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Keith Jones
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I have now played two games of “Race for the Galaxy” and thought I’d give a short review. Although it looks like I’m aiming for the “Siggins curmudgeon award” I can assure you that this is not the case as we all felt the same way after we’d played…..

Components: Cards are glossy, feeling slightly thinner than standard playing cards. Amount of detail on the cards ranges between small (a title, a picture, two symbols to show if it’s a planet or a development and a frame) to far too much with some cards having that and up to two text boxes which cover bonus scoring during the game and at game end. Where a card is a bonus card it generally obvious what it means but on occasion the symbols require you to consult the rules or the supplied player sheets. Even then there can be some confusion over what they actually mean.

Rules: Layout is very good, with each phase of the game covered by the same numbered section in the glossy booklet. The content is awful. No other word for it. The number of times the same rule was examined by the three players who came to a variety of conclusions about it was far too many.

Gameplay: The variable phase mechanic is interesting. Each player has a deck which contains the same cards. At the start of each turn each person chooses a card to show the phase which will take place. These are revealed simultaneously and if no-one has chosen a phase then this does not take place. Players who have played a phase card get a bonus when it takes place.

The overall aim of the game is to gain victory points by settling planets and playing development cards. Each card which can be played has a cost associated with it which is paid for by discarding cards so hand management is important. In addition to this certain planets are military and can only be conquered by having a military value greater than or equal to the planet you want to play in your play area (or tableau as it is called in the rules).

Opinion: Certainly not my kind of game. There’s no interaction and the criticism leveled at “Lost Cities” (it’s just multi-player solitaire) applies to this game but much more so.

At game end the scores were very close (33, 34, 39) so we decided that we’d actually played it correctly but everyone felt that it wasn’t a game we’d play again.
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Thomas Taylor
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You're not alone, compadre. I agree.

Though from personal experience *ahem* expect some heat from the disgruntled cube worshippers.

Cue the furious, cheeto-fingered, indignant spittle spraying responses in 3....2....1....
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I agree as well. Booooooooooooooooooooo-ring! Certainly looks nice though.

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Court
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Out of curiosity, which rule did you end up reviewing more than once? Was it a rule of play or was it one of the card features you were looking up?

Our group found the rules to be easily digestible and didn't feel a need to consult the rule book beyond the starting set-up portion. However, checking the different card symbols/powers was another matter.

 
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Nick Bos
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Well, I'm going to be an arse and say, try it 2 more times and see what you think then.

Maybe you will like it maybe not. But I grew to like it after the 2nd game. I didn't think the first one was very exciting.

But to each their own of course.

Cheers!
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John Paul Sodusta
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Faerun wrote:
Well, I'm going to be an arse and say, try it 2 more times and see what you think then.

Maybe you will like it maybe not. But I grew to like it after the 2nd game. I didn't think the first one was very exciting.

But to each their own of course.

Cheers!


My friends were ambivalent towards this game after a few plays. Now we have played it 6 times together, and they confessed that they have grown to like it. Certainly, if you own the game or your friends do, it would be wise to try it again before putting it in the trade/sell pile. If there was no capital spent, then it is easy to write off games. For example, A Game of Thrones falls in the genre I don't look for and once I gave it a shot I completely wrote it off, since I don't own the copy.
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Tom Grant
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Race for the Galaxy doesn't make sense the first couple of plays. For example, here are the questions I had when I first played the game:

1) Why on earth (or Old Earth, or New Sparta) would anyone choose the Exploration +5 card? After a couple of plays, it'll become obvious: certain roads to victory are easier if you get the right card instead of more cards.

2) Why build the cost 6 developments, when there are other settlements and worlds that give more points right away? Because these developments are that road to victory.

3) Why bother producing, when you can settle or develop, gaining VPs right away? Because the economy of the game, cards, pays off in the long run when buying developments or worlds. It's not obvious up front how much, however.

Maybe the designer should consider dropping in more strategy hints or examples of play in future editions. (Flash-based tutorial on line?)
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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scopa wrote:
There's no interaction and the criticism leveled at Lost Cities (it's just multi-player solitaire ...)


...and that's where you lost me.

Tell me, is Gin Rummy multi-player solitaire?
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Wade Broadhead
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A review after two games of RFTG is like a review after .26 of any other game. It's so fast and so variable. Five games is really needed to get a true feel. I suppose if it only took two games to turn you off it's valid, Still stuff like this should go with session reports or general comments.
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Tim Harrison
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denverarch wrote:
A review after two games of RFTG is like a review after .26 of any other game. It's so fast and so variable. Five games is really needed to get a true feel. I suppose if it only took two games to turn you off it's valid, Still stuff like this should go with session reports or general comments.


