Tutorial 5 Help Me Figure Out A Plan (we landed, setup and are ready for turn 1)

NOTE: I would like your help and advice! I was going to just play through this final tutorial but once we landed and the game board was setup our situation on the planet needs some thought! Read through the first half of this article (which I already wrote before adding this note to the top) and then in the last half of this article I will review our situation on the planet and give some of my thoughts about how to proceed. I am hoping that a few of you might want to chime in with your own thoughts about strategies and tactics (and what you think about my current plan)

=> Review the Mission and Situation (jump to the last half of this article)

This run through will continue from where I left off in the Tutorial #4 Run Through. We had just landed on the planet (and all four crewmembers had four of their available dice moved to their “spent dice pool”). Here is a link if you need to refresh your memory (as I do):

=> Tutorial #4 Run Through (scroll to near the bottom to see where we left off)

Here is where we left off … we just landed on NU4 Ceti C (aka “Matchstick“) and are ready for the planetary exploration mission using the Planetopedia pages titled “Mossy Inferno

I was getting the game setup on our 33.5 inch square card table and then decided to play it on our 3×5 foot Jasper gaming table instead! I moved everything over to that table and we are back where we were before … except of course that each crewmember had to move 4 available dice into their spent dice pool as a result of our poor landing (the danger die got us).

Here is where we are now at the Jasper table:

And we left off at Log 419 as we just finished landing on the planet:

I already was a step ahead and had the Planetopedia opened to Matchstick – aka Mossy Inferno!

I now need to roll the D10 die (for the first time playing this game) to see what mission we will get!

We rolled a 4 … so, according to Log 419 we will be undertaking Mission 40

and need to look at Log 115.

The game board has two different sectors marked with a lander … it looks like we have landed in Sector 1, so we place our lander standee and the new POI card P130 there.

We can see the option to roll dice in the bottom right side of the POI card. It looks like if we roll a DNA we gain 1 Strange Floral Lead. If we roll a Pickax we gain 1 Mineral Lead. However, if we fail to get either of these, we get injured with a Burnt Injury! So if we roll dice on this POI card we should try to find ways to be pretty sure we won’t fail (and get that injury).

Log 115 ends by directing us back to the Ship Book (which is why you need extra table space as both the Ship Book and the Planetary Exploration Mission setup are overlapping!) So … here we go … back to the Ship Book!

Planetary Exploration

Step 1 – Prepare the Planet Board – the first thing we do is to check if we have been to this planet before. If we had been here before we would have filled out a Planet Save Card and our landing would be on the planet as we left it! In our case, this is our first time here, so on to the next point.

Populate the right side of the Planet Board with cards listed there:

  • Unique Discoveries (face down) – we place Unique Discovery 7 and 8 there.
  • Mission Card – our M40 Mission Card was already there
  • Global Conditions cards – we need to follow the instruction printed on the game board so we shuffle two C03 and two C07 cards and place them face down in the bottom right of the game board. We reveal the top card as our current Global Condition:

Oh boy … this mission is NOT going to be a piece of cake. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, that’s for sure! Every time we roll the dice if we don’t roll a Computer, we then have to roll a Danger Die for category 2 … and it looks dangerous:

The danger die has 8 sides … three of the sides is a triangle (bad… we lose a supply), two of the sides are a square (bad… we get a Burnt Injury) and one of the sides is a circle (bad… we get a Suit Damage Injury). In case you weren’t counting how many BAD sides of the danger die there are for Category 2 of the 8 sides, 6 have bad consequences for us! We will have to keep a close eye on our Section Cards in case they can help.

Next we keep our black leads bag (with the lead tokens) near by

Then we place the five discovery card decks above the game board

Finally we set out the Events deck

Step 2 – Disembark – our lander standee is already on the game board so now we place all the crewmember standees into that Sector with the lander.

Give each crewmember two rank up cards – they choose one and return the other.

Divide up the personal equipment and mission equipment cards between your crewmembers. Remember that while each crewmember can carry an unlimited amount of personal equipment, they can only carry one mission equipment card.  Our Science crew (Petra) needs to have two mission equipment installed to rank up, so I decided to have Engineering take the Heavy Mining Laser and try to install it at our landing site. Once installed it adds 3 Pickax to anyone rolling in that sector. This ties in perfectly with the roll requirements in that sector where each pickax gains 1 Mineral Lead. Thus the Heavy Mining Laser will give anyone rolling in the sector three Mineral Leads!

