The significance of Co-operative play and Action-Point Allowance in The Mars Expedition

In last week’s post, I introduced the idea of co-operative play as a vital game mechanic in our group’s game “The Mars Expedition”.  Much like games such as Gloomhaven, Pandemic and Mysterium, “The Mars Expedition” forces players to strategise together, in order to beat the game.


In “The Mars Expedition”, each player takes on a specific character (see: Aiman’s post), but must utilise each other’s character strengths to survive the Marsian wasteland and successfully achieve the principal objective of the game. In essence, the game is designed, not to tear relationships apart, but to encourage combined strategic and tactical thinking. As a result, this usually makes a victory much more rewarding .

Another significant mechanic of The Mars Expedition is the Action-Point Allowance System, used by other boardgames such as Dead of Winter, Flashpoint as well as the aforementioned Pandemic.   The Action-Point  (AP) Allowance System mechanic provides players with an allocated number of points, which can then be used to either save, move or perform an action of some kind. For example, in our game “The Mars Expedition”, a move could be either moving one spot in any direction, engaging in combat with a cannibal/creature, providing a fellow player with extra health or resources, or simply saving a point for the next round. The advantage of such a mechanic is that it encourages strategic thinking and provides greater flexibility in the overall narrative of the game.

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