Agreed.
 
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Chad Ellis
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It actually took me more than five games to "get" RftG.

My first two plays had the designer at the table and used both expansions (although apparently the published expansions will include more than what we played with). I thought it was a really neat concept with some elegant design concepts but that essentially it was just an interesting game of multi-player solitaire.

I played three more games after it was published when a friend brought it over for a gaming session. I still felt about the same, but was impressed by how many people said I would come around so I bought my own copy and taught it to my co-workers.

It's moved up steadily in my esteem. While there is no direct interaction I would say it is about as far from multiplayer solitaire as a game can get. The winner in our games is almost always someone who managed to take advantage of what the other players were doing -- not just guessing phase choices but creating no-win situations where the other players couldn't follow their own plan without giving too much to the eventual winner.
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A. B. West
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
denverarch wrote:
A review after two games of RFTG is like a review after .26 of any other game. It's so fast and so variable. Five games is really needed to get a true feel. I suppose if it only took two games to turn you off it's valid, Still stuff like this should go with session reports or general comments.


Agreed.


Disagree. As long as a review clear, concise and forms an opinion, let folks tell it like they see it.
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Matthew M
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In this thread: people who think a race is multiplayer solitaire.

-MMM
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Stephen Sanders
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Sorry Matthew, your statement seems like an incomplete thought. Can you come again?

Edit: Sometimes I'm a little dense. I read again. Are you saying "[Found] in this thread: people who think that a race game is multiplayer solitare."
 
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Ernesto Cabrera
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I love the game, trust me... but:

Kingdaddy wrote:
certain roads to victory are easier if you get the right card instead of more cards.


This is the only part that starts to become a nuisance.

In MTG (the game that I think of everytime I play San Juan/RftG) you need to work in response of your opponent while working with the cards you have. Most of the times you end up with a scenario that you don't didn't even concieved while testing your deck, but you know that you have 4 copies of that card you need...

In RftG you don't... You share a deck that doesn't have a proper balance for the right amount of players (whatever the number is), so you end up trying to maximize your moves, not knowing what to expect and trying to get as much cards (because you only get cards by producing them or wanting one of your few actions) as you can to get that grail card... even when you know its almost impossible to get...

So, RftG becomes a game where you need to work with the scarce resources you have, always depending on either pure skills or pure luck, no point in between...

That's why I like the game, because I see it as an opportunity to test my gaming skills, but a lot of people will see the game as a heartless optimization game... if there's anything wrong with that, I don't see it, but I see why a lot of people don't like this game...
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Bonaparte
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My biggest complaint about the responders on this site is that they place their values on other people. Certainly a person can write a review after one or two plays. People write book reviews after one reading, even though some books get better after many readings. Same with movies. I hated Monty Python and the Holy Grail the first time I saw it. After 20 times, I loved it; (With my kids watching it now I am starting to see why I hated it again)
A review after one play gives the reader insight into what they or their game group MAY experience in one play. We don't have to agree. We don't even have to read it. But any review has value based on its setting. A one play review cannot comment on some things but it can be helpful. Let people write their stuff. Read it or don't, but let them right.
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Chris Rudram
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denverarch wrote:
A review after two games of RFTG is like a review after .26 of any other game. It's so fast and so variable. Five games is really needed to get a true feel. I suppose if it only took two games to turn you off it's valid, Still stuff like this should go with session reports or general comments.


Yeah, but it doesn't say that on the box... 'play this game 3 times before you decide if you like it!'.

Games have to live and die on the first couple of plays (hell, I have games I like I've only played a couple of times). If you don't -get- it after two plays, there's a pile of others to try. it's hardly the fault of the player.

I've found that some people get the process and symbols instantly. Others struggle with it. It depends really how your mind works and how you learn.
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Michael D. Kelley
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Very well said, Dave.
Many of my gaming friends are game-collecting addicts, and they only play most of their games once or twice. If a game like RFTG palls on certain groups in the first few playings, that is something valid and important for people to read in a review.

That being said, I loved RFTG from the first playing, and the friends that I have introduced it to have had the same reaction. I have played it with the girlfriend 2 or 3 times in one evening, several evenings in a row. It was a complete hit from the first play, although this may have been helped by the fact that I am a teacher by trade, and I explain the heck out of my games with visual examples and such .

So, to all my lovely compadres here at BGG, I would say criticize the reviewer's right to review less, and instead take the time to cordially assert your own opinion. If a new player perusing the reviews reads Keith's comments above, it is a useful and valid opinion to have. But I'll be damned if i don't chime in to remind Mr. New Gamer that Keith's opinion and experience has not in any way matched my own.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for the thoughts Keith!
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denverarch wrote:
A review after two games of RFTG is like a review after .26 of any other game. It's so fast and so variable. Five games is really needed to get a true feel. I suppose if it only took two games to turn you off it's valid, Still stuff like this should go with session reports or general comments.


