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High Frontier (Third Edition)» Forums » Rules

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Aaron Quesnel

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This has got to be the worst rule set, ever (and I was one of the suckers that bought Moral Conflict 1941!). What few pictures there are really provide no help, nothing really to help as far as player board organization maybe that's because of the whole clear bead clear disk issue. Lots of "as indicated" statements with nothing indicated? Are the clear (transparent) blue disks and the transparent water beads all the same thing? And can they be interchanged when noted in the rules?

I tried to read over the confusing basic rules figuring maybe it will make sense if I go a bit further..nope. Tried reading the training guide along with the colonization guide combined...frusterating. Maybe it's just me although I'd like to think not. Pleeeze someone better than me make a tutorial video.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Well, at least you got a third edition of them. 1.0 and 2.0 were enough to sink me.
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Chris Tannhauser
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STRAP IN » BURN ON » BLACK OUT
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That's High Frontier!
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Doug Adams
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I recall a hilarious file here somewhere that taught the game by equating the player mat to Brian May's guitar, or something. That actually did a pretty good job of getting you up and playing.
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chuckster williams
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It's my understanding the disks and the beads are the same thing. Some play testers complained you couldn't stack the beads. Therefore, the disks were included after the rule book had been completed. I actually read this somewhere, but I can't remember where.
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Francisco Colmenares
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phuloivet wrote:
It's my understanding the disks and the beads are the same thing. Some play testers complained you couldn't stack the beads. Therefore, the disks were included after the rule book had been completed. I actually read this somewhere, but I can't remember where.

It was in a KS update.
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Robert Fox
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The rules can be dense because of the hard science nature of the game, but it isn't particularly hard in practice. The player boards are greatly simplified in 3rd edition so that should help.

Ideally, just try to use the basic rules (none of the modules) and put together a few rockets ignoring bidding and such. Put the thing in LEO, then try to see where it can go given various fuel loads.

Once you get comfortable zooming around the inner solar system try to get a factory landed, then get the black card delivered to LEO.

After you accomplish the above, do the same thing with the support cards and advanced movement options (slingshots and such). This time try to produce a rocket with black upgrades that can get out to the edges of the solar system.

Once you do the above, everything else is easy. Well, easy enough to understand. It gets much harder once you are competing with others for rocket parts. Then, you get the fun of pasting together Kerbalish affronts to science and sling them awkwardly into the abyss, inevitably succumbing to the dreaded danger die within sight of your goal.
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Francisco Colmenares
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FuManchu wrote:
Then, you get the fun of pasting together Kerbalish affronts to science and sling them awkwardly into the abyss, inevitably succumbing to the dreaded danger die within sight of your goal.

That pretty much sums up High Frontier.
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Eric L
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FuManchu wrote:
The rules can be dense because of the hard science nature of the game, but it isn't particularly hard in practice. The player boards are greatly simplified in 3rd edition so that should help.

Ideally, just try to use the basic rules (none of the modules) and put together a few rockets ignoring bidding and such. Put the thing in LEO, then try to see where it can go given various fuel loads.

Once you get comfortable zooming around the inner solar system try to get a factory landed, then get the black card delivered to LEO.


I'm with the op, I'm struggling. Nothing to do with the science as you suggest. The rules are unclear and vague. I am unable to "see where a rocket can go" as the rules for going anywhere do not make sense to me. I am reading the rules, reading about Thrust Movement Points and I do not know what they do or are for. How are they tracked/spent? Relationship to burns? Etc. Stuck a bit here.
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Stephen Vaughn
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Unlike many HF players, I never played a previous version before the 3rd Ed arrived at my door a few days ago. Now I'm used to dense and crunchy rules since I've been playing wargames since the 70's. And quite honestly though there are a lot of rules here in HF, the overall difficulty is not nearly as high as many old-school wargames.

Here's what I did, and here are my suggestions to people having difficulty with the rules.

1) Read the training guide all the way through. There are going to be some things that don't make sense right away. That's fine. You're getting a feeling for the flow of the game and how things happen.

2) Go through pass #2 on the training guide. This time have the maps, pieces, and cards available. Follow along and step through things. See how the mass and fuel rules work. See how the Lagrange points and Hohmann pivots control not only where you can go, but how much time it takes and how expensive it is to move around (or how you can take cheap shortcuts). Do you need another pass on #1 and #2? Do it! Take the time to go through these two steps again if needed.

3) Read through the full Basic rules in the Colonization rulebook.

