, but slightly more important in a challenge map than a regular one.
Anomalies are huge, in most maps the tech and event anomalies are often the most important with breakthroughs often being not important / a waste of time.
Tech anomalies are fantastic since they allow you to skip techs. If you are rushing to get the Mohole Mine for example then every tech you reveal in the Robotics branch means you can skip a tech, since lower in the tech tree research can cost upwards of 10,000 you can be saving up to 100,000 research to get to the one you want.
The event anomalies are simpler. Flat 10% bonus to a branch, yes please. Obviously the sooner you get it, the stronger the benefit.

Prioritise Your Research
Research should not be meandering. Focus on something really specific you want and dedicate your research in that tree. For example if you need fusion reactors for your win condition, pretty much only research items in the physics tree and always research the cheapest ones first, even if you don’t need them. It will reveal a new tech when researched which gets you one step closer to your goal. Do not be tempted to get expensive techs if they cannot pay themselves off quickly and do not research techs in other trees unless they get you closer to your win condition, for example more efficient moxies can be nice, but they never help you get closer to a win unless you are using it to reveal other techs in the Biotech tree, so don’t research it, just build 2 moxies.

Expand Fast
Colonists are your most valuable resource, they can generate huge value either in research, generating advanced resources or mining rare metals. You want to grow your colony as fast as possible and keep expanding. The more workers you have the more research you can make which snowballs into more efficient working and buildings, especially wonders.

Don’t Farm
This is a controversial one, which is why I saved it until last and it has the longest explanation, but in my opinion its one of the most impactful changes to game strategy many of you will get from this guide. I’ve had long arguments on the forums with people refusing to accept this strategy, but it works. If you don’t believe it then try it out and you’ll see. If simply refuse to believe me then try to beat my times on the longer challenges using farming, I’d like to hear from you if you can and I’ll revise this section and add you as a contributor, otherwise for now its the best strategy I know of. Here are some of the reasons against farming.

  • It is resource intensive, it takes water, this water could be used to support other domes, more domes means more space which means more martians producing things. Use your water to expand, not to grow crops. Water is often a limiting factor for growth, eliminate farming and that limit is less harsh. Remove 1 farm and you can save 2 water. Thats enough for 2 barrel domes!
  • It is worker intensive, those workers could be working in a research lab netting you perhaps 400 science per sol. Early game that is huge and can more than double your science output, if you replace your first farm with a research lab you’ll fly through the tech tree much faster than if you spend those workers on farms.
  • Its wastes research techs. The biotech branch is arguably one of the weaker ones, with many of its techs dedicated to farming. In order to get your farms working well you need quite a few of these techs. If you skip farming altogether you can focus on other techs in the other trees that can give you better bonuses.

So what do we do instead of farming? Trade. The AI loves to trade concrete for food, they are willing to start doing it from around Sol 15-25 and will continue for the rest of the game. Simply build a trade pad, set an offer of concrete for food and they’ll keep sending you rockets. This is an ideal scenario as it uses no fuel and your rockets are still free to export rare metals and import workers/resources. All it takes is some drone time.
Now to adapt to this play style it does mean that you will need to import more food in the first 20 sols to keep everyone fed until the AI gives you food, but your population will still be quite small so it won’t cost alot. It also means you need to get aggressive with concrete extraction, run 2-3 extractors on most resources and create plenty of mining outposts using an RC commander. Do this and you’ll never run low on concrete, the extra science production aswell as the skipped techs allow you to get wonders like the Mohole and Concrete Extractor around 20 sols sooner, these can easily make up any deficits in a matter of sols, especially the Mohole mine as the rare metals are so valuable.

