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Subject: To Infinity… (or at least Charon) and Beyond! rss

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Michael Debije
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High Frontier was designed by Phil Eklund of Sierra Madre Games in 2010. It is playable by up to five players in three or four hours.

What You Get

I find this the nicest Sierra Madre package to date. The box is solid with great illustration with the bold proclamation ‘The most realistic simulation of rocket travel ever made’ (and he is right). Inside you get one of the best looking boards I have ever seen, a bunch of plastic discs, some clear to be used as game markers in three colors, and opaque markers for the players. There are some wooden cubes, a small deck of ‘patent’ cards, two plastic rockets for each player, a player mat for everyone and an organizing card. Too bad you have to cut the player cards out of the organizing card, but I guess that is a throwback to the old ‘SMG’ titles where I’d stay up late in the evening chopping out counters. There is also a die. In all, a great-looking package, nice and compact, with just enough room in the box to also house the expansion. SMG has come a long way from Pancho Villa.

What You Do

Every player plays an entity such as the UN, the Chinese or NASA. The goal is to acquire patents for building rockets, going into space, claiming lucrative sites, and produce factories for making super high-tech materials on distant extraterrestrial bodies.

A turn is very simple. First, you move any ships you have in space. The movement system is a thing of beauty, taking lots and lots of complicated physics and distilling it down to a thruster chart and intricate map. It takes a good while to get one’s head around the movement, as it requires careful planning to get to where you want to go with the minimum amount of fuel. It takes into account Hohmann turns, acid clouds, solar flux, cargo weight, Lagrange points, and planetary gravity. Really, really cool.

Your next job is to choose one action from a short list. You can take water (the game currency), bid for patents in one of three types: thrusters, robonauts or refineries, sell patents, boost your Earth-produced parts into orbit, refuel at extraterrestrial sites, prospect heavenly bodies with the hope of making claims, and building or running factories in space which allow production of fancier, better devices. There is fine planning between constructing your ship, taking into account its weight, exploration capabilities, future usefulness as an advanced science factory, its range and fuel burn rate… Make some mistakes, and you end up floating uselessly through an asteroid belt or lacking enough thrust to take off from Venus again.

You score for placing factories and colonies, being the first to send crews out and return to Earth from major sites, discovering scientifically significant sites, building specific factories making specific products, and exploiting extraterrestrial groups of sites. The game ends when a number of factories are built by the players collectively, or when a player has exploited a collection of similar sites and pays to end the game.

What I Think

I have deliberately left the specific rules a bit opaque because I just wanted to write about the ‘feel’ of the game. One can think of this as a real simulation of space exploitation, and as such, some may find difficulty discovering the ‘game’, especially if you only play once. Similar to his previous works, Origins and American Megafauna, your first games are often a total bust, and you think, this is some random game that screws me for making one little mistake. What is difficult to see in first playing is how deep the game is. You have to be really careful how you set up your ship. You have to choose targets carefully, and in my mind, the key is to get your first advanced technology. After that, things speed up considerably. Yes, random factors can screw you. A ‘1’ on a d6 and you crisp in planetary entry, many, many turns of preparing wasted. A could ‘4’s on a d6 will close off lucrative extra planetary sites. But you know what? Space is like that. The distances are huge, the conditions extreme, and it is a damn tough undertaking to get people up and out there. I mean, we’ve not even yet been to Mars, and no one has been to the moon in a couple decades. The game is not for everyone: Phil Eklund does not even pretend to try and be inclusive. The rulebook is dense, and more than half of it contains all the science notes about the extraordinary ideas people have had for equipment for space exploration. This is not Star Trek with Heisenberg Uncertainty Compensators, but (potentially) real science like Mini-Magnetosphere rf Paul trap reactors and In core thermionic generators and solar sails 7.5 kilometers long.

I find the game magnificent and challenging. I am more at war with myself and the game than with the other players. I realize what an idiot I can be, and how short-sighted my planning often is. But I love that kind of thing, especially when I can learn so much. Bravo to Phil, and I can’t wait to try the expansion, adding in slingshot moves, radiation and more ways for me to sizzle in the far reaches of Saturn’s rings.
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Andrew Prizzi
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Can a player have more than one mission going at the same time? Reading the rules and looking at the components it looked like one of the plastic rockets was a status/points marker and the other was for moving around on the board. Is that right? So are you limited to performing one mission at a time? Thanks.
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Jim K.
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You can only have one rocket active at a time, though you can also have a freighter ship bringing back factory goods to earth and an outpost where you are staging components. For example, if you have a robonaut and a refinery on a site, you can convert them into a factory. Now making a rocket to carry both a robonaut and a refinery may be very difficult initially since they have a lot of mass. But you could shuttle just the robonaut there, and then later send a second rocket with the refinery. So even though you can only have one active rocket, your missions are often multifaceted and complex.
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Andrew Prizzi
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Thanks. I have no doubt the game will be complex enough for me
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Darrell Hanning
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I mean, we’ve not even yet been to Mars, and no one has been to the moon in a couple decades.