4) Set up a solo walkthrough with a single company. Feel free to cheat a bit...give yourself plenty of WTs so you aren't wasting time with income, after doing a mission give yourself different cards to see how the different values change what you can do on the same mission. See how the gameflow goes from planning through prep to execution. Don't stress about things, everything you need is actually in the rulebooks. If you're not getting a rule and are getting frustrated, just slow down, take things in context, and go through it slowly. I found the combination of the Training rules and the Basic rules were more than sufficient to impart the core rules. When I had problems it was because I was rushing, wasn't reading carefully enough, and I was making assumptions about how certain systems worked rather than carefully reading the rules on how they actually worked.

I'm still a complete newbie since I've not had time to grok the overall strategy of the game yet since I've not played against anyone, but I feel very confident that I know how to get successful missions to the inner planets. Given more time and more familiarity, I'm sure I'll be flinging expeditions to the outer reaches of the Solar System soon enough.
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Matt Watkins
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ludyee wrote:
I'm with the op, I'm struggling. Nothing to do with the science as you suggest. The rules are unclear and vague. I am unable to "see where a rocket can go" as the rules for going anywhere do not make sense to me. I am reading the rules, reading about Thrust Movement Points and I do not know what they do or are for. How are they tracked/spent? Relationship to burns? Etc. Stuck a bit here.


I wrote up a movement example for the 3rd edition many moons ago. You might find it helpful.
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Will H.
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dougadamsau wrote:
I recall a hilarious file here somewhere that taught the game by equating the player mat to Brian May's guitar, or something. That actually did a pretty good job of getting you up and playing.


Well worth reading if you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, or how... (Written for 2nd edition--but should not really matter.)

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/60457/high-frontier-walkt...
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Dom Rougier
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High Frontier in five minutes:

You are playing competing space agencies, racing to discover and exploit the resources of the solar system.

You will research technologies (cards), build rockets and build factories on extraterrestial sites (the hexagons on the map). These factories will give you the ability to build more advanced technologies (the black side of the cards), which will make founding a second factory much eaiser. When seven factories in total (or less, player number depending) are created, the game will end.

Factories make the bulk of your victory points, but there are ways of scoring bonus points along the way.

Each turn you can perform an operation and move a rocket, if you have one. You can do this in either order.

There are eight operations, four can be performed from Earth, and four can be performed when your rocket is on an extraterrestrial site.

(1) Earth operations:

Income gets you more money (considered to be water tanks in low earth orbit, so this is both money and propellant.)

You use water tanks to Research cards and get them into your hand - this is a bidding process with all players.

Unwanted cards in your hand or LEO can be sold on the Free Market (There aren't too many reasons to sell white cards in the basic game, but it's important later)

Cards in your hand can be Boosted into space for large amounts of money, moving them to the low earth orbit stack on the player mat.


Once cards are in space, they can be moved around the board with various rules. Since these are more complex, I'll describe them last.



*** Definition of a site: ***

Sites are hexagons, and represent planets, asteroids, moons and comets. Sites will all have a number, a letter and a number of water droplets. Some of them are also coloured, but this isn't relevant to the basic game.

The number is the site's size. Larger sizes means that you're more likely to find useful resources, but larger gravity will make this harder to land and leave.

The letter is the site's spectral type - the rarity of the resources you may find there. C are common, S are more valuable, M V and D are rarer. These typically produce better high-tech cards and are usually worth more victory points, but are often harder to reach.

Water droplets are the ease of abundance of water on the site - fewer water drops means that this is harder, and more sophisticated technology is required to extract it for the purposes of fuelling and prospecting.


(2) Space operations:

When a rocket reaches a site they can attempt to Prospect for resources with crew and robonaut cards with an ISRU rating equal or better (lower) than the site's water drop. This is easier the larger the site is. Successful prospecting lets you "claim" a site.

When a rocket is on a site, they can Refuel, based on the ISRU rating of the rocket and the site's water drops (1 + Water - ISRU, so 4 water drops and 4 ISRU = 1 Water tank of fuel)

If you have managed to lug a robonaut and a (really) heavy refinery to a prospected site, they can decommission (discard back to hand) them to Industrialise and create a factory.

If you have a Factory, you can Produce advanced and efficient black-sided cards in-situ, which can later be transported, sold or used to prospect and industrialise other sites in the solar system, at an increased rate.


*** Thrusters ***

Thrusters (and missile robonauts) all have a triangle on the card, with two or three numbers.

