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Subject: Exactly which edition of the rules actually makes sense? rss

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Lacombe
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I have the reprint edition, rules dated Oct 2011.

The section 5.6 "Prospect Operation", in particular, was the first to give me trouble, so I went looking.

Here's what I have:

Oct 2011 wrote:
A. CHOOSE CARD. Choose a card with an ISRU (2.6E) at the start of this operation. The ISRU must be less than or equal to the hydration (2.2C) of the site. etc.


Here's what one version [apparently not the most recent posted at Sierra Madre games, but the older one... the PDF; strangely the word and PDF docs are hugely different there, too] says:

Jan 27 2011 wrote:
A. REQUIREMENTS. Your rocket stack must have a card with an ISRU (2.6E) less than or equal to the hydration (2.2C) of the site. etc.


Anyone with any sense could tell that the second is preferable and is really the only one that's clear.

The first forces you to infer that the card you "choose" must come from your rocket stack. This might be a pretty obvious interpretation [perhaps if you were already familiar with how rocket science and/or the game worked?], but it's not the only possible one since you have cards in 5 different locations at once [in fact, it doesn't even say you must choose one of YOUR cards... "I choose... THAT ONE over there that you have... it looks good." is a perfectly reasonable course of action given the rule I have in my rulebook]. I've run into similar problems with other sections, and can't help feeling that some version of the rules had been clear and had been "fixed" into the edition I have now.

Which version of the rules is actually readable throughout and doesn't force you to make these inferences?
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Lacombe
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It doesn't seem to be clear in EITHER version if it matters WHERE your rocket is on the map, either.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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NateStraight wrote:
It doesn't seem to be clear in EITHER version if it matters WHERE your rocket is on the map, either.

OK, technically it doesn't say your robonauts which are prospecting the site... have to be at the site... (unless they're rayguns or buggies, which are clearly spelled out as exceptions), but to say that's unclear seems like a stretch to me.

EDIT: stupid typo
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Lacombe
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kuhrusty wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
It doesn't seem to be clear in EITHER version if it matters WHERE your rocket is on the map, either.

OK, technically it doesn't say your robonauts which are prospect the site... have to be at the site... (unless they're rayguns or buggies, which are clearly spelled out as exceptions), but to say that's unclear seems like a stretch to me.


When a theme is unfamiliar to me, I prefer not to make gameplay assumptions based on thematic meaning, even when they seem patently obvious. That's dangerous enough when the theme DOES make sense (breeding too many pairs of animals in Agricola, for instance). There could just as well be a mechanical disconnect between the "discovery" and "delivery" portions of the theme... see Poseidon's discovery fleet (which acts and exists in a particular spot on the map) vs trade fleet (which exists virtually as a "range" and always starts from home regardless of where your ship pawn is).
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Brian Pilnick
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Unfortunately most of Eklund's rulebooks are not set up well for learning the game. To be fair though, I've never had this particular question come up and I believe it would be clear after running through the example or a learning game. Feel free to ask questions here or on the yahoo group though, everyone struggled through the learning the first time.
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Brian Pilnick
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Oh, and a very important piece of advice when trying to learn any Eklund game (really applies to any game but his more-so) is to put the bits on the table. Due to the complexity of the game and the odd rulebooks, physically moving around the bits on the table really helps.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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NateStraight wrote:
When a theme is unfamiliar to me, I prefer not to make gameplay assumptions based on thematic meaning, even when they seem patently obvious.

Huh. I'm not saying that's not a valid way to approach games, but personally, for me, I prefer when wargames don't clutter the rules with stuff like "movement points cannot be saved from turn to turn or transferred between units." Assuming the patently obvious except where contradicted by the rules makes things a lot simpler & easier, both for rules writers and readers.
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chuck dunn
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My son and I are working thru the game as well .. so far we say ...I bid 1 then he bids 2 then I bid 2 then he bids 3 then I bid three ... he'll pass then says he takes one I take one he bids 0 I bid 1 he bids 1 I bid two he bids 2 ... we are getting the hang of that part at least .. of course half the rulebook seems to explain the expanded game and cards that we don't have access too. still I hold the game in high regard not sure I'm going to get to the frontier part anytime soon ..
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Ed Bradley
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NateStraight wrote:


Which version of the rules is actually readable throughout and doesn't force you to make these inferences?


