This is the Playthrough That I have been Waiting For!!!

Ant Lab Games did wonderful videos of the prototype.

Wow … this is absolutely the best playthrough yet! They really were absorbed in everything that was happening on the planet and trying to figure out how to best use the crew they brought with them. When my daughter played Prototype 2 with me, it seemed that I was making a mistake nearly every turn. And I think that is good in a way … it means you get so into the game that the minor details that are totally obvious when sitting calmly looking over the rulebook just fade into the horizon while in the midst of the game itself. Bravo Awaken Realms for developing a game so immersive. And Bravo Ant Labs Anthony and Frances for a peek at how a gaming session can go. I’m guessing I will take twice as long as they did when I get the game because I like to figure out the “best” course of action considering the circumstances (which then change 10 minutes later:)

IMPORTANT NOTE TO REMEMBER: Anthony and Frances (their real names, they are not “ants” in an Ant Lab:) do their homework. They prepare… A LOT. They read the manual and discuss the game. They are the best out there (my opinion, but many would agree with me). There are some reviewers who do NOT prepare much, sadly it seems that some don’t prepare at all. So, when you are playing the game yourself, if you notice that you made a mistake (maybe 15 minutes ago), don’t worry about it … just keep playing. Even the absolute best make mistakes. PLUS remember that when they make their video, their mistakes can’t be edited out because they affect the rest of the game.  This is much harsher on them than on someone who just writes articles about the game (like me). I get to write, then reread and adjust things. rewrite parts, add something at the beginning so things make more sense later, tweak my wording here and there. Ant Lab Games can’t do any of that… yet they do a marvelous job with SHOWING the game! Their video production is great! Bravo Anthony and Frances! Please do a video of the Ship Book and even another mission!

=> Jump to Final Thoughts (Skip the Spoilers)

Now they are back with a play through of the final game! I have not watched it yet, so maybe you can watch it with me now! Yay! I will add some highlights and summary notes under the video as applicable! And for those using this as a reference to game play, at the very end I will compile the “mistakes” so that you won’t have to make those same mistakes in YOUR game play! :)

Highlights and Summary:

  1. 0:45 – They are playing the third scenario (ie, mission)
  2. 0:50 – Wow … they already have a Pelecan Lander!
  3. 1:05 – BRIMSTONE! Remember Tayen’s prophecy in the Countdown Stories! Let’s see if they will Jump Into The Fire! If you didn’t read the daily countdown stories, here is the story I am referring to:
    => Navigating IN a Star System (with Tayen)
  4. 1:20 – They chose the Pelican lander because it lets them bring more STUFF with them!
  5. 3:30 – They are starting the landing here … playing the log entry in the APP
  6. 4:20 – They have to reply NO to the question posed to them during the landing:
  7. 4:50 – They are instructed by the APP to place a marker on the S on the Landing track of their Lander board:
  8. 5:40 – They rolled the danger die and rolled a two pointed explosion (if that is how we should call it):

    So… they click on the two point explosion icon here (which also says “Cargo Damage”)
  9. 5:45 – Here is where the DAMAGE can be mitigated by capabilities of your lander!

    NOTE: we do NOT lose 4 supplies instantly … First we need to check on our lander’s armor / shields and subtract that armor level from 4. Their lander had an armor level of 2 so they subtract 4-2 and get the amount of supplies that they lose … yes, they lose TWO supplies (already)! It is not looking good! Their supplies has moved from 9 down to 7.
  10. 6:05 – They have rolled the Danger die one time so the APP now tells them to slide the marker one spot to the right (as they proceed with the landing):

    So they move their marker from the S (starting point) one spot to the right (and, yes, they still have to SLIDE THAT MARKER FOUR MORE TIMES YET … Yikes!):
  11. 6:20 – they roll the Danger die again …. get the same 2 point explosion icon:

    This gives them the same consequence (they lose two more supplies … down from 7 to 5) … oops … she moved it from 7 down to 6 (should be at 5) … oh well – I know that I mess up a lot during MY game plays too :)

  1. 6:40 – Next roll of Danger die is a 3 point explosion:

    The APP tells to click on the icon they rolled (this time it says it is FIRE):

    The APP then tells them the consequence of this Danger die roll:

    They are choosing the first consequence … and since their shield / armor is NOT 4 or more (it is only 2) they have to choose one crewmember to get burned (Engineering – Cho)
  2. 8:20 – She rolls a 1 point explosion:

    They now must click on the single point explosion icon (Critical Hit) which sounds BAD!

