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Nov 13, 2019 10:35 AM ET

High Frontier 4 All High Frontier, Phil Eklund's signature game. For all: with extensive tutorials and enthusiast's rules in modules; printed continuously

High Frontier 4 All High Frontier, Phil Eklund's signature game. For all: with extensive tutorials and enthusiast's rules in modules; printed continuously

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 13, 2019


High Frontier 4 All – Core Box front

This is the 4th edition of Phil Eklund’s signature game High Frontier. When Phil started working on High Frontier’s predecessor, many years ago (Rocket Flight in 1978), he envisioned players as space entrepreneurs in 2020 trying to profit in trade and technology development in space, with water as the basis for rocket travel. Three versions of High Frontier have passed. We are now at this year, 2020 and High Frontier 4 All will turn High Frontier into:

  • a more accessible game, adding introductory games to guide through the mechanics step-by-step as well as tutorials and a lot of illustrated examples and strategy tips throughout the rules.
  • a game system, open for additions and modules which allow it to evolve as technology advances and discoveries are made. For this evolution, we depend upon the community of High Frontier enthusiasts to submit modules and updates. Module 1 and 2 will be published at the same time as the Core Box. Module 0 is now an unlocked stretch goal in the Kickstarter. Since it has unlocked Module 0 will be included for free in the Core box! Module 1 and 2 are separate products. 

High Frontier 4 All is a space exploration game at its core. Each turn you perform 1 action (called an operation) and 1 movement (provided that you have launched a rocket). Throughout the game, you use an engine-building mechanism to combine different components (called patent cards) into a rocket or sail. The spirit and hazards of exploration and prospecting are recreated by map icons. The map is entirely revealed but your particular designs of rockets, refineries, and robonauts determine the best places to attempt glory, prospecting, industrialization, and eventual colonization. The factory products you produce will guide your strategy onward in the game. 

The mechanisms may be relatively simple, but the combinations of designs and explorations guarantee that no two games will be the same.

Victory points are primarily earned through the number of your ending map tokens, science value of your colonies, and your factory’s stock prices. The modules introduce other paths to victory, including politics, space colonies, starships, and special quests called futures.

High Frontier is a game of uncompromising hard science, but with an emphasis on narrative experiences. This has the effect of creating unscripted stories while playing against the harsh realities of space as much as against opponents. You will not find a more detailed map of the solar system anywhere, and the physics is real enough that you feel part of real stories and missions. 

 High Frontier 4 All will consist of a “Core Box” and several modules.  In this Kickstarter, we are releasing the following modules (with relevant pledge levels listed):

  • Upgrade Kit and Module 0 (OLD TIMER)
  • Module 1 – Terawatt & Futures (TERAWATT, COMPLETE SPACE EXPLORER)
  • Module 2 – Colonization (COLONIST, COMPLETE SPACE EXPLORER)

NOTE! In the art below, items with a circular arrow on them are not final art; they will look different in the final version. The component pictures will be updated during the kicktarter campaign.

If you own High Frontier 2nd or 3rd edition, the upgrade kit will allow you to experience High Frontier 4 All using several of your old components. For further information, see the FAQ.

We’ve created a video of game designers Phil Eklund and Jon Manker talk about science, facts, and design thoughts behind the High Frontier map.

 See video where Justin, Brad, Jon and Phil discuss Module 0 a bit more in depth: 

 Play-through core game High Frontier 4 All by Heavy Cardboard

Interested in playing solo? Read more about solitaire play in update #4: Solitaire in High Frontier 4 All

As space enterprise or nation in the near future, choose from game lengths from 48 to 84 years. Your goal is to compete with others over human and technological resources, while exploring the solar system for water and valuable sites for industrial exploitation. There are solitaire, cooperative, and combative variants. High Frontier’s iconic map is the most complete game representation of the solar system ever published and new useful and plausible routes are still being discovered by players.

