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Roll for the Galaxy» Forums » General

Subject: Why I prefer Race for the Galaxy over Roll. rss

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David B
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I posted this in the Race forums, but I though I would also post it here just to stir up some constructive dialogue, hopefully with a little well meaning controversy. I guess what prompted it are all those top XX lists and where people are placing these two games.

Although Roll for the Galaxy is a fine game, I will always prefer Race. Roll is a bit easier to teach to newcomers, but I would still not spring it on infrequent or casual gamers; it, too, is not a gateway game and still has a fairly steep learning curve. That said, here are my reasons for preferring Race:

1) Read all the abilities on the tiles then read all the abilities on the cards. The abilities on the cards in Race are more interesting and varied.

2) The planets in particular in Roll just don't do much in comparison to the planets in Race.

3) Military planets in Roll just give you basically a red die. Military in Race is its own viable strategy. (Although Ambition may have tweaked this a little).

4) The only way to get new tiles in Roll is when explore is picked AND you assign dice to it. There are opportunities to get more cards in every phase in Race. So in this regard, Roll feels too slow to me. Perhaps with more play, the pace may feel different. But I will always prefer the more steady influx of cards in Race.

5) You only have the option of building the top tile in each of the two construction stacks. In Race, you can build any card in your hand.

6) In Roll, the tension of which cards to build and which to use for payment, one of they key tensions in the game, is gone.

7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.
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Florian Trabert
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Having played both game quite a bit I have to agree mostly. The first reason you gave seems to be the most important. I should add, however, that the dice placing in Roll offers an interesting mechanism which is without parallel in Race.
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Ryan Keane
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Good post but it assumes that these games are competing for the same slot. While similar in many features, they feel like very different games to me and I don't really compare them as directly as I might for say Agricola and Caverna. San Juan is more similar to Race than Roll is.

pfctsqr wrote:

1) Read all the abilities on the tiles then read all the abilities on the cards. The abilities on the cards in Race are more interesting and varied.


Agreed. Maybe that will change once Roll has as many expansions as Race. But I'll return to this point on #7.

Quote:

2) The planets in particular in Roll just don't do much in comparison to the planets in Race.


But planets add dice. The dice are the focus of Roll and supplement combo of tile abilities, whereas Race is solely centered around combos, hence the need for special abilities on the planets.

Quote:

3) Military planets in Roll just give you basically a red die. Military in Race is its own viable strategy. (Although Ambition may have tweaked this a little).


Red dice are the best way to pursue a settle/dev strategy, but at the cost of having less options for consume points. I in fact find this more interesting than the Race Military strategy, where I just check if I've met the minimum value needed, not needing to spend or allocate anything.

Quote:

4) The only way to get new tiles in Roll is when explore is picked AND you assign dice to it. There are opportunities to get more cards in every phase in Race. So in this regard, Roll feels too slow to me. Perhaps with more play, the pace may feel different. But I will always prefer the more steady influx of cards in Race.


I agree. In Race, you get to see a lot more cards, because you need them for money. Because you don't spend tiles for currency in Roll, you inherently are going to see less tiles, which unfortunately means luck is a greater factor for getting 6-cost developments, etc. I would have preferred if the tiles were single-sided - pretty poor design choice there. Then they could just be placed in several stacks around the table, rather than having to pass a bag, and players would spend less time flipping tiles back and forth. Also, if each Scout die let you draw/discard more, or even if Ships could be used to do some version of Scout (which makes sense thematically).

Quote:

5) You only have the option of building the top tile in each of the two construction stacks. In Race, you can build any card in your hand.


Not a big issue for me. It does speed the game up during the Dev/Settle actions, since players don't need to think about what card to play, but requires some thinking when you do a big Scout and have several tiles to place. IIRC one starting dev let's you break this rule, but I find that one of the weaker starting tiles.

Quote:

6) In Roll, the tension of which cards to build and which to use for payment, one of they key tensions in the game, is gone.


Again, different games. In Roll, the tension is in how you allocate your dice, do you invest in an expensive tile and have idle dice on a tile, etc., rather than the constant prioritizing of cards in your hand as playable vs money.

Quote:

7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.


I don't want to have to look at the other player's cards whether they have text or icons, period. I want to hear what they do when you play them and then just remember what my opponents are trying to do or most benefit from. Because there are fewer abilities in Roll and they are text rather than icons, it's easier for players to describe what abilities they now have and it's easier for me to remember.

