OK … we finished the five tutorials and now we are happily continuing this campaign with game 6. As you know, ISS Vanguard is essentially TWO games for the price of one, but much more than just two games. Both games interweave with the other enriching the game experience immensely! And, when talking about ISS Vanguard, there is this back and forth going on. You start with a Planetary Exploration MISSION as game 1. Then, after your MISSION (win or lose), you go back to the ISS Vanguard for Ship Phase as game 2. And after you finish the Ship Phase, it is back to your next MISSION (game 3). So, if we numbered the games as they are played, the Planetary Exploration Missions would be the odd numbered games and the Ship Phase games would be the even numbered games. So … when I say that we just finished game 6, you instantly know (since it is an even number) that we just completed a Ship Phase game. And this was the first NON-Tutorial game. The first five games are part of an extensive tutorial where you learn about the game AND how to play it as you play it! Now we are out on our own (finally).
Now let’s take a look into the Ship Phase game, which uses the Ship Book! :)
Perhaps the very first paragraph inside the the Ship Book will help to explain just what this “ship phase” is all about:
“Welcome to the ISS Vanguard ship book! You will use it during the Ship Phase to manage your ship and its crew, research new technologies, fly to missions, collect discoveries, manufacture gear – and more. The book also allows you to comfortably save your campaign and showcase your progress!”
Well, we completed our game 5 (successfully – yay) and here we are as we LIFT-OFF:
We done did good on our mission too! We had a bunch of items in our Awaiting pocket, including success tokens and discoveries, plus nobody died. Awaken Realms was brilliant in setting up the Awaiting pocket system as a way to pass things between games (from planet to ship). But it also functions as a way to pass projects between sections of the Ship Book as well.
NOTE: since I have shown you all the large divider pages in the Ship Book before, I wasn’t going to include them again here. But I compromised and put a thumbnail of the divider page … and you can CLICK on that thumbnail image to see the full sized page! You can even click on that full sized page to zoom even further!
Immediately after we Lift Off at the end of our Mission, we pull out our Ship Book and open it to the beginning …
Note: you might want to take a photo of the game board if you are not planning on doing a full Ship Phase … heck, you may want to take a photo of the game board just to record how your prior mission ended!
With the prototype it was a bit tricky (aka confusing) to figure out exactly the criteria the game uses to classify your prior Mission as a Success (or Failure). While playing the Mission you sometimes can tell when you are “losing”… you are sitting on the edge of your chair as one by one your crewmembers are dying. Or you just ran out of supplies and you are several sectors away from the landing site. Or you are being attacked and it doesn’t look promising. You can kind of tell that things are not going well :)
But just when does the game declare your mission a failure!? Sometimes it is when you are told to place a Mission Failed token on the lander tray. Other times it is when you arrive back at the ISS Vanguard ship and you have a Mission card on the game board that was not completed. It is a bit confusing and I’m sure Awaken Realms will fix all this in the final – plus Paul Grogan is writing the manual for the game so it should all be good! Fortunately, I have completed all my missions and nobody has died, so I didn’t get any headaches trying to figure out if our mission was declared a “failure”.
This is where you advance crewmembers if enough success tokens were acquired during the mission AND if they met the criteria on their rank-up card. Remove the crewmember from the current rank sleeve and insert it into the next higher rank sleeve. Note that while success tokens can determine whether or not any crew member can rank up after a mission … those same success tokens can be used later in the Ship Phase (near the very end when you are buying additional dice).
Then take all the crewmember cards that were “resting” and put them in the “available” part of their section storage box.
Slot all the Unique Discoveries in the Awaiting pocket and gain the bonus for any row that you completely fill.
Note: if you even finish a mission without finding all the Unique Discoveries (as I did last mission), those missing Unique Discovery cards will leave an empty card slot in it’s row and you will not be able to gain the bonus for that row! That’s why I am hoping the prototype will let me return to that planet again so I can hunt for those two Unique Discoveries that I didn’t find during my mission.
This is where we FINALLY get to save our game (in step 3 on this page)! This is an odd way of saving the planetary exploration mission… in the middle of the Ship Phase! (I sent a feedback about this to Awaken Realms, so hopefully they can devise a way to save the game after a mission before even opening the Ship Book).
