Tutorial 2 (Ship Phase) Ruminations

Continues from => Tutorial 1 – Planetary Exploration at Eye of the Void

I expect that Awaken Realms will be making a lot of the choices and decisions for us in this first Ship Phase, just like they did in the planetary exploration in the first tutorial. I don’t mind this because they sure did a fine job in picking our crew, assigning them to the right Sections and even choosing the appropriate dice for each crew member! Let’s see how Awaken Realms starts us off in the Ship Phase … with AN EMPTY SHIP BOOK!

Yes … we are starting with an empty Ship Book. Yes, we have all the pages, but they are off to the side until Awaken Realms tells us to put them into the Ship Book, which is a standard 1 1/2 inch 3 ring binder, with a custom printed cover, spine and back cover. This is the front cover:

To get us on the same page … remember that we brought two things back from our first mission that we were told to place in the AWAITING clear plastic pocket (pouch):

Quick Update after playing the Ship Phase: this phase of the game reminds me a lot of Sid Meier’s Civilization games, which I played since the very first one! Civilization went on to become one of the best games of all time and at it’s heart was managing resources. Civilization let you create your own system with the various buildings that produce specific resources each turn. You would try to bump up the settings for your town so it produced enough food but also manufactured things and kept increasing your technology.. This article will be similar to a first time overview of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI for someone who had never played the prior release before … it may seem like a lot, but once you understand how each area works you will be ready to make ISS Vanguard your own well oiled machine that can pump out new equipment (even new landers) as well as keep your crew’s morale high and continually use and extend various technologies that will in turn help you in other areas, which then will help you research as well as locate resources needed.

So… using my prior example, if this were Civilization VI and you have already played Civilization I, II, III, IV, and V then you will breeze through all this no sweat … but if you hadn’t played any of the prior Civilization editions, then a tutorial like this will get you up and running without overwhelming you! Bravo Awaken Realms for a Tutorial for those new to this kind of game, as well as for the game veterans!

OK …  let’s start the Tutorial!

First, a quick note about how Awaken Realms structured their Logbook.  The STARTING point for this tutorial is actually on the 2nd to the last page in the Logbook! It seems that they make you jump all around the logbook throughout the tutorial on purpose … so that you don’t just skip ahead a few pages to see what’s planned nor skip to the end of the book to see how it all went together! {I know someone who likes to read the end of a book first, so they know how it will end, then they go back to the beginning and start the book … sorry, but you can’t do that with THIS Logbook!)

So … we start at the very beginning! At Log 750 on page 52 (remember this 53 page Logbook is only a prototype… the Logbook that comes with the game will likely be MANY MANY more pages… maybe more like a novel :)

Awaken Realms explains the purpose of this Ship Phase tutorial right from the start:

This simplified Ship Book Tutorial scenario will set up and explain the first, core pages of the Ship Book, and provide you with some first gear and advances.

Next the Logbook advises us to try to have two people during this process! Here is how they put it:

Important: If in a group, have one player read the instructions while the other player performs them. This can significantly cut down time necessary to complete your first Ship Phase.

Next they remind us that MANY of the cards we will be dealing with have information on both sides of the card.  The bottom of the FRONT side has a warning: “Do not reveal” that looks like this:

This means we should NOT TURN THE CARD OVER or look at the back side!  You *ARE* allowed to read what is on the same side as the warning message though!  The front side of the cards give a brief description of the card and the information and costs you need to resolve it. You should only reveal (look at) the other side of the card AFTER you install it, research it or manufacture it (depending on the card).

When going through the Ship Book you should only go forward through the pages and never go back to prior pages. The pages are placed in the order in which they should be resolved!

Insert Two Pages into the Ship Book (which was completely empty)!

Insert page 12 and 13 into the Ship Book. This will be the “Bridge” divider page and a page that holds 16 small cards with a row for objectives at the top and three more rows for Ship Upgrade cards. However … DO NOT READ OR RESOLVE THE FULL RULES printed on the Divider page! During the tutorial, you do not use the rules printed on the main divider cards, but follow the rules in the tutorial instead!