For me, at least with strong Race players, no one talks, some players may be looking over at opponents' icons but some aren't, it's very solitary and fast-paced. San Juan is the opposite, since there's a lot of discussion about what role will most benefit a player or leave a key role for the next player. Roll for the Galaxy is somewhere in between these - players talk about the devs they get into play and just say out loud what dice they're getting from planets, they say out loud what benefits they receive when a particular phase starts or ends, and often there's some talk when we roll about what phases other players most want to do because it's usually pretty obvious (uh oh, Jim has 5 dice on his 6-cost dev, I wonder what he's choosing?).
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ackmondual
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Ryan Keane wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
3) Military planets in Roll just give you basically a red die. Military in Race is its own viable strategy. (Although Ambition may have tweaked this a little).


Red dice are the best way to pursue a settle/dev strategy, but at the cost of having less options for consume points. I in fact find this more interesting than the Race Military strategy, where I just check if I've met the minimum value needed, not needing to spend or allocate anything.
In Race, getting to sufficient military str is also a point of contention. If I don't have enough military str, do I just cut my losses and use such military worlds as wealth? If you're only 1 or 2 mili-str away, that can be tense, as finding a way to make up that military strength solves that problem, but not doing so is painful because of the "so close, yet so far" syndrome.

Ryan Keane wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.


I don't want to have to look at the other player's cards whether they have text or icons, period. I want to hear what they do when you play them and then just remember what my opponents are trying to do or most benefit from. Because there are fewer abilities in Roll and they are text rather than icons, it's easier for players to describe what abilities they now have and it's easier for me to remember.

For me, at least with strong Race players, no one talks, some players may be looking over at opponents' icons but some aren't, it's very solitary and fast-paced. San Juan is the opposite, since there's a lot of discussion about what role will most benefit a player or leave a key role for the next player. Roll for the Galaxy is somewhere in between these - players talk about the devs they get into play and just say out loud what dice they're getting from planets, they say out loud what benefits they receive when a particular phase starts or ends, and often there's some talk when we roll about what phases other players most want to do because it's usually pretty obvious (uh oh, Jim has 5 dice on his 6-cost dev, I wonder what he's choosing?).
I've played all 3... Race, Roll, and SJ. There's plenty of talking in Race as people say what cards they built, and what action cards they picked. Remember unlike Roll, Race didn't include "phase tiles" which show who picked what.

It's moot in the sense that once players get good at ANY of the 3... they've memorized the tiles and don't really need to talk for the most part.

EDIT: fixed a typo with SJ into Race
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Randall Shaw
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In addition to Ryan's excellent post above, I'd say Roll isn't that difficult to teach to either relative or actual newbies, as I've done both successfully.

My wife (who regularly beats me at this game and did so again just last night) was an actual newbie when I taught her Roll and she had little to no problem with the learning curve. She found the text infinitely more accessible than the iconography provided tho she's come around on the latter a bit with repeated play.
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David B
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Sokadr wrote:
In addition to Ryan's excellent post above, I'd say Roll isn't that difficult to teach to either relative or actual newbies, as I've done both successfully.

My wife (who regularly beats me at this game and did so again just last night) was an actual newbie when I taught her Roll and she had little to no problem with the learning curve. She found the text infinitely more accessible than the iconography provided tho she's come around on the latter a bit with repeated play.


My wife would have nothing to do with either game. The most difficult "civ building" dice games she would tolerate would be Ra The Dice Game or Roll Through the Ages (NOT the newer Iron Age version). There might be certain newbies who could tolerate Roll, but many would not. It's a risk if you don't know ahead of time what type of person you are dealing with.
 
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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I, for one, prefer the base game of Roll over the base game of Race. The reason is that with base Race, it didn't take too long to see that a disproportionate number of games were decided by whoever could set up a produce-consume engine the fastest. I found that unsatisfying. And while I'm no expert at Roll, from what I've seen I haven't yet noticed an analogous strong single strategy.

However, I prefer Race when expansions are included. The Gathering Storm balanced the strategies a bit and added goals. Xeno Invasion is its own animal. It's still Race, but those extra decisions the expansions bring really makes the game excel.
 