Steps 1 & 2 – As you take your discovery cards out of the Awaiting pocket, you check if there is a Ship Phase bonus on the bottom of the card. You may take this bonus now (or sometimes there is an option to wait until later?). After you take the bonus usually the card also tells you to “discard this card”. This means that it goes to the bottom of the matching discovery card deck (they are not removed from the game). All the discovery cards that have a Planet Phase bonus at the bottom get slotted into the discovery card page.
Step 3 – Save Your Planet Board – This is a cool part of the game! You need to record what the planet was like at the end of your mission so that if you ever come back to the planet it can be “reassembled” to be the way you left it! You take a blank Planet Save card and simply fill in this information:
- The name of the planet- The planet for my last mission actually could be referred to in three ways as shown on the card below (plus I could also write our nickname for the mission … “Death Trap”)
- The Point Of Interest (POI) card number that is in each sector and if that POI card had the “finished” flag icon on it. Some sectors may not have a POI card on them – just list them as —.
- Note how many scans of the planet were done prior to landing – in my example, we did all three possible scans. If we come back to this planet we get to see those 3 scan results!
- Any outstanding Unique Discoveries that were not found – both 7 and 8 in my example
- Any threat cards, miniatures or standees on the board and what sector they are in. Note that if there is a “don’t save” icon in the corner of a threat card we are to NOT include it. I didn’t read about that exception until after I had written one of the threats down, so I simply crossed it off on my card
Spoiler Alert … don’t read what’s on this card if you are trying to avoid spoilers … just skip down to the Medbay heading
Then you store this card along with any POI cards, Unique Discovery cards in the Planet Save area of the game cards.
If there are any Medbay upgrades in the Awaiting pocket, slot them into the top of the card page
If there are any crewmembers from the mission you just finished that are uninjured, take their card and place it in the “available crew” area of their section storage box
Any crewmembers that are already in Medbay (from prior missions) all get “healed” a bit – slide all cards one slot to the right. If a card is at the far right position they slide off the page and are healed and are placed in the “available crew” area of their section storage box
If there still are crewmembers left in Medbay, you may assign one of your available crewmembers to help them (“therapy”). The crew that helped goes into the “resting” area of their section storage box and the crew in Medbay slides one slot to the right. Note that you CANNOT do this for those injured on the mission you just completed.
All the injured (but living:) crewmembers from your mission just completed are slotted into card slots in the Medbay card page as follows (return their injury cards back to the injury card deck):
- One injury – into a Light Injuries slot
- Two injuries – into a Moderate Injuries slot
- Three injuries – into a Critical Injuries slot
If there are no slots available of the type needed, slot the crewmember into one of the slots to the left of them (ie, a worse injury). If there still are no slots, they die.
Now check if any crewmember in a Critical Injuries slot dies by rolling three yellow injury dice. If you roll two of the three drop icons, they die:
Place a crewmembers card who dies into the next available slot for their section and gain the bonus listed for that slot (any “upgrade” cards gained go into the Awaiting pocket)
The crew trays should be stored away now and section dice returned to the Section Storage box and blue charge cubes returned to the bin or bag for future use. Note that the dice for each section are assigned to that section so do not swap dice between sections.
FINALLY the game lets you “finish” your planetary exploration mission and save the game! I sent feedback to Awaken Realms about this being an odd place to save the game – in the middle of the Ship Phase.
Before you pack things up Awaken Realms suggests that you take a photo of the Ship Status Panel dials (in case they get jostled while storing the game). If you had planned on NOT doing a full Ship Phase, you also should have taken a photo of the game board BEFORE removing everything from it! (I will go back and add that to my article)
Things start to get interesting once you get to the Bridge! You may have considered the first few divider pages a bit methodical, and to a point they were. But later in the campaign I’m sure that the Medbay may become a pretty hopping place!
If there are any ship upgrade cards in the Awaiting pocket, slot them into a spot in the card page UNINSTALLED side up (ie, you should see the red warning to NOT REVEAL until assembled). Example:
If there are any objective cards in the Awaiting pocket, slot them into the spots at the top of the card page. If the slot already has a card in it, discard that card and place the new card in the slot.
