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Subject: Beginner's Strategy Guide rss

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Mark Delano
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So you've played a couple of games and feel totally lost. You have all the mechanisms down but you can't get them to work together. This is a beginner's guide for those that know the game but aren't getting it. Play enough and you'll be ignoring most of this advice.

1. Come up with a plan. A lousy plan is much better than no plan in this game. Playing random cards and hoping it works out will generally get you nowhere without fortitous help from your fellow players. Ideally the plan should be flexible to take into account the cards that you draw. It's easier to plan around the cards you draw than to draw the cards for your plan.

2. Classify cards as cards to play or money. Cards to play are ones you plan to play. Money cards are worthless to you or have less utility than your other cards. Don't clog up your hand with all cards to play. You shouldn't have more than 2-3 at any one time at most. Card efficiency strategies like Military or Develop will sometimes have more than that. Sometimes a classification can change based on circumstances, don't feel like these decisions are irrevocable. It's better to get a useful card into play and save one card for later than to hold onto 5 cards for some indeterminate future. The worst option is to play an expensive card that doesn't help you.

3. Most plans require setup time. This is where you are playing cards to setup your position. This may deviate from your eventual strategy, the main point early on is get cardflow. If the cards you need are expensive you'll need more money cards to play them. Don't worry about saving more than one card on the first couple turns as long as the cards you play either are part of your strategy or help generate cards. Early Explores or cheap Windfall Worlds for Consume/Trade can be effective. After doing that once or twice you should get the cards you need in play as quickly as possible if you haven't already. At this point it should be easier to generate cards (Consume or Produce strategies) or you have a strategy that requires less cardflow with certain powers (Military or Develop strategies).

4. I classify the main strategies as Military, Consume, Develop and Produce.
a. Military - Increase your military strength to 7+, play Military Worlds cheaply,
get the New Galactic Order and Galactic Imperium (not necessarily in that order).
Explore/+5 if you don't have the cards you need (Explore/+1,+1 if you just need money),
unless you have a good you can trade for 3+ cards.
b. Consume - Get Consume powers and Production Worlds that work with them.
Consume/Trade or Produce until either you can earn 8+ VP from Consume/X2 or have
and can play at least one nice 6 cost Development that works with the cards you've played.
After that Consume/X2, provided that it isn't so late in the game that you need
to ensure the Develop.
c. Develop - If you've drawn a hand of 6 cost Developments and/or the discount/rebate
Developments, hopefully including Galactic Federation, get the discount/rebate
Developments for Develop played and Develop as much as you can. It helps to have some
additional source of cards, either through a Production World that Trades well
or the occasional Windfall World. Getting Galactic Renaissance or Research Labs
into play can make Explore an excellent source of cards as well. If you have
the discounts and rebates in play you won't need a lot of cards though.
d. Produce - Get Production Worlds, some Consume powers and Produce powers
that generate cards. Produce on the same turn that someone else Consumes.
Rinse/Repeat while throwing in the occasional Consume/X2 and hopefully getting
a 6 cost Development you can use.
e. There are many other mixed strategies and sub strategies within these.
This is a beginner's guide, don't worry about it.

5. If in doubt, draw cards. Make sure you won't be discarding them at the end of the turn though. The best way is usually Consume/Trade, but it can be advantageous to Explore/+1,+1 if you need a little extra money and someone else will be picking Develop or Settle. If you have enough consume powers that earn cards Consume/X2 can be better than Consume/Trade, and the Production strategy players should use Produce is their card source. Explore/+5 is quite valid if you have a handful of cards but nothing you want to play.

6. Be prepared for any phase to occur. It's not a bad idea to have a Development ready to Develop and a World ready to Settle when you can. Structure the cards you hold onto around this. This is less of a concern if you are about to draw a bunch of cards. If a Consume by another player would take away a good that you desperately need to Trade, seriously consider Consume/Trade as your action choice.

7. Look at how picking an action will help another player. If someone else is holding onto 7-10 cards and you aren't, make them pick Develop or Settle. If Produce will give another player 6 cards and you none, don't Produce. Obviously if your strategy revolves around picking Develop or Settle, pick the action. Otherwise look for another action that helps you more than them.


edit: Cleaned up the setup section. Cleaned up section 5 and 6. Setup section is still poorly worded.
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Roland Wood
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Visalia
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Thanks for thinking this through for us Mark. Based on all the posts from people who can't seem to move beyond the complexity level of San Juan, this definitely fills a need. I can't wait to get my game and start playing and I plan to print out a copy of this to have on hand.
 
