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High Frontier (3rd edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Beam-Rider strategies rss

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Ulrik Bøe
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The Beam-Rider freighters are, in my opinion, special. They are the only freighters that are both pushable and cruisers, giving them mobility that approaches some gw thrusters. It has to be built at a Push Factory, but you really want one anyway if you want to fly with your freighter, and not just build & sell it repeatedly. The HIIPER also has the best load limit out of the black freighters (the promoted version is nothing special here though). And finally, it's a Starship. Just in case you want to try your luck at a comet.

But to get it, you do need that Push Factory, and that's not easy. Mercury is the first option, but getting down to Mercury requires a ton of burns and very high thrust for landing. Io, the second option, requires isru 1, and is the farthest of the jovian moons.

I've tried for the last option, Venus, in two games now, and I believe that's workable. Unlike Mercury or Io you cannot do it as your first factory, but getting there involves "only" 3 hazard rolls, instead of burns and years of travel time. And when it's built, it's just a hop and a skip for your bernal, giving you a lab to instantly promote the Beam-Rider to the Magnetic Mirror.

The overall strategy once you have the Beam-Rider is to send it off with your robonaut. Your goal is to get the freighter cube to a TNO lab, and claim 4 more sites on the way, one reasonably close to the inner Sunlens (grab the Koronis/Karin group if you have an isru 0 raygun). As it moves outwards, build more cubes either at your first factory (action intensive) or simply boost them to the erzatz bernal and industrialize there(costly).

The end state is to move 3 factories to claims, the freighter to a TNO science site, and the final cube to the sunlens (and then the cube on the sunlens to the final claim). This gives 7 factories and a Future, a ton of points and heaps of satisfaction!

So, how to get Venus: You need one of the four isru 0 robonauts, or isru 1/2 and the Von Neumann or ISRU Scoop refinery. Six options, covering every spectral type.

C: If you get the Solar-pumped/Quantum Cascade Laser. Ceres or Mars. I like Ceres, but if you have a 10 thrust crew card Mars is an option. (Hmm. You're allowed to move the bernal to Mars, boost colonists and then move it away and keep your colonists, right? intriguing.) Going for C means you'll boost the cards needed to industrialize the last 4 cubes, but you save one action, possibly more if you can't get a refinery/robonaut combo that requires noe supports. At the cost of 5 water per cube, though.

M: Nuclear Drill/Helical Railgun. Hertha/Lutetia. It's almost a waste going for the Beam Rider if you manage to score this juicy spectral class, but if you're playing in a competitive game you might swoop in and prospect them ahead of a player with an M refinery and the Flywheel Tractor.

S: Explosive Gas/Nuclear Pumped Laser or Von Neumann refinery . This is hard. Most options for S outside the Jovian moons are hydration 1, and not that big. You might want the Free Electron Laser for prospecting, which means that the Von Neumann is the superior option for S. Flora/Ariadne is the best option for prospecting, with Unitas, Miahelena and the Karin cluster as backups.

D: Z-Pinch/H-B Cat. Head for the jovian Trojans (Jupiter flybys gets you there in a snap, bring enough thrust to keep the fragile Z-Pinch intact). I'm not sure how viable this is, you have a buggy 2, but you need to land and individually prospect a lot of sites.

V: Fluidized-Bed/ISRU Scoop with an isru 2 card. Vesta is the only real option here, but none of the V robonauts can prospect it on the white side. The MET Steamer should be good, as it requires only the e generator that the Fluidized-Bed requires, but any isru 2 option is good, really. Bring a way to lift off Vesta (the GW thruster doesn't cut it). You could also simply go for Mercury, of course! But then you already have that push factory and can skip Venus entirely.

You now have a factory capable of producing cards you need to prospect Venus. Build it, bring it, pay as much water as you feel you have to to get through the aerobrakes and acid clouds. (Bring your crew so they can search for life for the glory, venus is an astrobiological site.) The final step is to move your bernal to LVO - 2 burns for red, 3 for the rest. You can now build and promote your shiny new Magnetic Mirror Beam-Rider! Claim the solar system and launch your Star Wisps to new frontiers!

If anybody has ideas for the other push factory sites I'd love to see them! I think Io is too far, by the time you get there you have better options. Mercury is workable for the freighter, but not for the lab - it's a loooong way for the bernal, and the north pole site can't build the isru 0 you need to prospect discovery rupes. The HIIPER is almost as maneuverable as the Magnetic Mirror, and could potentially make the trip to a TNO science site. The real downside is that you can't build the rest of your cubes until you reach TNO, which would be the endpoint of a Venus strategy, not the halfway point.
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Le Nerd
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simply boost them to the erzatz bernal and industrialize there(costly).

You cant do that. Building a new factory cube requires you to be on an empty claimed site, per P6, last point "Small Cube Creation".

Otherwise, great in-depth writeup!


Man. I am reading the paragraph right now and its ambigious. On one hand: "must be created on one of your claims", on the other "may industrialize ... in your promoted bernal at a Dirtside or in its home orbit." Stupid rules.
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