Now… the fun part of choosing where to go next!
You will use the System Map book AND the Logbook Log 900 which lets you see how the systems are “connected” in space and gives you a way to check off the planets you have already visited. Note to Awaken Realms: instead of having a log entry as a place to track where you have been and how all the systems are interconnected, perhaps some full size pages can be in the Ship Book in the Bridge section so that they are right there each time you do a Ship Phase.
At this point I have played six games – three Missions and three Ship Phases – so I have checked off the places I have been so far:
- Eye of the Void
- TOI-2 Pellucid
- NU4 Ceti Matchstick
In the final game you have the option to go back to a system and visit a planet again. Once I complete the full prototype campaign I will try to do that to see if the prototype allows me to revisit a planet.
Before we start actually choosing where to go next, we need to generate our new energy points by looking at the Ship Status Panel generator which was at the +5 setting. Thus, I moved my current energy points from 0 to 5:
So, at the moment we have 5 energy points to cover possible scans of the planet we choose as well as flying there and also landing. If we need more energy, we can assign an available crewmember to go on a scouting mission which reduces the cost of flying to a new system by one (can reduce it down to 1 energy required) OR reducing the cost of scanning the planet by 1 (down to zero – a free scan)
So … now I looked at BOTH the System Maps (to get energy costs for travel) and Log 900 (to see how the systems are interconnected):
Looking at the connections from NU4 Ceti (where we currently are) it seems obvious that we should fly to 80 INF Brimstone next! So we look at the System Maps page for our current location to see what the energy requirement is to fly there:
We see that it will cost us 2 energy points to fly to 81 INF from NU4 Ceti. Once we get there we also will need 1 energy point to actually “land” on the planet. PLUS I really would like to scan the planet to see what kind of dice I may need as well as what the landing conditions are (to help me decide which lander to use). The Brimstone landing card shows three possible scans at 1 energy cost each.
So … this is where we calculate what we can do with our current energy points and decide if we want to use any available crewmember(s) to help reduce energy costs!
My calculations for flying and landing on Brimstone at 81 INF are:
- 2 energy points to fly there
- 1 energy point to land [note: looking through the books I can’t find where the rules told us that each landing always costs 1 energy… but we paid it any way:) ]
- 3 energy points to fully scan the planet
TOTAL energy points needed: 6
So we have a decision to make! We HAVE 5 energy points and NEED 6. Should we do one less scan or should we assign an available crewmember to reduce costs by 1 that would allow us to do all three scans? And what about Ship Upgrades? We had several available to us but they each had an energy cost!
I really wanted to get as much info on the planet as possible because the three scans would tell us this:
- Landing conditions (what aspects of our lander would be most important)
- Frequent events & Die symbols that would be needed frequently
- Global Conditions and Die symbols likely needed
Here is how we went about this. It is merely OUR strategy or process – you may have a very different way of going about this. You may NOT want to assign a crewmember to assist in reducing the energy costs because you want to use your crewmembers later in the Ship Phase for other tasks! (remember that when you assign a crewmember to reduce the energy cost, that crewmember gets moved into the “resting” area of their section box). I am guessing that Awaken Realms might suggest upgrading your ship as a higher priority than scanning the planet. Your view on what is more important will help you decide what to do.
We were ONE energy short (not counting any possible ship upgrades), so we were going to use a crewmember to reduce the energy cost by one. HOWEVER … WHICH crewmember to use was very important to us. Why? Because each crewmember has a special skill and a special ability. We wanted to see what Die symbols would likely be needed and NOT use a crewmember with an ability to convert a “blank” into a likely needed symbol. So, we did NOT assign the crewmember until later! Here is how we did it:
- pay 2 energy to fly to 81 INF (3 energy remain)
- pay 1 energy for the first planet scan (our lander will need better agility and armor)
NOTE: do NOT look at the log number stated at the top of the back of the lander card … that is used when actually launching the lander to begin the mission.
