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8hrs and 28 games in, I "win" for the first time on Normal. I used the Medic, the Specialist, the Mechanic and the Commander.

I took my time and analysed every move. You have to judge every single die carefully: Put it into research? Special ability? Repair? There were so many moments where a decision made in one turn makes or breaks another turn. Like for example, saving up six research dice, then finding yourself in a situation where a module has -3 Ship 23 repair points and THREE different injury dice, and there just happened to be a 6D6 research boost that blocks injury dice.

Really, keep building up a research combo rather than dumping all dice into repairs, you really need to have a few tricks up your sleeve if you're going to beat the incredible odds in the last four turns!

In the last turn all crew were at 100% stress, 1-3 HP, 1-2 Dice. The ship had 1 HP and there was no food, so I was really riding on the edge of oblivion in every way possible. I killed the Commander in order to feed the remaining three, not knowing what the last turn of the game would look like. Turns out there was 3 incoming damage and a -1 HP, so it looked like I was going to lose the ship AND the crew unless I could unravel the knot.

I took a gamble on the Specialist pushing for the Command module and managed to turn on "no novement penalty". The medic pushed into the Command module and boosted her own and the Specialists HP up to 3.each. The Mechanic stayed behind in Maintenance at the back of the ship and used his +1 Ship ability and used the module to repair 2 Ship HP, putting the ship at 4 versus the 3 incoming damage.

As you can tell from the attached screenshot, the Specialist and Medic landed on mars each while the ship was abandoned in orbit with only 1 HP thanks to the sacrificial heroic action of the Mechanic.

Wonderful game when you want to pass 20-30 minutes without getting too invested. Looking forward to anything else the studio might put together in the future!
tharsis.jpg (97 Kb)
Post edited June 17, 2016 by Sufyan
So far I've only managed one more Normal win, this time using the standard crew. Again, the mechanic had to stay behind tightening nuts to keep the ship together at the end of round 10.

I have completed the stand alone missions as well and I think this is a great area for future expansion. The five scenarios are great, they are scripted puzzles and so feel very different from the campaign game. I hope there will be more in future updates.
I finally did it. I landed four crew members on Mars.

My crew consisted of the Captain, Pilot, Specialist and Medic. This is my favorite set up and I suppose I can detail why.

The Captain is a good all-rounder as her ability to regain one die for herself and everyone else in the same module makes her both great for the first turn of the game where she can get the whole team off to a good start. As she can regain her die, she can do well just repairing the ship or growing food. As she will maintain her dice pool she makes for a good fire brigade as she will always be topped off.

The Pilot is a true work horse. I find his ability to move anywhere without taking damage invaluable. He'll go wherever he is most needed from turn to turn, fixing problems, buffing the assist module or rushing off to get the last few dice in on the engine. Overall the best crew member.

The Specialist is best used repairing the engine or growing food, the two activities that require several identical dice to succeed. Obviously, the more often you get to roll, the more likely you get the right combination. In other situations she is not actually bringing anything new to the table as hazard dice hit hard if you're re-rolling in the first place, so a second re-roll is either wasted or extremely dangerous.

The Medic is nothing exceptional. Normally I try and rotate crew members through the infirmary to keep their HP topped off, but some dilemmas will eat into crew health for vital benefits and then the medic becomes the better way to maintain health.

The other crew members I find much less useful. The Commander has an ability that is very rarely necessary, and often only in situations where your chances of winning the game are not good anyways. The Mechanic is another character that can save your bacon in some games, but lacks good general use. The Cannibal is not as powerful as she first appears as HP is more troublesome to maintain than buffing dice. Two crewmen can buff their dice pool by two each turn, but only one can regain their full health. Food just isn't important if you top everyone off early. The Technician has a nice ability, she is probably the fifth most useful crew member. This is a four man cruise however so she is out. Sorry. Last of the bunch, the Psychiatrist has a very weak ability that just doesn't make the cut. If you cycle crew members through the recreation module early you will not have to make hard dilemma choices that makes stress spiral out of control.

Some general guidelines for a good run:

- In the first turn you will have two modules with random effects. Usually one is a simple fix while the other requires a lot more work. This can be a good time to get the whole group together to buff up HP and Dice using the Captain and Medic. Which effects to prioritise depends on the state of your crew and ship: low crew HP = fix negative HP modules, otherwise prioritise negative dice modules, or modules that does two or more ship HP damage. Depending on random dice distribution among crew members, if one has several and the others have one or two, spending the first turn growing food is a good idea.

Generally what you want to accomplish is to top off the HP and dice pools of your crew members in the first two or three turns, you don't need to fix all the problems right away as new ones will pop up in working modules every turn anyhow.

- About that, new problems can only appear in clean modules. That means you must be strategic about leaving some modules damaged for several turns so that you won't get hit so hard with new problems before you can buff your crew back to fighting condition. The best thing that can happen is that the Recreation module is disabled which is harmless to the ship and crew while also making sure nothing worse happens in that module. It is also fine to leave minor problems in the Assist module as your crew never has to pass through it going anywhere else. Another "good" module to have minor problems with is the Flight Op as you rarely have to go there anyhow and never pass through it. The engine room is the only dead end you don't want disabled or plagued with a dangerous problem as you need to use it most turns of the game.

Disabled modules are the "best" problems as they don't cause damage, followed by the much rarer event -1 food which won't hurt your effort much. -1 or -2 dice is a very annoying problem you want to fix quickly, but being hit with several -1 or -2 crew HP events is a disaster that can end your game instantly. Generally you will be bombarded with -2 ship HP events in the mid game with a few -3 ship HP. Make sure you analyse the start of each new turn and figure out how many events you need to fix and how many HP to repair in order to survive each turn. This is the most common reason for losing the game as the ship is the backbone of the whole game. If it dies, all other efforts are for nothing. It is better to lose a crew member if it means saving the ship this turn, You can still finish the game with just one crew member alive. (you need four for the 'true' ending however)

- Research is vital. You can not win without it. Keep building Research dice. Keep cycling through projects until you have something that will save the game for you in the next couple of turns. Ignore Injury and +3 Hull HP are my favorites for dealing with extremely difficult situations, followed by Repair 26 or 17. It is impossible to guide you through this part because every run through the game will be different. You need to plan ahead however and make sure you have enough trash dice left over for cycling through new projects until you get the one you really need. Keep playing the game until you learn how to use research projects as just the right time. It will help you get to the last turn of the game, and it will help you get all four members into the command module and not having to leave anyone behind keeping the ship alive through turn 10.

- Don't underestimate high stress levels. If you keep all members under about 25% you will always get favorable dilemmas in between turns. When members become stressed you start getting bad dilemmas and members get more stressed out when their dilemmas are not chosen which means stress levels quickly spiral out of control. You are not going to land four people on Mars if they are all stressed out of their mind making irreconsilable demands that gets them killed.
Post edited November 29, 2016 by Sufyan
I'm not reading all this yet. :)

Just finished my first run through on "easy". Died the 2nd-to-last day. My captain got herself blown up on a -2 health repair and the three left (all of whom dined on a few tasty Captain sandwiches) just couldn't handle the hell.


Let's see how long it takes for me to get a win. Can't wait to unlock some new crew members and see what they bring.
Thanks for the effort you put into that writeup, I enjoyed reading it :-)
I have won a few times on normal, but you still have some good ideas that I should use!
Interesting thread, and most useful for such a difficult game !
Just purchased and installed. Looking forward to reading this thread in a couple of weeks when my frustration demands help. :)