(8) Count Down – Dice Check Steps

Levi so admired artists, even graffiti artists that painted the hull of ISS Vanguard just before launch (as he thought about Jees). Yes, Jia was an amazing artist. But so was Destiny, and that’s why he had convinced her to set up a display of her art in the corner of the Mess Hall. And so every now and then he would come and sit below the suspended glass balls, each with it’s own tiny landscape or scene inside it, just like a Christmas ornament. Well, not really. Destiny’s was way more intricate and detailed. You wondered just HOW she got everything inside that glass sphere. Levi considered what it would be like to juggle them! No… no… not by him, but by Owen!

Just a week after she’d set up her display in the corner of the Mess Hall, they even updated her personnel file accordingly:

Destiny takes great pride in her colorful, vibrant glass art, something for which she was known and respected back home. Aboard Vanguard, she attempts to use glass to recreate many of the new and alien worlds encountered by landing teams. Currently, they’re displayed in the mess hall, and more are added with each mission.

Levi didn’t know about “vibrant”, but he DID know that it was mesmerizing.

Destiny, just how do you get all those highly detailed pieces in exactly the right places hovering inside those glass spheres. It looks impossible.

Well, Levi… in the good ole days, there were ships in a bottle that looked darn near impossible too! I even have one in the back corner for those interested in the “history” behind my spheres! C’mon… I’ll show you!

Back in the corner, she was right… there it was… a ship in a bottle! [click the following link to see an article about them with a wonderful photo of one near the top]

=> Ship In A Bottle article

Yeah, Destiny… but there was a trick to those! They built the sails separately, attached a string to them, slid them inside the bottle and onto the base of the ship and then pulled the string to open up the sails.

You make it sound so easy Levi. Let’s see YOU do it!


And you do know their trick. However, you DON’T know my trick Levi. Because my art is impossible!

Nothing is impossible for God, Destiny … but you are not God.

Ah, but don’t you believe in miracles, Levi? Don’t you believe that God could, did and still does work through mere humans?

Yeah, but…

So, Levi … are you gazing at miracles on display then?

Ummm… it is just a trick, right Destiny?

Who knows, Levi!
And don’t give me that “Only The Shadow Knows” shtick.

As they both laughed chef Victoria Romano came over to join them.

Well you two… want a snack?

Both Destiny and Levi knew that they could always count on VR for snacks!

The snack gave Levi the energy he needed, and off he went over to the Security Section. They knew he’d been over to visit with the Science Section, and now they asked him to come visit them too! And he already had prepared a blessing tailored just for them:

May you be like a good tree planted along a river, never bothered or worried but full of hope and confidence. It may look like you are first in line, but God is there before you.
Blessing 23 (Security) (full blessing – printable PDF with clickable links)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, game:

Dice Checks

Dice are a significant part of ISS Vanguard. And Dice Checks are a significant part of the DICE. There are seven pages in the rulebook that explain Dice Checks. But let’s sum up those page here!

Rolling a specific die (such as a Danger die or D10) is not considered a “dice check”. A dice check is indicated on POI cards, the Logbook, the Rulebook and elsewhere by this icon:


Note: Some crewmembers have skills that waive some of these “steps” or provide enhanced skills during a dice check.

Here are the TEN STEPS for a DICE CHECK:

1-Choose Dice

Choose any number of dice (or none) from your own Available dice pool (not the Spent pool).

Any crewmember in the same Sector as you may choose to Assist and chooses one die from their Available dice pool.

The dice chosen are referred to as being “in your hand” (ie, ready to be “rolled”).

Note: Crew with these Special Skills eliminate some of these limits:

  • Advisor – Assist without needing to be in the same Sector
  • Selfless – Assist with any number of dice, not just one
  • Team Player – Assist with two dice instead of one
  • Record Keeper – Roll a die from the Spent Pool in addition to those from the Available Pool

Note: Some crew have special skills that allow them to refresh their dice. They may do so BEFORE choosing dice to roll if their skill says at “anytime” or “during a dice check”:

  • Brute Force – refresh one die for each Section card you discard
  • Fortitude – refresh one red, one blue and one green die
  • Hidden Reserves – refresh all red dice
  • Methodical – refresh all blue dice
  • Systematic – refresh all green dice

2-Add Injury and Danger Dice

If there are any yellow injury dice on your Crew Board, take them “in your hand” as well.

