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Subject: Explore phase drags the game down? rss

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Patrick Calahan
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I've only played about 10 games of roll so far.

While I appreciate a lot of aspects of the design, one thing that I've noticed is that the explore phase can take an extremely long time. So much so that I feel that it can really upset the flow of the game.

In my last game, the issue was particularly pronounced. I built Major Research Labs and Alien Research Ship relatively early. Seemed like a strong combo.

But as it turned out, Scouting multiple times on nearly every turn just got to be fiddly and tedious. Especially as I would often see the same tiles turn after turn. By the end of the game, I was actually sort of dreading it whenever anyone called Explore. This doesn't bode well for my future enjoyment of the game.

FWIW, I have played Race a lot (probably 1000+ times IRL & online) and it remains one of my favorite games. One of the things I particularly love about Race is its fluidity and pace; that seems lacking in Roll to some extent.

I was curious to hear if any more experienced Roll players have any perspectives on this.

I imagine part of the answer is that more experience players would call explore a lot less than the relative novices at my table did.
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Experienced players don't need to spend as much time figure out what the tiles do, how to match combos, etc.

I have yet to go through the entire bag, but I could see if enough I's happen, then yeah, you will see the same stuff you threw back in, even if you Abandon tiles. Oh, make sure you put Adandoned tiles back AFTER you do your explore.
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ackmondual wrote:
Oh, make sure you put Adandoned tiles back AFTER you do your explore.
To be more precise, after the phase is finished.
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Sam Cook
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It does seem weird to me that the Explore phase can drag on in what is a pretty zippy game otherwise, and I think it's the main reason I still prefer the OG RftG to Roll.

It's especially annoying when the explore phase comes up and someone has like 4 explore dice and they abandon 2 tiles, draw 3 tiles, look through them, decide they don't like them, abandon those 3 tiles, draw 4 tiles, look through them, decide they don't like them, abandon THOSE 4 tiles, draw 5 tiles, look through them decide they like 1 of them, hem and haw about if they want $2 for their last die or want to explore more, decide to take the $2, then they have to figure out what order to place these 5 tiles in.

Meanwhile I took $2 with my single explore die about 5 minutes ago and I'm playing on my phone now waiting for the next phase...
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We just get on with the other phases regardless. It's rare that one player's Explore decision will affect my behaviour once the round's started. Certainly not in Develop/Settle, where there aren't any choices to make, and only in Produce/Ship if it looks like we might be near game end (at which point deep explores are less likely). Sometimes we even move on through all the way to buyback and rolling for the next round. This does involve sacrificing "perfect information" but we don't mind much! And when we do, we just don't do it...
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G Strobel
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We play so that you get one shot to dicard/draw. If you have three explore dice you can $2 and two tiles if none discarded or some combination of that. I guess we need to read the rules again. lol
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Gstrobe188 wrote:
We play so that you get one shot to dicard/draw. If you have three explore dice you can $2 and two tiles if none discarded or some combination of that. I guess we need to read the rules again. lol
yeah you get to discard for every dice! so if you have 2 tiles and 3 dice, you can:

1. discard 2, draw 3
2. discard 3, draw 4
3. discard 4, draw 5

note that you started with 2 tiles and you end up with 5, so you've just gained 3. but you've looked at 14 (including the initial 2) and that's pretty vital.
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Bruno Wolff
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Donkler wrote:

It's especially annoying when the explore phase comes up and someone has like 4 explore dice and they abandon 2 tiles, draw 3 tiles, look through them, decide they don't like them, abandon those 3 tiles, draw 4 tiles, look through them, decide they don't like them, abandon THOSE 4 tiles, draw 5 tiles, look through them decide they like 1 of them, hem and haw about if they want $2 for their last die or want to explore more, decide to take the $2, then they have to figure out what order to place these 5 tiles in.
As players get more experienced they should be able to decided very quickly which tiles to keep in most cases. In my two player games with my wife, explores don't seem slow unless we are doing significantly more draws or abandoning significantly more tiles.
In a recent game with relatively news players where a player was drawing more tiles than he was ever going to play and was tossing like two or three at time after taking time for a decision. I mentioned afterwards that he shouldn't have been drawing that many tiles and he said he needed to get 6 dev tiles as that is the way to win the game. I then countered with, if he really believed that (trying to hint that that was a false premise), he shouldn't have been abadoning just two tiles at a time. Instead he should having been pitching all of his tiles until he picked up at least one 6 dev.
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Rich Charters
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Gstrobe188 wrote:
We play so that you get one shot to dicard/draw. If you have three explore dice you can $2 and two tiles if none discarded or some combination of that. I guess we need to read the rules again. lol
I've only played one game so far (last night). If what is being discussed in this thread is true, then I think you've stumbled on a good house rule to streamline the biggest problem in the gameplay. Congratulations! You must be a genius!!

