We had a 5 player game of High Frontier scheduled for Sunday morning at BGG.CON, but 2 had to drop out and 1 was a no show.
But, I wasn't about to let my Zazzle map go unused!!
We had 3 players for High Frontier: Sean (daehtloeht), my brother Jeff (Proffejor on BGG and new to the game) and myself. I was the UN, Jeff was NASA, and Sean was the Japanese. We used the accelerated startup with 1 of each module and support (course that meant that Jeff and I couldn't start any auctions).
I started off with a 1/0 solar craft and a slightly heavy robonaut and set course quickly for Venus while Japan and NASA were busy putting together large, slow ships for runs to the mid-system bodies... or so I thought. My solar sail disintegrated on approach to Venus but my robonaut landed safely and ready to claim Venus for the UN, but couldn't do so without an e-type generator (which I had waiting in LEO). So, I decommissioned my solar sail, reboosted it into LEO and set off again for Venus with generator in tow.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Only, much, much, much later did I realize, while I was laughing at NASA for trying to claim a waterless Eureka, that Venus was also waterless and that my claim disk and factory that I had just built were illegal (and not in the felonious action kind of way) and had to remove them. Luckily, my ET factory's black-side radiator (I think) product had not yet been utilized or else I would have broken the game.
Japan and NASA, at this time, were still piecing together large rockets with several heavy components and not enough water to use them.
With them so distracted, I acquired a de Laval Nozzle and Project Orion reactor and shot off to MARS with my newly acquired toy. Crew, buggy robonaut and an e-type refinery (my soon to be reacquired e-type generator was on Venus), but I wanted to claim my second inner-system Roman God and deny it to my Earth-bound competitors. I claimed the two sites I could, outposted everything I didn't need for Venus industrialization (including Matt Damon), decommissioned my Orion powered DeLaval thruster and made ready to re-boost and industrialize Venus.
In the meantime, Japan had used their raygun robonaut to prospect several mid-system asteroids in one trip and setup a C factory on one of them in the next. His black side product began the slow freighter ride to earth while his rocket went in search of new worlds to conquer.
NASA, on the other hand, had won an election and pushed the world into Anarchy. He decided that Venus was rightfully his and slowly pushed his large "kitchen sink" (as in, "everything, including the") rocket in that direction. Halfway there, there was a glitch in his carefully structured rocket that destroyed his radiator and, without the ability to radiate his therms, he had to decommission half of the rocket and return to LEO for the radiator. Ouch!
One more try at the Lovely Roman Goddess saw NASA's entire rocket dissolve in the acid of Her halo. He gave up on Her at that final rejection. At that point, a thoroughly dejected US Ambassador to the UN and the UN Secretary General got into a shouting match on the floor of the UN over the brutal nature of, and mankind's disastrous history with, space exploration (brothers, amiright?).
It was then that I carried the final piece of my Venutian factory puzzle to the bosom of Her acidic embrace and built my phenomenal aerostat structure. It was a sight to behold, up in the clouds, resisting both radiation and acid in the heights and churning out a black side product. NASA had overcome his grief at the loss of his craft and set out to Eureka to claim and industrialize it; only to be told by the UN that only an advanced robonaut with a 0 ISRU could claim it.
John: "Just like, ah, Ven..., oh, shit. I couldn't possibly have claimed Venus. Which also means that I couldn't have built a factory there. Which also means that I lose my VPs, my WT for claiming it from my UN ability and my black-side card. All that work for nothing!!!"
Hi ho. Hi ho. Back to Mars and Matt Damon I go.
On this journey to Mars I lose my e-type generator to yet another glitch. No problem I figure: I will get to Mars, outpost the e-type robonaut with it's companion e-type refinery, pick up Matt Damon and take him home for the easy VPs. Once in LEO, reboost the generator, tow it to Mars and squeeze out more VP for the win as the age of High Frontierism is about to end (we were running out of time on Sunday).
All goes well and I return Matt Damon to Earth to teach space survival and crack lame jokes at some school. I'm poor by this point and only have the one card in hand (my e-type generator). I auction off some goods and sell some products to the space market to earn some much needed WT. NASA at this point has built his first V spectral factory in the far reaches of the inner solar system, so I am behind in VP for the time being. But, next turn I can reboost my 4 mass generator and fuel the Orion deLaval for it's triumphant return to the Red Planet and my High Frontier TRIUMPH!!!
And then, in their infinite wisdom, the World Council, or Illuminati Cabal, or some god-damn planetary bookkeeper decides to cut my budget. So long e-type Generator that has been in my stable since Day 1. So long factory on Mars and 8 VP. So long dignity. So long High Frontier Triumph. So long Matt Damon.
Japan - 1 'C' Factory and 2 claims = 12 VP
NASA - 1 'V' Factory and 1 claim = 11 VP
UN - 2 Mars claims and 2 VP for manned mission to Mars = 4 VP