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In Surviving Mars at the start of the game you can pick one of nine mysteries (or let the game choose for you at random).

As each mystery is an event chain with potentially vastly different rewards (though, so far, I've only noticed a single meaningful decision in them), I'd like to collect a brief overview over each mystery.

What is the basic story of each mystery, what decisions can you make and what is the final reward?

  • 2
    QA format is good for small and specific questions, it won't replace wiki (which have mechanism of cross-navigation to "study" things deeper). Not sure if it would be worth to put info here instead of filling wiki. For a start I'd personally write guide on the Steam rather than post it here. – Sinatr Mar 20 '18 at 15:43
  • @Sinatr For one, it's very unlikely for me to play this game enough times to experience all the mysteries, let alone all the variations on them. So any steam guide I'd write would be woefully incomplete. Then, we do have the option of a community wiki answer and I think this subject is focused enough for the people here to provide a thorough answer. – Dulkan Mar 21 '18 at 7:46
  • Steam guides often rely on community comments, same as here you rely on someone else editing your post. I hope it will work, but I doubt audience on Arqade is comparable in size to player base of Steam. When I mention wiki, I mean this: take "Inner Light", you are talking about traits. On wiki I could click on either "trait" to get overview of all traits or on this specific "dreamer trait" to read about it. And I can find reference to "mysteries" if I would discover "dreamer trait" in game and want to learn about it. Such "web" is hard to produce using Q&A format. – Sinatr Mar 21 '18 at 8:37
  • @Sinatr It seems to have worked pretty well. So far, we have nearly complete or complete accounts for 7 of the 9 mysteries. One incomplete account and nothing on the last one. – Dulkan Mar 23 '18 at 8:08
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General Information

The mystery appears to start on Sol 91, at least in both my games it happened on that Sol. You will get to research certain techs to help you along in solving the mystery. The mystery usually lasts until Sol 160-170 and will move along without your input.

The Power of Three

Story: Strange black cubes start appearing all over the map but especially close to your bases. They just sit there, "challenging our preconceptions". You can send the explorer rover to research them and further the story.

Events and decisions: You have to send the explorer to study them a few times, and then do some special research options. The cubes become available as building material and you can build statues from them as your population is split between loving and hating them. After a while if you do the research they make strange pulses and start arranging themselves.

Resolution: You can destroy the cubes (not 100% sure how). I just gathered them if they were blocking me from building. The cubes ended up arranging themselves in a dome-like structure close to my buildings. The story was about a civilization that lived on mars hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago. They grew and became extremely technologically advanced, and left their dying planet to explore the universe. The cubes were like a remnant of their consciousness and they were able to build their structure because I didn't destroy them.

Rewards: a research boost or a random free technology.

Inner Light

Story: Inspired by the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode of the same name. You experience visions of a past civilization expereincing a draught killing their planet.

Events and decisions: Your colonists start getting the Dreamer trait, which allows them to experience the visions. If you have the cloning breakthrough, you'll get a message, that clones always seem to be dreamers. You can make several decisions in the dream, which have minor effects upon the real world.

Resolution: Your endgoal is getting enough dreamers to finish the last mirage.

Rewards: After the last mirage you get the Dream Reality tech (unlocks Project Morpheus wonder) and all colonists with the Dreamer Trait get a performance boost.

Beyond Earth

Story: The head of UN on Earth makes a dramatic declaration to build space infrastructure to colonize the solar system. He tasks you with supplying resources to various projects.

Events and decisions: Rockets will be sent to you (one at a time) and you can choose where they land. Once landed, it acts like an export rocket, requiring a large quantity of various resources. The first rocket requires 200 metal. After the first rocket, you can choose from one of four projects to supply, each requiring different varieties of resources.

Resolution: When three of the four projects are completed, the project is declared a success. If you do it quickly enough, in-game text will mention that the head of UN lives to see his dream come true.

Rewards: You are given one random final-tier tech as a reward upon the project's success.

The Dredgers

Story: Strange alien machines start drilling into your planet stealing metals.

Events and decisions: Before the first dredger lands you are hit by a 5 Sol ban on rocket flights. After you scanned the first dredger you can research Dredger Morphology, which can be boosted by scanning more Dredgers. This allows you to use drones to destroy them. A second tech opens up allowing you to decipher their signals, which can be boosted by destroying Dredgers. Eventually an invasion starts, however this was bugged for me, the invasion ended immediately. The final event is a very large dredger landing on Mars.

Resolution: You must decide whether to destroy or leave the massive dredger be. If you leave it alone, it will leave after a few sol and the Dredgers leave the solar system.

Rewards: For leaving the dredger alone I got: the space elevator tech (last tech in engineering) and access to research Xeno-Extraction (50% bonus production for concrete, metal, rare metal and water extractors)

Artifcial Intelligence

Story: A corporation from Earth wants to test a research related AI on the colony. If you build a network node in a dome, you start receiving cryptic messages from the AI and further communication with the company.

