Designers: Bruno Cathala, Bruno Faidutti
You’re moving to colonize Mars, launching rockets from a steampunk-esque earth in Jules Vernian inspired spacecraft and assumedly while twirling your ridiculous Victorian moustache.
Mars is divided into several quadrants. Each quadrant will be scored based on who has the most colonists in them during each scoring phase. In addition, each player has secret objectives, that may strongly incentivize them to pursue specific locations or alternate strategies.
Interesting Mechanic: Role Selection. Each player is given 9 role cards, each of which allows them to try to get some colonists onto rockets (hopefully) heading for Mars, or to somehow mess with the board state. The explorer lets you move colonists on planet, for example, whereas the saboteur lets you destroy a rocket ship (and its inhabitants) on the launch pad. The roles are called in a specific order, which determines turn order, but two players may play the same role on the same turn. Several of the roles are fairly safe and go easy, but there are some high risk, high reward roles that may be ruined by the choices of players who have gone before them.
I love Mission: Red Planet. The art is fantastic, the gameplay is very simple, and yet it also has a significant (and somewhat surprising) amount of direct conflict with other players. This is a game a lot more people should be playing (and we likely will see more of now that it’s been reprinted).
(Photo Credit: Board Game Geek)