So we’ve flown out to Jupiter, out towards the Sun, back out towards Jupiter AGAIN and flew out of the solar system. Years have passed and work needs to be done on the ship. And that is how we start our turns: Working.
Each Robot/Robonaut/Human on board who isn’t in a Vat can perform a task. The tasks they can perform is based on the Profession Disc they have on them. Luckily it’s pretty easy to know what everything is, because it’s listed right on the board:
Got all that? And sadly, the only way to be good at this game is understanding all of the various actions and understanding them WELL, because it stinks if you’re planning on doing a Parenthood action and realizing you don’t have a card in the Graveyard or rolling a successful Research action but not having a factory cube available. Lucky for us, we only have three colors to worry about, and the blue discs have one action: Decant. Which is waking the fellas up.
Getting started by making things, either alert humans or robots seems like a grand idea. So I will first use my Hobonauts to do a 3d printing action to create a new Robot at Age 1. I choose the Security System because it has the Network ability which will let me send an Exploration wisp to explore Proxima Centauri. So I put that card in Age 1 and a Network token (a red disc) on it. I place it on the left side of the card because I can’t do an action with it yet. I put the discs on the upper right when they haven’t done anything yet, and then move it to the left when I’ve done things to keep track of actions. The rulebook tells you to do the exact OPPOSITE, but for some reason moving from right to left felt more natural to me.
For my Scientist, I can do all sorts of cool things, but we’ll start with Eureka. I can put two “Data Discs” (which can be anything really) on one of our technologies:
ALL of them are good. I mean, c’mon, the cure for freaking cancer? However, I’m going to put the two discs down on Neurology if only because it matches my current politics, which will make it easier to discover it down the line. They now ask the I roll 3d6, and if I get under the age of the Scientists (2) + the number of data discs (2) then I can have a breakthrough and have that technology for the rest of the game. However you have to discard a factory cube to do that, so there’s not point in rolling. I guess engineers would need to build all the brain enhancing teach into the ship before the vats could give the stress releasing properties.
Speaking of stress, because a Human just did some work, we put a stress token on the card. Stress is bad, but you’re bound to get some. You can lose stress by chilling in the vats for a while. We’ll see once we get to the events phase what high stress can do to us.
So that’s all of my woke passengers. Ahem. Now to choose which of my other humans to wake up. I can only have 2 more humans awake, so 3 will have to stay in the vats. After some thought, I wake up the Juiced Cosmonauts to help with security on board and to have another Engineer to help keep things running (and get more robots booted up). I also wake up Calypso as Bioengineers due to their Promote ability. They will be able to flip colonists to their purple sides, which will get them to last a whole lot longer. Little messing with people’s DNA never did any harm, right? And that ends the Operation part of the turn.
Now we’re in the movement phase. I can move our speed by the thrust on the “Thrust Triangle” of our Starship. Which is minuscule on our card:
So we can move it up by one step. Usually we’d be able to move it down by one, but “No decel” means we can’t do that. And the zero means it costs NO fuel to do that. So let’s move that puppy up and start moving at 4% the speed of light! We can now actually move our rocket figure on the map into the first space (or bubble…whatever you want to call them) away from Sol. We are officially one light year away from home and it only took a dozen years!
Now we look at the space we’ve just moved into. If it has a blue border, that means we’re moving through a “cloud” of dust, which will pummel our EM shields and cause our Bernals to flip over to their unpromoted side. If it’s already unpromoted, you have to discard a Bernal and lower the mass of your ship by 10. You’re just losing it all to micro-meteorite erosion. And if you don’t have a Bernal card? People start dying. Let’s hope we don’t go there.
We’re not in the Local Interstellar Cloud yet, so we don’t have to worry about our shields failing, so we now move onto the dreaded EVENT ROLL. This is when Bad Stuff happens. And it’s a simple roll of 1 die. Yes, 1 6-sided die rules your fate.
The colors and symbols mean: If the die shows this and this profession disc exists, then this problem may occur to that person/robot. Let’s see it in action. I give the die a roll and get…4. Going down the list, I see the first 4 on the cancer symbol in the Orange/Business section. I don’t have anyone with business on their resume, so I can move on. Now I see it on the Alzheimer’s icon on the Red discs which is Spacewalker and/or Network. I do have that on the Security System. This is where the system could crash and stop working before it even got up and running. I have to roll 1d6, and if it’s lower than the Robot’s age, I have to decommission the card to my hand. Of course, its Age is 1, so that’s impossible, so I move on. We now see the four on the Accident symbol on Biotechnicians. This will kill the humans if a d6 roll is less than or equal to the amount of stress on that human. (See how much stress stinks?) Luckily our techs have no stress at this point, so we move on.
