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Subject: Why Race is better than Roll. rss

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David B
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Although Roll for the Galaxy is a fine game, I will always prefer Race. Roll is a bit easier to teach to newcomers, but I would still not spring it on infrequent or casual gamers; it, too, is not a gateway game and still has a fairly steep learning curve. That said, here are my reasons for preferring Race:

1) Read all the abilities on the tiles then read all the abilities on the cards. The abilities on the cards in Race are more interesting and varied.

2) The planets in particular in Roll just don't do much in comparison to the planets in Race.

3) Military planets in Roll just give you basically a red die. Military in Race is its own viable strategy. (Although Ambition may have tweaked this a little).

4) The only way to get new tiles in Roll is when explore is picked AND you assign dice to it. There are opportunities to get more cards in every phase in Race. So in this regard, Roll feels too slow to me. Perhaps with more play, the pace may feel different. But I will always prefer the more steady influx of cards in Race.

5) You only have the option of building the top tile in each of the two construction stacks. In Race, you can build any card in your hand.

6) In Roll, the tension of which cards to build and which to use for payment, one of they key tensions in the game, is gone.

7) For this type of game, a well developed system of icons, which Race has, is vastly superior to text, especially when the text is small and must be read upside down from across the table. This issue, to me, leads Roll to feeling actually more solitary than Race.

8) Heck, this one is silly but I'll say it anyway: Race is cheaper!
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Conan Meriadoc
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I'd add the better repartition of decision points in Race : Almost every step of the game forces a decision, sometimes hard, on you (Produce being an exception).

Whereas in Roll, the meat of the game is situated in the Assign step and Explore phases, the other phases almost play themselves.


I did appreciate Roll as a good game, but it's very mechanic-centric; you can't really detach your mind of the optimization problem it presents while playing, whereas Race meshes gameplay and theme beautifully.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Dystopian wrote:
Whereas in Roll, the meat of the game is situated in the Assign step and Explore phases, the other phases almost play themselves.
It is rare when I feel that the choices in the assign phase aren't fairly obvious.
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Serge Levert
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Yeah i think you've hit the crux of why race is better than roll: Roll is a watered down version of Race.
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Marco Schaub
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I really, really like Roll for the Galaxy. But it still doesn't reach Race for the Galaxy. That said, I'm glad to own both.
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Mike Forrey
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They are two completely different games though. It's not fair to really compare the two. I like to play both but on different occasions.
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David B
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bearn wrote:
They are two completely different games though. It's not fair to really compare the two. I like to play both but on different occasions.


Yes they are two different games but they have a lot in common even beyond theme and artwork. Both involve role selection that is chosen in secret simultaneously. Both have developments and planets. Both feature military as well as a consumer economy as viable options. There are more similarities beyond these. Yes, they are different. But they share enough that they will always be rightfully compared. When Roll was designed, it was clearly presented as a dice reimplementation of Race. It is totally fair to compare the two.
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Matt
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I agree with everything said in the original post. But still, Roll gets played more in my groups, and I think there is an elusive reason that I don't see a lot in side-by-side comparisons of the two games' mechanics, rules, etc.

Roll looks more fun to people who don't yet know how to play it. There are tiles, dice, cups, player shields, and meeples. You hear somebody shake the cup and watch them make secret decisions and that looks like a fun experience. Race, on the other hand, is cards, cards, and more cards. To an observer, a game of Race is a bunch of people brooding over a hand of confusing cards.

Once you know how to play the games, this may seem like no big deal. But I find (maybe because I'm not a great teacher) that the rules explanation for both games is lengthy and requires a lot of attention on the part of the person learning the game. With Race, fatigue seems to set in quickly and a lot of people have lost interest in playing before we even start. But they seem to be willing to put up with climbing the steep learning curve for Roll, because they see the promise of fun.
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Todd McCorkle
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mmoberly wrote:
To an observer, a game of Race is a bunch of people brooding over a hand of confusing cards.


I feel this way about poker, and yet games of that get played on TV.
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David B
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kusinohki wrote:
mmoberly wrote:
To an observer, a game of Race is a bunch of people brooding over a hand of confusing cards.


I feel this way about poker, and yet games of that get played on TV.


A cable channel dedicated to professional Race for the Galaxy players. I can dream, can't I?
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rain
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pfctsqr wrote:
A cable channel dedicated to professional Race for the Galaxy players. I can dream, can't I?


