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Subject: New to the Game - Best way to start? rss

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Scott Arnone
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Hi all!

So, I'm totally new to the game, but jumped on the KS (thanks to reading the Expanse books at the time) and am expecting my copy to arrive sometime today. I spent yesterday reading the linked PDF rules (which I know are slightly out of date. Anything of note I should re-read?) and was wondering what the best way to start playing is?

Is just basic bare-bones Basic game the way to go? Or is adding slingshots right from the getgo advised? Basically, what from Colonization, if anything, should I include right from the first game?

Thanks in advance!
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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InkSplat wrote:
Hi all!

So, I'm totally new to the game, but jumped on the KS (thanks to reading the Expanse books at the time) and am expecting my copy to arrive sometime today. I spent yesterday reading the linked PDF rules (which I know are slightly out of date. Anything of note I should re-read?) and was wondering what the best way to start playing is?

Is just basic bare-bones Basic game the way to go? Or is adding slingshots right from the getgo advised? Basically, what from Colonization, if anything, should I include right from the first game?

Thanks in advance!


There is a READ ME FIRST book that introduces and provides a walkthrough. Guessing you should READ THAT FIRST
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Scott Arnone
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klkitchens wrote:
InkSplat wrote:
Hi all!

So, I'm totally new to the game, but jumped on the KS (thanks to reading the Expanse books at the time) and am expecting my copy to arrive sometime today. I spent yesterday reading the linked PDF rules (which I know are slightly out of date. Anything of note I should re-read?) and was wondering what the best way to start playing is?

Is just basic bare-bones Basic game the way to go? Or is adding slingshots right from the getgo advised? Basically, what from Colonization, if anything, should I include right from the first game?

Thanks in advance!


There is a READ ME FIRST book that introduces and provides a walkthrough. Guessing you should READ THAT FIRST


I did. But thanks for being a condescending prick!
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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InkSplat wrote:
klkitchens wrote:
InkSplat wrote:
Hi all!

So, I'm totally new to the game, but jumped on the KS (thanks to reading the Expanse books at the time) and am expecting my copy to arrive sometime today. I spent yesterday reading the linked PDF rules (which I know are slightly out of date. Anything of note I should re-read?) and was wondering what the best way to start playing is?

Is just basic bare-bones Basic game the way to go? Or is adding slingshots right from the getgo advised? Basically, what from Colonization, if anything, should I include right from the first game?

Thanks in advance!


There is a READ ME FIRST book that introduces and provides a walkthrough. Guessing you should READ THAT FIRST


I did. But thanks for being a condescending prick!


Wow... hair trigger there. shake

I was genuinely trying to be helpful. You did not indicate you'd found or read that specific book, so I was letting you know it was included. You only claimed to have read some "linked PDFs" and failed to let people know what you'd actually read.

So I'll just make a note that you're going to jump down the throat of someone who is not a mind reader who tries to help you. And won't try to help you anymore.
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Cole Wehrle
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I haven't had a chance to really dig into the 3e rules, but I've taught HF 2e several times.

My favorite way to teach the game is 1 on 1 where over the course of a single 4 hour session we gradually fold in all of the rules (even bernals/advanced freighters/colonists/new futures!). This means the rules are constantly changing over the course of the game. So we only use the basic rules until the new player makes his first factory and then we shift to the full ship parts etc. By the end of the session the new player is usually ready to go.

However, this teaching method existed because I was trying to quickly catch new players up to my usual HF group which had been playing the game since its release. If I had a full group of new players I would encourage following a very slow progression through the modules. If the "basic game" is still in the rules/cards then use that. It's extremely simple but does a good job teaching the core of the game. As soon as the players can complete a game in ~2 hours or less then add a couple more rules.
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Paweł Bedz
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
However, this teaching method existed because I was trying to quickly catch new players up to my usual HF group which had been playing the game since its release. If I had a full group of new players I would encourage following a very slow progression through the modules. If the "basic game" is still in the rules/cards then use that. It's extremely simple but does a good job teaching the core of the game. As soon as the players can complete a game in ~2 hours or less then add a couple more rules.

As Cole said (and he knows what he is saying... sometimes - Pax Pamir explanation anyone? ;P )
Stick to the basic rules, do not use any modules. And watch Rahdo playing HF He should give you some idea how to play. Some things changed since that video, but it still is great video showing basic rules.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM7ZmSaJ8IU
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Simon Skov
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I would say feel free to add slingshots and moon boosts if you like, they are very simple, but otherwise I would advise you to not add anything from colonization until you've played a few games (or a lot). Once you feel like you want to add more stuff, the supports module is where it's at. Makes building your rocket a whole different ball-game.
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Mark Blanco
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As someone who is brand new to High Frontier, I'd like to say that the "Read this First" Training Guide is very tough to understand in some places. What I would recommend (it's what I'm currently doing), is to have the "Colonization" guide with you as you read the Training Guide.

A quick example...the training guide talks about the Thrust Triangle on certain cards, but does not explain it's anatomy. That's explained over in the Basic Game Rules section of the Colonization Guide. There's other examples...but I'm having more success understanding things when I use the Colonization guide to look up something not explained in the Training Guide.

