At the start of the game, each player randomly draws 3 of their Carrier Command cards from their hand and sets them face-up, left-to-right in front of themselves as the start of the “cool-down queue”. At the start of each turn, a player needs to play 1 of the Carrier Command cards from his hand and take the actions (if possible). That card is set on the right side of the queue. At the end of the turn, the card on the left side of the queue is returned back into his hand. This means any card played will not be available again until three turns later, making for a bit of a logistical strategy.
Looking at the Carrier Status card again, you can see 4 different systems that can either be ONLINE (indicated by having a chip on that space) or DOWN (indicated with the uncovered white circle). For the most part, a player can only take an action given on a Carrier Command card if the related system is ONLINE. However, there is one card — Manual Override — that only works when systems are DOWN.
The following Carrier Command cards are available:
- Move Carrier, then Launch RAVs … and … Launch RAVs, then Move Carrier — These cards allow the player to add 2 RAVs of their choice to a circular space adjacent to the location that their Carrier is at, and also to move their Carrier on to the next location. The order-of-events can play an important role, since you generally want to launch your RAVs near an opponent’s Carrier.
- Raise Shields & Move Carrier OR Fire Defensive Guns (2 copies) — These cards give a player a choice of a couple of defensive actions. One is to add to the level of their shields while moving their Carrier on to the next location. The other is to fire guns in an attempt to attack nearby enemy RAVs. (Also known as “Raise & Run” vs. “Bug Killer”. 😉 )
- Short Range Guns (2 copies) — These cards allow the player to fire their Carrier’s short range guns as a way to attack another Carrier that is either at the same location or 1 location away. The guns do more potential damage when the target is closer.
- EMP or NUKE Missile — This is the big-hitter weapon card. It gives the player a choice between using an EMP or a Nuke on an enemy Carrier, but the target cannot be at the same location. The EMP will remove all shields from the target but has less attack power. The Nuke has a strong attack power to begin with, but dice that land hits continue to be rolled until they do not hit. It can be devastating … or come up empty on a bad roll.
- Manual Override — This card is intended as a safety valve when things are going poorly. It either lets you attempt further repairs or to use a system that is currently DOWN. The other helpful feature of this card is that instead of leaving it in the cool-down queue, you can pick it back up and put it in your hand instead of grabbing the oldest card in the queue like you normally would.
After the carrier actions are carried out, the player then moves and attacks with any RAVs he has on the board (assuming his RAVs system is ONLINE) … but I’ll save those details for the next post. 🙂