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In the 10 or so (I know, its not a lot) games of 3p RvI that I've played, it seems to me that whomever who's going a military/pseudo-military strategy of putting down as many cards as fast as possible and gets the +6 most military goal has never not won the game. With the increased amount of military cards, and multiple 6devs that give points to a military tableau (especially Rebels and Imperium cards), it doesn't seem too difficult to get cards of fairly mid range points and a matching 6dev to give it the necessary boost that just makes it way too fast for a Produce Consume cycle to really start going.

The games we've played have always ended from a tableau finish and never from vp consumption. Whoever tries a PC strategy always loses to the one who does a tableau rush strategy (especially with Improved Logistics).

Is it a group-think problem? A player in our group who's fairly new to Race (but a gamer nevertheless), has only ever won using a military strat, and does it everytime since playing RvI, and has won more often than not, whereas I'm trying to convince him that both strats should be equally balanced, but I'm failing:( I'm thinking that I must be doing something wrong.

I've played The Gathering Storm a fair bit (100+ games) and we have seen winning strategies to be fairly evenly balanced between tableau finish strats and produce consume strats. Could it be that I'm just not use to the goals yet (I've been in the camp that thought that goals just make the winner win bigger, but have started using goals since RvI)? Could it be that the produce consume strategy needs to be adapted yet again (I remember reading that the produce consume strat had to be adapted from the base game into the TGS)?

What do other people think? Any advice for someone who's stuck in a rut?
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Philip Thomas
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Firstly, are you always playing with the 6+ Military Goal? You are only meant to play with 2 big goals and 4 small goals, randomly selected for each game. A produce/consume strategy should be better at getting the Blue/Brown Worlds and Producer Worlds goals, when the come up.

On the wider issue I played my first 3 games of RvI today, so I can't really make a judgement on it, especially given that we were only using the new Homeworlds.
 
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Matt Crawford
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As small of a sample as you can get, but in our game yesterday, I crushed everyone with a pure produce-consume strategy.

Earth's Lost Colony and two other blue production worlds, plus a windfall world someh. Consumer Markets and Free Trade Association, and I was consuming a lot while everyone else couldn't end the game fast enough, even with a couple of Improved Logistics.

I won by about 30 points.
 
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There are some new, pretty mean combos like New Galactic Order + Hidden Fortress. However, In the games I have played so far, produce/comsume strategies still played a big role.
 
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Erin Wolthausen
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I think RvI does not eliminate a "pure" Produce/Consume strategy, but makes it a less viable, or at least a much less common path to victory. I recall Tom Lehmann discussing in the Gathering Storm preview the fact that military was downplayed in the base game. New players, he reasoned, would be naturally inclined to pursue a military strategy, because it seems easier: you don't have to pay anything to put the cards down. So the strength of military cards and combos was dampened, while the strength of production and consume cards was emphasized, to organically demonstrate to new players that both strategies could work.

In TGS, and even more so in RvI, military power has been ramped up. Where in the base game, and to only a slightly lesser extent in TGS, you could willfully pursue a P/C strategy, in RvI I think you have to always play your hand, and your hand will much more often scream Military than Economy. Caveat: I'm only five plays deep in RvI. But it seems clear that acquiring VP chips will work better as a supplement to your race for a great 12-card tableau than a standalone strategy in most cases.

Of course, many starting hand and starting world combos will still be conducive to a successful economic strategy. I expect it will just happen less frequently.
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Kester J
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I suspect the goals may be a factor here. Even in just Gathering Storm, they'll tend to reward a builder more than a consumer (by about 6 vs 3), and the new goals from RvsI do so even more (by 4 vs 1). Indeed, about 5% of our games with goals tend to be won by a tableau that would be awful in goal-less RftG, but manages to achieve a lot of goals by building allsorts and earns 15-20 points that way. I'm not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely a different game. (And as someone already mentioned, don't use all the goals at once. It's a mistake that's been made a fair few times.)

The strategy that seems to be most improved in my (brief!) experience is a development-heavy one: this can, but doesn't have to, include military. That said, there are some very good consume powers in RvsI; Galactic Exchange, Galactic Salon, Universal Symbionts and Dying Colony are all excellent cards. Consume isn't weakened so much as made trickier to play well: mindlessly alternating Consume(2x)/Produce does not work nearly as well as it sometimes could in the base game.
 
