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Subject: First game with Colonisation rss

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Dom Rougier
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Bristol
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Some brief notes on our first two player game of Colonisation with the published components, all modules switched on. It's incredible to see how far it's come.

The game itself was a pretty one-sided 26-80 (!) - I was more familiar with the flow of the expansion, so that's to be expected for the moment.

I was the PRC, and drew the Heavy Water Survivalist's early on - the future of their promoted side requires three colonists in space and the politics to be in War, so this seemed to suit the nationalists well.

NASA was fairly quick to get up and running, whilst I struggled to get a working rocket together. They were heading straight for Ganymede, and were focusing heavily on S rocket parts. I managed to work my way over to a C site in the Vesta group (which is a pretty good location for a promoted bernal, having multiple dirtsides of different letters, and enough water to make things interesting.)

We were running pretty even up to this point, as has been the case with our legacy games - it's often down to the wire, and a single failed mission can make all the difference in the end. I went on to industrialise Vesta, and started to pull ahead. NASA was struggling with Space debris hitting his unpromoted Bernal, whilst I used my V-factory to produce a GW thruster, and hunt for a viable D-class world - blackening Deimos in the first instance, before finding a viable passing comet.

NASA at this point started floundering without direction - they founded a second factory on an M world, but couldn't pull together enough to actually be a threat. High Frontier is all about the long term planning, and if you don't know what you're aiming for, it's hard to make decent decisions in the short term. Somewhere at this stage I managed to push the politics into War, where it remained for the duration.

I needed to found a push factory to get my solar-supported Bernal into the Vesta group, and was planning for Mercury with a mix of Gigawatt thruster and Solar sail, but miscalculated by a single step. Finding a small V trojan to refuel on, I worked out that Io would be possible - selling some black cards at LEO for cash, I set up my push factory there, allowing my Bernal to relocate into the asteroid belt.

The endgame was flying my rocket to Halley's comet with the Heavy Water Survivalists, industrialising and promoting them to the New Attica Secessionists - then recruiting and boosting two more colonists, and successfully seceding from the unfair taxation and tyranny of Earth.

Afterwards, I introduced my opponent to the rules for Interstellar, and I guided him through a game using the cards I ended up with (since I had promoted my thruster to the Terrawatt side before the game ended). That ended in disaster and mass death due to a sudden plague of Alzheimer's, with the fate on the ship relying on the rapidly ageing Vatican Observers to repopulate the ship... needless to say they weren't up to the task, and the expedition was a complete failure.

Total game time for Colonisation was a very happy two and a half hours, three if you include going over the rules for the modules. Interstellar lasted an hour, which has been a fairly typical for me with the newest ruleset.

All of the component parts work really well. The expansion adds complexity to an already complicated game, which is not going to work for everybody, but the overall feel of an exponentially accelerating race is still very present, only Colonisation takes it much, much further. It's amazing to be able to explore the entire map by the end of the game, whilst GW thrusters are sufficiently awkward to not invalidate the original black-side thrusters from the game. The freighter rules are sensible and add interest to a neglected aspect of the game, and the Bernal/Colonist management adds a feeling of infrastructure building to the game.
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Calavera Despierta
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Tucson
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You mentioned Interstellar - is that the optional rules and map available on the Yahoo group or did Phil end up including it as an option in Colonization?
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Dom Rougier
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That's with the rules from the Yahoo group, and the poster map from Zazzle. The newest version, with the single die roll to determine multiple events (which speeds up the game immeasurably.)

I was really impressed with how short both games ended up being. I was expecting Colonisation to add at least an hour or two or the playing time, but this wasn't the case at all.

I imagine it's still possible for this to drag out - I've had at least one mammoth game of High Frontier where the politics went to anti-nuke, and set everyone else back for a couple of hours - but everything hangs together well, and nothing is superfluous.


The main issue that I can see with Colonisation is that the modules add a *lot* of extra rules and exceptions - A Bernal being able to move like a rocket, (but with mass up to 20), a bernal can "factory refuel" from LEO (but not orange's nuclear bernal), and they can factory-assist land (but only at size 1 sites), etc.

This wasn't a problem with my opponent, since we've played a ton of High Frontier, so the extra pieces aren't massively more complicated... but it does make the initial buy-in pretty steep. I don't know how many games it would take to get someone from the basic game to a fully expanded one.

Still, the modules are not required and are, well, modular. That makes Colonisation essential in my opinion - it completes the base game, and that would have been more than worth it for me.
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Dom Rougier
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Played another two-player game last night, still one-sided, but less so than the previous game. I think it's just going to take a while to get him up to speed.

In the previous game, he was hampered by Space Debris knocking out cards in his Bernal stack (not promoting it until very late in the game. This game, he didn't boost his colonists into space very much, so I was taking two actions for every one of his.

The playing time was, again, almost exactly two and a half hours. Obviously it would be longer with more players, but this is a very reasonable timeframe for something of this complexity.
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