The base gameplay mechanics are the same as in earlier versions, but all rules and all content has been overhauled. The most notable changes include:

  • More than 10 designers have worked on tweaking and perfecting the living rules from High Frontier 3rd Edition. The modules and futures have been vastly expanded.
  • Some cards have been tweaked and updated for balance, some new cards have been added, and all the cards are in a new easier to read format. There are new thrusters, reactors, generators, crews, and colonists.
  • Phil Eklund, in concert with his colleagues at NASA and LPL, has updated the map for legibility and science, while retaining the iconic look and feel from earlier editions. New sites, not even discovered in the last edition, have been added, as well as the aerostats of Titan.
  • Introductory games, tutorial playthroughs and scenarios have been added to ease the learning curve. In particular, a fun resource-collecting game easy enough for pre-teens introduces the essentials of movement and navigation. 
  • New Spectral Type H has been added, to represent the rare isotope helium-3, invaluable for clean fusion energy.
  • Space Elevators have been added throughout the Solar System, which can be built using freighters if you have Module 1.
  • In a science fiction variant, Supercritical Diamond Beings from the oceans of Uranus have been introduced allowing alternate starting points for players, or for alien versus human tensions.

The updated Core Box contains the equivalent to the previous edition’s basic and advanced rules. The rules have been greatly rewritten in order to make the game tighter and more accessible. Modules introducing additional elements are planned and in work.

Transition rules are included so that High Frontier works as an independent 4th stage in the Bios:Earth trilogy (Bios:Genesis, Bios:Megafauna and Bios:Origins) about the evolution of life on our planet. This includes having oceans on habitable Venus or Mars, as alternate springboards of conscious life.

High Frontier 4 All was awarded the “Atomic Rockets Seal of Approval” from Nyrath of Project Rho.  

Core Box (5 Rulebooks included) – Module 0 (Politics) is currently being edited in the Core Rules:

 Module 1

Module 2

 CZECH VERSION made by Fox in the Box

Česká jazyková verze hry High Frontier je licencovaná a distribuovaná vydavatelstvím Fox in the Box. Úroveň příspěvku “Czech Complete Space Explorer” obsahuje jak základní hru, tak oba rozšiřující moduly, a všechny dodatečné cíle dosažené během kampaně. V případě dotazů nás prosím kontaktujte na emailu:

Česká jazyková verze hry High Frontier je licencovaná a distribuovaná vydavatelstvím Fox in the Box. Fox in the Box je menší vydavatelství, které se specializuje na složitější a válečné hry pro náročné hráče. Vydavatelství již řadu let spolupracuje s ION Games a Sierra Madre Games a v minulosti se na českém a slovenském trhu objevily hry jako Neanderthal, BIOS:Genesis, BIOS:Megafauna, Pax Renaissance nebo Greenland. Vydavatelství na český a slovenský trh také přineslo hry jako ROOT nebo John Company. Dále vydavatelství spolupracuje s Leonhardem Orglerem – autorem her založených na herním systému 18XX, s kterým úspěšně uvedlo na celosvětový trh např. hry 18CZ, 1824 a 18Lilliput. 



Ediciones MasQueOca es uno de los editores más relevantes en los idiomas Español, Portugués y Brasileño, con más de 100 juegos publicados entre los que se incluyen; Camel Up, Concordia, Keyflower, Mice and Mystics, Great Western Trail, BlackOut Honk Kong etc. Con base en Madrid (España) Ediciones MasQueOca ha sido parte de numerosos y exitosos Kickstarters como; Fief, Mare Nostrum, 878 Vikings, Hannibal & Hammilcar, AuZtralia, Oceans, Nanty Narking, Co2 Segunda Oportunidad, Uboot, Donning the Purple o Successors. 

Ediciones MasQueOca tiene una alianza estratégica con ION Games y Sierra Madre Games y ha publicado los títulos Pax Porfiriana Edición Coleccionista y Pax Renaissance Edición Coleccionista.

Sigue toda la campaña en español en el blog del juego: 

 Portuguese version made by Mosaico Jogos

Todos os jogos em português são licenciados e distribuídos pela Mosaico Jogos. Para ter o jogo em Português é necessário escolher os apoios em Português do jogo. O frete será adicionado no “pledge manager”.

