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High Frontier (Third Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Preferred Maiden Voyage Destinations? rss

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Bryant Ross
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After numerous plays, I've learned that some sites are definitely better than others as far as initial destinations are concerned. Granted, your initial destination is largely dictated by which thruster/robonaut you use, as well as the spectral types of your patents (especially the refinery).

Even still, I almost always head for the belt as my first stop to industrialize. And I've probably industrialized Lutetia more times than any other site due to its small size, high water, and M-class spectral type. Another tempting stop is Vesta, although it usually results in me getting stuck in some way. One time I even got lucky with a comet.

Just curious as to where you guys tend to strike out towards on those maiden voyages? 95% of my plays have been solo, so I don't really know where the highly contested sites tend to be... are there spots in the solar system players race to? Highly contested areas? I'd enjoy any discussion on the topic.
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Geoff Speare
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For better or worse, I somehow always end up at Hertha.

In my first 3rd edition (basic) game, I went there, busted the whole family, then went to Himala. Jupiter belt, woo hoo!

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Isaac Shalev
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I'm not sure why the refinery spectral type is important. Can you explain that bit? I've never played with some of the Colonization modules, so maybe I'm ignorant about some interactions.

Hertha and neighbors is my favorite early spot.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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ender7 wrote:
I'm not sure why the refinery spectral type is important. Can you explain that bit? I've never played with some of the Colonization modules, so maybe I'm ignorant about some interactions.

Even in the basic game, if you can ET produce a (black-side) refinery in space, it makes follow-on factories much easier.
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Brent Pollock
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Hertha with the M ISRU 1 buggy and M Refinery that gives the -2 Prospecting drm on S class are a great start. You can crank them both out at the Hertha factory, then head to the Karin cluster trio. If you blow it on Hertha, head for Lutetia.

Downside of the Ceres belt is trying to get there with solar powered Bernals...tricky.

I also seem to be a sucker for Mars or Mercury.
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The last page of the training guide has a pretty decent list and may be the most comprehensive answer to your question that currently exists.

There are definitely a lot more very favorable sites, and they strongly depend on your card abilities. Once people discover a strong combo, they tend to use it, so sometimes this gives an impression that there are only a few paths to victory. Hertha and Lutetia are very strong (if you successfully prospect) if you can get an M- robonaut and refinery. This is usually the first strong combo discovered by beginners. But there are other very strong combos that have not been mentioned above. Here are a couple rarely mentioned ones:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. A promoted Bernal shuttling between LMO and your home orbit can be a ridiculous source of WT. (It becomes insane if you have both dirtside factories which lets you have 3 colonists, meaning potentially 29 WT per turn in LMO) Let the Herthans and Lutetians take their turns to ET produce their M robonauts and refineries while you simply boost expensive all white-card industrialization missions every couple of turns because money is no object.
2. A V-robonaut (hydration irrelevant), V-refinery, and a 10-thrust crew lets you colonize Jovian moons very fast. Make a factory on the V-site of callisto, and then you can forsake the Earth completely and just crank out a new factory in the Jovian moon system every ~ 5-6 turns.

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Francisco Colmenares
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WBRP wrote:
Hertha with the M ISRU 1 buggy and M Refinery that gives the -2 Prospecting drm on S class are a great start. You can crank them both out at the Hertha factory, then head to the Karin cluster trio. If you blow it on Hertha, head for Lutetia.

Downside of the Ceres belt is trying to get there with solar powered Bernals...tricky.

I also seem to be a sucker for Mars or Mercury.

Which is why you often see auction wars for the M spectral class patents. Good play tries to ensure that one player not get both an M Robonaut AND M Refinery.

In fact good play in general tries to ensure that in the early going at least one players doesn't end up with a Robonaut and Refinery of the same spectral class (though the S class is likely less critical. I'm trying hard to remember but I can't recall a white side S Robonaut that can prospect the moon, ISRU 2 or less).
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Ted Mantuano
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Colin Booth
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colmenarez wrote:
WBRP wrote:
Hertha with the M ISRU 1 buggy and M Refinery that gives the -2 Prospecting drm on S class are a great start. You can crank them both out at the Hertha factory, then head to the Karin cluster trio. If you blow it on Hertha, head for Lutetia.

Downside of the Ceres belt is trying to get there with solar powered Bernals...tricky.

I also seem to be a sucker for Mars or Mercury.

Which is why you often see auction wars for the M spectral class patents. Good play tries to ensure that one player not get both an M Robonaut AND M Refinery.

In fact good play in general tries to ensure that in the early going at least one players doesn't end up with a Robonaut and Refinery of the same spectral class (though the S class is likely less critical. I'm trying hard to remember but I can't recall a white side S Robonaut that can prospect the moon, ISRU 2 or less).

The heavy-as-balls Free Electron Laser is ISRU 1 and S-class. The Neutral Beam and Explosive Gas Laser are also S-class and ISRU <= 2 (those are also pretty heavy). In fact, none of the S-Class robonauts are ISRU 3+, though only the FEL is ISRU 1.
 
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Bryant Ross
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Wow. Some really amazing ideas and combos here. I'll have to get HF back on the table soon and try some of them out. These are great!

 
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Todd Pytel
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WBRP wrote:
Downside of the Ceres belt is trying to get there with solar powered Bernals...tricky.

Why? The Bernal's thruster isn't supported by the solar generator. So it shouldn't have its thrust reduced, right? It might take a few burns and some stops to get out there, but I don't see why moving a Bernal to the orbit outside Ceres should be hard.
 
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Dom Rougier
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Most Bernals need "e" support, which can be solar-modified, etc. (Q8)

More importantly, any solar generator-powered Bernal automatically unpromotes in the Ceres zone or further out (Q6).
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Dom Rougier
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Took the suggestions from the back of the training guide, and "signposted" them, with the spreadsheet from the "Almanac", posted in the files section. The use of fly-bys are assumed.