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Mark Delano
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Thanks. There are still some lumpy bits to it that I'm going to try to smooth out.
 
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Wim de Boer
Netherlands
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Hi all,

I played RftG first time today. I really liked it but the end felt sort of sudden. Somebody just went, oops, I got all victory points (incidently, the same person also explained the rules straight form the rulesbook...)

Anyway, I was wondering how many points are normal to have at the end of a game (2-3-4 players make a difference?).
And how many rounds are normal (12? Build once each turn?).
And does everybody get his private stack of 12 VP chips?

(For those curious, what actually happened; he build Diverse Economy, (ab)used it twice ands scored 3x2=6 points (+ public works +1x2 and another +1 x2 at the same moment). That first game went by really really fast! But tasted very good
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Kester J
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The rulebook says 7-11 rounds, which is about right in my experience. 2-player can go faster, due to the possibility of having two Develop or Settle phases and banging down 3 or even 4 cards in a round.
 
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Mark Delano
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It sounds like you may have ended the game prematurely. The 12 VP chips per player form a common pool for both players. So in a two player game it will end by VP chips when all 24 chips are taken. All 24 could be taken by one player, or split in many other ways between the two.

As for winning scores, it depends a lot on the pace of the game. I've seen scores in the high 20s win, and results in the low 60s take the prize. Generally it's in the high 30s to mid 40s though.

Two player can have a different pace than with 3 or more. I think you'll see more sudden endings and fewer long games, as it's less likely that you'll see 4 Explores on the same turn.
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Wim de Boer
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Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback. We played 2 more games, getting a better feel for things. Kinda feels like magic, but from a box. And unlike Magic; the Gathering I enjoy this game better with more players.

Some thoughts (rambling, but still) about strategy. It seems as if going for a single color also pays off nicely (as opposed to the basic strategies mentioned). We already saw in action;

Lots of Novelty (blue) goods, Consumer Markets, double VP and various consume actions (Black Market and Tourism World (Name =? 2 goods = 3 points)).

Lots of Rare Elements (brown) + mining cards also worked like a charm an won me the game (combined with military to get 'free' planets).

Alien (yellow) to tade for lots of cards and find all the synergy there. This also was a game winner (not me sadly ), in large part due to the large amount of cards enabled many 6 costing developments (2, aligned to Aliens and producing worlds. Big points!).

No solid 'green game' experienced yet but I'm sure it's out there. If only because Genes trade very well.

Interestingly, the winners have more then 1 engine going. The last game we played I had a nice blue engine for VP but never really had a way to generate cards (or big discounts or something). Blue is not expensive enough, no green or yellow to abuse the Black Market and my military was very bad (+2-1=+1).

I think the games asks you to do 2 things. Create a way to get cards (military is a way to 'get cards' since your planets can be build for free, kinda) and create a way to create points (VP chips and card points). The more synergy between your 'engines', the better.
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Erik Nicely
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First I'd like to thank Mark for the strategy tips. Great thread, great game.

Just Me wrote:
Hi all,
Anyway, I was wondering how many points are normal to have at the end of a game (2-3-4 players make a difference?).


I was going to start a thread asking the same question. In my first 2 games I scored something like 14 and 22 points (3-player, came in second and third). My last 2 scores were 31 and 41 points in 2-player games, I lost by 1 point in the high scoring game, won by 2 with 31 points. From the posts so far it looks like a wide range of ending VPs might be common. I'm curious as to what other players are scoring.

As far as strategy goes I think that the 3 (3?) cards from the draw deck that reduce Develop costs are very valuable. Together with the -1 modifier for the Develop power card the expensive developments that give VPs for different types of worlds and developments are easier to get on the table. I haven't done it perfectly yet but cranking out extra VPs at the end of the game due to specific production powers or Alien and Rebel cards could be the most solid way to win games. The 5+2 Explore power can get the required cards in your hand quick enough to set things up for a strong endgame strategy.

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Ralph H. Anderson
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Prospect
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I was in a three player game with Mark last Sunday. Mark scored 55 and came in third. I scored 60 and scored second!!!!!!!! Winner scored 61.

Mind you, those three scores are all higher than I have ever done before or since!

