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I've gathered my recommendations about running demonstration games for the Star Saga boardgame from Mantic Games.

Before you read further, I recommend you to read: Running game demos - Guidelines

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Basics

Star Saga allows for competitive mode against the heroes, or a full cooperative mode, where the players are running the opposition.

If there are a couple of gamers, you can be their gamemaster, and handle their enemies as the Nexus player. This is the easiest way to do a Star Saga demo, as the players only need to know their own possibilities, and how to resolve tests.

Playing cooperatively would be the best if it were easy to play the opposition, but it's not. Also, if you are playing among the other players in a coop game, they will look for your leadership and guideance, as you are running the show. So, to make it a true coop, you need to teach them to run the game without you, and that probably means dumbing down the rules.

If you have time and place for a proper game, it will take about an hour or two to run Mission B, and 10-20 minutes to explain the rules to the players. Mission B is a good tutorial mission, just treat Door X as a Complexity 2 door, so the mission objective can be achieved.

Otherwise, you'll have everything in the base set to do a proper demo.

However, there can be cases when you the audience will wander off if you need 10 minutes to explain the game, or if it takes more than 30 minutes to play it through. As I happen to do demos at conventions like this, I've collected my thoughts about playing Star Saga games with these conditions in mind.

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Running carnivale demos - Star Saga

Vasútmodell kiállítás a Miskolc Gömöri pályaudvaron (2017.11.10-12) - Esemény beszámoló

Basic rules

In my experience, they understood the following rules easily:

  • What are the abilities on the character cards
  • Reading how many dice to roll, and rolling the dice
  • How to use the range templates

I'm not exactly sure they really get how to read the dice results, but they didn't have problems with that - I'm almost sure they probably had more successes than they should have.

We changed the following rules in my demos:

  • No Feats: It's hard to explain them, and it's a one-use thing anyway.
  • No Experience: It doesn't matter in a demo game
  • One damage kills minions: It's hard to track individual damages while coordinating the players.
  • Every door is open: After a while we got rid of Computer Terminals. They will spend time to operate them only if there is no opposition in the area,

Accessories

You have everything in the base set to set up your demos. Additional range templates might be useful, so every player has their own, and also to replace the ones damaged in the demos.

You might use a dice to indicate damage instead of the damage chits, as it's easy to mess them up during games.

Vasútmodell kiállítás a Miskolc Gömöri pályaudvaron (2017.11.10-12) - Esemény beszámoló

Playing area

Do not use very large areas, as it can get messy. Use small, managable maps. If the players make it through, and want to continue playing, they can start again, using another character, or you can create a new map quickly. Something similar to Map B (or even Map A) from the Eiras Contract base set could work well enough.

Try to minimalise important scenery on the playing area. It's likely they will get toppled or pushed away from their original position.

I recommend you to minimalise the reinforcement areas of the game. For little kids I use none, so they could plan their own moves easier.

I also recommend you to use only 1-2 enemy miniatures at each location. This way it will be easy to beat them in 1 round, so they don't get a counterattack. It's also easier to set up them up at the beginning of the game.

If you let the players play full cooperative without you, I recommend that you only use one type of minion through the scenario. Using a Security Guard is a good choice, as it gives some tactical options to use against the heroes as they have long range guns, but still not overly dangerous. Also, the fact that they use 2 dice for attack and defense makes it easier to remember.

Player forces

If you use the Terminal operating rules, you will need Curby for the game, and some warriors. Otherwise I recommend the following heroes: Dulinsky, Devil, Wrath. Their rules are easy to understand, so the players will have an easier time.

Sources & tutorials

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Buying the product - Star Saga

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What do you think of my guidelines about running demos of Star Saga? What are your experiences? Do you have further ideas? Tell us in the comments!

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