We finally arrive at “Starship Stack” where there’s a Glitch and I’m to decommission my heaviest black card in my Starship stack. WHERE I HAVE NO BLACK CARDS! Looks like I got through this turn Scott free.
So we do the final cleaning up phase, which is the Age track. All cards move one step to the right on the Age track, unless it’s in the Vats, then it doesn’t move at all (and gets to remove a stress). So now my Age Track looks like this:
Woops, looks like the Network chit didn’t make it to the Security System card, but it’s there…trust me.
To start with, I’m really curious about Proxima Centauri, so let’s send a Wisp out and take a look-see. I roll an 8, which means I would DIE if I flew past it.
I mean, it’s good to know, but now I need to fly somewhere else. Looks like I’ll swing “Down” (as much as directions work in space) and head towards Bernard’s star. I need a 4 or less to find a habitable planet there, but I can also swing back around and get to Alpha Centauri without interacting with Proxima Centauri at all that way.
On to pressing matters, my Cosmonauts do some work on the Babbage Halbonauts and move them back to Age 1. I want to keep those bad boys working. Those Halbonauts are going to do some Cube Nanofacturing and ditch a Robonaut out of the game. The purpose is if I happen to, say, have a breakthrough in Neurology, I’d like to be able to have the parts to build it.
Now I can have Calypso do some promoting. Sadly it only works if 1d6 is < its Age. 1/3 chance. And I roll a 2! I’ll actually have them turn themselves over as it gives them the ability to take yet another job.
It also means if they have an accident, they just flip the card over instead of dying. Always a good thing. And now I have our Scientists (who kinda photobombed the above picture) do a bit more research, only this time, it’s called an Endowment. This is handled a bit differently. I’m only putting one Data Disc down AND I have to put it down on the tech that matches my politics. However, now I only roll 2d6 and if that’s less than the scientists age(3) + number of discs(3) then I get to do a little happy dance. Not a great roll, but definitely in the realm of possibility.
And I roll 6.
That’s it for the Operations phase that I’m planning on, so let’s go to movement. We’ll pop up the speed again to 5.5% the speed of light (though that’s still only one space per turn). And now we go to the event roll. And our number is ‘2’.
First: Engineers check for Cancer. Our Juiced Cosmonauts are killed if 1d6 < Age(3). And I roll a 2, so into the Graveyard the Cosmonauts go. Stupid Interstellar radiation. Our Halbonauts don’t get Cancer, so I don’t have to roll for them.
Now we check for our Scientists to get Alzheimer’s. It’s the same roll as Cancer in this case. I roll a 4, so the Microgravity Pantrophists live another dozen years. Finally we check to see if the Security System suffers an Accident and is decommissioned. I have to roll a ‘1’ for that to happen, and I roll a 5, so all is well.
So our first fatality, but we press on. I hope to cure cancer soon. Was hoping to start working on that after getting Neurology this turn, but you can’t always get what you want.
Things age and we get set for the next dozen years.
And one night passes in real time, too, so I have to spend a lot of time thinking about my next actions.
We’re down an Engineer now, so using my Robot to build another Robot Engineer is probably not a bad idea. It gets risky if I use my Scientists again, but I would need to roll a 5 for an event and THEN roll a 3 or less in order to lose them due to stress. Fairly specific circumstances. Then again, I might lose them due to age first (Cancer or Alzheimer’s). I can get more humans out of the vats, so I can get my Legacy crew out…they’re old, but they can take Engineering, Science or Business jobs (having old scientists is good…they’re smart). And it’s a good idea to have young humans in statis. Why? BABY MAKING! Now that our Juiced Cosmonauts are gone, we have “bio-mass” available, so we’re able to have more kids…who can essentially eat the leftovers. In a completely closed system, our biomass has to stay the same, so I can’t just keep pumping out kids, because we have no way to feed them all, so we have to wait for someone to die, then we can introduce new life into the cycle.
Circle of life, ya’ll.
If I had a Business human awake, I could reduce some stress, which would be nice, and I could get that with the Vatican Observers. The Convicts are more Engineers, which never hurt either.
Hmmm. Tough choice. I almost want to double down on science to get more breakthroughs and keep my aging population from dropping like flies, but we’re about to hit some interstellar clouds, so I’ll need Spacewalkers to deal with that, so I need to start printing robots in order to get that going.
Like I said, this game is hard.
Okay, I’m going to decant my Legacy Crew and hope they survive long enough to drop some data discs down and get some good rolls (at Age 6, even their first Eureka action will be 3d6 versus 8. Not an unheard of roll). I’m also going to build some Nanobots to be ready to repair the outside of the ship.
