How To Play: Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Discover the intricacies of 'How To Play Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)' with our strategy guide. We delve into mastering character roles, exerting area control, managing resources efficiently, and strategically fulfilling mission objectives, all crucial for claiming victory on the Martian landscape.


Welcome to your gateway to conquest and clever tactics with ‘How To Play Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)’. Here, we’re not merely drifting through space; we’re crafting a master plan to dominate and claim the robust Martian landscape for ourselves. This guide steps beyond basic instruction, providing a detailed outline of the game rules, enriched with the finest strategies to secure your victory. As a seasoned player, I’ve spent numerous hours charting the red planet with friends and I’m eager to share the tried-and-true methods that will propel you to success. Ready your astronauts—strategic superiority awaits.

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 132 Plastic Astronauts (22 per color)
  • 20 Plastic Ships
  • 5 Plastic Point Markers (1 per color)
  • 30 Action Cards (6 per player)
  • 9 Event Cards
  • 34 Mission Cards
  • 5 Summary Cards
  • 1 Round/First Player Marker
  • 36 Discovery Tokens
  • 64 Resource Cards
  • 9 Ice Asteroids/Tokens
  • 1 Cloth Bag
  • Rules Booklet

How To Play Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition): Rules Summary

Initial Setup: Assembling your Mission Gear

Let’s get ready for blast-off with the game setup. Begin by placing the game board in the center of the playing area. Each player selects a color and takes the corresponding astronauts and spaceships. You’ll also want to place one spaceship on each of the dock’s five bays ― those are your ticket to Mars. Next, shuffle the character and event cards separately and deal a certain number of character cards to each player. Now, establish the resource piles around the board and place some of the explosive event cards into the event deck at designated intervals. Don’t forget to also randomly assign secret mission cards to each player ― these could be the lynchpin to your strategy.

Majestic Mars Gameplay: Your Steps to Success

  1. Select a character card which grants a specific action for the turn.
  2. Reveal the cards together so everyone’s choice is a suspenseful surprise!
  3. Dispatch your astronauts to the spaceships patiently awaiting departure by order of your card rank.
  4. When ships are full or the round ends, watch them take off to claim a section of Mars! That’s when you’ll use astronauts to control territories and gather resources.

Defining Victory: What You’re Shooting for on this Red Planet Expedition

After 10 rounds, the stabilization phase of Mars begins. That’s when you need to have your astronauts scattered strategically across Mars to control the most territories. Combine those achievements with fulfilled secret mission cards and the player with the highest number of victory points is declared the ultimate galactic entrepreneur and wins!

Special Rules & Nuanced Conditions: Unraveling Unique Twists

  1. The special characters each have unique abilities that can bend the space-time rules in your favor, so use them wisely!
  2. Some astronaut placement will trigger events ― hold onto your helmets as these can greatly alter your game plan!
  3. Earsharts have to be considered as, once placed on the launch pad, they lock it for the round, possibly foiling opponents’ plans.
  4. Don’t ignore the ice caps! Placing a majority of astronauts here might turn a cold area into a scoring hot zone!

Best Mission Red Planet Second Edition Strategies

Mastering the Spies and Explorers: Character Role Expertise in Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)

Understanding Character Roles and Timing is paramount to formulating unstoppable strategies in Mission: Red Planet. These aren’t just about picking roles; it’s when and how you play them that propels you to victory.

Mastering the Mechanic’s Might

Firstly, leveraging the Mechanic at just the right time can double your deployment impact. Imagine timing a Mechanic play after competitors fill a shuttle, unexpectedly cramming in your astronauts.

  1. Wait for larger shuttles to ensure maximum astronaut placement upon using the Mechanic.
  2. Pair with mission objectives requiring presence in specific regions at game’s end.
  3. Anticipate competitor moves to preemptively block their strategies with your own reinforcements.