- pay 1 energy for the second planet scan (we may need to roll the shield symbol a lot on the mission)
- We had 1 energy left and needed that to pay the energy cost for landing on the planet. So now we needed to choose WHICH of our crew to assign to reduce the energy cost of the final (3rd) scan (down to free). We did NOT want to use any crewmember who had a skill to convert a blank into a shield or had an ability to reroll a red die (the shield appears on red dice):
So … we came up with a way to kind of “mark” crewmembers who would be beneficial to have on this coming mission! Those that could help with getting a shield we marked as possible for the coming mission. NEXT we looked at the landing needing better agility and armor in our lander. We did not have any agility modules to enhance our agility, so we wanted to bring Samarth (Engineering Section) on the mission as our pilot (note his skill to reroll the danger die during our landing):
It is IMPORTANT to plan ahead like this! If we assigned Samarth to reduce our energy costs he then would be a “resting” crewmember and NOT available to go on the mission! Likewise, we set aside Jaromir (Recon) due to his lander skills (add 1 to our lander Armor, Agility and Sensors):
Next, we noted that our Security Section had a red die that specialized in the shield symbol PLUS Ewald was available and had the ability to convert a red blank into a shield (so we set him aside as possible for this mission):
PLUS, look at his skill … he can assist with TWO dice (not just one) AND after rolling his dice to assist he automatically refreshes them back to his available dice pool. Looks likely that we take him on this next mission!
- So … if we plan on taking Samarth, Ewald and Jaromir on the next mission, then all the rest of the crewmembers in Engineering, Security and Recon could be assigned for various tasks during the Ship Phase since it wouldn’t matter that they became “resting” since we wouldn’t need them to be available for the mission! HOWEVER … looking ahead in the Ship Phase was a page to recruit a new crewmember to each section. If we assigned a rank 2 or 3 crewmember to train the new recruit, both would be put in the “resting” area, but the new recruit would become Rank 2 for the NEXT mission! So we also did NOT want to assign any rank 2 crewmembers to reduce our energy costs!
- YES … that’s a lot of planning … but that is precisely why I enjoy the Ship Phase so much! So, we assigned a rank 1 crewmember in Security, Engineering or Recon to reduce our energy cost by one and we got the final scan! Now we knew that Global Conditions will likely need a pickax (red die) or a compass (green die)! So, we now could review available crew members in Science to see if any of them had a skill or ability that would help with those. Nope. Nobody has to be set aside from the Science Section yet!
- But now we have the 1 energy needed to actually land on the planet! We decided to NOT do any ship upgrades (to save our crew other assignments in the Ship Phase such as buying dice and training new recruits … both were HIGH on our priority list). We ended the Bridge part of the Ship Phase with no energy left (but no worries … we will generate more when we get to the next Ship Phase).
We have kept all the ship situation in check so far (yay) … but as the campaign progresses we may not be able to do so. We *DO* want to keep our Morale setting at 4 or higher. If it drops to 3 we will get one extra situation during the Situation Room phase! Right now we have good morale, so we just draw the two new situation cards!
Step 4 specifically states that the Security Section is to draw and place the new situation cards.
Step 5 is where we used the Morale setting to add to our Response Points (RP) which are needed to resolve situations! But we can gain more RP by rolling our section dice!
Step 6 is where we roll dice to get bonus RP. It specifically tells us to “roll all your red and blue section dice”. It does NOT say to roll only the Security Section dice.
UPDATE & CLARIFICATION: Some people think that since Security is in charge of managing this page, that they can only use dice from the Security section. Actually, that can’t be the case. It literally can’t! Look at the chart that Security is supposed to use to calculate the number of bonus RP:
Why would Awaken Realms list a bonus of +5 RP for getting 15 dice that were not bad or blank when Security can only have a maximum of 11 red and blue dice total? Look at the dice slots in the Security crew tray:
You can see that Security can have a maximum of 6 red dice. Security can have a maximum of 5 blue dice. This means that if only Security dice could be rolled, a maximum of 11 dice would be rolled (6+5). How can you roll 15 dice that are not bad or blank using 11 dice? So, it seems obvious that Security is in charge of COUNTING the dice that are rolled. Security in also in charge of looking at the bonus chart and determining what the bonus was for the dice rolled. But dice from ALL FOUR SECTIONS are rolled. And Security then could also be in charge of keeping them separate so they don’t get mixed together – the dice for each section needs to stay with that section!