For those who think this house rule would dilute the power of multiple dice in Explore, just allow for a bigger one-time draw (draw two tiles + 1 for each tile you return to the bag).

Also, before speaking against the house-rule, consider what is so wrong with diluting the action that most slows down the game...sounds like a win to me.
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Enon Sci
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richcharters wrote:
Gstrobe188 wrote:
We play so that you get one shot to dicard/draw. If you have three explore dice you can $2 and two tiles if none discarded or some combination of that. I guess we need to read the rules again. lol
I've only played one game so far (last night). If what is being discussed in this thread is true, then I think you've stumbled on a good house rule to streamline the biggest problem in the gameplay. Congratulations! You must be a genius!!

For those who think this house rule would dilute the power of multiple dice in Explore, just allow for a bigger one-time draw (draw two tiles + 1 for each tile you return to the bag).

Also, before speaking against the house-rule, consider what is so wrong with diluting the action that most slows down the game...sounds like a win to me.
See the post following the one you quoted. That house rule isn't a good change as it DRASTICALLY limits the number of titles people can explore through. This increases the luck factor of the game beyond its intent, as the rules as written exist to support players finding tiles that synergize with their personal strategies.

Maybe (MAYBE) use it to teach people the game, maybe. However, you then run the risk of getting bad habits engrained.
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Pete Goch
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richcharters wrote:


Also, before speaking against the house-rule, consider what is so wrong with diluting the action that most slows down the game...sounds like a win to me.
I'm content to wait a few minutes while players (including myself) do big explores. Roll, like Race, is an engine building game. You need to be able to find good synergies among tiles to get a good engine going. That's the heart of the game.

If you neuter the game by ripping out the best method for sifting through lots of tiles to find those synergies then you're just creating a more random game. If that's what you like, go for it.
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Allowing to discard tiles with each explore-die is the most important balancing factor that prevents the game always been determined by the luck of the draw.
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David Blowes
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I've played 7-8 games now, and in each game we've only maybe had at most one time where it's been remotely tedious waiting for someone to explore...

If you're using that many dice to explore and find the right tiles (and repeatedly exploring that much), then by that time I've probably used a bunch of my other dice to do much more useful things and just about finished the game!

Maybe it'll become an issue, but so far it's been fine. Our group is a mix of VERY experienced Race players, and complete noobs at race/roll, and no one has found it an issue.

Mind you, we pretty much do all phases simultaneously.
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Noble Knave
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Remy Lebeau wrote:
Mind you, we pretty much do all phases simultaneously.
This is so critical to keeping Roll moving along well that it deserves greater emphasis. Usually one player doing a big Explore means they don't do much else that round, so the other players can do the rest of their work.

We play that after reveal, everyone simultaneously plays through all the way to rolling the next set of dice and getting ready for the next reveal. It also gives you time to keep an eye on what your opponents are up to and likely to call next while you wait.
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Peter Hazlewood
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Funny. We do not do the simultaneous phases but we've never found that any particular phases "bog down". We have all played this quite a lot now, but when you're assigning your dice behind your screen, I find myself subconsciously deciding what I'll be doing with them if the phase comes up. It doesn't take long to decide to trade in 1 tile for 2. Where is this bogging down coming from?
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sneakypete21 wrote:
Funny. We do not do the simultaneous phases but we've never found that any particular phases "bog down". We have all played this quite a lot now, but when you're assigning your dice behind your screen, I find myself subconsciously deciding what I'll be doing with them if the phase comes up. It doesn't take long to decide to trade in 1 tile for 2. Where is this bogging down coming from?
Probably just trying to figure out what to do with tiles as you draw them. Either what they do, period (as it takes a bit of time to see all the more complex tiles and know what they do without having to look them up in rulebooks, clarifications, FAQs, or asking other players), or what they're going to do with it (unless you mapped out a decision try in your head of what to do given all combinations of tiles you scout, some of them may throw a wrench into the works, and you have to think if it'll get you at least x # of points in the long run, and y amount of engine, or you're better off going for the tried and true dev that's lower risk, lower reward).


