Jun Hu
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About me:
First of all, my English is poor.
Apologize for spelling and grammar mistakes.

I only played basic game, mostly 2-3 players.
I played this game several times offline before. Just bought the expansion. (it's still shipping)
And I am around 80% win rate on boardgamearena, I think that's good enough.

About this guide:
This guide is written for the common cases.
If you meet up with a special case, in which you think this guide is wrong, just follow your heart.

For example, if you start with Terraforming Robots, grab Replicant Robots early, settle spamming is a very obvious winning strategy. You can spam the board before anyone builds his engine.
But it is weak if you don't grab the right tiles.
So this guide won't talk about spamming.
Well, I wrote about it at last.

1. Several tips for beginners
Explore or trade on round 1 to buy back all your dice is a good idea.
Comparing stocking now explore later and stocking later explore now, former provides you with a stronger round 2.

Leech (predict opponent's move and place dice onto that phase) is cool, but not decent.
Assume you have five dice, three explore, one develop and one useless trade.
You have Galactic Recycling in dev. (+1 after complete anything)
Many players use the trade dice to select develop.
I think, select explore is a better option. (Unless you are really really sure someone will explore this round)
Yes, Galactic Recycling is a strong card, but it won't trigger more times if you build it one round earlier.
Waste that three explorers could be a big loss.

Don't use wild dice to leech.
Unless: the wild dice is useless on your chosen phase, or you can leech at high reward. (Leech to trade, or to end the game by 12th tile)

Avoid run out of dice.
It takes at least two rounds to recover.
And you are easy to predict during this period.
That's dangerous.

A great amount of dice is nice, but not as nice as it seems to be.
You don't have enough reassignment abilities for them.
And you need more income to buy back the extra dice.
And you can never buy back more than 10 dice in a round.
9 is enough, 10 is slightly better, above 10 is not necessary. (The more dice you have, the value of a new dice is lower)
And it's (very) possible to win by 8.
I'll talk about why 9 is enough later.

Don't forget you can take dice back at the end of each round.
If you build a world with good on it, and you don't want to select trade on next round. And nobody else has a good, so you can't leech, you can simply take that dice back.
If you have a half-built development, and a half-built world, you may want to give up one of them to make sure you can build the other.
If you are running out of credits and need to recover, you can take back dice to stocking / produce more.

Roll, like Race, is an engine building game.
Early scoring is not important. Extra credit is often better than 2vp in early game. (I know you want that +1 credit at the end of turn, but, -2vp and +3/4 credit is better)
Cheap worlds build up your advanced dice pool faster than expensive ones. So don't build expensive worlds at the beginning.

Purple (consume) dice is a trap.
I'll talk about it later.

2. The Winning Strategies
There are mainly two of them: Explore - Develop cycle against Produce - Ship cycle.
(In Race, there was a settle spamming strategy, but military works differently in Roll)
Shipper is scoring around 8 vp per cycle.
The developer builds up his engine slower. Once build up, developer could build a 6-cost dev each cycle. (usually 10+ vp)

Why these two:
There are three vp sources: development, world and ship.
World is worse because you still need extra income, reassign power to make full use of a large dice pool.
It's too slow.
And settling don't have a strong ender like what developing has.
The reminder are dev and ship.
Obviously, dev requires explore, ship requires produce.
Now we have two cycles.
It is worth mentioning that, both strategies pick all phase they need.
So they are just effective and solid.

3. About the worlds
Developer requires two or three extra military / rare dice.
They are cheap and have three development faces.
More worlds are not necessary.
Of course, you can settle more if you keep rolling settles, it is just not necessary.
It's not a bad idea to perform an extra settle round once you have enough reassign and income, or leech to settle another cheap world.
It's just not necessary.

Ship requires at least four novelty worlds. (Gene Lab and Mining Industry encourage different colors)
Once again, more worlds are not necessary.

Green and yellow are nice.
But, shipper has novelty, developer has rare and military. These dice are cheaper.
It's not a bad idea (and not necessary) to settle them in mid game for a better dice and some vp.

4. Shipper: Winning condition

The main idea of shipping is easy to explain: settle several worlds to build up, produce, ship, produce, ship, produce, ship, produce, ship.
That's all. (sometimes three cycles, not four)
End up the game as soon as possible.

Why you should end up the game as soon as possible:
Once your engine starts, your board seldom grows.
You are scoring 6 or 8 vp per cycle, but you can't expect more.
The developer's board keeps growing at the same time.
In the late game, an experienced developer is very likely to complete a 6-cost in every cycle. (10+ vp)
That's why shipper want a shorter game.

5. Shipper: Build up

Personally I don't play shipping unless I start with Consumer Markets or Genetic Lab.

To build up for Consumer Markets, explore to grab every cheap novelty world, settle them.
Four or five novelty worlds would be fine. Income and reassignment techs make it better, but not necessary.
That's everything you need.