Try four decades and change. And now the Western world watches and waits, as China prepares to be the next to put men on the moon.

We've turned into a hemisphere of spectators and consumers. shake

Nice distillation of the feeling of the game, Michael.
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Andrew
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mi_de wrote:
I have deliberately left the specific rules a bit opaque because I just wanted to write about the ‘feel’ of the game.


More reviews should follow your example.
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ErikPeter Walker
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fateswanderer wrote:
mi_de wrote:
I have deliberately left the specific rules a bit opaque because I just wanted to write about the ‘feel’ of the game.


More reviews should follow your example.


What-ever. Something like 90% of the reviews on BGG start with a statement like "Since you can find the rules elsewhere, I'll comment on the game itself." I appreciate it when a review gives the rules a once-over along with providing commentary.

...

Nice summary, Michael. I'm interested to know what other types of games you like... HF looks too bitty and over-complex for me, but that's judging it by a cursory glance. I've got a sneaking suspicion that you are more forgiving to rules intricacies than your average gamer.
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DarrellKH wrote:
Try four decades and change.


Actually, the last moon landing was slightly less than 38 years ago.
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Andrew Prizzi
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What-ever. Something like 90% of the reviews on BGG start with a statement like "Since you can find the rules elsewhere, I'll comment on the game itself." I appreciate it when a review gives the rules a once-over along with providing commentary.


If by once over, you mean a BRIEF summary, than I'm with you. But in more and more cases, if someone wants to know about the rules to a game before purchasing it....they can go read the rules! More and more publishers (including Sierra Madre) are making the rules for more and more games (including High Frontier) available online. Reading the rules for myself tells me more about the rules than someone else trying to restate them.
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David
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fastspinecho wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Try four decades and change.

Actually, the last moon landing was slightly less than 38 years ago.

Slight correction: "the last moon landing reported by Shadow Government Controlled media was slightly less than 38 years ago. God only knows how often the bases on the far side of the moon have regular landings.
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Joe Lott
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Snowman wrote:
fastspinecho wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Try four decades and change.

Actually, the last moon landing was slightly less than 38 years ago.

Slight correction: "the last moon landing reported by Shadow Government Controlled media was slightly less than 38 years ago. God only knows how often the bases on the far side of the moon have regular landings.


You can not be serious?
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Martin Gallo
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Unfortunately he might be.

There are plenty of people who believe that there is a human established base on the far side of the moon being staffed by either Russians, Chinese or American personnel.

More people believe that the moon landings were faked.
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Peter Rich
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Hmmm. It appears that the name of this new game is not the only thing that appears to be "high" around here. Cue the theme music from "The Twilight Zone"...shake
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David
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masaakunokouchi wrote:
Snowman wrote:
fastspinecho wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Try four decades and change.

Actually, the last moon landing was slightly less than 38 years ago.

Slight correction: "the last moon landing reported by Shadow Government Controlled media was slightly less than 38 years ago. God only knows how often the bases on the far side of the moon have regular landings.


You can not be serious?


You can't be serious that you actually don't know this?

Many high ranking officials at great personal risk are now finding the courage to stand up and tell the truth about this and far greater deceptions. Don't believe me though, I'm a nobody, but maybe check out some of John Lear's interviews on this particular game subject. (gotta bring it back to the game or the moderators will zap me ) I think he has reasonable credentials to speak on the subject:

John Lear, retired airline captain, with over 19,000 hours of flight-time, has flown in over 100 different types of planes in 60 different counties around the world.

Son of Lear Jet inventor, Bill Lear, John is the only pilot to hold every FAA airplane certificate, to include airplane transport rating, flight instructor, ground instructor, flight navigator, engineer, aircraft dispatcher, airframe powerplant mechanic, parachute rigger, and tower operator.

He flew secret missions for the CIA in Central and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa between 1966 and 1983. He has flown as Captain and check pilot for over 10 different airlines.

John held 17 world records including speed around the world in a Lear Jet Model 24, set in 1966. He was presented with the PATCO award for outstanding airmanship in 1968, and the Symons Wave memorial. He was the youngest American to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland in 1959 and in the 1970's owned and skippered the Americas Cup boat, the Soliloquy, out of Marina Del Rey.

In 1968, John raced a Douglas B26 Invader in the unlimited class at the Reno air races.

He was a Senior Vice Commander of the China Post 1, the American Legion Post for Soldiers of Fortune. He is a 20 year member of the special operations Association.