How many people would be interested in this? The success of Twitch has made me think about doing something similar for Race. Certainly, there are no professional race players, but I know a number of folks both locally and online who are very good at the game and enjoying talking about it.
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Todd McCorkle
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"Stream like no one is watching."

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Todd McCorkle
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Rainstar wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
A cable channel dedicated to professional Race for the Galaxy players. I can dream, can't I?


How many people would be interested in this? The success of Twitch has made me think about doing something similar for Race. Certainly, there are no professional race players, but I know a number of folks both locally and online who are very good at the game and enjoying talking about it.


Non-joke response:

Trying to imagine what this would be like. You could try a format very similar to Wil Wheaton's Tabletop. Just film people playing the game. Have an overhead camera that could zoom in on the table/cards/tableau. Edit in 'Talking heads' commentary of why players did certain things.

My only experience with Twith is #sentinelslive where the developers of the video game version play sentinels of the multiverse. Quoting the intro, "they try to explain what they are doing and why" to help viewers learn the game and strategy tips. That's easier to do in a co-op game than competitive. I have some crazy idea of filming the game, then let the players watch the game and record commentary. Somehow edit that into something watchable. Not sure if that's feasible on a fan budget.

It would also be super nice to have a enlarged graphic of what the players have in hand and in tableau, like how power shows pop up the players cards. I imagine this graphic would look similar to the layout of Keldon's AI. This would prolly require a lot of post-production editing though.

This is probably all a pipe dream, but it's an ideal to aim for. *shrug*
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Serge Levert
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kusinohki wrote:
I have some crazy idea of filming the game, then let the players watch the game and record commentary. Somehow edit that into something watchable. Not sure if that's feasible on a fan budget.

That's a heck of a lot of work and would be very expensive. More feasible would be to stream live play and have someone commentating over the stream. Far simpler yet, as a start, would be to stream Keldon AI play, with a microphone. I'd watch, and comment!
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Todd McCorkle
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entranced wrote:
kusinohki wrote:
I have some crazy idea of filming the game, then let the players watch the game and record commentary. Somehow edit that into something watchable. Not sure if that's feasible on a fan budget.

That's a heck of a lot of work and would be very expensive. More feasible would be to stream live play and have someone commentating over the stream. Far simpler yet, as a start, would be to stream Keldon AI play, with a microphone. I'd watch, and comment!

Like I said. Pipe dream. Mostly just throwing out ideas without concern for logistics. Have no idea how to even questimate cost (let alone time investment). Totally expect most of these ideas to get thrown out when they run into the 'real world'.

I like the idea of just streaming Kelden's AI as a bare bones starting point. Does Kelden still have an online play option? (I never play online because, reasons) Not sure how this would work, but possibly have 1 person stream their screen while playing an online game. All the players would have mics to talk about what's been played. But have the option for players to go to a 'private channel' to talk about strat or what they think the other players will do or whatever. Some way of talking to the audience without the other players overhearing. Again, no ideas about feasibility. Just throwing stuff out there.
 
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Serge Levert
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kusinohki wrote:
I like the idea of just streaming Kelden's AI as a bare bones starting point. Does Kelden still have an online play option? (I never play online because, reasons)

Yes.

kusinohki wrote:
Not sure how this would work, but possibly have 1 person stream their screen while playing an online game. All the players would have mics to talk about what's been played. But have the option for players to go to a 'private channel' to talk about strat or what they think the other players will do or whatever. Some way of talking to the audience without the other players overhearing. Again, no ideas about feasibility. Just throwing stuff out there.

The natural thing to do would be like every other card game stream. Someone/people just stream their Keldon AI plays, vs other players. They can commentate what's happening, respond to questions about certain plays, etc. The opponent(s) need not be involved, in the know, talking, commentating nor streaming.
 
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steven smolders
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Race for the galaxy might be the better game but roll is easyer to teach easyer to understand and can be played by everyone within 1 session.

While race is way more difficult to get into in general.

I have played race with my wife and she didn't like the game.
Roll she likes to play and my daughter can play it aswel.
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Cubby Moore
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I love Race but I'm always amazed at the range of people who find it difficult. Some who like games like Terra Mystica find Race too hard with the symbols.

I do wonder if a version with text explanations on the cards would go some way to making the game more welcoming to them. It seems to be one of the main reasons Roll is preferred. A lot of the 6 cards have text on already, so it wouldn't be too much of a change, although I'm fairly sure that Tom wouldn't agree
 
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Tom Lehmann
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cubbymoore wrote:
I love Race but I'm always amazed at the range of people who find it difficult. Some who like games like Terra Mystica find Race too hard with the symbols.

