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Far Horizons: The Return
My two primary goals right now are to improve the project repository for future GMs + players and to document and hopefully fix all errors in the code as we discover them during the course of play.

A Beginner’s Guide and a Strategy Guide existed at one point, but may have been lost. Recreating them is a possibility as we learn what needs to be in these documents.

More details here:

PS: During the present test game, we may come to the realization that the game isn’t particularly fun to play or we may encounter bugs that force the test game to end prematurely. Far Horizons may be a short-lived experiment. Or, perhaps not?
Raven Zachary in Portland, Oregon, USA. Currently playing: TribeNetSuperNovaMiddle-earth, and Takamo.
(04-30-2021, 11:29 PM)ravenzachary Wrote: The test game has begun! 12 players and 6 NPC positions to accommodate late player additions.

I would like to join in.

Robert Hayes
(05-06-2021, 12:32 PM)roberthayes Wrote:
(04-30-2021, 11:29 PM)ravenzachary Wrote: The test game has begun! 12 players and 6 NPC positions to accommodate late player additions.

I would like to join in.

Robert Hayes

Raven Zachary in Portland, Oregon, USA. Currently playing: TribeNetSuperNovaMiddle-earth, and Takamo.
I'm going to reply to Grim's last-minute first-turn 'drudgery' and 'chore' responses here, rather than inline, because that seems to be a personal log of madness.

This game, like many space conquest games, has a rich set of features. This is necessary to keep the game interesting and deep.

The cost to having a rich set of features is a learning curve, and like many such games, it can be a daunting thing for the new player. The manual is 93 pages long.

You cannot hope to enjoy the game until you understand it. You cannot hope to understand the game until you read the manual. You cannot read the manual at the last minute.

Is any of this truly surprising?

Once you've read the manual (and made notes) you'll be in a better position to understand the example first turn shared by Raven, and carry on into later turns with the results of that first turn. In that example turn, he created a ship (actually two, but I'm betting that's a mistake with a single shipyard) and some colonial units in preparation for manufacturing on a new world.

there's not a lot else you can do on turn 1, but you need to have read the manual to take that all in.

In summary, you get out what you put in to these things. Spend the time reading the manual before deadlines are due and it'll cease to be a chore and drudgery.

Hope this doesn't come across as insulting, that's not the intention. I did feel however, that Grim's response wasn't at all how I felt about the game and needed a balanced response.
I'd also like to add that Grim's determination to get the turn submitted at the last minute rather than bail on Raven is wholly admirable.

None of it comes across as insulting, and my log for the game is very much a personal log of madness. It will reflect things that I think and feel (rantings, ravings, the good, the bad, and the ugly - and sometimes, the pretty), that sort of thing. Not every player of such games will take time to read and grasp all of the rules ahead of time, and so I take that route quite deliberately, to try and figure out where the learning curve might be reduced, for games of Far Horizons going forward.

I do not agree, as a blanket rule, that one gets out what one puts into such things. Sometimes, yes. Other times, no. The great villain (for me, if not for others) is time. How much time does each respective player, both current and future, have available to read and digest (which typically requires re-reading various portions) the rule book? It will vary widely, of course. From my perspective, the rule book needs to be rewritten - or at a bare minimum, a rule book for beginners just getting started needs to be created, preferably one that sifts out everything except for what is relevant to the first turn or two, in order to reduce the prospect of a newbie to the game being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of text thrown at them by the rule book in its current form.

Not reading rule books, or just trying to quickly skim over them, can lead to a gnashing of teeth. This is no different, now, than it has ever been, Fungus, as you would likely agree. I don't have a desire to "bail on Raven." I didn't bail the last time around that I tried my hand at Far Horizons (around a decade ago), and I haven't bailed this time, either (thus far, anyway). Retention of understanding of the rules from the previous time that I tried playing the game has proven to be minimal, as in virtually non-existent - which is annoying all on its on, I might add. Not surprising (for me, anyway), but annoying, nonetheless.

I also do not agree that you cannot enjoy the game, if you do not understand it. I enjoyed attacking Ixnay's empire, the last time around, and I didn't understand it any better then, than I do now. In fact, my understanding of the rules is probably higher this time around than the last. Likewise, I wouldn't agree that one can't read the manual (aka the rule book for Far Horizons) at the last minute. That's certainly lies well within the realm of possibility, even if it is not my preferred path of approaching this test game of Far Horizons. Human beings have a long, colorful, and storied history of cramming at the last moment, whether for tests, exams, or even rule books for games that they want to learn how to play. Just ask Ixnay, sometime, if I seemed to enjoy the part of the game our last time around, where I found his homeworld and started attacking his empire's assets. Quite enjoyable, that was!

As for reading the manual and making notes, my postings in the forum here ARE my notes. By posting as I do, it helps me to retain information about how to play the game.

And unlike you, Fungus, King of Mud, I am older than I used to be, and my eyesight has been increasingly challenged over the last couple of years or so. I have to make use of reading glasses, these days, and I'm currently about two months or so into a bout of double vision. Those things, too, contribute to the annoyance and frustration factor, I'm sure.

Plus, the forum here can always use some new postings, I like to think, and at some point down the road, some may even find my postings on the game to have an entertaining quality, all their own. Or not, as forum users' mileage may vary.
very thoughtful reply, Grim - you make some very good points. I was certainly describing my own enjoyment of devouring manuals when getting into a new game. The fact we're all so different is what makes our individual participation in these games so deliciously unpredictable Smile
I doubt I am going to do much more for Far Horizons after GM'ing this first test game (and playing in future games). Michael Henderson is porting the game code to Go and updating all of the data files from binary to JSON. My hope is that Michael becomes the GM for game #2 on his new code and continues to evolve the game over time.

It's not that I lack an interest, it just makes more sense for a real developer to take over. I can only do so much with the original C code.

I still plan to GM PBMs in the future, although these will likely be other resurrected or new PBMs.
Raven Zachary in Portland, Oregon, USA. Currently playing: TribeNetSuperNovaMiddle-earth, and Takamo.
I link here to some mindmaps of the manual that I made while reading it. I find this process helps reinforce my understanding of the contents of a technical book. If this helps anyone else, I am happy. I have no doubt captured several misunderstandings and will be happy to hear of corrections.
I've been cleaning up the C source for FH with a view to being able to extend it if the Go version takes too long to materialise (but seeing really great progress from Michael on that so far).

Spurred on by the talk of the horrible ship name with 12 spaces in it, I investigated the Edit tool which allows certain attributes to be changed by the GM to correct things if necessary.

The name of the ship was not something the tool allowed to change, but I have added that capability successfully and it will be an option for Raven if he and the players want it.

An alternative would be to support a RENAME SHIP or RENAME XYZ order so that players could self manage.

What do we think?
Currently playing TribeNet, Far Horizons, Galac-tac, Supernova, The Isles and Dungeonworld.

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