In 1988, John met and became friends with Bob Lazar, the government scientist who worked on the back-engineering of the propulsion system of the extraterrestrial UFOs at area S-4. That's just outside the infamous and ultrasecret Area 51.

In March 1989, Lazar took John to an area close to Rachel Nevada where he witnessed the flight of a flying saucer at the exact time Lazar told him it would occur.

Two weeks later on another UFO spying mission, John, Lazar and 3 others were caught by security forces - (that's CAUGHT folks) - and the next day, - the very next day - Lazar lost his job at the government program for that breach of security. Lazar has been branded by many as a fraud, a charge to which John responds, " Those who say that Lazar was a fraud simply don't know the facts of this incredible 12 month period. I was there - they weren't."

During the late 1980's, John tracked down and found the Army Intelligence Analyst who read, probably by accident, the U.S. government report Grudge 13, which documented the history of the U.S. UFO coverup and details of saucer recoveries, disposition of their occupants, and handling (That's HANDLING) of civilian witnesses.

The report included clear photographs of these recovered extraterrestrial craft and beings - (That's BEINGS) found inside. It further detailed how recoveries were made worldwide and specially designed transports to accommodate the craft.

John spent time poking around other UFO related areas to include Dulce, Secora, Aztec, Alamagorda, Albuquerque, Los Alamos and Bentwaters airbase near London.

Since that time, John has learned many incredible and interesting facts about the solar system and planets including the existence of huge structures, arches, bridges and domes on the moon, cities on Mars, huge extraterrestrial ships mining the rings of Saturn, the incredible but secret agenda of Apollo 17, to the huge rectangular opening in the south massif of the Taurus-Littrow Highlands called Nansen.

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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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Well, if nothing else, having many different national / corporate space agencies & enterprises would help answer any questions that skeptics might have, as the more people & organizations involved, the more difficult it is to keep something secret from the public. So I recommend playing more games of High Frontier (especially the Extended Game) and exploring the Solar System and gathering scientific and commercial knowledge to help advance science (physics, biogeochemistry, electrical engineering, etc.) for future generations.
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Snowman wrote:
Since that time, John has learned many incredible and interesting facts about the solar system and planets including the existence of huge structures, arches, bridges and domes on the moon, cities on Mars, huge extraterrestrial ships mining the rings of Saturn, the incredible but secret agenda of Apollo 17, to the huge rectangular opening in the south massif of the Taurus-Littrow Highlands called Nansen.

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David
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Asur wrote:
Snowman wrote:
Since that time, John has learned many incredible and interesting facts about the solar system and planets including the existence of huge structures, arches, bridges and domes on the moon, cities on Mars, huge extraterrestrial ships mining the rings of Saturn, the incredible but secret agenda of Apollo 17, to the huge rectangular opening in the south massif of the Taurus-Littrow Highlands called Nansen.


I agree entirely. Most people are totally programmed by the television. It's been a tool of the global elite to keep humanity apathetic and in a false reality. Nice one.
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You totally got my point! whistle
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David
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Asur wrote:
You totally got my point! whistle

Sure did, your picture couldn't have said it better, but for all the others "there is far more to this world than taught in our schools, shown in the media, or proclaimed by the church and state. Most of mankind lives in a hypnotic trance, taking to be reality what is instead a twisted simulacrum of reality, a collective dream in which values are inverted, lies are taken as truth, and tyranny is accepted as security. They enjoy their ignorance and cling tightly to the misery that gives them identity." from Montalk.net
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Andrew Laws
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If you are indeed being serious I have a question that always comes up when people start talking about monstrous conspiracies uncovered by the determined efforts of a lone wolf of truth, in this case John Lear.

Why don't the protectors of the monstrous conspiracy just shoot him in the face?

They don't even have to fake his death in a car accident or anything. They could just get one of their implacable automatons with those earpieces to shoot him in the face. I mean if they're going to such lengths to build secret bases on the moon and cover up alien crash landings it's probably not a good idea for them to let John go round telling everyone about it.

Maybe it just slipped down their to-do list.

It ain't easy keeping the literally dozens of manned space flights required to build moon bases completely and utterly secret. I guess they just blew up those two space shuttles as a smokescreen, then no-one would know how advanced they really are, yeah that's it.

Oooooh this is fun I could really get into this.

EDIT: typo.
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David
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Lone wolf of truth? Comeon. There are hundreds of respected people now showing the courage around the world to step forward. I only cited one lone wolf, there are thousands. You don't see this on mainstream media, because mainstream media is a tool of the shadow government. If you spend some time doing some research, and thankfully youtube is still available, you will find many respected and highly qualified people saying the same things. By the way, they do shoot people, ever heard of JFK? Anyway, I could get into this to, but I think we will be booted off this forum, I keep getting a polite message from the admin when this topic comes up in a games forum

Oh, I see you are from Canada:

 
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Andrew Laws
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Snowman wrote:
If you spend some time doing some research, and thankfully youtube is still available, you will find many respected and highly qualified people saying the same things.


