Tutorial 5 Start – Community Response (aka Part 2)

UPDATE: I added the Rank Up card for each Section.

OK … we got some good suggestions, great ideas and excellent questions as we plan for our latest mission – Tutorial 5 aka Matchstick aka NU4 Ceti C aka Mossy Inferno.

I will answer questions and go through all the suggestions and ideas and see if we come up with a plan … or just the need for more help and advice :)

If you are just joining us in this community shared mission you should first read these prior articles:

  1. Tutorial 4 run through (the last portion)
  2. Tutorial 5 run through (help me figure out what to do)

Now, to recap our situation … it is DIRE! We may be at risk of not only having crewmembers die but also losing the brand new Pelican Lander that we just built, plus it’s module plus all our equipment cards. Dangerous is taking on a new meaning. Treacherous may be our word of the day! We are going to be rolling the Danger Die OFTEN with a 75% chance of injury or losing supplies. Plus every time we roll our Section Dice if a Computer symbol (or wild) is not one of the roll results we then have to roll the Danger Die (75% bad results).

I had an idea running through my head in how to approach this situation. And granted, it does seem like a LOSE / LOSE situation to me!  And several of you have chimed in with questions, ideas suggestions and advice (thanks) which I will include here in this article as we try to determine our course of action!  You can skip down to the Community Help if you wish (such as if you are coming back to this article again later)

=> Skip Down To Community Help

After posting this I will wait another day to see if there is any further input / feedback from the community!

FIRST … I just updated my article that lists all the Section Dice. Now every single Section dice type has a NAME! I needed a way to refer to each die when referring to it because there are so many different types of dice, even within one color! So … before continuing here, please read my article:

Click => Section Dice Names

The article includes a photo of every side of every Section die! It also groups them into five categories and names that based on the category name. Here is the dice naming summary:

  1. Converter Dice (red, blue and green)
    1. example: a red Converter die
  2. Bad and Wild Dice (red, blue and green)
    1. example: a blue Bad and Wild die
  3. Three Sided symbol dice (specify the symbol)
    1. example: a Three Sided Muscles die
  4. Mixed Doubles (specify red, blue or green)
    1. Example: a red Mixed Doubles die
  5. Double Singles (specify red, blue or green)
    1. Example: a blue Double Singles die

It **IS** important that we know exactly WHAT dice each Section actually has available to them. Why? Because there are not just three types of Section dice – red, green and blue. Each type of dice will have certain symbols. Sometimes a die will include a Wild symbol. Sometimes it will include a Bad symbol. Sometimes it will include the “blank” Converter symbol. Sometimes it will have a unique symbol. Sometimes the face of a die will actually have TWO symbols on it!

As we start this mission we really really need to be rolling a Computer or a Wild in every dice roll. And the problem is that NONE of our crewmembers has any dice with a Computer on it. Nor can any of them convert a “blank” to a Computer. We are in deep trouble!

Here is a list of the seven dice that each Section has (using the names I proposed above) as well as the unique symbol each crewmembers conversion ability can create. I have to choose FOUR of them to place in the Spent Die Pool. You can see which I chose. The ones I have left as available right now are listed in magenta – You are welcome to suggest a different set of four dice to set aside (especially for Engineering who I think will go first) – Also included is the Rank Up card for each section. In addition to the two success tokens required at missions end, the card specifies what must happen to rank up (but remember that ranking up means nothing if you die on the mission).

Engineering (converts a blue blank into a compass) note: I am reconsidering which dice to move to the spent pool – I think I need the Three Sided Pickax available as well as the Bad and Wild.