I guess my Biotechnicians will try to promote my Scientists (not the Crew card, they can’t be promoted). I have to roll a 3 or less and get a 6, so no luck there.
I send out another Exploration Wisp, but now 10 light years away to Bernard’s Star to see what’s there.
I roll 3! There’s a habitable planet there!
So I just have to survive for 10 light years of flight, figure out how to stop this crazy thing, and we’ve got ourselves somewhere to go!
Finally my Pantropists try to get this Neurology thing off of the ground. We add another disc and roll 2d6, hoping for 7 or less now. And the roll is a 4! I discard the Factory Cube and now whenever I put someone “Into the Vats” ALL stress will be removed, not just one per turn. Excellent.
Now we hop to the Move Segment where we are going 6.5% of the speed of light, or 2 spaces per turn. This is as fast as I’m going to go, because I’m afraid of not being able to stop! So I move my ship forward 2 spaces, and that puts me smack dab in the middle of the LIC. So I flip my Bernal to the white side to show the shields are down and will need to be repaired before I hit the next cloud space.
dun dun DUNNNN
The dreaded event roll.
I roll 6. Let’s see what happens. The Scientist gets a Mutiny risk! If he’s content with the current politics (red), then it’s no problem.
Unfortunately our Scientists prefer Libertarian tendencies (Orange), and they’ve their whole lives under a strict military lifestyle and they just want to be left alone to do their research! Perhaps the brain modification tech they just finished pushed them over the edge. Or maybe they just have been smelling too many chemicals and it just seems like a good idea at the time.
Well, let’s look at all the other humans on board and see if anyone is content on board.
Seems like you’re either a robot, or really like robots (Purple are Centrists who believe Robots should be treated like people). Robots like Purple, too. So, um, yeah, everyone is discontent with the current government.
So a whole lot of arguing later, and the politics get moved to the Scientist’s politics (why? Because they started it). And ALL awake humans get stress equal to the number of spaces the politics marker moved because change is HARD.
*tests political climate*
Nope, not going there.
What really stinks is Libertarian and Authoritarian are COMPLETELY OPPOSITE on this chart, which means all awake humans receive FOUR stress. YIKES! Looks like we’re going to have to have a changing of the guard and put some folks up into the vats for a while.
But we still have more event turn…
6 is also a “Gray Goo” risk for the Biotech Girls and Guys. This is just a sci-fi way of saying an experiment goes awry and costs them their lives. Either they poison themselves, something explodes, or that shot they gave themselves 40 years ago actually had a long range effect that we are simulating by removing one card. That kinda thing.
So first I roll against Rad-Hardness their Rad-Hardness. Luckily it’s still +1 for the robots, so it’s a 6 and I can’t roll higher than that. That means whatever happened didn’t hurt the AWAKE people. Now I roll 1d6 and add the number of factory cubes (which is 0 now that we had the Neurology breakthrough). If that is greater than the number of badges on the awake humans, then everything in the Vats ages one step.
Here’s we’re making sure that if there is a problem, someone would notice in time. Let’s check our badges.
Oh yeah, we have a Security System robot. That’s 3 badges there. 1 on our Biotechs themselves, and two more from our other Robots. So we’ll only have trouble on the roll of ‘6’. Wherein the die comes out as a 1 and we’re okay.
Finally we have an Alzheimer’s risk for anyone IN THE VATS. This stinks, but that’s the price of interstellar space travel. I mean, think about it, we’ve been traveling for 36 years in a metal box using only the supplies that we brought with us. Magellan ain’t got nothin’ on that.
Luckily I didn’t roll a ‘1’ on either of my sleeping babies (who are both Age 2), so we can continue on. There is also a meteor threat that would damage a Radiator if we had one, but we don’t so Event turn over.
We age, we get ready for the next turn, we sweat a little bit.
So, clearly we have to drop some of these colonists into the Vats. Now that we have the Neurology breakthrough, all their stress will instantly vanish (that’s some goooood liquid in there), and I can decant them next turn. But I JUST decanted the crew card, so I kind of want to use them anyway and risk the accident/cancer/whatever. With us in the Orange politics now, I could do an Endowment action with them, drop one disc on the Scholastics breakthrough and have to roll less than 7 on 2d6 right away. Bonus to that, is the same turn I decant humans or build robots, I can have them act.
Although I don’t have any factory cubes right now. UGH! I could make one, but I only have one Engineer right now, and that would be its only action. I’d rather build another robot. I’d hate to run low on building power.
