In Lander, each player assumes the role of one of six corporations that funded the Global Corporation Coalition (GCC) Intrepid: Aspire, Cell-u-Life, Matsumoto, TransFusion, Westcott & Benton or YDR. The objective of the game is simple: achieve the most mission stars in five rounds of colonisation to win. To do this, you must cultivate the planet and develop your crew so that you have the resources, skills and traits necessary to complete the missions assigned by Command.
Number of players
The base game can be played with 2 – 4 players. A 5 – 6 player expansion will also be available, providing players with two additional sets of player pieces and mats as well as additional tiles and playing cards.
The typical playing time will usually vary between 1.5 and 3 hours depending on the number of players and the game mode being played.
- Lander is an immersive game playing experience with each game telling a unique story
- Unique combinations of crew members, missions, resource tiles and events offers a high degree of replayability
- Modular game components enable players to customise the game their way, opening up a range of possible strategies for victory
- Non-linear game dynamics provide great competition right up to the very end of the game, preventing runaway wins
- Various game modes (1v1, Free-For-All and 2v2) offer additional ways to customise the Lander experience
In Lander, players build the board as the game progresses. To start, a central hex is placed in the middle of the playing surface to denote the crash site of the ship. The hex is surrounded by 18 randomly drawn tiles which consist of one of three resource types: energy, food or titanium. These tiles represent the territory around the Lander that the crew can initially explore. Each tile has three numbers which indicate how many resources that tile produces when a player claims it with one, two or three structures. Before the first round begins, each player claims three different tiles with their coloured pieces and receive the corresponding number of resources for each.
There are a 50 unique crew members in the base game of Lander. Each character represents one of three classes: Engineering, Science or Operations. They have a class level that indicates their relative skill (three being the lowest and five being the highest) as well as two personality traits. They also have a special leadership ability that is activated if they become crew leader.
Players must have at least one crew member on their crew roster at all times and cannot hold more than four at any point during the game. Due to the crash, the life support systems aboard the Lander only enable a handful of crew members to be released from their stasis pods. Therefore, each player starts the game by drawing two crew members and placing them on their player mat. The character placed in the first crew slot becomes the leader.
In addition to their crew and resources, players also start the game with one item card, one training card and two action cards (collectively known as Activity Cards). Items and training can be attached to a player’s crew to help improve their class level, add additional traits, earn additional resources, etc. Action cards are the primary mechanism by which players interact with each other. They can be used to attack and/or defend a player’s crew and tiles from their opponents. They can also help a player earn more resources, draw additional items and training cards or lower the cost of building new structures or drawing new crew members from stasis.
The Lander and its crew were sent to prepare the planet for colonisation by the pioneers aboard the GCC Intrepid. To do this, Command has compiled 50 unique missions (in the base game) to be completed. These missions come in three categories (logistics, construction and research) and require players to have specific class levels and traits either on a single crew member or across their crew. Some also require players to meet special criteria, such as having a certain number of items attached or a minimum number of structures built. Missions range in star value from one to four depending on how difficult they are to complete.
To start the game, three mission cards are turned over to form the mission roster, which all players can see and work towards. In more advanced versions of the game, players may also receive a personal mission that only they can see. Every time a mission is completed, a new one is drawn to replace it.
In addition to missions, Command also looks favourably upon corporations that develop their crew and territories. This means players can earn accolades for exceptional crew development of a specific class or for upgrading a certain number of their tiles with additional structures. While accolades can earn players an additional star or two towards their mission count, there is a catch: accolades are not fixed. If another player exceeds their level of achievement during the game, they take control of the accolade. There is a maximum of three accolades available to be earned each game.
There are five rounds in the game, representing five successive phases of colonisation. Each round begins with all players drawing event cards. These cards simulate the unpredictable nature of the planet. Some events are positive and might produce a bumper crop of resources, others may be far less desirable. The random nature of the planetary events provides a natural check on the balance of power in the game.
Resources and Activity Cards
Once the events have been resolved, each player draws a new tile and places it beside one of the existing tiles on the board. They can then claim a new tile adjacent to one of the tiles they currently occupy. Resources are counted and distributed to all players based on the tiles/structures they own and any leadership abilities or items in play that affect resource income. After resources are dealt, players also receive four more activity cards (two action, one item and one training).
One by one, players take turns issuing orders. Depending on a player’s resources, activity cards, crew, board and mission roster, there are often many different orders a player can issue. Some players may look to improve their resource production in future rounds by investing in new settlements or claiming new tiles. Others may prioritise crew development and choose to acquire new crew members or purchase items or training cards to add to the skills and traits their current crew possess.
Playing action cards, using leadership abilities and trading with other players all count as orders as well. Of course, if a player meets the necessary requirements they can also use their order to claim one of the all important missions! If a player can’t issue an order they can choose
to use one of their blank orders (essentially putting their crew in a holding pattern while they wait to see what the opposing crews do) or they can choose to exit the round.
A round is not over until all players have existed.
End of Game
After the fifth round ends, all players count up the star value of their completed missions and accolades. The player with the most stars is the winner. In the case of a tie, players with the most developed crews and board wins (see rules for official tiebreaker).