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Subject: RFTG Player Interaction (designer's perspective) rss

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Tom Lehmann
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I've been quite happy with the reception that Race for the Galaxy has received, both generally and here on BGG.

The one real surprise has been the various comments about there being "no player interaction". I think there's lots of player interaction in Race.

Sure, this interaction is very indirect in nature, just as it is in many Euros. I fully understand that fans of direct interaction may not like Race for this reason and I have no quarrel with that. Every gamer is entitled to his or her own preferences.

If claims that there is "no player interaction in Race" are just shorthand for "the player interaction in Race is not to my taste", then that's fine. But, there seems to be some players who really do think that there's no player interaction at all; that Race could be played in separate rooms (presumably with snooty waiters carrying card draws and discards between them ;-), and that doing this wouldn't change game play at all. I think that's a bunch of hooey.

I believe the amount of player interaction in Race is about the same as in Puerto Rico, although often different in nature.

For example, in PR two players can often call Craftsman and Captain and then arrange goods on ships to force a third player to ship coffee, thus preventing that player from selling coffee into the Trading house for big bucks.

In Race, suppose a player has a full hand of 10 cards and an Alien good (which sells for big bucks) in tableau. The other two players have 7-9 cards. The player with the Alien good will often choose Consume:Trade, reasoning that no matter which of Develop or Settle is called, he (or she) will spend a bunch of cards to place a valuable card in tableau, and then refill up to 10 cards in hand (from the Alien Trade) to do it again next round, when the other players will be short on cards. What do the other players both do in response? They both call Explore, gaining cards and laughing while the Alien good player gets a card from their Explore, another five cards from the Trade (more with Trade powers), and then has to pitch this number of cards due to the hand limit of 10 cards.

Sure, the Alien good player got something out of it (card selection, just as the coffee player got a VP for shipping in PR), but losing six cards (and a good) is huge, especially since costs in Race range from 1-6 cards, not 1-10. This is like losing 10 doubloons in PR.

Sure, the Alien good player can defend against this, by calling Develop or Settle instead of Trade, but this means giving up the card advantage in the next round that the Trade was designed to obtain.

Does this situation happen often? It does in groups I play in; it's one of the basic catch-up tactics against a player who zooms out to an early card advantage: force that player to do the dirty work.

Does this tactic require knowing the entire card set and carefully studying all the powers on the table? Nope; just observing that one player has a mitt full of cards and a valuable good to trade, when the others don't. (If anything, the PR example may be harder to see since the goods may have to be shipped in just the right order to obtain the desired result.)

Despite no ships and barrels, there are tactics in Race analogous to other PR tactics as well, due to Race's limits on goods (one per producing world) and forced good consumption (if one has relevant unused consumption powers).

So, why can some players spot this interaction in PR but miss it in Race? My theory is that Race is a card game that plays more like a board game in some ways. This leads some players to initially ignore its card-game aspects, such as hand limits (PR has no "doubloon limit").

What are some other card-game based interactions in Race?

Like some card games, such as 6 Nimmt! (aka Slide 5 or Category 5, etc.), in Race actions are chosen simultaneously, which allow for "gambling" moves, based on what you expect other players to do. The most obvious one is to call Trade when you have a windfall world in hand but no good on the table (hoping that someone will call Settle for you). This can be either a big catch-up move or a total fizzle, depending on whether your prediction is accurate or not. A safer, more finesse-like variation is to call Trade when you have a good that sells for just a couple of cards (so you're guaranteed something), but also have a world in hand whose windfall good will sell for a lot more (possibly allowing your cheap good to be consumed for a VP), if someone Settles.

Lots of these gambling/finesse plays exist. For example, a player may call Develop, intending to place a development that will generate cards on Produce if one is called (in a situation where this seems likely), but with a fall-back plan of placing a different development which, say, grants a discount on future developments, if no Produce occurs. Identifying finesse plays and situations where they may apply requires paying attention to what other players are doing and are likely to call.

