A Military Operations Phase (“Mil Ops Phase”) is conducted after the Action Phase if the Militarisation Action Space is occupied by an Action Pawn, but it is skipped if nobody has chosen Militarisation for the current Round.
During Mil Ops, Orders are submitted by all factions, face-down, secretly. It is not permitted to submit orders jointly, or to look at another player’s orders – deciding whom to trust is part of the challenge. The submitted orders consist of up to two written instructions for each occupied grid space and each occupied Location Card: one order for Ground Units, and one order for Air Units. Factions may also submit one order per occupied orbital location point. Factions holding Missile Cards may submit one Missile Order for each Missile Card.
All orders are then exposed simultaneously, but the orders are executed sequentially, in turn order, in three stages: all Missile Orders; all March Orders; and then everything else. This sequence can be remembered as “Missiles-Marches-Manoeuvres”. For each of the three stages, the player who initiated Mil Ops goes first, processing all of the orders relevant to that stage, followed by the next player in the current turn direction, processing all of the orders relevant for that stage, and so on.
The Orders in each stage have some key properties in common:
- Stage I Orders (Missiles, Demolition Attacks) are isolated explosive events that do not block or become blocked by other orders (but a successful hit cuts Support).
- Stage II Orders (Marches, Supports) are battle-ready. They do not block each other, but lead to battles if they come up against opposing Units, and they block all opposing Manoeuvres.
- Stage III Orders (Moves, Convoys, and Bombing Raids) are tentative. They are obstructed by all opposing Stage II and III orders and by opposing Units (with the sole exception of the bombed space in a Bombing Raid), and they never lead to battle.