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Zev Neumark-Gaudet
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Out of the 7 or games of RvsI that I've played so far, I must have won 3 or 4 and one of those was a clear P/C strategy win (2 player advanced rules). I found that the new card Galactic Salon (the one that give a free vp on every consume phase) is if not overpowered, at the least VERY strong (since this vp can be doubled).

I won that game by 15 or so pts, even with my opponent having both "big" goal tiles.

I will be writing a review of the new cards after a few more plays (I want some experience with other than 2 player games), and will elaborate more, but let's just say that so far I think Galactic Salon is my big favorite new card.

I find this a great card because it is great no matter the strategy it is used with. In the games that I won, I had always played this and it brought me at least 5 vp (plus it's 2vp intrinsic value).

Just my 2 cents.
 
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Paul Nowak
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I must most humbly beg your pardon, as I have not yet played any games but am offering an opinion. My RvI just arrived today.

Pure strategies are of themselves weakened by each expansion. My 7 year old son is learning this lesson; he was actually doing quite well against me, my wife, and his 8 year old brother until he played an incredible game with an alien tableu; now he desperately tries to recreate that result despite whatever hand he is dealt.

Our highest scoring game ever so far (including only Gathering Storm) was 96 points by a military/dev tableu without playing improved logistics.

Some military helps produce/consume strategies get cheap worlds. Some consumption helps propel military. RvI all but forces players to choose a side in the conflict as they go about their business.

If you are going to attempt a pure produce/consume, you should not have to play dev/settle as your opponent(s) will be playing that enough. As soon as you have enough consume powers to consume what you produce, play only produce and consume x2. Seize the advantage if a settle or development phase is played and you have something; but to remain competitive you are going to have to crank out lots of VP chips quickly, and your starting hand is going to have to be rather perfect for it.

Now that it seems development strategies have come to fruition, it seems that it dovetails nicely as a strategy for either military or consumption stragegies... and vice versa.
 
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Chris Linneman
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After ~200 plays with the base game, Production/Consumption was so strong that I would always look for 3VP in consume powers and 3 goods as fast as possible, almost no matter what my start world or starting hand. And I won a good chunk of the time doing so.

With the Gathering Storm and Improved Logistics, it became possible to beat this strategy by double-settling and ending the game before my opponent could say "double VPs". But you really needed IL or a lot of good 6-developments to win this way.

With Rebel vs Imperium, about 75% of my wins come from tableau-oriented strategies, either military or development-heavy ones. However, Produce-Consume is still very strong if you set it up fast enough with the right cards. In a recent game I started with Galactic Developers, played Mercenary Fleet on turn one, and got an Uplift windfall along with Empath World, Genetics Lab and Galactic Genome Project soon after. My path was clear once I also picked up Distant World.

My friend who does not win a lot of games just beat both me and my bedraggled nothing tableau as well as a strong military Hidden Fortress tableau by getting 4 production worlds, Galactic Trendsetters and another consume power. He was able to x2 VPs twice before producing.

It is possible, but requires more thought and creativity to beat the tableau players since the games seem even faster now. You need card flow as well as production and consumption powers since the settle and develops of your opponents are much stronger--you can't let them get full benefit from those phases as they can't let you get full benefit from Consume. Much more interesting game in my opinion.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Firstly, are you always playing with the 6+ Military Goal? You are only meant to play with 2 big goals and 4 small goals, randomly selected for each game. A produce/consume strategy should be better at getting the Blue/Brown Worlds and Producer Worlds goals, when the come up.


Kester wrote:
I suspect the goals may be a factor here. Even in just Gathering Storm, they'll tend to reward a builder more than a consumer (by about 6 vs 3), and the new goals from RvsI do so even more (by 4 vs 1).


Yes, I have been playing it the correct way. 2 big ones, 4 small ones. I probably didn't make myself clear, but I was saying that when there was a +6 most military goal available, the person who has been going military and got that goal has never not won the game. Of course, when that doesn't come up and nobody happens to go for a big military, then the military doesn't win.