In many card games (such as Rummy), players interact through discards. In 3 and 4 player Race games, the draw pile gets pretty small and is typically reshuffled several times during the late game, when what your opponents are looking for is often pretty clear, based on what's already on the table. Selectively managing one's discards, when possible, to not help your opponents is a minor but useful tactic in Race.

Another form of player interaction in card games are "card pressuring tactics" where one takes advantage of opponents who are low on cards in hand to gain an advantage (for example, opening a new cabin in Ark or placing a new outlaw in Wyatt Earp). This does have an analogy in PR, where a player will often pick Builder, when the opponents don't have many doubloons, in order to gain a tempo. However, in Race this can be done to a much greater extent, since there are effectively two build actions: Develop and Settle. When the game leader is low on cards, savvy players will often try to ensure that both of these get called, so that players who are behind can catch up.

Race, like PR (and unlike San Juan), has multiple ways a game can end. The existence of both Develop and Settle, plus the Consume 2xVPs action and far fewer VP chips than in PR, means that Race players *collectively* have much greater control over both game speed and which way the game will end. Sussing this out, by paying attention to your opponents, and adapting your play is quite important.

For example, in a three player game, a player who goes into Produce/Consumex2 mode (to gain lots of VPs) won't have enough time before the game ends on tableau size, if both opponents are calling Develop and Settle every round (and are able to take advantage of each other's calls). Conversely, a player who is trying to put down valuable developments and worlds won't have enough time to do so before the VP supply runs out, if both opponents have swung into Produce/Consume2x mode. Simply ignoring your opponents is a good way to lose in Race, especially against skilled opponents (as in most games).

So far, I've discussed tactics that mostly rely on noticing how many cards players have in hand, whether they have goods or not, and what your opponents are generally doing, as opposed to which specific powers your opponents have in play (although paying attention to them is often a good clue, combined with the other game factors, as to what your opponents are likely to call).

There are also player interactions involving the powers in play, what some players call "leeching" or "blunting" tactics, and which sometimes lead to (sub)games of chicken among the players.

Race uses PR's basic role mechanism, where all players get an action, but the calling player gets an advantage. For example, the calling player on Explore can draw 3 cards and keep 2 of them, while the other players draw 2 cards and keep only 1 of them. Powers can modify this. If I have a power like explore: draw+1, then I get to draw 3 and keep 1 card when another player calls Explore, effectively "leeching" a bit of an advantage (greater card selection in this case) off their action (or gaining an extra advantage when I call Explore).

A small amount of leeching is annoying but usually doesn't create issues. However, what if my power was explore:keep+1? Now, suddenly, the other players may not be willing to call Explore any more, since I'm now getting two cards to their two cards. My "leech" is too strong; it's "blunted" their willingness to call that action. This may be my intent; I may already have the cards I need for the end game in hand and I would just as soon see no further exploration. However, if my intent was to gain extra cards off of future Explore actions, my plan may have just backfired... Race, unlike PR, has no "automatic doubloons" entering the game to force players to (eventually) choose undesired actions.

This difference can really affect whether players call Produce (which causes all production worlds without goods to produce a good, with the calling player getting to produce on a windfall world as the bonus).

I've been in lots of games where I thought I was not going to have time to get all my high-scoring developments down, due to the other players swinging into produce/consumex2 mode, only to have one player play too strong a leech (a card that gave them lots of cards on Produce) on the player who had been calling Produce up to this point. Suddenly that player quit calling Produce, the other player didn't take up the slack, the game didn't end on VPs, and I was able to get my developments down and win. (Listening to the somewhat heated postmortem after one such game was fun as well, as the leeching player began by accusing the former Produce player of throwing the game to me by not continuing to call Produce... ;-)

The tension between leeching powers, blunting tactics, and the resulting games of "chicken" that can occur, dramatically influence player action choices in Race. Yes, most of the interactions in Race (except for discard management) funnel through the simultaneous action choice mechanism. However, this turns out to be a surprisingly rich form of player interaction, in mine and many other players' experience.

