I played “High Frontier”:http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/47055/high-frontier a while ago with Peter Haslehurst and friends, but real life got in the way of blogging. Hard-working Peter got his “thoughts”:http://nimrods.blogspot.com/2011/11/so-i-finally-got-to-play-high-frontier.html down quickly. The recent “Ludology interview with Phil Eklund”:http://ludology.libsyn.com/webpage/episode-22-games-vs-simulations was superb and inspired me to get my thoughts down.
After playing High Frontier, Peter’s initial reaction was that it was like the German games revolution never happened. Any game with eight pages of core rules, that still takes seven hours for four pretty hardcore gamers, including two hours of explanation, has hardly been influenced by Settlers of Catan.
Amazingly Phil Eklund said in Ludology that he has been assimilated by the German gaming revolution and pares down his designs from complicated drafts. Don’t believe a word of it – at least if you’re thinking of trying High Frontier. It is an amazing design – in the same way that a 20-minute guitar solo is amazing. Definitely an acquired taste – especially the the rule that lets the Chinese jettison their crews.
I’m not the only one who struggled:
* “Boardgames in Blighty”:http://rivcoach.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/not-a-review-of-high-frontier-by-sierra-madre-games-i-cant-play-this-game/
* “Games Night News”:http://gamesnightnews.blogspot.com/2011/11/is-this-game-or-is-it-my-science.html
* “I’ve Been Diced!”:http://ivebeendiced.blogspot.com/2011/02/ive-been-diced-episode-12-high-frontier.html
The last is a podcast describing the game in detail. There’s a moment when one guy is rendered speechless when he’s told they were playing the game with a few rules significantly wrong. Priceless.
All grumpiness aside, if you like simulations and space more than me, you will agree with “Michael Barnes”:http://www.gameshark.com/features/780/p_0/Cracked-LCD-176-High-Frontier-Review.htm and “Paul Evans”:http://www.pevans.co.uk/Reviews/HighFrontier.pdf.
Check out this Essen preview. Phil Eklund’s reaction, at the end, to HF being described as a sci-fi game is the highlight:
I *would* like to play again, but as a two-player game to save time and there’s hardly any player interaction anyway. I’d also like to take notes, as there’s too much for this newbie to keep in his head. If I can avoid running out of fuel at the far end of the solar system, there’s far more chance of me enjoying it.