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Subject: Review - Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) rss

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Component Quality:
As with most Fantasy Flight games, the component quality is quite nice. The astronauts are great plastic miniatures (although I do have one issue with them, which I will get to later). The game board and cards are great quality as well. The box insert is useless (am I supposed to throw it away? It has such nice art on it...) - I always appreciate a game w/ a nice box insert and this isn't one of them.

Rule Book:
the rule book is fairly easy to understand. It does have a section in the back with basically a FAQ, which answers lots of questions I had while I was reading through the main rules. I would have liked to see some of items listed in the FAQ actually put in the main rules. I have not played this game 2-player so I will not comment on the special 2 player rules.

Gameplay:
I am not going to go into detail about the rules, but I will give a brief overview for those unfamiliar with the game. The game basically has two parts: role selection and area control.

In each of the game's 10 rounds, players will secretly chose 1 role from their hand of 9 (every player has the same roles 1-9). Players will then execute their role's abilities according to what number role they chose (9 goes first, 1 goes last). Going first in a round gives you a better chance of doing what you want, but going later (i.e. choosing a lower number role card) usually gives you more actions you can do. Lots of interaction as you try to guess what roles your opponents are going to play.

One of the main actions of role cards is to put your astronauts into spaceships. Once spaceships are full, they will "launch" and those astronauts aboard will land in a designated area of Mars. This is the area control portion of the game, where different regions produce different value resources, and the player w/ area majority gets those resources at three different scoring rounds during the game.

There are also secret "Mission" cards, which give each player hidden objectives to complete. There are "Discovery" cards as well, which players can get and assign to a region on Mars. These can modify how the last round of scoring is done for that particular region (sometimes positively and sometimes negatively). The Discovery cards are played face down, so only the player who placed it there knows what it does (but there is a role card players can select to peek at played Discovery cards).

What it actually felt like to play:
All my sessions have been with 4 players. I feel like 4 or 5 players is probably the best for this game. I think 6 might be too chaotic (but fun, if you are looking for some chaos). I don't know how the 2 player variant is like. I feel like 3 would be too little and not enough conflict in role selection or area control.

The game was very fun, very interactive. It isnt a brain burner by any means, but there is a decent amount of strategy to be had. It is always fun to see what roles each player selected. Some of the roles let people kill other players' astronauts, so there is a little bit of "Take That" in this game.

My only real complaint (and its not a big one) is about the astronauts themselves. When the board starts to fill up with lots of pieces, our whole group found it very difficult to quickly count how many astronauts of each color there were in each region. The details of the miniatures are great, but I think maybe they should have gotten rid of the flag to make it easier to count them.

Quick -- how many astronauts are in this picture?

(image credit: ohbeone)


Final Thoughts:

I think this game is for:
- people who play with a regular group of 4-5. With the role selection, the first game most people will be trying to figure out and remember what role does what.
- people looking for a interactive game w/ a decent dose of strategy

I DON'T think this game is for:
- people constantly playing w/ new players. Not to say it wouldn't be fun playing w/ new players always, but I just think the game would be MORE fun when all people have a good familiarity of each role card.
- people who don't like one card changing their strategy. The Discovery cards can turn a region you are dominating in into a region that doesn't produce any points. This only affects 1 out of 3 rounds of scoring, but still can kind be kind of annoying.
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Joshua Ryan
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I'm glad you mentioned that about the astronauts, because it's one of the first things I noticed when images of them were first released. Although people complained that the wooden discs often rolled around too much, at least they were easy to discern on the board at a quick glance.

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Chris Wood
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I can also confirm that the astronauts are hard to count if there is a bunch.
 
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Ian Allen
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Cut the flags off with an x-acto knife?
 
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Ben Tinney
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Quote:
The box insert is useless
Without exception the first thing I do with any FF game is remove and throw away the "insert". For a company who puts so much emphasis on the quality of its components they have never (in my experience) provided a useful insert.
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Joel Berg von Linde
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when are we getting an expansion for Yedo?
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Penguinised wrote:
Quote:
The box insert is useless
Without exception the first thing I do with any FF game is remove and throw away the "insert". For a company who puts so much emphasis on the quality of its components they have never (in my experience) provided a useful insert.
I think the inserts are mostly for keeping the components safe during shipping. At least they arent spending money custom inserts that you throw away anyway, either because inserts are mostly useless, or they become useless as soon as an expansion needs to go in the box as well.
 
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glookose wrote:
Cut the flags off with an x-acto knife?
That's the first thing I thought of when I looked at them.
Maybe just keep a couple for each color and the flag bearers break ties?
 
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Ben Tinney
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joelpetersen wrote:
At least they arent spending money custom inserts that you throw away anyway, either because inserts are mostly useless, or they become useless as soon as an expansion needs to go in the box as well.
I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Take a company like Days of Wonder for example. They manage to make games of a similar quality to FFG at a similar price point and yet they have what many would consider to be market leading box inserts.
And in regard to your second point, considering how guilty FFG are of selling empty space (ie huge boxes with very little in them, especially their LCGs), I don't think it would be difficult at all for them to allow for expansions in their inserts.

Personally I think it's a lazy business decision and in some ways, disrespectful of customers considering we are implicitly expected to buy Plano boxes/foam core/tuck boxes to adequately store the games.
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Joel Berg von Linde
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when are we getting an expansion for Yedo?
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Lets just agree to strongly disagree then. None of my DoW games still have their plastic inserts

Edit: also, I really wish there was a lot more air in aGoT:tcg 2nd ed. They are going with much smaller boxes these days, that are useless for storing cards, especially as the expansions start comming out
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Well, I did it! meeple
With a flush cutter, it took about half an hour.

Who has majority?

Clearer now?
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J
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zombie_homer wrote:
Well, I did it! meeple
With a flush cutter, it took about half an hour.

wow, that made even more of a difference than i thought it would!
 
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Ian Allen
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I thought that might work - nice job!
 
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