    And the APP tells them to chose one of these two consequences:

    They choose to lose 2 more supplies and move the supplies marker from 6 down to 4 (remember it should have been 5 going down the 3):

    But the good news is that they are now just ONE away from landing!
  3. 9:50 – they rolled a 1 point explosion – yes – another Critical Hit. This time they chose to lose two random equipment. So Frances shuffled the equipment and then face down Anthony picked two to “lose”.
  4. 11:10 – they now ARE on the landing space! They made it! The APP tells them to put out the Planetopedia (Brimstone) and to roll the black D10 die:

    The D10 die will be used to select one of three possible starting points in the game:
  5. 11:55 – They rolled a 7 … and so they clicked on the game option 6-9 and got this starting point:

    Nothing Happens! Phew!
  6. 12:45 – Here is there setup for the game now that they have landed:
  7. 13:15 – They point out that their starting Sector has the NO TRAVEL ALLOWED icon in the top right corner… so they MUST do something OTHER than travel!
  8. 13:25 – They read their MISSION card => Reach the highest numbered Sector on the planet. So, they need to get to Sector 7 (top right) as quickly as possible. And the Global Conditions actually gives them a benefit if they roll a Squid (get one micro-organism lead)

    Also note that during travel, an Accident (!) will make them roll a Danger die. Plus there is a time track at the bottom (which they placed a time token on too soon … you need to leave it unfilled until the first time you are told to advance the time tracks and you then advance from 0 to 1)
  9. 14:30 – time tracks start at 0 (blank) so should not place the time token there yet … need to wait until the first time you are instructed to progress (advance) time tracks. :)
  10. At this point I’m just enjoying watching their game for a while :)
  11. 32:50 – the new POI card states that any crewmember ending their turn in that sector will lose one die (ie, move one available die to the spent die pool)
  12. 34:44 – Cho ended her turn but didn’t draw an event card. Ah ha … but at 36:10 you remember to draw the card! (that is how my games usually go … all of a sudden I remember that I missed something)
  13. 48:20 and 57:10 – when you rest you get half of your total dice back (ie, half of 7 rounded up is 4) – both times should have gotten 4 dice back to available not just 3. This seems to be a VERY common mistake, so it is nice that you illustrated how easy it is to look at your spent dice pool and think something like “I get half of them back” when actually you will likely get EVEN MORE back (when you also count the available dice before taking “half” back)
  14. 1:13:50this time stamp is a place to remember as it shows how extremely interesting the game is … and how the voice overs and sound effects in the APP help the players feel like they are THERE .. ON THE PLANET … that they are right in the midst of things and the planet is NOT a nice calm playing board! After a bit of excellent voice over with effects the APP gives instructions:

    So much to do that they had to SCROLL the screen down to see it all:

1:41:25 is the wrap up and final thoughts!

Final Thoughts

Here is their video queued up to their Final Thoughts (followed by an almost word for word transcript of what they say!!!!)

Anthony says, “This went way above and beyond my wildest dreams of what this game was going to be. When I first heard about it I thought it was going to be amazing… and they did not fall short on any part of it. All of the weirdness that was in the prototype is gone… it’s been tightened up and cleaned up. The components are stellar, for lack of a better word. They are just amazing. Everything about this game for me is cohesive. It’s not like a game, it’s like an experience, in my opinion. It goes above and beyond. I don’t feel like I’m playing a game. I feel like I’m exploring and adventuring and experiencing a science fiction epic… like a novel. You’re part of it and you are going through this story with your crew, and it’s not just with these four characters that you’re going to bring through the whole game. It’s with the whole crew of the ISS Vanguard, that’s like hundreds of people that are up in space while you are sending a little small Away Team down to deal with what’s on these planets, knowing that they’re extremely dangerous… and they may not come back.”

And Frances added, “And the whole time trying to uncover this story. It’s a game that kind of opens up in the tutorial and in the first chapter… you don’t really know what’s going on… you don’t really know what you’re exploring. And it really is very much like you said… you’re sort of sitting up there on ISS Vanguard (for some reason) and now you’ve been called down and now you’re going to go out on a mission. Kind of like you are thrown into it, and you do the best you can. And as you work through the story, you being kind of omnipresent over all these different characters that you go through over the course of the game… you learn more about what’s going on.”

Anthony adds, “You’re like the unit commanders… and you’re basically giving directions to your troops on the ground. And then you are making decisions up on the ship. So, all these things are happening, all these decisions are being made, that are affecting how you are upgrading, what you are researching, how much more… Like are you upgrading your lander, so that’s easier… are you upgrading your equipment so that your ground teams are more resilient? There’s a lot of different things that you’re doing to mitigate some of the bad things, but you look at the question… are you making the right choices?… which is the beauty of the game.

Frances went on, “And you are mitigating your dice rolls and things like that. I never feel like I am playing right, or optimally. But I think that over time as you learn the sections, the cards maybe, you’ll be understanding maybe what everybody SHOULD be doing. That might be more intuitive.”

