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Lamentations of the Damned: Playing Far Horizons for the very first time
#1
ENTRY ONE

Oh, woe is me!

Here I sit, with approximately a day remaining until my first set of turn orders for Far Horizons: The Awakening (Galaxy Alpha) are due. In all honesty, I haven't a clue as to what I am doing. I haven't read the manual. I have only skimmed over the Strategy Guide and Getting Started guide. Surely, I am damned in this game!

A quick glance at the Far Horizons website reveals many things and much detail, including a sample turn report. But, this is not what I need. None of it is what I need! Dammit all to Hell, the universe, itself, conspires against me! Where are the sample turn orders that a newbie to the game, like myself, needs??? Doesn't the game's moderator realize that we aren't all experienced Far Horizons players from the days of PBM olde, and that we haven't all absorbed the game manual by osmosis - yet?

I know that I've already downloaded the game manual. Yet, where is it when I need it? Looks like it's time to download it, once again - at a raging Internet dial-up connect speed of 16.8K. This will apparently take something on the order of thirty-seven years to download. Things are not looking so good for my empire, heading into turn # 1. I'll bet that one of those alien races out there with me in this game have swooped in and made off with the copy of the game manual that I downloaded previously. I did download it, didn't I? I know I did. I'm certain. I'm absolutely positive.

Yet, doubt lingers.

Oh, great! Just great. My download encountered a problem, so the game manual download is an aborted mission. I am beset by woe. This is no way to run a galactic empire. Far Horizons hates me. It's the game moderator's fault, no doubt. Is it merely coincidence that all of these problems are happening only to me? Can you say C-O-N-S-P-I-R-A-C-Y?

Well, I can't do anything, until I manage to successfully download that manual.

Time to go to Plan B.

The game moderator has the game manual up on his website in HTML format. So, no problem. Right?

Wrong-a-mundo!! The entire manual for the game in HTML format is not yet finished. Whatever is that game moderator up to? Is this any way to run a game? My God, man! Snap out of it!!

And they wonder why people miss getting their turn orders in on time.

NOTE: FAR HORIZONS is a strategic role-playing play-by-email (PBEM) game of galactic exploration, trade, diplomacy, and conquest. The first and second editions were designed for play by postal mail. Later editions were designed for play by electronic mail. The seventh edition rules and source code were released in 1999 by Rick Morneau.
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#2
I understand the frustration took me a good 4 weeks to understand everything myself even with the rules. Still pretty much a novice since this will only be my third attempt. But anyways I happen to have a copy of teh rules on my machine that I will attempt to attach.. I hope it clears some stuff up but will also confuse you lol. The charts the GM uploaded to his site is also extremely helpful
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#3
I have to say this game looks really good.
I have just signed up for a game of Starweb, I dont have more free time to play another game.

I do hope you share your gaming experience with the potential players on this website! Big Grin


Looking forward to it.
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#4
(03-20-2011, 04:09 AM)Wolvar Wrote: I understand the frustration took me a good 4 weeks to understand everything myself even with the rules. Still pretty much a novice since this will only be my third attempt. But anyways I happen to have a copy of teh rules on my machine that I will attempt to attach.. I hope it clears some stuff up but will also confuse you lol. The charts the GM uploaded to his site is also extremely helpful

That version of the rules is actually out of date. The most up to date version will always be at this link:

Updated Game Manual

Note, the rules haven't change, but there were lots of formatting changes. The latest one is much easier to read and use as a reference guide.


Edit: Hm, I saw that the large size of the rules is causing some problems on slower connections. I can split it up into multiple documents.

I found a copy of the rules on this website here: http://cetnerowski.com/farhorizons/pmwiki/pmwiki.php (I think this belongs to either jdukat or prozenfeld)

Be careful, there are some spam postings on the wiki. That website should work until I can finish copying it into the FH website.

Edit: The link to the PDF (this one) now points to a new copy that is much smaller in size (500KB). I will work on splitting it up into smaller PDFs and posting them.
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#5
ENTRY TWO

Yesterday, I attempted, yet again, to download the Game Manual for Far Horizons. I managed to get over half-way there, before disaster struck once more. Egads! Something sinister is afoot, here.

Resolute and undeterred, I initiated a download of the Game Manual for the third time. Simultaneously, I had the master brain of my computer to begin an automated search of every last nook, cranny, and crevice of my computer's two hard drives, to try and uncover the copy of the Game Manual that I had downloaded successfully a while back.

Bingo!

I began to flip through the pages of the electronic Game Manual, its PDF pages seeking to enlighten my brain orb, only to no avail. The brain rot had already begun to set in, apparently, so osmosis would not be an option for this game.

Damn!! I could hear game moderator Casey smirking at my galactic misfortune. I make a mental note to nuke his home planet from orbit.