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David B
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nbread wrote:
I, for one, prefer the base game of Roll over the base game of Race. The reason is that with base Race, it didn't take too long to see that a disproportionate number of games were decided by whoever could set up a produce-consume engine the fastest. I found that unsatisfying. And while I'm no expert at Roll, from what I've seen I haven't yet noticed an analogous strong single strategy.

However, I prefer Race when expansions are included. The Gathering Storm balanced the strategies a bit and added goals. Xeno Invasion is its own animal. It's still Race, but those extra decisions the expansions bring really makes the game excel.


And I think AA has gotten a bad rap. I actually like the Orb. But my favorite mode of play is base + GS + RvI - takeovers. In that, I have found produce/consume, military, dev spam, and hybrids of all above to be really good. I have even won by spamming windfall worlds.
 
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ackmondual
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pfctsqr wrote:
nbread wrote:
I, for one, prefer the base game of Roll over the base game of Race. The reason is that with base Race, it didn't take too long to see that a disproportionate number of games were decided by whoever could set up a produce-consume engine the fastest. I found that unsatisfying. And while I'm no expert at Roll, from what I've seen I haven't yet noticed an analogous strong single strategy.

However, I prefer Race when expansions are included. The Gathering Storm balanced the strategies a bit and added goals. Xeno Invasion is its own animal. It's still Race, but those extra decisions the expansions bring really makes the game excel.


And I think AA has gotten a bad rap. I actually like the Orb. But my favorite mode of play is base + GS + RvI - takeovers. In that, I have found produce/consume, military, dev spam, and hybrids of all above to be really good. I have even won by spamming windfall worlds.


I really enjoy the Orb scenario in AA. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll ever get the chance to play it again Without the Orb Scenario, I'd rather just do arc 1. Ditto with Keldon's AI... I had a period where I did some AA games, but without the Orb, I went back to full arc 1 and haven't gone back since then.
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Is the comparison base game vs. base game? So far we have only seen one expansion so I think there are still many ways to expand the game.

I have played too many games of Race in Keldon AI. A couple thousand games or so. I have little interest to play the game anymore even though it is still a great game.

The biggest downside for me is still the luck of the card draw in Race, especially early on in the game. When the card draw goes in your favor (fits your starting combo), the gameplay is almost automated and when you get unlucky you know pretty early on that you can't win the game anymore.

You can get unlucky in Roll also but it feels like there is much more control with the two sided tiles and ability to discard tiles to draw more tiles. I also feel that in Roll there are more meaningful decisions to be made in the Explore phase. The action selection is also more interesting part of the game in Roll, instead of just choosing a card like in Race. Overall I feel like Roll is more enjoyable experience.

In favor of Race I would say that the produce+ship element works a bit better in Race.
 
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Lance McMillan
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RoadHouse wrote:
The biggest downside for me is still the luck of the card draw in Race, especially early on in the game.


Totally concur. When the cards break fairly evenly it can be a great game for everyone, but too often (I'd guess between 30-40% of the time) it becomes either a runaway win or "why even bother" loss for someone.

RoadHouse wrote:
You can get unlucky in Roll also but it feels like there is much more control with the two sided tiles and ability to discard tiles to draw more tiles.


Haven't played enough Roll to agree definitively, but that's my sense as well -- that's there's a bit more opportunity to recover through careful/skillful play when you're falling behind the pack.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Lancer4321 wrote:
RoadHouse wrote:
The biggest downside for me is still the luck of the card draw in Race, especially early on in the game.


Totally concur. When the cards break fairly evenly it can be a great game for everyone, but too often (I'd guess between 30-40% of the time) it becomes either a runaway win or "why even bother" loss for someone.



Especially when playing against Keldon's AI... whistle
 
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Adam Blanchard
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pfctsqr wrote:

7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.


All of the tiles have both Text & Icons which give you the same information. If you know how to read the icons, you can read any of your opponents tiles upside down from across the table. You're not missing anything if you can't see the text because it's also all in the icons, same as in Race.
 
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ackmondual
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eNonsense wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:

7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.


All of the tiles have both Text & Icons which give you the same information. If you know how to read the icons, you can read any of your opponents tiles upside down from across the table. You're not missing anything if you can't see the text because it's also all in the icons, same as in Race.
Aren't any icons in Roll, if there, are much smaller and much less visible though?
 
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