Players are competing in teams taking on roles in two Space Programs (NASA, RosCosmos) in the space race of the Cold War to first deploy their nations' (USA, CCCP) astronauts to the Moon. The teams of both Space Programs consist of a Politician and an Engineer who need to cooperate to win.
Goal of the Game
The team achieving the Moon landing first wins the game. The game also ends if the budget or popularity for a team falls below the level indicated on the board, resulting in a win for the other team.
You can play the base game with 2 or 4 players (a separate rulebook will be provided for games with 2-6 players). When playing with 4 players, they play in teams of 2, one team member selecting the Politician role, the other one selecting Engineer. With 2 players, Moonshot is a 1 vs 1 experience where a player takes on both roles.The game is played in rounds until one of the end game conditions is met (successful Moon landing mission, critical budget or popularity loss). A game round has 4 consecutive phases (A,B,C,D).The first phase (A), strategic discussion is only used with 4 players, wherein teams have 2 minutes to discuss their strategy for the current round - use any timer.In the second phase (B), the two roles act at the same time, i.e. the roles play actions simultaneously. Engineers spend money to develop their rocket blueprints or do testing on possible risks during launch. Meanwhile, Politicians are using their influence in trying to support their Space Program and to prevent the opponent achieving their goals.In the third phase (C), we follow the rocket launches and the results of the missions.In the fourth phase (D), players do end of round administration: Politicians evaluate their actions and players determine the resources available for the next round.
Place the Main Board table between Politicians and Engineers. Put the two level zero Missions in the appropriate places. Place two randomly chosen level zero Risk Cards next to them.
Start tracking the budget and popularity for each Space Program. [image]The Space Program Budget has no limits, and it starts at 30 , while Popularity is moving on a scale of 1 to 12, starting from 10.
If any team’s popularity decreases to zero, they lose the game. If the difference of the two team’s budget is at least 15, the team with the bigger budget wins the game.
Place different tokens - Testing, Spies, etc. - within reach on the table. Prepare the Mission and Risk Decks by shuffling them and placing the decks at their designated space.
Politician players are facing each other on the opposite sides of the politics section, at setup they shuffle their Maneuver decks, draw 4 cards, then collect their own Influence and Bluff tokens.
Give 30 money each to the Engineers.
The two Engineers are also facing each other on the opposite sides of the table, with the Research Center between them in the center: this part of the board shows how much their Technology Tiles cost and how they can be acquired. On one side of the Research Center, form a deck from the shuffled Module Tiles and place 4 of them face-up in the designated places. Add two more Modules randomly to the last position of the two Engineer Suppliers line. Shuffle the Technology Tiles by type (Structure, Electronics, Code) and form three decks on the other side of the Research Center. Put one Tile from each Technology deck into the Engineer's Development line. [image] The two Engineers examine the Rocket Blueprint and the Rocket Parameters sections on the board. Set the values of the Rocket Parameters to zero.
Give the First Player Marker to the CCCP Politician.
A game round consists of 4 consecutive phases (A,B,C,D)
A) Strategic discussion
Teams have two minutes to discuss their strategy for the current round openly. Topics can include which maneuver cards the Politician shall use and where, what mission is achievable, etc. Communication is NOT restricted in later phases.
B) Simultaneous Actions
(in 2 player games, start with the Politician Actions, and proceed to the Engineers after deciding about the launches)
For the Politicians
1) Preparations subphase
Both Politicians receive 4 Influence and 4 Bluff Tokens. The player with the First Player Marker gets +1 Bluff token and starts the round.The Politicians place Maneuver cards one player after the other on one position on the Politics section beginning with the First Player, or they pass. If both players pass consecutively, this subphase ends.
2) Actions subphase
Starting with the First Player, Politicians alternate turns by taking 1 Action selected from below:
- Supporting Maneuvers: The Politician puts Influence or Bluff tokens face down on their own or on the opponent's Maneuver Cards. At least two tokens must be placed at the same time, on the same or different Maneuver Cards.
- Announcing a new Mission: The Politician selects a random Mission from one of the Mission Decks (the last deck has only one Mission, the Moon landing), placing the Mission Card on the board. There cannot be more than three active Missions on the board at any given time.
- Increasing Influence: The Politician may decide once in a round to reduce Popularity by X. In this case, they get the +X Influence token for that round.
