- Rabbit to Rabbit Advisory, from the Rabbit
So… You're Gonna Demo Chrononauts
by SquaTront, the Super Intelligent Cockroach
(as dictated to Carol
publ. January 14, 2004
So, you've been asked to demo a game of Chrononauts
to a bunch of new players and you have no idea how to start.
Well, you're in luck. I've done this thousands of times…
well, maybe hundreds… well… at least 50 or more. And I'm here
to give you my advice on how to show the newbies the time-traveling ropes and
come back with all your marbles… or at least some of your artifacts.
First, play the game yourself enough to know the ins and outs of it. You don't
have to be an expert and have all the cards memorized, but be comfortable with
the game. Demoing when you're confident about something is hard enough…
demoing when you're nervous is much much tougher. Get confident with the
game and you've passed the first hurdle.
Ok… so you're at the demo. You've got a group of people gathered
and you start going into your spiel.
What do you say? How do you show 'em this great game? Follow these step
by steps and you'll have no trouble.
- Set up the timeline. Explain as you're doing it what you are doing…
it's obvious that 1868 goes before 1945, but show the A-1, A-2 numbers
too. If they help you pick up your cards, they'll be more likely to
get them back in the right order that way.
- Pass out the ID cards. Say something like: "We all are from different
futures, and we all are trying to get the timeline back the way we know it
to be in our pasts. This is one way to win."
- Show the backs of the timeline cards, both a Linchpin and a Ripplepoint
card. My patter often goes like this: "There are some events that trigger
things, and other events that happen because of the trigger. WWI is said to
have happened because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. When the
first event gets changed, it changes the second event…it's a paradox
and causes a hole in the space-time continuum. It's your job as a time-agent
to get the timeline back to how you know your past, and to fix the rips in
the space-time continuum as you go along."
- Pass out the mission cards. Say: "Being a time agent isn't
the best paying job in the universe, and we often take side jobs to pay the
bills. Some rich dude has hired you to find these three artifacts. When you
find them, you can go home… the rich dude will pay you so handsomely
for these artifacts that you can retire and not worry about the space-time
continuum any more. This is a second way to win."
- Show how the cards in the deck work. I usually dig out an artifact, an
action, a Reverse Fate and a patch. Show that artifacts go face up in front
of you… they don't count if they're still in your hand.
Explain that the other cards are the "just read it and it'll tell
you what to do" sort of cards. Easey Peasey.
- After they have seen all the cards, I show how to flip Linchpins (only with
a Reverse Fate) and how a Linchpin connects with and affects the associated
Ripplepoints. I also show the "OR" and "AND" cards
like 1972 and 1969. I sometimes toss in a patter like "When a Ripplepoint
gets affected by its Linchpin, it causes a tear in the space-time continuum,
a Paradox. This is bad. So bad that if 13 rips occur at the same time, we
all lose. However, for each Paradox you patch (show how they are year-specific),
you get to draw another card as a reward for your good deed. This is the third
way you can win… have 10 cards in hand at the end of your turn."
- At this point, they've got the basics down and any more info would
cause their heads to explode. So, instead of explaining more, dive right into
a game. Do the "what time is it" starter and go. I usually play
the first few rounds with my hand visible to everyone, showing what I'm
doing and why… and why I didn't play some other card in my hand.
It's a good way to show strategy and hey, if it gives the newbies a
bit of an advantage over me for a bit, that's cool. I don't want
to whomp 'em in their first game with me. I'll save that for later,
when they're hooked. Mwah hah hah!
- At some time during the game, I'll explain about the 1945 patches
and the Uberparadox. Which, of course, is my favorite occurrence! Now, go
and play, and in the meantime, could you please start WW3 for me? I've
got a wife and 3,000 kids to get back to.