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Subject: Jambo or RFTG expansions rss

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jonathan schleyer
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I love Race for the Galaxy as it is and have never played any of the expansions. They do sound kind of fun though.

Meanwhile, I've been reading some good things about Jambo.

So what are your thoughts?

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sean johnson
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It really depends who you play with and what their play styles are. If you tend to play with a group, then the RFTG expansion is the way to go as it increases the number of players to five and adds more options. Whereas, Jambo is two players only.

If you mainly play with just two, then you need to consider the types of games your partner likes. Jambo is not the multiplayer solitaire that Race for the Galaxy can be. Jambo is much directly adversarial. It is very possible in Jambo to arrange a nice combo, and then have your opponent mess it up by canceling a card, stealing a resource, or stealing a card.

My wife loves Race for the Galaxy and I thought she would really like Jambo but she tends to get frustrated when playing it, because she doesn't like seeing her plans ruined.
 
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You can choose to play Jambo non-confrontationally. LD and I play, and ignore the "mean" cards. You could take them out if you want. Since you only get a certain number of actions per turn, you may not play a card at all, and if you do, it may well be another one from your hand. Not playing the brutal ones doesn't hurt the game for us at all.
 
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Felix Rodriguez
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Alternatively if you buy the Jambo expansion, you can switch out the mean cards for non mean ones and keep the balance.
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Darren M
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Both Jambo and RftG are great games with or without their respective expansions. Definitely different types of games though and I don't see how owning one would preclude owning the other.

Jambo is a "simpler" game and is easier to learn and teach but has less flexibility as it only plays with 2 even with the expansion... RftG obviously can be played with 1-6 players with the additional expansions, so for multi-player situations (and solitaire) it's obviously the winner.

Like so many recommendations... both are worth owning and you'll likely have a preference but I'd buy both just to have the additional variety.
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Samo Oleami
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Well my decision was to buy Jambo and RftG and I'm happy with both. I haven't decided on RftG expansion though very simply because - too expensive for what you get. For 10-15$ ok, but this is crazy. Jambo cost less (I bought it after RftG).

My thought: after MtG background, RftG was the first game that clicked for me. I love multiple card combination, various strategies you can employ and furthermore the game is balanced! (WotC eat you heart out). But RftG clearly diverges from MtG style, whereas Jambo feels much more like MtG lite. You have permanents, instants, interrupts, but instead of battling opponent you buy and sell wares and race for the profit.

Jambo:
About aggressiveness. It's not a problem. I realized that me and my girlfriend have both tough time playing games with direct aggression with each other. With friends or 4 people it's easier. However although Jambo has cards to hurt the opponent, you needn't play them, and furthermore they can be blocked. Usually we go for each of us trying to amass a fortune (although I like to mess up things with permanents, while animal cards we mostly ignore). Really it can be as aggressive as you like it to be, it's really up to you.

Jambo is lighter and more straightforward than RftG, but I get the same joy of trying to make something work from the cards you are given. The person who has better combinatorics has more chances of winning. I'm not sure, but my guess is takes half the time of RftG.

RftG
On to RftG. It's a game I would seriously recommend but beware! It takes some time to learn. With Jambo you don't need to know all cards when you play, you just learn as you go. With RftG it's not the case. With me and my girlfriend it took four days before she stopped saying bad words and learned the game. Now its ours favourite. But it is best if one of you (you probably) studies the game and you play first games with pre.set starting hands (as instructed) and open hands. You have to keep in mind that the game really is worthy of dedication to learn it. But if neither of you can muster the mind set required to learn it, it can be a problem (as I've read from other users who just gave up after initial confusion).

As a game it really shines for me as you have middle-depth but vast variety of options. Only a couple of them will be the possible to take in each game, but the next game can be something completely different. So it has huge replayability.

Now RftG can muster 2-4 players, but mostly we play it as a 2 player game, simply because of dedication required to muster it (oh, and we decided against advanced 2 player version, although faster, the "normal" version feels more story-like to us.). Also it is a game, where you don't really have a lot of interaction with people, so it's perfect as a couple's game or for inviting close friend(s). If you want a social evening with friends I would recommend something else entirely. As aggressiveness goes, there is none, this is a race, where everybody builds their own engine, and yes, it is multiplayer solitaire, but for me one of the best, as it really is engaging.

Conclusion:
So both are basically 2 player games. If you have the will to try, do try RftG, but I would recommend both, as they have similar appeal but totally different gameplay. If you search for something more tactical and/or aggressive, neither are good options, and you might want to look up something like Twilight Struggle or 1960: The Making of the President (haven't played but so I've read). Even Lost Cities has more confrontation, but is oh so dry, which neither of these two games are. Both are quite thematic, so it really feels like building your space empire or ware trading in pre-colonial Africa.

EDIT: expanded review to RftG, cleaned up typos
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M.J.E. Hendriks
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My advice: get them both (all).

As for Jambo being too confrontational, well, I personally don't mind confrontation, but my wife hates it, but we play Jambo simply as it's meant to be played, with all the confrontation we need. My wife has absolutely no problem with that and she dishes it out as easily as she takes it (in other games she won't dish out, and gets angry when people attack her - e.g. Carcassonne, TtA)
 
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Dennis Leung
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My girlfriend and I both really like Jambo and Race for the Galaxy, although we just got into Race and haven't tried any of the expansions yet.

Both are somewhat similar in the sense that you're drawing specialized cards from a common deck. However, Race feels more like a race---you build more developments and settle more planets as you set up an economic engine that really feels like it accelerates as the game goes on. Jambo feels a little different in that you don't as much of an accelerating engine feeling. You're constrained to five actions per turn, and many times in the game it feels like you're starting from scratch again, especially if you've just sold all of your wares and have an empty stall. The focus is on finding card combinations to trade specific combinations of wares over and over again. You can build a limited number of Utility cards, permanent buildings that are sort of like Developments, that give you extra powers. And you have special action Animal or People cards that you can play on a one time basis. So there's less a feeling of building up an engine, and more a feeling of working with your hand throughout the game, so the game feels a lot more tactical than Race.

We didn't think that Jambo was too cut throat. Most of the Animal or People cards aren't too vicious---many of them affect both you and your opponent (for example, your opponent has to do one option while you get to do another option). The expansion contains cards that are much more directly aggressive---steal gold or wares with no consequences.
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