One more way to confirm that dice from all four sections are rolled for the bonus RP is that there only are 60 dice total. Each Ship Phase that we buy dice we have to buy a set of 4 dice, 1 for each section. So, 60 dice divided by 4 is 15. And to set up the very first game Security was required to have 1 green die. So, of their maximum 15 dice, one has to be green … so only 14 dice could possibly be red and blue. Thus, again, it would be impossible to roll 15 red and blue dice if only the Security section dice could be used.
CAUTION in rolling all the dice … do NOT mix them together! Keep the dice from each section separate from the other sections!
You want to roll anything that is NOT a blank or bad die symbol.
You count how many of the dice are left after removing the bad and blank dice … then you look at the bonus chart to see how many bonus RP you gained with your dice roll.
NOTE: there are some dice that do not have any blank or bad die symbols on any of the six faces. Part of my strategy in choosing dice in the prior Ship Phase was to pick a few of those dice to guarantee better odds during the bonus dice rolls!
There is an option to assign an available crewmember to change a bad or blank die face to another face … changing one die face for each of the crewmembers rank (rank 2 can change two dice). Plus there is an option to spend success tokens to do the same. However, my priorities are to save the success tokens and crew to be able to buy more dice and train new recruits up to rank 2!
We used our response points to resolve BOTH of the new Situations (and got some bonuses as well), so our Situation Room is empty (no cards in the slots) as we move to the next phase!
Now we get an interesting TWIST on slotting new cards from the Awaiting pocket! Each card slot has a dice combo that provides a cost discount! The costs are in Science Points (SP).
You start by looking at your Research dial setting (example: +2) and bump up your Science Points by that value.
The bonus dice roll for this page is rolling all your green and blue Section dice. As before, there also is the option to spend success tokens or assign crewmembers to improve your dice roll.
HOWEVER … for this page, once you roll your dice and calculate your bonus SP, do NOT put the dice back into their Section boxes! You need to look at them AGAIN to see if you rolled any dice combos that will give you a discount! Note: you can only use each die once when looking for dice combos.
NOTE: the “cost” for some of these projects is in Discovery Cards rather than Science Points (or both). This is a reason to “save” your discovery cards and not “cash them in for the Planet Phase or Ship Phase bonus listed at the bottom of each card.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t show you the research projects that I got (one actually gave me FOUR new things). But I will say that the dice combo discount game mechanic is GOOD. (Bravo Awaken Realms).
Production Complex / Manufacturing Complex
Check your Awaiting pocket to see if there are any Production Upgrade cards and if so, slot them into the back side of the card page as Ready For Production.
The Production Complex has its own game mechanic. You pay to move a project from “ready” into the Production Queue. Then once a project is in the Production Queue, every Ship Phase it will slide one slot to the right and when it slides off the page it is completed! If you don’t wish to wait three ship phases for it to be completed, you can pay to RUSH the project. This is referred to as the BOOST cost and typically is about 1 or 2 manufacturing points (MP) for each boost. You need three boosts to get it completed after moving it into the Production Queue. However … not all projects allow you to rush them (including the one that I chose to put into the production queue:)
You start this page by sliding all the projects in the Production Queue(s) 1 slot to the right. If it slides off the page it is completed!
Next you look at your Production dial (example: +2) and bump up your Manufacturing dial by that number.
The bonus dice roll for this page is rolling all your blue and red Section dice. As before, there also is the option to spend success tokens or assign crewmembers to improve your dice roll.
Once you know the MP you have to spend, you then choose what projects to move from “ready” to the Production Queue or to pay the BOOST cost to RUSH the project. However, note that the second Production Queue is NOT available to us until we get an upgrade … and until then we can only move one project into the Production Queue each Ship Phase unless we boost it to open that initial queue slot again.
Hangar (page 1)
As usual, check the Awaiting pocket to see if there are any cards to slot into the back side of the card page (Hangar Upgrade or Blueprint cards). They slot into an Awaiting Blueprint card slot with the DO NOT REVEAL red warning side up.
Next, any blueprint that is IN a construction bay is instantly completed (this is different than the Production Complex where projects take up to 3 Ship Phases to complete).