Para qualquer questão sobre o financiamento coletivo e outras dúvidas nos contatar em

Mais novidades em nossas redes sociais (Instagram e Facebook – Mosaico Jogos)

 FRENCH VERSION made by 500 Nuances de Geek

500 nuances de geek (500NDG) est un éditeur des cultures de l’imaginaire qui s’aventure la ou la main de l’homme n’a pas beaucoup mis le pied, en tissant des liens étroits entre fiction et jeu.

Depuis 2011, 500NDG a ainsi traduit ou créé plus d’une centaine de jeux, en particulier les jeux de rôles “indépendants” comme Fate  Blades in the Dark, ou Dungeon World , mais aussi des créations liées aux univers de la Science Fiction tel que Tschai world, d’après Jack Vance ou La Laverie, d’après la série de romans de Charles Stross, également publiée par 500NDG.

Apres une édition en boite remarquée de Dungeon World en 2013, 500NDG proposera début 2020 “Dungeon Of Doom”, une version en boite du Dungeons & Dragons des années 80 (B/x) pour redécouvrir les racines de la culture geek.

HF4A ne sera ni le dernier jeu de plateau que nous publions (si le succès est au rendez-vous, nous aborderons toute la gamme des jeux BIOS de Sierra Madre) ni le dernier titre de SF avec un « sense of wonder » enraciné dans la véracité scientifique pour vous propulser très loin. Nous travaillons en effet, en autres, sur l’intégrale de Dougal Dixon, paléontologue écossais connu pour ses beaux livre d’évolution alternative, adapté dans le documentaire « The future is Wild »

Le thread officiel de news de la campagne française:

La page de la campagne VF: 

CHINESE VERSION made by Banana Games. Banana Games will offer a Chinese version of High Frontier 4 All via another platform. 



Note! These versions are prototype testing grounds that we have used ourselves during development and may have art, components and other things that differ from the final product, but it is a good way to try the game if you want.  

Tabletop Simulator Version ( by Justin Grey) 

Vassal Module (by Stefano Tiné)

There will not be a retailer/distributor reward level during this campaign. If you are a retailer or distributor and interested in securing copies of High Frontier 4 All and the Modules, then please  send an email to to get the pre-order pricing and information about how to place an order. If you are a retailer/distributor in USA then please contact Mr B, . If you are a retailer or distributor interested in the versions in other languages than English, contact the licence taking company for that language version.

For any questions about licensing High Frontier in other languages contact 

Game Credits


HF CORE: Dom Rougier & Jon Manker

RACE FOR GLORY: Simon Ng, Al Cann & Jon Manker

RACE TO MARS TUTORIAL: Al Cann, Simon Ng & Jon Manker


MODULES, VARIANTS & EXPERIMENTAL RULES: Justin Grey & Brad Smith (Module 0), Phil Eklund (V1,2,4,5,8), Andy Graham (V3), Victor Caminha (V6), Pawel Garycki (V7), Noah Vale (X1, X2, X3, X4), Rus Belikov (X5)

STRATEGY GUIDE: (in alphabetical order) Ulrik Bøe, Al Cann, Peter Card, Jeff Chamberlain, Andrew Doull, Andy Graham, Chad Marlett, Francisco T. Montero, Eric Schiedler, Joe Schlimgen, Tarwin, Simon Weinberger, Wulf, Sam XXX,

PROJECT COORDINATION: Jon Manker, Neal Sofge & Dom Rougier



ART DIRECTION: Anna H Lindberg

MAP DESIGN: Phil Eklund

JUNIOR GAME DESIGN: Björn Ekenberg & Robin Spathon Ek

3D ARTIST: Jonas Törnros



PRODUCTION ARTIST: August Erik Nilsson






PLAYTESTERS: Allbin Amelin, Mikael Amelin, Andrew Anderson, Jake Arduino, Ruslan Belikov, Ulrik Bøe, Bottlesorter, tSverre Brubæk, Nikolaj Brucker, Al Cann, Pål Keller Carlquist, Jeff Chamberlain, Chris Clarke, Steve Cook, Ambulatory Cortex, Bill Dickens, Robin Spathon Ek, Björn Ekenberg, Jeff Frischkorn, Mike Greason, Justin Grey, Jesse Hamlin-Navias, Martin Kristoffersen, Magnus Lieng, Morten Lund, Alex Mauer, Jacky of Mercury, Simon Ng, Emeka Ojukwu, Edward Scott Peltz, Maurizio Picanza, Keith Planet-Killer, Ian Relihan, Jannosch Sachse, David Silverstein, Ben Smyth, Neal Sofge, Geoff Speare, Aaron Sturley, Alyson Sturley, Sveinn Svendsen, Jose, TheTrueMikeBrown, Ivan Tzunun, Victor van Santen, Alvin, Simon Weinberger, Sam Williams, Maria, Sverre, 

