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Ayejae

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Reply with quote  #1 
Our group is fairly new to the game still, so sorry if this is just a newbie question.

I've mostly been the Captain in our plays, and I found it particularly difficult to give Helm instructions, especially during combat. This may or may not also have been exacerbated by Helm's inexperience. However, have any of you found this to be a problem? If so, how have you dealt with it?

While pondering about this, I wondered how important the Captain role really is. Seems like I could manage both Helm and Captain well enough as long as I had both screens up for me on two monitors. I could rely on Science to provide coordinates for warp/jump so that I wouldn't need to mouse over to the Captain screen much. This would even boost Science's role somewhat, whose role seems a bit monotonous at the moment.

Anyways, looking for thoughts from you more experienced folk. Thanks.
parpar88

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayejae
Our group is fairly new to the game still, so sorry if this is just a newbie question. I've mostly been the Captain in our plays, and I found it particularly difficult to give Helm instructions, especially during combat. This may or may not also have been exacerbated by Helm's inexperience. However, have any of you found this to be a problem? If so, how have you dealt with it? While pondering about this, I wondered how important the Captain role really is. Seems like I could manage both Helm and Captain well enough as long as I had both screens up for me on two monitors. I could rely on Science to provide coordinates for warp/jump so that I wouldn't need to mouse over to the Captain screen much. This would even boost Science's role somewhat, whose role seems a bit monotonous at the moment. Anyways, looking for thoughts from you more experienced folk. Thanks.


I hear you bro! When we are short on crew, I too merge captain and Helm. Its just easier. Part of being a good captain is being able to communicating effetely with all members of your crew. Just like any other position on the ship, it is a skill you learn.

I play this game online a lot. You should join us to get more experience. The links are in my signatures.

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #3 
Communicating is supposed to be the challenge of Artemis. The more roles you combine the easier it is. The more Captain's Maps you make available the easier it is.

If you find it difficult to give helm instructions then you are playing the way I like to play! To me it is by far the most fun.

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Matsiyan

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Reply with quote  #4 
It is all about communication!

This is why in the Role Play community manoeuvres have been defined, codified and practiced so that the Captain can designate the tactics and leave the execution to the rest of the Bridge while he/she plans the next strategic move to keep the bases alive etc.

If you know how helm can best help the captain, maybe take helm and offer someone else the challenge of making the big decisions :-)

One of the things I like best about the game is working out what you can do to make everyone awesome. That is easy for Engineering but harder for some of the other roles. For the captain it is a longer term action / reward cycle that involves real elements of coaching and delegation.

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Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have played this game a lot and have had a lot of experience in both roles of captain and of helm. However, I have always advocated having a separate, dedicated captain where possible.

In the TSN, we have developed attack patterns. Basically, they are just a shorthand way of telling a helms officer what to do (and a great RP opportunity). The same thinking behind them might help. Rather than micro manage the helm, as a captain I outline what I want them to do.

For long distance travel, I give a bearing and speed and tell them the destination e.g DS1 or an enemy fleet. So my order might be: come to heading 240, engage warp 2. Disengage warp when we come into range of the Kralien fleet. The helm then carries out the order and drops warp when required, ready for my next order on how to attack.

In combat, I give them direction as to what I want them to do. Without using attack patterns (for example when a new player joins the crew) I would give orders like 'close to primary beam range', 'target the torgoth ships', 'keep at long range and fire homing torpedoes', 'keep of of enemy beam arcs' etc. I tend to leave the helms officer to the finer points of maneouving and target selection on most accounts, on occasion specifying a particular ship target or enemy type to engage. If we start being overwhelmed, my go-to order is simply 'evasive maneouvres' - telling the helm to get out of there asap, but not run away completely (i.e. keep then within sight so we can re-engaged quickly).

It does mean that a helms officer has to follow your orders. As the captain, your job is to decide the course of action and how best to approach a situation - stand off in combat, charge right in, engage target a or b, withdraw to another location etc. The helm needs to therefore follow your direction for it to all work and trust you on this. I have played with helms officers who decide on where to go and what to do and it is difficult to try and effectively captain in that situation. On the otherhand, you have to trust your helms officer. It takes a few hours playing before you become 'attuned' to one another. Direct them, but don't micro-manage. If you tell them to hit the enemy with primary beams, let them decide how close to actually get, which direction to attack from and which targets to turn to engage. As long as my helms officer keeps the enemies in about a 5000 range and doesn't veer off from the current enemy fleet, they can pretty much control the ship as needed to follow my direction. It is a fine balance.

I hope these pointers are helpful anyway! I have tried to touch on lots of different points briefly. To explain the thinking behind it would be rather long. The more experience you get, in both roles, the better you will become and you'll get to be both a better captain and helmsman. And remember, figuring out the best way to communicate is the most challenging but also possibly the most rewarding part of the game. For me it has been!

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Ayejae

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! So perhaps we need to just stick with it and have more practice. We don't get many opportunities to play, and this seems like a game that benefits greatly from repeated play sessions with the same group of people. You guys speak of codified or developed maneuvers. I like the idea using these. Are these available publicly somewhere? Sorry I couldn't find.

