Shakedown Cruise Successful

This past weekend was pretty fun. Sure, Thanksgiving itself was kinda crazy (we had three different dinners to attend), but the fact that there was an actual weekend on top of the holiday helped a lot. I could go out and socialize and still get my required amount on down time in. It was awesome! But even more awesome was the gaming night we had on Friday.

I’ve mentioned Artemis before, but for those of you who don’t know, Artemis is a “spaceship bridge simulator” in the vein of Star Trek. It’s played with at least 6 people, and each person has a distinct job to do at their console. I had played it at a friend’s house previously, but seeing as they live on the opposite side of town I was itching to get my own setup.

And what a setup it is. Each bridge position has its own console, which translates to each person needing their own computer or tablet, plus a computer to hook up to a TV for the main screen and server. The game itself also costs more than I tend to spend on games, let alone ones that don’t have a significant single-player component.

So where does one get six computers? Well, believe it or not I actually don’t have enough lying around at home (that can run the game; there are a handful of older laptops still in my office). So I put the call out to my friends, and asked those that were interested to bring a suitable platform to participate.

I’ll admit, I was nervous. Because of its multiplayer nature, Artemis requires buy-in (at least participatory, not necessarily financially) from a number of people. And as with any new experience, you never know quite how it’s going to go over with any group of people. Plus there’s quite a setup: the program has to be installed on each computer, the server needs to be hooked up to the television, and everyone needs to be in the same place at the same time. Not a small task in these busy days. Plus, one of the computers I was bringing was an older desktop, which isn’t exactly the most portable.

But it went off great. We had enough people interested that we could swap around console positions, and even managed to keep the observers entertained. I also got to try my hand at most of the positions, even captain (turns out being the one with very little experience is better than having no experience). And where my first experience with Artemis was a little crowded and confusing (there were two ship’s worth of people in a relatively small area), this group was a little easier to follow. And while we occasionally trended more towards Galaxy Quest that Star Trek (turns out you need to dive further under mines than I did during my first turn as Helm), it was still pretty awesome.

Hopefully this won’t be the last time we get to play as a group. It turns out there’s a lot of fan-created scripted modules that could be interesting to run through. And I’ve heard rumors we might even be able to get access to a computer lab. But even as we were, sitting on the floor around a coffee table loaded with various laptops, it was a lot of fun.