  1. Three Sided Pickax Die (3 pickax plus 1 wild) ***
  2. Green Converter Die (1 wild)
  3. Blue Bad and Wild Die (3 wild – 1 is a double) ***
  4. Blue Converter Die (1 wild and 4 blanks convert to Compass)
  5. Red Converter Die (1 wild)
  6. Three Sided Wrench Die (1 wild)
  7. Blue Double Singles (no wild, no blanks)

Engineering Rank Up card:

Next section:

Security (converts a red blank into a Squid):

  1. Three Sided Shield Die (1 wild)
  2. Red Bad and Wild Die (3 wild – 1 is a double) ***
  3. Green Double Singles Die (no wild)
  4. Three Sided Muscles Die (1 wild)
  5. Green Converter Die (1 wild)
  6. Blue Converter Die (1 wild)
  7. Red Converter Die (1 wild and 4 red blanks convert to Squid)

Security Rank Up card:

Next Section:

Recon (converts a green blank into a Pickax)

  1. Red Converter Die (1 wild)
  2. Green Converter Die (4 green blanks convert to Pickax plus 1 wild) ***
  3. Green Bad and Wild Die (3 wild – 1 is a double)
  4. Three Sided Muscles Die (1 wild)
  5. Blue Converter Die (1 wild)
  6. Green Double Singles Die (no wild, no blank)
  7. Three Sided Compass Die (1 wild)

Recon Rank Up card:

Next Section:

Science (converts a green blank into a DNA) – note that Petra is our only Rank 2 Veteran on this mission

  1. Red Converter Die (1 wild)
  2. Green Mixed Doubles Die (1 wild)
  3. Green Bad and Wild Die (3 wild – one is a double) ***
  4. Green Converter Die (4 green blanks convert to DNA plus 1 wild)
  5. Blue Converter Die (1 wild)
  6. Three Sided DNA Die (1 wild)
  7. Three Sided Atom Die (1 wild)

Science Rank Up card:

Now, let’s take a look at our current  game board as we are about to start our mission:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If Engineering goes first (which is likely) each of the other sections has the option to ASSIST with one die! I need to roll 2 Pickax symbols to install my Heavy Mining Laser:

Once installed it will add 3 Pickax symbols to EVERY ROLL by every Sector. Normally (without our Heavy Mining Laser) it is a huge risk rolling dice to gain leads:

You can see the risk … if we choose to do the FORAGE Special Action and don’t get either DNA or a Pickax we have bad roll and get a Burnt Injury! However … our Heavy Mining Laser adds 3 pickax symbols to every roll, so we NEVER are in danger while it is there! Each player can get at least 3 mineral leads every turn! Although each player gets to take TWO actions each turn, they many only do ONE Special Action (such as Forage). And all those leads should easily get us several Mineral Discoveries… which is exactly what our mission is:

IMPORTANT NOTE: At the end of each players turn they must draw an Event card (thus it won’t be easy pickings to just stay and mine each turn). Some Event cards require you to “spend” one die and if you do NOT have a die in your available dice pool, then you must SACRIFICE a die (ie, it is returned to the Section Storage box and cannot be used any longer in this mission). And out of 35 events cards there are 14 chances of this (and some of the times TWO dice have to be spent)! Plus another 7 chances of sacrificing a die. In all cases there is another option (such as getting an injury or rolling the Danger Die). And this is after EVERY players turn! Here are a few examples:

Next let’s review our travel costs to/from various Sectors on our game board (and, yes, many require rolling a Danger Die).

First there is ONE Sector that is marked as an IMPORTANT Sector and there is only one path IN or OUT of it (using Global Conditions for travel cost):

There is an icon next to the Sector number that indicates the sector as “Important”

And of course, our “important” sector (7) is hard to get to! We have to travel 4 times to get there (and 5 times to get back) and each time we travel we are either Rolling a Danger Die, spending two dice or following the Global Conditions costs (often this is rolling a Danger Die). However, Recon has a Jetpack that allows them (Galit in this mission) to travel to an adjacent sector ignoring the “cost” (so if we send someone. he likely will volunteer). You can see Sector 7 at the bottom left on the full game board (above). And here is the Global Conditions that we are operating under as we start this mission:

