Game design: Balázs Almády
Game development: Vera Atala Enyingi, Dorottya Milánkovich
Art design: Fanni Eke & Bia Földi
Two teams of players take on the roles of two Space Programs (NASA, RosCosmos) in the Cold War space race, competing to be the first to deploy their nations' (USA, CCCP/USSR) astronauts to the Moon. Both Space Program teams consist of a Politician and an Engineer who need to cooperate to win.
Goal of the Game
The first team to complete a successful Moon landing mission wins the game. The game also ends if the budget or popularity of 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, you 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 each 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 four consecutive phases (A , B, C, D).The first phase (1), strategic discussion, is only used with 4 players. Teams have two minutes to discuss their strategy for the current round; use any timer.
In the second phase (2), 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 use their influence to support their Space Program and prevent the opponent from achieving their goals.In the third phase (3), players follow the rocket launches and the results of the missions.
In the fourth phase (4), players do end-of-round administration: Politicians evaluate their actions and players determine the resources available for the next round.
Put the two Level 0 Missions between the two teams and place two randomly chosen Level 0 Risk Cards next to them.
Start tracking the budget and popularity for each Space Program.The Space Program Budget has no limits and starts at 30 , while Popularity moves on a scale of 1 to 12, starting from 10.
If either team’s popularity decreases to 0, they lose the game. If the difference between the two teams’ budgets is at least 15, the team with the bigger budget wins the game.
Place the different tokens—Testing, Spies, etc.—within reach on the table. Prepare the Mission and Risk decks by shuffling them and placing the decks on their designated spaces.
Politician players should face each other on opposite sides of the politics board; at setup they shuffle their Maneuver decks, draw four cards, then collect their own Influence and Bluff tokens.
Give 30 money each to the Engineers.
The two Engineers also face each other on opposite sides of the table with the Research Center between them: 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 four of them face-up in the designated places. Add two more Modules randomly to the last position of the two Engineer Suppliers lines. 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 Engineers’ Development line. The two Engineers examine the Rocket Blueprint and the Rocket Parameters sections on the board. Set the values of the Rocket Parameters to 0.
Give the First Player Marker to the CCCP/USSR Politician.
A game round consists of four consecutive phases (1, 2, 3, 4)
1) Strategic discussion
Teams have two minutes to openly discuss their strategy for the current round. Topics can include which Maneuver Cards the Politician will use and where, which mission is achievable, etc. Communication is NOT restricted in later phases.
2) Simultaneous Actions
(in two player games, start with the Politician Actions and proceed to the Engineers after deciding about the launches)
For the Politicians
2.1) Preparations subphase
Both Politicians receive four Influence and four Bluff tokens. The player with the First Player Marker gets +1 Bluff token and starts the round.Beginning with the First Player, the Politicians alternate either placing Maneuver Cards on one position on the Politics section or passing. If one player passes and the next player plays a card, the player who had previously passed is allowed to play a card in response. Once both players pass consecutively, this subphase ends.
2.2) Actions subphase
Starting with the First Player, Politicians alternate turns by taking one Action selected from below:
- Supporting Maneuvers: Put Influence or Bluff tokens face down on your own or the opponent's Maneuver Cards. At least two tokens must be placed at a time on the same or different Maneuver Cards.
- Announcing a new Mission: Select a random Mission from one of the Mission decks (the last deck has only one Mission, the Moon landing), and place the Mission Card on the board, then add Risk Cards according to the icons on the revealed Mission. There cannot be more than three active Missions on the board at any given time.
- Increasing Influence: you may decide once a round to reduce Popularity by X. In this case, you get the +X Influence token for that round.
- Decision to Launch: you must decide, as your last Politician action in this phase, to either place your team’s Rocket on an active Mission thus initiating a Launch in the next phase, OR abort rocket launch for this round by toppling your Rocket.
For the Engineers
Engineers simultaneously take as many Actions from below as they want, but they must always be able to pay their respective Action Cost first and finish one Action before starting another.
- 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 from Research (10 money): Pick two Technology Tiles from the Tech Tile decks (the same or different decks), 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.
- Technology Tile Placement on the Suppliers line: If there are no items in the topmost space of the Suppliers line, the Engineer may place one of the Tech Tiles in their Development line into that space free of charge.
- 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. (Astrodog 2 money, Satellite 5 money, Astronaut 7 money)
To utilize Political Opportunities, yell ‘STOP,’ let the other Engineer finish their current Action, then execute one of the following Actions:Stealing Test Results: Spend a Test Steal token, as an Action, to replace one of the opponent's Test tokens with your own.Stealing Technology: Spend a Tech Steal token, as an Action, to 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 they match the icon on the edge of an adjacent Tech Tile.
Different icons can also be put next to each other, but they don't add value 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 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 three 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 (in which case the existing Module must be discarded). Modules can give a Rocket Blueprint Adaptivity which gives the Engineer extra “wild” values that they can divide freely between icons 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 no element in the rocket system is causing a malfunction.Each time you test a Risk, place one Test token on it. Each Test token on that particular Risk adds 2 to the result of a roll with the Risk Die.The Risk level is determined by rolling the 8-sided Risk Die. The higher the rolled result, the easier the Risk becomes, so you will improve your chances even if you only test once. Example: If there is a Test token on the Risk Card and you roll a 6, then the Parameter Check Value is 8.
The Politics Board
Politicians play their cards in the Politics Board. They can place their cards in four different places with each empty place having a different effect. 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 tells you what bonuses you will be given when you evaluate and win the Maneuver on a given level.