SCIENCE ADVISORS: (in alphabetical order) Ruslan Belikov, Jeff Chamberlain, John Douglass, Pawel Garycki, Simon Ng, Neal Sofge, Noah Vale


The game production will be overseen by  ION:SMG (Ion Game Design and Sierra Madre Games). Longpack has been selected as the manufacturer. At ION:SMG we are proud to say that we have a great deal of experience producing board games for both our own published titles, and serving as industry experts advising other publishers. An eye for quality and responsiveness to players who  purchase our games are two of our hallmarks. We are devoted to providing the best possible games to players.

English Versions Delivery

Once mass production is complete, games will be shipped and delivered by OTX – New York City (freight forwarding service) from the manufacturer to our three fulfillment centers FunagainAimplify and VFI.  The shipping from Longpack to Funagain in the US and Aimplify in Europe takes about 7 weeks, followed by 2 weeks of set up time before shipping to all backers in the US and Europe begins. From Longpack to our Chinese based fulfillment center VFI, it takes about 1 week followed by 2 weeks of setup time before the shipping to all backers outside of Europe begins. Note, these times are only estimates based on information from the fulfillment centers.

Other Language Versions

Due to translation work, the delivery time of other language versions may vary from the English version. The other language versions are being published by the licencing publisher and they have full responsibility for these versions and for the delivery of these games. For any questions related to these versions, please contact them directly.

Shipping Costs

After the campaign closes you will have a chance to update your shipping address, add items to your pledge and manage your pledge through a pledge manager. You will be able to change your address and update your pledge until mass production is completed and shipping from manufacturer begins.

All backers from all levels will have access to upgrade their pledge after the campaign ends.  After the pre-order period, the game including all unlocked stretch goals will be available through our website

After the campaign ends, actual shipping costs will be applied using the pledge manager.  The average shipping costs for one copy of the game including one copy of Module 1 and one copy of Module 2 backers will be approximately:

If you add more copies of the game or if you add other items to the order in the pledge manager the shipping cost may of course increase since we are just adding actual shipping costs in the pledge manager. Outside mentioned geographical areas the shipping cost may vary a lot. Some areas are particularly expensive to ship too, such as South and Central America and Africa. This will to some extent be mitigated by language versions, which is one of the ways we have taken to find the lowest shipping costs for you all. Also note that factors such as new import taxes (such as import tariffs now being considered by the US Government) and other factors outside our control may affect the final shipping price. It will be the best shipping price available at the time of shipping according to our shipping companies services. The shipping companies we use are optimizing for the best value they can find in a price/reliability combination. 

 Tracking number will be sent out by the fulfillment center once shipping has started.

Risks and challenges

When you pledge on Kickstarter you put your trust in a project long before it is completed and you contribute, with this trust, to making High Frontier 4 All a reality. We value that kind of trust and we value the model of Kickstarter too. ION:SMG will honor that model and prove our trustworthiness in delivering the games to you, as we have done in our numerous previous successful Kickstarter campaigns. Having said that, here are two thoughts on the production process.
* Although we have the best laid out plans and a generous time-line, there might be bumps in the road since there are so many different external partners (manufacturer, fulfillment center, etc). The estimated time of delivery may change due to this, but we are continuously improving the way we manufacture and deliver games based on experience from previous projects, and hope to be able to avoid delays
* ION:SMG is run by very experienced staff. We have a clear understanding about responsibility, quality and professionalism. We feel confident that we will be able to tackle these potential bumps on the production road and we will keep you updated about the process along the way.

Contact Information:

Sierra Madre Games

Tags:    Reward-Donation, Wire, United States, English