Our travel cost is rolling dice (only 1 blue or 1 green is needed). However, if we roll a bad symbol we then must also roll a Danger Die! There are TWO other parts to this Global Conditions card! At the bottom is a Time Track. At the end of each players turn they draw an event card. If any of the symbols on the top of the card match any of the the symbols on their current POI location, they follow what the event card says. However, if no symbol matches, then typically the event card will say to advance all Time Tokens. If there is no Time Token on the Time Track yet, then merely place the Time Token on the starting spot. Otherwise slide it over one notch to the right each time you need to advance the Time Token. Once it slides onto the white area you follow what it says in that box (discarding the card in this case, and flipping over the next Global Condition card below it). Each mission will be different, but let’s guess that half the time our event card won’t have a matching symbol and the time token is advanced. It needs to advance 4 times and then is discarded, so perhaps we will have 8 turns of this Global Condition. And it is the top portion of the card that is most concerning (it is terrible):

That top portion of the Global Conditions card IS IN EFFECT FOR EVERY DICE ROLL. Every time we roll the dice we have to follow the Global Conditions for the roll … and as we start this mission, if we don’t roll a Computer (or wild) we then must roll the Danger Die. Since none of our crew has a Computer symbol in their dice nor the ability to convert a blank to a Computer, we are in Dire Straits (so may as well listen to one of my favorite tunes of theirs):

Rather than add photos (which I have already taken) of each Sector with it’s travel costs, let’s use the full map (see above)! You can click on it to ZOOM and click again to ZOOM even more and at that point everything is pretty readable!

One significant note: once we are in Sector 5 we CANNOT travel to Sector 3 (it is a one way path into Sector 5).

Community Help

Now … let’s see what our Community is suggesting, advising or asking about!

Aaron kicked off the comments on our situation like this:

Yikes, that is a predicament! You only have one medkit? How do you get more of those? Do they refresh after mission attempts? I share your concern, you rush the mission objectives (seems like something you have dice for), but then you get another mission that pulls you all over the bored…which seems likely. So what happens if you go through the first mission, second mission appears and you attempt to leave? What are the rules about leaving mid mission? Do you keep your discoveries? Any crew die? Just trying to figure out what’s the best avenue of attack for what seems like a death trap.

Yeah … death trap seems to be an accurate term:) Let’s see … yep, just one Medkit! I just double checked the Medbay “rules” and there does not seem to be a standard way to just “buy” more. In Tutorial 2 we got some Medkits from manufacturing Specialized Section Tools (a Production Project).

Unfortunately, when we USE this Medkit we are “using it up” and have to discard the card – so we don’t get to take it back with us if we use it!

And then the good question … what happens if we just decide to Lift Off mid mission (ie, without completing whatever mission we are given)? That is a good question because I never included the final two divider pages (with their rules) yet (and the last one is titled “ADRIFT” and you can guess what that page is all about :)

Planetary Exploration Procedure (part 2)

Our Planetary Exploration ends when one of these happen:

  1. A player is in the lander and uses the Lift-Off action
  2. All crewmembers become Dying at the same time
  3. A log or mission card tells you to end the Planetary Exploration

Any crewmembers OUTSIDE OF THE LANDER SECTOR are killed (unless the planet has special rules)

IMPORTANT: If we end our Planetary Exploration while any Mission Card is not completed our mission is classified a FAILURE when we Lift Off.

If the Planetary Exploration ends when no crewmembers are in the Lander Sector (ie, we all died), the Lander and all its’ module cards and contents are lost. Any Unique Discovery cards go into the Awaiting pocket, but all other discovery cards are shuffled back into their decks. All module cards go into the Awaiting pocket and must be rebuilt in the Hangar. If the lander was not the Space Ranger (and, alas, ours is the Pelican) remove it’s lander card from the Hangar page and you will have to rebuild it! Note: the Space Ranger is never “lost” and never has to be “rebuilt”.

However, if our mission is successful (ie, we completed all mission cards assigned to us) then we get to bring back all the discoveries that fit into the storage area of our lander (have to leave behind any excess discoveries, but can’t leave behind a Unique Discovery).

And the final divider page that I have not shown you yet is…


If our mission was a FAILURE, when we return to the Vanguard for the Ship Phase, the first Divider we look at is ARRIVAL and the first rule is to check if the mission had been a failure and if so, go to the last page, ADRIFT! And here is what happens to us when we fail our mission:

RULE 1 – reduce all Ship Status Panel dials by 2

RULE 2 – place a random Situation Card into the Awaiting pocket

RULE 3 – reduce the Morale attribute by 1

RULE 4 – discard the “Mission Failed” token

RULE 5 – Go back to the start of the Ship Book and start over again!

