What is "High Adventure"?


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Take a look at the top left of any of the game master series boxes, and you will see the words

    “A GAME OF HIGH ADVENTURE.”

    I’ve always wondered what people thought about that? Does anyone have any theories as to why these words were chosen? And most importantly lol what is “high adventure” to you?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    I’ve always wondered what people thought about that? Does anyone have any theories as to why these words were chosen? And most importantly lol what is “high adventure” to you?

    I think it’s simply marketing fluff.  If you had to choose between a game that promised you “adventure” and one which promised you “high adventure”, wouldn’t you pick the second one?

    When he was working on the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey back in the mid-60s, Arthur C. Clarke jokingly accused the advertising department at MGM of having a labour-saving key on their IBM Selectric typewriters which, when pressed, would automatically type out, “Never before in the history of motion pictures”, at which point the marketing guys would just type in the rest of their sales pitch.



  • When I was a child, I used to play with G.I. Joe’s who were sold as “Adventure” toys rather than “War” toys to appease the anti-Vietnam hippie parents of that era.  Similarly “A game of high adventure” is given as a euphemism for the correct description of the game, which would be “A game of imperialist warmongering and the unmerciful slaughter of the innocent”.  Personally I would rather buy a game with the latter description for my kid, but I don’t have any kids so that’s probably a good thing.


  • 2017

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_adventure

    “High adventure is a type of outdoor experience. It typically is meant to include activities like backpacking, hiking, kayaking or canoeing.”

    World War II was an outdoor experience, makes sense to me.



  • Yes, Kayaking, like the SOE special forces….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXbcVaQM4E0&feature=related

    swashbuckling high adventure!


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    It means you have to be high to play.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    No, really I think it is something more like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fantasy

    If you haven’t read Tolkien or Lewis, you may never have heard of “High Fantasy”, but I do believe that it relates to “High Adventure”.

    Just as High Fantasy is fiction set in an alternate or made-up world, High Adventure is adventure (or in this case history) which is made up, or charts a parallel course to real history. Even though Axis and Allies is based in real history, and theoretically is totally historical at the outset, by its very nature it will always have a different series of events than what really happened. In this way it becomes High Adventure: rooted in history, but an adventure into Alternate History, if you will.

    So, it is not merely a marketing ploy and is in fact accurately descriptive of the game. I say not merely a marketing ploy because certainly an antiquated term such as “High Adventure” conjures such images and feelings of classic tales of epic wonder. This vintage feel does help to sell both the game and the experience… but it is accurate in its terminology, not just a hollow sales pitch.



  • I always think of the inter-war years, the 1920-30’s, and characters like Indiana Jones when someone says high adventure.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Good theory Hoffman, but it the term “high” was supposed to imply something is made up… then why use the word “Fantasy?”

    Unless it is to imply, that the “high” is a break away from the regular series into something that is non-canon?

    Lol wow, that’s getting deep.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Maybe “high” is supposed to imply that there is a challenging mental component to an event, game, or story? And you have to pay more attention, or it’s going to engage “higher cerebral functions”.

    I hope that guess is as good as anybodies. LOL.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Gargantua:

    Good theory Hoffman, but it the term “high” was supposed to imply something is made up… then why use the word “Fantasy?”

    Fantasy is used to define a certain genre; particularly one with magical or supernatural elements, like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. For our purposes we could replace Fantasy with Fiction, thereby removing the magical element.

    “High” is used because you can still write fantasy (made-up events) but have it take place in our Primary World (eg Harry Potter… or even Twilight). Suppose we replaced the word Fantasy with Fiction for a moment. Let’s say that books like Dune and The Lord of the Rings are High Fiction, because they are set in universes/worlds which are not the one we know. A book like Jurassic Park and even The Hunger Games would be examples of Low Fiction; they are still made-up but they takes place in the world that we know, or a future version of it.

    In this way, the High terminology may not work for Axis & Allies because it is set in our own Primary World; it is not a made-up place. It could be considered a Parallel World, because the events are on a different plane of “alternate” history. Either way it does get kind of deep… That’s my best guess.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @LHoffman:

    In this way, the High terminology may not work for Axis & Allies because it is set in our own Primary World; it is not a made-up place. It could be considered a Parallel World, because the events are on a different plane of “alternate” history. Either way it does get kind of deep… That’s my best guess.

    The “high fantasy” parallel you mention is an interesting theory.  Hasbro’s use of “high adventure” may indeed be a combination of marketing and of the concept you mention – though I wonder if the people at Hasbro back at that time would have been familiar with the term “high fantasy.”  The irony here is that A&A’s current manufacturer, WotC, probably would be familiar with “high fantasy” since they also publish Magic: The Gathering.

    I once read a book on the advertising industry in which the author illustrates one of his points by imagining a caveman from the Upper Paleolithic setting up a sales booth and putting a sign in front of it that says, “Three-pointed rocks for sale.”  A competitor notices this and promptly sets up his own booth nearby, in front of which he puts a sign that says, “Superior three-pointed rocks for sale.” So I think there’s an element of that too at work here.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Clyde85:

    I always think of the inter-war years, the 1920-30’s, and characters like Indiana Jones when someone says high adventure.