- Decision to Launch: The Politician must decide, as their last action in this phase, to place their Rocket on an active Mission, thus initiating a Launch in the next phase, OR aborting rocket launch for this round by toppling their Rocket.
For the Engineers
Engineers take as many Actions from below simultaneously as they want, but they must always be able to pay their respective Action Cost first and finish an Action before starting another.
- Technology from Research (10 money): Pick two Technology Tiles from one of the Tech Tile decks (or two different ones), then install one Tile onto your Rocket Blueprint, and place the other on top of the discard pile in the Research Area.
- Technology Tile installment from the Research Area (10 money) : install the topmost Tech Tile from the Research Area.
- Installing Technology Tiles from the Development Line (7 money): install one of the Tech Tiles discovered in your own Development Line to your Rocket Blueprint.
- Technology Tile Placement on the Suppliers line: If there are no items in the upmost space of the Suppliers line, the Engineer may place one of the Tech Tiles in its Development line free of charge there.
- Ordering a Module: One of the discovered Modules can be placed for 8, 13, or 20 money in the first, second or third place of the Suppliers line.
- Testing (4 money): Place your own test token on a Risk Card.
- Anti-Sabotage (10+X money): remove X Sabotage Markers from your Rocket Blueprint.
- Preparing payload: pay the appropriate price and place a payload marker on a mission card for the next rocket launch there.
To utilize Political Opportunities, yell ‘STOP’, let the other Engineer finish their current Action, then execute one of the following Actions:Stealing Test Results: by spending a Test Steal token, as an Action, an Engineer can replace one of the opponent's Test tokens with their own.Stealing Technology: by spending a Tech Steal token, as an Action, you can install a Tech Tile from your opponent’s Development Line for free.
When an Engineer does not want to or is unable to take further Actions in the round, they yell ‘PASS’.
Game concepts for the B) phase
Constructing a Rocket Blueprint with Tech Tiles
Each team develops their own Rocket Blueprint on their designated board space. The Technology Tiles are installed on the Rocket Blueprint (rotating them freely), marked with Tech Icons in the middle and along the edges. Icons on the tiles include Structure, Electronics, or Code. The full icons in the middle will immediately contribute to the values of the Rocket Parameters. Icons on the edges only add value to the rocket if the Tech Tile's edge to the next also displays the same icon.
Different icons can also be put next to each other, but they don't add values to the rocket parameters. When the Engineer installs a Technology Tile, they must immediately place it on their Rocket Blueprint, next to an already installed Tech Tile and register the new values for the Rocket Parameters. The Technology Tile can be placed on the top of an installed Tile, but the replaced Tile will be lost, and the change of the parameters must be immediately registered on the Rocket Parameters.
The Rocket Blueprint also has places to install Modules. Modules give you conditions for one or two rows (or a column containing 3 spaces), which when fulfilled, give you different bonuses that should be registered by changing the values of the Rocket Parameters. When a new Module is acquired, it must be placed in an empty space or on an existing Module, but in this case the existing Module must be discarded. Modules can give a Rocket Blueprint Adaptivity: this gives the Engineer extra “joker” values that they can divide between icons freely before each launch.
Testing the System
Engineers can run tests on hazards (shown on the Risk cards) that can occur during Missions to ensure that there is no element in the rocket system that is causing a malfunction.
When testing Risks, place one or more Test tokens on them. Each Test token on that particular Risk means an extra 2 value added to the result of a roll with the Risk Die.
Example: The Risk level must be defined by rolling the 8-sided Risk Die. The higher the number we roll, the requirements will be lower, so we will improve our chances if we even test once. Since there is a Test Token on the Risk Card, if we roll a 6, then the Parameter Check Value is 8.
The Politics Board
Politicians play their cards in the Politics Board. On this board they can place their cards in 4 different places, while in the empty places they get different effects. These effects are categorized into three categories, depending on when they are rewarded:
Per Round: Bonus in the D) Phase of each round .Successful Mission: Bonus in the D) phase if a successful Mission was achieved that turn.
Obstruction: takes effect when preventing an opponent's Political Maneuver, meaning the opposing side has more Influence tokens on the card after evaluation.
The iconography on the Maneuver Cards explicitly tell you what bonuses you will be given when you evaluate and win the Maneuver on a given level.