The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

I’ll probably never get Artemis

But that’s because my computers are all hand-patched things that are hideously out of date. At the New Year’s Eve bash our host (Thanks, Anne!) had setup an Artemis server and a small router (to avoid having to figure out any routing issues) and 4ish laptops were scrounged into service.

I first heard about this from a Frank Branham note a year ago, and finally getting to play it was amusing. Simply put, the players (at laptops) are each manning one (or more) stations of a Star Trek style bridge (Helm, Weapons, Comms, Science and Engineering). The main TV/Screen shows the main view, and the “Captain” doesn’t get any controls but just coordinates and commands. (You can presumably play without a Captain if your group works well together, and when you have the TaoLing at weapons control you may as well not have one, since the Nukes will be flying ASAP. Thankfully we were playing the Invasion mission, where unknown contacts are all pretty much enemies, so that no Court Martial had to be convened).

The missions we played took ~30 minutes … at difficulty 3 (of 11) we succeeded fairly handily and at difficulty 5 we were looking at a Battle Star Galactica situation where we were the last humans left as Starbases were eliminated all around us as we ran. So I imagine the higher difficulties would tax much more experienced crews.

There are mods/skins to make it even more Star Fleet looking, a variety of ships and missions and even PvP (well, more like Crew v Crew).  I’m told there’s an iOS version, which probably requires iPads all around.

If I had the hardware, this would be an automatic buy, even though it would require hosting a party every time I played.

Rating — Suggest,  enthusiastic if I had the right crowd. (A mixed kid/adult crowd can be fun as a parent, but does really hamper trash talking).

Update — This video of the Dice Tower crew playing at BGG.CON is poor quality but amusing (in that they died quickly and unexpectedly) and gives yo u a decent feel for the game. I’m sure there are better videos.  But it does address some points:

  1. The quality of your environment matters a lot. That’s a nice rig with a big ‘main screen’ and little light. Ideally the Captain shouldn’t be able to see all the laptop readouts.
  2. Artemis does ambient noise well. The engine rumblings, shield raising/lowering weapon firing, even theme music varies based on the situation.
  3. You’d think that 5 people should be able to cross talk, but it’s surprisingly hard. The military command/control system isn’t an accident. (One aspect for Artemis is that engineering can, by adjusting power, change the ships speed independently of helm. This requires some coordination. It may not be realistic, but it’s funny).

Also amusing (and free) was …. Space Team? which is a free iOS game where you just call out commands to the 1-3 other players and they have to hit their consoles, wiggle them to avoid asteroids, flip them upside down, etc. Like a chaotic multiplayer Simon Says, with everyone being Simon.


Written by taogaming

January 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with , ,

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