The boardgame constant

No matter where life takes me, I'll make sure to bring a game or two.

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A new standard in 4x games

Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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4X games. For those of you who might not be familiar with the concept it stands for "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate". Boardgamegeek lists it as a family of games: 4X games

Personally I usually think of Sci-Fi games when someone mentions the genre.Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) and Eclipse spring to mind, as the flagship games of the genre. But a 4X game can of course be set in historical times as well. Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery or Conquest of Paradise fit the bill as well.

Different games emphasize different parts of the four X:s. Extermination might be a harsh word for the level of conflict in all of the games, but conflict in some form is always there. Some might focus more on exploration, others on expansion. But you get the picture. All X:s are there to some extent.

I'll admit, I do have a hard time with some games in the genre. When the game is mainly structured around amassing a ton of miniatures and technology in order to kill your opponents I tend to find it a tad dull. And personally I have a hard time for muppet Sci-Fi, so aliens, space magic and monsters are not on the top of my list.

But I digress. What is the point of this rant?

Well to me the bar has been raised in the genre with the recent release of High Frontier Colonization.



I've never really thought about High Frontier the base game as a 4X game, but the release of the Colonization expansion brings it a bit deeper into that realm. Let me explain.

High Frontier is a hard Sci-Fi game about exploration and exploitation of our solar system in a fairly close future. And in order to do this you must expand and exterminate. Wait. No.

There are really only three X:s present in this game. Sure, you can enter a political state of war or anarchy, but actual conflict is rare. Usually the nastiest thing that might go down - and it is very rare - is someone stealing some water from one of your factories, or perhaps pulling your flag out of the soil of that nice asteroid and replacing it with one of their own. The solar system is of course conquered using flags, as our dear friend Eddie Izzard will now explain to you.





Anyhow. High Frontier the base game is a game that ends where you'd expect a lot of games to start turn two or three. You play it from the beginning until the end of the beginning. That is the sensation you get. It is not a frustrating sensation as you might think. It is very pleasing taking humanity's first steps into the new frontier. You want to play it again and again.

Add to that the fact that flying a rocket in this game is as close to rocket science as most people will ever get, while still having a smile on their faces. If I manage to not only build a rocket, but actually fly it to a site I haven't visited before and find water there, I feel like I've won the game no matter what the scoreboard says. And I am not the only one that plays the game like that if you look at this post: [Poll] Ye little High Frontier poll

So to me High Frontier has sort of been separate from the 4X genre in that it ends prematurely by 4X standards.

However.

High Frontier Colonization not only expands the game map out to the very outskrits of the solar system and introduces a lot of new features to the base game. It also changes (if you want) the endgame conditions. No longer does the game end "prematurely". You now have a game system that takes you from the first trembling steps into the solar system all the way up to what the game refers to as a new "future" for all of mankind.

And even though the amount of direct conflict may not increase much in the game, the shaping of humanity's future has the potential of causing a lot of harm. This is explained in a very entertaining way in this thread: Why Yes, I *HAVE* Always Wanted To Become a Cult Leader!.

My point is that High Frontier now feels like a full game which holds all the qualities of a 4X game and should therefore be considered as such. While - and I stress this - maintaining its integrity as a hard, scnience based Sci-Fi game.

If you are into Science Fiction and 4X games you owe it to yourself to check out High Frontier and High Frontier Colonization.
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:27 pm
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Guilt by association: Ameritrashers are cock blocking me!

Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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Girls like dolls.

Young girls that is. Too young girls.

Women do not like dolls. Especially not when grown men are playing with them. If they, on top of that, are pretending to kill orcs and collect magic swords with their dolls...

You see where I am going.

Boardgamers have a hard time as it is. It ain't easy picking up chicks with the line "yeah, I'm a boardgamer". If we want to play and attract girls at the same time we need to do it in a more stylish way.

What type of gamer will get the most quality ponahnie?

The normal guy standing in a bar playing a game of Hive, Backgammon or some other minimalist abstract game while sipping on a martini

OR

The Descent: Journeys in the Dark or HeroQuest playing guy shouting "Whoopee! My necromancer just found a +1 sword after killing the troll" while pointing at a large pile of small plastic dolls?

Of course people are free to play whatever they want. But the thing is the ladies got us all mixed up!!!

When I out of boredom and adulthood left the friggin roleplaying and miniature games behind, I hoped to rid myself of the most extreme nerd aura. I wanted to be portrayed as a sophisticated gamer. But it's frakkin' hard to convey that picture when the dragon killing and orc bashing crowd are following me across to boardgame land. Goddamn Ameritrashers!

So my plead to all you fans of Warhammer, Runewars and god knows what else, is: TONE IT THE F**K DOWN!

Leave the minis and all talk of dragons and elves at home. Play euros or abstracts when in public.

Let's polish the boardgame hobby so that it registers on the pussy or dick radar (whatever you prefer)!
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Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:22 pm
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Applying Keynesian ideas to my personal life in order to ensure a steady game intake

Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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So I'm in the middle of a divorce.

I have no home right now, been living with friends for about a month. I have no savings whatsoever, but in order to take care of my kids I had to buy an apartment. Now the bank owns not only my ass, but most of my soul as well.

I can only work part time since I have an eight month daughter to take care of. I have older children as well.

Oh, and I'll lose my job at the end of august.

But hey! At least the weather is nice.

So now I'm stuck here with an apartment that I can't afford and with unemployment looming at the horizon. Enter: Keynes.

I think it was John Maynard Keynes who invented the idea of public spending as a countermeasure to a financial recession. (An idea that I personally subsribe to by the way).

Of course Keynes was talking about the public sector and macro economics, but I thought I'd apply it to my own life:

My economy looks bleak - better buy some boardgames!

I think ol' John would have liked that.

Since I wasn't sure if Keynesian economics worked as well with euros as with abstracts I made sure to buy games from a lot of different genres. This whole circus started back in April and since then I've managed to lay my hands on the following titles:

Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations
Rise of Empires
At the Gates of Loyang
Retsami
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum

and Pandemic (as a gift for the people who are housing me)

Well, has it affected my economy. I don't know. I don't feel that it has gotten any worse. Is there some cosmic force that fills the financial gaps in my wallet?

Or it could just be the fact that I have yet to pay my first mortgage on the new apartment.

All I know is: I have a lot of new games and I'm having a lot of fun with them.

Well that's the end of my first blog post. In the next one I think I'll discuss dungeoncrawlers. Hope to see ya'll then!
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Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:36 pm
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