In addition to the Ship Book, we will be using the Ship Status Panel dials. For the first prototype of ISS Vanguard these were located along the inside front cover of the Ship Book, but now they are on their own heavy cardboard panel:


This is the most crucial step of the Ship Phase. This is where you review your objectives, spend the energy required to fly to your next location and install upgrades that permanently improve your ship.

First we initialize the first of the five Ship Status Panel Dials by setting Generators to +2 and Energy to 3. This will give us SOME energy right from the start as well as generate more energy as the campaign progresses:

Next we put three small cards into the top left corner of the slots on page 13: Eye of the Void as the Current System, The Next Step as the Objective and U05 Improved Solar Panels into the first Ship Upgrade slot. Notice the DO NOT REVEAL on the upgrade card (so do not look at the back of the card yet):

Since we ended the first tutorial at the Eye of the Void, we know that is our current system. But let’s look at what our NEW Objective is!

Objective: Explore the nearest world marked on the Builders’ map: Pellucid in TOI-2 system.

At this point we pull out another book! (we already have the Planetopedia and Logbook from our prior mission plus the Ship Book) Now we look at the SYSTEM MAPS book. We look at page 2 Eye of the Void to see what other places are nearby that we can go to next:

It looks like there is only one place that we can go … the TOI-2 system (the other place says “unavailable” likely due to energy costs … remember our energy level is at 3 per the dial we just set!

So let’s go to TOI-2 … this costs us 1 energy so reduce our energy level by 1 (now it is down to 2).

Now we jump from Log 720 to Log 400 (remember that in the final game you likely will be using the APP for this … and the APP just continues on to the next thing automatically for you! But you WILL have the option to use the Logbook if you wish … you just can’t switch between the App and the Logbook.)

This System Maps book page shows us where we are now:

We have arrived (remember we spent 1 energy to get here) so now we need to update the Current System card to reflect our new current system! So we put the TOI-2 small card into the Current System slot:

Next the tutorial instructs us to go to Pellucid (which the System Map shows will cost us 1 energy (as noted in the second line inside the circle with a 1 lightning bolt):

Bump our energy down by 1 to pay the cost to fly to Pellucid (leaving us at only 1 energy):

Next I personally would pay 1 energy to use our System Scanner to scan the Pellucid system (since we still have 1 energy left after flying to Pellucid). The Scanner is  cool (but easy to use)! We just take the Pellucid – L1  card (looking only at the FRONT with the big 1 lightning bolt rows) and place it into the Planetary Information Scanner like so:

The inserted card then looks like this:

The scanner now blocks the info on the back side until you pay the stated energy cost to reveal it!

However … the tutorial has other things in mind for us! They want us to use our last ounce of energy to pay to install the pending Ship UpgradeImproved Solar Panels” … you can see the cost for this also is 1 energy … so we had a decision to make … we could spend 1 energy to scan the planet or 1 energy to upgrade the ship … the tutorial wants us to upgrade the ship … so upgrade the ship we do! We move the energy dial down 1 notch to zero and then we flip over the Ship Upgrade card to reveal what we get (remember the DO NOT REVEAL warning prevented us from knowing exactly what we were installing … until NOW):

Yay … we get to bump UP our generators … this will give us more energy NEXT cycle (and Awaken Realms must know that we will need it:) So now our energy dial looks like this:

Now we are instructed to go from Log 400 to Log 208

Hmmmm … not everyone on board was happy with continuing our mission. They had signed up to go to “God’s Coordinate” and that has been accomplished! Now they’ve ended up on some kind of Galaxy Quest to another system so … dissent and conflicts are brewing! We have some situations that may need to be addressed!