Any assisting crewmember does NOT do this! When assisting you do NOT roll YOUR injury dice.

Also add a Danger die if the gold icon is depicted to the left of the Action’s name (typically a Special Action on a POI card)

(the letter inside the icon indicates which chart on the Danger Die Reference Card to use)

3-Roll The Dice

All dice are rolled at the same time. Keep the dice from assisting crewmembers separate (do NOT mix dice from different Sections together). These dice are now referred to as the “Roll Pool”. While all players DO keep their rolled dice separate, they are considered as ONE Roll Pool.

4-Modify The Results

  • Use Equipment that has a “during dice check” ability that you are carrying or that your Section can use in your Sector. Assisting crew may NOT use their equipment unless it specifically states so in the effect.
  • Play a Section Card(s) from your hand that have a “During a Dice Check” effect at the TOP of the card (then it goes into your discard pile)
  • Assisting crew can play their one Section Card from their hand that has a “During a Dice Check” effect and it applies to the full roll pool.
  • Crew may use their Special Skills if applicable
    • Adaptive – change a die face to one that you want
    • Alpha – change a die face in an assisting players roll
    • Careful – eliminate an “Accident” die to the Spent Pool
    • Disciplined – change an “Accident” to a “Wild”
    • Wild Card – if two “Wild” icons are in the roll pool, remove one “Accident” to the Spent Pool

Note: Some crewmembers have a Special Skill that allows them to draw or even take a Section Card. If this Skill is for “anytime” they may do so now (and then use the card as part of this dice check if applicable).

  • Competent – draw a Section card from your discard pile
  • Trump Card – take a Section card from the Section compartment into your hand.
  • Well Trained – draw two Section cards from your deck

Note: Crew with the Loader Special Skill may take a small or personal equipment from the armory back on the main ship (ie, that was not brought down to the planet in the lander) and if that equipment has a “during dice check” ability, they may be able to use it!

5-Check For Dice Combinations

Activate dice combinations using Section Cards in hand or using the Current Global Condition (too often while playing Prototype 2 I forgot to check the Global Condition … and sometimes it will give you a very nice bonus if your dice match up). Dice used for this are moved to the Spent Pool (so sometimes you might wish to forego using them). Section cards used for this are placed in the discard pile. You can match dice combinations multiple times, but must use different dice (remember that once used, dice are placed in the Spent Pool).

This means any of the icons on a die (other than the “accident” icon).

This means two dice with the same icon. It can be any icon other than the “accident” but it must match (ie, be the SAME icon on both dice).

Note: Section cards from Assisting crew can be used, but Assisting crewmembers may not use the dice combinations on their own Section cards

Note: You (but not those assisting you) may use the Convert Ability of your crewmember or of equipment with a convert ability on any dice in the full roll pool IF you spend the die being converted at the same time.

Note: you may treat dice with two icons on a face as if the icons were each a separate die (ie, you can use both icons).

Note: Some Global Condition cards have a dice combination on them (typically near the very top). These are optional (you may wish to use your dice for something else). Notice that page 32 in the rulebook uses the word “may” rather than “must” and this implies that the dice combination on a Global Condition card is optional:

Page 32 of the rulebook sums up step 5 of a Dice Check process stating that you MAY activate the Dice Combination effect (not MUST):

Note: the plus sign (+) between two die icons means you must have both. A slash (/) between two die icons means you may have EITHER (both are not required… just one of those in a list separated by slashes)

6-Resolve Injury and Danger Dice

If you rolled any yellow Injury dice you now must look at them, one at a time.

Choose one of the Injury dice in the roll pool (if more than one is there, you may choose whichever one you wish). Now, look at your Injury cards from left to right. If the symbol on the die matches, place the die on the Injury card. Then do this for any remaining Injury dice. Then resolve the consequences of each Injury card and replace the Injury dice back in the Available Dice Pool (in any column you wish – they do not have to go back to the same column as they were before the dice check).

