What’s Included in the Prototype?

We have now played through all five tutorials and there are still at least three more missions left for us to play plus I will see if the prototype allows us to go back and revisit a planet (I’d like to go back to the planet we just explored on the Mossy Inferno board (aka Death Trap) because we never encountered the two Unique Discoveries that are somewhere on that planet! But it was during Tutorial #5 that I realized something was not included in the prototype. And that is just one of the many pitfalls of playing a second hand prototype of a game!

I thought it would be easiest to explain what was missing in this prototype by simply summing up all the components as listed on the first three pages of the Quick Start Guide which explain what Awaken Realms was including in the prototype box.

This is the game box for the Prototype 2 Demo

Note: there WILL be an app, but it was not ready to be used with prototype 2, so we used the logbook.

Here is what the Quick Start Guide refers to as:

Component Overview

Here is how this portion of the Quick Start Guide begins:

ISS Vanguard uses some unusual components … this demonstration box contains:

  1. 8 Standees – two for each of the four Sections crew
    1. Note that the final game will include miniatures for each of these standees and might not include standees (it is uncertain)
  2. 60 Player Dice – these are the red, green and blue Section Dice
    1. => More info
  3. 12 Injury Dice – this is enough to handle the crewmember for all of the sections getting fully injured
    1. => More info
  4. 3 Danger Dice – we never took out all three – we just rolled the same one over again as needed
    1. => More info
  5. Ship Book – a three ring binder that holds the divider pages that have the rules for the Ship Phase as well as the plastic card holder pages to slot cards into
  6. Cardboard Dividers – each divider represents one step of the Ship Phase (there were 16 of them)
  7. Card Holder Pages – custom pages where you slot in your cards (11 of them)
  8. System Maps (formerly the Galactopedia) – a book with charts to the various systems with explorable planets and other objects you can interact with. Each explorable planet has its own game board contained in the Planetopedia
    1. => More Info
  9. 4 Lander trays – cardboard trays that represent the landers that tracks your supplies and has places for success tokens, modules and discovery cards
  10. Planetopedia – this book contains the game boards (planet boards) that you will explore
  11. Logbook – this is kind of like and advanced, expanded build your own adventure book and is an essential part of the missions
  12. Card Tray A (Planetary Exploration) – this narrow box holds the standard sized cards you use when exploring and are divided into groups by green separator cards:
    1. Points Of Interest (POI) cards – these usually include one (or more) special action that you can attempt and often provide ways to gain leads (which in turn lead to discoveries).  POI cards also may direct you to a specific log entry in the Logbook
    2. Mission cards – each planetary exploration can be referred to as a MISSION (as the other half of the game from SHIP PHASE). However, each planetary exploration starts with one Mission card that when completed often will yield yet another Mission card!
    3. Global Conditions cards – these make the game more realistic in that they provide a changing “environment” for your crew to travel in. In Tutorial 5 we actually went through 6 different cards, so the conditions kept changing on us (which kept us on our toes). These cards also can contain “rules” for non-travel gameplay. These global conditions apply every time you roll your section dice and often can be quite harsh. Example: when you roll your Section dice, if you don’t roll a computer then you must also roll a Danger Die.
    4. Section cards – each of the four sections have their own deck of these cards, and each deck has a few special cards only available to crew with rank 2 or 3.
    5. Rank Sleeves – crewmember cards are inserted into rank sleeves to denote the rank of that crewmember
  13. Card Tray B (small cards) – there are small cards for both Ship Phase (with blue separators) and Planetary Exploration (with green separators)
    1. Event cards – events happen after EVERY turn of EVERY crewmember on the mission. They usually are not good, but often will give you opportunities to give up or risk something in order to gain something else. There are symbols at the top of each card. If the symbol does not match a symbol for the Sector where you are located then the event is NOT triggered, and instead you advance all the time tracks by one.
    2. Discovery cards – five different discovery types with one deck for each. Each discovery card can be used during planetary exploration, ship phase and even some projects that require them in order to be completed.
    3. Unique Discovery cards – numbered discoveries that can only be found in one place in the game
    4. Injury cards – a variety of different types of injuries with various consequences and game mechanics. When you get an injury card, you also get an injury die along with it
    5. Rank Up cards – each crewmember gets one of these cards at the start of each mission that list the criteria that needs to be met in order to rank up
    6. Blueprint cards – these allow you to build new landers as well as lander mods
    7. Current System cards – reminds you of the system you are currently in
    8. Objective cards – lists your objective while in the current system
  14. Card Tray C (Ship Phase) – standard size cards use during Ship Phase
    1. Two Tutorial decks – do not shuffle these!
    2. Crewmember cards – each Ship Phase you have the option to recruit up to four new crewmembers (no more than one new crewmember per Section). You may have up to 9 crewmembers in a Section.
    3. Research Project cards – develop new technologies aboard Vanguard
    4. Production Project cards – manufacture upgrades and new equipment
    5. Ship Situation cards – things can go wrong during a long journey through space
    6. Ship Upgrade cards – additional rooms and systems of ISS Vanguard
    7. Landing cards – each planet has a landing card that you use with the Scanner to find out something about the planet of your next mission before you load up your lander
    8. Planet Save cards – record the status of a planet when you leave it (it won’t be the same as when you first got there)
    9. Equipment cards – these actually are a different shape and size and represent items you manufacture for your mission teams
  15. Leads – 20 tokens to use as you search for discoveries
    1. Black bag – all lead tokens are placed in this bag so you can randomly draw a lead out of the bag
    2. => More info
  16. 4 Section Compartments – one of the insert trays contains four Section Compartments. This is changed from prototype 1 which had a storage box for each Section. Each compartment will hold:
    1. Section’s Crewmembers – the crew assigned to the Section (up to 9)
    2. Section Dice – your set of red, green and blue dice allocated to the Section
    3. Section Cards – useful cards during planetary exploration (some are available only for rank 2 or 3 crewmembers)
    4. Rank Sleeves – each Section has their own sleeves with the Section logo and rank level on them
    5. => More info
  17. 4 Crew Trays – a dual layer tray that holds your crewmember card, dice and charge markers (cubes) as well as a place to set up to three injury cards
  18. Scanner – a cardboard reader for Planetary Information cards that provides you a way to learn about planets you intend to land on (before loading and sending down a lander)
  19. Markers – acrylic cubes to use as charge markers on the crew tray, supply level on the lander tray and progress of actions on the POI cards
  20. Cardboard tokens – a variety of tokens to use during the game
    1. Crew Duty tokens – pass these from player to player throughout the game to divvy up duties in Ship Phase
    2. Turn tokens – keep track of who has taken their turn
    3. Mission Failed token – sad when you have to place this on your lander tray
    4. First Player token – who goes first this round
    5. Time tokens – use these on the time tracks to represent the passage of time
    6. Success tokens – you earn these during your planetary exploration mission. You need them to rank up plus they can be used to buy more dice during Ship Phase
  21. Help cards – handy reference cards that sum up what a player can do on their turn. There also is a Danger Die reference card that provides ten categories of results for a Danger Die roll