Housing Bubble

Challenge: Have 4 fully occupied Living Complexes
Perfect Time: Sol 13
Best Time: Sol 5 (Jon Smith)

So the first challenge!!
This is a nice short one and a great way to get used to how to plan for your attempt.
The goal here is to fill 4 Living Complexes, these house 14 colonists each meaning we need a total colony of 56 colonists. The sponsor is China so who can transport 22 colonists on a rocket and starts with 3 rockets. We need to have 3 rockets with colonists on to fill the quota, since China gets 3 rockets it means we either need to refuel one or buy another. I recommend buying, its faster and means you don’t need to send a fuel refinery and water vaporator.

Research cannot help here so can be ignored and we can pump nearly all the resources we need from Earth. There is a Plasma Rocket breakthrough on this map and there is an argument to rush research it however the max bonus it can give us is 0.5 sols on last 2 rockets, so I ignore that strategy here as its more trouble than its worth.

So when picking a landing site there are two considerations, maximize comfort, decent surface metal deposits and concrete resource. On this map sectors A7 and B7 are the best, there is a Vista and a ‘Very High’ concrete deposit.

I suggest a rocket loadout of 20 drones, 1 moisture vaporator, 3 stirling generators, 10 food, 20 polymers and 10 machine parts and 2 probes for scanning the sectors we want to use.

When you load up the map instantly pause and scan the two sectors, then plan out all your buildings.
You can fit 3 concrete extractors on the deposit. its overkill but the faster we build everything the better. Load up a rocket with as many ‘Sexy’ colonists as you can and send it to Mars, then buy the extra rocket we want. There will be a bunch of spare cash left so send a few supply pods loaded with a mixture of food, polymers and electronics. We can use these resources to support buildings. Since we want to promote a birth asap and have lots of starting colonists we can build an electronics and art store. If you spend more of your money you can also send 5 supply pods loaded with concrete (for a total of 50) this will allow you to have a dome complete by the time the colonists arrive, don’t land them until you’ve built the basic infrastructure however.

Once they land continue building things like Thai Chi gardens, art store, electronic store and small space bar. it should use up the workforce of all your colonists. Set all the nightshifts and set to heavy workloads. We want to boost the comfort as fast as possible. After that you just wait for the RNG of a baby being born. I got it at the start of Sol 4, if you are super super lucky and it hits almost instantly you could shave a day off my best time. Once it does pop send for the last 2 rockets full of colonists, they’ll arrive and you’ll be done.

Earthbound

Challenge: Refuel and launch a rocket
Perfect Time: Sol 3
Best Time: Sol 1 (Jon Smith)

This is the shortest challenge possible and I’m pretty sure it cannot be lowered further than I have got it to 0 Sols. I think the very fastest I can have the rocket launch is hour 2 of Sol 2.

So for this challenge we just want to refuel a rocket, nothing else is important. In order to complete this as fast as possible we want the Advanced Martians Engines tech to reduce the amount of fuel we need by 20, on any other sponsor this would be a problem since on this map it is the 4th item in the engineering tech tree. Lucky for us the sponsor is Japan and we can get free science from scanning sectors and boost ourselves to it asap. Each sector scanned yields a whopping 500 research points so we need 10 probes in order to get to Advanced Martian engines. Fortunately Adapted Probes is at the very top of the Physics tree, we can leverage that to reduce our overall probe cost since it cuts their cost by 50%.

Martian engines doesn’t need to be popped immediately so the initial rocket loadout instead is going to focus on just enough probes in order to research Adapted Probes and the rest dedicated to getting as much fuel production up and running asap.

Water extractors are the most resource/weight efficient method to get water so we need some concrete and machine parts to build 1-2 of them, we also need power and drones. Here is what I recommend

2 probes
4 fuel refineries
2 stirling generators
15 concrete
5 machine parts
14 wasp drones

That being said its barely any difference to go for a moisture vaporator based play. Swap out the concrete and machine parts for 4 vaporators and less drones and follow the same basic steps below. You’ll only finish around a hour later than with this strategy.

