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High Frontier» Forums » General

Subject: WHY THIS GAME IS HOPELESSLY BROKEN rss

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Chris Tannhauser
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Well, it's not because I bet my entire game on a 50-50 die roll three times for a paltry 7/8ths chance of success that did not hit, nor is it because the only way astronauts learn that manual landings on comets are all about keeping everything in the green and all alarms silent—there are no bonus points for "excitement level"—is to have that "1" pop up, rendering the lesson simultaneously taught and forgotten; no, we shall ignore these things.

The game is hopelessly broken because when I spend 26 water to bump politics into anarchy and launch a heavy "retribution mission" to teach the runaway leader a lesson about humility and just how it feels to watch him abandon billionaires on Saturn's moons while the rest of us can't seem to find dick (all "busted" markers used) or land safely or even sip a bulb of reconstituted coffee without having a solar flare vent the radiators into the crew hab, and there we are, the glorious USS Thunderfoot in orbit over Ceres, swapping thrusters to make a full-blown all-rockets-roaring landing and sublimate his crappy flag into plasma, putting that hot boot square in his belly and popping a factory-colony complex there—when alla sudden—an election auction comes up and I dump 11 more water against it to keep things free for awesomeness and yet somehow he has 12 which he uses to put five points back into the UN's mouth...

...and then he abandons the claim anyway to use the disk elsewhere.

NO SANE GAME DOES THIS
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Jonathan Harrison
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So long ...
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... and thanks for all the fish.
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If I didn't already own this, I would after your remarks. What a brilliant retrospective on a brilliant game!
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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HiveGod wrote:
NO SANE GAME DOES THIS


That's because this game isn't sane. And neither are the people who play it.
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Rob Rob
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HuginnGreiling wrote:
If I didn't already own this, I would after your remarks. What a brilliant retrospective on a brilliant game!

I'm sold!
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Chapel
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Space is no place to raise your kids. It's cold as hell.
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Kyle W.
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This is why children should not be allowed to play High Frontier. After all these dismal failures, you still haven't learned your lesson.
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Chapel
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As my great great great great granddaughter would say...

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chuck dunn
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funny stuff ... odds can kick your ass in this 'game' .. the arbitrary deals really can hurt you as well.. buy a boost from the esa head out to explore a sight, and see him not deliver the boost ... leaving you stranded on a rock out of reach of help for way too many years to be comfortable .. raise kids on said waterless rock ...finally reach the cosmic rays addled astronauts just to see them burn up from a flare as they near home in leo.. then buy another boost and try again...
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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HiveGod wrote:
...and then he abandons the claim anyway to use the disk elsewhere.

Hopefully you at least muttered, "I made you do that."

...

I consider it a moral failure of my friends that I can't get them into this game. The only person who will play it with me regularly is my 12-year-old, and he's getting tired of coming up with new ways to beat me. Playing this at BGG.CON 2012, every time a new thruster or robonaut was revealed, I said the same thing: "Oh, I've lost to that card."
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Chapel
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kuhrusty wrote:

I consider it a moral failure of my friends that I can't get them into this game.


Truthfully, there is only 12 people on the entire planet that will play this game on a regular basis, and each one of them is 2000 mile equidistant from each other. And you think Pluto is far?
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Chapel
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Hivegod likes to think space is all high adventure all the time, but really it's just..

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Ben Vincent
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kuhrusty wrote:

I consider it a moral failure of my friends that I can't get them into this game.


Ohhh... I see how it is.
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David Ells
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Aye, lang ago Rabbie said it true, tha' the best laid schemes o' space an' men gang aft agley ... modest
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♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
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Entropy Seminar:
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The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
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This should have been a session report.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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MWChapel wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:

I consider it a moral failure of my friends that I can't get them into this game.


Truthfully, there is only 12 people on the entire planet that will play this game on a regular basis, and each one of them is 2000 mile equidistant from each other. And you think Pluto is far?


Nope. There are 3 people here in the town I live in willing to play this game fairly regularly and at least 1 more who is willing to play it periodically.

It is a brutal game, and the swings of luck can sometimes be extreme. But so be it. This game is more about the experience of trying to build your missions and enjoying that experience even when luck shafts you in the end.

It is also about playing the odds, and manipulating them to your advantage once you understand the mechanics more deeply.
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Tim Thorp
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David Ells wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Space is no place to raise your kids. It's cold as hell.


Thank you!



More like:
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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berserkley wrote:
More like:


I'm sorry, but I had to report that as a violation of the site rules.
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Roger Taylor
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Klintus Fang wrote:
It is a brutal game, and the swings of luck can sometimes be extreme.


All Phil Eklund games are brutal. The man is eviller than he looks, I'm telling you.
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Matthew Eklund
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MWChapel wrote:
Hivegod likes to think space is all high adventure all the time, but really it's just..


A shining example of bringing human crew along to protect against glitches.
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Jack Bennett
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Play. Always.
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You are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today.
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Joshua Gottesman
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Hivegod likes to think space is all high adventure all the time, but really it's just..


A shining example of bringing human crew along to protect against glitches.


I did his so I could bring a radiator on its light side, and then the radiator got fried by a solar flare...more evidence the game is broken.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Matthew_Eklund wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Hivegod likes to think space is all high adventure all the time, but really it's just..


A shining example of bringing human crew along to protect against glitches.


I did his so I could bring a radiator on its light side, and then the radiator got fried by a solar flare...more evidence the game is broken.


