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Subject: High Frontier - A race for the Solar System rss

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Samantha RD
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My husband and I have been playing rather a lot of this lately, and have (finally) gotten to the point where we can plan routes and rockets fairly easily, something which makes playing High Frontier a fantastic experience. The session we finished today certainly felt like we were both ‘getting our game on’ and, as the ending demonstrated, as the strategy develops, the competition becomes fierce!

We started off with the ESA (hubby) and the UN (me) as our randomly assigned factions in a two player game. Thanks to the UN privilege of not having to roll for the radiation belt, I was able to very rapidly send a ship out to orbitally prospect the Jovian Himala moonlets of which I claimed two, whilst my opponent prepared a rocket that would drop claims across the Vesta family of asteroids, something he accomplished as I prepared my second mission – to send along a refinery to my C claim, where the robonaut I had used to prospect waited. I netted myself a glory point ‘Return crew from any site’ bonus in the process of picking up the refinery and was ready to roll out again.

With my first factory up and running, and my husband happily mucking about in the Vesta group, the board was already pretty busy early into the game – we seemed to have neatly chosen our own little sectors to develop:


I produced my product, a 0 ISRU robo and began planning my next mission, to produce an M refinery which would allow me to prospect S sites at a -3 to my roll. Meanwhile, my husband had managed to secure a further V site and promptly claimed the ‘Space Tourism’ bonus, giving him two ops per turn, which he began to use very successfully to accelerate his plans along, knowing full well that I was already underway with my second refinery mission. He also managed to successfully claim two Jovian Trojans.

I claimed the M site I needed by prospecting Hertha in the Nysa family and could now prepare my upgraded refinery (which would be an outpost), a freighter (my black robonaut) and my rocket (which quickly burned back to Earth to pick up robonaut requirements for my final push towards the Karin cluster where I would use my S site advantage to attempt to claim 3 sites and the ‘Space pharmacies’ points bonus.)

As I was plotting this, my husband had already laid out a mission of some ambition – he was heading back to his Jovian Trojan claims to first produce a factory, then immediately produce an upgraded refinery product using his second operation. I stopped my rocket just short of the Karin cluster to give myself a turn to buy ‘insurance’ and avoid the hazard roll there, not realising he had taken along everything he needed in his original mission to immediately produce the second factory required to end the game. With his new (requirement-less) refinery and a robonaut he had taken as ‘luggage’ along with its needed support, he popped ‘across the way’ to the second claim, dropped the factory and ended the game, as I cursed myself for being both cautious and inattentive!

We added up the points (including my UN 5 that I had doggedly held onto through an election), and the score was 27-28 in his favour. It turned out to be an exceptionally close round.

High Frontier has been growing on me greatly the more we play. The ability to ‘knock together’ a rocket that works, plan a mission that has the best chance of succeeding and pull it all off without inadvertently ‘cheating’ takes a while to become intuitive, but once it does, the game opens up in ways that are unexpected and refreshingly original.

This is the game board as it looked at the end (The UN ship poised to go claim asteroids and in the distance, the colonies and refineries of the ESA.)

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Dave Heberer
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Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
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I like the discs you have for laying claims. Where did you get them?
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Victor Caminha
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And so it begins...
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Very nice session report. Those disks remember remind me the ones from Endeavor. Did you suffer any solar flares?

Edit: grammar
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Samantha RD
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wykthor wrote:
Very nice session report. Those disks remember me the ones from Endeavor.

Bingo! We only get to play Endeavor occasionally, so we stole the discs for HF for laying claims, along with some from Steam, where the discs have been replaced with trains.
wykthor wrote:
Did you suffer any solar flares?

Not a one. We actually had a fairly uneventful game in terms of the sunspot cycle.

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Victor Caminha
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Ah, Endeavor. It has been a while since my last game. Can't say the same from Steam (was trounced in my last game).

Solar flares tend to appear regularly here. I suppose ONU used a raygun for the Jovian moonlets and Nysa family?
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Samantha RD
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wykthor wrote:

Solar flares tend to appear regularly here. I suppose ONU used a raygun for the Jovian moonlets and Nysa family?


Exactly, the upgraded 0 ISRU version was about to prospect those many S sites when the game ended.
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Matthew Eklund
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Sica wrote:
wykthor wrote:

Solar flares tend to appear regularly here. I suppose ONU used a raygun for the Jovian moonlets and Nysa family?


Exactly, the upgraded 0 ISRU version was about to prospect those many S sites when the game ended.


With the -3 modifier to each?
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Pablo Klinkisch
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Nice review! And great game.
How well do the actions work in a 2-player game?
BTW, what did you prospect to get the space elevator?
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Morten Lund
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Thanks for the writeup - I am definitely warming up to this game
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Victor Caminha
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Sancherib wrote:
BTW, what did you prospect to get the space elevator?


I wondered about that too, since it requires the difficult achievement of 3 "M" sites claimed. Perhaps she was referring to the ONU's immunity to Earth's radiation belt?
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Volko Ruhnke
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"UN Cycler"

Nice photos. We use 15x4mm wood discs too, but just for Outposts (to distinguish the Outposts).
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
Sica wrote:
wykthor wrote:

Solar flares tend to appear regularly here. I suppose ONU used a raygun for the Jovian moonlets and Nysa family?


Exactly, the upgraded 0 ISRU version was about to prospect those many S sites when the game ended.


With the -3 modifier to each?


Yes, I believe it's the 'Carbonyl-Volatilization' Refinery that, when built via ET Production, gives the owner a -3 to prospecting die rolls at S sites. This is particularly helpful in the Karin Cluster and the nearby Koronis Family, both of which feature a dozen or so S sites that are size 3 or less.

But in order to be allowed to Prospect & Claim a site, you must first have a Robonaut with an ISRU rating of 0 (zero), since all of the sites in the Karin & Koronis have a hydration value of 0.
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Samantha RD
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
Sica wrote:
wykthor wrote:

Solar flares tend to appear regularly here. I suppose ONU used a raygun for the Jovian moonlets and Nysa family?


Exactly, the upgraded 0 ISRU version was about to prospect those many S sites when the game ended.


With the -3 modifier to each?


Yes - it was a nice combination.
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Samantha RD
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wykthor wrote:
Sancherib wrote:
BTW, what did you prospect to get the space elevator?


I wondered about that too, since it requires the difficult achievement of 3 "M" sites claimed. Perhaps she was referring to the ONU's immunity to Earth's radiation belt?


Sorry this is what I meant - corrected. It is useful when you can avoid rolling for a rocket with a 'dodgy' radiator - smooths things along nicely.
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Victor Caminha
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Very true. A particularly nice combination is ONU + Metastable Helium, especially if you manage to produce its upgraded version (5*1/3 thruster with Rad-hard:7 IIRC) before solar flares ruins your fun.
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Marshall Miller
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Great review. You've inspired me to buy some discs to pimp my set. I bet blue octocube tokens would make awesome water tanks!
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Samantha RD
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Mease19 wrote:
I bet blue octocube tokens would make awesome water tanks!


Those do look good - I actually really like the clear water discs for some reason. Perhaps I should keep an eye out for some translucent barrel tokens...
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