After bending your head far enough around the flagpole to be able to grok the base game, this one comes along and ties it in a knot. And I mean that in the good way.
Nothing short of amazing, though the initial experience replaced the frustration of lack of funds with the frustration of a lack of tech that all worked nicely together. Adding in supports—and the supports of the supports, as well as the need to radiate the increasing heat-load of those support-supports—was akin to buying pants by winning a pie-eating contest; eat enough pies and you win the pants... That now don't fit. So you eat more pies to get some new pants and you see where this is going.
Once you do manage to cobble together a rocket that works you just go with it—the only thing I ever optimized on my Frankenship was the robonaut. I was afraid to monkey with anything else lest the whole thing bloat out and bust the seams in an undulating cascade of stuff needing more stuff.
All the tech that is magical and game-breaking in the base game (Zubrin, anyone?) is brutally balanced in the full game. That thing burns hot
and even after dumping fuel through it as coolant you're gonna have to come up with four more
therms of cooling. Also, the Metastable Helium thruster has a rad-hardness of zero, as in "nope". Suck it!
Fantastic, recommended, head-spinning—though only after the base game becomes too easy. You really oughta play that five or so times before diving into this.
[After one play without Politics, Combat or Events (though we did keep Solar Flares/CMEs because watching the angry Sun decommission someone's thruster is hilarious).]
Play time still hovered around two hours, even with all the extra doohickeys. Nice.
UPDATE: Gets better and better with each play. We bust Luna as a matter of course and don't use Politics, Combat or Events (we do, however, execute Solar Flares/CMEs). At some point I think I'll push for a "full game" with all options... and the Chinese.
UP-UPDATE: Playing the full game now, with all rules on—Politics, Combat & Events. On paper it looks like it would make the game longer (losing cards from Glitch, Space Debris and Budget Cuts... as if Solar Flares weren't bad enough) but in actual play these things only happen a couple of times per game. The rules overhead for all the extras is minimal and really pretty simple, with the end result being a tasty slathering of narrative. (When a spanner going 30,000 kph scrubs someone's crew module out of LEO, well, what's not to like?)
I am glad we stair-stepped it, though:
- Base game to
- Expansion without Politics, Combat, or Events to
- Full game with all rules,
waiting until we were all comfortable (and eager for a little something extra) before adding the next bit. For the life of me I can't imagine trying to learn Everything At Once as a n00b in a starter game. HF
is truly a "deep experience" that requires familiarity and comfort with all the various details to realize its potential.
Rush it & play once... have patience & play for life!
Live the adventure!Portraits of the Stupid-Brave: Drunk in Mission ControlCUBES OF DOOM"My God, it's full of stars!" and Other Things Screamed Out the BungholeWHY THIS GAME IS HOPELESSLY BROKEN