Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mars is not a place to raise your kids.

Yes, here I am playing yet another session of High Frontier by Sierra Madre Games. And yes, yet again I am having to teach it to new players. And yes, that will be the last damn time I teach this game!!!!! Argh. This is a freak of a game, and you will not have a gaming experience this year like you will playing HF. It's just so immersive and thematic, and GOD DAMN HARD. Yes, not only just hard to grasp rule wise, but also hard to wrap your mind around strategy wise. You look at that piece of art work map and think, how the hell am I going to get this measly 6 burn rocket over to that lonely size 10 dried up husk of a planetoid? How indeed. It's hard to grasp conceptually. And for a new player, this can be frustrating. You find yourself asking the same questions over and over again hoping that an overall view will make itself known if you just keep asking.

But seriously, High Frontier is not that hard to grasp, IF you just take your goals and target and break it down in scope. FIRST, the moon. Fuck the moon, it is too damn hard to land there. There's no getting around it. Not matter how fancy you want to make a rocket, and no matter how close it looks like to HEO on the map, forget the damn moom. SECOND, Mars. Mars is like the candy bar. It's sweet, cheap, and easy to get your foot in the door. It's a milk run at best. ALWAYS shoot for mars. THIRD, you are going to need better product, and to get better product you are going to need a factory. Build one! On Mars for instance. Or even Mercury. And while Mercury takes a lot of burns, it a breeze to prospect and plop a factory on. SO you say, I've gotten a couple of nice products. A sweet thruster and a ISRU0 robonaut? Then get the heck out of the "inner sphere" There's a cornucopia of goodies on Saturn and Jupiter, ripe for the taking. But for some reason, people think it's just too hard to get there. It's not that bad. Try it! FORTH, dirt rockets. Yeah they sound cool, but man they suck on thrust. Sure I can refuel at any dried up husk of a rock, but a full rocket with these high mass drivers are slow as pigs, and just can seem to crash land on a planet bigger than a tennis ball. Screw regolith rockets.

There, that wasn't so bad was it?

I love this game, but it is brutal. It's meant to be brutal, that how it works up in space. We are just a barrel of monkeys tied to a bottle rocket...we are bound pop every now and again. And the rules, those rules need several plays before you really say "Hey, I get what's going on now". It does, and you just have to take your lumps, but from now on, I am only playing with people who've already gotten their bruises and are ready to fight. I'm not teaching this damn game again, but dammit I want to play again SOON! It's that awesome. Believe it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up about High Frontier. My problem is that I'll never attempt to read the rules to HF or any other SM games. Reading the rules to Origins and Americanmega fauna made my head hurt. I'm a lazy ass gamer who needs donkey gamers like you to teach me how to play games like HF. Keep up the good work.