Heck, Race For The Galaxy is typically a very fast paced game for me. However, things get bogged down when I need to decide on discard for VP or PP powers.....
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/710553/discard-cards-pt...
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Peter Hazlewood
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ackmondual wrote:
sneakypete21 wrote:
Funny. We do not do the simultaneous phases but we've never found that any particular phases "bog down". We have all played this quite a lot now, but when you're assigning your dice behind your screen, I find myself subconsciously deciding what I'll be doing with them if the phase comes up. It doesn't take long to decide to trade in 1 tile for 2. Where is this bogging down coming from?
Probably just trying to figure out what to do with tiles as you draw them. Either what they do, period (as it takes a bit of time to see all the more complex tiles and know what they do without having to look them up in rulebooks, clarifications, FAQs, or asking other players), or what they're going to do with it (unless you mapped out a decision try in your head of what to do given all combinations of tiles you scout, some of them may throw a wrench into the works, and you have to think if it'll get you at least x # of points in the long run, and y amount of engine, or you're better off going for the tried and true dev that's lower risk, lower reward).


Heck, Race For The Galaxy is typically a very fast paced game for me. However, things get bogged down when I need to decide on discard for VP or PP powers.....
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/710553/discard-cards-pt...
Fair point. But I still think this is only a big issue when you're quite new to the game. Anyway, it doesn't feel like it bogs down to me. The game is so fast and everything generally happens so quickly that sometimes a bit of downtime lets you get your breath back!
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sneakypete21 wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
sneakypete21 wrote:
Funny. We do not do the simultaneous phases but we've never found that any particular phases "bog down". We have all played this quite a lot now, but when you're assigning your dice behind your screen, I find myself subconsciously deciding what I'll be doing with them if the phase comes up. It doesn't take long to decide to trade in 1 tile for 2. Where is this bogging down coming from?
Probably just trying to figure out what to do with tiles as you draw them. Either what they do, period (as it takes a bit of time to see all the more complex tiles and know what they do without having to look them up in rulebooks, clarifications, FAQs, or asking other players), or what they're going to do with it (unless you mapped out a decision try in your head of what to do given all combinations of tiles you scout, some of them may throw a wrench into the works, and you have to think if it'll get you at least x # of points in the long run, and y amount of engine, or you're better off going for the tried and true dev that's lower risk, lower reward).


Heck, Race For The Galaxy is typically a very fast paced game for me. However, things get bogged down when I need to decide on discard for VP or PP powers.....
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/710553/discard-cards-pt...
Fair point. But I still think this is only a big issue when you're quite new to the game. Anyway, it doesn't feel like it bogs down to me. The game is so fast and everything generally happens so quickly that sometimes a bit of downtime lets you get your breath back!
It's also relative. In a game like 7 Wonders, even though one person slowing down what's mostly a simultaneous game doesn't take that long in the scheme of things... it also feels long relative to that.



Speaking of which, nobody takes a lot of time deciding how to allocate dice between their screens? I've seen that in some of my games where folks try to figure out how others will go, and how to best hedge their bets.
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David Blowes
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ackmondual wrote:

Speaking of which, nobody takes a lot of time deciding how to allocate dice between their screens? I've seen that in some of my games where folks try to figure out how others will go, and how to best hedge their bets.
The thing is that unless you have a LOT of reassign powers, at most there's usually only 2-3 dice that you can move around. Sure, you can move ANY die, and so there are decisions to be made, but the possibilities are usually reasonably limited.

If you're at the stage where you are using other player's games to influence your own, then you're probably good enough to be able to do so fairly quickly.
 
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Patrick Calahan
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Thanks for your replies, everyone.
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