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Subject: Race for the Galaxy exploded in the hangar rss

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Thomas Wells
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When you’ve got board game fever in the way that I do, you need to set up some serious guardrails to keep your collection from exploding out into full on hordelandia.

Race for the Galaxy is a good game (possibly even great), and one I really enjoyed.

Here’s why I traded it in.

I mostly play games with my partner. When I’m browsing around on the Geek, I try to find and play games that are great with two people (according to the crowd). My rule is that if we both aren’t gelling with a game, it goes back to the trade in pile, especially if its a two-player game. I also religiously track my plays on here so I have a good idea of what I play and what I don’t.

When I was reading the rules for the game, I got super excited, mainly because it has all these ways to utilize a simple deck of cards. Cards use as both resources, planets, and actions is an inspired bit of design, and I’ve yet to find another game that replicates this feature quite as well.

I love reading rules, often more than I love playing games. Learning iconography is a fascinating exercise for me, and RFTG has a whole bunch to learn. This is really cool, and really exciting. But, even though we played it several times, my partner had difficulty keeping the language of the game inside her head. I did too, until I absorbed it all. But I think there’s something about this game, and others like it that is not particularly user-friendly. It has a design aesthetic, but not one that is welcoming or easy to understand at a glance.

I would make a comparison to 7 Wonders and 7 Wonders Duel in that when you don’t play this game for a week or two, and then come back to it, you have to go back and re-familiarize yourself with symbols that are not intuitive by my measure.

I think what it comes down to is if I’m willing to pay the cost of entry. In order to enjoy this game, you have to be willing to pay a cost. I was willing to pay it. My partner wasn’t interested in doing so. We’re going to try Roll for the Galaxy, mainly because the satisfaction of rolling dice might overcome the interpretive element.

I don’t usually like to write negative reviews, and I don’t see this as such. I think it’s an important design and purchasing consideration with any game. Board gaming is more popular than it has ever been, and I think part of that popularity has come from the realization that clear, understandable design and complexity don’t have to be two distinct avenues.
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Simon Woodward
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There's an excellent PC version of this game that I've been playing. You can get it through Steam.

Race for the Galaxy

There used to be a free version too

Race for the Galaxy AI
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manukajoe wrote:
There's an excellent PC version of this game that I've been playing. You can get it through Steam.

Race for the Galaxy

There used to be a free version too

Race for the Galaxy AI


AFAIK, the free version is still there. IIRC, Tom even mentioned that it was free to stay up, to give players more options to experience digital Race, and as a sort of competition thing.
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Peter S.
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In terms of how much you can do with just a deck of cards, Impulse is Race squared. If you get a chance to check it out, do.

/Chudyk fanboy

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Runcible Spoon
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I will respectfully disagree on multiple points here.

tbrofromspace wrote:
But, even though we played it several times, my partner had difficulty keeping the language of the game inside her head. I did too, until I absorbed it all.


It is not a light game. Several plays just isn't enough to wrap your head around it including the icons and flow of the game (...at least in my opinion a few games aren't enough).

tbrofromspace wrote:
But I think there’s something about this game, and others like it that is not particularly user-friendly.


Incorrect.

This is a strength. It is user friendly...once you know the icons.

Every experienced race player just glances at the icons (or if you are really experienced you just glance at the art and know everything on the card).[/q]

tbrofromspace wrote:
It has a design aesthetic, but not one that is welcoming or easy to understand at a glance.


Incorrect.

It is very easy to understand at a glace, that is the point of the icons in fact...but if you don't understand it in the first place then sure...you don't understand it. This is basically the same reason that symbols replaced text in many computer programs.

Counterpoint: The icons are part of what makes this an amazing game. If the cards had text many of them would just flat out be a wall of text (phase of activation plus the powers) and people would really complain about that.

tbrofromspace wrote:
I don’t usually like to write negative reviews, and I don’t see this as such.


Well don't feel too bad; people have been saying this about race since 2007 so you're far from the first. This is a pretty rusty old axe to grind. People who like complex yet fast to play games with a very high decision-making per minute ratio love this game.

I will admit it's not for everybody.
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John
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ErsatzDragon wrote:
In terms of how much you can do with just a deck of cards, Impulse is Race squared. If you get a chance to check it out, do.

Or not. The learning curve is worse than Race. I really like Impulse though.
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John
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tbrofromspace wrote:
I think what it comes down to is if I’m willing to pay the cost of entry. In order to enjoy this game, you have to be willing to pay a cost.

Yes. That's the case to some extent with every game. Race is more difficult to learn than many games, but now that I know it the icons are great. I cam add a new expansion and only have to check what a couple of card powers do.
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Graham Robinson
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tbrofromspace wrote:
you have to go back and re-familiarize yourself with symbols


If only they had provided some sort of reference sheet listing all the symbols and their meanings, along with text on the card explaining the more complex icons.