Next, look at the Production dial (just like the prior divider page) and bump up the Assembly dial by that number.
The bonus dice roll for this page is rolling all your green and red Section dice. As before, there also is the option to spend success tokens or assign crewmembers to improve your dice roll.
And once again, after looking at your dice roll to gain the bonus AP, do NOT put the dice back yet … you can use them to get a discount on the cost to move a blueprint into the construction bay! Look at the top of the blue print card to see what dice combo is needed to get a discount for THAT blueprint card. Each die can only be used once when looking for dice combos.
As a blueprint is completed, flip the card over to see what benefits you get. I won’t go through the ones I completed to avoid spoilers.
Hangar (page 2)
If you want to use the same lander as in your previous mission and use the same modules, then you are good to go.
However … you may wish to switch landers or at least consider what modules you include with your lander. Most modules have a BENEFIT but also have some kind of COST (such as reducing the amount of supplies you can carry or even reducing one of the parameter values of your lander!)
Once you decide, place the lander tray with the modules you want included out on the table ready for your mission. If you won’t be doing your mission today, you can leave this for the day that you choose to do the mission.
FINALLY … the page that I have been patiently waiting for. The page that let’s me buy more dice, gain more crewmembers and even train them to rank up to rank 2!
First … buying more dice! The more dice you take on the mission with you the better. You are allowed to buy one SET of dice each Ship Phase. When you buy dice, you are buying ONE DIE for each Section (total of 4 dice). The cost gradually increases as you play through the campaign. To determine the cost, count how many dice are currently assigned to a section (example: 6). That number (6 in my example) is the cost to buy a set of 4 dice. The cost is in Success Tokens. If you don’t have enough success tokens, you may assign crewmembers to discount the required cost. Each crewmember assigned for this discounts the cost by the value of the crewmembers rank. Example, a rank 2 crewmember assigned to this task will reduce the cost by 2. As usual, any crewmember assigned to this task then must go into the “resting” area of their Section box (and will not be available for the coming mission).
My strategy is to try to always add another set of 4 dice in every Ship Phase. To do this I will need to plan ahead in order to reserve enough available crewmembers to allow me to meet the cost for the dice! What I have been doing is looking at this page as I start the Ship Phase to calculate how many crewmember discount points I will need (based on how many success tokens that I have) … and then as I go through the Ship Phase I make sure to always have that number of crewmembers saved for this purpose (and for training the new recruits… also done on this page).
Next, crewmembers can be traded one for one between Sections. This might be handy if one Section has two crewmembers that both have an ability or skill that you need for this coming mission. Each section can only take ONE crewmember on the mission. So, to utilize both crewmembers, one could be traded to another Section and then THAT Section could take the crewmember on the mission.
Next, each Section recruits a new crewmember. Caution: if you run out of rank 1 sleeves, you are not allowed to recruit another crewmember! However, you ARE allowed to “dismiss” any available crewmember from the game (take their card out of their sleeve and remove the crewmember card from the game). This would free up a rank 1 sleeve if it seemed necessary to gain the new crewmember.
Finally … the fun part … each new recruit can be paired with a rank 2 or 3 crewmember of the same Section. Both would be placed in the “resting” area of the Section box. Then at the start of the next Ship Phase the newly trained recruit would become available as Rank 2. I have been trying to save one rank 2 crewmember in each Section for this purpose … and this gets easier as the campaign progresses since I have more Rank 2 crew! Note: this training process CANNOT be used to bump up a crewmember from rank 2 into rank 3.
OK … here is another point in the game where you can PAUSE and SAVE your game to continue at another time. And, actually, this is a nice breaking point in the campaign. You have basically gone through all the Ship Phase and now are just getting things setup to begin your next mission (and hopefully you did well in the Ship Phase to get everything ready).
But if you are ready for your next mission … just go to the next divider page where you start your next mission by launching your lander to the planet.
Mission Launch Procedure
First review your lander card for the planet you will be exploring. It should help you decide on a lander (and modules) as well as what crewmembers to bring on the mission. However … you SHOULD have been thinking about this all through the Ship Phase! Only now you get to actually put things into place and into action!