Not really. More evidence the game is difficult to master. Just because some combinations of cards do work as a rocket, doesn't mean they are a very good rocket. If 1 point of mass was enough to make your rocket unworkable, forcing you to choose between bringing a crew or bringing a full radiator then, you have built a big, clunky rocket that easily breaks.

Ways to mitigate that:
1. take more time buying and selling from the patent deck to find lighter alternatives to some of your cards to get a lighter rocket.

2. learn how to use afterburners. radiators are fragile, and very susceptible to solar flares and radiation hazards. minimizing your dependency on them is a good thing.

3. be conscious of whether your rocket is susceptible to a solar flare and make sure it is in a location where it is protected from a solar flare when the solar cycle is in the red (i.e., within one of the magnetic fields on the map). sometimes that means just waiting till the solar cycle is in the blue before leaving Earth's HEO.

4. take advantage of the fact that when a radiator is build on its "heavy" side, and it is decomissioned, the card does not return to your hand, it flips to its lighter side and stays with the rocket. That is, find a radiator that can meet your cooling requirements on its light side, then build it to its heavy side so you have a little more cooling than is necessary. Then it will take 2 solar flares to knock out your rocket rather than 1. Though that usually requires that you have also done step (1).

5. Generally try to avoid the components that have heavy cooling requirements. They can be useful, but they are very difficult to use effectively; particularly the two generators that generate 3 therms of heat. I've used them before, but it is hard.

6. Or just take the risk that something bad will happen and build the big clunky rocket that is simultaneously susceptible to both glitches and solar flares without taking any steps to mitigate that, and accept it when your rocket fails. Leave the parts you don't need for flight at the location where the rocket burned out in an outpost (probably the robonaut and the refinery), then rebuild the thruster and its components on earth, and go out and pick the rest of the pieces up (maybe bringing a larger radiator this time since the rocket should be lighter during the return trip).

But that all said, yes, this game is hard. But it isn't broken.
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David desJardins
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Klintus Fang wrote:
Not really. More evidence the game is difficult to master.


Have you heard of 'irony'?
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Chris Tannhauser
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If this were a session report I suppose it would be titled "Three Sentences About High Frontier Written on Remembered Pain, a Head Cold, and a Bag of Skittles".

This was our 31st play with our core group of three; I hesitate to use the term "expert"... perhaps "obsessed" is more like it. Either way we're good enough that the ESA boost power is worthless as a commodity and money is never an issue. Winning or losing now comes down to a single, simple inefficiency—ending up one water or one turn short at some critical juncture.

Of course, the easiest way to make up that shortfall is the Faustian deal offered by the CUBES OF DOOM. Chances are good everything's gonna be juuust fine...

Early on I deviated from my usual play-style—I am fetishistically addicted to massive, kilometers-long multi-year manned missions that contain everything to prospect and then drop a factory on the following turn—and instead went for a small robonaut-only mission to find an M world where I could build a factory to produce the black side of the CVD Molding refinery. My goal was to then leap-frog some factory spam across the asteroid belt to end the game quickly.

The odds looked good—three shots at 50-50, for a 7/8ths chance of success. That never happened.

Now, my other problem with the game is that once I start down a path I like to keep going though it is insanity to do so; I should have dropped the M-world thing and gone a different route. But by God I was going to make it work. I WAS GOING TO MAKE IT WORK

In the meantime, Tod was blackening the asteroid belt with his ray gun, killing off huge swathes of opportunity, leaving Dave free to cruise out toward Saturn and bag Space Tourism. Dave was doing so well, in fact, that he actually apologized for his embarrassing lead. This enraged me.

Then the first election auction came up, and I owned it with 10 water; I moved it to anarchy so Tod & I could plunder Dave's holdings. I assembled the 16-water all-in-one mission to Ceres to show Dave just how things were about to turn for him... He pretended it meant nothing but I know him and I knew it would hurt. Several turns later the Thunderfoot arrived in orbit over Ceres, pausing a turn to switch thrusters for that triumphant lesson-teaching landing.

And in that one turn, that one short pause, it was all swept out from under me.

Dave was next, moved, rolled another election auction—I thought I had it, I had been marshalling water for just such an eventuality, but he had that magical, single water to put him over the top. He moved the pip out of anarchy and back into UN territory. So close, mere kilometers away—we could see the landing site with our naked eyes—and suddenly a mission that took the better part of a decade to plan and execute was illegal.

The wire in my head grew very, very hot.

And then he took his action. Prospecting. Since all his disks were on the board he had to choose a claim to abandon. We locked eyes and slowly, so slowly he moved his index finger to slide the Ceres claim away, holding my gaze the whole time.

The wire in my head snapped.

I think I gurgled.

"Well, hey," he said, "now you can claim Ceres!"

I do know I looked away from the table, closed my eyes and imagined how the Thunderfoot crew felt watching the tiny explosions ripple across Ceres' grey surface, obliterating the claim, the plaques and flags, scientific experiments designed by school children and probably an autonomous weapon pod or two...

And damn it all, in spite of all the humiliation and pain I want to play again right now.
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Calavera Soñando
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HiveGod wrote:
Now, my other problem with the game is that once I start down a path I like to keep going though it is insanity to do so; I should have dropped the M-world thing and gone a different route. But by God I was going to make it work. I WAS GOING TO MAKE IT WORK


I find it wonderful and also a little tragic to discover I am not the only one who plays HF in this exact stubborn way.
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