Why four or five:
Assume you are playing 2p, you score 2vp per world per cycle, one of the goods is traded for income, opponent is not consuming at all.
3 worlds end the game in 6 cycles (24/2/(3-1)=6), (obviously too slow) four is 4 cycles, five is 3 cycles, and seven worlds are needed to end the game in 2 cycles. (obviously too many worlds, on the other word, too slow)
(1 cycle = 2 rounds in most cases)
To end the game as soon as possible, four or five is the best.

(I don't mean you shouldn't produce with 2 or 3 worlds, you may want to do a produce-ship cycle for credits in early game. It's fine. But, if you want to ship for vp, 4 or 5 worlds is more effective.)

For genetic lab, the good news is: Each gene good provides 2 income, a trade is not needed in each cycle.
The bad news is: gene worlds cost more.
You should start with three or four gene worlds, additional novelty world is fine. Nothing else is necessary.

For other factions (Mining Industry included, bonus income is not enough), you need one more gene/alien world to build up (you have to trade twice per cycle to buy back your dice), an income development is also fine.
Start the engine at 5 or 6 worlds. (-1 if you have reliable income source)

(That's why I don't play shipping unless I start with Consumer Markets or Genetic Lab.)

6. Shipper: The trap

One of the traps is the consume dice.
If you want to win by ship strategy, you're very likely to settle several worlds of a kind.
First, One more novelty world is as good as a purple dice (always match color, because you have plenty of novelty worlds).
Second, you can produce on novelty world. Purple is just +1 vp per cycle, blue is +2 vp per cycle.
Third, purple is expensive, really expensive. Unbearable.


To Tom, If you are reading:
We need Diversified Economy in next expansion!
Please!

Errata: We do have it as promo.


The other trap is Organic Shipyards / Space Dock.
If shipper is running four or five novelty worlds (like what I have said), novelty dice + phase selection + dictate is enough.
Developer may build a dock for free leeching. Not you.

7. Shipper: Faction Tier
Tier 1:
Consumer Markets
Genetic Lab
(Tier 0 with a matching home)

Tier 2:
Awakened Alien Outpost (A single alien good buys 6 dices back, and the purple dice is 1 vp per cycle)
Mining Industry (A few credits per cycle is better than none)

Tier 3:
Faction with a production world.

Tier 4:
Faction without a production world.

Tier 2 faction with a production home is also okay for shipping.

8. Developer: Winning Condition

Explore to find key developments and stock to buy back dice.
Develop them.
More explore. More develop.
Start to grab 6-costs after you can afford it.
In the late game, try to develop a 6-cost every cycle.

Unlike shipper, developer doesn't need to do the exact explore - develop cycle.
You can explore or develop several times in a row (it depends on the dice), and do anything you want after you have enough reassign abilities.

9. Developer: Build up

A developer engine consists of three parts: Income, reassign and extra dice.
Income is developments with a reliable income.
Obviously, develop phase income is the most reliable for a developer.
Extra dice on the explore phase also counts as reliable income. These tiles are pretty strong.
Income from settle, produce or ship phase doesn't count as a reliable income. (Unless your opponent chooses these phase really often)
Investment Credits is not an income, but it is even better.

Income tile is not a must-have, because you can keep stocking for income, but they can speed up your engine. (Roll is a race!)
In race, a developer can never have too many phase II abilities.
If you do have too many, you can keep develop every round and simply win a game of Race by doing that.
That's the same in Roll.
The more income you get from developments, the less stocking you have to pick. And number of the tiles you see from explore grows quadratic.

Reassign is developments with reassign ability.
(Except for the "reassign to specific phase" tiles, they are bad.)
First reassign development is a must-have. (Our goal is to develop a 6-cost in one round.)
Second is nice.
Third or more is still helpful, but not necessary.

Extra dice is, well, you know what it means.
Military and rare are what you need (three development sides, available at the cost of two settlers).
World with two advanced dice at a time is even better.
Because it saves a tile (1 tile = 1 stock = 2 credits = actually 2 dice in cup, not in citizenry = awesome).

The build up phase is over when:
You are able to build a 6 cost development in a single turn and buy back your whole citizenry by stocking in next turn.
9 dice (including 2 military/rare) + 2 reassign is enough for this.

Here comes an example cycle.

Develop round:
6 to develop (1 from phase select, 1 from dictate, 1 nature roll from military/rare, 1 nature roll from other 7 dice, 2 from reassign), 3 remains, buy back 1

Explore round:
4 to stocking (1 from phase select, 1 nature roll and 2 reassign, buy back 9

With extra income from leeching and developments, you are able to use 1 or 2 of the explore dice to draw, instead of stocking.
In the worst case, you can do an extra explore round every two cycles.
9 is a bit tight, but fairly enough. (Hopefully you can get one or two dice later, by leeching or by developing specific tiles, or by taking another settle round.)