Oh, wait...
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Alexandre Santos
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Maybe it was just a bit too early for your partner to tackle Race...

Last year I introduced Race to my wife, and she felt uneasy and rejected it. So I put it aside and played Patchwork, Valley of the Kings (compact deck builder) instead. In both games she quickly mastered the flow of the game and became quite good at setting up an engine (i.e. she crushes me shake).

Last week I re-introduced her to Race and she immediately "clicked" with the game, and it has become our go-to game, which is perfect for me.
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Jessica Eccles
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I think you made the right decision for your situation.

When I got Race for the Galaxy it was one of the only modern games I owned (a cast off from one of my roleplaying friends). And when my partner and I started playing it we would play 3-4 games per session and played 2-3 sessions per week. It was slow going at first with lots of reference sheet lookups but we played it so much that we learned the new symbol language and solidified it with repeated exposure.

Now I have many more games and RFTG only sees occasional plays but because I learned its symbols so well in the early days I still understand them.

But it seems that you enjoy playing a variety of games which certainly makes it harder to get into a game that requires you to learn a new language and harder to justify the effort required when you already have a great selection of games that you enjoy.
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Jim Haltom
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Just pick up a copy of San Juan. It gives the feel of Race, but with limited iconography and is much more user friendly.
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Thomas Wells
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This is all good advice! Maybe at some point we'll return.
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Gillum the Stoor
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You can learn much of thinking behind the game's design in the video at this link: https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1024915/Board-Game-Design-Day-...

Understanding some of the principles behind the game's design may make it easier to internalize how they work and may help game play (and the iconography) come to feel more natural.
 
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Tim Whitehead
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manukajoe wrote:
There's an excellent PC version of this game that I've been playing. You can get it through Steam.

Race for the Galaxy


I'd second this... But I'd suggest the mobile version instead of steam, the dragging of cards is more intuitive and less cumbersome.

The digital version is how I got my wife into RftG as she just needed to understand the cost of settling, but less so with the phases as the game will assist you by highlighting thing you can or have to do.

We played at least one game a day ever since and is now willing to play the actual game now and again.
 
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Simon Woodward
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grafikchaos wrote:
Just pick up a copy of San Juan. It gives the feel of Race, but with limited iconography and is much more user friendly.
+1

I love San Juan, and it's much easier to get to the table than Race.
 
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Flatline42
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ackmondual wrote:
manukajoe wrote:
There's an excellent PC version of this game that I've been playing. You can get it through Steam.

Race for the Galaxy

There used to be a free version too

Race for the Galaxy AI


AFAIK, the free version is still there. IIRC, Tom even mentioned that it was free to stay up, to give players more options to experience digital Race, and as a sort of competition thing.


I'm going to point out that unless you're pretty good, the AI/free version can be *brutal*. It was a surprisingly strong AI.

I know some people that don't have problems with it but I'm not one of them.
 
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Flatline42 wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
manukajoe wrote:
There's an excellent PC version of this game that I've been playing. You can get it through Steam.

Race for the Galaxy

There used to be a free version too

Race for the Galaxy AI


AFAIK, the free version is still there. IIRC, Tom even mentioned that it was free to stay up, to give players more options to experience digital Race, and as a sort of competition thing.


I'm going to point out that unless you're pretty good, the AI/free version can be *brutal*. It was a surprisingly strong AI.

I know some people that don't have problems with it but I'm not one of them.
Yeah, implementing an easy (easier?) mode was a nice addition for the TGG (Temple Gates Games) version
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Gregg Saruwatari
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It is not difficult to jump back into Race. It is always what my wife wants to play after an extended break(weeks or months) from gaming. The rules are much easier to remember and implement than almost any other game. and the fact that setup is a breeze. . . .

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tom tom
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Putting the time and effort into learning to play a game well is a HUGE part of gaming for me and my wife. She did not enjoy Kingdom Builder the first 3 plays, now we play it every week.
BUT, if that is not your idea of gaming enjoyment, try another. And the San Juan recommendation is a great one.
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1qwerty wrote:
Putting the time and effort into learning to play a game well is a HUGE part of gaming for me and my wife. She did not enjoy Kingdom Builder the first 3 plays, now we play it every week.
BUT, if that is not your idea of gaming enjoyment, try another. And the San Juan recommendation is a great one.
It's worth bringing up that Race is one of those games that's better off learning playing back-to-back games, or within a short amount of time afterwards. This, as opposed to playing the game only once every 4 to 12 months.
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tom tom
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It is also very important to check your tableau for icons on cards that refer to the action you played. We have Base and Alien Artifacts and LOVE IT.
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Thomas Wells
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Quick update: picked up Roll for the Galaxy and had a blast! For some reason the dice selection and tile laying mechanics really clicked for me and my partner. My initial thought may have been wrong--it's not necessarily the iconography. Maybe we just needed more bits?
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