Five games? I find it hard to believe it takes everyone five games to get a 'true feel' on the play of a game. Some games may take longer or shorter to grasp the mechanism of play or strategies but if you are quick to pick up on those, some may get the 'true feel' after 2 or 3 plays. In any case, if I don't enjoy a game after one play, I will play it once or twice more. If I still don't enjoy it, that is the 'true feel' for me.

As far as posting a review rather than a session report or general comment, it is the review by the OP. Their opinion of the game and why. Reading all types of reviews will give users a better idea on games that may interest them and is a benefit to BGG.

Tygo has once again hit it on the head (and I hope he brought his junk stapler)!!

Quote:
You're not alone, compadre. I agree.

Though from personal experience *ahem* expect some heat from the disgruntled cube worshippers living at home with mother.

Cue the furious, cheeto-fingered, indignant spittle spraying responses in 3....2....1....


It never fails for the fans of this game, AKA the RFTG Rescue Crew to jump on these posts and tell the OP that they are wrong, their opinion is incorrect and they had no business posting a review.

It's always the same, the OP is wrong and now the reasons will be categorically listed. Why can a person just not enjoy the game? If after a couple plays it doesn't seem great why play again?

With so many great game choices available there is nothing wrong with moving on to something that is more enjoyable.

But hey, if the RFTG Rescue crew says so, we should play this game till we enjoy it. If we never enjoy it, I am sure they will find fault with our reasons even then.

Generally it is the same few, are you guys on the RFTG payroll?

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Alan
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@Tygo: I didn't realize the stapler made it in as a microbadge. Excellent!

(@On Topic: I'm in the pro-RftG camp. Yay Race! Anyone for a game?)
 
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sdiberar wrote:
scopa wrote:
There's no interaction and the criticism leveled at Lost Cities (it's just multi-player solitaire ...)


...and that's where you lost me.

Tell me, is Gin Rummy multi-player solitaire?


Yeah, same here. I can *kind of* see the multiple-player solitaire arguments for RftG (though I don't really agree with them), but Lost Cities is an incredibly interactive game where almost every decision you make directly impacts your opponent.

[/sidetrack]
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RftG is a pretty quick game by many games standards, which imo tends to mean you need to play it quite a few times before getting to grips with it.

I know in longer games that take 2-3 hours, I pick it up somewhere in the middle and by the end I have some idea of what to do and wish I knew this at the start so I didnt make so many mistakes. With RtfG multiple games really are required to reach that stage.

I don't like to push people to play games they dont like but RftG is one of those games where I feel that I must simply because of how much better it becomes once you are familiar with the cards and strategies.

I understand that some people might not like it, thats true of all games, but the cards are very good quality and the rule book is one of the better rule books I have read with the summary cards being ALL I use to teach the game now (rulebook is just way too MUCH detail than is really needed, but then thats a rule book for you)


 
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Matt Tonks
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stormseeker75 wrote:
I agree as well. Booooooooooooooooooooo-ring! Certainly looks nice though.



Couldn't have put it any better than I would have done... it looks great, but I hated the game. San Juan & Citadels are far superior to this superficial solitaire thing-gummy.

Sorry, but RftG is so not good, IMHO.

Matt...
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quentin1 wrote:

Tygo has once again hit it on the head (and I hope he brought his junk stapler)!!

The Most Awesomest Dude Ever wrote:
Cue the furious, cheeto-fingered, indignant spittle spraying responses in 3....2....1....




Not only did I bring it, its a microbadge!
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scopa wrote:
I have now played two games of “Race for the Galaxy” and thought I’d give a short review.

I'll chime in (politely) and agree with the 'too few plays' crowd. This is a subtle game.

Quote:
At game end the scores were very close (33, 34, 39) so we decided that we’d actually played it correctly but everyone felt that it wasn’t a game we’d play again.

But, of course, this gets in the way and there's not much to be done about it. If it didn't hit you right, it didn't hit you right. There's no reason to replay a game you didn't enjoy. I probably wouldn't. That's like thinking you have to finish a 1,000 page novel even though the first 200 pages sucked, just because others rave about it. If it doesn't grab you, screw it--life's too short to read bad books. Or play bad games.

Quote:
Certainly not my kind of game. There’s no interaction and the criticism leveled at “Lost Cities” (it’s just multi-player solitaire) applies to this game but much more so.

I dunno--Lost Cities is pretty exciting, if you ask me.



 
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