Mission: Red Planet

RRP: £49.99

NOW £36.99
RRP £49.99

With technology rapidly developing and the human population growing, Victorian-era Earth is in dire need of fuel, land, and other natural resources. Fortunately, automated probes sent to Mars have discovered celerium, an ore that can be combusted to produce ten thousand times more power than a steam engine, and sylvanite, the densest substance ever found. More incredibly, the probes…
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Category Tags , , , , SKU ZBG-FFGVA93 Availability 5+ in stock
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Awards

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Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Quick set up and tear down.
  • Superb components, both on theme and quality.
  • Easy to grasp rules with enough detail for intricate strategy.

Might Not Like

  • Basic box insert.
  • Lack of main missions may affect replay-ability.
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Description

With technology rapidly developing and the human population growing, Victorian-era Earth is in dire need of fuel, land, and other natural resources. Fortunately, automated probes sent to Mars have discovered celerium, an ore that can be combusted to produce ten thousand times more power than a steam engine, and sylvanite, the densest substance ever found. More incredibly, the probes found ice that could be used in terraforming the planet, bringing the idea of colonizing Mars even closer to becoming a reality. As the head of a mining corporation, these minerals and ice found on Mars could make you unfathomably wealthy – if you can reach them before your competitors. You have ten rounds to send your astronauts into space, occupy the planet's most resource-rich zones, and harvest as much celerium, sylvanite, and ice as possible. At your command is a team of nine professionals. Each has a unique skill set, from helping your astronauts traverse the Red Planet to blowing up spaceships before they launch.

 

Visually striking and becoming quite a rarity for some time, Mission: Red Planet by Bruno Faidutti (Mascarade) and Bruno Cathala (Shadows Over Camelot), published by Fantasy Flight Games, is a game of resource gathering and minion management for 2-6 players.

Players are pitted together, fighting for territory and resources on the red planet whilst trying to complete personal objectives and hinder their opponents using a team of individual characters each with a unique ability.

Mission: Red Planet - The Game

Now in its second edition, Mission: Red Planet has seen several changes from the original. The steam punk art style has been updated with a more animated feel, adding a lot of character and fun to the game but also giving it a brighter and I feel more appealing colour palette.

The gameplay feels familiar if you have played the original. You still allocate workers to rockets and blast them off to the planet surface, but there a number of aspects that truly have advanced for this second edition. Most noticeable is the round play board representing the planet surface, thematically this is perfect and adds a unique quality considering most board game boards are well, square in nature.

We also find a new lunar edition in the form of Phobos, the moon adding a new area in which to fight over and obtain resources from but also giving the player opportunity to move minions to any edge on the planet bellow offering strategic significance. Want to increase or decrease the number of players? No problem, Mission: Red Planet comes with a modular launch pad which you customise to suit how many players you have in your group, no wasted space here.

Now That my overview is done lets get into some of the details.

Component Quality

As is to be expected from a publisher as prestigious as Fantasy Flight Games, the quality of the components is top notch. The card stock for the segmented round main board and launch pads are thick and durable, the printing quality is crisp and the die cutting on the pop out pieces is clean with no ragged points.

The card stock for our playing card element is of the same level of quality, however be aware there are two sizes of game card present for those of you who wish to sleeve your game to add longevity to those most handled components.

Perhaps just as notable as the round board is the plastic astronaut tokens, a new addition to the game and a cut above its previous iteration. Although tiny, these are packed with detail and made from a solid, quality plastic. No ill defined rubbery monstrosities that we have seen with some other plastic board game pieces here.

You get six different colours of game pieces as we would expect, however these pieces are of such detail I wouldn’t be surprised if some people painted them to add even more atmosphere to the game.

Now I shall go off on a tangent to what I believe to be wholly part of component quality and that is the component of the box insert. I like a good box insert, I feel that this helps to preserve the game pieces and can really help with the build up and tear down of the game.

This is a Fantasy Flight game so don’t look for a grand plastic molded box insert here, you get the standard thin floppy cardboard divider. I personally keep the post popped thick card sections to help keep everything flush and together in the box, for the amout paid I think this is a bit of a poor show but I see the quality we are paying for in the game pieces itself which is where it counts.