Next up in our Community was Johnny with a good set of comments (in orange mixed with my replies):

Question… at sector 3.. there is an arrow symbol ( what is that symbol ? ) and then +4 danger die.. is the 4 danger worse than the 2 danger ?
This symbol (I was thinking it was a fighter ship from Star Wars) means that what follows it is a Special Action. Each player gets two actions on their turn, but only one of them can be a Special Action. Next … the Danger Die symbol is confusing … the number inside of the symbol tells you what category to use on the Danger Die Help Card!
If you go past sector 3 then you are stuck going the long way. Not a good idea I think.
I agree! But we may be “forced” into it :)
1.) I would stay at your lander until you get the 3 mining then see what your next mission is. It should be safe there.
Yep … I was thinking of staying there using the Heavy Mining Laser until I got 3 discovery CARDS (not just leads)
Then depending on what next mission is……
Yeah … while I can hope that the log makes it an optional additional mission, it is likely a 99% chance that we will be told to reveal another mission card
2.) I would maybe check out landing spot 2 with at least 2 crew.. because if you came back then you would already know what was there. Then get the flora there. That might be as far as you can go on this mission. If able go back to lander and leave. ( I think they want crew to die !! So you could check out the memorial wall and the save card )
Yeah … we survived Tutorial 3 but now I think Tutorial 5 is rigged so that some (or all) crew may (or will) die! Checking landing site 2 sounds like a good option … why did you think we should take at least 2 crew over there?
3.) depending on what the new mission was I would either take 2 crew to sector 3 then jump back to the lander… that way they could lift off and complete the mission with at least 2 survivor (hopefully) and not lose your lander.
Yes … good point (about trying to NOT lose the lander)! However I neglected to show everyone the last two divider pages in the Ship Book … and if we leave while a mission card is not completed, our mission is a failure … and a failure means we lose the lander! (see divider page above)
4.) Big Decisions Time !!
If all hurt.. everyone get back to the lander.. leave .
If still healthy..continue but expect crew to die… maybe everyone and you could lose your lander.
( I would leave !!)
Yes … leaving at the first moment that we don’t have an incomplete mission card!!!
5.) if you decided to press on.. have 2 crew at sector 3 go to sector 5. 2 crew at sector 2 go to sector 4. If things starting to go bad.. get to lander.
Going to Sector 5 from Sector 3 is a one way path – no going back the way we came!
6.) still pushing it.. 2 crew at sector 5 go to sector 6. 2 crew at sector 4 go to sector
7.) if at anytime have crew meet up at sector 3 or 2 and have hurt crew get to lander and healthy crew continue.
The problem is that if the hurt crew do get back to the lander sector (which is good), they still have to take their turns while the other players continue trying to complete the mission. Yes, they can take an action called “PREPARE” – this means take one Section Card (and if you go over the maximum limit of 3 you then must discard one down to the 3 card level). However, when their turn ends they MUST take an Event Card … and those event cards will wring them dry! The Event cards will make them spend their remaining dice, then sacrifice all their dice as well as our success tokens (if we got  any) while adding injuries and 3 injuries means DYING.
8.) if still pushing it… get to sector 7 then get back to lander.
9) if you got to sector 7. You were crazy !! And how many died ?
Yeah … and this is where you find out about that IMPORTANT symbol next to a Sector number … Sector 7 is labeled “important” so likely Awaken Realms will either force us there or put the really good mission goodies there!

