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Subject: "Dream Team Slam Dunks the Ball from the 3 Point Line" rss

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Anson Bischoff
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Ok everybody, cool your jets. I'm sure you've heard all about the expansion already and watched the reviews and you are just looking for another opinion. I'm here to give you that opinion.

That is, I'm here to clear a few things up that the other reviewers just haven't been able to get quite right.

"Why should we trust this guy?"

Let's start with a little background. I sport a humble 250 or so games and have played probably around 1,000 or so in my lifetime. Out of these Race for the Galaxy is my favorite BY ABOUT A QUADRILLION MILES. I'm one of those insane people you hear about that likes to curl up in front of the fire just holding Race and thumbing through all the different expansions and telling secrets that only Race and I will ever know. I've played it well over 1,000 times.

I love it.

And I love the expansions too.
ALL OF THEM.
ALL OF THE PARTS OF ALL OF THEM.

That being said, my least favorite of the possible modules is the goals. Not that I don't like them, and not that I don't play with them. But honestly, the thing about the goals in Race is that they were generally more worth ignoring than caring about. Occasionally I might change up what I am doing to go for one that I am close to, but generally I would just get them when I happen to get them. Caring about your income of cards and building your engine was always far more important (and certainly more interesting) than going for a few extra points.

I like them though.
I still use them fairly often.

"Umm... I think you're in the wrong forum..."

Ok, ok. I'm getting to that. And in case you were wondering I also LOVE Roll for the Galaxy. That being said, prior to this expansion Roll was way up there on my favorites list, but not WAY WAY up there. It was probably in my top 30 or something. It's hard to say. The game was certainly excellent and utterly innovative, but it didn't seem to have the same infinite sinkhole of strategy that Race offers. After 40 or so plays (which is a HUGE amount for me) I felt that I had pretty much seen it all. I really really loved it, but in my heart I really felt it needed an expansion.

"Finally, we're getting somewhere"

This expansion is AMAZING. Before I go gushing my guts out, let's take this expansion one piece at a time. I'll go in order from what I loved to what I LOVED.

"What's with there only being 5 new bag tiles?"

This is a good question. I guess the answer is that they wanted to avoid "deck dilution". The good news is that the new tiles are all amazing. It's awesome to see Roll's takes on some of Race's old stand by's. For example:

Contact Specialist: Remove a military die to reduce the cost of settling by 3.

Psi Crystal Forecasters: You may move your phase selection to another phase after all players have revealed.

Deficit Spending: You may spend credits to gain vp chips.

All of the new tiles are interesting, and in general I think that they flesh out the military strategy a bit more. Military dice seem more focused and useful with these new tiles in.

All in all, the new tiles that you receive are amazing, though I do understand the sentiment that 5 seems just a bit underwhelming. Lucky for us...

"If there are only 5 tiles then what is all of this cardboard?"

... there are a million billion squillion new starting factions and starting tiles. Like tons and tons of them. So many. It's ridiculous. And all of these are amazing. And the reality of it is that they change the game DRAMATICALLY. What you realize when you play them is that really in Roll your starting tiles give you 3 separate powers (or dice or what have you). This makes up 1/4th of a full tableau. Many of these DRASTICALLY change the way that you play the game and give you different focuses from the very beginning. These are great and give you all sorts of new and interesting powers, many of which again are spin offs of cards or concepts from Race.

I love them. I especially love that they give you...

"This format is getting old. You sort of skipped that section. Why are you hurrying along so quickly?"

NEW DICE! The new dice are awesome. Double icons that allow you to switch from one selection to another! Dollar icons that pay for themselves! They are amazing!

What is perhaps more amazing though is the overall strategic effect the black die has on the game. Basically what it does is strengthen every single strategy. It's easier to build. It's cheaper to explore. And perhaps even more importantly, it counts as a WILD color for consuming and producing. Every strategy is now slightly faster and slightly more focused. It's easier to get yourself up and running, and it's easier to quickly end the game. Everything feels more strategic. It's awesome.

But this isn't the end of this good feeling. Not by a long shot.

"Wait, so the goals are the amazing part?"

Yes. Absolutely. The goals ARE the expansion. Everything else is amazing as well, but the goals are AMAZING. So freaking awesome. Holy smokes.

"But I thought you said that the goals in Race were.."

Shush up and listen. The goals in Roll are in a whole different stratosphere than the goals in Race. In Race, one of the best options to do with the goals was to completely ignore them. In Roll, you're entire strategy can be based off of them.

Basically, the big difference is this. Instead of getting 3-5 points for completing a goal, you receive 2-5 tokens for completing a goal (all of which are "firsts" rather than "mosts" if you are familiar with the Race goals). Yes, these tokens can technically be points. If you are stupid enough not to use them, then they are essentially the same thing that they are in Race.

But you aren't stupid.

