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Need advice on introducing Artemis on a convention

posted Jul 08, 2013 08:27:38 by Hissatsu

I should have asked this earler, but still I hope I can get answers in time. Long story short, there's a sci-fi convention "Starcon" happening this weekend in Russia, Saint-Petersburg, and me and my wife, we decided to showcase Artemis there. Now, we have hardware sorted out (I hope) and our problem is that we are not exactly sure how to introduce the game to the audience.

Basically, there's going to be a lot of people who visit the convention to cosplay or attend to events or just to have fun. We'll have our own kinda booth (really just a bunch of chairs and tables and a projector screen). People will pass by, get interested, we'll answer their questions.

Now, assume we got a group of people who want to play. We gather six people. What do we do next? How do we introduce them into the game?

In my opinion, in order to really enjoye Artemis, they must know the premise, basically "who are we, where are we, what are we supposed to do" and they must know the basics of the game. Now the basics of the game are really not very basic in my opinion - everybody should know what their ship has (like, what systems etc.), everybody should know what their ship is capable of, each player must know what his station is about and what are his duties (what will cap or others ask him to do) and his abilities (what can he do on his own to boost his team - like engineer always reroute energy where its needed or weapons officer always manually fire and take down enemy weapons). That's a LOT of stuff we have to teach people in minimal time and with minimal effort.

Problem is complicated by the fact that there's not really many of us doing this. Me, my wife, and we will have 1-2 more friends helping us who don't have a clue about the game and aren't really into it that much, they basically only come to stick by and help, so mostly one of them will be busy on a watchout so our stuff isn't stolen so its really down to two of us. So we cannot really individually instruct every player on how to play his console.

Therefore, what I could think of is having a short introduction video where we explain basic premise of the game (you are a ship on patrol of this sector of federation space and you have unidentified ships inbound, most likely hostile, you have to defend your bases and defeat the first wave of attackers) and basics about your ship (your light cruiser is equipped with the best technology we posess, your armament consists of etc etc). Then, give every player a list of paper, and tell them to read a page of text that explains what their console is capable of doing (capitain gets explanation of what his five players roles are). On the back of this sheet will be a mashup explanation of the ui and list of common hotkeys - they will use this during gameplay as a cheat sheet. Then just let them ask questions if they have any, one at a time, and then start the game and let them figure out the rest (invasion two-sided, very interesting, difficuly 4 or 3?)

Now, I hope someone on these forums had experience doing Artemis on a convention and can help me. Maybe you already have your well-thought out introduction speech so I could just copy it (translating into my language of course)? Maybe you have better ideas?

[Last edited Jul 08, 2013 08:31:00]
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7 replies
JanxJelantru said Jul 08, 2013 21:00:55
step 1, get the Attract Mode mission from Mike Substelny. Poke around the forum, he mentions it a lot.

Step 2, setup your stations in approximation of a typical Star trek layout and run the Attract Mode mission.

Step 3, make a sign that says "Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator"

Step 4, have the 2 lackeys keep an eye on your stuff or go about the convention telling people to check out the game.

Step 5, one of you monitors the active game room and helps players get adjusted, the other acts as door man, pre-game briefer, pitchman, who stands outside the room. invite folks to watch, if the game is full.

The Attract Mode is an infinite lives game (can't die or run out of weapons). So tell players the basic premise, guide them to a station, and tell them they'll learn by trial and error.

the players do NOT need a full briefing on the ship stats. they just need to know the stations, and what they do (the helm steers the ship, science scans enemy vessels, weapons fires the weapons, engineering repairs the ship, etc).

Since you're at a Sci-Fi convention, your runners are spreading the word that there is this multi-player game setup where a team of players gets to run the bridge of a star ship, just like Star Trek.

basic dialog:
have you heard about the game they got here where you can play different positions on a star ship bridge, just like Star trek?

Then they go into their patter about the game, and tell them where to go to check it out.

Once word spreads, your game will be full and you'll need to give time limits for players, etc.

A newbie crew can be ramped up quickly, once they stare at the screens and start trying stuff. Your room manager will answer questions about how to do stuff (like raise Shields).

I've run the game with newbies twice (and the first time as captain was my first in the game ever). By the second half of the first game, the players will have the basics down. Since Attract mode is infinite, they'll have enough time to learn the ropes and get some fun in before you cut them off.

45-60 minutes per session is probably enough play time before you swap out players.

Hissatsu said Jul 09, 2013 09:41:43
Thanks alot. Letting them practice on Attraction mode is a great idea, but after they've learned basics, we should still put them on invasion mode, right?
Captain said Jul 09, 2013 13:19:09
Hey. My advice differs greatly from Janx. I have read several convention ideas in other threads in the News section (I think might be development) and someone actually made a mission that simulates invasion mode. If you use that you can then end the games anytime you want as well as have more control because it runs game master. (Will find link to provide).

Now on to convention running. I am no expert but from what other people have said I would recommend these things. First is you have one person in the room observing and helping the crew as much as possible. Second is once a large group wants to play set up a system where during the time period of play another crew is learning how to play (only works if you have two rooms and it is really helpful to have another bridge set but not necessary). Limit games to 20 to 25 minutes. However if no one is in line just let the current crew continue either till they finish or until someone shows up.
To Mankind
And the hope that the war against folly may someday be won, after all

Isaac Asimov
Captain said Jul 09, 2013 13:23:58

That's the link to the mission.
To Mankind
And the hope that the war against folly may someday be won, after all

Isaac Asimov
JanxJelantru said Jul 10, 2013 14:32:04
One thing Captain and I agree on is using one of your people to be in the game room and help users and watch. That'll go a long way to protecting your gear and making sure everybody ramps up quickly.

I think even the Invasion mode on level 1 will be sufficient to train the new players.

I do not think training needs to be overdone. Your at a sci-fi convention. Everybody there gets the idea of the game (star trek). They just need quick guidance on how the controls work.

Since most of the game is mouse-based, that's pretty easy to figure out for most computer users.

Where I advised using Attract Mode mission, is because it can be left running the entire time. So you can set it up and launch the game, and never have to deal with that part again with the players getting confused and in the way.

You'll be fine. Just be prepared to answer questions on how each station works, and give a very brief explanation to each player at their chosen station. The rest, they will figure out.

Hissatsu said Jul 13, 2013 16:46:32
Thanks guys, thanks a lot. You advices really worked and we had a wonderful day, despite some technical and other problems. I'll write a report later.
[Last edited Jul 13, 2013 17:44:24]
MichaelMesich said Jul 17, 2013 22:39:11
I have a standard training patter.

I start a game on level 3 and work my way around from weapons to helm to engineering to science to comms and THEN I reset the game to Level 5: Interesting and wish them good luck and Godspeed because they're live now.

Then they either get jacked up or backed down in level depending on how the mission goes.
[Last edited Jul 17, 2013 22:40:42]
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