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Subject: What a game rss

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Fabian
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Last game night I managed to convince four other people to actually play this with me! I didn't expect that so I was excited and we dived right in. First some empty stares were had as I made people set up four different tables in different corners of the room. Then it got worse when I set up the player aids and maps. Lots of text and charts and stuff to take in. A whole RPG ruleset to absorb!

Luckily it is a simple system, and we have gaming veterans in the group, but also someone who often struggles with rules. I had them play the bug Aliens, as those come with less decision space and rules overhead, making it easier on the player.

I started off explaining the map and the setting and some basic stuff on movement and combat, then I had players split up and use their player aids to sort their counters and figure out as many things as possible by themselves. This semi-worked. The player aids are well done and everyone gets a copy of the manual, but buying equipment took everyone a long time and placing everything on the map on top of that took even longer, but finally, we were ready to go.

At this point, players were still very unsure as to what to do. Tentatively, the Pirate Captain decided to take his first steps into the Feynman. The first hatch he saw he decided to seal with his fancy torch to shut off people's escape routes. Funnily enough, that closed in the Mad Scientist's security bot, which had been stationed inside the airlock.

The Captain also decided to send a hacker to the command pod, which he'd seen was empty watching from his pirate cannon. His plan was to take over the station's computer systems and find out where the artifact was being hidden.

He negotiated with the Mad Scientist to exchange the artifact for the loot somewhere on the station. However he conveniently "forgot" to take the loot with him as he entered the Feynman. For safe keeping, I assure you.

Then it was the bug Aliens' turn. Both of them started in different state rooms and they immediately began attacking the computers inside the rooms - to no effect.

The Mad Scientist realized he had misplaced the Artifact, but first he made sure to arm himself with a gun and use the station's cameras to spy on the unsuspecting occupants. In the section he chose to observe he found both the Bell employees and an Alien very close to each other sitting inside state rooms.

The Phone Company meanwhile exited their state rooms and entered the galley along with their trusty phone robot. They were actually not phone company employees at all, but adventurers doing work for a museum. They had brought two tasers onto the Feynman to make sure they would be able to catch any precious alien life form that crossed their way. In preparing their equipment, they went as far as foregoing space suits, so they were pretty much walking around the station in their underwear. But no matter, they were ready for adventure.

The Pirate Captain pushed on to get further into the ship, also readying his hacker to gain access to the station's computer systems.

The Aliens attacked the computers again, filling the space one of them occupied with knockout gas as one of the computers burst into flames because of their claw attacks. Only moments ago, the company employees had still been in there, they sure caught a lucky break.

Or had they? Apparently they must have forgotten something, as they ran straight back into the corridors, just to be welcomed by the sweet embrace of sleep as they were both knocked out by the gas, seeing as they had no space suits to protect them. Meanwhile the Mad Scientist spotted the second Alien and scrambled to get to the artifact and moving into position to 'welcome' the Pirate Captain and his crew as they made their way into the ship.

The Pirates gained access to the ship's computer and tried to seal the door to the engineering bay, the drive room and the astrophysics lab. Luckily at the last second the engineer holding the torch noticed that the hatch was boobytrapped and wisely stepped away from it.

As they were about to enter the elevator shaft, they stepped into something gooey and nasty. A bunch of Alien egg sacks! Confused, the men looked to their captain as to what to do, nobody had expected such a hitch in the plan. On their next turn, they made sure to get rid of the eggs by thoroughly shooting holes into them.

The Aliens on their turn successfully managed to break yet another computer and fill another room with gas. One of them crept out of its stateroom and spotted the two Bell employees knocked out on the floor. The Alien watched them intently as drool began to drip from its many mouths.

The Mad Scientist still scrambled to get his bearings, finally getting closer to the Artifact and placing the acid spraying doc bot to make sure there was a welcoming committee in place once the Pirates got inside the ship.

The Bell employees were having a rough time. Luckily, one of them was able to wake up from the gas and drag the other through the hatch and into the stateroom. That was just about all he could manage as they closed the hatch behind them. He had spotted the Alien staring at them menacingly and readied his mind for what was about to come. The Alien however didn't enter the hatch and follow them through. Instead it got distracted by the company robot - an acid sprayer. While its attacks were useless against the Aliens' physique, it nonetheless must’ve seemed threatening enough to divert its attention as the Alien's claws sank into the metal and ripped the armored robot to shreds.

Three of the Pirates had entered the elevator while the rest of them guarded the floors, hacked the computers and stood ready at their ship to make a quick getaway. Spying into the chemlab and geolab section with their hacked computer control, they found out the exact situation that would expect them. They were finally face to face with the mad scientist's acid spewing robot. What McCray (The Scientist) did not know, however, was that they had also spotted him hiding in the storage compartment of the chemlab, just as he was about to pick up the artifact lying on the floor in plain sight. This was bad news for him.

The Aliens realized they had forgotten about their real prey as they dismantled the robot and set their sights once more on the two Bell employees who had escaped. They made for the door. The company employees meanwhile were in a panic. The conscious one had managed to wake the unconscious one up and they were now aiming down the corridor, just waiting for the Alien they had seen to come through the hatch. They would've liked to taser the beast and bring it back to the museum alive, but they couldn't enter the room as it was filled with gas. When the Alien refused to enter the hatch again, they finally got up the courage to open the hatch for a second and shoot down the corridor - killing the beast.

