Mission: Ends of the Earth Review

Mission: Ends of the Earth is a game by Bible Games Central. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be taking on the role of missionaries traveling from village to village as they attempt to share the Gospel, blessing the village with medicine, food, water and other useful resources. They will be rolling dice, placing tiles and moving their missionary as they collect more resources to help out. In the end, the player that is able to able to reach their specific village first with the correct resources will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Starting Board is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player selects a colored missionary meeple and places it on a start space on the board. It should be noted that only 1 missionary is allowed on each starting space. The Mission cards are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt a Mission card facedown. This card provides the player with their destination village and what resources they need to collect. This card should not be reveal to any other player. The tiles are shuffled together and placed facedown in several stacks. All the different tokens should be sorted into separate piles to form the supply. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns with each player taking a turn. On a player’s turn, they will follow 3 steps. The first step is to roll the die. If a shovel is shown, then the player gets a shovel token. The rulebook calls them spades but I prefer shovel. If the player already has one of these, then they can’t collect another. The die also shows a number. This number indicates how many actions the player is allowed on their turn. The player must declare their actions before taking them. Once declared, the player may not change their actions.

The second step of a player’s turn is to perform their actions that were declared in the first step. There are 3 possible actions that may be taken. The player can draw and place 1 tile, use a shovel(spade) token or move their missionary 1 space. To draw a tile, the player takes the top tile from one of the face down stacks and then places it adjacent to another tile so that it continues the landscape. This means that paths must connect or greenery must be touching greenery. It should be noted that any tiles taken during the players turn must be placed and may not be held onto for later rounds. Some tiles contain resources and airstrip icons, more on these in a bit. Some tiles contain crisis icons. When one of these are drawn, all players that have that particular resource indicated on the crisis tile must lose one of their resource tokens of that type. The crisis tile is then placed in accordance with the regular placement rules. The player can use a shovel(spade) token for 1 action, discarding it to the supply. This allows the player to move a previously placed tile to another location. Only tiles without a missionary on them may be selected. The normal tile placement rules apply. The last action that can be taken is to move a missionary. The player is allowed to move their missionary meeple 1 space following a connecting path for 1 action. They’re also able to use an airstrip, moving from one tile with an airstrip on it to another tile with an airstrip on it for 1 action. Each tile is allowed to hold more than 1 missionary on them. Once a player has taken all their actions, they move to the final step.

The third step is to collect resources. If a player’s meeple is on a resource tile, then they collect a token for the corresponding resource. A player is only allowed to hold a maximum of 1 token for each resource. Once the player completes this third step, their turn ends and play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until one of the players reaches the corresponding destination on their Mission card with the resources specified on the card. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with a starting board, 105 tiles, 54 resource tokens, 6 spade tokens, 24 mission cards, 6 missionary meeples and a wooden die. The starting board, tiles, resource tokens and spade tokens are all thick cardboard that has a nice finish that’s almost like linen finish. It’s actually quite nice. These all have a good thickness to them and aren’t too thin. The artwork on the tiles and starting board are almost cartoon like and aren’t very detailed. Mainly each tile consists of a pathway and some greenery or shrubbery. Some tiles have a small icon in the top right corner. These icons almost look like something from a computer clipart project. They’re very easy to understand. I have to say I like the simplistic design of the tiles. They could have went really overboard and gotten very detailed with each of these but I think it would have made them harder to read. As it is, these work nicely. The resource tokens are the same design as the icons on the tiles, just in a round token. The spade token is the same thing, just with a shovel on it. The starting board is quite small but fits well with the tiles. I like that the village names are all Greek words for the different directions; North, South, East and West. That makes it where it doesn’t specialize a particular country or anything like that. It’s generic and can be thought of to be anywhere. The mission cards have a nice sheen to them and are a good size. They’re very nice and aren’t too thin either. Each one has a colored background and one of the Greek village names along with an assortment of resources that the player has to collect on them. The missionary meeples are very brightly colored and are a good size. They’re not too small and not too big, making them easy to pick up and move around. The die is wooden and screen printed. I’d have preferred laser etched with a bit more heft to it. Hopefully the printing won’t start to wear off after continued use. Honestly, that’s about the only real negative that I have about the game. The other small gripe is the insert. It’s well thought out and holds everything in it’s own little place nicely. The only problem is that when everything has been punched out, there’s a bit of a gap between the lid and the insert. That means is the game is turned up on it’s side, then all the tokens fall out and go all over the place. A plastic lid or something to hold that down would have been a nice addition. I tried putting the empty punch boards beneath the tray but that didn’t work. It just made everything shift back and forth like a seesaw. Apart from those minor complaints, the game is very well designed and the components work as intended. I have to say that overall I’m quite pleased.

