Notes For the Fleet [In the Lab]

A handful of spaceships survived a planetary disaster. Now, what remains of the fleet is on its way to Sanctuary, a fabled planet on the other side of the galaxy. Will they find enough resources along the way? Why do so many crewmen where red shirts? The brave captains will give it all FOR THE FLEET!

[UPDATE: This has been slightly rethemed, but rules are essentially the same.]

Each player draws one card from the Ship deck. Every player is a captain of that ship, with some crew at her disposal. On your card, you'll see details about your ship, how many crew you have, what it costs to jump to the next star system, and special abilities you can use.

Sample Ships
Name: Goliath
Description: Damaged battlecruiser, barely survived the catastrophe. Highly trained, but desperate crew.
Crew Aboard: 15
Jump Cost: 2 [Fuel] 1 [Food] 1 [Water]
Spend 2 [Tech]: Ignore 1 [Death].
Spend 1 crewmen: Create 2 [Food].
Spend 4 [Tech] 2 [Fuel]: Earn 1 Victory Point for the group.

Name: Bright Field
Description: Fragile science vessel with cracked hull. Crewed by AIs with valuable knowledge, but only one organic shell to share among them.
Jump Cost: 1 [Fuel]
Crew Aboard: 1
Spend 3 [Tech]: Target ship reduces jump cost by one for the rest of the game.
Spend 4 [Tech] 1 [Food]: Create 1 Crewman
Spend 6 [Tech]: Earn 1 Victory Point for the group.

Name: Quirk's Delight
Description: Pleasure yacht on a tour of distant space during the catastrophe. Not many useful skills, but plenty of manpower.
Jump Cost: 1 [Fuel] 1 [Food]
Crew Aboard: 20
Spend 6 [Food]: Earn 1 Victory Point for the group.

Using Abilities
Each ship has special abilities, mostly involving paying an amount of one resource to gain another. Unless otherwise noted, you can use these abilities at any time as long as you have the resources to spend.

How to Play
The game is divided into a series of Jumps – faster-than-light sprints across vast stretches of interstellar space. Each Jump lands the fleet in a different star system with new resources to harvest and dangers to overcome.

To start a jump, each captain spends a number of resources noted on their card under Jump Cost. Some ships are huge and require a lot of resources. Others are more spritely, requiring few or none! If this is the first jump of the game, you can ignore fuel cost. It's assumed you had enough fuel to make it at least this far.

After a successful jump, draw three new cards from the Jump deck and place them face up on the table. These are the noteworthy features of this region of space and, more importantly, what can be scavenged. Each card describes a region of space, how many crewmen are required for a harvesting mission, and lists possible resources to harvest.

If you do not have enough resources to jump, the group loses.

Sample Jump Cards
Name: Orion's Whip
Description: Unstable asteroid belt with explosive minerals.
Crew Required for Harvest: 4
1-4: [Fuel]
3-4: [Water]
5-6: [Death]

Name: Minerva
Description: Icy giant with a liquid sea full of algae.
Crew Required for Harvest: 7
1-4: [Water]
5: [Food]
6: [Death]

Name: Derelict Ship
Description: Drifting vessel. What's inside?
Crew Required for Harvest: 3
1: [Fuel]
2-3: [Tech]
4-6: [Death]

Each card requires enough crew to be harvested. So, each captain volunteers however many crewmen they would like to send to the mission. The total gathered crewmen must meet the minimum noted on the card. You can volunteer more than that minimum, of course, but once you've declared your crew, that's all you have for this particular harvest. For example, the players want to harvest from the Derelict Ship. This requires at least three crewmen, so you volunteer five crewmen for this mission. Sam volunteers three of his crewmen. Emma volunteers two. That brings you all to a total of ten crewmen for this mission.

For each crewman you volunteer, gather one die. For example, you volunteer five crewmen for this mission, so you gather five dice. Sam volunteers three crewmen, so he gathers three dice. Emma volunteers two, so she gathers two dice.

All players roll dice at the same time, but keep the individual dice groups separate from each other. Compare all the results to the card you're harvesting. Remove any [Death] from your dice supply. That represents one crewman you lost during the mission. From the dice that remain, collect one resource token as noted from the card. So, in the Derelict Ship, if you rolled 1 1 1 3 6, you would lose one crewman, but collect 3 [Fuel] tokens and 1 [Tech] token. Sam rolled 1 6 6, meaning he loses two crew and only collects 1 [Fuel]. Emma was even more unfortunate, rolling 6 6, meaning she has no more crewmen in this harvesting mission. Fortunately, she still has some aboard her ship, so the game is not entirely lost.

All players may re-roll remaining dice as many times as they like. Collect more resources with each re-roll. But beware, each re-roll risks the remaining crewmen in the process. You cannot add more crewmen to re-rolls. So, continuing the example from the previous paragraph, you now have five dice left. You roll again and get 2 2 3 3 6. You lose one more crewman, but collect 4 [Tech] tokens. Sam rolled 6, meaning has no more crewmen in this harvesting mission. Fortunately, he still has some aboard his ship. Emma cannot re-roll, because she lost her crew during the last roll.

If the number of living crew in this harvest falls below the minimum required, this is a BUST. The whole harvest is lost and no player can collect any tokens from this card. So consider whether it's worth the risk to push your luck. For example, you decide to re-roll against the Derelict Ship again. You only have four dice left. You roll 1 2 6 6. That means you lose two more crewmen, reducing the total number of living crew below the minimum required to harvest. That means you, Sam and Emma lose all the tokens you all harvested from the derelict ship.

Once a harvest is complete, flip over that card so it is face down. It cannot be harvested again.

The group can continue harvesting any of the other cards.

Sharing Resources
After harvesting, players may exchange resources with each other in any amount. There will likely be some negotiation here, as some players will want to keep resources for their own use while others would need them for bare necessities. Barter, deal and negotiate as best you can. Remember, you're all in this together.

End of the Turn
If the group would rather not harvest any more cards or if there are no more available cards to harvest, then continue to the next jump.

Goal of Play
The goal is for the whole group to reach 10 victory points before you reach ten jumps.

Otherwise, if you end the tenth turn without enough victory points, the whole group loses. The whole group may also lose if any player cannot pay her ship's jump cost to make it to the next turn. The whole group also loses if any player loses all her crew.

This game has drifted from a social deduction game to one of resource management and ethical dilemmas. I'm okay with that, actually. I like the tension of deciding whether to keep resources for your own benefit or for the benefit of the fleet.

Instead of hacking Don Eskridge's the Resistance, I'm mixing up a little Catan Dice Game with Zombie Dice and a teeny bit of Pandemic.

There is still plenty to tinker with, though. What types of ships ought to be included, what types of resources ought to be available, and what space stuff ought to be in the jump deck.

» Photo: CC BY-NC-ND roBurky
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.