These are testing times

The inaugural Frontier test crew.

“There’s one rule you must obey above all others, no drinks on the board

You may have read in a previous version of this blog that the board for this game of mine cost me a pretty penny to produce so I’m pretty keen to preserve it as long as I can. So to get as much life out of this treasured piece of pulped wood I laid down the law very early on.

I’d gathered together the first test group for Frontier version 2 for a night of revelry and information gathering. It was a group comprised of blokes who had played the previous version and were keen to help me get the rules ironed out.

One large problem I had was that I’d never actually written down the rules the first time round. Foolish I know. So through trial and error of our combined vague memories we aimed to rekindle what had made the game so great the first time round.

We set up the game and ran through the rules we would begin with, chief among them being the above mentioned — no drinks on the board.

Obligatory selfie. Note the lawyer down the end with said refreshment on the table.

Well turns out I wasn’t specific enough.

One among us so happens to be a lawyer and took a very definitive approach to the “no-drinks” rule.

No sooner than half an hour into Christening this ceremony of strategy and chance had the legal professional decided that the table is obviously not the board and therefor does not count as a barred location. Soon after he had Christened it with his beer bottle as well.

He reached to move his ship across the oceans and with that one motion of his arm created his own flowing amber ocean across the board.


My heart quickly sank and the rush to save the board was on. Pieces were flipped and cloths were applied. At the same time the apologies were flowing faster than the beverage across the board. This was followed by much grief given to the perpetrator by the fellow players.

Fortunately the board didn’t absorb too much with only slight warping occurring that I’m certain prolonged pressure will flatten out. It also gave us plenty of ammunition for ridicule and harassment throughout the night.

Back to the task at hand.

There ended up being a lot of long pauses and robust discussion throughout the evening about certain rules, should ships be able to bombard cities? How far can a cannon really move?. This was exactly what I was looking for.

The most ruthless of players. Kiran was maker and breaker of allegiances.

We eventually settled into an agreed set of rules.

Alliances were made, double-crosses were devised and wars were fought. ’Twas a glorious night and an extremely valuable one. Tweaks were made to the rules and even some worthy amendments to the board were suggested such as making each segment an interlocking puzzle piece.

The app itself worked extremely well up on the TV. The plan is to eventually have it in app format so that everyone can be organising their turns at the same time on their phones.

Every turn was a tense decision making quandary. (Drink still on table)

The game including all the stoppages went on for about 4 hours before it was time to call it.

And the winner on the night?

The bloody lawyer.

For more in the series…

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