Indeed, there were a couple of games that I would have won if not for the goals. And its worse when the other player just plays out their hand like they normally would even if the goals weren't there, and still gets about 15 points from goals. I'm still going to stick to the goals for a while, but on certain occasions, I really feel the urge to keep the goals in the box and leave them there forever. On one occasion that I decided to join them in military, and had a nice little tableau consisting of focused Rebel and Imperium cards and both the 6devs resulting in 50+ points, I got beat by a 60+ points tableau with a mix and match of random military cards plus the deadly Hidden Fortress+NGO combo. He also had 15 points in goals to my 3.

QBert80 wrote:
With the Gathering Storm and Improved Logistics, it became possible to beat this strategy by double-settling and ending the game before my opponent could say "double VPs". But you really needed IL or a lot of good 6-developments to win this way.

With Rebel vs Imperium, about 75% of my wins come from tableau-oriented strategies, either military or development-heavy ones.


Setting up a good engine for a produce consume cycle does seem very much harder in RvI. I'm not sure if my friends are relatively new and haven't actually seen the power of produce consume from the base game (and to a lesser extent, TGS) yet or what, but they just call develop and settle often (and also to good effect) that I just cannot get a good card flow to set up an engine. When I finally do (by about my 7th card), an Improved Logistics appears and finishes the game (with high points too), and instead of getting Consumex2 maybe 3 times, I get it only once. Way too slow.

In the end, it seems like I'm just complaining about Improved Logistics (I never had any problems with it in TGS), and the goals (which I never played in TGS).

I hope more people can keep this discussion going though; it certainly helps me improve my game. Thanks to those who have replied so far.
 
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crushedguava wrote:
I'm still going to stick to the goals for a while, but on certain occasions, I really feel the urge to keep the goals in the box and leave them there forever. ;)



Give the goals a chance, they are a *major* aspect of what makes rftg amazing.

Once you get used to always vaguely keeping in mind the goals when making decisions, i think you will find that you'll start to like them, and won't feel it's always your opponents that get them all.
 
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Are you playing without takeovers? Like others I feel that P-C was the dominant strategy in the base game and to a lesser extent in TGS. Military settlement is a least the equivalent of P-C in RvI, but the takeover mechanism is there primarily as a 'deterrent'. Once you start down the military route, you don't want to lose an arms race against another player, I've been sunk that way.
Although I find the takeover mechanism rather clunky, especially when temporary military is involved, it's an essential part of the game, acting as a frightener for those who now feel that military is the only way to go.
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Kester J
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Just as a follow-up to my earlier comment, I played five two-player games last night (without goals). The results (I've noted only the most important cards for each side):

Game 1: Develop (Galactic Developers + Galactic Federation + Pan-Galactic Research) beat fast settle (Prospecting Guild and a lot (eight!) of brown worlds) with a splash of consume

Game 2: Big military (New Galactic Order + Hidden Fortress) beat ghetto consume (Imperium Blaster Gem Consortium + Galactic Salon + Earth's Lost Colony)

Game 3: Blue consume (Free Trade Association + Consumer Markets) beat develop (Galactic Developers + Galactic Bankers)

Game 4: Brown consume (Mining League) with a splash of military (Galactic Imperium + two brown rebel worlds) beat ghetto consume (Old Earth + cheap production worlds)

Game 5: Green(!) consume (Lost Species Ark World + Galactic Genome Project) beat Alien/military hybrid (Alien Tech Institute + Pan-Galactic League + Rebel Homeworld)

A pretty good balance overall. I'm happy that things haven't swung too far toward military - in fact I'd say that consume is actually slightly better than it was in Gathering Storm.
 
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Jimmer Sivertsen
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A couple of answers:

1. If your friend only goes for a military win, that is the only way he's going to get a win (unless he gets an easy+obvious hand). He's going to hit a limit more often than a flexible player - he can only win as military, and sometimes it's not in the cards. If he stays a little looser with how he can win, he won't be a pure military player, but could pick up some of the games that stubborn-natured play won't get. (If you want to help your friend expand their repertoire of play, when they complain about not drawing enough military cards, you can suggest that an alternative strategy might have worked.)

2. I'm currently in the 70's for games of RvI, and part of that is still unlearning habits I had from the first expansion. I still do produce-consume strategies in 2-player, but in larger games it's much harder. Imperium Lords and Uplift Code are pretty painful to P-C strategies, and Imperium Lords became worth a bit more with more Imperium cards as well as stronger Rebel strategies.

Good luck!
 
