A re-implementation of Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti’s “Mission: Red Planet” by Fantasy Flight Games has taken a game that was already awesome and managed to make it even better. Most notably, there are new action cards and revised mission and discovery cards. The discs representing the astronauts have been substituted for plastic figures. The artwork has been beautifully redone. Mars is also now represented on a round board (makes sense) instead of a square. The rockets have also been redone as cards, and there are some other minor changes. Another neat addition is that of Phobos as a location.
If you’ve never played the original, “Mission: Red Planet” is about an alternate history where Victorian-era corporations are vying to control and profit from newly discovered Martian resources (celerium, sylvanite, and ice). As the head of one of these mining corporations players secretly deploy one of their character cards, which determines both when they place astronauts on the rocket ships awaiting launch to Mars and which special action they take during the round. Each character card has a unique skill that can help accomplish certain tasks (think “Citadels” if you’ve ever tried that game), such as sabotage, exploration, espionage, military, etc… They will then attempt to get their astronauts to the red planet to explore and collect resources. Players will also each have at least one secret mission card that may grant them additional points at game’s end if they’ve met the requirements.
This is a fun game for both new or casual gamers that’s not at all hard to teach, setup, or play. It’s also a game most experienced gamers will certainly enjoy due to its game mechanics, level of player interaction, and strategy. Highly recommended for everybody.