Next select your mission team. At least two Sections must go on the mission, but you may take 3 or all 4 Sections. And each Section must choose ONE of it’s available crewmembers for the mission, placing their crewmember card on the crew tray for that Section. If the crewmember has a skill that requires using “charges”, place the specified number of blue charge cubes in the crew tray to the left of the crewmember card.
Next place the Section dice on the crew tray. Later in the campaign you may have more dice in a Section Storage box than is allowed on the mission because some dice slots are available only to a rank 2 or 3 crewmember slotted on that crew tray.
Next select and set out the Section Cards for each Section. There must be at least 10 cards in each Section deck. You may simply take all the Section cards allowed for the crewmember in the crew tray. Some Section Cards may only be used by a rank 2 or 3 crewmember, so if a rank 1 crewmember is in the crew tray you may NOT use any rank 2 or 3 Section cards.
Strategy Side Note: At first I was always taking the maximum number of Section Cards available. But now, for this next mission, I think I am going to look at each Section Card to see how useful I think it will be. Then I will only take the Section Cards that I feel will be most useful (at least 10). This is way more beneficial than you might think since once you use a Section Card, it is NOT discarded out of the game, but is placed in a discard pile! When your Section card deck is gone, you shuffle the discard pile and make it your new Section card deck (thus using the same cards over and over again). So, having just the minimum 10 cards will likely allow them to be used more than once!
You now have your crew tray filled with crewmember card, dice and charge cubes and have your Section card deck next to each crew tray.
Next, prepare your lander. Each lander has different load limits as well as different parameters for agility, armor and sensors. Check how many equipment cards you can take with you on the lander, noting that there are two types … personal and mission. Once the lander lands, your crew disembarks and takes along equipment with them. Each crewmember can carry as many personal equipment as they wish, but only one mission equipment. If you bring two mission equipment cards that are specific to the same Section (like I did last mission), only ONE of them actually will be allowed to be taken out of the lander onto the planet. ALSO check how many supplies your lander will allow, noting that some lander modules may decrease this amount (likewise for the equipment as well). Place a blue cube as a marker on the supply number that is allowed. As you play through the planetary exploration, this blue cube marker will move down one each time you use one of the supplies.
Now that you have your crew, charges, dice, Section cards, lander, modules, equipment cards and supplies duly marked you are READY TO LAUNCH the mission! Now look at the log number at the top of the back of the planet landing card and begin your descent to the planet with that log entry in the Logbook!
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Great info as usual, many thanks. Am so looking forward to the ship phase and hoping it remains a large part of the game (please don’t dumb it down).
Re: Your comment in the situation room “Step 6 is where we roll dice to get bonus RP. It specifically tells us to “roll all your red and blue section dice”. It does NOT say to roll only the Security Section dice.”
Good spot! Personally, I’d say the line at the top of the page means only the security section is ‘using’ the situation room, so it is only their dice. Have you asked AR about this?
Looking forward to more write ups!
I have sent over 150 items of feedback to Awaken Realms … Feedback #106 was this: “UNCLEAR – SITUATION ROOM – Rule 6 says “roll all your red and blue section dice” – does this mean only the section dice for the Security Section (who is in charge of this page)? Or all four Sections?” — the problem is that I got the prototype 2nd hand from a reviewer, so nobody at Awaken Realms was “assigned” to answer any of my questions … and thus I received no answers to my questions. So, yes, I asked. No, I did not get clarification. However … there is one more thing that you should take into consideration as we try to figure this out on our own (with no clarification coming). Each section starts with 5 dice. During the next Ship Phase (game 2) that went up to 6 dice. The following Ship Phase (game 4) the total dice could go up to 7 dice. After game 6 it COULD be as high as 8 dice. Game 8 up to 9 dice. Game 10 up to 10 dice. Game 12 up to 11 dice. Game 14 up to 12 dice. Game 16 up to 13 dice. Game 18 up to 14 dice. Game 20 up to 15 dice. It would take a minimum of 20 games before Security could have 15 dice. But it just occurred to me – some of those 15 dice are GREEN dice … so Security never would have 15 red and blue dice! I added this as an update to the article … thanks for getting my mind going on this in order to come to a conclusion that should have been obvious to me a month ago, but wasn’t until just now!