There's also parts of the training guide that will say something "as indicated" and the "indication" of a photo just isn't there or doesn't match what's being talked about. "Place 2 blue disks on the fuel strip as indicated"...and then there is a picture of a fuel strip player board with no tokens on it.

EDIT - Another thing that threw me for 30 minutes was the issue of the "blue beads" are simply an alternate token for "blue disks". This is mentioned nowhere in the documentation (that I found). I found the answer over in another BGG thread. It was very confusing having the "Read this First" guide tell you to setup by adding 4 blue water "beads" (and shows a pic of beads), and then from that point on refer to "blue disks" and make no mention that they are the same thing.

tl/dr "Use the Colonization guide to look up something not explained in enough detail in the Training Guide."

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Dom Rougier
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When I was learning this, I used the Basic Rules, with Moon boosts, aerobraking and gravity assists - they didn't seem to add too much complexity for the payoff.

In terms of "how to get started" in general - High Frontier is a difficult game. I don't honestly think it's massively complicated, but the decision tree is vast, and it rewards long term planning... which is a huge ask of someone who hasn't played the game before.

It's advisable, then, that the first game or so is played somewhat cooperatively, and it might even be worth setting a hard time limit, since the game will take longer with less competent players (it will take longer to make 7 factories). When you know what you're doing, the Basic game should take 90-120 minutes or so, but it won't the first time you play.

Launching a successful mission is a "victory" at this stage, since it involves understanding the bulk of the rules, and applying them.


High Frontier has a narrative arc over three phases. The early stage is mostly Earth-bound, bidding on technologies. In the basic game this is pretty dull - the nuance only appears here with the support cards - so it might be worth using the Idea Turn rules to get past this as soon as possible.

The second phase is where you limp out to another site with your white-sided rockets, and try to make the first factory. This is where the movement system must be learned.

Third phase is usually a dash to the finish line with black-sided rockets, and an attempt to found the second factory. All else being equal, it will be the more valuable factories and extra VP from Glory and Ventures that will decide the game.


In practice, all of the above can be subverted, but consider it a default.

I usually split the operations into "Earth" operations (Income, Research, Sell, Boost) and "Space" operations (Refuel, Prospect, Industrialise, Produce). I teach the "Earth" operations first in order, and then the space operations. The movement and fuel I leave until last, since it's the most intimidating part, and I think it's useful to know what you are trying to achieve before you actually do it.
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Adam Gastonguay
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This is all great advice.

I started by playing Basic two handed. I didn't fight over auctions and yeah, played "co-op" in the fact that it was "Let's just see which hand can land on a planet."

Then I added Supports.

Then I added Bernals.

Then Colonists.

Then everything else.

Then I never looked back and have never thought about a game more than this one.

You can see a full playthough of a solitaire game of the CEO solitaire variant at verywordy.wordpress.com with pictures and everything that, while it uses all the bells and whistles, also makes mentions of thought processes as to WHY things are being done, and what you would do with multiple players and such. It's fairly comprehensive and I was trying to make it so beginners could follow along and see a whole game in its full glory. And heck, I actually won this particular game (by the skin of my teeth, but darnit, I did it!)!
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Pawel Garycki
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When you are familiar with the basic game, the rest will become astoundingly easy - since the most difficult part in reality is planning missions, not obeying rules. Rules as such are only depicting the real world so they are very logical and straightforward once you see the picture. The hunger for inclusion of new stuff will only rise as you consume more and more modules.
Until you end up settling a fourth Interstellar colony after some legacy Interstellar planet hops, predecessed with a starshot out of the Exploration game with some Visions' technology demonstrations and using advanced CEO variant rules. And all of these in a game chain of Bios: Genesis, Megafauna and Origins. And looking forward to the publication of Pax Galactic...
This is what happened to me. Just play the basic game, explore many possibilities even at the cost of losing the game. You only prepare yourself for the full conent.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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Its for 2nd edition, but this is an overview of your path to learning.

I haven't gotten my copy of High Frontier 3e, and am knee deep in playtesting Bios Megafauana 2 so couldn't look into it even if it did come today, but I suspect the 2e advice will still hold:

First, start with the basic game and get comfortable with how rocket stack construction and movement works.

Then start adding in parts of the advanced game (for example, start with adding in the advanced game parts where you need generators, radiators, and reactors that supplement your thrusters, robonauts, and refineries).

Since you are only adding in small bits at a time, you should be able to get a hand of each bit in a game.

If you do decide to go into a full rule set game right away, spend some time rereading the rules with all the bits set out. As you read a rule section, set up a sample set of situations and play through them to reinforce them - then, once you get it down, move on to the next section.

I'd put the basic game at below War of the Ring or [i]Dominant Species[/i[ to learn, but advance rules quickly put it well ahead of these games in complexity (both in terms of the rules and decisions in game).

Good luck, and I hope you get a lot of wonderful plays out of the game!
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Wikiro Trio
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Wow the OP jumped the gun on that one. This isn't your typical forum people here, for the most part, are genuinely nice. Thanks for posting this though. You guys are all a great help.
 
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Greg Love
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Con Descending. Wasn't he a Greek parachutist?
Con...descending....Ok, I'll leave now.

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Wikiro Trio
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After reading the Read This First Book it's safe to say Don't Read It. Read Colonization. The training book doesn't even tell you what the game is about.
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