Spotting this led to a nice rule of thumb. To ensure that your rocket has fuel for five burns, you need your mass ratio (wet mass/dry mass) to be roughly equal to your fuel consumption.

wet mass/dry mass = efficiency

(i.e., a dry mass 6 rocket with 2 efficiency needs a wet mass of 11 to give five burns, which is approximately 2 times the dry mass.)

This breaks down with heavier rockets, but it's a good rough estimate to start.

Five burns, since the above is evenly split between 3/4/5/6/7 burns. Five should be enough to get most places and refuel.
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Todd Pytel
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Domfluff wrote:
Most Bernals need "e" support, which can be solar-modified, etc. (Q8)

Somehow my brain did not make the connection between the generator required for promotion and the fact that it's a support card.

Quote:
More importantly, any solar generator-powered Bernal automatically unpromotes in the Ceres zone or further out (Q6).

That part I knew, but I guess that's related to the misunderstanding above. Normally, solar works further out than Ceres (just really poorly), so that made me think that the Bernal's thruster was some kind of special case and wouldn't be modified by a solar generator.

(Also, I don't have the game handy, but solar works *out to* Ceres for Bernals, right?)
 
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Dom Rougier
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Nope, doesn't work in the Ceres zone or beyond.

Technically, the supports will still function at Ceres or possibly beyond (it will just minus whatever to thrust), but the power requirements of the Bernal will unpromote it before that matters.
 
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Brent Pollock
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Domfluff wrote:
Nope, doesn't work in the Ceres zone or beyond.

Technically, the supports will still function at Ceres or possibly beyond (it will just minus whatever to thrust), but the power requirements of the Bernal will unpromote it before that matters.


Yes, and I have screwed this up enough, despite it being on the Bernal card, that I have written it on the board's Ceres zone band.
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Bryant Ross
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WBRP wrote:
Yes, and I have screwed this up enough, despite it being on the Bernal card, that I have written it on the board's Ceres zone band.


I still screw up plenty of things despite having read and reread the rules numerous times. Like for some reason, I always forget to roll for radiation when boosting to my bernal. I think because it's not written down somewhere in front of me (and you don't roll when boosting to LEO). There are so many little rules than in the heat of the game being able to remember all of them is tricky.
 
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Dom Rougier
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This is why I think it's a good idea to add modules one at a time - really getting in deep with Freighters, say, and having the time and mental capacity to really use Digital Swap operations and (possibly) mobile factories - although the latter is unlikely without the endgame module.
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Domfluff wrote:
Spotting this led to a nice rule of thumb. To ensure that your rocket has fuel for five burns, you need your mass ratio (wet mass/dry mass) to be roughly equal to your fuel consumption.

wet mass/dry mass = efficiency

(i.e., a dry mass 6 rocket with 2 efficiency needs a wet mass of 11 to give five burns, which is approximately 2 times the dry mass.)

This breaks down with heavier rockets, but it's a good rough estimate to start.


Holy crap, that's a nice rule of thumb. Wondering whether there is a good mathematical reason for it, I just did some rocket equation math and the actual equation for 5 burns is the following:

mass ratio = e ^ (5/16 * Fuel consumption)
(to get the equation for other # of burns than 5, replace "5" in the equation above by whatever # of burns you want).

This is for real life, not HF per se, but HF should be close enough that it should hold within the game too.

The plot below shows why your rule of thumb holds, and its region of validity. Unlike what you say above, I think it should hold for all rocket masses, but only if the fuel consumption is roughly between 1 and 6.

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Dom Rougier
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Cheers

Yeah, was just doodling around with this on paper, and the pattern fell out - I do think that's extremely useful to keep around.
 
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Domfluff wrote:
Cheers

Yeah, was just doodling around with this on paper, and the pattern fell out - I do think that's extremely useful to keep around.
PS Why did you say it "breaks down with heavier rockets"?
 
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Dom Rougier
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Logic was for the far end of the fuel strip - the maths should work out fine, but once you get to the stage where you're adding more than one tank of fuel to a step (the black line stop zig-zagging), this seemed to break down a lot faster.

Bear in mind, this was late last night and just a brief scribble, so it's entirely plausible it was an invalid assumption.
 
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Domfluff wrote:
but once you get to the stage where you're adding more than one tank of fuel to a step (the black line stop zig-zagging), this seemed to break down a lot faster.


Ah, I see. I think the opposite is actually true -- the two tanks per step of fuel is what preserves the accuracy of the rocket equation into large masses (which is related to your rule of thumb), and things would break down at large masses if it was any other way.

A step of fuel basically represents burning a fixed fraction (6.5%) of your total rocket mass, regardless of whether your are wisp class or tug class. (For a tug class, 6.5% of your rocket can be 2 fuel tanks!) So, any rules of thumb or other statements about mass *ratios* should hold for any weight class, at least in real life. If this does not hold in HF, then it would be good to know so we can fix it , but based on what you said I think it does hold in HF.
 
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Greg Turner
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WBRP wrote:
Hertha with the M ISRU 1 buggy and M Refinery that gives the -2 Prospecting drm on S class are a great start.


Hertha is size 3, which means when I buggy prospect it I'll roll 4, 5, or 6 twice. shake
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Brent Pollock
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Gregor wrote:
WBRP wrote:
Hertha with the M ISRU 1 buggy and M Refinery that gives the -2 Prospecting drm on S class are a great start.


Hertha is size 3, which means when I buggy prospect it I'll roll 4, 5, or 6 twice. shake


Just remember to blow it again (twice) on Lutetia.
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