Strategic Scientist Summoning

Secondly, the Scientist can turn the tides, revealing invaluable information. Use this insider knowledge to tweak your tactics on-the-fly.

  1. Play the Scientist before a crucial area control battle to foresee opposition moves.
  2. Coordinate with allied players for shared intel gains, creating synergy.
  3. Time your discovery cards to coincide with gained insights for maximum efficiency.

Timing the Traveler

Last but not least, the perfect timing of the Traveler brings perceivably benign territories into sharp strategic focus – perfect for a late-game point snatch!

  1. Delay using the Traveler until late in the game to secure control of overlooked regions.
  2. Monitor resource surges and plan Traveler-led acquisitions accordingly.
  3. Use the reveal of destination cards to decide Traveler utilization strategically.

Mastering the Martian Landscape: Area Control and Resource Management

Succeeding in ‘How To Play Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)’ greatly depends on effectively managing territories and the valuable resources they hold. The twin engines of area control and resource management can propel you towards victory if you play your cards right, yet it requires a subtle balance and a touch of strategic forethought.

Identify Critical Territories

  1. Early in the game, seek to establish a presence in zones with rare resources. The Phobos region, in particular, can be a sizzling jackpot. Securing an early lead here can offer a significant advantage.
  2. Take stock of opponents’ footholds mildly, and boldly challenge any area that you can turn into a stronghold, tipping the resource scales in your favor.

Utilize Your Specialists Wisely

  1. Choose the right moment to deploy your Recruit, to gain the most substantial strategic advantage and resources.
  2. Keeping a sharp eye on the turn order is imperative—secure regions at a moment when opposition can’t retaliate swiftly.

Play the Long Game

  1. Amass Ice and control the Ice territories; their end-game bonus points often make the difference between a modest finish and a climactic victory.
  2. Ancillary support from your Secret Mission cards can catalyze your resource gains. Don’t overlook their potential as they could guide you to unexpected riches.

In ‘How To Play Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)’, those who can maneuver through the sands of Mars with grace in area control and slash out the essence of resource board dominance tend to be the frontrunners. Remember, while Mars is a vast planet, only through shrewd planning and control of its territories can you reap the bounteous resources that lay below its cratered surface.

Mastering Missions: The Key to Winning in Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)

Understanding the power of Mission and Secret Objective cards can significantly impact your ability to clinch victory in Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition). Here’s how it’s done:

Value Your Mission Cards

Selecting the right missions is critical. They can guide your overall strategy and offer substantial points if you fulfill them. Regularly re-evaluating your mission cards can refine your focus and keep you on track for a win.

Assess Secret Objectives

Your Secret Objective card gives you a unique advantage only you can capitalize on – these points often make the difference in the final tally. It’s essential fun to keep these goals in mind with every move you make and sneaking those extra points can be game-changing.

Take Risks With Your Missions

Risks can lead to high rewards. Sometimes going for a difficult mission can deter other players from competing for the same objectives, giving you clear runway to acquire those coveted points.

Remember Timing

In Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition), timing for revealing missions and objectives is just as crucial as the actions themselves. Balance immediate gains with long-term objectives and always keep an eye on the game’s endpoint to maximize your mission cards’ potential.

Adapt and React

Finally, adaptability is paramount. As the game unfolds, strategic opportunities may present themselves – be prepared to pivot and prioritize different missions or objectives based on the evolving state of the game board.

Charting Your Course to Victory

Well, fellow space explorers, we’ve navigated the tumultuous terrain of Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition). I’ve shared with you the cosmic playbook, outlining the critical importance of mastering character roles and their timings, strategizing area control paired with resource management, and the intricate dance of mission assessments. With this arsenal of strategies, closest to my heart from many play-throughs and close encounters with victory and defeat, you’re well-equipped to soar. Remember, adaptability is your copilot; be prepared to pivot your plans based on the ever-changing landscape of the game. Good luck, and may your missions always be prosperous!

Want to know what we think of Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)? Read our detailed review of Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.