Then Aaron replied to Johnny:

yeah, once he moves down to sector 3 (5?) , he’s in for the long haul back to the lander. I’d be concerned about the dice count and the number of injuries the crew could suffer simply trying to circle all the way back. If he moves forward, he will be burning dice, having to sacrifice a dice to refresh all other dice. Unless…he finds a fountain of youth on a planet full of life that lets him refresh dice.
Um… I don’t think a Fountain of Youth is one of the Section Cards, but… House Rule? :)
I love the fact this game has these decisions. I have no idea what I would do. I’d hate to lose any ranked up characters this early in the game.
Yeah … Petra is our best of our best (so far) and she is on this mission! Would hate to lose her!
but that is one question I have: he says the last tutorial. What does Len mean by that? It isn’t the last mission available in the prototype is it? some of the reviewers talked about this being a third of the game, but this is only the third mission, so I hope that’s not a third of the game.
There are five tutorials … 1, 3, 5 are planetary exploration and 2, 4 are Ship Phase. But there are more playable planetary exploration missions in the prototype … check out the full list of systems and planets in the following article and count all the places that are printed in RED

Click => All the systems and planets in the prototype

I should be able to do at least two more missions (I think) and I may even be able to double back and land on a planet the second time. AND this game is FANTASTIC in getting you to think about what is going on, your decisions BEFORE the mission (ie, which crew to bring and what new dice to buy) play out so well when you land for the mission … then just trying to accomplish your mission includes so very very many things to consider. This is NOT a simple make a choice and see what happens game! This is EPIC!

Johnny replied back to Aaron:

going to sector 3 (5?) could be bad.. they might force you to continue and take the long way.. I would take every one and go to the other landing site and flora and leave..
yeah but … our lander is over at Sector 1 :)  We would have to all get back to Sector 1 and Lift Off from there.
anyone going to sector 3 I think have a greater chance to die. But no risk no reward.. so maybe send 2 to sector 3 then decide. If not forced get back and if forced then hopefully you will get luck and survive the long way home.
And I have already mentioned that Sector 7 is classified as “important” so we might have to go there! :(

After I pointed out that it going to Sector 5 was along a one way path (not going to Sector 3) Aaron added this:

you’re right, it’s section 5 that’s the one way. Once you head there, you’re committed to the scenic route.

Then Johnny added this thought (I can tell he had been thinking about this some more):

the more I look at the map.. the scarier it is.. if you go to sector 3 and take the long way back.. with no computer dice for travel.. you are rolling the danger dice at least 6 times. Not including if you do the stuff in sector 3 which is another danger dice.. yeah.. mine sector 1 and sector 2 and get off of the planet.

Finally one last set of thoughts from Aaron (then I will post this and hope others join in this discussion):

say you go for it. What’s the plan? Engineering has to go first, right?

Yep … Engineering first to get that mining going!

Need to get the mining equipment installed. Sadly, the engineering person isn’t great at pickaxes and needs two.

Actually, Engineering is the ONLY Section that has a pickax die.

Would you roll the green and blue and then have recon roll the non vanguard green to assist? Recon green wild can be a pickaxe, and engineering cards can reroll green if need be (if I’m remembering correctly).

Yes … Recon has a pickax converter for a green blank (not wild). So his green Converter die can convert the four blanks into pickax (plus the die has a wild)

Say it’s a success: mine with the last die hoping for vanguard symbol to handle the missing Computer symbol?

Yep … every dice roll we have to check if we rolled a Compass and if not the Global Condition card makes us roll the Danger Die.

You’ll get the 3 leads that hopefully lead to a discovery (there is a chance that won’t occur right, by random luck?).

Yes … luck is involved because there is a black back with lead tokens in it … I randomly pick 3. Some may be a value of zero (ie, not helping at all). Will have to go through this with several crewmembers till we build up the leads to a value of 3 which means we get a Mineral Discovery card. Then we do it all again to get two more discovery cards. PROBLEM is that the lead tokens in the bag are finite – there is a limited amount of them (part of the game design) so we may not have enough to get tons of discovery cards.

You’ll get the red die back. Maybe have someone assist with a red dice. Then you go through the other three players rolling red dice and maybe vanguard wild looking for the Computer. Hope all turns lead to a discovery and maybe they’re resting as second action?

A second action can be one called PREPARE – this lets you draw a Section card. Resting is better but requires you to use up one supply (and we only have 8).

By the end of one round, you hope to have four discoveries, keep all your red dice in play and hopefully some others and maybe a limited number of injuries due to good wild rolls.

Yes … GOOD POINT … if we can just keep using RED dice, we will get them automatically refreshed so that we only need to be concerned about not getting that Computer symbol (or wild).

