$10.00
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
MISSION: RED PLANET

60 Minutes
3-5 Players
By Bruno Faidutti & Bruno Cathala

1. Introduction:


Every game is somebody’s baby. And as such, every game will be loved by some people and less so by others. To this end, reviews on whether a game is good or not seem irrelevant to me. The more time I spend reading reviews, the more I realize everybody is going to like what they like, and not like what they don’t like. The problem is, sometimes we don’t always know either or both of these two things.

That is why my reviews (formerly “Kevin’s Fun-Filled, Five-Point Reviews”) will henceforth take on a different format: Know Thyself. This new incarnation of my review series is intended to explain the game as simply as I can and hopefully illustrate exactly what the game is, and what the game isn’t. My hope is that in this way, I can reduce unfair biases towards certain games on the basis that they are not good because of A, B, & C, and instead show that a game is actually quite good because of X, Y & Z.

All right already, enough philosophizing…on with the review.

II. A brief (?) overview:

Mission: Red Planet is a game by "Bruno & Bruno" about astronauts filing up space ships and colonizing Mars through character selection and area majority. The game is played over 10 turns. In each turn players choose from their identical decks of characters (1-9) and resolve them in numerical order. Once the space ships are filled, they land on one of the 10 different zones of Mars and discover a precious resource.

Each of the characters affect the game play and do such things as, replace other astronauts with your own, kill off astronauts, change the destination of the rocket, blow up rockets, allow astronauts on Mars to move to adjacent zones, etc. At the end of turns 5, 8 & 10, the board is scored according to who has the most astronauts in each zone, and each player gets a certain number of precious resources accordingly.

The scoring rounds are cumulative, and at the end of the game each player reveals their secret mission (or “objective”) and whoever has the most points, wins.

That’s it; short and sweet – like my aunt. I’m just kidding; she’s not that, um, sweet. Just short…no, no I’m kidding, she’s sweet. (And short.)

III. Musings and Observations:

I find M:RP deliciously fun, mostly because the games I’ve played thus far do a few things really, really well.

First, it always plays in exactly an hour or less, and that includes rules explanation! The game play is so simple and streamlined that there is nothing cumbersome about this game. All the components are very nicely made and have a logical use, nothing extraneous, gratuitous, unintuitive or unnecessary. Very smooth game.

Secondly, the bluffing and second-guessing is filled with mild tension because everyone has the same deck of characters. The fact that only one particular character allows you to retrieve all previously played characters is interesting, too, because the “recruiter” doesn’t do much of anything else, really. So you can play the same card over and over again, but you essentially have to “waste” a turn playing the recruiter just to do so. And in a game that only lasts 10 turns, time is a precious commodity, especially if you want to control certain sectors of Mars.

I find that thinking about the best “order” to play your characters is a good decision point in the game, and also how to best spread your astronauts on Mars quickly. The fact that your astronauts can die in the “Lost In Space” memorial is a clever touch that adds another layer of light tension.

The game can be a little random, but that’s part of its charm. It’s designed to feel the appropriate amount of depth for it’s weight, if that makes any sense.

Thirdly, the scope of the game is appropriate and proportionate to the components. What I mean by this is that the use of tiny wooden discs for astronauts (instead of minis or something) seems fitting since they are suppose to represent colonization on Mars; it's sort of a bird's-eye-view, while the character cards provide plenty of “personal” theme to the game. You really feel as though the characters actually do what they say they do. This is done with simply terrific artwork! The whole retro sci-fi look is pretty awesome. But then again, I’m definitely partial to that style in general. But who isn’t?

M:RP is a great gem of a game. I will never turn down the opportunity to play it, or share it with friends. It plays fast, has interesting decisions for what it is, and completely sucks you in to it’s lighthearted theme. Great components and game play.

Overall:

Highly recommended

Know Thyself.

Kevin
“The Passionate Yet Judicious Gamer”
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason
United States
Orlando
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I definitely agree on all your points. I just got this to the table and we had a lot of fun. I haven't taught a game this easily in a while. I was hesitant to play it because of the discussed randomness and chaos. We ran into no problems at all. I'm sure some of those discovery cards can be upsetting to be on the receiving end. It moves so fast, though, it doesn't matter.