None of them are particularly readable. I started with the walk-through then moved to the rulebook then puzzled the rest out by playing.

It didn't help that the 1st ed. rulebook had an error in the large "how to calculate your thrust" example either. I spent an hour coming up with 4 instead of the 5 shown on the page before looking up the errata.

One of the most important things to grasp in High Frontier is that location is key. The location of your rocket, your outpost, your freighters. Nothing can happen unless these things are in a specific location. And if you want to move things from one place to another plan for it to take years
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Darrell Hanning
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Dammit, Nate! Quit being so unreasonable! Do you want a game, or a rulebook?
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Lacombe
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DarrellKH wrote:
Dammit, Nate! Quit being so unreasonable! Do you want a game, or a rulebook?


Well I knew to expect undreadable and dense, but ambiguous certainly wasn't in that set of expectations. Quite the contrary, in fact.
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David Bohnenberger
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It's my belief that the prospecting card does not need to be a "rocket". A roving buggy built on Mars can prospect the rest of the planet. It just needs to be defined as a "base".
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Lacombe
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someotherguy wrote:
I think the rulebook has issues, but I learned the game from it without any trouble. In the original question, either wording works fine. If you have multiple sources of ISRU on your rocket, pick one (might as well be the best one) and use it. What's the issue? Yes, he doesn't explicitly state that it has to be ISRU from the rocket at the landing site in question. He also doesn't state that it has to be from a card included in the High Frontier game components -- but common sense should have gotten you that far.


In fact, neither wording is sufficient. Neither says what the operation actually does to give a context for understanding [note that almost all of the other operations have this context / description, so it's not just a matter of thematic fluff like Kuhrusty describes]. The rule should start with something like "This operation attempts to lay claim to a site where you have a rocket, raygun, or buggy." If that had introduced the section, then either wording would be reasonably acceptable. Without that introduction, you need some kind of inductive voodoo to interpret what the action does at all, and the only wording that gives you any indication in which direction to go is the one that at least mentions your rocket.

I won't even mention the fact that "choose" is a silly word to use if it's not a choice but a condition to be met / deterministic process. I read a similar rule in a Winsome title this week: "When a railroad is started, the player must choose a color of cube to represent it. He must choose the color with the most cubes remaining on the board." That's a not a "choice", folks, and using that verb not only adds unnecessary sentences [that Kuhrusty would balk at] but is structurally unclear. It should just say "When a railroad is started, the player takes cubes to represent it from the color with the most cubes remaining on the board." [The tie-breaker rule that adds a third / second sentence is needed in both.]
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Lacombe
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kuhrusty wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
When a theme is unfamiliar to me, I prefer not to make gameplay assumptions based on thematic meaning, even when they seem patently obvious.

Huh. I'm not saying that's not a valid way to approach games, but personally, for me, I prefer when wargames don't clutter the rules with stuff like "movement points cannot be saved from turn to turn or transferred between units." Assuming the patently obvious except where contradicted by the rules makes things a lot simpler & easier, both for rules writers and readers.


There's a difference between clutter and clarity [obviously].

Even if things are going to be left unsaid / to common sense, the things that are said should be said unambiguously.
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Darrell Hanning
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Escher0 wrote:
Unfortunately most of Eklund's rulebooks are not set up well for learning the game.


Unfortunately, they are also not set up well for referencing rules after learning the game, either. So what, exactly, does that leave them being good at?

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Rusty McFisticuffs
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NateStraight wrote:
The rule should start with something like "This operation attempts to lay claim to a site where you have a rocket, raygun, or buggy."

(But, that's not quite correct--as that section says, you don't necessarily need a rocket, raygun, or buggy at the site(s) you're prospecting.)

EDIT: yeah, OK, I see you said "something like," not "EXACTLY THESE WORDS," so ignore my nit-picking.

NateStraight wrote:
If that had introduced the section, then either wording would be reasonably acceptable. Without that introduction, you need some kind of inductive voodoo to interpret what the action does at all, and the only wording that gives you any indication in which direction to go is the one that at least mentions your rocket.

Good grief! Prospect, the verb, has a meaning! That meaning is your context for understanding the section describing the Prospect operation!