Finally, the due date had arrived. Turn orders had to be in at a pre-determined time. So, in the finest tradition of PBM gamers down through the rich and colorful history of postal genre gaming, I headed off to work, instead.

Due date? What's that??

One of my fellow players in this game of Far Horizons must have unleashed a nanobot attack upon my memory, a bio-organic brain decay organism of some type. It may even have been a DNA-code bomb. Clearly, these bastards were playing for keeps! The thought occurred to me that the game moderator may be in cahoots with them. Things began to be more clear, now. It all began to make sense. Some nefarious hive mind was what I faced. This was going to be an uphill climb.

At T+ several, I finally managed to fire off a set of turn orders, oblivious to the relevance of any of it. True to form, my orders contained errors. There was no pleasing Casey. Damn him! Damn his game!

In an act that can only be called cosmic manipulation, the game moderator identified my error, and got me set upon the path of the straight and narrow. At long last, my turn results finally found me,a nd I opened them immediately.

Unfortunately, the transmission had been garbled. Frantic, I began to panic. Think, man! Think!!

Reaching for the activation button of another software program, I managed to de-scramble the mess, and at long, long last, my wait was over. Power coursed through my veins. I had defied all odds. I had survived the event, with nary a scratch.

I had managed to actually issue orders that worked. A magnificent space vessel now awaited my command. My research had already begun to pay off. Oh, Hell yes!! The collective efforts of all of my empire's enemies had been for naught.

Now, if I only really understood what I should be doing, to chart a winning course for my empire.

From a far corner of space, misery mocked me. It just stood there, taunting me. Heckling me like a galaxy-sized fool. It could have at least explained to me what a "normal" first set of turn orders should look like.

I've got a gnawing feeling that my empire has fallen behind, already.

All that I can say is.....Damn!!
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#6
ENTRY THREE

I have one day left, before the next turn orders are due in to the grandmaster of processing. My empire built a ship, last turn. Now, what to do with it?

Do I need to load it with anything? What am I missing, here? I really must make time to read that game manual, someday. I've browsed over it. I've glanced at it. I've even revisited it. But, I'm missing something. I'm missing a lot, actually.

Why? Because I don't even know how to move that ship of mine. The damned thing is capable of faster than light (FTL) travel between star systems, and I don't even know how to turn the ignition over on the thing. This new-fangled technology, I'm telling ya.

Manual, manual, manual. Now, where's that manual, again. I found it, last turn. Now, it's time for me to find it, again. Pah. Such unnecessary complications make galactic conquest far more difficult than it has to be. I hope like Hell that I don't have to read a star chart. It's not a language that I speak.

Well, I found the game manual, all right. Big help that was!! Oh, my God! I still have no clue what I should do. I need to colonize something. The only question is - what??? What? What?? What???

There are multiple planets in my home star system. Should I colonize those other planets, before launching towards the stars, in the hope of finding the right chunk of rock? Or, can I even colonize those other planets in my home system? If I can't, then what use are they in the game? Clearly, I am missing something.

I have found the section in the game manual on starting a colony. Apparently, I need Colonist Units (CU), Colonial Mining Units (IU), and Colonial Manufacturing Units (AU). That's all fine and dandy, but it's not really what I'm looking for. The game manual is 86 pages. Suffice it to say that I think that the game manual could be improved upon - a lot! It's probably fine for people who already understand what they need to do. It's not very good, in my considered opinion, at getting the new guy up and running quickly. It comes as no surprise to me that one player "had to drop out," before turn # 1. I can sympathize.

I understand why the Far Horizons website has an example of turn results on it. It lets other people - other potential players - get a basic idea of what they might see each turn, if they join and play the game. But, it is of zero use to the new guy who's faced with the uphill climb to sort this whole ball of wax out. Example turn orders, that's what they need. Example turn orders. Can you say example turn orders? Neither can the game's moderator, apparently.

Why does the new guy to the game need such? Because, he hasn't a clue as to what in the Hell he is supposed to do, in order to accomplish something that he thinks that he wants to do. At least, if he's anything like me, that's probably the case. That's the case with me, right now.

I simply want to move the ship that I built, and colonize a new planet. Sounds relatively uncomplicated, right? Wrong! Oh, baby, you got that one big time wrong! Big time!!

You know, I could get my turn orders in much quicker, if I only understood what I needed to do. Because the game has the benefit of being automated, that translates into us human creatures having to be exact with how we issue our orders for our respective empires. Screw it up, and you will receive error messages or what you want to do simply won't get done - and then you will begin to fall behind. Now, you tell me - if you're civilization might just end up on some alien space race's menu of destruction, then would you want your people to fall behind? Now, you begin to see my point, huh?

Damned game moderator!