And I need to start worrying about slowing down. There’s no LIC near Bernard’s star, so I can’t use a Surfer brake. I can use Mag-Sail brake, but that’s kind of rare, and I don’t currently have any pilots that have that skill. I’d have to start making babies. I could also work on the Protium Fusion breakthrough which lets you slow down everytime you do a certain Engineer action (which is basically just shedding mass). Once I slow down two steps, I’ll also be able to slow when I hit the gas giant near Bernard’s star. It’s a bit risky, but doable.
So I think I need to get Protium Fusion or find a Mag-Braker before I get to the star, or I’m going to sail right past it, and I have 4 turns until I get there!
Did I mention this game was hard?
Luckily it’s right near my lunch break here in the real world, and I’m going to take it and mull over this problem for a while. Do I focus on survival now, knowing I can sail past Bernard’s star and go to Alpha Centauri if needed, which will be easier if I focus on getting breakthroughs and building up that foundation, or do I get pilots and train the next generation because we’re landing in 48 years and we’ll need some young bucks to stop this thing?
I’m going to Wawa and getting a sandwich. You have to be from around here to understand that sentence.
Okay, so I think I’m going somewhere in the middle (which is usually the wrong choice). So I’m going to use my science abilities to lay a good foundation, but I’m going to study Scholastics so I can decant my humans and get them to baby making right away. I’ll get a Robonaut and Businessperson around and use the Invent action to give the Robonaut ANY color disc and fill in whatever gaps I have (including making babies…yup, you can make a test-tube baby growing machine).
That means I’m keeping my 72 year old stressed-out crew alive to go for the ~40% chance of getting Scholastics this turn. My engineering robots are taking the Network robots apart(don’t need them anymore) to make another factory cube. And if I’m lucky, all that happens before I decant my other two humans, and they’ll be able to go to school and then do work.
Hey, I just noticed the back of the Network card has Mag-braking. Okay, I’m NOT taking them apart. I’ll just ditch a card from my hand like, say, this Robonaut. I’ve got more. Okay, got my cube. At some point I may have to Emancipate the robots so I can flip them to their Purple side. One thing at a time….
Okay, I’ve done all the other bits that I can do before the big roll. Now to see if I can get Scholastics out of the way……rolling rolling rolling….
&*($&. That would have made things SO much easier. So I decant the Convicts as Engineers and take yet another risk and decant the Vatican Observers as Business AND as Domestics. Twice the chance of an event affecting them, but I gotta get stuff done.
The ship moves 2 spaces forward and the recently fixed EM shield is again flipped back over. No biggie. No more dust clouds in our future.
But what is in our future is the die roll of 3, which is an accident check for our engineers. This will decomission or Halbonaut on a roll of 3 or less. There’s no stress on our newly decanted engineers, so no roll there. I roll a 2 and the ‘nauts break down and go back into my hand. *sigh* I guess they’ve been smoothly running for, what, 72 years now? I guess that’s better than my home PC.
3 is also a “Gray Goo” risk for regular scientists. Sadly the Halbonauts are what gave everything the +1 Rad-hardness, so I have to roll against the crew card’s natural 4. On a 5 or 6, whatever they made is going to hurt all the other people on board. AAAaaaannnnddd the dice hate me. I roll a 6. Whatever horror they created kills the crew card and adds 1 stress to all other awake humans. I have 7 badges awake right now, so I don’t have to worry about anything happening to the humans in the vats. The good side of having a security system and convicts on board.
That was a weird sentence to type.
3 is an Alheimer’s risk for our newly decanted business colonists. Let’s see if their brains liquefied in stasis. I roll a 5, and it only would have happened on a 1, so we’re fine.
3 is ALSO (JEEEEEEEZZZZZZ) a mutiny attempt by Spacewalkers which means….
The neat thing is that if it’s a robot that mutinies, it first promotes itself. So the card flips and becomes “Frankenstein Navigators”
Ewwwwww, the security system injected itself into the dead crew members so they are now half human. What’s amazing is the two other woke humans? Yeah, they have purple voting boxes as well, so they are like “Yeah, you’re right, you should be treated as a person.” Strangely it still causes 2 stress on the humans….and since we now treat robots as humans? Yeah, 2 stress on the navigation systems. (We can even put them in the vats now!)
Isn’t this wild? We have cyber zombies on board!
And that’s the last event…thank god! So the two people who just came out of the vats? 3 stress right off the bat.
And another turn is presented to us. But I think you’ve had enough for a day…..
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Thanks for reading, see you 2 light years closer to Bernard’s Star!
Maybe that’s why these words are blue shifted!