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Henrik Steensland
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I wish this discussion was more clearly divided in terms of number of players.

4 players:

Our group has played about 20 games of 4-player RvI. Produce/Consume has never been close to winning. Some builder always rushes (often with Improved Logistics). At least one of Develop or Settle occurs each round; often both.

It happens that one player alone tries to produce/consume, but since he can never leech another player's produce, he has to do all the production himself (which often give cards to builders who settle planets with draw on produce-powers).

2 players unadvanced:

I've played a handful of 2-player games RvI unadvanced. In this setup, produce/consume has won a couple of times.
 
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iansc wrote:
Are you playing without takeovers?


I play with takeovers always on, and that has not been an issue with us yet. Either the cards to takeover don't come out, or when it does, no one is vulnerable to takeovers, or even if someone is, there is better cards from the hand to settle.

Jimmer wrote:
1. If your friend only goes for a military win, that is the only way he's going to get a win (unless he gets an easy+obvious hand). He's going to hit a limit more often than a flexible player - he can only win as military, and sometimes it's not in the cards. If he stays a little looser with how he can win, he won't be a pure military player, but could pick up some of the games that stubborn-natured play won't get. (If you want to help your friend expand their repertoire of play, when they complain about not drawing enough military cards, you can suggest that an alternative strategy might have worked.)


The thing is, when he goes for the military win (and this is since RvI came out; he didn't play TGS much, and has never played the base game), he wins more often than not. When he doesn't win, he sees someone else doing military win. Its pretty hard for me to convince him that produce consume is as viable as a military win when it hasn't happened at all in the games he plays. He's also never complained about not drawing enough military cards, since there's plenty of them in RvI. He also seems to have an affinity for Improved Logistics.

dahen wrote:
I wish this discussion was more clearly divided in terms of number of players.

4 players:

Our group has played about 20 games of 4-player RvI. Produce/Consume has never been close to winning. Some builder always rushes (often with Improved Logistics). At least one of Develop or Settle occurs each round; often both.

It happens that one player alone tries to produce/consume, but since he can never leech another player's produce, he has to do all the production himself (which often give cards to builders who settle planets with draw on produce-powers).

2 players unadvanced:

I've played a handful of 2-player games RvI unadvanced. In this setup, produce/consume has won a couple of times.


This is exactly what I'm trying to say in this thread. Thanks for summarizing my feelings exactly.
Except that I have played some 2 player advanced, and produce consume has won that a couple of times.
My issue is based solely on the 3player games that I have played.
 
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I also have not seen a produce/consume strategy win since we included the RvI expansion, whereas before it was winning about 50% of the games. Now the only two viable strategies for a win seem to be the development strategy or a military strategy, although I'm hoping this is just lack of experience and will improve as we get more used to the new cards (at first even the development strategy wasn't keeping up with the military one). We do primarily play 2 player, and without goals, so I don't know if this is a factor, but also in our few multiplayer games the winning player has always gone the military route.

Games do still frequently end with the VP chits running out, but the player doing the produce/consuming can't seem to get as many VPs as the player with a pile of 6 developments or huge military world scores.
 
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QBert80 wrote:
...

What he said (with a few additional comments).

I think RvI also enables another winning strategy -- the non-military settle. That is, Rebel Cantina (or Contact Specialist) + the Rebel dev (for -2) + military worlds (esp. Rebel). I saw it used to great effect last night, and it becomes increasingly sick with the new 6's.

As military power has increased, I don't think produce-consume (p-c) can afford to operate in a void. Whereas in the past other strategies had to worry about leeching from p-c, p-c now has to consider the goals and better leeching in order to edge out other strategies. It's still very possible for p-c to win, but it seems to be less often and more difficult to accomplish. Given how strong p-c was in the base game, I have little problem with this further erosion and, furthermore, with the rise of additional, potentially winning strategies.

LONG LIVE RvI!
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Commenting of the above 2 comments, I'm glad that I'm not the only one feeling the same way then. I love RftG because of its multiple ways to victory, and I just hope that Produce Consume hasn't disappeared because of RvI because that would be a shame.

Hopefully there are ways for it to adapt to survive in a world nearing the brink of war (I suppose it works thematically as well: When a war is about to happen, everybody is afraid to trade).