Situation Room

The tutorial has us put pages 14 and 15 into the Ship Book (Situation Room and a 9 empty card slot page for the standard sized cards)

WARNING! I need to point out how much space this all is taking. Here is my 33.5 inch square card table filled to overflowing (I was getting the Danger Dice ready a bit early for this photo):

You can see on this table the pages for the Ship Book that have not been inserted yet … the Planetopedia (not opened, just showing one page where we were), the System Maps book, the Ship Book, the Scanner, the Ship Status Panel dials, the Awaiting pocket, the glossary in the Quick Start book along with a couple Danger Dice and their help card, and the Logbook. In addition to all this, I have decks of cards that are being requested over on another small TV table!

OK … back to our Situation Room!

First we are told to set our Morale dial to +3 and the Response points dial to 4:

The tutorial Log 208 tells us to pull out TWO situation cards: Illegal Power Diversion and Homesick (cards S01 and S02) … we are told to slot them into the slots shown here (notice the small print at the bottom right corner that specifies what stage to start the card in):

Note that we are NOT to look at the back of these cards yet … there is a DO NOT REVEAL warning at the bottom of each! However … **DO** read about the consequences of the situations if not dealt with (severe for one or none for the other) and read the required costs to deal with each situation. Note that “2/3/4 RP” means 2 Response Points (RP) if at stage 1, or 3 Response Points if at stage 2, or 4 Response Points if at stage 3. The cost to deal with situations often increases with each cycle! But it’s not all bad … sometimes resolving a situation will grant you a positive results… such as gaining +1 Morale by resolving Homesick!

Both situations that we just slotted into the page at their current stage cost 2 RP to resolve.

I have 4 RP available.

The tutorial let me choose what to do, so I will use all 4 RP to resolve both situations (2+2)… that would put my Response Points down to 0 AND would bump up my Morale by 1 so that it would be at +4.

Since I am paying to resolve the situations I do NOT flip the cards over! The Homesick card says to remove it from the game when resolved. The Illegal Power Diversion says to shuffle the card back into the Situation Cards deck.

The tutorial next has us go from Log 208 to Log 300:

Research Laboratory

We now insert pages 16 and 17 into the Ship Book (Research Laboratory and the 9 card slots page). And at this point I have to give Awaken Realms credit … their choice to have the Ship Book EMPTY and have us put the pages into the binder page by page is an EXCELLENT idea! It actually adds to the fun and excitement to find the pages and insert them into the Ship Book! (almost like a Legacy Game:)

YAY … the tutorial asks us to pull out a card from the Awaiting pocket! We pull out the R01 Alien Materials Research Project and slot it into the Research Project A-1 slot:

Next we set the Research Dial to +2 and the Science Dial to 2:

The tutorial then has us add these three Research Projects to the available slots:

  1. R03 Personal Equipment
  2. R02 Analyzing the Message
  3. R04 Biomedical Enhancements

Now we should review what each of these projects could get for us!

(you should be able to click the image to zoom to better read what our choices are for the projects or even click the image a second time to zoom even more)

The tutorial instructs us to get more tools for our field operatives (R03), so we pay 2 Science Points (SP) moving our dial down to 0:

Since we paid for R03 we flip the card over to see what we gain! We just gained a Production Project C01 Specialized Section Tools! So we find that card and put it into the Awaiting pocket. Then we remove R03 from the game (since we already completed it).

The tutorial now tells us to go from Log 300 to Log 355

Manufacturing Complex

First we insert pages 18 and 19 into the Ship Book (Manufacturing Complex and its matching 9 card slot page).

Then we set the Production Dial to +3 and the Manufacturing Dial to 3.

COOL … now we get to take the C01 Specialized Section Tools card out of the Awaiting pocket and slot it into the first Ready For Production slot on the REVERSE SIDE of the card pockets page. Then we are told to put these two cards into the next two slots:

  1. C02 Improved Vanguard Systems
  2. C03 Heavy Mission Equipment

Awaken Realms has the tutorial tell us what to do next (that’s how the tutorial generally works, and it is great fun to learn the game this way). We are to make some gear, so we should spend 1 MP (Manufacturing Point) to get the system ready to produce the C01 Specialized Section Tools project. Note that we do NOT flip the card over yet … it is not completed, merely ready to produce! Instead, take the card out of the slot on the REVERSE side of the card holder page and place it on the front side into the middle row which is for Production Queue 1 and it begins the production process at STAGE 2 as per the small note in the bottom right of the card!

