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Subject: 4-player Race: my first all-out Military attempt rss

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Chad Ellis
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The Your Move Games crew played a 4-player game of Race today. Darwin, Kaile and I have played a ton lately and really love the game. Robert has only played a handful of times and doesn't really care for it that much. He's still in the solitaire stage, but is a gaming genius so he actually does pretty well regardless.

I had New Sparta, so hoped to have some cheap windfall world I could settle from my opener. I've rarely found it tempting to go for a pure military play, but I've often had great success by using Military as a springboard into an alternative strategy. Settle a green or yellow windfall world, consume trade the good and then (for example) drop Diversified Economy and a cheap Blue or Brown producer.

This time the most interesting cards in my opener were Interstellar Bank and a 2-cost Brown windfall world. I chose Develop, both because I really like to lead with Bank if possible and that way if I got lucky I could Develop and Settle this way. One other player chose Develop as well and as luck would have it two players led with Explore.

A few turns later and it seemed like Robert was once again off to an amazing start despite being relatively inexperienced at the game. He played Contact Specialist, followed by a green windfall world and soon after had two producing worlds (one brown, one blue) and Diversified Economy in play.

My hand, meanwhile, had taken an interesting turn after a windfall consume, with Galactic Imperium and the Rebel Homeworld...with my military currently at 3 and with two Rebel worlds in play. Hrm.

I decided to go for it, since I could play the Imperium and settle another windfall world while keeping the Homeworld in my hand. (Aside from the fact that the Homeworld does nothing other than score points it seems better to keep it in hand so that those silly consumer-producers don't get nervous and refuse ever to choose Develop or Settle. Well, then the consume nets me the six and five-drop rebel worlds!

This brings me to the issue of tableau tempo, as I think folks are calling it. During an early turn of the game I dropped a Genetics Lab with no green windfalls in play or in my hand. I thought there was a good chance that I'd get use out of it, but my main reason was that I knew I was almost certainly going to end up way behind on any consume battles so I had to take chances in order to keep putting cards down.

Later in the game Robert (hurt perhaps by his lack of experience) chose Develop when I would have chosen Consume x2. He knew that either Darwin or Kaile (and probably both, which is what happened) were going to Consume: Trade and he added more VPs by developing than getting 3 goods at double value, but the cost was letting me put two cards down rather than one. That let me end the game a turn before another produce/consume cycle could happen, and I won a narrow victory. It's possible that I would have won anyway, since I only scored 3 points off of the development and it "replaced" the 5-drop rebel world which was worth a net 7 points to me, while he would have gained 8 from another cycle but lost the five he scored from his development. That's a relative gain of one for me, but he would have had an extra Settle so the net gain would probably have been his and I only won by a point or two.

All in all, an interesting game. It showed the importance of cutting the game short when going for an all-out military win as well as the importance of flexibility. Robert commented after the game that he doesn't like the military strategy (not just for himself but as a mechanic) because sometimes you get the perfect draw and can't be stopped while other times you don't and get almost nothing. My view is quite different. I only went the route I did because I drew the appropriate cards off of a trade. It's true that I ended up drawing the 5, 6 and 7 rebel worlds but the 5 got discarded in any case. If I hadn't had the two big cards at the same time (as well as a Military of 3) I would have followed quite a different path and who knows what would have happened.
 
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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I recently played RftG for the first time and went the all-out Military game. I did this because in my initial few hands I drew a couple military cards and the military "large building." Then I combined that with Alien cards and the Alien "large building" trying to combine the two with Alien Military cards. I managed to beat out an experienced player (20 or 30 games?) and another person who played about 4 or 5 games by a large amount.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Every strategy is luck-based. If you draw a set of cards that synergize well, then you really need to consider that option, even if they don't synergize with your home planet.
People always talk about how your starting world plays such a huge role in how you play the rest of your game, but I think it's your starting hand really. If your world synergizes well with your hand, that's great too... but if you've got a great combo in your hand but the wrong world to use for it, go for it anyway!

But what do I know, I've only played like 3 games :-(
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