2-Player Variant for Mission Red Planet Game Rules

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Mission: Red Planet 2-Player Variant Rules

Hey there, fellow space explorer. I’ve got some exciting news for you! The creators of Mission: Red Planet have come up with some special rules just for two players. Isn’t that awesome?

Now, I know you’re eager to dive in, so let me walk you through these new rules step by step. Ready? Let’s go!


First things first, make sure you have everything you need to play this variant. You’ll need:

  • The Mission: Red Planet game
  • The 2-player variant rule sheet, which you can find on the publisher’s website


Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to set up the game. Follow these steps:

  1. Place the game board in the center of the playing area.
  2. Give each player their own set of Astronaut pawns and Oxygen markers.
  3. Separate the Action cards by color and shuffle each deck separately. Place the decks face-down near the game board.
  4. Choose a starting player. This player takes the first turn.


The gameplay in the 2-player variant follows the same basic rules as the original game, but there are a few important changes to be aware of:

  • Each player starts with 4 Astronaut pawns and 5 Oxygen markers.
  • During each round, the active player draws 2 Action cards from the deck and chooses 1 to play. The other card is discarded face-down.
  • Once the active player has resolved their chosen Action card, the other player becomes the active player and takes their turn.
  • When placing Astronaut pawns on the game board, each player can only have one Astronaut pawn in each region.
  • The game ends immediately when any player reaches 10 points.


The scoring in the 2-player variant works the same way as in the original game. You earn points by controlling regions and launching rockets. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Well, that’s it, my friend. You’re now ready to embark on an epic journey through space with the Mission: Red Planet 2-player variant. Have a blast!

2-Player Variant for Mission Red Planet Game Rules UltraFoodMess

To play the game with two players, we need to make some rule changes. Let’s go through the setup process:

1. Set up the game as if it were for four players, but with a few adjustments.

2. The players will sit next to each other.

3. Each player will choose one color to be their main color.

4. They will also choose another color to be their neutral color.

5. For their main color, they will take the nine character cards and all the plastic astronauts.

6. They will place these components in front of them.

7. For their neutral color, they will place the components across from them.

8. Take a look at the diagram below to see how the setup should look.

Now, you’re ready to start the game with two players!

2-Player Variant for Mission Red Planet Game Rules UltraFoodMess

When it comes to starting the mission in this game, there’s an important step that needs to be taken. I call it the “Deal Starting Mission” step.

Here’s how it works: first, I separate the mission cards and shuffle them up. Then, I deal two cards to each player, making sure to give players of different colors their respective mission cards.

Once everyone has their two cards, it’s decision time. Each player chooses one card to keep, and places it face-down in front of them. The card that isn’t chosen is then placed face-down near the other mission cards that haven’t been dealt yet. It’s important to keep the chosen mission cards hidden from other players until the end of the game.

Now, let’s talk about preparing the neutral character decks. This is the 10th step in the game setup process, and it’s called “Prepare Neutral Character Decks.”

Here’s what you need to do: each player needs to prepare their own neutral deck. Start by removing specific character cards – the Recruiter, Explorer, Femme Fatale, Soldier, and two additional random character cards – from the neutral deck.

Once these six cards have been removed, shuffle them up and place them face-down. Then, without looking at the remaining three neutral character cards, place them face-down on top of the deck in any order.

Now it’s time to get into the game play!

2-Player Variant for Mission Red Planet Game Rules UltraFoodMess

The game for two players works much like the regular game, but with a few small changes.

Playing as the Neutral Color

Each round, you start by drawing the top card from your neutral character deck. Look at the card but keep it hidden from your opponent. Place the card face down next to the deck. Then, choose your main color’s character card and place it face down in front of you.

Dealing with Neutral Characters

When it’s time to resolve a neutral color’s character effect, the player who controls that color gets to make all the decisions. They decide where to place astronauts, which ship to destroy, and more. They can even choose to make a decision that results in their neutral color killing or replacing its own astronauts.

So, here’s the deal: when I, the person in control, come across a neutral Scientist, I get to draw an event card. Now, if that card is a discovery card, I have the freedom to assign it to any available outer zone. But if it’s a mission card or an action card, I have to return it to the game box without showing it to my opponent. Bummer, right?

Now, let’s talk about neutral Recruiters. When I encounter one, I have to send that Recruiter card back to the game box. But here’s the interesting part – I shuffle the remaining eight neutral character cards and place them face down to create a brand new character deck for that neutral color. Pretty cool, huh?

Oh, and here’s something important to keep in mind. Since character effects are mandatory, there might be times when a neutral character’s effect doesn’t really help its controlling player. In fact, it might even harm them! Imagine this – I’m the controlling player, and I have astronauts in outer zones of Mars. But the only player who has those astronauts is… well, me! It’s not exactly what you’d call a helpful situation.

Points For Neutral Colors

Hey there! Let me explain how event cards work in the game. You know, when we’re resolving these cards, we count the neutral colors as their own separate players. It’s important to do this because we need to keep track of resources and score points correctly. By treating them as separate players, we can determine if the “Ice Monopoly” global mission has been completed.

Now, when a player gets point tokens, they place them in their own play area. However, things work a bit differently for the neutral colors. You see, they actually receive point tokens for themselves. So, those tokens aren’t shared with the player who controls the main color of the game. It’s like they’re playing their own game within the game!

Let’s Talk about the End of the Game

When we’re done playing and it’s time to compare final scores, the player with the highest score becomes the winner. It’s as simple as that!

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