When the map loads immediately pause and go to the tech tree and select Adapted Probes and queue up the engineering tech tree next.
Because the commander profile is Hydro Engineer it will already show a water source in sector H3 (I don’t think its random), its low but there are no water deposits higher than low we can exploit on this map. Despite that its still a bad sector since it seems to never have any surface metal deposits on it.
Scan sector D0 instead, there is another low grade water source but it actually has metals.
Scan one more random sector, the science isn’t applied whilst the game is paused so quickly tap out of pause then back in and you should have completed the research.

Plan out a water extractor and some basic piping and cabling, limit the lengths so that it only uses 1 metal to make sure building is as fast as possible.
We need more stuff from Earth though so before you unpause order some supply pods.
The supply pods are actually too slow to make much of an impact so the most important that is to make sure you send 10 more probes (which are now cheaper), but you can also send some more fuel refineries and stirling generators. We have enough concrete and machine parts to construct another water extractor which could support an additional 4 fuel refineries, but they’ll only shave off an hour or so from the final time.

Land the rocket and build everything, set the water extractor to high priority since you can’t make any fuel until its going.

When the supply pods arrive scan one sector at a time until your research item in the Engineering tree is complete, then pick the next revealed item and continue scanning. You should have exactly the right amount to research advanced martian engines, shortly after your rocket is ready for launch and the challenge is complete.
The chances of a successful colony are pretty low now since the drones have no controller and you’ve wasted most of your funding, but thats what a challenge map is all about!!

Founding Fathers

Challenge: Complete the Founder Stage
Perfect Time: Sol 6
Best Time: Sol 4 (Jon Smith)

Ok, here is a relatively normal challenge and unlike the previous two we don’t need to resort to any extremes to win.

We cannot benefit from any techs here, nor the sponsor or commander bonus. The USA mega mall can be handy at satisfying all basic interests but it takes alot of workers that we don’t have in the founder stage.

A decent loadout for your starting rocket is as follows.
20 drones
1 drone hub
1 moisture vaporator
2 stirling generators
25 concrete
5 food
10 polymers
10 machine parts
1 advanced probe

We want colonists as fast as possible so send a passenger rocket immediately, get as many sexy colonists as you can and aim for a 50/50 mix of males and females. flaws don’t matter so don’t avoid colonists if they are also sexy.

So priorities for the landing site are concrete deposit, comfort boost and surface metals. There is a good site detected by scanning sector B5 with the advanced probe.

The concrete resource can easily support 2 extractors so place them down and put a micro dome so it gets the benefit of the vista for a comfort boost.

Land the rocket, build a drone hub and the rest of your basic infrastructure, the concrete on the rocket should boost the dome construction but still prioritise the concrete extractors.
Your dome should be up by the time the colonists arrive but don’t land them until they have houses, an infirmary etc.
The polymers are for an art store, but I find mixed results with that as it means the diner is understaffed (unfortunately on this patch they introduced a bug that just says the building is missing rather than full). Either way you should get a baby around sol 4-5, I think its possible to get it done by sol 3 but I think you need to be super lucky with the baby rng.

The Gold Must Flow

Challenge: Export 30 Rare Metals
Perfect Time: Sol 10
Best Time: Sol 3 (Jon Smith)

Ok, this one has a really cheesy strategy to pull it off in 3 sols. You can beat it without this ‘exploit’ and still win within 5 sols so you aren’t saving huge time but I figured its worth demonstrating the cheesy strategy to get the lowest time. I will discuss a normal method for beating in 5 sols at the end.

On this map the objective is to export 30 rare metals, the timer ends when the rocket leaves Mars rather than when it reaches Earth so we don’t need to include travel time. This means our priorities are getting as much rare metal as possible as quickly as possible and refueling the rocket. Lucky for us on this map it has the Extractor AI breakthrough, this is the cheese I mention, we can rush this and skip using colonists altogether. Advanced Martian Engines seems like it would be beneficial but we can just crank out the fuel by spamming refineries.