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crushedguava wrote:
Commenting of the above 2 comments, I'm glad that I'm not the only one feeling the same way then. I love RftG because of its multiple ways to victory, and I just hope that Produce Consume hasn't disappeared because of RvI because that would be a shame.

Hopefully there are ways for it to adapt to survive in a world nearing the brink of war (I suppose it works thematically as well: When a war is about to happen, everybody is afraid to trade).


It seems similar to the winning Consume/Produce tableaux from the first expansion. If you're consuming for 8+ and drawing at least 4 cards during this cycle, then you're probably OK. If you're missing the card draws, then you're probably getting smashed in the face.

Like I posted here, we had around 33% of the first 15 wins come from some form of consumption engine. It's a very small sample size, and highly dependent on the opponents, but it looked like consuming (with the previously mentioned card draws in either phase) 3 times was the key. 4 was definitely a win.

 
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I take back my complaint after tonight's session. :D

After a couple more games of 3p and 4p, 2 games were won by heavy Produce Consumes, and there was one game where both the goals of Most Rebels and Most Military were out, but was won by a development tableau with no goals at all :D

For produce consume to win, like James said, it really needed to have card draws in both the consume and the produce phases. This is more important now that it was before.

My faith in RftG has been restored. All is well with the galaxy again.:p
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crushedguava wrote:
I'm still going to stick to the goals for a while, but on certain occasions, I really feel the urge to keep the goals in the box and leave them there forever.



Quote:
Give the goals a chance, they are a *major* aspect of what makes rftg amazing.

Once you get used to always vaguely keeping in mind the goals when making decisions, i think you will find that you'll start to like them, and won't feel it's always your opponents that get them all.
At the very least, pick normally, except always leave Greatest Military Strength out, as that's the one that you're reporting is skewing the game for those on the military path. With 5 other most goals, you got plenty to choose from.





crushedguava wrote:
Jimmer wrote:
1. If your friend only goes for a military win, that is the only way he's going to get a win (unless he gets an easy+obvious hand). He's going to hit a limit more often than a flexible player - he can only win as military, and sometimes it's not in the cards. If he stays a little looser with how he can win, he won't be a pure military player, but could pick up some of the games that stubborn-natured play won't get. (If you want to help your friend expand their repertoire of play, when they complain about not drawing enough military cards, you can suggest that an alternative strategy might have worked.)


The thing is, when he goes for the military win (and this is since RvI came out; he didn't play TGS much, and has never played the base game), he wins more often than not. When he doesn't win, he sees someone else doing military win. Its pretty hard for me to convince him that produce consume is as viable as a military win when it hasn't happened at all in the games he plays. He's also never complained about not drawing enough military cards, since there's plenty of them in RvI. He also seems to have an affinity for Improved Logistics.
You need to develop an affinity for Imperium Seat, Rebel Alliance, or Imperium Cloaking Technology then

1) You never mentioned that he has the largest military. Just enough to get by with the military strategy which seems to imply that there will be cases where you'll have no small amount of military strength of your own. Try some takeovers of your own. It adds to your tableau and takes away from his. It's a deadly blow if you can grab something on the more valuable side.

Otherwise, you do need to play it right, as you'll need to be able to overcome what he has and ideally, you'll have some temporary military to throw of your own (e.g. NMT, the Mercenaries, etc.). Also, it may be difficult to even have that option, as you need 1 of four cards to do so, (either of the 2 ICT, Imp. Seat, or Reb. All.). On the flipside....

2) there's still only 2 IL cards in the game. One needs to have this card, built, have the military str, AND have the cards for it. That's alot of "coincidences". For many people, building IL kills their tempo.

3) I'm extremely sketchy about the first few plays of any game. With a game like RftG, I'd make that the first 5 to 10 games. The issue specifically is some people won't play optimally. They'll instad be exploring strategies and trying out new cards just for the sake of trying out new cards. I know with exp #1, a handful of players built IL and settled a cheap 2-cost world and an easy 2-def planet not b/c it would help them win the game (at least one player admitted he could've built a 6-cost dev that would've gotten him 7pts instead), but b/c they just wanted to try out this new, 'revolutionary' "build 2 worlds in a single settle phase" mechanism.

