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Subject: Racing for the right game rss

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Jonathan Arnold
United States
Medford
Massachusetts
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I've been struggling for a while to find a good 2 player game for my buddy Michael and I to play before we dive into our weekly co-op computer game night with 2 other buddies. It has to play in about an hour (so Mage Knight didn't work out), have plenty of long and short term strategy (so Thunderstone was out), be fun to play (so the Star Wars LCG game was out) but yet not have too much chrome (so Michael didn't like Blue Moon or Incursion - too many random abilities). He plays Batte Line with his girlfriend pretty much every night, so I know what he likes, but haven't found a good match yet.



But it is looking like Race For The Galaxy could be it. He was originally overwhelmed by the action choices and the nearly infinite variability of the cards (I also add in the first two expansions, although we only play with the extra cards so far), but he seems to be getting the hang of it. I love RftG, even the solitaire mode (you can see the "robot" card at the bottom of the picture).

This was our fourth or fifth game, so he is beginning to get the hang of it. I've played this on and off, both solitaire and multiplayer, for a few years now, but I don't seem to be very good at it. I have never come close to beating the robot, for instance. He's generally a very good game player, so it's still a close match.

I started with Alpha Centauri, but unfortunately, had no Brown planets and that theme carried through for the entire game. In fact, I don't think I ever took advantage of AC's -1 settle +1 military on Brown planets at all. Michael had Old Earth, so I had to be very watchful that he never got a goods engine going or I would be toast.

In a very early draw, I got a couple blue planets and the Free Trade Association, so I aimed to get those in play. I got the blue planets in but couldn't quite pull the trigger on the FTA until nearly the end of the game. This really hampered my Consume ability, as a few times I had leftover goods, which is never a good thing.

Michael wisely spent big on a couple production planets, although I guess in one phase he miscalculated and didn't have enough cards to settle despite picking the action. I could see where all the Brown planets were going and I could also see his engine picking up speed.

I was able to get a couple more Blue planets down and finally the FTA, by using the Rush Job development, which allowed me to discard it for a -3 cost on it.

I got that just in time, as his engine, especially when using his beloved 2x Consume action, was really cranking by the end. But I can see the problem with that strategy, as the end game of 24 victory points in a game can get run into before you have much else for points.

Which is what happened, again luckily just after I got the FTA in play. We finished the above game tied with 32 points - he had his nice victory point engine going by the end (producing goods, the consuming them for 2x VPs), but I had lots more cards down in the tableau and got a nice 6x development card in the Free Trade Association, so my 4 Blue planets were worth 8 points at the end. But, again thanks to the Free Trade Association card, I had 5 cards in my hand at the end, while he only had 3, so I won the tiebreaker (none of us had any goods, because we had just finished a big Consume phase).

We discussed a bit of strategy and he said he was beginning to see the bigger picture, which is always good to hear!
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David B
United States
Virginia
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Now you will start saving money. No need to buy any new games.
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Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
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Once you're both up to speed you'd be able to play 2, maybe 3, games in your hour slot.
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Jonathan Arnold
United States
Medford
Massachusetts
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We are definitely getting better. This game was done in less than an hour.
 
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mumu shanshi
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jdarnold wrote:
I got that just in time, as his engine, especially when using his beloved 2x Consume action, was really cranking by the end. But I can see the problem with that strategy, as the end game of 24 victory points in a game can get run into before you have much else for points.
24 is plenty, especially if the engine gets going quickly.
 
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JB Hunt
United States
Grand Rapids
Michigan
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RftG is the most played game in my collection precisely because it's such a great two player game. I'm thankful that my wife took the time to muddle thru the iconography and learned to play.

Enjoy!
 
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