Synopsis: Everyone wants to fly their little wooden astronauts to Mars...but the little guys keep getting blown up, seduced, and all those tickets the travel agent sold you, well it turns out the shuttle is overbooked, and you'll just have to wait for next turn to do anything.
Lowdown: Mission: Red Planet is a chaotic romp that serves up heapings of unpredictalbe fun. You'll enjoy this game if you can roll with the punches and get a kick out of throwing a monkey wrench in your opponents' plans. You'll hate this game if you're a control freak, or you cry like a baby (inside) when your well laid plans blow up in your face when you opponent flips over an unexpected discovery card that turns the tables and lets someone else seize victory from the jaws of defeat.
Nutshell: Get your astronauts to Mars by placing in them spaceships. Spaceships can be cramped (carrying only 2 or 3 astronauts) or spacious (carrying 4 or 5 astronauts).
When a spaceship is full it blasts off to a region on Mars. Each spaceship has a particular destination printed on it, or is blank (allowing the first person to place an astronaut on the space ship to choose the destination). When you land on Mars, you learn what resource is present in that region (resources are worth 1 to 3 points).
In rounds 5, 8, and the final round, 10, gain resource tokens (points) if you have the most astronauts in a region of Mars. In round 5, one resource token is up for grabs, in round 8, two resource tokens are up for grabs, and in round 10, three resource tokens are up for grabs in each region.
You get astronauts into spaceships by playing character cards. There are 9 character cards - each character card allows you place 1 to 3 astronauts into 1 or more spaceships, and each character card has a special ability. The character cards also determine the order of play each round.
Each round, every player SECRETLY chooses one character card. Then each player who played the Recruiter card goes first. Then each player who played the explorer takes their turn, and so on, all the way down to the players who chose the pilot card - they get to go last. If more than one player has chosen the same character, there's a complicated algorithm to determine order of play which will be detailed in a separate strategy article.
After everyone has taken a turn, a new round begins until round 10 when your wild and wacky adventures come to end by revealing all discovery cards that were played, figuring out if you met the requirements of any bonus cards, and awarding 9 points to the player with the most ice tokens.
I'm not going to tell you all the other rules, but I'll suddenly remember them if it helps me win.
Now, let's take a closer look at those character cards:
Cast of Characters
Recruiter: He's number 1, and he allows you to pick up all the character cards you've already played (including himself). [Place 1 astronaut in a spaceship].
Explorer: A solid number 2 guy, the explorer lets you move around your astronauts on Mars. 
Scientist: Coming up in third place, the scientist lets you draw an event card. Will it be a discovery card which affects one region of Mars and is revealed in round 10, or will it be a bonus card which grants you extra points if you can somehow accomplish the objective described by the little words on the card? Who knows? Certainly not you, unless you stacked the deck (you sly devil). 
Secret Agent: Man, this number four dude, is in some kind of fierce hurry. Maybe he's on crystal meth. I don't know, but he will launch a spaceship that is not even full. [2 but they must be on two different ships]
Saboteur: Five, four, three, two, one, BOOM, this guy is a blast because he blows up a spaceship which has not yet taken off. 
Femme Fatale: Sexy six, this vixen seduces an astronaut in a spaceship or on Mars and sends him to the Lost in Space Memorial (RIP), while she remains behind. 
Travel Agent: Lucky number seven, and you'll need luck, because if you can't fit 3 astronauts into the same ship, you lose your turn! Next time, use Travelocity! 
Soldier: The eight million dollar fighting machine, kills an enemy astronaut on any outside region of Mars by creeping up on them commando style in a red jumpsuit and cutting their air hose with a bowie knife OR maybe he just shoots his big gun until you're dead. [2 on one spaceship]
Pilot: The pilot arrives at the last minute to inform you that you're not on the shuttle to Utopia anymore! 
Wisdom: As you can see, this SHOULD be a fast-playing and chaotic game. This game sucks when Harold spends 5 minutes trying to decide what would happen if Sally played the Pilot and Harry picked the Explorer. Then he wrinkles his brow, perhaps Louie is playing the saboteur and Maude will play the femme fatale? Maybe Harold should play the travel agent, uh, no, maybe he's should play the scientist, Harold's brain is starting to hurt.
Harold, chill out dude, you're playing a game to have fun. Pick a card that helps you out, try to fulfill your bonus card(s), and chuckle evilly when you blow up Maude's spaceship. I know you want to. Try it. MWAHAHAHAA! There, feel better? Good, because you'll get yours soon enough.
Phrases Lighthearted romp. Fast-playing. Majority control. Unpredictable chaos. Evil chuckles. Surprise ending.
Fly fellows to Mars
Control regions gather points
Mess with well laid plans
- Last edited Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:38 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:51 am
Tyne & Wear
Nice reviewing style
I really like the quips and stuff
Might have to buy it
...i WILL own it all!!!
I think this game does receive a lot of stick from the more serious gamer amongst us ... however my family always enjoys playing this. The levels of luck - messing about with opponents - and a semblance of support for your strategic goals do lead to a fun game.
This game was one of the most FUN I've played in a while. It has lots of things I really like about these type of games. Of note was the first turn when I figured I could sabotage a spaceship. Never having played I didn’t realize the Special Agent card allows people to just take off before sabotage. Result I ended the round blowing up my own spaceship!
Man there was a lot of laughs.
I didn’t try and play that card again