A crew cards could have 9.6 10.8 (EDIT - got the new crew card values wrong) with an afterburner of 2. This means that you have a thrust of 9 10 (very high, high numbers are good), and efficiency of 6 8 (very bad - low numbers are good) and an afterburner, which allows for additional thrust at the cost of fuel. They may also have a solar modifier and a beamed power symbol, which can also add to their thrust.

The rocket is recorded on the player mat, and has a dry mass (the total mass of all cards in the rocket) and a wet mass (the dry, plus the amount of propellant in the rocket), which you indicate with tokens on the mat.

Loading propellant onto a rocket moves the wet mass figure to the right of the diagram, following the arrows. Burning fuel during movement shifts it to the left. This means that refuelling will "jump" several steps, but expending the fuel will typically follow a longer, zig-zag path.

Thrust is modified by the total mass of your rocket, as written on the fuel diagram. It also can be modified with Afterburners, Beamed Power, and Solar power. Thrust determines what sites you can land on (you need to be able to beat gravity), and how many burns you can make during a turn.

Efficiency is incredibly important, since low mass is everything, and efficient rockets need to carry less mass in fuel.


(3) Movement:

Before or after moving, cards may be moved freely between stacks occupying the same location - so you can take cards from Low Earth Orbit to or from a rocket miniature in LEO, or drop off components as an outpost anywhere on the map.

The map is covered in curves, and rockets move along these curves. They can move any distance, but cannot move back along a path they have already moved during that turn. They can stop at any point.

Movement is free and expends no fuel, until you get to a burn.

Pink dots are burns - each burn moves the wet mass figure a number of steps to the left.

Circles are lagrange points - a rocket can move freely into and out of the lagrange point in any direction (avoiding u-turns)

Where the lines cross (with a solid line), rockets can pivot to change direction. This costs two burns, but if you choose to wait until next turn, you can change direction for "free" - therefore there is a trade-off between energy and time.

Lander burns are a specific type of burn. Entering a lander burn requires a thrust greater than the size of the site, and expends fuel as per a normal burn. Some of these are half-symbols, which take half that fuel consumption, rounded up.


Hazard spaces (skull and crossbones) will destroy any rocket that enters on the roll of a "1".

Aerobrake spaces will destroy any rocket that enters on the roll of a "1", but in addition will allow landing without the thrust>size requirement.

Either of these die rolls may be avoided by paying 4 Water tanks before the die is rolled.


Radiation and Fly-by symbols are not used in the Basic game (but you could use fly-by's pretty easily).
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Dom Rougier
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Obviously there is more, but I think that's a decent overview. I hope it's all correct for 3rd edition. It's very similar to how I teach High Frontier, at least.
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W. Cracker
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gar0u wrote:
dougadamsau wrote:
I recall a hilarious file here somewhere that taught the game by equating the player mat to Brian May's guitar, or something. That actually did a pretty good job of getting you up and playing.


Well worth reading if you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, or how... (Written for 2nd edition--but should not really matter.)

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/60457/high-frontier-walkt...

Thank you for reminding me of this learning aid. It was a great help initially learning HF and now a great refresher as I haven't played in a while.
 
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Francisco Colmenares
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Domfluff wrote:
Obviously there is more, but I think that's a decent overview. I hope it's all correct for 3rd edition. It's very similar to how I teach High Frontier, at least.

For the most part. The Crew cards have been updated though. Now all factions have a crew card with a thruster. White/Red/Green have 10-8(2), Purple/Orange I believe are 6-8(2).

As for the Lander Burns, they behave like any other regular burn except you can't stay there (it represents a site's gravity well). This means you have to be able to move off into the next space or else you can't enter the lander burn (i.e. you're not able to escape the site's gravity into a stable orbit).

Sites still require thrust higher than their size to land or take off. This makes take off and landing symmetrical. For example the Moon is a size 9, so it requires thrust 10 or higher to land or take off. In addition to that there is a lander burn next to it. So to land on the moon you need to have 10 thrust and be able to pay 1 burn before entering the lander burn symbol or else you can't land on the moon. Similar cost for take off.
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Dom Rougier
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Ah, forgot the new stats for the crew cards! Cheers

The others are possibly beyond scope of the brief summary above - there are plenty of rules and nuance which aren't listed or accounted for.
 
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Aaron Quesnel

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Thnx for all of the input. I have taken a 24 hour break and am now ready to take another fresh look at it and have another go.
 
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Wikiro Trio
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It seems like the READ THIS BOOK FIRST. Should not be read first. I'm in the same boat it doesn't even tell you how the game ends or what's the point. It just fumbles around actions. Read colonization first then get the just of the game with the training guide
 
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