A new Alien hatched in the life support room, away from prying eyes. The other one made its way to the elevator shaft while the newborn made its way straight for the computer room.

The Pirates ignored the acid bot that had its acid sprayer pointed at them. Luckily for them it had been instructed only to fire at them if they made a move to attack. Instead they all made their way straight for McCray and the artifact and downed him by drowning him in their pistol fire. This was not without casualty however, as McCray had aimed his gun straight down the corridor. He only caught the first Pirate in his crosshairs, however, which just so happened to be Captain Eastwood himself. Unlucky for him, he only managed to lightly wound the Pirate before going down himself.

The Mad Scientist realized his mistake and the acid bot went after them, spraying the three Pirates with its corrosive fluids. While providing them with armor, the space suits were no match for the acid and one of the Pirates got downed.

The Phone Company employees peered down the corridor again and found that the gas inside had slowly started dissipating, it was once again safe to enter the staterooms. They picked up the Alien's dead body and decided that enough was enough and to make a run for it. As they were running, the ship's alarm went off. The Alien had decided to attack the computer inside the life support system and had successfully destroyed it. They were all on a timer now.

What followed was a shootout between the acid bot, Slavin (McCray's android helper) and the Pirates, which the Pirates barely managed to get out of with their lives while the Mad Scientist's whole crew was downed. The Security Bot in the Airlock had finally decided it wasn‘t getting through that welded-shut door the normal way, after being denied access to the airlock for the third time. It decided enough was enough and to shoot its way through the hatch using its grenade launcher. This wasn't much use though, because as soon as it entered the corridor, it was shot in the back with a lucky pistol hit from a pirate on guard duty and destroyed.

In the end, the Pirate Captain picked up the Artifact and formed a pact with the Bell employees to escape together and to not harm each other. They made their way back to the transport ships and escaped the Feynman alive, leaving utter chaos and devastation in their wake.

The game ended in a draw between the Phone Company and the Pirate player, as they had both accomplished their #2 victory condition.

I made some blunders in this game as a Judge. I didn't provide players with enough information from the cameras they were using (I should've given them information both at the end of their turn and at the start of the next one) and I only later on realized I needed to allow them to attack things they couldn't see yet. (Like if the Alien decides to follow the company employeess through a hatch, it should still be able to attack them even if it didn't see them at the beginning of its turn). I also should've stressed the need for space suits (to be fair, I didn't know), which led to the knock out gas scenario in the beginning that basically would've eliminated a player on the second turn, which I really didn't want to happen. Also I probably should've just stopped their movement before they ran into the corridor full of gas. I guess let's just pretend the gas was invisible? As a compromise, I had one of the two knocked out men wake up to be able to carry on playing. Lucky for them, the Alien player seemed to be confused as to what to do, as they mostly just fumbled around aimlessly and pretty much only attacked computers and robots for... reasons of their own I guess.

All in all it was a great game. A bit exhausting to moderate, but by the end I'd gotten the hang of it and I'll be glad to give this another go in maybe a few months' time. There are so many possibilities in this game that haven't been explored yet and I'm excited to see them in action. (EVA, better fortification and booby trapping for the Mad Scientist, the G-Men and their informant, all the crazy Aliens, the Pirate Cannon which could've been ripping the station to shreds all along...)

I really enjoy this game and can heartily recommend it to everyone who is willing to sink the time and effort into it. All in all it took us about 4 and a half hours to play this once, and that includes teaching, so it's not all that bad, and there's always a lot of action, even though there will obviously be downtime for players as the judge has to move from table to table. Once people are used to the rules, turns move very quickly. It's amazing how memorable this game and its events were. It's been almost a week since we played and I still remember all these details, which doesn't usually happen to me. This is definitely a story creator.
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Steve
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The bug aliens are a great choice for someone who doesn't pick up rules quickly. I did the exact same thing, but I skipped all rules explanations. I just gave them the theme, and then as the moderator helped them do what they wanted within the rules. By the end they all had it down, and it wasn't a problem because it is moderated. I am excited to hear how it turned out. My group loved it!
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Fabian
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Ah, finally the post got approved. Had I known this would be such a long process I would've put it into a word file before posting it. No matter, the report is up now. Amazingly the game hasn't yet left my memory and I think I managed to recall most of the important details.
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Homer S.
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Did you - as judge - use any electronic or other map helper? I am still looking for a good solution here for Ipad, etc. In my first game I as judge was a little overhelmed by all the details I had to remember going from table to table ... Yes, the game itself is fantastic, but the stressful job for the judge didn´t let us play the game again. zombie
 
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Fabian
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I didn’t use any electronic help. I sometimes had to look around the other maps to see what‘s there. Probably gave away a bit of information that way but nothing big. I also didn’t bother placing the correct Pirates on other people‘s mats, figuring they couldn‘t see who was who anyhow through the space suits. It worked out fine that way. When I wasn‘t sure on some details I just fudged it.

I started out by noting some things on a piece of paper (copied out that last page of the manual) to remember better but soon left the paper behind once I remembered the important bits like booby traps.
 
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Neal Sofge
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Silver Spring
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Zlarp wrote:
Luckily it is a simple system


I'm glad there's someone else out there with this opinion!
 
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