With RvI, you got all sorts of "goodies" that may not necessarily help you win.... experimenting with takevovers, overdevoting time to building up military to settle Alien Monolith when you really should've discarded it from turn one and focus more on P/C... the cards you were getting that better set you up for that, etc.
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ackmondual wrote:
1) You never mentioned that he has the largest military. Just enough to get by with the military strategy which seems to imply that there will be cases where you'll have no small amount of military strength of your own. Try some takeovers of your own. It adds to your tableau and takes away from his. It's a deadly blow if you can grab something on the more valuable side.

Otherwise, you do need to play it right, as you'll need to be able to overcome what he has and ideally, you'll have some temporary military to throw of your own (e.g. NMT, the Mercenaries, etc.). Also, it may be difficult to even have that option, as you need 1 of four cards to do so, (either of the 2 ICT, Imp. Seat, or Reb. All.). On the flipside....


My original problem was not that I wasn't able to beat him. My original problem was that, in our first 10 or so games of RvI, the tableau finish strategy won nearly all of them (usually powered by a military form or other), and the friend of mine won a few of those. My original complaint was that I found that produce consume which finished the vp chips could not keep up with the tableau strategy in RvI. Certainly, when I did some form of tableau finish , I did win a couple of games myself.

That being said, those were our first 10 or so games. After more games, I realized that where I went wrong was that I was trying too hard to prove to him that a produce consume strategy could actually work, when the goals and cards probably should have directed me away from produce consume then. That resulted in me being the only producer consumer against 2 military tableaus. I've come to realize that when the goals and cards do favour a produce consume, at least some other player would do it too (a groupthink issue), and then the vp chips actually run out more quickly. And yes, after our last session, the said friend has actually seen some produce consume victories and did demonstrate a willingness to learn and figure out how the produce consume won based on the cards.

So, my original problem wasn't actually a problem after all =)

Regarding the goals though, I still remain unconvinced. Sure, there are the games where I'm actually playing to get the particular goal/goals, but there are also the games where the goals just to go different players when the players aren't actually aiming for the goals, but just playing their cards like they would have even if the goals weren't there. Again, maybe groupthink is the culprit again here, but unless you can force everyone to consciously think about getting the goals, the issue cannot be readily solved. A lot of times my friends just ignore the goals and only get them because I tell them that they got it ("Oh I got that? Good, I totally forgot about it."). And no, I'm not the type of person to tell them that they can't take it because they forgot.

And then there are the games where there is one person who gets a good draw (by that I mean that the appropriate cards for said person's tableau comes at the appropriate times) and plays out his/her hand, and gets most of the goals without even trying, because, by chance, the goals favoured his/her strategy. Given that Race is a already card game with a significant amount of luck which dictates what people draw, I feel that introducing the goals also introduces a significant amount of chaos into the system, which can sometimes be uncontrollable.
 
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Everett Scheer
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crushedguava wrote:

Regarding the goals though, I still remain unconvinced. Sure, there are the games where I'm actually playing to get the particular goal/goals, but there are also the games where the goals just to go different players when the players aren't actually aiming for the goals, but just playing their cards like they would have even if the goals weren't there. Again, maybe groupthink is the culprit again here, but unless you can force everyone to consciously think about getting the goals, the issue cannot be readily solved. A lot of times my friends just ignore the goals and only get them because I tell them that they got it ("Oh I got that? Good, I totally forgot about it."). And no, I'm not the type of person to tell them that they can't take it because they forgot.

And then there are the games where there is one person who gets a good draw (by that I mean that the appropriate cards for said person's tableau comes at the appropriate times) and plays out his/her hand, and gets most of the goals without even trying, because, by chance, the goals favoured his/her strategy. Given that Race is a already card game with a significant amount of luck which dictates what people draw, I feel that introducing the goals also introduces a significant amount of chaos into the system, which can sometimes be uncontrollable.


In my experience the person who can take advantage of the goals will win more often. In other words, the goals favor the more experienced and skilled players. Of course there will be luck involved, and amongst equally skilled players it will *seem* that the goals are all luck (if a function depends on luck and skill, and in a particular case skill is equivalent, that function will depend on luck alone in that case) This isn't any different than the rest of the game (equal skill means the lucky wins), and IMO the goals allow for a different type of skill that the rest of the game has less of.
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Chris Linneman
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I like the goals because even if your cards suggest no particular strategy to start, you can then start off by aiming for the goals and see what unfolds from there.
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