Anthony then said, “Yeah, this is only our third mission in the whole of the campaign. The first two kind of hold your hand. And the third one is kind of like letting you off on your own. We knew it was going to be a train wreck because there’s a lot of things going on. And we’re still getting better at understanding the different Sections and their cards, their card abilities. We haven’t been using our cards to the best that you possibly can. I know there’s a better way to do it, but in time we’ll get better at it. It’s just a matter of playing through and exploring the game for what you have… And as far as campaign driven RPG Adventure games, this is the best on the market… PERIOD. Especially if you are into the Sci Fi theme, there is nothing better than this game that I’ve played.

A bit later Anthony said, “The amount of content is ridiculous. The content, the quality of the components, the art, the miniatures. all of it. It’s just PREMIUM. This sets the bar for where you would want a really good story driven adventure RPG … it does have a lot of dice chucking, but it’s not dice chucking to roll numbers to get combat damage… that’s not what you are doing. You’re doing tests, you’re exploring, and you’ve got a lot of ways to mitigate that. I like the mechanic of it… being able to use your abilities, use your cards, all that good stuff. And just the pure discoveries that you’re getting is really neat. And then the whole SHIP PART of the game is a separate game in itself that could take a good hour to get through and make the right decisions.”

Frances loves the Ship Book and says that the organization in this is just incredible! Then she goes through the Ship Book and all the things that you can do.

Anthony ends with this… “It’s endless. Things that are going on here… are so much!! (“It’s crazy” Frances adds). It’s ridiculous. Like I said, we could go on and on and on for hours, but I think you get the point. This game is phenomenal. If you don’t own it, find a way to get it, or to play it. But you definitely need this in your life, for sure! If you’re watching this video, you need and there’s no discussion there!


If you are learning from this playthrough or using it as a reference to help you with the rules, here are some updates and corrections to keep in mind!

=> 14:30 – time tracks start at 0 (blank) so should not place the time token there yet … need to wait until the first time you are instructed to progress (advance) time tracks. :)

=> 34:44 – Cho ended her turn but didn’t draw an event card. Ah ha … but at 36:10 you remember to draw the card! (that is how my games usually go … all of a sudden I remember that I missed something). This is actually a GOOD thing to notice … they got too caught up in the action that this minor detail just slipped by them! (their reply to me)
=> 43:10 and 1:08:35 – as before … should not put the time token on the time track when you place the card … only when instructed to progress (advance) all time tracks.
=> 48:20 and 57:10 – when you rest you get half of your total dice back (ie, half of 7 rounded up is 4) – both times should have gotten 4 dice back to available not just 3
=> 59:02 – the (-) symbol means you cannot leave the sector at that point … it is not prohibiting you from entering along that path (for future reference). You need an arrowhead symbol at the start of a path leaving a Sector in order to leave by that path. => however at 1:11:37 the (-) symbol was correctly interpreted! YAY :)

=> 1:07:52 – wondering if the injury dice have been rolled for each dice check? I don’t recall them in the dice rolls. (maybe that is a big advantage of keeping them at the top of one of the columns in the Available Dice area) – at 1:10:05 the realization that injury dice were not rolled hit :)

=> 1:13:31 – Once you enter and are ON a travel path to a connected Sector, you always get to move even when using the Global Conditions for your travel path. So, at this point in the playthrough, failing to get the icon needed, would only drop you down to moving (spending) one available die over to the spent pool. You never get “stuck” on the travel path or have to go back to where you started on the path (your starting Sector).

=> 1:23:05 – when so much stuff is going on I typically forget to draw my event card (just like Anthony forgot here) And since event cards have you try to match icons with those in your Sector, if they don’t match, then all time tracks get progressed (advanced) which WOULD do something with the new Behemoth! But he remembered just ten seconds later!


Important note that I need to double check (I will watch this video at least two or three times it is SO GOOD):

Brad Hanes commented: I have not received my copy yet so I could be mistaken but I noticed several things being played incorrectly, mostly to your detriment. The biggest one was when you visited the location to the top left and both succeeded at the primary objective and rolled an accident symbol. My understanding is that you fully execute each complete objective of a dice check from top to bottom and if the current card is replaced then any existing completed objectives (in this case the accident one) are ignored. This missed rule put a big wrench in your plans that shouldn’t have happened. Hopefully this helps in your future games. Keep having fun!!


Daniel Reed commented: I am pretty sure that you made a mistake with regards to gaining leads on the global condition. Step 5 of the Dice Checks rules says Check for Dice Combinations. This can be both sector cards in hand and on global conditions. With regards to global conditions the rules state. Global Condition Dice Combinations If you have icons in the Roll Pool that match the Dice Combination requirement on the current Global Condition card, you may move the required dice to their owner’s Spent Pool to apply the effect. So to place a lead on microorganism you would have had to place the Xenology die in your spent pool. So during Step 8 of the dice check you would have only had the Vanguard symbol and not the Xenology and would have not gotten a success. Hopefully that makes sense, but the best way to think of it, is that it’s not simply rolling the symbol that grants you the lead. You have to spend the die. So you could not both gain the lead and had successful check.

Leave a Polite Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: