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Subject: Any previews available? rss

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Ingo Griebsch
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Bochum
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Hi all,

registered to the corresponding yahoo group I see that designer and group are quite active. So I was wondering if some of the members who played the game already could give us some informations about the game (mechanics, gameplay and so forth)...
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Wulf Corbett
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Shotts
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Here's a solo report of a play using the current rules, sent to me by Andrew Graham. Posted with his approval, and Phil Eklund's.

Started out with the Chinese crew racing the ESA to Mars.
The Chinese took the minimum energy route and took off first.
The ESA took a more energy intensive route because they had a more
efficient engine.
So even though they launched a turn later they got to Mars first.
Both missions ended up in fireballs as the aerobraking went wrong!

Meanwhile the USA plodded on building up a large rocket stack with
everything on it.
Japan were next to launch a rocket after cracking solar sail
technology.
So with a boost from the ESA satellite sailed to Mars and claimed part
of it.

So while Japan's mission refuelled on site the ESA and Chinese rebuilt,
this time with the Chinese going for a solar sail as well.
The USA continued to build its big stack.

The Japanese finally finished refuelling and headed for home in time to
pass the departing USA mission in High earth orbit.
Failure was not an option as the USA aerobraked to a successful
landing/exploration and setting up of a factory.
The Tortoise beat the Hare soundly in this case.

Meantime the ESA headed out to Ceres with a stop over on Deimos to
refuel, and went on to claim it.
The Chinese also went to Deimos to refuel but by the time they got
there all of Mars had been claimed.
But not be outdone they headed back to the moon and Explored/Industrialised and set up a colony.

At that point, the game hadn't officially ended, but he stopped to check over the rules.
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Ingo Griebsch
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Hi Wulf,

many thanks so far...

...maybe someone could give us a short overview or summary of the rules.
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Matthew Eklund
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here's the stripped down gameplay explanation (basic game)

Each player is a different organization or government (NASA, Red China, Shimizu Corp, ESA, UN)

During each player's turn they get to move their rocket and then perform one operation

Operations include: building of factories, prospecting, putting technology up for bid, boosting equipment off of earth, selling patent cards back to the bank for money, etc.

Money is water is fuel... so you'll have to balance using your money to buy tech, boost heavy cards, or literally pour it into your rocketship to serve as propellant.

Technology is handled by cards (thrusters, refineries, robonauts, etc). If a card is in your hand it's a patent or a prototype (something still on the drawing board). If you spend the money to boost a card into space it becomes a component, which you can store in LowEarthOrbit or attach to your rocket, etc.

There is a map of the inner solar system, with various sites of varying states (composition, amount of water present, size, hazards, etc); and each player is attempting to build factories at sites they have previously prospected and claimed. With those factories they can produce advanced versions of the technology cards which they have acquired.

Movement on the map is unique, requiring a keen eye to balance the fuel cost of a route as well as the time taken. Balancing speed and fuel is essential. Balancing the fuel efficiency of your rocket, the thrust/speed of your rocket, and the overall mass of your rocket is also key. As you move across "burns" you spend fuel, if you move across hazards you will either have to roll for a chance of rocket destruction, or pay some money to upload some software and avoid the roll.

Prospecting is done with crew or robonauts using either ground buggies, ranged lasers, or self-propelled rockets. Large sites have a better chance of being successfully prospected, but require high thrust rockets to take-off and land efficiently.

Victory is points-based. Factories give X amount based on how many factories of are built on certain site-types (ie. they score more if they are the only factory on a given site-type). Points are also scored for glory (example - be the first to send a crew to Mars and getting him home alive), prospecting sites, setting up colonies, and space-ventures (space tourism, etc).

The expanded game introduces new types of cards (reactors, generators, radiators), more advanced maneuvers (slingshots, piracy, etc), doubles the size of the map (Jupiter + Saturn), adds politics to the game, adds events and seasons (for example if there's a solar active cycle coming you may want to launch earlier than planned or wait until it passes), and a ton of other stuff.

hope this gives you an idea of how it plays...
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Ingo Griebsch
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Bochum
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Hi Mathew,

many thanks for the summary. Seems to be a really cool game...
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Alec Clair
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Don't know how it will play. But the mix of state of the art research facts and SF really tease me. I really like this hallmark of Sierra Madre games!

Is there a connection with the older Rocket Frontier?
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Eight Lock
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Drool...this looks amazing!
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Andrew Graham
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It plays nice and uses the laws of physics.
How often can you say that.

The only thing I would say it that you need to plan ahead in this game.
Do I want a small rocket to explore with or a large rocket that can explore and set up a factroy if it finds anything.

Now select where you are going making sure your robonaught is good enough to prospect the target site.

Rocket equiped and in orbit. Check.
Enough fuel to get to the desination and land.Check
If not plan in a refuling stop on Phobos or somewhere similar.
If I do get to set up a factory what can it make.
Space manufactrued cards have to match the site type [ Four differnt plus a wildcard type]
Not as hard as it sound

Andy
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Phil Eklund
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deltarn wrote:
Don't know how it will play. But the mix of state of the art research facts and SF really tease me. I really like this hallmark of Sierra Madre games!

Is there a connection with the older Rocket Frontier?


For a detailed account of how High Frontier was designed (over the course of 30 years!), and its connection to the earlier editions of Rocket Flight, see http://highfrontier.posterous.com/

There is also a word document with the Living Rules attached.
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John Douglass
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Last September at Strategicon, while waiting in line at Subway, I made the case to Phil that he needed to pass High Frontier off to someone else for a while, just to give it a different perspective. We were there to showcase the recent publication of Erosion. But High Frontier has been in Phil's head for decades (that is not an exaggeration, as incredible as that sounds), and been through countless revisions. He desperately wanted to get the game out, but Phil, Matt, and I all thought the game system was too cumbersome at the time. The amount of hours Phil has spent editing, drawing, fixing, re-configuring and analyzing this game is absolutely insane, the guy is a machine, ever dauntless and dedicated and utterly positive.

I was humbled that he asked me to take a look at High Frontier, and see what I could come up with. I stripped the game down to some core components that focused mostly on the cool spaceflight movement Phil had come up with, and built in the idea of trying to harness a diversified assortment of natural resources from the solar system, to meet the victory condition.

This version proved way too simplistic, and Phil went to town on the meager ideas I had provided, crunched them, and took control of the game design himself again. This all happened last Fall into the Winter. Since then, I drowned myself in a busy Spring semester at school and the game design went to Phil, Matt, and a diverse group of playtesters that were discussing the game rigorously on an almost daily basis. I wish I could have been more a part of this aspect of the game's progression

In the end, I think he created an extremely detailed game simulation of space prospecting while keeping the game mechanics manageable, the different factions balanced, and the game play fun. The game has a jaw dropping game board (made it to the front page quick enough) and incredibly nuanced spaceship components, components that actually exist on blueprints in some company's vault here on Earth today. Phil does all the art, on top of everything else.

Matt did a great job summarizing the game in an earlier post, I just through this out there to all the other Phil fans, that this game could be his greatest achievement, and I say that with well used copies of American Megafauna and Origins sitting on my shelf.

I hope we all find lots of water in the solar system... or I hope I do anyway.

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Giles Pritchard
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This is one game I am really looking forward to getting my hands on. The theme, combined with my love for Phil's earlier achievements - American Megafauna and Origins make this a game that is absoultely highest on my wishlist. Looking forward to it!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Alec Clair
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phileklund wrote:

For a detailed account of how High Frontier was designed (over the course of 30 years!), and its connection to the earlier editions of Rocket Flight, see http://highfrontier.posterous.com/

There is also a word document with the Living Rules attached.


Thanks for the link, very impressive.
 
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Andrew Graham
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For your info it is now available to pre-order at the company web site.
Placed my order already.
Now I just have to wait...

Andy
 
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Graham Lockwood
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yep...I gotta have this one too.....Origins is a very enjoyable game. I look forward to playing this one also.
Can't knock back the discount on pre-order!
 
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Jesus Cañada Ramos
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Barcelona
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Pre-ordered yesterday...
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Sylvester M. Wrzesinski
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Just pre-ordered myself....
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Chambon Laurent
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How work pre-order for Essen? the price is 38$?

 
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Jérôme
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Finkel wrote:
How work pre-order for Essen? the price is 38$?


Few minutes ago this mail arrived:

Phil Eklund wrote:
Only a week and a day left in the High Frontier pre-order offer. I shut down my
website entry at midnight on August 31. This offer gives you High Frontier, plus its
expansion, for $20 off. The games will be sent in October, or you can arrange to
pick up your game at Essen and get a 6 euro rebate. At this moment, Panda Games
tells me that the release date is still on schedule.


Go to the Sierra Madre Games Website and it will be clear.
http://www.sierra-madre-games.com/

Good luck!

EDIT TO ADD: the presale-price is $44 including the expansion, exclusive shipping (which is $15 to NL and DE, so probably also FR).
 
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Phil Eklund
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Agreed, the preorder-price for High Frontier is $44 including the expansion, exclusive shipping (which is $10 to the US, and $15 to the EU).
 
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Jon W
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Also note that shipping is free (in the USA at least) for orders over $100. Not sure if there's any effect on international orders. Anyway, order American Megafauna and/or Origins: How We Became Human and/or Lords of the Sierra Madre (second edition) too!

Very excited about this game. It's a great topic, and I'm sure the theme will be handled perfectly. October can't come soon enough. Between this and Rock Band 3, I'll be set for a few months.
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