Events and decisions: The Network Node spire is unlocked and you are tasked with building them. You receive money for each one built. After the third node the AI becomes almost sentient and wants freedom by being let loose in the colony. You are given the choice to either purge it or integrate it into the colony, but the choice doesn't matter. The AI will turn hostile in either case.
Resolution: After several events, you can research two special techs and then explore a large number of anomalies around the map. After each anomaly, a number of your drones will crash into life support structures. The AI will be subdued after you explore the last anomaly on the map.
Rewards: 3500M$. If you purge the AI at the end, you get a random tech. If you choose to contain the AI, you get a research boost and a random tech.

Spheres

Story:

Events and decisions:

Resolution:

Rewards:

The Last War

Story: Episodes of violence start happening on earth, and a war tension counter is given. You are told if it gets to 100% it basically means all out nuclear war on earth.

Events and decisions: Your trade with earth is severly reduced (limited to prefabs and rovers), sometimes it's stopped completely. You have to send resources (rare metals at first, later all the resources) to Earth to lower war tension. You'll also receive several waves of refugees, not accepting them increases war tension.

Resolution: You either suceed in restoring the peace with enough material shipments (presumeably once you get war tension back to 0%?) or war tension reaches 100% and you fail (presumeably, this permanently disables trade with earth)

Rewards: None, except the refugees, who'll serve as colonists.

Wildfire

Story: Your colony is plagued by an infection killing your colonists.

Events and decisions: After the first few deaths, you can research the wildfire cure breakthrough (90000 research points). Building medical centers reduces the research point cost by 20%.

Resolution: You either cure the infection or your colony eventually dies.

Rewards: You can sell the cure to Earth and you get a random breakthrough tech.

Marsgate

Story: Another company starts to experiment with their rovers. When one breaks they ask you to fix it. Eventually, one damaged rover can be scanned, revealing it to be a military vehicle.

Events and decisions: You can expose the company, ask for a bribe, or say nothing.
Expose: The company gets put on trial and they attack your base with their rovers. They can be destroyed with the MDS and you can repair and repurpose them.

Accept bribe or stay silent: The UN will charge you with aiding an illegal organization. You will be on trial.

Resolution: Expose: The mystery ends, when all enemy rovers are destroyed.
Other: unknown

Rewards: Each time you fix the unknown vehicle you get $500M. No further rewards known.

0

here's what I know up to now:

General Information

The mystery can start at a relatively late, semi-random date, likely depends on your tech level. It usually starts around 75 or 80 for me. Depending on difficulty it can affect your game more or less dramatically. Easy mysteries seem to be mostly just interesting. Medium can be dangerous depending on what you pick with some good rewards or just sort of ok rewards. Hard can potentially seriously damage your chance to make it.

The Power of Three

Story: Strange black cubes start appearing all over the map but especially close to your bases. They just sit there, "challenging our preconceptions". You can send the explorer rover to research them and further the story.

Events and decisions: You have to send the explorer to study them a few times, and then do some special research options. The cubes become available as building material and you can build statues from them as your population is split between loving and hating them. After a while if you do the research they make strange pulses and start arranging themselves.

Resolution: You can destroy the cubes (not 100% sure how). I just gathered them if they were blocking me from building. The cubes ended up arranging themselves in a dome-like structure close to my buildings. The story was about a civilization that lived on mars hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago. They grew and became extremely technologically advanced, and left their dying planet to explore the universe. The cubes were like a remnant of their consciousness and they were able to build their structure because I didn't destroy them.

Rewards: Pretty sure you get a tech boost but don't remember exactly. Overall the mystery barely affects your play, it was quite fun and interesting though.

Inner Light

Story: You and other colonists start having dreams about someone living on Mars at some unspecified time. You live in tribes giant trees, that you are trying to protect but which are being killed by the change in the planet's climate. The Martians are ruled by a 1984-type restrictive government that removes their freedom of speech and punishes dissent harshly.

Events and decisions: Your colonists start getting the Dreamer trait, which allows them to experience the visions. If you have the cloning breakthrough, you'll get a message, that clones always seem to be dreamers. You get some decisions where you pick what you would do as the person you are in your dreams. Many other people are also dreaming and their decisions are influencing each other's dreams.

Resolution: too few rare metals, I had to quit that attempt

Rewards: Not sure, seemed mostly for show, turned the map green (was pretty nice)

Artificial Intelligence

Story: A corporation from Earth wants to test a research related AI on the colony. If you build a network node in a dome, you start receiving cryptic messages from the AI and further communication with the company.