Every token can be used as a wild symbol AND wild color. They can be put on any phase and can count as any color for purposes of shipping. This might not sound like much (to an idiot) but it is HUGE. Let's imagine the possibilities for a second.

First off, you should use them. Duh. While they are a point if you don't use them, they are also points if you use them. It's basic math. Build a five cost development with five tokens and you still have your points. And a development.

Getting these tokens allows you to RUSH and more importantly CRUSH the endgame. You just might find yourself building five developments at once. Or settling five worlds. I've even found myself exploring with them on occasion, just because I needed to and they were there for me.

But let's not forget consuming. With an income of these babies you'll find yourself with a galaxy full of wild goods, just waiting to be consumed by wild ships. And what's awesome is that if you assign these to a phase that doesn't happen, you GET THEM BACK which means there is no risk. In fact you'll end up with giant line ups on both the produce and consume lines just hoping that someone picks consume while you pick produce. And sometimes it WILL WORK and boatloads of points will come sailing towards you the likes of which you have never seen. And the beautiful thing is, you still have your dice. Every token you use is saving you a dice to use somewhere else. It was really difficult to get a HUGE consume without this expansion just based on the fact that you were limited by the amount of dice you had. No such limit exists anymore.

They are amazing.
So amazing.
Bursts the strategic doors WIDE open.

"But wouldn't this still fall victim to some of the same problems the goals had in Race?"

Absolutely not.

In Race, the goals were only barely worth going for. And by definition, if you were going "out of your way" to get them, then in many ways you were knowingly weakening your strategy and hoping that the points would make up for the difference in efficiency you were giving up.

Also, many of the goals were likely to be achieved by somebody just by chance, and due to the fact that it wasn't usually worth going out of your way to get them, they seemed pretty lucky.

The goals in Roll are anything but lucky.

First off, as I have made clear, the goals ARE worth going for. ABSOLUTELY they are. The thing is, there is no trade off here. Unlike the Race goals, which essentially slowed down your strategy (given you were going out of your way to get them) these goals BECOME your strategy. You are reinvesting into yourself. The goals SPEED UP your progress rather than hindering it.

And for the most part, they aren't really luck driven at all. That's not say that players won't occasionally start in a good position to get one, but for the most part they seem MUCH more fair. Essentially all of them fall into a spectrum (2-5 tokens).

On the 2 token side, these are easy goals such as Build a 6 cost development or a 5 point world. Now, in Race these things WOULD be lucky, but in Roll, given the fact that they ARE DEFINITELY worth going for they become a race in themselves. Generally speaking, in Roll going for a 6 cost development early was pretty much always a bad call. But now you might think twice when you receive your initial tiles. You'll have to take RISKS and when they pay off, they will PAY OFF BIG TIME.

Sure, you could say that someone doing these things (the 2 token goals) is inevitable, but the payoff is SO WORTH IT that rather than it being an inevitability, it becomes a do or die mission worth throwing caution to the wind for. These little built in races are amazingly fun.

On the other 5 point end of the spectrum you see something VERY different. These goals ARE NOT eventualities. You won't just happen to get one of these. You have to have your eyes on them from the very beginning and change your ENTIRE OPERATION just to get them. And they are SO SO SO VERY WORTH IT. Five wild tokens? You can build anything! Your consume engine suddenly ends the game! These tiles can and will WIN YOU THE GAME.

But here is where it gets interesting. Given you have these outlandish goals and given they are worth going for, you'll find yourself going after them. However, you are STILL playing Roll, and you STILL need to make an engine. And because of these combined ideas, you'll be inventing all sorts of crazy new engines that you would have NEVER tried to pull off before.

Let's take a few examples of some of the more difficult goals to achieve.

Goal (3 points): Gain 7 colors of dice. (Black counts as white for this and pretty much anything besides consuming.)

Now let me get this straight. There are 8 colors of dice in the game, and you are expected to gain 7 of them. That means not only are you going out of your way to get all of the different resource colors, but you are also trying to gain purple AND orange AND red. You'll go crazy. It's a stupid plan. You're out of your mind.

But the thing is, you'll find that it's really not so bad. Yes, you will have to go out of your way to pull it off, but you'll also make it work and when you finally get the reward BOOM! you'll be the king of the universe. All of a sudden this crazy strategy isn't so crazy because the end result is a reinvestment into the strategy itself. And all the while you are building towards this goal, you will have to be trying to build towards a workable strategy. It's freaking brilliant.

Goal (5 points): Settle with 5 red dice in a single action.

This one is REALLY difficult. Getting 5 red dice alone can force you to spend some much needed actions in the land of exploration, but what will be harder will be getting them all to land on settle at once.

That is, until you find the perfect tile. I'm not sure of the name of the tile at the moment, but one of the developments gives you the power to reassign 3 red dice to settle.

