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Subject: Mission: Red Planet Review rss

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So mission red planet is a fairly new game with a theme that is very gamer friendly; space colonization. The game itself is fairly realistic in its approach, with astronauts boarding spaceships, landing on mars and spreading across the landscape. The theme is very well incorporated into the game, but for the most part its as pasted on as most other euro style board games. That being said, it is a refreshing theme for a game that was otherwise destined to involve camels, meeples, economics in a country you've never heard of, or trains.

Components: The components are first class, the cardboard is VERY thick and sturdy. The role selection cards themselves are very glossy with relatively thick stock. The game board is effective, nothing particularly special. I would have preferred it slightly larger. My only minor gripe is that the astronauts are represented by tiny wooden circles, seems kind of odd, although the pieces do need to be small to fit properly on the board.

Gameplay: Gameplay is fairly straightforward. Players are dealt cards from their hand, and choose 1 bonus card to use for the end of the game. Each turn players choose one of 9 characters to use for the turn. They can be re-used in later turns if you choose a specific character to regain them. The characters manipulate how many astronauts that player can put onto un-launched spaceships, as well as providing special abilities such as changing ship destinations, moving astronauts on the planet, destroying ships, among others. If a ship reaches its load capacity, it launches to the martian surface, and lands in the section of the planet specified on the ship, and all astronauts are moved into that section. Players spend the 10 turns of the game trying to gain control of these sections of the martian surface, while competing for resources within each section. On the 5th, 8th, and 10th turn, the player with the majority lead in each section gains control of the resources stored there. The final score is the person at the end of the game with the most resource points, including any bonus's from their cards, and for having the most ice (one of the resources).

Impressions: The game itself is very derived, taking mechanics from other role selection and colonization type games, but it still feels fairly original, possibly due to the theme. Choosing the correct character each turn is a daunting task, and requires players to closely pay attention to where the ships are landing each turn, the number of astronauts in each location, and which players have already used which characters (before they reshuffle). Its particuarly important to plan your moves in a way so they culminate in optimal placement on the turns where the resources are scored. There is certainly some randomness to the game, as the discovery cards (a character special ability allows you to place them under an area on the planet) seem VERY powerful, and can have dramatic effects on the game, and completely undermine a person's course of action. The distribution of the resources can also be fairly random, and it may be easier for some players to achieve the goal on their bonus card then others. Overall though, this is a fun game that I can hopefully play more.

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