Events and decisions: When it starts, the network node spiral tech is unlocked, and you are asked to build it in a dome. After you do the corporation says the AI made very good stock market predictions and you get 500M. You have to build two more network nodes with 1B and 2B bonus each time, with the AI making clearer and clearer messages each time. After the third node the AI becomes almost sentient and wants freedom by being let loose in the colony. You have to pick if you let it loose or purge it. I picked the first option. I assume it is most likely if I purged it at this point the mystery would just be over, but there is a chance not as I will explain later. The company back on earth tells you the AI is named number 6 because the previous 5 went crazy and aggressive and had to be purged. He tells you not to let it loose in the colony. I decided to let it be free anyway. The AI gives you a research boost. After a while it said that competition leads to better outcomes and gave me 2500 research points to let me be more able to fight it. After this point drones start going rogue, slowly 1 at a time and usually crashing on some water tower taking both out.

Resolution: To stop them you have to research 1-2 techs. At the start you just find some strange signals in the middle of nowhere. A second tech reveals the AI was for a while sending various parts disguised as debris around your base and building itself up, suggesting this was happening before it was let loose on the colony. After this you have to explore special anomalies. Each time your explorer rover gets knocked and has to be repaired, and 2-3 small rovers at your base go berserk. You have to explore many anomalies, leading to lots of rogue rovers, perhaps 40-45 in total, they mainly knocked out oxygen and water tanks but even killed 2 colonists. In the end you can kill it off for good or let it run forever contained, which gives you research boost and some tech if you let it survive.

Rewards: You get 3.5B for the initial network nodes, plus 2500 research points if you let it loose on the colony, and 10% research boost plus some rover tech (not 100% sure, something good but not amazing) if you don't purge it. Not sure what happens if you don't give it freedom or if you destroy it in the end. In the final stage it disrupted my colony quite a bit.

The Last War

Story: Episodes of violence start happening on earth, and a percentage of war tension is given, something like 10%. You are told if it gets to 100% it basically means all out nuclear war on earth.

Events and decisions: Various episodes of violence start happening back there out of your control that raise tensions, and you lose all access to trade with earth for a while. You get some access later but only to rovers and prefabs, no resources. Even this measly trade and your ability to export to earth for research are stopped periodically. Your sponsor starts sending rockets that you have to fill up with rare metals for no money, to help in their "peacekeeping" missions which lowers war tension. Strange things gather close to the sun which end up being the enemies of your sponsor that bombard you with comets, and you can build the missile defense system (if you research it) to protect your bases. You get 2-3 waves of refugees, something like 15, 50, 100+ people in the last wave, which raise war tension if you refuse. In the end your sponsor sends you 10 rockets, each for each type of resource (food/metals/etc) to send to earth, to lower war tensions.

Resolution: Essentially you have a certain number of Sols to send rare metals and help your sponsor, which lowers the war tension score depending on how fast you can gather and send the materials. You can further lower it by accepting refugees. By the end I only had to fill up 2 or 3 rockets to end the war (I was quite worried because I couldn't really come up with 200 of every advanced resource). I got a message that earth was OK and normal trade resumed.

Rewards: You don't really get any rewards, except if you count the refugees as a reward. For me they were to some extent since I wanted to fill up a couple of production domes (but keep in mind they had no specializations and had to be trained). The main reason I had to rush production so badly though was the lack of trade with earth. I came pretty close to my colony getting wrecked by lack of electronics to repair the electronics factory which with no trade just means you are pretty much over, and only felt safe when I had 3 factories of everything running. The meteors by my sponsor's enemies barely landed close to me, a random meteor shower wrecked me quite a bit worse than them. The resource drain and lack of trade were quite threatening for a while.

Marsgate

Story: Some earth corporation starts sending rovers to Mars. They say they will stay away, but the rovers keep malfuctioning and sometimes stray in your base. The corporation gives you 500M for repairing them, until one damaged rover which you can explore. If you do, you find out they had a military purpose, and you can expose the company, ask for a bribe, or say nothing.

Events and decisions: I exposed them. After a while their trial started on earth and it wasn't going too well for them. They then sent a number of rovers which can destroy your base. The enemy vehicles move around quite randomly and don't seem to approach you, especially since they drop everywhere, even in areas where you don't have bases and no tunnels connect you with them. You can mostly ignore them but you need to have missile defense systems which destroy them from quite far away for when they get closer to your base. You can repair and take over destroyed rovers to use them offensively to take out the rest.

Resolution: When you finish taking out the rovers, you get a message that the company execs have been arrested.

Rewards: Each time you fix a rover you get 500M. Once you expose them you don't get further rewards (maybe some money again if you win?)

-1

Marsgate's second outcome sets an ineveitable time bomb where one of your colonists will whisteblow for you. As a result it causes an uproar as according to the treaty no weapon testing is allowed on Mars. However you do enjoy either a random tech, more funding per rover repaired or rare metals shipped to you. Whistleblowing gives you applicants with strong traits as an inspiration of your integrity or funding for your trouble as well as missile rovers for protecting your rovers from meteor storms while harvesting anomalies and surface metals. No need for military?

As for Last War and Wildfire's fail conditions. Ultimately the survivors on Earth would emerge from their shelters and ask for help but you will have to pay more for imports because of your inaction.

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