Mission Commander

Educational Objectives
Before you play the game...
Object of the game
General Information
Mission Rules
Player Cards
Random Cards
Energy Cards
Description of the game board
More about Earth and the Moon

Educational Objectives:

Players successfully completing the game will be able to accomplish at least one of the following objectives:
1. Players will be able to identify at least five different situations that can threaten or destroy a mission to the moon.

2. Players will be able to identify at least one significant political figure responsible for the shaping and development of the U.S. Space Program.

3. Players will be able to identify at least five major planets in our solar system.

Time requirements:

Mission Commander will require approximately 1-2 hours to complete a mission. (Missions encountering cataclysmic energy losses will require significantly less time before exiting the game).

Appropriate grade levels/learner descriptions:

Mission Commander is designed for players ages 12 to adult. The game is designed to challenge players by testing their knowledge on a variety of information bases related to the U.S. space program.

Up to four players can play at one time.

A "quick start" guide is available for players who prefer the rules in a point-by-point (or outline) type of format. This handy one-page guide will provide a complete sample turn for each player. For those who prefer more details, please continue reading.

Before you play the game...

Before you begin playing Mission Commander, please be sure to do the following tasks:

Take a moment to seperate and shuffle the deck of game cards and place them on the specially-marked part of the Mission Commander game board.

Be sure to have each player place a marker or token on the white colored moon labeled "start here" on the Mission Commander energy card. Players will be adding or subtracting energy points from this starting spot.

Have each of the participating players (up to four players total) select a numbered mission patch before starting the game. The mission patches are numbered discs which have the Apollo logo and a player number on them. Each player will be identified by the number on his or her patch.

You may take any number you wish, and there is no rule for players sitting next to each other to have consecutive numbers (e.g. the player with the #1 patch doesn't have to sit next to player #2, etc). Once you have your number, be sure to display it in a way so that everyone will know your number.

Once you have finished these tasks, you are now ready to begin playing the game.

Object of the game:

The object of Mission Commander is to complete a lunar mission without losing your ship (or the lives of your crew). Players maintain their missions, their equipment and their lives by accumulating and conserving energy along the journey.

Energy is gained through the accumulation of energy points, which are earned by answering questions during the mission. Questions are provided by a deck of playing cards which are placed on the board prior to the start of each game. As a general rule, correct answers to questions gain energy, while incorrect answers will lose energy.

The first player to complete his or her mission with the minimum required amount of energy points wins the game.

Mission Rules:

1. Each player begins the game by placing his or her colored game token on the square marked "Start," located on the planet Earth. Next, a numbered button is given to each player. Finally, all players must place a marker on the white colored moon on the energy card labeled "start here."

2. After placing the game tokens on the board and energy card, each player rolls a six-sided die to see who goes first. The player with the highest number starts.

Movement of the game tokens:
3. The player begins his or her turn by rolling a six-sided die and moves his or her game token the exact number of spaces as shown FACE UP on the die. Players need to pay attention to the direction arrows located on specific parts of the game board. These arrows tells the players the directions the game tokens will move. The movement goal of the players is to get their tokens to go in the following sequence: Earth orbit, trajectory burn to the moon, retro-burn to enter lunar orbit, landing on the moon, trajectory burn to return to Earth, and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Orbiting the Earth- Players begin by orbiting the Earth (the white colored ring of tiles surrounding the planet) in a clockwise direction. For each turn, the player will move his or her marker the number of spaces appearing on the roll of the six-sided die. When players reach the yellow square labeled

4. After moving the number of spaces (as rolled by the die), the player draws the top card appearing on the deck of question cards.

Question cards :
5. There are two types of question cards. Each type of card will have either "(PLAYER)" or "(RANDOM)" printed above the question at the top of the card.

Depending on the type of card drawn, each player will respond to the question in an effort to accumulate energy points on their energy cards. The value of each question is expressed as a number of energy points. This information will appear underneath each question at the bottom of the card.
Example: (Energy value: 10 points).

For more information about how the energy point system works, refer to the section entitled "Energy card" appearing later in this document.

The following sections describe the player rules for each type of question card:

If you draw a "(PLAYER)" question card...
The player tells the other players that the card drawn is a player-only question card.

The current or active player drawing this card must answer the question that appears on the card. A correct answer entitlles the player to add the total number of energy points (as indicated on the question card) to his or her energy card.

An incorrect answer, on the other hand, means that the current player must subtract the inidcated number of points from his or her energy card. In this instance,the other players are not affected in any way.

To add or subtract energy points, the player will move his or her marker on the energy card to the new energy level after adding or subtracting the total number of energy points as indicated on the question card.

Answers to all questions appear in the "Questions and Answers" section of the Mission Commander documentation. Each question appearing on the question card is numbered for quick and easy referencing.

If you draw a "(RANDOM)" question card...
A player drawing this card activates a special sequence of events which are performed in the following manner:

1. The player must indicate to the other players that the card drawn is a random question card.

2. The current (or active) player will roll one four-sided die to determine which of the players will answer the question. The number appearing on the bottom of the die (face down against the playing surface) is the number rolled. The player whose number button matches the number appearing on the die roll answers the question.

3a. If the player chosen is someone other than the current (or active) player who drew the card, then the person answering the question correctly will cause the current player to LOSE the number of energy points as indicated on the card, AND the person answering the question will gain the number of energy points on his or her card.

3b. If the player gives an incorrect answer to the question, then the person answering the question will lose points off of his or her energy card. The current or active player in this instance will neither gain nor lose energy points from his or her energy card.

Remember to refer to the "Questions and Answers" section of the documentation when checking for correct answers.

The Mission Commander Energy Card
Each of the colored moons appearing on the player energy card represents 10 points of energy. The green moons represent peak or efficient operating levels, wheras the red moons represent dangerously low levels of energy. All players must complete the game by returning to Earth and staying out of the red zone in order to win.

Players start the game by placing some kind of a token (penny, cardboard, gum, etc) on the white colored moon labeled "start here." As each turn progresses, players will move their markers either up (toward the green areas) or down (towards the red areas of the card), depending on whether or not they win or lose energy points.

Each question card in the Mission Commander card deck will indicate the point values of energy that the questions represent.

Players encountering their energy levels into the red zone of the card must find a way out as quickly as possible. Due to the randomness of the question cards, players can get "zapped" at any time, and the danger of exiting the game increases dramatically with each successive turn.

Once a player has reached the lowest red-colored moon on the energy card (marked "Energy Depleted-Exit Game"), he or she is immediately pronounced dead in space. In such cases, the "dead" player must immediately remove his or her game tokens from both the game board and the energy card. A dead player may not, at any time, return to the currently active game in progress. Only at the start of a new game can "dead" players return.

Description of the game board:

Game Board
1/8 Actual size

Player Board
1/2 Actual Size

The game is a race game with a start at earth. As stated above, the goal of the game is to land on the moon and return safely to earth. Movement is as listed above.

Ancillary materials:

Your copy of the Mission Commander game should contain the following items:
One 4-sided die
One 6-sided die
Four game tokens (different colors)
One deck of question cards (80 cards total)
One set of Mission Commander documentation
(Rules and Questions & Answer Keys)

More about Earth and the Moon

Authored by:
Dave Lewis
Educational Technology Graduate Student
Contact Information : dlewis@mail.sdsu.edu
Last Revised October 18,1995

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