After spending 1 MP (Manufacturing Point) for that, our dial is now at 2. Our dial looks like this now:

Now the tutorial tells us to use 1 of our remaining 2 MPs to Boost the production and move the project from Stage 2 into the Stage 3 slot.

Then we find out that we can use our last MP to actually finish the project with a final Boost! So now the project is completed … we remove it from the Stage 3 slot, flip the card over and resolve everything noted on the back of the card (then remove the card from the game)… gaining us:

  • Equipment card E01 (MedKit)
  • Equipment card E02 (MedKit)
  • Equipment card E03 (Medkit… so we now have three of them)
  • Equipment card E04 (Breaching Charge … we can explode something)
    Notice the Security Section logo (and color) indicating this can only be used by Security crew
  • Equipment card E05 (Jetpack … so we can be fly boys and fly girls)
    Notice the rose Recon logo indicating that this can only be used by Recon crew
  • Equipment card E06 (Portable AI … not quite as good as the hologram doctor in Star Trek Voyager)
    Notice the purple Science logo indicating that this can only be used by Science crew
  • Equipment card E07 (Mining Probe)
    Notice the Engineering Section’s color and logo indicating that this can only be used by Engineering crew

Phew … we got LOTS OF STUFF … good thing Awaken Realms had us spend our MPs on this particular project (I bet they knew we would need it for the next mission!)

Place all these Equipment cards in the AVAILABLE section in your cards box.

Now we go from Log 355 to Log 515


The Tutorial asks us to insert pages 20, 21 and 22 (Hangar and two 16 small card holders) into the Ship Book. Note that the Hangar uses the Production Dial to determine the setting of the Assembly Dial. The tutorial tells us to set it to the same setting as the Production Dial+3:

Now we are told to get out these four small Blueprint cards:

  1. B01 Heavy Armor Plating
  2. B04 Pelican 1/3
  3. B05 Pelican 2/3
  4. B06 Pelican 3/3

These four cards are slotted into the REVERSE side of the 16 card slots page:

Next we consider that fact that on the last mission our lander got shot down, so we decide to go with the Heavy Armor Plating and pay 2 AP (Assembly Points) as listed on the card to move it to the Construction Bay A-1 slot (on the front of the 16 cards page):

Our Assembly Dial is now down 2 notches to 1 AP:

Any blueprint in the Construction Bay that that has all the parts there (the Pelican blueprints would need three cards for the three parts as an example) are automatically completed on the next Ship Phase. However there is a Boost cost listed on the cards if you wish to rush production to finish them right now. Heavy Armor Plating has as Boost cost of 1 so we will spend our last 1 AP to boost it’s production and it is completed NOW! So, we flip the card over and move it to the next page of 16 card slots … slotting it into a Completed Modules slot:

Heavy Armor Plating is now available to us and our Assembly Dial is down to zero:

That’s it for learning about the Ship Phase WHILE playing it! Awaken Realms purposely did not use the Full Rules nor all the pages in the Ship Book … so now is the time to fill the Ship Book with all it’s pages so they will be there for the next Ship Phase (tutorial #4).

After putting in all the pages, your Ship Book should have pages numbered 1 through 32.

One more thing to do before we close up the Ship Book. Now that all the pages are there, flip back to page 4 and slot in the small card for Unique Discovery 1 that is still in the AWAITING pocket!

Close the Ship Book.

Take a DEEP BREATH … you are now ready for your next mission! And, of course, the Logbook is kicking things off for us!

Go from Log 515 to Log 620 to embark on Tutorial #3 Planetary Exploration Mission.

This ship phase part of the game was quite intriguing and I enjoyed it (other than stopping to take photos all the time which was very time consuming … and there are A LOT … this is a 33 page document if printed on my printer). I’m ready to see how we are to get ready to fly off in a lander on our next mission!

Click => Full 3 Column Site

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