3rd Edition 

You don't have to leave Earth for stellar training. 

For an organization to thrive collaboration must take root at both the leadership and workforce level. The Mars Rover Challenge immerses participants in action-packed games that teach team building and leadership. A comprehensive kit with two standalone versions, the Mars Rover Challenge transforms your training room into a Rover development lab where your audience must design and develop a prototype for the World Space Agency. Both versions highlight the effects of collaborative efforts on performance and overall employee motivation. The leadership version contrasts the three most common leadership styles — Traditional, Passive, and Collaborative. The teamwork version contrasts two common approaches to work — siloed and collaborative.

The revised third edition builds on the original style of Facilitative leadership and introduces the Collaborative Leadership Model as a framework for practicing effective leadership. We also changed the way each team's output is measured, adding durability as a new criterion for the Rovers, which heightens the challenge and fun of the scenario. More activities focusing on reflection, discussion, and debrief have also been integrated to make the experience richer.

While each version can function independently, the two versions complement one another and collectively present a more thorough, holistic picture of collaboration and the positive effects it has on workplace productivity.


A successful Rover can be constructed any number of ways. The playing field is level for those with or without mechanical skills. The best part is that there’s no single "right" design. This pivotal feature of the game allows participants to produce a Rover that is a composite of the team’s creativity, vision, and skills.

Each participant will need a Workbook. An indispensable part of the Mars Rover Challenge, the Workbook captures key points and discussion topics for the group. It also contains critical thinking and reflection activities for individuals, including a personal development plan and assessment.

By highlighting the benefits of collaboration, the Mars Rover Challenge helps organizations, teams and individuals become more effective at working together.

What's New in the 3rd Edition?

The Mars Rover Challenge, first introduced in 1997, is now in its third edition. There are two versions to the training game, Leadership and Teamwork. They work side by side (in the Deluxe Kit) or they can be standalone. Although these versions function independently, together they present a more complete picture of collaboration. Now, extensively revised, updated and with a new more intuitive structure to enhance your understanding and leave you better prepared, the third edition offers numerous improvements and additions, including:

New USB Flash Drive

  • A USB drive, which is a faster and more convenient storage device, has replaced the CD. It contains the essential and optional facilitator support materials.

Augmented Participant Materials

  • We augmented both the leadership and teamwork Workbook in response to our clients' desire to strengthen participants' understanding and application of the material.

New and Improved Game Resources

  • The Mars Rover Challenge scenario is now more compelling than ever, and the PowerPoint slides include brand new multimedia elements. Key resources have also been drastically improved. The Price List and blueprints are now full color and more detailed, and we've added a Poster (leadership version) that acts as a quick reference and visual aid.

Even More Up-To-Date Research

  • More contemporary research has been integrated into the Theory Background. Collaboration has replaced facilitation as the most effective leadership approach in the leadership version, and the teamwork version now emphasizes the benefits of working collaboratively verses working in silos.

In the Leadership version, there is new research behind the three prevailing leadership styles — Traditional, Passive and Collaborative.

In the Teamwork version, there is new research behind the contrasting approaches of collaborative teamwork and the silo mentality.


Leadership Version: To highlight the benefits of Collaborative leadership in contrast to the shortcomings of Traditional and Passive leadership.

Team Version: To highlight the benefits of a collaborative approach to teamwork in contrast to the shortcomings of the silo mentality.

Deluxe Version: Includes the tools for facilitating both the leadership and teamwork versions. It includes materials to train up to 18 participants in a session for each version.

Time Required (Approx.) 

Leadership Version:  4 hours 10 minutes

Teamwork Version:  4 hours 25 minutes

Purchase either versions separately (team or leadership), or together with the Deluxe Kit


The Mars Rover Challenge Deluxe Kit includes all of the required components to facilitate both games for up to 36 participants—18 for the leader version and 18 for the team version. All pieces except for the participant Workbooks and Price Lists are reusable. For sessions with more than 3 teams, you may order an extra game pack for either the leadership or teamwork versions. Additional participant Workbooks are available for individual purchase.

Complete Deluxe Kit includes:

  • 2 Facilitator Guides in a Single Binder
  • 36 Workbooks
  • 3 Game Parts Bags with K’NEX® Pieces
  • 6 Blueprints
  • 18 Price Lists (Printable .pdf file also included on USB flash drive)
  • 1 Set of 3 Leader Role Cards
  • 3 Sets of 6 Task Cards
  • 1 Set of 3 Now or Never Cards
  • 1 Poster
  • 1 Set of 3 Team Color Cards
  • 19 HRDQue Cards
  • 1 USB Flash Drive
  • 1 Clear Plastic Wallet with Extra K’NEX® Pieces
  • 1 Tote Bag


This version illustrates the concept and benefits of collaborative leadership for new or experienced leaders. Using K’NEX® pieces to construct a Rover, the simulation focuses on the vital skills of communication, influence, change management, and more. Only the best Rover will win!

The leadership Version is a hands-on game that takes 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete. Using private instructions, leaders guide their teams passively, traditionally, or collaboratively in constructing the best Rover they can.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how a collaborative style creates an atmosphere of teamwork
  • Discover the drawbacks of traditional or passive leadership
  • Experience the benefits of collaborative leadership


The Team Version is a two-part game that lasts 4 hours and 25 minutes. In Part One, participants complete assigned tasks individually that contribute to the construction of the Rover. In Part Two, the participants collaborate on designing and constructing a Rover they think has the best chance of completing its mission. This experiential activity demonstrates the importance of teamwork and how in a true team environment each contributor experiences greater success when they work together than they would have on their own.

Participants experience the difference between teamwork and siloed work as they construct a rover capable of navigating Mars' terrain. Designed to assist in the formation of new teams, refresh established ones, and assist conflicted teams, this version introduces basic concepts such as interdependence, common goals, and diversity with an unconventional simulation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the importance of interdependence
  • Recognize how communication impacts team performance
  • Understand the difference between working in teams and working in silos