8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for the game is a large foldout sheet of paper that’s double sided. The paper is thick like cardstock and is full color with a shiny finish. The front of the rules explains the objective of the game and explains the tile placement rules, along with explaining the different types of tiles. The back side of the paper tells how to set up and play the game in a step by step process. The rules even contain a cooperative variant that can be used. Looks like the only thing left out would be some rules for solo play. However I think with a little bit of tweaking, the cooperative variant could be used as a sort of beat your score way of playing. See how many turns it takes to complete your mission. The rules have lots of great pictures and examples of gameplay to help players understand the game. I didn’t really see anything that was difficult to understand. The rules are quite short and didn’t take very long to read either. Overall I’m pleased with the presentation and think the rules are well done.

8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Like many of the other games from this company, this one is fairly easy to play. The player rolls the die which gives them a number of actions that they can take. They can then chose to place new tiles to move around and possibly get more resources from or they can move their meeple to already placed tiles and actually collect what they need. In some ways I get a little bit of a Tsuro feel from this game. With Tsuro though, the player places a tile that moves their player token around. In this one, moving your missionary actually requires an action for each space. Of course with Tsuro, you don’t want to move very much. I’m not a huge fan of tile placement games, but ones like this I actually enjoy. I guess in a way, it’s more like Race to the Treasure. With that game you’re trying to collect keys and get to the end space. This game you’re collecting resources and getting to your specific end space. I think that’s why my family and I enjoyed this one as much as we did. It’s simple enough that my daughter can play but contains enough strategy that even I could enjoy it. Needless to say, this one was fun. It’s a great family friendly game that doesn’t take a long time to play. It can be played in like 30 minutes which is great for the younger players with short attention spans. Fans of tile laying games like Tsuro or Race to the Treasure should enjoy this one. It’s simple but it will make you think and form interesting strategies. This is one that the whole family enjoyed so that makes it one that I would recommend. Overall it’s a great little tile laying game that makes me smile.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Mission: Ends of the Earth is a light weight tile laying game of collecting resources and helping missionaries to serve others. It’s a fairly quick game. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes. All of the components are nice. I really like the simplistic design, but worry about the wooden die and hope it will hold up to lots of play. I also wish the insert had a lid to keep the resource tokens from falling out when the box is set up on it’s side. The rulebook is well designed and is very easy to read and understand. The game itself is easy to play but has enough strategy to it to make it fun. It’s all about collecting the correct resources, avoiding the crisis tiles and getting to the correct village to provide them with the much needed resources. How you get to there is the point of the game. This is one that is simple enough for the younger players but strategic enough that us veteran players can enjoy. It’s very family friendly and teaches how we need to help others. I have to say that I really like the message that the game delivers and the religious tones aren’t overly heavy so I think everyone should enjoy this one. Needless to say, this is one that my family and I enjoyed. That makes this one that I would recommend.

8 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Bible Games Central at their site.

https://biblegamescentral.com/shop/

You can also find lots of lively and fun FREE games for Holiday parties and Christmas family gatherings at the link below.

https://biblegamescentral.com/christmas-games/

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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