For the final card game quality that Race has is that, like Poker, you ultimately just don't know what is in your opponents' hands. This can mess up all your calculations and tactics at times, although, on average, the player who does pay attention to what is going on does tend to win more often. This gives Race a very different flavor from PR, where almost everything is known and lots of very detailed calculations can be made.

I enjoy both (and San Juan). The player interactions I've described -- manipulating the goods and hand limits, gambling and finesse plays, discard management, card pressuring tactics, tempo control, collectively deciding how the game ends, leeching and blunting tactics, and playing chicken -- may or may not be to your personal taste (just as Race's empire building SF theme, building card and VP engines, large card set, use of icons, artwork, etc. may or may not match your tastes).

However, I do hope this helps players who claim Race has no player interaction to see that, in fact, Race shares many forms of player interaction present in other card games. Thanks.
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James Ludlow
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Unfortunately, it will take the person who is ranting about multiplayer solitaire longer to read that essay than it took to play the two games which were used to form his opinion in the first place.


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Andrei Filip
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I think the question is not if there is or no interaction between the players, but rather the amount of it and if it can make the difference between loosing and winning. The interaction in RftG is present only if the player whishes it to be. It is possible to play completely disregarding the other players and win. I haven't made a statistic but I would say it can happen often.

That being said I believe it is important to pay attention to what everybody does or can do or is likely to do but after many games of RftG I still think it does not necessarily give you victory.

The comparison to Puerto Rico as player's interaction goes is obvious but it has a minor flaw: in PR you can SEE all your opponent assets, therefore you can predict the likeness of certain actions. In RftG you do not, so you're guessing, you're not predicting.

Again, I do not criticize the existance of interaction but the ammount. In this respect, yes, it is not to my taste. The game is good, I like it a lot and I play it a lot. But I am on the camp that whishes the game would have a sixth phase: Conquer.
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Robert Rossney
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I don't understand what the heck a player with 10 cards in his hand and an Alien good on his planet is doing picking Consume/Trade. If his other two opponents would be happy picking Explore, he should pick Explore + 5. If his opponents do what's expected, he'll draw 7 cards and maybe pick up one useful one, which he'll keep so that he can discard the Destroyed World. If one of his opponents picks Develop or Settle, well, that makes it safe to pick Consume/Trade on the next turn, doesn't it?

I mean, the point remains that what the other players are doing matters a great deal. The much more common roll-of-the-dice move is to pick Consume/Trade because you think someone else will choose Settle this turn, which will allow you to plop down your windfall world and sell its good tout de suite. Unless nobody chooses Settle, in which case everyone laughs at you.
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Warren Forrest
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I think you may have overlooked the root cause of why people make the "it's multi-player solitaire" accusation (rather than "the subtle interaction just isn't to my taste" opinion) against RftG.

While it's true that there are many opportunities for player interaction, they are all, virtually without exception, completely optional. Thus, when first learning the game, it's completely understandable for new players to have tunnel-vision and only look at their own cards.

The "problem", then, is really whether or not players within a certain gaming group will ever maintain interest in getting better at the game long enough to pass beyond a novice approach towards the game or not. If not, then "it's multi-player solitaire" is actually a true statement within their gaming group.

To me, then, "multi-player solitaire" is to RftG what "the Guild Hall is too powerful" is to San Juan, "Corn always wins" is to Puerto Rico, "Pawns aren't very powerful" is to Chess, or "You got lucky" is to Poker. ie. they are evaluations that actually are true for novice players against their novice friends.
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Tom Lehmann
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Picking Trade with an Alien good and 10 cards in hand is intended to maintain card advantage while putting down real good cards. I've done it and won (as a result of doing it). I've also done it and been embarrassed when everyone did Explore.