I’m not sure what the next step is, but mission 1 seems doable.

Yes … that first mission card is definitely Do-able.  It is the NEXT mission card that I am 99% sure they will give us that likely will get us into hot water!

UPDATE: A couple more comments to add to this list... one suggestion is to just lift off right now – no crew injured, nothing lost … just no discoveries … on to the new comments:

Johnny added:

Question.. you said that if mission is a failure you lose the lander..
I don’t think so..
the adrift section says…
4. If a mission failed ! Token is on the lander tray, discard this token.
You don’t lose the lander Because if you took off in the lander than the lander would not be on the lander tray. So you wouldn’t discard the token. You did fail the mission but the lander and the crew on the lander would not be lost.
Everyone else still on the planet would die. If everyone on the planet died then the lander would still be on the lander tray and then you would also lose the lander.
I think it would be better to be adrift and lose moral then lose your ship and 4 crew members and discoveries. I think 1 or 2 crew getting back with lander and discoveries is better than pushing to get everything and losing everything.
Aaron replied to this:
i agree with Johnny, i don’t think you lose the lander if you have characters on the lander and they choose to lift off even if a mission card isn’t resolved. But, like you say Len, your mission is a failure and the Adrift page kicks in. that looks not fun at all! but…better than everyone dying, right? and you get to keep your discoveries, so maybe its worth it?? I guess I don’t get the dial all the dials back by 2. what exactly is being rolled back by 2? i didn’t think you populated those dials until deeper in the ship book, after page 1 that sends you to the Adrift page. Len, how would that play out?

About the Ship Dials:

the ship dials are used during Ship Phase. See my Tutorial 4 run through (scroll down about half way to see the dials in use). The settings on the dials persist from one mission to the next. Kind of like the game Civilization… once you set up your granary and other buildings … each “turn” they pump out the resources for you. Same for the ship dials … you want them as high as possible to get more resources during each Ship Phase – so setting them all back by 2 is not good. Granted, it is NOT a catastrophe like losing the lander, the equipment, the crew and all the discoveries.

Aaron then had this to say:

wow, I didn’t think they’d set those internal dials back by two each. That’s crazy. Dang, they don’t make the decisions easy.

My reply to that:

one of you gave this mission a new nickname … Death Trap … we shall see! Next … I forgot to include the RANK UP card for each section … will put them in now. Granted, ranking up means nothing if a crewmember dies … but those who survive should get something out of all this! Right? Go Petra!

Aaron then added:

make sure she never leaves the lander 😂. Realistically though, unless you retcon the game to say you never went there, you have to play the mission. If you leave now, it’s no different than if you leave after mission one when it comes to the adrift part.
I’m wondering if we’re going about this wrong though, trying to bum rush the first mission. You will be spending precious dice doing it, although it’s mitigated by the mining machine for red dice. Maybe you leave one person with the mining machine while you start moving your team towards the important zone. You know you likely have to go there, start heading there while one crew member mines landing zone. once you have the mining set up, you could even have action one of the three characters be mine with a red dice, then start moving. The only problem there is you risk the no PC symbol, so likely something bad happens. Given how often you’ll roll that danger dice, maybe it’s best to only do it for three of your crew as part of movement.

That’s it for now folks! Please send in more ideas and comments …

Meanwhile … I need to review everything about ending a mission (success or failure) and write an article on how it works (after I figure it out).  Same for injuries and “dying”. I probably will do those articles before playing this mission… so you have time to send in your comments yet!

UPDATE: I forgot about the Rank Up cards!  If any of our crew survive it would be nice if they could rank up!  There are two criteria to meet in order to rank up after a mission.

  1. We must have at least 2 success tokens to rank up from level 1… or 5 success tokens to rank up from level 2.
  2. Each Section must also meet the criteria listed on their rank up card:
    1. Engineering: all two unique discoveries must be found
    2. Security: we must have at least 5 discovery cards
    3. Recon: no crewmember has 3 injuries (all must be 2 or less injuries)
    4. Science: must place two mission equipment cards on the game board (and remember that Petra is rank 2 so she needs 5 success tokens to rank up)

Click => Full 3 Column Site

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