A++ on the art too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, the randomness is not so bad if you take it all in spirit, honestly. If this game is random, then definitely so is Citadels or even Puerto Rico (I'm referring to the "Settler" tiles).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Morton
United States
Petersburg
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My 2 youngest children (10 and 12 ) enjoy playing Citadels so I'm hoping to introduce them to Mission: Red Planet soon. They really like choosing and playing the different roles.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Have you seen the Yellow Sign?
badge
Have you seen the Yellow Sign?
mbmbmbmbmb
I think Citadels meets Alien Frontiers is a good description. I think this is a very neat little game which is quite underrated. I remember when this came out. Suprisingly there was very little buzz about it and a lot of folks were complaining of the poor quality game board. I think the board is fine, though it could have been a little sturdier. More importantly it is a solid game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arthur Rutyna
United States
Plymouth
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Agree with above posters. Solid & fun little game with easy rules and plays fairly quickly.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, I think the board is perfectly fine and made well enough. I don't know how this game flew under the radar as much as it did, especially with the pedigree of the designers.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Marshall
United Kingdom
York
North Yorkshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
voynix wrote:
I think Citadels meets Alien Frontiers is a good description. I think this is a very neat little game which is quite underrated. I remember when this came out. Suprisingly there was very little buzz about it and a lot of folks were complaining of the poor quality game board. I think the board is fine, though it could have been a little sturdier. More importantly it is a solid game.


I recall people whining about the box of all things....
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
mbmbmbmbmb
pacman88k wrote:
Yeah, I think the board is perfectly fine and made well enough.


I'm not sure what board complaints there were, but my rocketship board doesn't lie flat, it tilts to the point that the colonists slide around. So I just weight it down on either end with something.

It seemed minor enough that I never tried to get a replacement from the publisher, but, it's still a bit annoying.

Even given that, this is one of my Top 10 games, I love it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It's one of my top 10 games right now, too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've actually found a solution for the whole storage situation.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
mbmbmbmbmb
pacman88k wrote:
I've actually found a solution for the whole storage situation.


Does it involve a close encounter between the insert and a trash can? laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
No need, this works perfectly fine (ignore step 1 though, it eliminates much of the room needed for the bagged bits).

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm very proud of myself. I do the same thing, and I did it without ever seeing your picture before.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Keller
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
mb
My feeling about this game became tainted.

I'm 2 years into this hobby and I've played the mentioned games out of chronological order.

I first encountered Citadels. I liked it decently enough but grew tired of it after a number of plays.

A few months later I purchased Mission Red Planet and quite enjoyed it. Sold Citadels immediately as a result.

A few months more and I purchased El Grande. I was floored by how much to the point it was. By this point I was kind of getting tired by the randomness of Mission Red Planet and El Grande had the cure for that. El Grande quickly made it to my favorite games of all time list and MRP was excised soon after.

Shortly after this I got a hold of the first run of Alien Frontiers. I was sorely disappointed. It had the area majority of El Grande plus a number of levels of randomness that I was never comfortable with. It just felt like El Grande with extra and unnecessary bells and whisltes. I sold Alien Frontiers pretty quickly.

So, what I'm getting to is I'm wondering if you've played El Grande yet? In my world it's far superior.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ackmondual
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Synnical77 wrote:

So, what I'm getting to is I'm wondering if you've played El Grande yet? In my world it's far superior.


I've played all 3, and (more or less) wouldn't mind playing any of them. To me, they break down as follows......

Citadels....
--Super portable. Ironically enough, It's so portable that I don't even need to bring it much anymore. Others will
--I definitely play long games, such as when Battlestar Galactica can sometimes drag beyond the 4 hour mark, but to me, this game dragging on feels much worse. B/c of this, if we play a 6p to 8p game, I'll ask that we play to 7 districts instead of the usual 8 to end the game. For 7p to 8p games, I'll suggest that we play to 6 instead.
--very damn inexpensive
--can get very chaotic and random that I accept unless I'm very good at staying just behind the leader or can "con" others into going after someone else (e.g. Warlord destroying districts, Magician, or Thief when that player has good knowledge of who I might have picked), I'm not gonna win, and even morese, it's so about the joureny than the destination.

