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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Race for the Galaxy App Review | Pixelated Cardboard rss

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Chris Mack
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Angier
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The long time, oft-expanded favorite makes its way to your phone, how well does it translate?
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Overview
Race for the Galaxy is a hand management game which gives players a few simple options each turn, but remains open-ended enough to keep players interested for a full decade now. The board game has consistently maintained its spot in the top 50 BGG list thanks to a classic mix of “easy to explain, difficult to master.”

You probably know RftG if you’re reading this, so I’ll spare you a detailed explanation. For those who are new, I’d recommend one of the countless great reviews of the board game already posted here. In short, you are trying to build the biggest galactic empire you can before the game ends. You have multiple avenues towards points and choosing your path each game is the difference between winning and losing.

Each player gets to choose from five actions each turn and then those actions are performed. It is a simple, elegant system that leaves the players very much in control of their decision making. The app provides a faithful port of the board game and already has the first two expansions available, let’s take a look at some of the details.

Learning Curve
If you are a Race veteran, you might want to run through the short series of tutorials to get familiar with the controls, but they are intuitive enough that probably isn’t necessary. For new players, the tutorials provide a decent base knowledge about how to perform actions in Race, but won’t leave you comfortable with why you should pick one action over another. There is a short rulebook which does a better job of explaining this side of things. Between the tutorial and the rule book a new player should be ready to try an AI game. It will take a handful to really start to understand some strategy, but that’s to be expected.

App Quality
The app looks great. There is a lot of information and iconography needed to understand Race at any given time, and the app does well displaying this to the user. The zoom controls are intuitive and smooth for when you need a little more detail, but the high level overview is often sufficient once you understand the iconography.

Playing for a few weeks now, we haven’t seen any issues with the app crashing or losing online games. Thus far it has been great.



Multiplayer
Online play is cross-platform and asynchronous and can be played by joining (or allowing others to join) a game in the lobby or by inviting specific player(s). The lobby works well as you can start a game then leave the app waiting for others to join, you will get a notification when your game starts. You can play with any expansions you have purchased and use a subset of the special rules for each expansion if you choose. You can use new cards added by The Gathering Storm without playing with the goals, for example.

Temple Gate Games has said that online leaderboards and stat keeping are coming soon via an update, this is welcome news which will add some competitive depth to the game. A few weeks after launch the game lobby is never overflowing with players, but it also never takes long to find a game. It it hard to tell how big the player base is right now, but we haven’t had issues finding games when we want, so that’s a good sign.

Single Player
Single player consists of games vs 1-3 AI bots. Their difficulty can be changed from Easy, Medium, or Hard. The Hard AI was built off of the popular Keldon AI work done for the game long before the app was ever conceived. Check out more information here (http://keldon.net/rftg/). The game options are simple for single player, no campaign or anything of the sort, but the quality of the AI ensures it will be a fun mode for a long time.

Expansions
At the time of the release The Gathering Storm and Rebel vs. Imperium, the first two physical expansions, were available as in-app purchases. This points towards the other three to make their way to the app as well, this is great news for fans.



Summary
Race for the Galaxy is a modern classic at this point. Fans of the game know exactly what they’re getting and the app delivers a true Race experience. The app looks and plays great, the deep bot AI will keep players busy offline for a while. The online multiplayer is equally well done and should only improve as the leaderboards roll out and more players join the game. The only real knock on the app version is that there aren’t any bells and whistles. Leaderboards and stat keeping are coming soon, but there are no alternate play modes (such as a campaign) that we often see in apps. This is a minor complaint to be sure, fans of the game will find the app delivers the same great Race experience in a mobile, condensed form. New Race players will find the app an easy way to learn the game and decide for themselves if they want to dive into the board game.

4.5 out of 5
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We are Pixelated Cardboard, dedicated to bringing you high quality reviews of all of the latest and best board game app ports for your mobile devices. The original version of this review is available at
http://www.pixelatedcardboard.com/race-for-the-galaxy-review...

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Charles Hasegawa
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I agree with most of that, but there are a few blemishes here:

* The badge notifications (iOS) don't work properly
* Each device is its own online presence, so you can't start a game on one device and pick up your phone and continue the game
* (this last one is a standard complaint I have with most apps except Carc) It would be really nice if the game would SHOW you that your opponent is actually in the game. Hey Look! We are both online and in the game at the same time, we can finish this match in 5 minutes!
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Theresa Duringer
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Regarding each device having its own online presence, we're rolling out an update on June 27 to resolve this by supporting cross device linking.
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Richard Young
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Thanks for the review. The port of this game to the iPad (and to the PC via Steam) is clean and accurate - and even with my old iPad2 it runs smoothly and has remained very stable. I haven't tried the on-line mode yet, but would have dearly loved it if the devs had included a "pass and play" option (as ports of this type usually do). Why that was left out is a mystery to me!? Is there any chance of that being added in a future update?
 
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David Gardner
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Is there any way to use the Log to see past rounds?
 
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Serge Levert
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David Gardner wrote:
Is there any way to use the Log to see past rounds?

There's a round-by-round log that shows actions chosen and a condensed view of cards played, drawn, chips gained, etc. There are additional text details for some specialized things, like gaining goals, etc.
 
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David Gardner
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I click Log and all I see is a mostly blank screen reading, say, “Round 9/9” and I can’t figure out (on iPad) how to interact with it.
 
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Serge Levert
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David Gardner wrote:
I click Log and all I see is a mostly blank screen reading, say, “Round 9/9” and I can’t figure out (on iPad) how to interact with it.

Current round might not have much. You can click on the big left arrow/triangle to go to previous rounds.
 
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David Gardner
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Oh my gosh -- merci, Serge!

I hadn't noticed that leftward-pointing arrow -- it blended too well into the window for me, it seems.

Thank you,

David
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