Finished The ISS Vanguard Tutorial – Great Fun

After nearly two years (and almost 600 articles) I just finished playing my first game (the Tutorial Planetary Exploration)! I haven’t found anyone who will play the game with me yet, so I played a four Section game solo. I played it using the App and the Logbook simultaneously which worked very well. The voice overs and effects in the App were superb! Bravo Awaken Realms! However, I did like having the printed Logbook entries in front of me as I played through the game. Then again, I also don’t like audio books and prefer reading the book myself … paper copy preferred but eBook is OK as well.

Here is a quick minute video (OK, slightly over a minute) showing how my game ended (don’t look closely at the Planetopedia game board if you want to avoid spoilers) … more notes under the video window:

While playing the prototype I kind of came up with my own method of laying out the crew boards, sections cards, equipment cards, injury cards and how I arranged everything on my game table. Thus, I actually hesitated ordering the playmats thinking they would “cramp my style” and would be too big for my table. However … as you can see, all four playmats fit on my 38 inch square card table (just barely) and I found the default organization of each playmat to work very well. There is a lot going on in this game and it really helps to have things organized in a consistent manner… and the playmats almost force you into that mindset!

My own goal during this tutorial planetary exploration was to get LOTS of success tokens … and I did manage to get 14 success tokens! Not bad since the maximum available is 16 (and I probably could have got the last two if I just “goofed around” the one Sector (which I won’t give away … spoiler!!). When the tutorial ends, it was very funny how they “graded” your performance in completing the mission based on injuries and success tokens. They put you into one of three groups (after subtracting injuries from success tokens):

  • 1 or less success tokens – Not a great success (and they provided hints and tips on how to improve in the following missions)
  • 2 or 3 success tokens – You did well (and they provided some hints and tips here as well)
  • 4 or more success tokens – You did great! – I laughed at the very first thing the log said:
    • Are you sure you’re new to ISS Vanguard? (OK … playing the Prototype and writing hundreds of articles did give me a leg up on getting through this mission)

Note: Awaken Realms did not pay me and did not send me any free product. I paid $514 for my game via Gamefound like most of you did. However, the dice tray is a test copy that NewHamr sent me as we corresponded back and forth while he designed the dice tray system.

After decades of playing board games, this is the first time that a dice tray (system) actually seemed like it was part of the game itself. It resolved all the problems that I had last year while playing the ISS Vanguard prototype! Perhaps some of you are like me … I get extremely involved in the game (and the final is way more immersive… drawing me into the story and the situations on the planet). I get so immersed that I forget whose dice those are in front of me :) (and needless to say, I used to lose track of which Sections had assisted me as well). The color coded small side trays were wonderful in keeping me on track with whose turn it was (I put their side tray inside the large triangle tray) and who was assisting. And I just like color coding things so the color coded trays were perfect (almost an exact match to the section boxes in the Core Box).

More Info on Dice Towers and the Dice Tray System=> Rolling Dice in ISS Vanguard

NewHamr is now working on modules for each Section to hold the Section card deck and discards as well as display the “in hand” cards at the top. He did such a good job with the dice tray system, I am sure his final cards modules will be just as good.

One thought on “Finished The ISS Vanguard Tutorial – Great Fun

Add yours

  1. Oh man. 14 success? I’ve played through the tutorial twice, once by myself and once with my son, and the most I managed was 8. Any chance you could identify where you got yours from? I’d love to see what little details or detours I may have missed or overlooked in the course of doing this twice. I figure I could keep an eye out for those same kinds of things later. I know the second time I went through, I managed to get to a spot where I had to pick up the Unique Discovery again, which provided and additional success, but I don’t recall how I got there or what else there could be. (And since I’ve really only gotten one planet past the tutorial, I wouldn’t mind starting over with a little extra boost.)
    Thanks for everything you’ve provided over the course of this.


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