We want a landing site with the highest possible grade rare metals aswell as plenty of surface metals to build the extractors.
The best location I think is in sectors H4 and I5, this will actually reveal 2 rare metal deposits, one is very high and the other is low. We can build on both of them but prioritise the very high one.
Extractor AI is in sector D0, this is on a lower level then where we plan to land so we’ll need to send an explorer separately in a supply pod to reach it.

Here is a good starting rocket loadout.
1 RC explorer (we need it to scan research anomalies)
11 drones
1 moisture vaporator
1 fuel refinery
1 stirling generator
35 machine parts
3 probes

When the map loads up pause and immediately send a supply pod with an explorer in it and use a probe to scan sector D0 to see the breakthrough we want to get. Use the remaining 2 probes on sectors H4 and I5.

Before you land we can plan out some rare metals extractors, the game won’t let you build them unless they are in range of a dome so place a dome down, this will allow you to place 4 extractors around the very high deposit and then remove the dome.
Plan out a place for the water and fuel nearby with the stirling connected.

Order a couple more supply pods from Earth. 2 more fuel/water combos will allow us to get all the fuel we need, 3 more stirlings will power everything and a drone hub can be useful. Spend some more simply sending metals and drones if you choose as both can speed up construction.

From here on out it is pretty simple. Once the explorer arrives land it in D0 and scan the breakthrough, immediately queue it up for research. Then with the first explorer scan the tech anomaly and the mystery anomaly, the mystery will have the option to yield research aswell completing the breakthrough. Your first 4 extractors should be complete by this point aswell as multiple refineries and stirlings to power everything. Make sure the extractors are working all 3 shifts, if they don’t start after the research completes just toggle them off and on.

At this point its just a waiting game, set the rocket to high priority and let the drones load it up. You’ll hit 50 fuel before you can extract 30 rare metals. Set the rocket to go back to Earth automatically so it launches immediately.

If you don’t want to win using this breakthrough exploit, the 5 sol method is simple enough. Using the same start location (H4 and I5) set up a micro dome and fuel production, 2 refineries should meet your needs, add a third once everything is up and running. You can use the concrete in H4 to quickly build it. Launch colonists immediately once the map starts and bring as many good geologists as you can. Mine the very high rare metals on all 3 shifts on heavy workloads. You’ll get the rare metals out pretty quick and launch the rocket within 5 sols.

Baby Steps

Challenge: Have 5 Martianborn Colonists
Perfect Time: Sol 13
Best Time: Sol 7 (Jon Smith)

Another one where making babies is the priority, only on this one we cannot stop at 1 martian, we need to make 5.

Lets examine what bonuses etc we can leverage on this challenge.
The Commander Profile is Rocket Scientist, its basically useless. Shuttle hubs don’t help at all and the extra rocket, whilst usually nice on a sponsor like Church Of The New Ark, isn’t beneficial here.
That being said, Church Of The New Ark is an amazing sponsor for this, they have higher birthrates and can build the amazing Temple Spire, none of the missions goals however can help us win.

So, incase you hadn’t guessed it already, we are building a strategy around rushing the sexiest colonists to Mars and getting a dome up with a temple spire, this means we need a basic dome, which is usually not a good investment for your first dome since its expensive compared to other choices however when you have a Temple Spire it makes it worth that extra investment. It works much much better at keeping your colonists stats in the green than art/electronic stores which you could otherwise use to raise comfort.

For a landing site we want the usual for a fast colony, vista site and Very High concrete deposit. Bonus if we get water. This map has that using sectors E0 and F0, the bad news is they are completely void of surface metals, which is a big problem since metals are so important, there are a small amount sector G0 but not enough to sustain us.

The rocket loadout will then need to take into account that we can find water on Mars (so no Vaporator) but need extra metal. We also aren’t going to waste money and resources on a fuel refinery. We have rockets to spare so don’t need to send one back to Earth.

A good starting rocket loadout is as follows
3 probes
15 drones
1 drone hub
2 stirling generators
15 metals
5 polymers
10 machine parts
5 electronics

When the game loads up immediately pause and send an Ark pod. Make sure you have at least 10 sexy colonists, if the game is cruel with your applicant pool then just restart the map in the menu as it re-rolls. Try to get a balance of male and female applicants, age doesn’t matter as long as they aren’t seniors, all flaws are acceptable but perhaps still try to avoid idiots. Sexy outweighs any flaws in this challenge.

Research is pretty much irrelevant here and Church doesn’t have any starting Sponsor research so we can basically forget it. Select Mars Crowdfunding simply so something is selected as the extra money can never hurt.

Scan the sectors E0, F0 and G0 with the probes, you can queue up sectors H0, I0 and J0 to scan normally, these always have some low amounts of surface metals aswell but its too slow to get them to really be useful.

Plan out your colony, you need 3 concrete extractors on the very high deposit and obviously the dome in range of the vista, plan the life support aswell. Make sure to turn off the dome and life support buildings so they don’t distract your drones at the start.

Land your rocket in range of all these buildings. The surface metal nearby won’t be in range but it doesn’t matter.
Place to dome hub and stirling prefabs and build these first, the extra 4 drones help.
Manually select a bunch of drones and tell them to grab the surface metals. Its out of range but the drones are fine going a bit further out and finding their way back.

In the meantime queue up some supply pods. We have room for at least 1 more drone (to put 20 in the drone hub) and this is plenty for now.
A transport rover is decently useless for grabbing further surface metals.
Order food, we are not growing any.
Order polymers, we not only need more for the dome, but the Temple Spire needs them aswell.
You can also send metals and concrete etc if you wish to squeeze out the last few funds, but its not required.

Your base should get up and running, once the concrete extractors are up you can turn the dome blueprint back on aswell as the life support stuff, the dome needs to be the highest priority however.
The stirlings will need to be opened to keep up with power demands. Build 2 solar panels, these will be needed later.

The various pods should arrive, aside from the Ark pod, which should wait in orbit, land them all and scrap them for more precious metals.
By the end of Sol 2 your dome should be up and running, build 1 living complex, diner, infirmary and grocer. We are going to be nearing max power capacity so some of the buildings or the dome will need to stay off. Set all the buildings so they are on all 3 shifts but only one colonist per shift using up a total of 9 of your workforce. Heavy workloads all round.

Once the basic buildings are up land the Ark Pod. To manage the power the concrete extractors need to be turned off at night. They still pump out a ton and we only need abit more concrete now.

Build a large garden and a Temple Spire, they’ll take perhaps the rest of the sol to complete and in my run I already had a baby by the time it was done.
When the spire is done again open on all 3 shifts, one colonists each to use your last 3 colonists.

Only a couple more buildings to make, a nursery and a playground (if you feel like it). The nursery handles all the housing we need and the playground keeps the kids busy and with high comfort.

At this point sit back and let the colonists breed.

They make babies so fast you can be done and get a time of 7 Sols without too much trouble. There is some RNG of course so it could be slightly slower or even abit faster.

City Building

Challenge: Have a dome with a population of 100 Colonists and no homeless citizens
Perfect Time: Sol 35
Best Time: Sol 13 (Jon Smith)

Ok, great challenge. Its all about getting a base up and running fast and getting as many colonists to Mars as we possibly can, there is a nice balance of priorities here to work with.

Firstly lets figure out how much housing we need. In order to house 100 colonists we need to have just over 4 apartments or just over 7 living complexes.
Now because the Sponsor is India we immediately have access to Medium domes, which might be tempting, but a barrel dome is a better choice. It has more than enough space aswell as low building and maintenance costs. Since we’ll have lots of space I recommend going for living complexes, not only will your colonists bit a little bit more comfortable and maybe have kids (every little helps) but they are also much easier to build and require much less power. 4 apartments will cost 80 concrete and 19.2 polymers with a power consumption of 48. 7 Living complexes will cost only 33.6 concrete and a power consumption of 7. The choice is pretty clear.

