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Subject: A Summary of Good Points of Roll for the Galaxy rss

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Mc Jarvis
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Roll for the Galaxy is a 45 minute (3 2-5 players) dice game. It uses a perhaps unique action selection mechanic which mirrors the card game quite well: after rolling dice, you sort your dice according to symbols, which represent the different actions taken in Race for the Galaxy. One of these dice can be used to select the action you will do for the turn, and any die can trigger any of the actions(regardless of what was rolled on that die)

From there, every player reveals their selections, and any action selected with by a player will trigger for all players. All your dice which rolled that particular action will give you an action point to spend on that action. At the end of the turn, any dice which were not used because their respective actions were not triggered go back in your dice cup, and used dice go into a dice discard pile on your player board. You can pay money to select dice from your discard pile to put into your dice cup for the next round.

Things I like about the game:


The interactivity- The interactive nature of the game is the same goodness I expect from games in the PR/Race genre. On a typical turn you are trying to predict which action your opponents are going to select, which often forces you to prioritize what you "need" and what you "want". At the same time, there is an element of double-think in it. If I need to explore but I think my opponents really need to too, can I trust them to do it? They might be thinking the exact same thing, and then I wouldn't get to explore. Those who risk much potentially can gain much.

Differentiation from other games. I'm a fan of dice games, but after a while they can all seem very similar to each other. Roll for the Galaxy manages to be a very different sort of dice game from the typical Yahtzee or push-your-luck types of dice games I've experienced in the past. This is a good thing since it encouraged me to buy it: do I really need another version of Roll Through the Ages, Can't Stop, or King of Tokyo? Probably not, but something radically different from those formulas is certainly welcome into my collection.

Unusual Depth- The game has a deck of tiles (as opposed to race for the galaxy's deck of cards) which provide an unusual amount of depth in a dice game. As in Race for the Galaxy, you can delve through the tile bag to find the development or planet you need to achieve a great combo. This is a welcome layer of complexity to the game, since it seems to be a new challenge for a dice game, and not simply complexity for complexity's sake.

This gets my 2nd pick for BGG.con due to how original it is compared to my own experience with dice games, and the highly interactive play. (Which is something I greatly desire in games)

In the coming week you can see my thoughts on other new games I saw at BGG.con 2014 on my geeklist: McJarvis's BGG 2014 Post Mortem
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Wait, it isn't 2-player?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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2-5 players. When playing with 2, a white die is rolled randomly which can possibly result in a third phase being selected that round.
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Mc Jarvis
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Sorry about that-- I corrected the number in the article. I did play the 2- player game, but in my recollection while writing the review I forgot the white die wasn't another player

This mechanic works fine enough, but I wish that a randomization mechanic for the fake third player could have been made so you could predict its actions a little bit. (Maybe a deck of 5 cards where you reshuffle chosen actions after three are turned over?) Having a close-to 1/5 chance for any action made the game feel like it lacked a bit in comparison to the 3-5 player version. (Though it was still fun--- don't get me wrong!)
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Tom Lehmann
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The bias towards Explore on the white die (1/3) is something you can often take advantage of in 2-player play.

For example, if I'm calling Develop and I have a choice of using a die showing a Settle face or one showing an Explore face (neither of which I'm expecting my opponent to call) to select Develop, I'll often use the die with the Settle face, hoping for the 1/3 chance of leeching either $2 or a tile draw from the die showing Explore.

Introducing other Phase biases tends to reward different strategy paths (develop, settle, produce/consume). Wei-Hwa wanted to keep the 2 player rules very clean and not bias the 2-player game towards any particular strategies.
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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okami31 wrote:
Wait, it isn't 2-player?


Wait there isn't a 1-player variant included? Solo players are gonna have to shell out extra for an expansion just like the Card game?
 
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Mc Jarvis
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
The bias towards Explore on the white die (1/3) is something you can often take advantage of in 2-player play.

For example, if I'm calling Develop and I have a choice of using a die showing a Settle face or one showing an Explore face (neither of which I'm expecting my opponent to call) to select Develop, I'll often use the Settle face, hoping for the 1/3 chance of leeching either $2 or a tile draw.

Introducing other Phase biases tends to reward different strategy paths (explore, settle, produce/consume). Wei-Hwa wanted to keep the 2 player rules very clean and not bias the 2-player game towards any particular strategies.


I think the core of my complaint is that since that distribution never changes, I felt like I was always hedging towards Explore being more likely to be picked, either by my opponent or the die. Maybe this is bad play on my part, but I was desiring something a little more dynamic like you would get in larger player counts--- where Bob over in the corner isn't always most likely to pick explore.

That aside, I get why you'd want a cleaner 2 player experience--- but it leaves the 2 player experience with this game as a little bit lacking compared to 3, 4, or 5 player counts.
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Tom Lehmann
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klkitchens wrote:
there isn't a 1-player variant included?

Correct. No solo variant is included.
 
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
klkitchens wrote:
there isn't a 1-player variant included?

Correct. No solo variant is included.


Mega
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Tom Lehmann
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McJarvis wrote:
I get why you'd want a cleaner 2 player experience--- but it leaves the 2 player experience with this game as a little bit lacking compared to 3, 4, or 5 player counts.

I understand what you're saying. I had the opposite reaction, though.

Each player count is different, in my experience. Instead of "lacking", I found the 2-player game to have a particular flavor:

The simple 2-player rule meant that I really had to concentrate on what my opponent is doing and react to that. That's where the margin of victory is going to come from. I like that in 2-player games.

In 3-player games, there is more implicit "voting" on the overall strategies (if the other two players both go produce/consume, I know my development strategy is going to be a hard slog, and so on).

4-player games tend to allow for more creative strategies, as the game is being "tugged" in different directions, which generally gives some initial support for whatever you want to aim for.

5-player games share the above, but knowing the tiles and paying attention to what's out becomes more important. There may not be enough tiles left in the bag late in the game to support a particular specialized strategy. This puts a premium on an early mid-game "deep" explore to look at 10-15 tiles to solidify your strategy.
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Brandon Nall
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Thanks for the review, McJarvis. Hoping to see many more in the coming weeks.
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Destrio Dai
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Really cool analysis by OP McJarvis and points by Tom the designer. Player interaction, depth and variety of strategy, and unique tactical choices that keep each game fresh (in this case though dice rolling) make me more interested in this game than before.
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