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Subject: Beginner Q : researching advancement rss

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Shane Stewart
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I'm trying to get off the ground with this game, literally!

I'm looking to complete the Sounding Rocket mission... so I need 2 Juno rockets and a probe to get up into Suborbital Space. I have some questions, and apologies they overlap a bit. Thanks in advance.

1) Do I need to assemble a spaceship with 2x Juno and 1x Probe now... and the Juno advancement? Or do I test the Juno rockets separately somehow and then assemble later?

2) Assuming I assemble the craft with all 3 components. If get a Major failure I understand it is destroyed. Do I remove all cards from the craft and buy them back again as a new craft and test all over again? I understand I can pay $5 to get rid of the Major failure so when I test the new craft it has higher chance of success... correct?

3) So my aim is to get a Success outcome for my craft and thereby have it fly up to Suborbital space with the probe and I complete the mission. I can get this outcome either by drawing it from the Advancement card (getting lucky) OR paying to remove each outcome one-by-one, year-by-year until there are no outcomes (or only a Success card). Is that correct? And if so, does this mean that every Juno rocket I use on a spacecraft from there on for different missions will automatically be a success?
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Robert Manning
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gshane23 wrote:
I'm trying to get off the ground with this game, literally!

I'm looking to complete the Sounding Rocket mission... so I need 2 Juno rockets and a probe to get up into Suborbital Space. I have some questions, and apologies they overlap a bit. Thanks in advance.

Hi Shane, welcome to Leaving Earth!

gshane23 wrote:
1) Do I need to assemble a spaceship with 2x Juno and 1x Probe now... and the Juno advancement? Or do I test the Juno rockets separately somehow and then assemble later?
In order to Purchase Juno rockets you must first have the Juno Advancement, so Researching the Jun Advancement would come first. Then you have a choice -- the high risk Assemble the 3xJuno+1xProbe Spacecraft and hope for the best; or start testing by Assembling a series a single-Juno spacecraft and test them individually. With each Success the Juno is expended, but failures harm nothing more than just the one Juno rocket.

gshane23 wrote:
2) Assuming I assemble the craft with all 3 components. If get a Major failure I understand it is destroyed. Do I remove all cards from the craft and buy them back again as a new craft and test all over again? I understand I can pay $5 to get rid of the Major failure so when I test the new craft it has higher chance of success... correct?
Yes, everything aboard the spacecraft is destroyed when a rocket has a Major Failure and you can start over again with the Major Failure removed if you buy it off.

gshane23 wrote:
3) So my aim is to get a Success outcome for my craft and thereby have it fly up to Suborbital space with the probe and I complete the mission. I can get this outcome either by drawing it from the Advancement card (getting lucky) OR paying to remove each outcome one-by-one, year-by-year until there are no outcomes (or only a Success card). Is that correct? And if so, does this mean that every Juno rocket I use on a spacecraft from there on for different missions will automatically be a success?
Hmm, I think that's right, but just to clarify: each rocket has an outcome drawn and resolved before the next rocket is fired. So if your spacecraft fires three Juno Rockets you will draw a card for the first, buy the card off or shuffle it back into its deck, draw a card for the second rocket, etc. You can test in each year as many times as you have rockets and remove as many outcome cards each year as you draw and can afford. Once a card is removed it is not replaced so eventually you can have an outcome free advancement hat has ben proven as reliable.
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Tobias Lunte
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1) You first need the Juno Advancement, before you have that you can't even buy the Juno rockets.
You can either choose assemble spacecrafts consisting only of a single Juno rocket to test those engines, though doing so will of course consume the rockets if the test is successful. (Here, the best outcome is actually a minor failure since it's cheap to remove, doesn't discard or destroy the rocket and at the end of the year you can repair the damaged rocket for free since it's still on the ground)
Alternatively, you can just hope that you get lucky and start with a craft meant to take a probe into Suborbital. Note that you need 3 Juno rockets to do so, not just 2. (Look at the maneuver table. Earth to Suborbital has a difficulty of 3. The probe has a weight of 1. At difficulty 3, each Juno can carry a payload of 1/3, so you need 3 of them to carry 1).

