Your Daily High Frontier

Your Daily High Frontier

50 Hours

By my best estimate, I’ve got about 50 hours inn on this game. Only now am I feeling like I’ve got a competitive grasp on the game.

I can absolutely say the game is probably hardly anyone’s jam. It demanded more of its players than anything I’ve ever played, except possibly Magic Realm. Either its fractally embedded gears worm their way into your brain, or your brain straight up rejects the sheer effort of tracking and solving and adapting.

I think my brain limit is about six hours; last night we played ten and I just couldn’t stay focused. And yet I wasn’t bored. Or especially frustrated! Our noob readily admitted he would have checked out if he’d had my luck (a statistically improbable streak of bad rolls during early prospecting meant I busted about 30 asteroids while the noob landed several juicy and proximate sites early).

There’s still so much to learn to play the game at the highest level, both procedurally (we still haven’t added the combat module) and strategically (I’ve never flown beyond Jupiter so I have no sense of how to build toward the trans-Neptunian part of the board).

Our noob also felt really squirrelly about just how competitive he should play. He had a faction with any unlimited hand size, and I foolishly thought he’d let me research new patents unhindered, but no, he quickly identified he could keep everyone grounded by buying up multi card sets and then selling off the stuff he didn’t want. He both stayed profitable and refined his patents into perfect combos. The alleged veterans didn’t spot this problem because we just didn’t think to do so! Afterward we figured out the solution, which is boring but also necessary, I think, to keep it from happening again.

But the bottom line is that the game is so brutally unforgiving that it really is just more fun to help each other. I know folks in my circle for whom that would be utterly unacceptable. Playing a brutally unforgiving game with hardcore competitive players sounds…not fun. Not unless everyone is really, really good. Which I’m not, even after 50 hours.

I think after yesterday’s marathon session, I’m talking a break from High Frontier. We return you to your regular schedule.

7 thoughts on “Your Daily High Frontier”

  1. I actually tried this out for the first time this weekend on Tabletop Simulator (in VR, no less). We didn’t finish but did make a save of the game state. I think we left with good intentions but both secretly suspect we will be completely at sea when we try to load that save again.

  2. To interested parties: It is complex as all get out but I started building a useful cognitive lattice from it when I started internalizing the metaphors the mechanics were representing. The “language” of the board is clearer than you might expect.

  3. Paul Beakley Very good for a narrow range of players is a pretty good way to describe all of SMG’s games. But I think it applies more to this one than something like Greenland.

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