While that list sounds like A LOT (and it **IS**) … here are the components that were NOT mentioned in the component list on first three pages of the Quick Start Guide that WERE part of prototype 2:

  • Quick Start Guide book – this is where the component list is, so, duh – you were reading it
  • Ship Status Panel dials – five large dials, four that also have a smaller dial on it – these track a variety of things that persist from Ship Phase to Ship Phase
  • Awaiting pocket – the large clear plastic pocket that holds cards that you will need during various parts of the Ship Phase
  • Lander cards – cards that give a summary of each lander that is available in the game
  • Planetary Information cards – each planet that can be explored has a Planetary Information card that you insert into the Scanner. This allows you to spend energy in order to find out about a planet you are planning on exploring
  • Threats
    • Threat Cards
    • Standees / Miniatures
    • Rules

While not listed in the component summary, all these ARE explained in the Quick Start Guide… EXCEPT THREATS! Since I did not receive my prototype directly from Awaken Realms, I was not part of the official reviewer or playtester groups and thus did NOT have access to any of the game developers (though I did provide them with over 150 items of feedback). However, fear not! Awaken Realms officially told me how to get a prototype (from a reviewer who had completed their review), so I have a legitimate prototype! But since it is second hand I do not have access to Awaken Realms developers. Thus I had to figure out how the THREATS worked in the game without instructions or access to the developers. Yes, I got a headache trying to piece this together (actually my daughter finally figured it out). But it was so confusing that I’m pretty sure that the final game will not be like what we have in this prototype, so it may not be worthwhile showing you a Threat Card. The rule book in the final game needs to be really clear about how to use the Threat cards because they contained lots of options, criteria, time tracks, dice combos and more – plus there is a Threat standee / miniature that can (and did in Tutorial 5) move around the game board. But since Awaken Realms now has Paul Grogan doing the rule book, all should be well in the final game!

NOTE: I have a website for another game that won’t be delivered until December – Doomlings. I have a prototype of that game too. However, I got the prototype directly from the game developers and I also had access to them, and they answered my questions, typically much quicker than 24 hours. So I do know the difference between having a prototype that comes with access to the developers (Doomlings) and one that does not (ISS Vanguard 2nd hand prototype). Thus for this website I don’t have any special or inside information. I just carefully piece together what I can. If there ever are mistakes, please let me know so that I can correct them!

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