2) Exactly.

3) Yes, though you don't have to do it year-by-year. If you have enough rockets and money, you can test three of them, remove all the results (if the last card is a success you can remove it for free) and have perfectly safe Juno rockets within one year.
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Gerry Smit
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gshane23 wrote:
I'm trying to get off the ground with this game, literally!

I'm looking to complete the Sounding Rocket mission... so I need 2 Juno rockets and a probe to get up into Suborbital Space. I have some questions, and apologies they overlap a bit. Thanks in advance.

1) Do I need to assemble a spaceship with 2x Juno and 1x Probe now... and the Juno advancement? Or do I test the Juno rockets separately somehow and then assemble later?

2) Assuming I assemble the craft with all 3 components. If get a Major failure I understand it is destroyed. Do I remove all cards from the craft and buy them back again as a new craft and test all over again? I understand I can pay $5 to get rid of the Major failure so when I test the new craft it has higher chance of success... correct?

3) So my aim is to get a Success outcome for my craft and thereby have it fly up to Suborbital space with the probe and I complete the mission. I can get this outcome either by drawing it from the Advancement card (getting lucky) OR paying to remove each outcome one-by-one, year-by-year until there are no outcomes (or only a Success card). Is that correct? And if so, does this mean that every Juno rocket I use on a spacecraft from there on for different missions will automatically be a success?


1) You can do either, test the Juno alone, or as an assembled spacecraft capable of the Sounding Rocket Mission.

Spoiler Alert:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Your Sounding Rocket won't succeed at the Mission, but not for the reason you might think.


Regardless of your testing, you first purchase the Juno Advancement for $10, and place 3 outcome cards on it. Then you can either:

a) Test a Single Juno.
Buy a Juno for $1.
If you want to be pedantic, assemble a Spacecraft of 1 component, the Juno. Place the Juno on one of the spacecraft cards, and place the token on Earth.
Launch the Juno - turn over an Outcome card on the Juno Advancement:
- if it's Major Failure, it explodes. Discard the Juno. You may now remove the Outcome card from the Advancement for $5 (strongly advised), as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement.
- if it's Minor Failure, the Juno is damaged. Flip it over. It will be repaired at year end, and can be used next year. You may (and should) pay $5 to remove the Outcome card from the Juno Advancement as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement.
- if it's Success, it has worked. You can remove the card from the Juno Advancement by paying $10, or shuffle it back into the cards on the advancement(what's best to do is the heart of the game). THEN check the thrust / mass of your spacecraft. The Juno produces 4, the Juno weighs 1. Earth to Sub-orbit is difficulty 3, so thrust of 3x1 = 3+ is required. The produced thrust of 4 is >= 3, therfore you can perform the maneuver, and so move the spacecraft to Sub-orbit. The Juno has done its job, so discard the spent Juno rocket. Your spacecraft now has no components, so remove it from the Sub-Orbital box.




Test your sounding rocket of 2 Junos and a Probe.
a) buy the components, IIRC, that's $4 (probe is $2, correct?)
b) Assemble your spacecraft on one of the cards, and place the corresponding Token on Earth.
c) Attempt to Launch.
i) Fire the first Juno: turn over an Outcome Card. If it's
1) Major Failure - the whole thing explodes, discard all components
- you may (should) pay $5 to remove the Outcome card as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement.
2) Minor Failure - the first Juno is damaged, and produces no thrust. Turn the Juno card to its damaged side. You can (and should) now pay $5 to remove the Minor Failure card from the Juno Advancement as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement. You should probably halt the launch, as 1 Juno cannot lift the 2 Junos and Probe into Sub-orbit. (You can continue, but see the note below).
3) Success - the first Juno has worked and produces 4 points of Thrust for your spacecraft. The Juno is discarded. You may pay $10 to remove the succcessful outcome. If not, shuffle it back into the outcomes on the Juno advancement.