In the case where I won, someone had Gal. Fed down along with a bunch of other development discounts and was putting a 6-cost development down every turn. I had two 6-cost developments (without any discounts) in my hand as well and was worried that the game might end in two turns (as it did, because a Settle was also called on the second turn). I placed the first 6-cost development (going down to 3 cards), then sold my Alien good for five cards (back to 8), so I could put down my other 6-cost development on the next (game ending) turn. Had everyone stalled with Explore on the first turn, forcing me to discard 6 cards, I would have lost. Had I tried what you suggest, I would have also lost. As it was, I just beat out the player with all the 6s. Sometimes, you have to gamble... and, had that player realized this, he could have probably won since his Develop was, in fact, the only tableau-building action on the first of these two rounds (but, in fairness to him, I think he was worried about two Settles and only one Develop happening if he didn't call Develop).

Does this make more sense?
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Tom Lehmann
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Hmm... well, I sort of see your argument, Warren, but I don't think I agree with it.

Good play is always optional in any game. And, certainly, when one is just getting started in a game and flailing about, one is often mostly paying attention to basic mechanics, one's own position, etc. But, there usually comes a point -- it certainly does for me -- about midway through a game where one looks up and goes, huh, that player is doing better than me, how can I catch up?

For example, in Yspahan, I might have been concentrating on just getting some camels and money and maybe filling a souk in the first week. After scoring that first week, I notice that someone who is leading got double points for having a good on a second row caravan space. Hey, that thing is filling up and will be worth more, maybe I should go get some goods there? Hmm, what about this building that gives me a card whenever I put a good on the caravan...

Similarly, in Race I might have been busily building up my Military so I can eventually conquer the Rebel 6 in my hand (I'm up to 4 now). But, at some point, I look at the player who is developing like a maniac and already has a 6 development out (how did she afford that!?!). Huh, she has a bunch of development discounts. Maybe, I'll let her call Develop instead of calling it myself to get these Space Marines down. I'll just call Settle and, if she doesn't call Develop for me, I'll just put down this cheap Uplift world instead of this Rebel 6...

Look, I've discovered a finesse play! Player interaction! Woot!

Sure, looking at what other players are doing in Race is optional, so you can ignore them. But, that's true of almost any game. Ignoring where your opponent moves troops is generally a bad idea in wargames. At some point, your opponent takes the flag, exits the board, etc. At some point in Race, you start to notice that your opponent is taking advantage of your actions a lot more than you are taking advantage of their actions... I mean, there it is, going on right in front of you. You call Develop, they also put down a development. You call Produce, they not only get some goods, they also draw a bunch of cards. How is this happening?
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Timo
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I have to agree to Tom here.

I, myself, like this kind of interaction more than the "direct interaction" like: "get 2 cubes from one of the other players".
What I dislike about this "direct interaction" is, that the game is mostly won by the one the other players didn't seem to choose as a victim of their actions.
(This does not apply to 2-player games, of course)
I prefer games, where the one with the most "skill" in the game is more likely to win.

"Leeching" some good moves out of the opponents tactic seems to me more like the "aikido" way of boardgaming
(using the enemys force to beat him up instead) and is a mechanism I really like about RftG, Puerto Rico and so on...
You can blame aikido for not hitting the enemy straight into the face but you shouldn't think of aikido as "no way to strike back" or you will be proven wrong and have time to think about the mistake while lying on the floor watching the ceiling (that is, if you are not seeing stars flying around ).

I can understand that one likes other mechanism better though.
But it hit my "gaming taste" quite well...
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Harald Korneliussen
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
The player interactions I've described -- manipulating the goods and hand limits, gambling and finesse plays, discard management, card pressuring tactics, tempo control, collectively deciding how the game ends, leeching and blunting tactics, and playing chicken -- may or may not be to your personal taste (just as Race's empire building SF theme, building card and VP engines, large card set, use of icons, artwork, etc. may or may not match your tastes).


