Board Games Wiki

To prepare for ISS Vanguard, one should organize the card trays and ship book according to the instructions in the "Before your First Play" section of the rulebook. Various components, including game round/dice check reference cards, danger die reference card, crew boards, card trays A and B, section compartments, Planetopedia, start token, turn tokens, success tokens, time tokens, markers, injury dice, danger dice, tutorial event cards, and a tutorial rank-up card, should be placed on the table.

Following this setup, the Logbook or app's starting log should be read or played, initiating the Vanguard's story. Players then choose sections to control and take corresponding crew boards. Each section must have a controlling player who selects crew members and places them on the crew boards. Crew members not selected are placed in Resting Crew.

Section dice are placed in crew board slots, and players decide the away team for the first mission. Solo players choose two sections. For sections not in the away team, crew members are moved to Resting Crew, dice to their section's compartment, and crew boards to the box.

Away team crew members draw rank 1 section cards, shuffle them, and place them facedown in the indicated section deck slot. The Planetopedia is opened to specified pages, treating it as the planet board. The tutorial rank-up card is placed incomplete side up in the indicated slot, mission card M01 faceup in the mission space, and unique discovery 1 facedown in the designated space. Five tutorial event cards are shuffled and placed next to the planet board.

For the mission, players choose miniatures for the away team, placing them in colored rings representing their sections in sectors 1 and 2. Turn tokens are placed next to crew boards, with the start token given to the Recon section player. The Charges slot on crew boards remains empty, and away team crew members do not gain charges for the first mission.

Deadly Space mode[]

In Deadly Space mode, the reference card instructions are followed. The mission card is read aloud, and each section's player draws two cards from their section deck. The mission starts with Log 1.

Planetary exploration[]

Planetary exploration involves placing turn tokens on crew boards, and the Recon section player chooses the crew member receiving the start token. Each crew member takes turns, performing two actions and resolving the end of turn steps. Exertion can be done at any time, sacrificing a die to refresh section dice or gaining an Exhausted injury if section dice are low.

Crew members[]

Crew members possess skills with charges, and actions like Travel, Prepare, Rest, and Lift-Off are performed during turns. Special actions can be executed when visible on the planet board, POI card, global condition card, threat card, mission card, lander mod, or rank-up card.

Dice checks[]

Dice checks involve choosing dice, adding injury and danger dice, rolling the dice, modifying results, checking for dice combinations, resolving injury and danger dice, resolving special effects, marking outcomes, spending dice, and resolving outcomes.

Section cards[]

Section cards with playable effects and dice combinations are part of the game. Sacrificing cards means placing them in the section compartment. Decks are built during ship management. Section dice come in different types and are used during dice checks.

Equipment cards[]

Equipment cards include small, personal, mission, and mission upgrades. These are stored in the Armory during ship management, and crew members carry them. Missions involve taking numbered cards at random.

Landers and lander mods[]

Landers and lander mods are chosen and customized before each landing, affecting armor, sensors, agility, and starting spaces on the landing track. Discoveries are gained during planetary exploration and have abilities. Leads are gained by drawing lead tokens from a bag and placing them on discovery decks.


Threats involve standees/miniatures and threat cards. Injuries result in cards and dice placed on the crew board. Planetary exploration ends under specific conditions, such as lift-off, receiving a fourth injury, or instructions from a log or mission card.

Ship management[]

Ship management procedures are followed when prompted, involving the Ship Book. For a complete game reset, refer to page 41 of the rulebook.

See also[]