ii) Assuming success in (i), you would continue to Launch, and fire the next Juno. The card from (i) has either been paid off and removed, or shuffled back into the advancement's tiny deck. Turn over a card and if:
1) it's a Major Failure, the whole thing explodes, discard the components. You should pay the $5 to remove the Failure as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement
2) It's a Minor Failure, and the Juno is damaged, producing no thrust. Turn the Juno card to it's damaged side. Again, pay the $5 to remove the Failure, as as otherwise you have to shuffle it back into the Outcome cards on the Juno advancement. With only 1 Juno firing the spacecraft now assesses the maneuver. Thrust of 4 was produced. The spacecraft weighs 3, difficulty is 3, so 3x3 is 9. 4 is NOT greater than or equal to 9, so the spacecraft cannot move. However the successful Juno from step (i) has been used up, so it is discarded. This leaves a spacecraft of 1 damaged Juno and 1 Probe on Earth. The Mission has not succeeded, but no other damage occurs.
3) or the Outcome is another Success! (yeah!). The Juno works, thrust of 4 is produced, and the Juno is discarded. Now we evaluate the manuever. Two Junos fired successfully, for 2x4 Thrust = 8 Thrust. The spacecraft weighs 3 x 3 difficulty for a requirement of 9. 8 is NOT enough Thrust, and so your spacecraft design fails to move. It remains on Earth. Both used Junos are discarded, so your spacecraft is a probe left on Earth.

(iii) Note from (i-2) where the First Juno Minor Fails, but you continue to test anyway: as above in (ii), you will either Major Fail and Explode, Miinor Fail and have a Second damaged Juno, or Succeed. Since the first Juno produced 0, and the second Juno, if successful, produces 4, and thus you have a total Thrust of 4. As above you require 9, so the Spacecraft remains on Earth. The second Juno is used up and discarded, leaving a spacecraft of 1 damaged Juno (from (i)) and a working Probe, but still on Earth.

Rest of Spoiler alert:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
(B) A successful mission is actually 3 (three) Junos and a Probe.
One at a time you draw an Outcome card, resolve its effects, and then either pay to remove it, or place it back into the Juno's tiny Outcome Deck. And then you can draw again, UNLESS you had Major Failure, as everything explodes.
Now, assuming all 3 Juno's turn over a "Success" card, you will produce 4 thrust each for a total of 12. Your spacecraft will weigh 4 (3 from Junos, 1 from the Probe). The difficulty of 3 means it requires 4x3 =12 thrust, which you have. The 3 spent Junos are discarded, and you may now move your spacecraft Token from Earth to sub-orbit (SIDE NOTE: but you don't have to, it could just stay there, but then won;'t fulfill the mission) Assuming you move the Token to Sub-Orbit, you will then have a working Probe in Sub-orbit, and thus complete the Mission and collect the card.

And yes, if you some were Success and some Minor Failure but you had pressed on testing anyway, then you'd produce insufficient thrust to maneuver to Sub-orbit, the successful Juno's are spent (discarded), the Minor Failure(s) are flipped to the damage side and the spacecraft token MUST remain on Earth.
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Gerry Smit
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gshane23 wrote:
I'm trying to get off the ground with this game, literally!

2) Assuming I assemble the craft with all 3 components. If get a Major failure I understand it is destroyed. Do I remove all cards from the craft and buy them back again as a new craft and test all over again? I understand I can pay $5 to get rid of the Major failure so when I test the new craft it has higher chance of success... correct?

3) So my aim is to get a Success outcome for my craft and thereby have it fly up to Suborbital space with the probe and I complete the mission. I can get this outcome either by drawing it from the Advancement card (getting lucky) OR paying to remove each outcome one-by-one, year-by-year until there are no outcomes (or only a Success card). Is that correct? And if so, does this mean that every Juno rocket I use on a spacecraft from there on for different missions will automatically be a success?


Ooops, I didn't answer your other two questions.

2) Paying to remove an Outcome card ensures that eventually you will get to no oards, and thus guaranteed success. Clearly, paying to remove Failures is desireable, as otherwise you retain a 1 in 3 chance of recurring failure. Removing a Success can be counter intuitive, as you might think "but now I KNOW I have at LEAST a 1 in 3 chance of success". But without removing the Success (at a cost of $10) you will NEVER be sure that you haven't redrawn the same Success! card over and over and that meanwhile a Failure remains lurking in that little deck, undrawn by sheer luck and chance. True, 5 or 10 successes in a row mean the odds of a failure are now VERY low, but they're not 0.