When I first saw Race for the Galaxy, I though "A less dieted version of Puerto Rico/San Juan, with more card complexity and a SF theme" - both bad things to me, in the outset. But when I played it a couple of times, I really started to like it. The subtle interaction that you describe is what makes the game rock, and for me, it makes the relative complexity of the card rules worth it. I hope you never add an "attack" phase or other in-your-face interaction in any of the extensions.
 
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Allan Clements
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I like the interaction in RftG, I much prefer it to many games in which "direct interaction" means "hurt other players". I have some friends that like it and some that don't. Most of the friends that don't like it have only played it a couple of times which is a shame as it is the best game I have played in a long time.

I can see why some people don't like it, but I think it is unfair for the game to be labelled by many as multi-player solitaire (I think thats just the "buzz" word going around so everyone seems to join in )

I myself have not tried out some of the techniques you mentioned, but I find that if at least one player in the game is "new" it is hard to pull off the more advanced strategies as they tend to pick "selfish" roles which help the winner, win even more. (e.g. a military player is winning, and the "new" player who is behind just keeps on picking settle/explore)

I am really looking forward to what the expansion brings!
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Chad Ellis
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Hmm... well, I sort of see your argument, Warren, but I don't think I agree with it.

Good play is always optional in any game.


I think Tom is right about "what is objectively correct" but Warren, if I read his post correctly, is making the point that a new player of Race is much less likely to see the interaction than in most other games.

If I build a road in Settlers and then someone else blocks me from building a town, I can't really miss that.
If I threaten my opponent's queen and he checkmates me, I can't really miss that.
If I have control of a region in El Grande and an opponent adds more dudes and then moves the King into that region, I can't really miss that.

Many people, however, will play Race once, twice, maybe even several times before the interactions become really apparent. This is partly due to the complexity of the game, partly due to almost all the interaction being indirect, partly due to the fact that it's reasonably fun and engaging even when played as solitaire and partly due to the fact that until you've played a few times it can be extremely difficult to have any clue what other players are likely to choose.

Is player interaction there? Absolutely. It is, however, a problem (if only a marketing problem) that a large number of people who play Race will experience it as multi-player solitaire for their first play(s). Some of them, like me, will play on and come to love the game. Others won't...but those of us that do and love the game shouldn't think that the cause of the other players' perceptions is their own failings rather than the particular nature of the game itself.
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Big Guy
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W4st wrote:
I think you may have overlooked the root cause of why people make the "it's multi-player solitaire" accusation (rather than "the subtle interaction just isn't to my taste" opinion) against RftG.

...

The "problem", then, is really whether or not players within a certain gaming group will ever maintain interest in getting better at the game long enough to pass beyond a novice approach towards the game or not. If not, then "it's multi-player solitaire" is actually a true statement within their gaming group.



I think Warren has a good point here. It just takes some experience with this game to figure out how the interaction works.

This is where the theme and production work to the game's advantage - for me, anyway. The game has enough built-in appeal to keep me interested in playing, and thus learning over time the ways to maximize advantage over other players.
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Chris J Davis
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I was just about to write pretty much exactly what Chad said until he beat me to it.

The only thing I'd like to add is that the slowly emerging subtlety of the player interaction is one of the main things that makes RftG so great. Every game I have played so far I feel that I have learnt slightly more about how the different card plays might affect my opponents' actions. It's one of the things that keeps me hooked and coming back to the game again and again.
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Derek H
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fixpix wrote:
The interaction in RftG is present only if the player whishes it to be. It is possible to play completely disregarding the other players and win.

This is true but subtly misses the point; if all players ignore each other and play their "own" game, then someone must eventually win! What Tom was trying to explain was that taking advantage of any number of different nuances of the game play can help you play better. If other players start doing this too, you can bet there is going to be interaction!
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howl hollow howl
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I'm generally not a fan of do-a-bunch-of-things-get-a-bunch-of-point games. The two games of the genre that stand out for me are Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence; the former due to the shipping and trading pigeonholes, the latter due to the best work bonus. Both give me a much stronger feel of interaction than anything in SJ/RFTG. What makes the card games work for me are the dynamic choices that have to be made (see alexfrog's recently posted scenarios), the same reason I love all types of card games.