On another note, as Captains, how much instruction do you provide Engineering? Our Engineer was really good at what he did, so I discovered I didn't have the same frustrations as I did with Helm. Maybe we're just not matching people to their stations well enough. I'm thinking we'll have people rotate around more so they can experience the other stations to find one that works for them. I've found it's difficult to get people to do Captain since it sounds intimidating, so I end up as default Captain most often.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #7 
The Captain's job is basically to monitor the big picture and keep track of the little details that the more specialized crew don't have the time to monitor. If you have the Captain playing Helm or Engineering, it's far too easy for him to get into the limited mindset of that station and ignore things that need attention. Of course, if you have an experienced crew, they can often think as a whole, and either remind the Captain of problems or take care of it themselves.

I personally feel that the console the Captain meshes well with is Science, since the Captain's Map is really just a copy of the Science station anyway. The Captain can get somewhat bogged down in scanning everything without a Science officer to handle that, but Science is pretty much a big picture station anyway.

Here is my advice on how to streamline contact between other consoles:

First of all, make sure you get into the habit of giving an order by console, or as a secondary option, by name. You shouldn't say, "Target A21", say "Weapons, Target A21!". That alerts the Weapons officer that you're speaking to him and reduces missed orders. And your crew should acknowledge every command with "A21 targeted", or at least "Aye aye, sir".

The one exception is raising shields, where you can just say "Raise Shields!" since either Helm or Weapons can do it. Don't rely on them to do it automatically, and be careful you don't have them both jump on the shield controls and toggle it back off. [biggrin] In combat, it may be better to tell Helm to do it if no maneuvering needs to be done, or Weapons to do it if Helm is too busy and torpedoes are loaded.

Helm:

Get used to calling out commands as bearing and distance, as in "Set course 200 degrees" and "distance 20k". Science should be calling out distance as the ship is closing, as "20k to target... 15k... 10k... closing to visual range". It shouldn't be necessary to declare distances closer than 5000 m since those should show up on Helm.

Predefined maneuvers can be very helpful. If you don't have them, give your Helmsman very specific instructions, as in "Helm, I want you to take us into the group at Warp 1. Weapons, as we pass through, drop a Mine on my mark. Helm, on the other side of the group, stop just beyond beam range and bring us about. Engineering, be ready to transfer power to Maneuvers when I give the order." That's a very basic bombing run maneuver, and about the 20th time you do it, it'll come as second nature to all of you. [biggrin]

Weapons:

You should designate targets by identifier. Not only does this make it easier for Weapons to find your target, but if you announce it ahead of time, Science can look up the shield frequencies and announce them, giving Weapons a head start. Obviously you will want to pick a critical target in the fleet, or a support craft like a Torgoth or Arvonian.

Make sure you have torpedoes loaded ahead of time, and don't let Weapons load their own torps, as they may end up having to unload them if you want something else. A battle should be planned from start to end before it even begins, so you should have an idea of the sequence of torpedoes you want to launch, or even if you want to launch them at all.

Be sure to tell Weapons not to target friendly targets if not in combat. [biggrin] You should control when Weapons uses the scope view, as you may have to relay additional information to Weapons since he will be focused on the scope view and can no longer see what is going on around the ship.

Engineering:

Know your engineer's presets, or provide presets for him, and have him use them. It's far easier to say "Switch to Preset 1" than "shift Power to 180% in Beams and 150% in both shields, 100% in everything else". Be sure you and the Engineer know the difference between "Give me everything you've got" and "Transfer all the power you can spare to...". The first means take power OUT of other systems to achieve 300% power, the second means keep beams and shields or whatever else you need at higher levels as well.

Similarly, Engineering should not start overheating systems unless you give the order to. A good Engineer will listen to your orders and transfer power accordingly, but you should be prepared to confirm that. If your ship is going to perform unexpectedly, whether that be overheating (bad) or doing better than the normal (good) you need to know that.

Personally, I always play Engineering myself, as the Captain, but from my one experience with a newbie Engineer, make sure he doesn't go off and start cutting power to things without your knowledge. My Engineer seemed to think his job was to conserve energy and keep the drain as low as possible. I had to tell him that it is more important to keep all systems powered, so I wouldn't have to keep calling for power to Torpedoes every time Weapons tried to load them, or power to Maneuver because the ship was trying to turn.

Science and Comms:

I don't have much advice for these two, as we usually don't have a crewman on Comms, and only recently gained a crewman on Science. I don't use a Captain's Map, and switching between Science and Engineering didn't leave me much time for either, so I just used the most basic functions. I will say to watch out for a Science officer that gets so involved in scanning they don't call out shield frequencies, but that can be solved with a Captain's Map. If you prefer for shield frequencies to be the priority, though, ask for them, or warn Science before going into battle so they can anticipate having to switch from the long view to the short view.
Ayejae

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Reply with quote  #8 
Wow those are some really good tips, thanks! We'll definitely try and do some bombing drills next time we play. This has been extremely helpful.
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