And that's where the game comes in, Risk management. Are you comfortable with some chance of failure, or does your gut require knowing that the cards are all gone, and nothing can go wrong anymore. And thus you must balance expense to prove the Advancement perfectly safe vs the cheaper cost of doing a few tests and "hoping you got all the failures". Because there is NOT enough money to do them all for every tech, that's for sure.

3) Mostly correct, except for the phrase "year-by-year". It's actually "test-by-test". Junos are cheap, you can afford a bunch, and with luck buy off the outcomes with 1 or 2 years worth of budget. Atlas costs more, at $5 per test, and Saturn's a killer at $15 per test. .(Plus of course, $5 or $10 pay off the outcome card and thus eventually prove the technology perfectly safe). Proving Saturn is safe can actually cost $60-74 or so. $10 for advancement, 3 rockets at $15 each, and 2 success at $10 and a final failure for $5. So depending upon the cost of the test, it could take a year or two, or several.
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Shane Stewart
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... and we have lift off!

Thank you so much everyone for your help, I really appreciate the detail and the walk-throughs (and the spoiler alerts!).

I'm playing the game now and it's great! I got my Juno rocket advancement sorted, it is 100% reliable so I completed the mission.

Next, I sent a probe to Earth Orbit using a craft assembled from 4 Junos and 1 Atlas rocket. In the near future I hope to send man to space and some day maybe even to the moon and beyond :-)
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Tobias Lunte
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gshane23 wrote:
Next, I sent a probe to Earth Orbit using a craft assembled from 4 Junos and 1 Atlas rocket.


Sorry, but you still got something wrong. 4 Junos and 1 Atlas can't get something from Earth to Orbit.

Let's plan this maneuver in reverse:
- At the end, you want to have a probe with a mass of 1 in Earth Orbit.
- To do so, you will have to move that 1 mass from Suborbital Flight to Earth Orbit, which is a maneuver of difficulty 5. Looking at the maneuver difficulty chart, we can see that an atlas rocket can move just over 1 mass at difficulty 5, so let's use that for this final leg of our journey.
- The rocket now weighs 5 (1 from the probe + 4 from the atlas rocket).
- Now we still have to get that rocket to Suborbital flight. The maneuver from Earth to Suborbital only has a difficulty of 3, but the rocket already weighs 5 mass, so it's still not going to be easy. Looking at the chart, we see that, at diff 3, each Juno rocket can move 1/3 of payload mass. So to move the 5-mass upper stage, we would need a whopping 15 Juno rockets, not 4. Alternatively, an Atlas can move 5 mass at difficulty 3, so we can use just 1 of those to get our upper stage to Suborbital Flight.
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Shane Stewart
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Tobias - thanks so much for your time and help!!
It has just clicked into place for me now (finally!) I even did out a long-calculation of the Juno rockets and see how it needs 15 for the push from Earth... Also, I realize that an alternative to the 2-stage craft would be one Soyuz rocket to take the probe up!
Thanks so much again
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Nocturnal Carnivore

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It looks like you got it with Tobias's help, so that's great. But I've seen first-time players experience similar confusion interpreting the tables and the formula, so I'll "explain like I'm five" in hopes some future new player stumbling on this thread can benefit from it.

No amount of Juno rockets will ever be able to escape earth's gravity into Orbit. Understanding this is an important part of understanding rocketry in Leaving Earth.

That's because the move from sub-orbital flight to orbit is difficulty 5. Any path from Earth to Earth Orbit includes at least a maneuver of at least difficulty 5. But a Juno has too low a thrust:mass ratio to lift itself through that.

A Juno rocket produces 4 thrust. It weighs 1 mass. I'm going to develop the difficulty/payload table for Juno so you can follow along.
Key notes for the thrust formula:
1. Add up ALL the mass of your spacecraft, including all the rockets you are burning, before starting the maneuver. Multiply that number by the difficulty. That's how much thrust you would need to complete the maneuver.
2. Add up all the thrust from rockets you are burning. That's how much thrust you generated. If this number is at least as big as the number in 1, you complete the maneuver successfully.