Each crewmember draws three section cards (that is the maximum they can have at any one time unless they are rank 3 and can hold four cards)

Decide who is going to go first and give them the First Player token (I am not going to be using that token as we will choose who goes first and who goes next as we play)

Step 3 – Planetary Exploration

Here is our table as we are about to begin planetary exploration:

Our Situation In This Mission

And here, also, is where I would like some help and advice!

First off – traveling from sector to sector is looking pretty treacherous! Look at the game board and notice the travel costs:

Travel between the sectors at the top require rolling a Danger Die (category 2) with 75% chance of injury or losing supplies.

Travelling down from the top to the middle sectors requires spending 2 dice.

Travelling across the middle and down to the bottom is via the Global Conditions. Setting up this game board had us place four different Global Conditions cards in the bottom right and the conditions we are starting with are dangerous:

We need to roll a blue or a green die to get to the other sector. If we roll a “bad” symbol we than must also roll a Danger Die for category 2. However, there is a time track for this condition. Once it is advanced four times we switch to a different Global Conditions card. This may take ten or more player turns because in order to advance the time track marker the symbols on the event card a player draws at the end of their turn must NOT match any of the symbols on their current location POI card. As long as the symbols are matching the time track marker won’t advance.

Another SUPER dangerous aspect of this starting Global Condition is the dice matching at the top of the card. For EVERY dice roll (yes, all dice rolls) if there isn’t a Computer symbol (or wild) in the roll, then that player must also roll the Danger Die for category 2. And there are NO dice in any of our Sections dice pools with a Computer symbol. None. Additionally, None of the crew members have a converter ability to change a blank die to a Computer. NONE. The only way to “pass” that Global Condition is with a wild die in a roll. Thus it looks like we will be rolling a Danger Die A LOT during this mission!

And even the sector where we are starting is really risky!

While in this sector as one of our two actions we can “FORAGE” and roll dice. If we roll a DNA or a Pickax we gain a lead (and a value of 3 leads will get us a discovery). However, if we do NOT roll that DNA or Pickax (or wild) we get a burnt injury!

My thought at this juncture is this: perhaps we could quit this mission as soon as possible and Lift Off back to Vanguard. Then, part of closing out the mission is filling in the PLANET SAVE card … so WE CAN RETURN to the planet! We could travel to another system, do that mission and then travel BACK to this system to try this again! We could then try to buy another set of dice from the Ship Phase after this mission AND the other mission giving us two more dice for each section (8 more dice in total). We have 8 extra crew that can be “assigned” to help buy extra dice! On our second landing here we might have a better chance to make it out alive! (granted, the Global Conditions card will likely be different, but it couldn’t be much worse that our current starting situation).

However … in order to leave we need to complete our current mission, which is to acquire 3 discoveries:

And THAT could be done easily using our Heavy Mining Laser:

We could place this card in our starting sector right away, then everyone in that sector can use it! And it will add 3 pickax symbols to every roll. Plus, all the red dice rolled are refreshed (so if we only roll red dice we get them all back into our available dice pool after this). Also, remember that each pickax symbol will get us one Mineral Lead, so we should be able to get LOTS of Mineral Leads to get our needed 3 discoveries. It also would guarantee that we would never suffer the “fail” consequence of a “burnt injury”.

So I do think we could make quick work of getting our required 3 discoveries to complete our assigned mission. However, once we complete the mission the mission card tells us to go to Log 351. Now, I am not going to peek at what that Log says, but I think there is a very good chance that it will just give us ANOTHER mission (just like our tutorial #3 mission ended up being several missions).

We are starting with 8 supplies. To get 4 spent dice back a crew member would need to REST as one of their actions (and costs 1 supply). So, each crewmember could refresh 4 dice TWICE using our current supplies (2 supplies to each of our 4 crewmembers). And remember we are starting with only 3 available dice for each crewmember (with 4 in the spent dice pool). And travelling at the top of our game board (where we currently are) requires spending 2 dice!

So … should we try to turn this exit this quickly, do the PLANET SAVE card, then come back again with more dice after one other mission? We do have the Section Cards to help us and lots of them seem to be “reroll a die”. This may be a quite unorthodox plan of action, but perhaps that would be a good way to test if this prototype 2 allows us to revisit a planet! Thoughts?

Want to help? Contact Me with your thoughts on our current situation. I will wait a couple days before continuing! And it is nice that I am now using my new Jasper gaming table for this game because I can just put the three “topper” table leaves in and cover up the ISS Vanguard game letting me play ANOTHER game on the table while I wait :) Covering up the game now:

Click => Full 3 Column Site

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