Ostranauts – The Boarded Scenario Tips

How to End the Boarded Scenario (Tips from Devs)

The conversation system in Ostranauts is a bit different than most other RPGs. It works a bit more like RPG combat than a branching dialogue, where each thing you say to a person moves the needle a little on their emotions. Sort of like how physical combat affects a target’s hit points and fatigue, social moves in Ostranauts might affect the target’s discomfort levels in security, privacy, intimacy, etc.

And the thing they say back depends on a combination of those emotions, their personality traits, and the context. They’ll usually choose whatever makes their pain go down the fastest.

In the case of the boarding conversations, “Do you know why you have been boarded?” is setting the context to a “High Stakes Conversation”, and if you select the officer, you’ll see a couple of things about them that a normal conversation won’t have.

First, in the top right, the MegaTooltip (MTT) will show a “Stakes” section explaining what the goal is for this situation. Here, we are instructed to “Convince the cops to let you go about your business, or at least minimize your fine.” And we get a hint about which situations will cause this conversation to “fail,” which is to say the worst-case outcome.

You’ll also see some special move options in the action list at bottom center (we call that the Quick Action Bar, or QAB). Some will have “GAMBIT:” in front of their names, and these are kind of like finishing moves.

Each Gambit has a tooltip explaining which conditions are required for it to succeed, as well as fail states.

Generally, to end a Stakes convo, one has to either succeed at a Gambit, or enter one of the Fail cases for that Stakes convo. And Gambits are usually reserved for when you are pretty sure they’ll succeed (i.e. you know the target has the green conditions listed in that Gambit’s tooltip).

All other moves you do to the target (as well as anything else that happens to them by you or otherwise) will push their emotional state around. And these non-Gambit moves are like getting the target positioned for your Gambit.

As an example, if the cop has a really low Achivement stat, they are feeling Useless. And using the “Steer Talk Towards Minor Infraction” Gambit will work here because it gives them a chance to achieve something and feel useful. I.e. write you up for something without a fight

Also, it’s worth knowing that just about every move they make will reveal one of their conditions. And usually, that condition is related to the move they make. So if you can get them to talk enough times, you’ll gain insight into their current status.

Lastly, there are a few exceptions and hard-coded responses in this and other conversations. E.g. an honest cop will usually politely refuse any bribe, even if in the green zone emotionally. While a crooked cop might refuse to write you up, hoping instead for a bribe.

But generally, the strategy for any “Stakes” convo in the game is to talk to them a little to expose Gambit-related moods to see if they are amenable, then use a matching Gambit. And if they are not amenable, try using non-Gambit (or non-social!) actions to move the needle on their emotions until they are in the green zone.

I know this is kind of weird, and frankly, we’re paying for it in terms of user confusion and reviews. But I’m holding out hope that we can fine-tune this conversation system to be fun and challenging, and to produce almost-dialogue-like experiences that feel unique each time.

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