Now the hunt for high value developments begins.
Remember, Galactic Federation / System Diversification are also part of your engine.
So you can build them before your engine completes.

10. Developer: The trap

Leech produce and ship for credit is fine.
Don't leech for vp. Leech for vp may shorten the game for a ship cycle, which is horrible. And 2vp for 2 dice isn't a big deal. You are the developer, you are supposed to make more out of your dice.
In most cases, don't reassign to leech a produce phase. (You have to leech the next trade phase, which may cost another reassign.)
If you have better usage for your dice, don't leech for credit. (Stocking is better, unless it is a gene / alien world)

You don't have to run out of credits every turn.
+1 credit is not a reward to game masters, it is only a compensate to bankrupt.
If you are about to use up all dice in your next round, it takes several rounds to recover, which is unbearable. In that case, you should save some credits by stocking for next round's buy back.

11. Developer: More about explore

Stacking up on tiles is not bad.
If you don't have any good development to start with (remember, all you need is income and reassign), keep exploring.
The more tiles you have, the stronger your explorer is, and you are more likely to grab 6 cost dev with a few explorers in the future.

When placing the tiles, consider the sequence you develop them.
Cheap income - cheap reassign - expensive income - expensive reassign - 6 cost is the ideal order.
If you grabbed enough good tiles during several explores, you may want to discard some of them to get a better sequence.
(That's extravagant!)

You don't have to keep the cheap military / rare worlds. (Unless it is the last explore this round)
There are plenty of them.
Feel free to discard all your worlds (even if it is the appealing 1-cost military) to find some useful developments.

Summary:
Early Game: Always keep income tile, always keep reassign tile, keep military/rare world only in last explore. Keep Galactic Federation / System Diversification if you have something on the top of stack. Discard anything else.
Mid Game: Keep income tile, keep 6-cost, keep reassign tile in last explore, keep world in last explore, a 4+ cost world followed by a 1 cost would be fine, (in case you roll too many settles), low-high-low is even better (prepare for both leeching and a big settle roll).
Late Game: Discard everything, keep the best 6-cost, put 1 cost tiles under it, second best 6-cost under the cheap ones. (If you roll 8+ develops, it is possible to rush to 12 tiles, give your opponents a big surprise. If you don't get such a roll, you can simply discard these cheap tiles in the next explore, or choose develop again on next round to end the game)
Or you can discard everything to find low cost devs, if you want to win by spamming. (In case opponent is building up slowly)

12. Developer: Faction Tier

Tier 1:
Alien Archeology (Consider the buy back cost of a stocking dice, stocking with alien is three times effective, not twice. Alien Archeology is strong enough even without leeching.)
Galactic Religion (Tier 0 with a blue home. If you are playing the explore-develop cycle correctly, you can always spend your blue dice in the first two phase.)
Both Tier 1 worlds start with reliable income. (+2 per cycle and +1+x per cycle) That's why they are Tier 1.

Tier 2:
Improved Reconnaissance (Flexibility is great. Unlike other faction, this faction can keep 6-costs in early explores.)
Bilogical Adaptation (Tier 1 if Executive Power or Homeworld Patriotism is grabbed early)
Awakened Alien Outpost (One more dice is fine)

Tier 3:
Genetics Lab (It is not necessary to produce into ship, sometimes you can produce and take back, that is 1 green dice for 2 income, better than stocking)
Space Piracy (At least it's a red dice, and the unreliable income is better than none.)

Tier 4:
Consumer markets (At least you are tier 1 shipper)
Mining Industry (The worst faction, for sure)

Overall:
(Personally I played more develop than ship, so I may overrated developing.)
t0 dev > t0 ship > t1 dev > t2 dev > t1 ship > t3 dev > t2 ship > t4 dev > other

To Tom, if you are reading:
A draft variant may fix the balance issue.
It's simple:
Reveal X factions and X homes (X is number of players).
First draft the factions, then draft the homes in reverse order.
So the first player picks best faction, the last player picks best home and maybe a synergy.
In this case, number of ship faction and build faction is still randomly chosen, groupthink won't affect the game too much.
The most important thing is: nobody picks best faction with a synergistic home.
(Galactic Religion with Epsilon Eridani and Genetics Lab with Ancient Race, for example.)


13. Counter

How to counter Alien Research Ship:
1. Try to explore before that tile is complete.
2. Try to leech explore for stocking income. Do several heavy explore to grab tiles. Even better if you can do heavy explore on same round as your opponent.
3. Grab Major Research Labs.
4. (2p) Pray to the god of dice.

How to counter Galactic Religion:
1. Try to develop on the same turn as your opponent.
2. Try shipping, or spamming to shorten the game.
3. Grab Galactic Investors.
4. (2p) Complain when neutral player rolls develop.