If you're saying that a general, introductory sentence would have made the first sentence of that section understandable the first time you read it, sure. But are you saying you honestly didn't understand the concept behind prospecting (or the procedure for doing it during the game) after reaching the end of that section? Or the second time you read it?

(Now, maybe the Oct. 2011 version really is unclear, and I only understand it because I was using the Jan. 2011 version until I read your post. But if other people are able to learn the game using the Oct. 2011 version, then that seems to be an argument against your don't-assume-the-patently-obvious approach.)

NateStraight wrote:
I won't even mention the fact that "choose" is a silly word to use if it's not a choice but a condition to be met / deterministic process.

(As Dan said, there are times when you have a rocket with multiple robonauts to choose from.)

DarrellKH wrote:
Unfortunately, they are also not set up well for referencing rules after learning the game, either.

The brevity, organization, and layout of this rulebook is good for me for referencing rules during play... although I certainly hope you take that to mean I am endowed with a mighty intellect, the truth is that I like rulebooks which have only a few pages, with the important words printed really big.
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Lacombe
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kuhrusty wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
The rule should start with something like "This operation attempts to lay claim to a site where you have a rocket, raygun, or buggy."

(But, that's not quite correct--as that section says, you don't necessarily need a rocket, raygun, or buggy at the site(s) you're prospecting.)


Eh? It doesn't seem to say that at all to me.

Quote:
If you're saying that a general, introductory sentence would have made the first sentence of that section understandable the first time you read it, sure. But are you saying you honestly didn't understand the concept behind prospecting (or the procedure for doing it during the game) after reaching the end of that section? Or the second time you read it?


I am saying that I still do not know exactly what to do mechanistically when I choose the "Prospect" operation, nor under what conditions I may select it.

Quote:
(Now, maybe the Oct. 2011 version really is unclear, and I only understand it because I was using the Jan. 2011 version until I read your post.


That certainly seems evidence in my favor.

Quote:
But if other people are able to learn the game using the Oct. 2011 version, then that seems to be an argument against your don't-assume-the-patently-obvious approach.)


It could also just be that I'm dense. :shrug:

Quote:
NateStraight wrote:
I won't even mention the fact that "choose" is a silly word to use if it's not a choice but a condition to be met / deterministic process.

(As Dan said, there are times when you have a rocket with multiple robonauts to choose from.)


But it's not a choice. It doesn't matter.

You simply say "Here's my lowest number."

Right?

Or no?
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
(But, that's not quite correct--as that section says, you don't necessarily need a rocket, raygun, or buggy at the site(s) you're prospecting.)

Eh? It doesn't seem to say that at all to me.

Yeah, the "Raygun Prospecting" and "Buggy Prospecting" bits say that in some cases, you only have to be near some kinds of sites.

NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
But are you saying you honestly didn't understand the concept behind prospecting (or the procedure for doing it during the game) after reaching the end of that section? Or the second time you read it?

I am saying that I still do not know exactly what to do mechanistically when I choose the "Prospect" operation, nor under what conditions I may select it.

Huh. OK, that does seem to suggest a problem with the rules, but I'm still inclined to blame it on you because of that "patently obvious" comment, ha ha.

(I or someone else can explain how that works, if that would be helpful & not a derailment of your general complaint.)

NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
(As Dan said, there are times when you have a rocket with multiple robonauts to choose from.)

But it's not a choice. It doesn't matter.

You simply say "Here's my lowest number."

Right?

In the expanded game, no: maybe your lowest number requires supports you don't have, like if you're going to meet up with an output which has the piece you need, or cooling you don't have, like if you're planning to use it for industrialization (where cooling isn't necessary--the "Important" bit in 8.2).
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kuhrusty wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Unfortunately, they are also not set up well for referencing rules after learning the game, either.

The brevity, organization, and layout of this rulebook is good for me for referencing rules during play... although I certainly hope you take that to mean I am endowed with a mighty intellect, the truth is that I like rulebooks which have only a few pages, with the important words printed really big.


If you want to pretend that the emperor is clothed, that's fine. But you shouldn't expect everyone to agree with you. A lot of people have taken exception to the rules-writing and organization, for a lot of Eklund's games.