    Exactly. “High Adventure” always brings to my mind a journey to a blank space on the map ala Alan Quartermain, or a Jack London tale, a sort of modern day (meaning 1880-1939) version of a romantic quest. The stuff of pulp novels. Men off doing what men did before all the navel gazing and feminist enlightenment got started.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @CWO:

    I once read a book on the advertising industry in which the author illustrates one of his points by imagining a caveman from the Upper Paleolithic setting up a sales booth and putting a sign in front of it that says, “Three-pointed rocks for sale.”  A competitor notices this and promptly sets up his own booth nearby, in front of which he puts a sign that says, “Superior three-pointed rocks for sale.” So I think there’s an element of that too at work here.

    I would agree. Certainly there is a positve marketing element behind the inclusion of “High Adventure”. I mean it does sound kind of cool and sweeping, exactly what they would want to help sell it.

    I bought it. Although I am pretty sure that by the time I got into A&A it did not say “High Adventure” on the cover.

    To some degree it fits the “superior” description. It’s the best WWII boardgame out there that I am aware of.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @frimmel:

    @Clyde85:

    I always think of the inter-war years, the 1920-30’s, and characters like Indiana Jones when someone says high adventure. Â

    Exactly. “High Adventure” always brings to my mind a journey to a blank space on the map ala Alan Quartermain, or a Jack London tale, a sort of modern day (meaning 1880-1939) version of a romantic quest. The stuff of pulp novels. Men off doing what men did before all the navel gazing and feminist enlightenment got started.

    I would say that Frimmel and Clyde describe the emotional reaction to the term “High Adventure” best.  Right on the spot.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @LHoffman:

    I would say that Frimmel and Clyde describe the emotional reaction to the term “High Adventure” best.  Right on the spot.

    Here’s a question that’s just popped into my mind: If an A&A game were to be marketed as offering “Low Adventure”, what would it consist of?  The only possibility I could think of was Gargantua’s Darkside Rules, but I’m not sure that fits.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @LHoffman:

    @frimmel:

    @Clyde85:

    I always think of the inter-war years, the 1920-30’s, and characters like Indiana Jones when someone says high adventure. �Â

    Exactly. “High Adventure” always brings to my mind a journey to a blank space on the map ala Alan Quartermain, or a Jack London tale, a sort of modern day (meaning 1880-1939) version of a romantic quest. The stuff of pulp novels. Men off doing what men did before all the navel gazing and feminist enlightenment got started.

    I would say that Frimmel and Clyde describe the emotional reaction to the term “High Adventure” best.  Right on the spot.

    Well I hate to say it, but you’re all wrong! 😛

    Fortress America also says “A game of HIGH adventure” on the front,  and that has hover tanks and space lazers etc.  So it’s certainly not a period concept…  Lhoff’s original theorum, or just a plain  marketing strategy is the closest I think.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    The more and more I read online…

    “HIGH Adventure” just seems to imply an activitiy, full of explosive excitement, mostly in reference to a person or group of persons overcoming significant challenge/opposition, like mother nature, science, evil monsters, or the mettle of other men and minds.

    To which I can say, I have to agree is true.

    We’ve all probably cheered as loud in original, when a transport has sunk an enemy battleship, or it was tank on fighter and you took Berlin/Moscow. Many games for all of you I’m sure, have ended in explosive catastrophe, or epic victory, with emotions high, and every eye in the room on the last slow motion die roll.

    After all, that’s why we’re all here isn’t it?


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I also have to say…

    HIGH Adventure seems to imply, a “Journey into the unknown” where unexpected challenge awaits.  For Men who Dare! 😛


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I especially like the part of the picture which says, “The Sadist Who Ravaged The West”.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    The perspective on this picture is a little confusing… it looks like he is bayonetting the guy with his Thompson.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    The perspective on this picture is a little confusing… it looks like he is bayonetting the guy with his Thompson.

    What else could you possibly expect from “High Adventure”.  😛


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Gargantua:

    The more and more I read online…

    “HIGH Adventure” just seems to imply an activitiy, full of explosive excitement, mostly in reference to a person or group of persons overcoming significant challenge/opposition, like mother nature, science, evil monsters, or the mettle of other men and minds.

    To which I can say, I have to agree is true.

    We’ve all probably cheered as loud in original, when a transport has sunk an enemy battleship, or it was tank on fighter and you took Berlin/Moscow. Many games for all of you I’m sure, have ended in explosive catastrophe, or epic victory, with emotions high, and every eye in the room on the last slow motion die roll.

    After all, that’s why we’re all here isn’t it?

    Okay so I describe “high adventure” as the stuff of pulp novels, you say I’m wrong and then provide the cover of pulp novel well pulp styled magazine to prove you are right?  :?


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Gargantua:

    I also have to say…

    HIGH Adventure seems to imply, a “Journey into the unknown” where unexpected challenge awaits.  For Men who Dare! 😛

    Frell man. Did I not say, “a journey to a blank space on the map?”  :roll:


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I suppose you did lol.


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