India as sponsor helps with needed less resources but not alot else. The rover isn’t worth too much really. Commander Profile is Psychologist, nice to have extra sanity but I don’t think it will be an issue and the sanitorium is useless to us.
For once we do actually have a good Mission Goal with a great reward. Build a dome in the first 5 sols and we get 4 free moisture vaporators. We’ll definitely be doing this so can bank on having plenty of water for fuel. There are no useful breakthrough techs or anomalies on this map, there is one that grants 50 extra applicants but its behind a deep scan and not worth the investment as there are already enough applicants in the pool. Advanced Martian Engines would be nice but because its a few techs down on this map and we can get a bunch of free vaporators I prefer to just spam out refineries and pay the extra fuel cost.

As usual, we want a landing site with a lots of concrete and comfort boosts from a vista.
The best balance of those things I think is in E2 and F2, there are other sites with a vista and slightly more concrete but they suffer from cold zones or awkward terrain. With India’s bonuses we’ll have more than enough concrete.

Here is my suggested loadout
2 probes
1 RC Constructor
13 drones
1 drone hub
1 fuel refinery
1 moisture vaporator
2 stirling generator
10 machine parts
5 electronics

As usual when the map loads pause, scan E2 and E3 and send a passenger rocket with ‘Sexy’ colonists, don’t worry about flaws and get at least 10 with a gender balance. Plan your basic colony out then unpause and land your rocket.
Fuel is a priority here as much as getting the dome up, since we have prefabs its worth getting them asap. We’ll need more power so send some supply pods with more stirlings, food, and more fuel refineries (we will use the Mission Goal bonus to get the vaporators), we also need 20 polymers for the dome but its better to send abit more for Stirling maintenance. Make sure your drone hub is in range to capture the two water deposits nearby, we can use them. Spend all your money now on supply pods, you need 20 extra polymers for the dome, some more stirlings (I used 5 in total) and fuel refineries, you’ll need abit more food and perhaps some machine parts aswell.

There is a dust storm that will always spawn at Sol 8, this means that we actually need to get some extra oxygen and water storage as part of the colony setup so bear that in mind but focus on other buildings first, by the end of Sol 2 your colonists should be here and your dome nearly ready. You need to plan out 7 living complexes and one living quarters. This will give you a capacity of 102 which is tight. Remember we cannot have any homeless so we’ll need to be careful how many colonists we send and switch of births if necessary. We can also swap the living quarters for a nursery for the higher capacity but since it only allows children it could end up being an issue.
Whilst this is going on all of your refineries etc should have arrived, place them down to start pumping fuel. Make sure you have a sensor tower to scan around, any sectors with surface metals can be handy, just scan the ones directly around your base (E3 usually has some).
I would recommend against building India’s waste rock refinery to make metals, it costs metals to make and won’t payback too quickly, but costs power and maintenance.

Land your colonists once the basics are in place (home, infirmary, grocer, diner, small garden). There is no more room for facilities, the colonists will need to make do with what they have.

At this point we can leave the colonists to the founder stage, lets grab the two water resources. It can be fiddly to get a cable down the ramp but you can do it. Once its connected to the network it will help boost extra storage and help see us through the dust storm.

Sit back now, you’ll need to turn off one of the concrete extractors as the power will be dipping too low, but thats fine. We don’t need more concrete now. Make sure your constructor has been going and collecting surface metals.

With all the refineries going you should always have enough fuel, you just need the drones to load it. Founder stage can end pretty quickly. Mine got done by Sol 4.
At this point just spam out the rockets sending as many colonists as you can. Just make sure you count when you are getting close to 100, you cannot have any homeless.

Annoyingly the Dust Storm arrives on Sol 10 just as my last rocket is going to arrive (78% journey to Mars), if a tiny bit more could be squeezed out then perhaps this could be done in 10 sols. Sadly because of the storm my best is 13. Either way, all those extra storage I said to spam out should come in handy surviving the storm. Land the last rocket(s) once its over and you’ve won!

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