On a difficulty 1 maneuver, Juno can lift itself and 3 mass of payload. That would be mass (1+3) * 1 difficulty = 4 thrust, which it provides. If it only lifted itself without payload, it would need 1 * 1 = 1 which is less than 4 so the 4 thrust it generates is more than enough.

On a difficulty 2 maneuver, it can lift itself, and 1 mass of payload, because 1 mass * 2 difficulty = 2 thrust to lift the rocket, and if you add payload, (1+1) mass * 2 difficulty = 4 thrust, which Juno provides.

On a difficulty 3 maneuver, it can lift itself, with a little thrust left over, because 1*3 = 3 is less than 4. It can't carry another mass because that would be (1+1)*3 = 6 is more than 4. But if you used 3 Junos, the three of them together can carry 1 payload. You get mass (3+1) * 3 difficulty = 12 thrust needed = 3*4 thrust provided by burning all 3 Junos. In the table, this is expressed as 1 Juno can carry 1/3 mass through difficulty 3. Your payload would end up alone after the maneuver because the rockets burned up.

On a difficulty 4 maneuver, Juno can lift itself, but to do so is completely pointless. 1*4 = 4 and the rocket burns up doing this maneuver.

On difficulty 5 and up, burning Junos is counterproductive. 1*5 = 5 > 4 so the Juno cannot lift itself.
"But wait!" You say. "What if I add another Juno? Now I will have 8 thrust, aha!" But in doing so you have added another mass! So 2 Junos will need 2*5 = 10 > 8 which is all the thrust you have.
"No problem, I'll just keep adding rockets." You ponder, in true Soviet style. "There must be some number of Junos for which this works." Let's try 15. 15*5 = 75 > 60 thrust - oh, we're just digging ourselves deeper into this gravity well.

Going back to difficulty 3 for your example, 15 Junos would be 15*3=45 < 60 so they can carry payload. In fact, to find out exactly how much payload you can do the thrust formula in reverse with the difference in thrust. )60 provided - 45 needed) = 15 thrust left over. Divide by the difficulty of 3 means you can carry 5 more mass without burning more rockets. We check: (15 + 5) * 3 = 60 as expected.

All that is just from sub-orbital flight to orbit. If you want to go directly from earth to orbit, that's a difficulty 8 maneuver. A Juno with mass 1 costs 8 thrust to lift through that maneuver - twice as much as it can provide. "So 2 Junos is enough, right?" Nope, now you need 2*8 = 16 thrust, because adding rockets means adding mass. You can't use more little rockets, you need a bigger rocket.

What is gained from using a bigger rocket for difficult maneuvers like this?
15 Junos can lift 5 mass to sub-orbital: say an Atlas and 1 payload mass. The Atlas can carry the payload to orbit. In terms of money, your rockets cost 15*$1+$5 = $20.
But a single Atlas can carry 5 payload to sub-orbital. (4+5)*3 = 27 thrust needed = 27 thrust provided by the Atlas (this is tight game design.) So let's try two Atlas rockets, the first one pushing the second, which pushes the payload to orbit. That costs 2*$5=$10. Much better, and we only used one technology.
The Soyuz is big and heavy. It can carry 1 payload directly to Earth Orbit through the difficulty 8 maneuver. (9+1)*80 = 80 needed = 80 provided, again no accident. Soyuz only costs 1*$8=$8 so it is the cheapest way to get exactly 1 mass of payload to orbit. But there are cheaper ways still to discover if you are moving more mass at the same time.

An important point of strategy in Leaving Earth is learning the efficient launch systems to get stuff into Earth Orbit, and developing your technology so that you can do so both cheaply and reliably.

"Why not always use the biggest rockets there are, then? Saturns for everything!" Nice try, but those big rockets weigh a lot to get them into space and where you want to burn them. For most missions in space, difficulties are lower, so your Juno and Atlas rockets are more than enough for lunar landers, and much lighter to get into orbit or to a planet as payload in the first place.
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