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Subject: 2p playtest with the old man rss

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Matthew Eklund
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Phil stopped briefly in Tucson during his US tour. I took a half-day off work and we set aside some time to playtest the most recent Colonization rules. We played for a little over 3 hours, and made it about half way through the game... but we spent huge amounts of time discussing and tweaking cards and rules on the fly. The tweaks i can recall are marked in bold below.

We played with every module. Gigathrusters. Matt-crew. Handscrawled freighter cards. Bernals. And the expanded-expanded radiators/generators (which include some neat stuff!).

Obviously this means there were a ton of decks to choose from for research/recruitment ops. But it was nice that in the early game you really didn't have to worry about crew or bernals or freighters, but did want to pay attention to what card was on top of those stacks.

I was Shimizu. Phil was ESA.

Phil overpayed (imho) for Nerva and Orion early, which led me to a dream combination of Zpinch, Paul Trap, and the CVD refinery because his cards/money prevented him from interfering. I was also able to acquire the delaval to block project orion from ever seeing the light of day.

Phil landed on the Martian glaciers early in the game. Risking and surviving the descent. He outposted his crew and robonaut. As Japan i was biding my time and scavenging for tech.

Then Phil declared war... to which my response was to buy the massdriver. We played with war/anarchy deactivating all player abilities (except PRC's). [note - this is a rule that i think should have been included in original HF]. Between ability deactivation and the variable Free Market sales for the rows... politics was very important in our game. Note we added one WT to the freemarket for each of the rows that were below 3 WT. Otherwise the decks seemed to stagnate too much, even at 2WT.

My plan to shootdown his returning ESA glory hogs in a blaze of hypervelocity, magnetically-accelerated rocks went to crap when he decided not to try to bring his crew home.

I had a great refinery, an astonishingly light and effective buggy robonaut, but the only working thruster i could muster was a solarpowered hall effect. And i found my modified thrust to be dangerously low. The only reasonable target i could aim for was Luna. But the Radbelt gods were merciless and incinerated the fragile exotics in my reactor and robonaut and the whole mission was scrubbed. Phil lost 7 mass of refinery and generator to the rad belt soon thereafter. Btw the red season is more predictable with the new sunspot system... but man is it long!

After the rad-belt debacle, I decided to buy the top bernal (political, with the cycler ability). I had alot of tech to sell and the market was decent (3WT) and i was highly interested in the top crew card (Vatican observers). Meanwhile phil built his factory on the glacier and, using the new factory launch assist rule [that any craft can land or takeoff of a friendly factory without landerfuel, but it is a hazard check to do so] to get his crew home for many tickertape parades. My warship could only wave as the euro-trash space-heros passed by, because some ass-hole diplomat decided to declare peace a few years prior.

I got my Bernal up, paid heavily for the Vatican Observers and boosted 120 tons of papal astronomers and rosaries about 100km closer to heaven. While they were loyal to the ESA, and provided them votes for the ESA until the end of the game (not to mention 2VP at the endgame), I used their special ability to tax the bejeezus out of the ESA space program. Unfortunately for me, the ESA had used the no product limit factory production and flown an advanced sail loaded with martian nanobots back to LEO and sold them (discarding to the deck to prevent snowball). My bernal was functional thanks to one of the awesome new generators... that turns exotics into electricity. So i was reaping two OPs a turn. But Phil was close behind, boosting his own bernal up, and boosting the Rogue Tycoon crew, which made Free Marketing tough for me to do. Amusingly the Tycoon is loyal to me, balancing out future votes.

Meanwhile i get Project Orion up, and use it to tow my bernal 95% of the way to mars... but come up one burn short and have to send orion off to refuel on the mars moonlets... and bust them while there.

Eventually i get the bernal to mars LMO and use the new water supply to boost my Scandinavian Metaprogrammers. With the added ops both me and phil are pretty wealthy. We both goto Vesta, but a glitch kills my refinery (argh) before i can plant a factory. Once again i regret that it isn't war... as project Orion is unmanned but bristling with guns... but can only throw insults over the radio as Phil claims Enchilada.