How to counter Consumer Market:
1. Let it go.
2. It's a race between developer and shipper. Don't join the shipper. (Unless you are also a shipper faction) You can't beat the shipper by shipping.
3. (2p) Complain when neutral player rolls produce on Shipper's ship round, vise versa.

How to counter the developer:
1. It's a race between developer and shipper. Don't pick any other phase. Your gain is growing linearly, while your opponent is snowballing. All you need to do is to end the game, as soon as possible.
2. Build every 6 cost development as worlds. Why not? (Most 6 cost devs come with a low cost world on the other side, that's great)

To Tom, if you are reading:
I think the 2p neutral dice should be rolled before phase selection.
It is just like playing 3p with a weak player.
Current 2p variant is like playing 3p with a saboteur.


14. Spamming
I don't want to end up with 13.
So let's talk about spamming. (The third strategy)

The advantage of spamming is, you may end up the game before opponent's engine runs.
The disadvantage is, you may still lose even if you build the 12th tile early.

To spam, key tile is cost reduction. (Without the minus cost, spamming is less competitive)
At least one income tech on that phase is also needed (Especially +1$ for complete). Reassign makes it better because you often want a big explore / build round.
If you have drawn the right tile, build up for spamming is easier than other strategies. But the outcome is also lower.
Usually, each explore-spam cycle gives you around 6 vp, you can't expect more of it.

The advantage of dev spamming is:
You can turn into regular develop strategy whenever you want. (Actually, spamming and 6-cost strategy share the engine parts. You can easily switch from one to the other.)
You can build more spamming synergy developments during spamming. It's snowballing.
Bilogical Adaptation makes spamming each better.

The advantage of world spamming is:
Every world comes with an on-built ability, some also comes with good, less stocking is needed. You can perform less explore round and more settle round.
Colored dice is better than home dice. But the snowballing effect is weaker comparing to dev spamming. You still have to develop reassign powers.
Rolling more dice is fun.



That's all, thank you for reading.
Merry Christmas and happy new year.
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Raphaƫl Langella
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When you perceive a game feature as being weak, it would be more humble to say that you haven't found a way to use it efficiently rather than calling it a trap.
Diversified Economy is on the Geek Store.
Regarding drafting, I doubt it could become an official variant. Tom already explained that giving more choice to the players (like pike 1 out of 2) would encourage group think. Factions have been balanced quite thoroughly during playtesting. The perception that some are better than others comes from personal play style, mastered strategies and group think.
If you find a faction weak, it's probably that you haven't yet figured out a strategy to use it efficiently. If you can draft, you'll only play it when forced to (rarely) and you'll probably never discover its strength. If you're forced to play it more often, it's more likely that you will and this will improve your knowledge of the game and you'll get better.

The more I play Roll, the more I find that there is a lot of room for hybrid strategies and games often feel more organic than in Race. I find your guide a bit too stereotypical. There are more than 2 strategies in Roll.
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Jun Hu
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galehar wrote:
When you perceive a game feature as being weak, it would be more humble to say that you haven't found a way to use it efficiently rather than calling it a trap.
Diversified Economy is on the Geek Store.
Regarding drafting, I doubt it could become an official variant. Tom already explained that giving more choice to the players (like pike 1 out of 2) would encourage group think. Factions have been balanced quite thoroughly during playtesting. The perception that some are better than others comes from personal play style, mastered strategies and group think.
If you find a faction weak, it's probably that you haven't yet figured out a strategy to use it efficiently. If you can draft, you'll only play it when forced to (rarely) and you'll probably never discover its strength. If you're forced to play it more often, it's more likely that you will and this will improve your knowledge of the game and you'll get better.

The more I play Roll, the more I find that there is a lot of room for hybrid strategies and games often feel more organic than in Race. I find your guide a bit too stereotypical. There are more than 2 strategies in Roll.


First, thank you for the promo information.

Next, there are three vp sources in roll.
Settle, develop and ship.
This guide mentioned two of them, and explained why the third is weaker. (Don't have enough reassign power and income for a large dice pool.)
I didn't miss anything.

And, about balance.
Religion with Epsilon Eridani is broken. That's why I suggest a draft variant (to prevent a combo like that).

Yes, many people don't believe Religion with Epsilon Eridani is broken.
Let's talk about something else: Mining Industry vs Consumer Markets.
(If I can prove two of the factions are not balanced, at least I can say the factions are not completely balanced.)

The only thing Mining Industry better than Consumer Markets is: Developing.
Rare dice is at least better than novelty for developing.
Besides that, Mining Industry is worse.

I know someone will say if Mining Industry opens with the specific rare synergy tiles, it is strong.
But, if we allow Mining Industry player to grab the right tile, Consumer Markets should do the same.
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