At the very beginning, the players perform the following actions to prepare the game:
- Every player puts his or her flagship into play (for free).
- Every player puts two characters of matching affiliation into play (for free).
- Every player shuffles his or her draw deck and draws three cards.
- The players shuffle the attack, location and damage decks.
- The players reveal the initial location.
- The players add two tokens to the threat pool.