The card stock for our playing card element is of the same level of quality, however be aware there are two sizes of game card present for those of you who wish to sleeve your game to add longevity to those most handled components.

Perhaps just as notable as the round board is the plastic astronaut tokens, a new addition to the game and a cut above its previous iteration. Although tiny, these are packed with detail and made from a solid, quality plastic. No ill defined rubbery monstrosities that we have seen with some other plastic board game pieces here.

You get six different colours of game pieces as we would expect, however these pieces are of such detail I wouldn’t be surprised if some people painted them to add even more atmosphere to the game.

Now I shall go off on a tangent to what I believe to be wholly part of component quality and that is the component of the box insert. I like a good box insert, I feel that this helps to preserve the game pieces and can really help with the build up and tear down of the game.

This is a Fantasy Flight game so don’t look for a grand plastic molded box insert here, you get the standard thin floppy cardboard divider. I personally keep the post popped thick card sections to help keep everything flush and together in the box, for the £49.99 RRP I think this is a bit of a poor show but I see the quality we are paying for in the game pieces itself which is where it counts.

Gameplay

One of the most notable and attractive features of Mission: Red Planet is its fast build up time, I can have the box open and have the game ready to play in five minutes which is amazing for a game with this many unique components.

The specially cut planet, launch pad and timer pieces all jig saw together in no time and look fantastic and very immersive, especially if you’re playing on a black table or cloth. Once set up you reveal the main mission card, this is a resource that offers a bonus to those who collect the most of it. There is only one of these so that can be a bit limiting and something I feel could be expanded upon with a small card expansion.

Resource tokens are then placed face down randomly on the territories on the planet surface, the content of which for the players to discover. Each player also has an individual secret mission card in additional to the main mission that everyone is competing to complete. This varies in its objective, you could have to hold certain territories, hold the most of a specific resource or even have more astronauts lost to the vacuum of space in order to gain bonus points at the end of the game.

These bonuses are in addition to the points you gain for collection different resources on the planet surface, some of which are more valuable on a base level and will be heavily contested.

All these valuable resources but how do you get them in the ships hold? Well you need an intrepid team of steampunk planeteers of course. Each player has nine unique character cards they can play. This will allow them to place astronauts on docked ships but each character has their own funky abilities such as causing a ship to launch before its at full capacity or even changing the pre-determined destination on a docked ship to hinder a player who obviously wants to gain a strong foothold on a specific territory.

These bonuses are in addition to the points you gain for collection different resources on the planet surface, some of which are more valuable on a base level and will be heavily contested.

All these valuable resources but how do you get them in the ships hold? Well you need an intrepid team of steampunk planeteers of course. Each player has nine unique character cards they can play. This will allow them to place astronauts on docked ships but each character has their own funky abilities such as causing a ship to launch before its at full capacity or even changing the pre-determined destination on a docked ship to hinder a player who obviously wants to gain a strong foothold on a specific territory.

The variety in abilities the characters have offers a lot of strategy and subterfuge for everyone present and really helps to draw you into the game, creating allies and viciously expanding into your enemies’ territories to gain the valuable resources there in.

The game rounds in Mission: Red Planet are controlled by the round tracker, a very visual game piece that helps keep everything on track time wise. The game itself can be played very quickly and can be completed in an hour if everyone is familiar with the rules.

The theme and relatively easy to grasp rule set make it great for kids too and I would fully suggest it as an entry level board game for younger players as well as being a game that adults can see finesse in the details and strategy you can employ throughout your games.

Closing Comments

Overall I am very impressed with Mission: Red Planet, it has quality and prestige in its designers and it's great as the main event of your games night or a warm up for something else and I don’t see anyone who tries it being disappointed.

  • Zatu Review Summary
  • Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Quick set up and tear down.
    • Superb components, both on theme and quality.
    • Easy to grasp rules with enough detail for intricate strategy.

    Might not like

    • Basic box insert.
    • Lack of main missions may affect replay-ability.