When it comes to interaction, I prefer something more along the lines of the tension of Dungeon Twister, the bluffing of CIA/KGB, and the surprise attacks of 7th Sea. Yet RFTG has joined these others in our 2-player rotation for its own strengths.

To me, arguing the case that RFTG has a lot of player interaction is like selling maroon paint to someone looking for blues.

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Dave wrote:
When it comes to interaction, I prefer something more along the lines of the tension of Dungeon Twister, the bluffing of CIA/KGB, and the surprise attacks of 7th Sea. Yet RFTG has joined these others in our 2-player rotation for its own strengths.

The comparisons you made are quite unfair in my opinion.
I meantioned earlier, that direct interaction has the downside that mostly the one who get's picked up less wins the game.

This doesn't go for 2 player only games, where each point you prevent your game partner to score is a point you score (as the difference shifts one to your advantage).

Those direct interaction moves are no problem at all in 2 player games but are a problem in multiplayer games, where each point you prevent one of your game partner just costs you an action but doesn't help you directly, instead it helps the third player who neither had to effort an action nor got a bad thing happening to him.

In RftG you pick a role and it applies to all players. That's quite a lot interaction!
Maybe not the kind of interaktion you were thinking of, but is it the fault of the paint if you are color-blind and bought the wrong paint?

Its maybe more a problem of:
"What people think/are used to player interaction".

But the roles I choose absolutely affect the other players, so this counts as player interaction for me.
As this is a base mechanism of the game (choosing roles) the game itself is highly interactive to me.
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howl hollow howl
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Tyrfing wrote:
Those direct interaction moves are no problem at all in 2 player games but are a problem in multiplayer games, where each point you prevent one of your game partner just costs you an action but doesn't help you directly, instead it helps the third player who neither had to effort an action nor got a bad thing happening to him.


These types of multi-player games usually require verbal collaboration and collusion to resolve this, and that is one of the things I find most fascinating in gaming. I haven't played multi-player RftG (I have no desire to, being content with it as a 2-player game), but I suspect that in most groups these simultaneous role decision choices are made secretly. Techincally, it's still highly interactive. But I suspect many people (perhaps wrongly) use "interactive" to include verbal communication, and will use "multi-player solitaire" to describe the lack of socializing moreso than the impact of choices.
 
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Ken B.
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Really, my only issue is that it appears that that narrow window of semi-direct interaction that San Juan features was stripped out of Race for the Galaxy. With roles being exclusive to the choosing player, I can Build before you're ready, Prospect for a free card that no one else can have, trade when everyone's empty, etc.

If I understand correctly, I can never deny you an action. And that takes that narrow interaction from San Juan and completely removes it. So on the surface, yeah, it does look like multi-player solitaire because I can't affect the roles available to you. At worst, I could *help* you by choosing a role that gets you what you need, but then again you could just break even when I don't choose something that helps you...and of course, you're free to pick what helps you anyway, so who cares?

I have this game on order and will find out for myself if all of this is true. I like San Juan despite myself, and I like a sci-fi theme, but I'm also a fan of a decent degree of some player interaction. So we'll just have to see.

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Phillip Aquino
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Dave wrote:

To me, arguing the case that RFTG has a lot of player interaction is like selling maroon paint to someone looking for blues.


I don't think Tom is suggesting that RFTG has 'a lot' of player interaction. But it does have some, and that is infinitely more interaction than 'none'.


To me, arguing that RFTG has no interaction is like telling me maroon paint isn't 'really' paint because it's not blue.
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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You know Tom, you don't have to keep defending yourself or your game.

You could explain what is coming out in the 2nd expansion pack for the "limited interaction" mechanic, that would probably stop a lot of people complaining =) (although knowing people, it would probably cause an uproar against some)

I'd really like to see some ability that allows you to shut down specific planets or even make the opponents discard cards in their hand, or something along these lines.

