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Fans of Star Trek often dream about what it would be like to command a starship of their own. There’s an allure to the captain’s chair at the center of the bridge where everything happens. Captains feel the thrill of discovering new planets. They investigate strange scientific anomalies. Captains stare down enemy ships ready to attack. and, if my experiences with Artemis Bridge Simulator are any indication, they curse a lot, watch their ship get kicked around like a soccer ball, and then laugh with their friends as they hit the reset button.
Artemis is a co-operative video game that simulates the thrills, chills, and spills of being the bridge crew of a starship. Think of it like Rock Band for Star Trek geeks. Each player downloads the program to their computer, phone or tablet and chooses one of the classic workstations you’d expect on the bridge of a ship like Enterprise. Choices include Helm, Science, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control. One player also becomes the captain, who doesn’t have a computer in front of them but has the hardest job of all; coordinating all the information from their crew to complete the mission and return their ship home in one piece.
In case there’s any doubt; being a starship captain is hard. On a good day, when everyone is on the same page, it’s exhilarating to flow from one station to the next. Leaning over a console with a crewmember to discuss a strange reading really makes it feel like Admiral Kirk is going to make a subspace call at any minute. On bad days, crewmembers screw up, or act out of sequence, and its easy to see why almost everyone failed the Kobayashi Maru…and why Kirk cheated.
Artemis Bridge Simulator can be played by a crew of up to 6 people in classic LAN party style, but multiple crews and ships can appear on the same map. This has made Artemis a favorite event at conventions with both tournaments and massive multiplayer games going on. Some conventions go the extra mile and dress the set with costumes, aliens and even fog machines for when the ship gets hit. Ubisoft recently entered the market with the official Star Trek: Bridge Crew experience, but Artemis‘s cross-platform play gives it a leg up in accessibility for fans without VR rigs.
While Artemis isn’t officially Star Trek, it’s a great way to get a bunch of Trek fans to come over and enjoy the experience of running a starship. Fans looking to kick off their own Star Trek Adventures game might want to pull together an Artemis game first to see what crewmembers might make good players. Who knows? What happens in the game of Artemis might even inform the stories that those players might tell in character as strange things that happened to them at Starfleet Academy or on previous tours!
Looking for more sci-fi goodness?
- Learn how to build a Star Trek Adventures character (starring William Riker!)
- Find inspiration for your sci-fi RPG adventure by looking at real-world plans for space habitation.
- Check out the 5 things from the original series we want to see in Star Trek: Discovery.
Featured image: CBS
Image Credit: Incandescent Workshop
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves and is a writer for the Star Trek Adventures RPG line. His blog is here, where he is currently reviewing classic Star Wars RPG adventures. His Twitter is here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.