Watching Youtube is not research. Youtube is TV for people who already know what they believe and are seeking to confirm it. It allows perfect self-selection of exposure to opinion. Nothing more.

You didn't answer my question, but I suspected you wouldn't.

Hang on though, why would the Shadow Government even let us have youtube, why would they allow the former Defence Minister to speak and blow the lid on the fact "decades ago beings from another world visited us and warned us about the direction we were heading.."? If, and it's a very big if, they can shoot JFK, the most powerful man in the world, why would they bat an eyelid over John Lear, or even..you.

The problem with your conspiracy theory, and the problem with every conspiracy theory (most of which are broadly the same) is the Problem of Total Mastery; the entity that is seeking to enslave/dupe/or otherwise control us (shadow Government) has such complete control of the situation that they are able to hide alien contact, the development of alien technology, conceal lunar bases on the moon from allies and enemies, and somehow launch multiple missions from the earth without ANYBODY noticing. They are able to murder presidents and control a secret army of agents that are both utterly secret unquestionably loyal, and YET, and YET, they can't stop old John Lear from compiling a devastating dossier of 'evidence' on their activities and from telling everyone who has Youtube about their monstrous plan.

You think that they sit in their hollowed-out mountain lair and plot secret lunar missions from the fake lake below (like out of that James Bond film remember) and just bang their fists against desks and shout; "We may have enslaved all humanity and duped them with our hidden lunar bases and not ONE of our agents has let a single peep slip in many decades of SHADOW GOVERNMENT but we still can't silence John Lear!"

Do you honestly think they could have such total mastery of every element of the situation, and at the same time couldn't stop people like yourself and John Lear from telling people about it?

Really?

If you think that it is possible, WHY are you revealing their evil plan? That would put you in very real and immediate danger wouldn't it?

Unless, you didn't REALLY believe it was true...

Please try to respond by addressing what I've said rather than ignoring it and posting more youtube videos.


EDIT: Bloody Spelling..
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Please take this off-topic discussion to another forum. It does not belong in this one.

Thank you.
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macron wrote:
Please take this off-topic discussion to another forum. It does not belong in this one.

Thank you.


Sure it does!
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David
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
Snowman wrote:
If you spend some time doing some research, and thankfully youtube is still available, you will find many respected and highly qualified people saying the same things.


Watching Youtube is not research. Youtube is TV for people who already know what they believe and are seeking to confirm it. It allows perfect self-selection of exposure to opinion. Nothing more.

You didn't answer my question, but I suspected you wouldn't.

Hang on though, why would the Shadow Government even let us have youtube, why would they allow the former Defence Minister to speak and blow the lid on the fact "decades ago beings from another world visited us and warned us about the direction we were heading.."? If, and it's a very big if, they can shoot JFK, the most powerful man in the world, why would they bat an eyelid over John Lear, or even..you.

The problem with your conspiracy theory, and the problem with every conspiracy theory (most of which are broadly the same) is the Problem of Total Mastery; the entity that is seeking to enslave/dupe/or otherwise control us (shadow Government) has such complete control of the situation that they are able to hide alien contact, the development of alien technology, conceal lunar bases on the moon from allies and enemies, and somehow launch multiple missions from the earth without ANYBODY noticing. They are able to murder presidents and control a secret army of agents that are both utterly secret unquestionably loyal, and YET, and YET, they can't stop old John Lear from compiling a devastating dossier of 'evidence' on their activities and from telling everyone who has Youtube about their monstrous plan.

You think that they sit in their hollowed-out mountain lair and plot secret lunar missions from the fake lake below (like out of that James Bond film remember) and just bang their fists against desks and shout; "We may have enslaved all humanity and duped them with our hidden lunar bases and not ONE of our agents has let a single peep slip in many decades of SHADOW GOVERNMENT but we still can't silence John Lear!"

Do you honestly think they could have such total mastery of every element of the situation, and at the same time couldn't stop people like yourself and John Lear from telling people about it?

Really?

If you think that it is possible, WHY are you revealing their evil plan? That would put you in very real and immediate danger wouldn't it?

Unless, you didn't REALLY believe it was true...

Please try to respond by addressing what I've said rather than ignoring it and posting more youtube videos.

EDIT: Bloody Spelling..

"Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over ignorance"

I perfectly understand your disbelief regarding these views and respect your opinion. Let's agree to disagree and enjoy our venture into space via High Frontier
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