And this is a real thing. This happened to me. I had spent my entire life trying to get this goal and I just kept not rolling settle. It was frustrating. Then again, this tile at least lends itself towards a workable strategy so I had that going for me, but nonetheless I had been going out of my way to get this goal and I wasn't pulling it off. Then, one random explore action later there this tile was, sitting in my hand like a dove. It was meant to be. It won me the game. It was wonderful.

Goal (5 points): Assign 4 dice to produce and 4 dice to consume AND have both phases happen.

This one is the perfect consume engine goal. It's also really difficult to pull off. Getting all of your dice in the right place at the right time just might be impossible. If you reveal four dice in each row but nobody picked the phase that you didn't, nobody might ever pick produce or consume again. It's really really risky.

Then again, when you pull it off the victory is oh so sweet. Not only did you just have a flawless turn landing you a nice little picnic basket of points, but now you are poised to do it AGAIN only this time the matching will be even easier. The game is pretty much over.

Once again, similar to the black dice, these tokens strengthen EVERY strategy. The game is somehow simultaneously more focused and more open to creative ideas. The tools are now there for you to come up with YOUR OWN plan, just like in Race. These games are not about following a certain given strategy or tech tree. They are about using the tools given to you to creatively invent your own strategy. That's what makes them amazing.

"So, you like the expansion then?"

Yes. Yes. This expansion is brilliant. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, but it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. I don't write a lot of reviews, but after hearing a few ho-hum comments about the goals, I just had to speak up. I understand that this was more of a goals gush than anything, but that's what I wanted it to be.

The people need to know the truth.
The goals are everything.

Roll has slid it's way into my top 10 games for sure.
And if the dream team (Lehmann and Huang) keep this up it just might make it to my number 1 some day.








Nah.... You just can't beat Race.
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Rasmus Helms
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So happy to hear some love for Goals! After watching the Dice Tower review I was a bit concerned about the goals.
This reviewed had all of the information I wanted to hear!

I'm now even more hyped for this expansion! Can't wait to try it out!
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Andrew Brooks
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It's good a have someone else on Team Objectives!

I too have been disappointed when I've heard people comment something like "you can take them or leave them, they are kind of fun I guess." I think experienced Roll players will get a lot more excited about Talent Counters for the crazy possibilities they open up.
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The talent counters make the objectives interesting, a lot more interesting than the objectives in Race.
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Enon Sci
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RHelms wrote:
So happy to hear some love for Goals! After watching the Dice Tower review I was a bit concerned about the goals.
This reviewed had all of the information I wanted to hear!

I'm now even more hyped for this expansion! Can't wait to try it out!
I haven't checked the Dice Tower review, but Rahdo seemed to really like the goals in his Final Thoughts. Getting rewards that can act as in-game wildcards, or end game points was a smart move. How can anybody fault that?

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Mike Forrey
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Goals were exactly what Roll needed to make it much more diverse game. Much like the base RFTG game it can get stale after man many plays until you add in the expansions.

I like the way they approached goals for Roll even though I feel goals in Race have their place in a 2 player game. Very excited to get this expansion.
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Anson Bischoff
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I still use the Race goals about half of the time that I play. I'm not saying that they are a bad module by any means. Again, I love all of the parts of all of the expansions of Race. However, I prefer takeovers, prestige, and the orb game to the goals.

I especially like using the goals when I am just playing with the base game plus Gathering Storm, which is still a way I play quite often especially with newer players.

I'm just saying that the goals in Roll blow the goals in Race out of the water. I almost wish there was a way to implement this type of thing in Race. You could almost pull it off by allowing players to spend "first" objective points to either draw cards during explore or produce goods during a produce phase.

In Race you go out of your way to get the objectives despite your strategy.
In Roll the objectives become your strategy.
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Jon Pessano
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I am curious, if you assign 5 wild tokens to produce, are you required to put them out (if there are empty planets) OR can you just pull them back and decide you don't want to use them?

I assume they are like dice and you can pull them off anytime, correct?

Thx
jonpfl
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Tom Lehmann
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jonpfl wrote:
I am curious, if you assign 5 wild tokens to produce, are you required to put them out (if there are empty planets)
Yes (just like dice).

Quote:
I assume they are like dice and you can pull them off anytime, correct?
Just like dice, Talent counters *cannot* be pulled off anytime, but can be recalled in the Manage Empire step.
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Alex Brittain
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I'm very late to the party, but I love the goals and the talent counters so much. The blowout turns they enable, PLUS the fact they strengthen the produce/ship strategy, are golden.

Thinking about it, these encompass 2 of my favourite things in games: blowout turns, and videogame-style side objectives ("achievements") that reward you for changing up your strategy.

Plus, the orange and black dice are gorgeous, and the starting factions/worlds are great.

It is easily one of my favourite expansions.
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