MRP
--A richer Citadels experience
--Takes up to twice as long as Citadels
--For people who don't like the randomness of them Discovery cards, I need to remember to print out the official variant that removes alot (if not all) of that randomness.

AF
--Fun game. I can see why this gets compared to Kingsburg.
--I don't like it enough to buy it, but I wouldn't mind playing it again from time to time
--It's shorter than Kingsburg, and definitely MRP
--A broken strategy seems to be to get extra dice (of your color or the clear, neutral one) and keep spamming the raiders spot (to prevent others from going there)

El Grande
--It's a fun little game, but some just don't like it since it takes the longest, which is beyond what people want to delve into
--lowest randomness among all of these indeed.
--Also the most complex, so may not be the best suited for newbies.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
To get right to the point:

I like Citadels because it was one of the first games I purchased when I got into the hobby back a couple of years ago, so it holds nostalgic sway over me. Plus, I particularly enjoy role selection as a mechanic when it presents itself.

I've never played El Grande but know very well how it plays, having watched a game and skimmed the rules. I know myself , and my style, and it is not quite my cup of tea. I think it's too dry, and quite frankly, my brain would hurt afterwards. If I wanted to expend that much mental acuity, I'd rather do it on a game whose theme/flash/components/whatever etc. "does it" for me more than I know El Grande would. Don't misunderstand me, I like "to the point" games, but I'd chose other games over this one.

I also like worker placement as a general rule. As you might imagine, Alien Frontiers is a god game for me, too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ackmondual wrote:


MRP
--Takes up to twice as long as Citadels
--For people who don't like the randomness of them Discovery cards, I need to remember to print out the official variant that removes alot (if not all) of that randomness.

AF
--It's shorter than Kingsburg, and definitely MRP
--A broken strategy seems to be to get extra dice (of your color or the clear, neutral one) and keep spamming the raiders spot (to prevent others from going there)


For MRP, I don't know what game you're playing, but MRP has never gone even one hour with me, and I've played with all number of players. I haven't played the variant you speak of, but it seems to me that to do so would eliminate the very essence of what makes a Faidutti game just that. cool

Again, not sure how you're playing AF, but my games are never "shorter" than MRP (perhaps you have them backwards?) Anyway, the extra dice approach does not break the game, as I've seen people win without hoarding the dice. True, they probably can't win with the basic 3, but you don't need all 7 to run away with it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ackmondual
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
pacman88k wrote:
ackmondual wrote:


MRP
--Takes up to twice as long as Citadels
--For people who don't like the randomness of them Discovery cards, I need to remember to print out the official variant that removes alot (if not all) of that randomness.

AF
--It's shorter than Kingsburg, and definitely MRP
--A broken strategy seems to be to get extra dice (of your color or the clear, neutral one) and keep spamming the raiders spot (to prevent others from going there)


For MRP, I don't know what game you're playing, but MRP has never gone even one hour with me, and I've played with all number of players. I haven't played the variant you speak of, but it seems to me that to do so would eliminate the very essence of what makes a Faidutti game just that. cool

Again, not sure how you're playing AF, but my games are never "shorter" than MRP (perhaps you have them backwards?) Anyway, the extra dice approach does not break the game, as I've seen people win without hoarding the dice. True, they probably can't win with the basic 3, but you don't need all 7 to run away with it.


I haven't played with that variant either, but just throwing it out there since many here and elsewhere don't like the randomness of the Discovery cards. It would be like playing certain co-op games without a hidden traitor, and the like.

I checked... our first game of AF took less than an hour. MRP can take 1.5 hours or more due to AP. I'm sure it goes down much once everyone knows the game better.

I've only played one game of AF, so I suppose even if you can win with 4 dice, someone else spamming the Raiders spot and always stealing a dev card or 2 (or was it 3?) resources from you gets frustrating and old, quickly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.