I am going to take a break, and let my nerves calm down. This dilemma of trying to establish a colony has got me all on edge. I need a Marlboro - and I don't even smoke!!
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#7
Good idea. I'll start compiling some example orders along the lines of "How to do X"

Don't worry too much about errors in your orders. I watch them as they come in and will reply if it looks like you need it. If it comes to processing time and there are still errors, then in some cases I can manually fix simple problems.

Edit: See the new page http://fh.binaryelysium.com/How_do_I...

By the way, I like these posts (drama aside Tongue), because it helps identify trouble areas new players will run into. So I'll be attempting to fix them as you find them.
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#8
(03-22-2011, 02:02 PM)Ramblurr Wrote: Edit: See the new page http://fh.binaryelysium.com/How_do_I...

Trying to avoid hijacking an interesting story, I created a thread with comments here: http://playbymail.net/mybb/showthread.php?tid=102


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#9
Entry Four

Here it is, with me tired as Hell and my body wanting me to head off to bed, and I remain stumped. Things are not nearly so obvious as some might think that they seem.

I have no idea if I should try to colonize other planets in my home solar system, or if I should launch a rocket ship to another star's solar system, and then try to colonize there. Which is better? I have no clue. I don't know what I'm doing, and I find no shame in admitting such.

I know that I need to do something. Maybe I should just pour all of my money into research. Or is money the correct term for it, for whatever it is that I am spending. The game manual is nearby. I do not consider it to be my friend.

I built a ship, last turn. Should I even bother to move it? Or should I wait? Maybe I should wait to move it, until I figure out what I am doing. Can a ship rust in space? Maybe what I created was a derelict, a floating space hulk, of a sort.

The game moderator doesn't like the drama of these postings of mine, in this thread. But, I don't like not knowing what I am doing, so that makes us even, I guess. Surely, there's got to be a better way, than the new guy (namely, myself) being left to sort it all out by themself.

If I want to move my shop to another star, is that when I will learn what planets orbit those stars? I assume so, but I really don't know.

There's so much that I don't know. There's more that I don't know than that I do know, about this game. Maybe I will grasp it, in due time. Perhaps it awaits me there, just over far horizons.

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#10
Entry Five

Well, the need for sleep ended up winning out over the desire to issue a perfected set of turn orders for the turn of Far Horizons due this morning, so a rather hastily cobbled Frankenstein set of turn orders were fired off in the direction of the game moderator, mere moments ago. Since the deadline for turn processing was less than an hour away, I felt that having some orders in were better than having no orders in, so Fate will have to have its way with my empire in the coming turn.

Lest one of those other players (the bastards that they are) seek to launch a surprise attack upon my homeworld so early into the game, an investment in planetary defenses seemed prudent. Plus, it also meant that I would get to try something new (new for me, anyway), this turn.

After sending my turn orders in, I decided to take a casual stroll of the Far Horizons website. Something caught my eye! What was it? A Player Tools section. Something foul is afoot, no doubt. Is this the game moderator's way of giving other players in the game an advantage over me? Doesn't the fool realize that they are likely conspiring, already?? Clearly, it may become necessary to fight fire with fire. I may just begin to dabble with such artifacts, myself. What then, conspiring fools upon your padded galactic thrones? Where will you be then, when your own swords of advantage are turned against you?

Oh, my God! There's a spreadsheet included amongst these player tools for the game. I hate spreadsheets. Oh, how I detest them! I don't know if I'm quite so desperate, yet, to subject myself to such insane cruelty and such infinite misery, as compelling myself to make use of a spreadsheet, in order to play this game.

And did I mention that I don't know whether I list START PRODUCTION once on my turn orders, and END in order to end production for all items just once, or if I need to do it as I tried to do it, with several instances of each, just for production issues. Why isn't this covered in that dad-burned magical game manual that the game moderator touts so much on the game's website? It is a manual of confusion, no doubt. Rick Morneau wrote that manual long ago, just to cause madness, I believe. Could it be that the game manual, itself, is an instrument of Chaos? GASP!! I dare say that it is so.

I didn't receive an automated message in my e-mail in-box that my turn orders had errors in them, unlike the previous turn. Automated error messages, indeed! More of an automated gloat system, if you ask me, all the more to increase the players' misery with, no doubt. Is there no end to such treachery?

My empire remains, yet alive, albeit not exactly prospering. What is prospering, within the context of this game, anyway? I mean, what's normal at this stage of the game? I'll guarantee you that there are people in this game, right now, that have already embarked upon a military build-up. In the days of PBM olde, we called them calculating bastards. Their kind's not dead. Their kind will never die. They're watching us all, right now. Plotting. Scheming. Planning. Their only interest is our collective doom.

Eternal vigilance - that's me and my measly little planet. An empire of but one singular world, a speck adrift in the ocean of deep space.
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