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Nemesis studio’s next release is co-op space opera board game ISS Vanguard

From the writer behind Tainted Grail.

Fly a spaceship to distant planets in ISS Vanguard, a story-driven board game from the publisher behind Nemesis and Lords of Hellas, Awaken Realms.

An upcoming game for one to four players, ISS Vanguard takes place in a sci-fi setting inspired by the “golden age of space exploration stories”. Designed to be played as a single campaign, ISS Vanguard sees players working together to pilot a spaceship across the galaxy. The co-op game has players taking control of different sections of a spaceship and collectively making decisions on where to go and what to do.

Split into engineering, science, recon and security, each section of the ship provides its own unique abilities and challenges, presenting players with an asymmetric experience - meaning that gameplay differs significantly between each section - depending on which area they choose to control. Though ISS Vanguard is a co-op game, players will be competing for the best new recruits to entice into their section - opening up new opportunities for progress and development.

Sessions in ISS Vanguard are separated into missions, in which players choose to explore a planet or other location in the hopes of furthering the game’s story. Before touching down, players will need to spend funds and resources scanning a location for potential hazards. Information about each location can be found in a book that is also used as a board for the game, with every planet or station having its own partly scripted and pre-generated board.

Players collectively decide which spacecraft, crewmembers and equipment they want to bring with them on the mission, depending on the kind of challenges they think they’ll face. Each crew member will have a different set of dice they can use to pass various checks to perform actions such as assessing their surroundings or encountering aggressive wildlife. Crew members can refresh up to three dice per turn, with players needing to choose which dice they want to use in their next turn. Alternatively, they can permanently exhaust a die in order to refresh another one - providing a risk-reward option.

ISS Vanguard board game miniature

After each mission has been completed, players record their findings and progress using any mission logs they find - which contain various documents with story clues - updating The Ship Book to be used for their next session.

ISS Vanguard was created by a team made up of Micha? Oracz - co-designer of video game board game This War of Mine - Pawe? Samborski, Marcin ?wierkot and Krzysztof Piskorski, who wrote for epic fantasy board game Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon.

The crowdfunding campaign for ISS Vanguard is currently live on Gamefound until January 7th 2021, with a pledge of $99 (£73) getting backers a copy of the core game set to be shipped next August.


Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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