Next game I think high score was in the 30's. It is very dependent on just how the hand shapes up. I think high 20's is respectable but usually won't win. High 30's or more will usually win.

Then there are those exceptional rounds like the one I described above.

The wonderful thing about the game is you shrug it off and try again. It is fun to win and the competition is fierce, but the most fun is in the playing and improving your strategies from game to game.

Best single piece of advice I got from Mark was - don't expect to be able to play more than 1 card out of five. So if you have 1-5 cards, you have only 1 card to play, the rest are money - get used to it!
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Angus Fong
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After my 1st game,I find the military stratery is easy to perform

for the beginner ,just build some military force on the ground, then

search the deck (by explore),then build the military world only match

the no. they build(equal/greater than),Quickly gather certain amount VP

to win.

IS any other easy way suit for teach the beginner?

 
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Brad Miller
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Yes, there is a Green strategy. There's a world that when production happens gets you a green good. Sell those bad boys for cards and build the big 6 devs. If anyone else is trying to do a production strategy, you can let them do your producing for you, and just trade the genes for cards. It's brutal...
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John Clark
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Mark,

thanks for the tips. Just wondering how you played 23 games of RFTG on the 8th of January?
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Mark Delano
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johnclark wrote:
Mark,

thanks for the tips. Just wondering how you played 23 games of RFTG on the 8th of January?


It was a marathon 9 hour session on a Sunday. I tend to enter games a day or two late, and don't bother correcting to the exact date.

I went to a friend's house with a bag of different games, we started with RftG and never moved on to anything else.
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John Clark
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frunkee wrote:
johnclark wrote:
Mark,

thanks for the tips. Just wondering how you played 23 games of RFTG on the 8th of January?


It was a marathon 9 hour session on a Sunday. I tend to enter games a day or two late, and don't bother correcting to the exact date.

I went to a friend's house with a bag of different games, we started with RftG and never moved on to anything else.


Wow. Wow. Wow.
 
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Kevin Shanahan
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frunkee wrote:
5. If in doubt, draw cards. Make sure you won't be discarding them at the end of the turn though.


Does this mean you should NEVER let yourself be forced to discard? Why is discarding chaff at the end of the round even all that bad? "Discards", where cards are tossed into the Recycle pile, are already happening during every round, except when everyone calls Produce.


Endgame, if I'm ripping through the deck looking for a specific card, what I'm discarding is essentially irrelevant to me, unless there is a card that I know an opponent wants, then I would just make that part of the ten I keep.

I haven't played many RFTG games, but IMHO seeing more cards is more important than not having to discard down to 10. Coming from an M:TG background, drawing more cards is immensely powerful because it gives you extra chances to draw the card(s) that win the game; the hand size limit ceases to be a factor as long as you can hold the cards in hand that help you win.

Am I way off base here?
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Mark Delano
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shankfoo wrote:
frunkee wrote:
5. If in doubt, draw cards. Make sure you won't be discarding them at the end of the turn though.


Does this mean you should NEVER let yourself be forced to discard? Why is discarding chaff at the end of the round even all that bad? "Discards", where cards are tossed into the Recycle pile, are already happening during every round, except when everyone calls Produce.


Endgame, if I'm ripping through the deck looking for a specific card, what I'm discarding is essentially irrelevant to me, unless there is a card that I know an opponent wants, then I would just make that part of the ten I keep.

I haven't played many RFTG games, but IMHO seeing more cards is more important than not having to discard down to 10. Coming from an M:TG background, drawing more cards is immensely powerful because it gives you extra chances to draw the card(s) that win the game; the hand size limit ceases to be a factor as long as you can hold the cards in hand that help you win.

Am I way off base here?


It depends. Each card discarded at the end of the turn due to handsize is money that would be better spent getting another card into play. If you pick an action where all the cards you draw you discard to no effect or only marginally improves your hand that was probably the wrong action choice. Sometimes, particularly near the end, you already have all the money/discounts/rebates that you need and extra money is pointless. At that point discarding at the end of the turn isn't that big a deal. It's also a matter of degrees. Drawing 6 cards and discarding one of them isn't too bad, drawing 6 and discarding 5 is a lot less attractive.

This is a beginner's guide so as you get more experienced you'll find exceptions and contradictions to all of these guidelines.

Speaking of which, I should probably give another pass to the writeup.
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