We are almost out of time. I send another refinery mission. I still don't have a factory, and am really hurting for black tech. Phil, while well behind in Bernal tech (my Bernal is in Martian orbit!), is torching me in every other aspect of the game. As we stop, i bust Phaethon with my buggy... a desperate shot to get a Lab into play and the ability to promote my crew into Hackers. Phil was in the early stages of getting a gigawatt thruster built.

Final tally is a brutal:
ESA 24 pts
Shimizu 4 pts


Obviously many tweaks are coming down the pipe. I hope this gives you some preview.

Much more to come!


edit - to add that i also purchased the Genegade Convicts and had big plans for them... but lost them to budget cuts when i got trapped with no cards in my hand except them. Near the point where we stopped i really needed the additional Engineering ops, and didn't need the money so-much. Phil also purchased and built an advanced freighter, but it never took flight before we had to quit.
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chuck dunn
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Vatican observers eh ?

2 player HF is always a bit of a bust the balance goes way south,(still a fun race of course), amazed Shimizu wouldn't of rocked the house with the card limit so much higher ...

We played with war/anarchy deactivating all player abilities (except PRC's). [note - this is a rule that i think should have been included in original HF].


So your thought on anarchy/war is to remove the player powers eh? that sounds quite fun ... So once anarchy/war happened you had a card limit and all Phil lost was the one boost ?

I feel the burn there ... and realize that is quite debilitating..
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Matthew Eklund
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Yes i had a card limit for new purchases, and he lost his +1 thrust.
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Calavera Soñando
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:

We played with every module. Gigathrusters. Matt-crew. Handscrawled freighter cards. Bernals. And the expanded-expanded radiators/generators (which include some neat stuff!).


So, what you're saying is, you get your own named crew card in this expansion?

Quote:
Then Phil declared war... to which my response was to buy the massdriver. We played with war/anarchy deactivating all player abilities (except PRC's). [note - this is a rule that i think should have been included in original HF]. Between ability deactivation and the variable Free Market sales for the rows... politics was very important in our game. Note we added one WT to the freemarket for each of the rows that were below 3 WT. Otherwise the decks seemed to stagnate too much, even at 2WT.


OOh. SOOOO much goodness here. I am definitely going to try this war/anarchy deactivating player abilities rule in my next vanilla HF game.

The adding WT to the rows is interesting. Presumably, from what you're describing, this works similarly to the genes in Bio Megafauna (or coins in Small World)? Is there one row for every tech, or just a single row with one stack for each tech type?

Quote:
Meanwhile phil built his factory on the glacier and, using the new factory launch assist rule [that any craft can land or takeoff of a friendly factory without landerfuel, but it is a hazard check to do so]


Another new rule that is totally awesome and worth trying in vanilla HF. Is the penalty for a botched hazard roll just the destruction of the rocket stack as per normal, or is the factory affected too?

Quote:
Once again i regret that it isn't war... as project Orion is unmanned but bristling with guns... but can only throw insults over the radio as Phil claims Enchilada.


So, you took a break and went to Mi Nidito's for lunch? (I keep calling it Enchilada too!)

Quote:
Obviously many tweaks are coming down the pipe. I hope this gives you some preview.

Much more to come!


Thanks for the update! This is really exciting stuff.
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Matthew Eklund
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Hey Scriv, i've got a functional playtest copy now...

with everything except the freighters that haven't been finalized yet.

If i manage to pull together a playtest before Xmas, i'll give you a heads up! Or, if you've got a group, i could possibly make a cameo with the set and see what you guys think. The game is still far from perfect... and is desperate for balance testing.
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Calavera Soñando
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
Hey Scriv, i've got a functional playtest copy now...

with everything except the freighters that haven't been finalized yet.

If i manage to pull together a playtest before Xmas, i'll give you a heads up! Or, if you've got a group, i could possibly make a cameo with the set and see what you guys think. The game is still far from perfect... and is desperate for balance testing.


Absolutely. Contact me here or via Facebook, I am thrilled and happy to help out! I would say it would be easier for you to set a date and time, and I can get the word out to the guys I know who are the regular players. Let me know!
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David Hammond
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
Or, if you've got a group, i could possibly make a cameo with the set and see what you guys think.


Highly highly looking forward to this.

mscrivner wrote:
So, what you're saying is, you get your own named crew card in this expansion?


You'd like that, wouldn't you? XD
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