Not sure how balanced it would be in the current set up... do you have all the stuff for the 2nd expansion already completed and just waiting to be released, or are you still working on it?
 
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Marcel van der pol
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Well, no offense to Race for the Galaxy ofcourse, but there are games that can catch both the subtle and the direct interaction IN ONE GAME. That game for me is Twilight Imperium 3d edition. Ofcourse, it does play longer and is more expensive, but has all the potential to play both as subtlely as RftG and as directly as any Axis & Allies/Diplomacy game should players choose to do so.

I played Puerto Rico a couple of times and yes, I can see the interaction there, but ultimately its still a poor game since a lot of times the "winner" is the one sitting next to the weakest player. What "skill" is there in that? In my first game, some more experienced players were actually coaching me on what role to take. "you now have to pick this or that role, as otherwise the player to your left wins since he can otherwise blablabla". And I asked "why didn't you pick it" and he said "by not picking it I'm forcing you to pick it" and I replied "but this action doesn't help me at all. It helps you a lot and the leader only a little. So i'm going to pick the role that happens to help ME instead and screw you for forcing me into that role.". Naturally, he never wanted to play PR with me again.
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Warren Cheung
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Just wanted to say thanks to Tom for providing an illuminating insight (and some strategy tips!). I for one am very happy at the level of player interaction, but then again I've played plenty of tense, "knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth" 2 player games in addition to wild nail-biting multiplayer ones. Looking forward to the expansion! (I wonder if there'll be an update/companion to this article when the new interaction element(s) come in, and the effect of handling more players)
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Harald Korneliussen
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marcelvdpol wrote:
Well, no offense to Race for the Galaxy ofcourse, but there are games that can catch both the subtle and the direct interaction IN ONE GAME. That game for me is Twilight Imperium 3d edition.


I suspect you're the wrong category of gamer for this game, then. For one thing, Race for the Galaxy is extremely short. It's really a "super-euro" in disguise, but the theme misled me too at first.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Hmm... I haven't posted on RFTG's interaction in months (I did note a few aspects in thread replies when the game first came out last fall).

I posted this mainly because I hadn't seen anyone really bring out the card-play aspect of many of Race's player interactions in reviews, either pro or con.

I believe a player's liking for various card-play interactions is a fairly good marker for whether they will like the types of interactions present in Race. If pulling off a finesse in a trick-taking game does nothing for you, then Race's player interaction may not work for you. If you do enjoy such things, then you might a second look at Race if the "no player interaction" comments have put you off.

I don't believe discussing product details much in advance of their anticipated release is useful.

The second expansion has been stable for about a year and a half now. We will probably tweak a card or two in it before its release (particularly after seeing the contest entries). We did swap one new card for one of the cards in the first expansion fairly late in its development.
 
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Chris J Davis
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franklincobb wrote:
Really, my only issue is that it appears that that narrow window of semi-direct interaction that San Juan features was stripped out of Race for the Galaxy. With roles being exclusive to the choosing player, I can Build before you're ready, Prospect for a free card that no one else can have, trade when everyone's empty, etc.

If I understand correctly, I can never deny you an action. And that takes that narrow interaction from San Juan and completely removes it. So on the surface, yeah, it does look like multi-player solitaire because I can't affect the roles available to you. At worst, I could *help* you by choosing a role that gets you what you need, but then again you could just break even when I don't choose something that helps you...and of course, you're free to pick what helps you anyway, so who cares?

I have this game on order and will find out for myself if all of this is true. I like San Juan despite myself, and I like a sci-fi theme, but I'm also a fan of a decent degree of some player interaction. So we'll just have to see.



Rest assured, it certainly will *seem* like how you describe for the first six games or so. I thought exactly the same when I first bought it - that making all roles available to all players at all times would decrease player interaction in comparison to San Juan. But after playing it about 8-10 times I started seeing that it actually increases it. Give it a few plays (not just one) and hopefully you will see it.
 
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