Mars needs Women, and also robonautic ISRU
So I finally got a chance to experience High Frontier. (“Play” would be the typical word, but like many of Phil Eklund’s “games” I’m not sure it’s appropriate). We used some of the advanced rules (namely, all 6 component types, but not combat, slingshots, events, solar cycles or the extended map). We also used the fast start (each player has six patents) and, in general, didn’t bother making too many deliberate hosey maneuvers (like bidding up stuff we didn’t need). So the 2.5 to 3 hours were spent contstantly tearing apart my rocket to rebuild it, finally launching a martian mission (with a buggy robonaut, so I could take all three sites) and building the solar-lens energy generator technology and shipping it back to earth. Meanwhile, another player got Mercury and the other set up a factory on one of the larger asteroids. I built a lunar factory while the Venusian mission went belly up.
At that point, we pretty much called it. I probably needed 30 minutes to figure out my next mission, one player was out of it, and the other was going to use rockets with frikkin lasers to prospect about a zillion asteroids at once.
An interesting experience. Glad to have played. But High Frontier is more puzzle than game for my tastes. I think making it a game would mean a player (or two) sitting out for an hour or two after their risk fails.
Rating — Indifferent.