In fact, whenever you get a lot of thread responses, on a game forum, that start out with something such as "It really isn't as difficult as the rules make it seem", or "The best thing to do is download this player aid", or the like, then that's usually a pretty big clue that the rules are not in great shape.

The rules for High Frontier are written perfectly well for Mr. Eklund to learn his own game. They're even written well enough for a physics class student to research and learn from, and pass the class.

But for others, they offer varying degrees of clarity, coherence, and organization, and are more of a challenge than they actually merit for being rules to a game.

I remember learning SPI's Air War: Modern Tactical Air Combat around 1980, which was one helluva lot more complex than High Frontier is. But the thing is, the rules didn't actually "get in the way" of learning the game. They were consistently coherent, contextually consistent, well-written, and well-organized. I can't really say that's much the case for any of the rules for Phil's games that I've played. It always seems to be a case of having learned the game despite the rule book, not because of it.
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Lacombe
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kuhrusty wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
(But, that's not quite correct--as that section says, you don't necessarily need a rocket, raygun, or buggy at the site(s) you're prospecting.)

Eh? It doesn't seem to say that at all to me.

Yeah, the "Raygun Prospecting" and "Buggy Prospecting" bits say that in some cases, you only have to be near some kinds of sites.


Ah, of course. Then you'd just adjust my introductory text to read "... where you have a rocket or an adjacent raygun / buggy."

Quote:
NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
But are you saying you honestly didn't understand the concept behind prospecting (or the procedure for doing it during the game) after reaching the end of that section? Or the second time you read it?

I am saying that I still do not know exactly what to do mechanistically when I choose the "Prospect" operation, nor under what conditions I may select it.

Huh. OK, that does seem to suggest a problem with the rules, but I'm still inclined to blame it on you because of that "patently obvious" comment, ha ha.

(I or someone else can explain how that works, if that would be helpful & not a derailment of your general complaint.)


I think I've pretty much worked it out, but it took two versions of the rules and this thread to do it... and I'm not exactly sure I have all the criteria right.

Quote:
NateStraight wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
(As Dan said, there are times when you have a rocket with multiple robonauts to choose from.)

But it's not a choice. It doesn't matter.

You simply say "Here's my lowest number."

Right?

In the expanded game, no: maybe your lowest number requires supports you don't have, like if you're going to meet up with an output which has the piece you need, or cooling you don't have, like if you're planning to use it for industrialization (where cooling isn't necessary--the "Important" bit in 8.2).


Aha. Then the rule should have been phrased so as to work for the base game only, with a cute little rocket-ship bullet-point following for the expanded rule.
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You may perform a prospecting operation anywhere you have a crew or functional robonaut with an ISRU rating equal to or less than the hydration of the site. If you have multiple crew or robonauts at the site, you may choose which to perform the operation. Then roll 1d6; if the roll is equal to or less than the site size, place a claim disc of your color on it. Otherwise place a black disc on the site representing that the site is busted.

Buggies get a free reroll if the first roll was unsuccessful.

Rayguns can attempt to prospect multiple site hexes with a single operation, and may prospect sites that are adjacent to the raygun (skipping over hazard spots).



this is from memory...
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Lacombe
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Matthew_Eklund wrote:
You may perform a prospecting operation anywhere you have a crew or functional robonaut with an ISRU rating equal to or less than the hydration of the site. If you have multiple crew or robonauts at the site, you may choose which to perform the operation.


This, in particular, is immeasurably more clear than what is in the rulebook [either of them] and is equally concise / technical. Thanks.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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DarrellKH wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Unfortunately, they are also not set up well for referencing rules after learning the game, either.

The brevity, organization, and layout of this rulebook is good for me for referencing rules during play...

If you want to pretend that the emperor is clothed, that's fine.

What does that mean? I've only been pretending to be able to reference rules during play?

DarrellKH wrote:
But you shouldn't expect everyone to agree with you.

I said it works for me. I'm looking forward to your explanation of why I'm wrong about that.
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Quote:
But it's not a choice. It doesn't matter.

You simply say "Here's my lowest number."

Right?

Or no?

Not really, you could have different types of robonauts available, maybe you have a robonaut missile with a really good ISRU 1 but a robonaut buggy of ISRU 3 on a 4 hydration site, both can prospect the site, but the buggy can get you a re-roll. So it's not a matter of just picking the lowest number.
 
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