The letter in the Danger Die icon tells you which category to check on the Danger Die Reference Card. Resolve the effect (if any). If your orange Danger Die rolls a blank face, skip this step.

Note: it actually DOES matter which Injury die you look at first (if you roll more than one). You may want to look at the Injury die with a minimal effect first, and slot it onto an Injury card that would have a bad consequence if the OTHER Injury die were place on its card! Update: Darrell also explains it this way: “If one of the dice can affect both cards but the other affects only the first, it is legal [ie, strategic] to play the first die on the first card, so that the second die no longer matches any injury and is returned to your board.

7-Resolve Special Effects

Special Effects are listed under the Special Action title and above the Outcomes area.

Resolve them from TOP to BOTTOM and if more than one is in a row, resolve that row from LEFT to RIGHT.

If dice in your roll pool meet the required icons, move those dice to the Spent Pool as you resolve their effect.

Each special effect must be resolved as many times as possible using dice remaining in the Roll Pool.

8-Mark Outcomes

The outcome of a resolved special effect does not happen immediately. Instead, you place a marker on that outcome and in step 10 it takes effect. Once you mark an outcome, discontinue checking the other special effects rows. Since you check the rows from top to bottom and the “red” (ie, bad) row is the last bottom row, it is not triggered if any of the prior rows achieved their outcome.

9-Spend Dice

Any dice left in the Roll Pool are moved to the Spent Pool.

10-Resolve Outcomes

The outcomes that were achieved in step 8 were marked and now in step 10 their effect is applied.

Check if there is an extra wide arrow head pointing down (or up) from an outcome that was marked. If so, the row it points to is also automatically resolved and its effect applied as well. Typically this would be for a yellow row with a yellow arrowhead pointing to the green row. This allows players to achieve something extra in the yellow row and still gain the green row as well. Example:

In this example, you might roll two red and one blue dice which will guarantee you meeting the criteria for the second “green” row. However, you are hoping that you roll a pickax with one of the red dice and a “basic” with the blue die, because your crewmember has a convert ability that will turn that “basic blue” into a squid (thinking of Abby Knight). And in that case, you’d gain 2 Alien Tech leads for matching the pickax and squid PLUS the yellow arrowhead points down to the next “green” row so you’d get one more Alien Tech lead from that row (for a total of 3 Alien Tech leads).

That sums it up. But if you want the short and sweet version, Awaken Realms also provides a concise reference card with the game:

=> Dice Check Reference Card

Previous Count Down Article=> New Crew, New Rules Play Test

Click => Full 3 Column Site

2 thoughts on “(8) Count Down – Dice Check Steps

Add yours

  1. I think the following may provide the clarifications needed regarding “Special Effects”, “Dice Combinations”, and “Dice Checks”.

    1) Special Effects are designated by a right-facing arrow/bullet type symbol to the left of the special effect text. Based on how I read the rules (page 33), if the Global Conditions card shows a Special Effect it applies to all Dice Checks and must be resolved before any other Special Effect. Note that if there is no associated Special Effect designation on the action then this is not a Special Effect and therefore this rule is not applicable.

    2) Dice Combinations are shown as one or more dice symbols with + or / symbols between symbols (if more than one). The result of satisfying the combination is below the symbols shown. It is connected by an arrow pointing down from the combination line to the result window. Dice Combinations are always optional.

    3) Dice Checks are designated by the symbol that looks like 2 dice being shaken that is to the left of the text for the action to be taken (e.g. Travel as shown on the Global Condition card in your example above). Dice Checks are performed anytime you want to take an action that is designated by the Dice Check symbol.

    I don’t have the game or a prototype to give an example of a Global Condition card that includes a Special Effect. The one in your example does not have a Special Effect. It only has a Dice Combination action and a Dice Check action. So the rule in #1 above does not apply to this card. However, if a Global Condition card in play does have a Special Effect, I believe it is intended for that Special Effect to take precedence and be resolved first before other effects/actions (based on how I read the rules).


  2. Question about the check for dice combination part. I understood the rule book that dice combination is something else then special effect. If there is a special effect on the global condition you have to do it. But you don’t have to do dice combinations on the global condition.
    Regards andreas


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