Blaming Race's learning difficulty solely on the symbols is easy but inaccurate, imo.

Several other aspects of Race may cause issues for some people:

* Multiple phase powers on the same cards. Roll is limited to a single game power per tile (6-devs also have scoring powers). Many players find having multiple powers on the same card hard to track.

In Roll, beginning players will sometimes rearrange their tiles into groups by phase, to keep powers that "trigger" in the same phase together. In Race, this may be impossible, do to multiple powers on cards.

* The constant "angst" of having to discard some cards to pay for other cards. Some players love this mechanic but others hate it. They worry about spending the "wrong" cards to the point where the game simply becomes unenjoyable for them.

* Tracking phases through the rounds is easier for some players in Roll due to the phase tiles in the center. It gives them a physical reminder of what phases are active. In the Race rules, we suggest that beginning players, after flipping over their action cards, place them in the center as reminders of the phases that will occur that round, removing them as the phases are completed. Experienced players don't need this extra cue, but beginning players often find it useful. When experienced players teach Race to new players, they rarely follow this convention.

Quote:
I do wonder if a version with text explanations on the cards would go some way to making the game more welcoming to them.

All complex card powers *do* have text describing them on the cards. However, people often overlook this.

For example, in the Roll review forums, there's a video that directly compares Race and Roll. In it, the reviewer complains about complicated icons and no text on the cards using Contact Specialist as his example, despite the fact that Contact Specialist has text describing its power. There's an incredible "blindness" when it comes to the text explanations of powers on Race cards.

We did lots of tests with and without power text when designing Race. We tried a set with no text at all. We tried a set with text for every power. Yes, the game would be more accessible if every card had text for every power. However, the cards would be completely full of text and no art could be seen. Some people undoubtably would prefer that set; others would hate it. I am comfortable with the balance we struck.
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Raphaël Langella
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
There's an incredible "blindness" when it comes to the text explanations of powers on Race cards.

I've noticed that too. While I teach race, players often misinterpreted the consume power symbols. Especially the multi-use like mining conglomerate or old earth. They think it's 2 resources for 1 VP, until I point to the text which is concise but very clear.
I think that because there are icons, players don't read the text. They only read the one on the 6 dev. It was a good call to remove a lot of the iconography in roll, so that the players do actually read the text.

Tom Lehmann wrote:
I am comfortable with the balance we struck.

I agree. I think the amount of text on race cards is just right. I like answering player questions with: "It's written right on the card"
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Andrew
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Lots of people stream Netrunner and post commentated games - some with pretty fancy post-effects explaining what's going on.
 
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Serge Levert
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
In the Race rules, we suggest that beginning players, after flipping over their action cards, place them in the center as reminders of the phases that will occur that round, removing them as the phases are completed. Experienced players don't need this extra cue, but beginning players often find it useful. When experienced players teach Race to new players, they rarely follow this convention.

I've always done this for new players, until they get a handle on the game. All action cards together near the new player(s). I think it's super important.

fateswanderer wrote:
Lots of people stream Netrunner and post commentated games - some with pretty fancy post-effects explaining what's going on.

Can you link an example of a commentated game, ideally with these fancy post-effects?
 
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Manu
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I am colour-blind so Race is better, but not by much.
 
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Eric Guttag
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Hey David,


Nice discussion of why you like Race over Roll. I own Roll, have played it several dozen times, and have even taught how to play the game to others many times. Having grasped Roll, I now (finally) learned and am ready to play Race. In my opinion, both games appeal to me because they are, ultimately, action selection, multi-use of cards/dice games. Roll is easier to get into, although I can tell you from experience that newbies (including me when I first played it) have difficulty understanding the dice allocation mechanism in Roll for selecting actions. Now that I've grappled successfully with Roll, and read the rules for Race, the iconography issue no longer is daunting for me. There are a few differences in mechanics, especially the different order of Production-Shipping in Roll, versus Consume-Production in Race, but both games share that common action selection with multi-use of cards/dice. The fact that The Gathering Storm expansion offers a solo-player variant is very appealing to me. And eventually owning both Roll and Race is definitely a possibility for me.
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Eric Guttag
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Hey Tom,

I own and love Roll, and am now ready tackle Race, iconography and all. I like action selection, multi-use of dice/cards (I also own Eminent Domain), and Roll/Race both offer that to me.
 
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