Today I played my first 3 games with the Rebel vs Imperium expansion. My opponents were Sam, my most regular Race for the Galaxy opponent who had also not played with the expansion before and Dave, who had played the base game once or twice several months ago but not with either expansion.
Instead of using the homeworld selection method in the rules, I made sure we played with the new homeworlds. Everyone got to play each homeworld once. We played with the takeover rule on, and with random selection of goals.
In the first game I was the Rebel Cantina and Dave the Imperium Warlord. Goals included most Brown/Blue World and most Production Worlds. I had Rebel Alliance in my starting hand, and also Secluded World. I picked Produce, Sam Develop and Dave Settle. Dave settled Rebel Miners and I settled Secluded World. Sam developed R&D Crash programme.
The game evolved from there, with my playing Rebel Pact, Avian Uplift Race and usingt the Genes trade to develop Rebel Alliance. I also settleed Rebel Sympathisers. Dave had Terraforming Robots down, Sam had Imperium Troops, Rebel Fuel Cache and New Suevivalists. At this point Sam became worried, because I could use Rebel Allinace to conquer his military worlds, which may have made his play more defensive. I had no military bonuses so would have been reliant on the +2 per rebel military world from Rebel Alliance- i.e +4 at that point.
I was then able to Settle Bio-Hazard Mining World, while Sam settled Smuggling World- both of us tying for Brown-Blues therefore. I now had a nice Produce Consume card engine, with the rebel card draws and trading the Genes good. At the next settle I placed Rebel Colony for free, while Sam placed another low-cost Blue/Brown world, gaining the Goal. The game continued with Diversrfied Economy and Rebel Warrior Race entering my tableau. Meanwhile Dave had got Hidden Fortress in play and had an impressive military total, though little in the way of goods, and Sam was building tableau fast with Improved Logistics. As the game neared its end I drew Rebel Stronghold. Since I knew only a settle could end the game, I was safe not settling, and my final play was Consume 2x VPs for 6 Vps from Diversified Economy. Sure enough someone Settled and down went Rebel Stronghold. My final score was 58 VPs, an easy win and unusually high by my and Sam's normal standards.
For the second game I was Galactic Developers, Dave was Rebel Cantina and Sam Imperium Warlord. I don't remember a great deal about this game. I played Mining Robots early and drew plenty of Brown Worlds but somehow couldn't manage to play them. I got Radioactive World down and proceeded to stall impotently. Dave kept playing Explores, even when he had tradeable goods on the table. Still he got Alien Robotics Factory into play. Sam had a good military tableau and plenty of explore powers (Explore Power Goal was in play and Sam got it and kept it). Alien Robot Scout ship, 2 Expedition Forces and... wait a minute! Two Expedition Forces? I pointed out to Sam this was illegal and he said "tough". His basic point was that both Expedition forces had been in play for some time, and indeed had allowed him to Settle Alien Robot Scoutship. I gave in and allowed to play on with them for this game.
I didn't have much more success in the second half of the game. Dave tried to Explore +1,+1 with a Good sitting on Alien Robotics Factory. Both of us fairly politely pointed out to Dave that he would get 5 cards keep 5 by Trading and only 3 keep 2 by Exploring, and allowed him to switch his action to Trade. His game began to improve and he was able to settle Alien Data Repository as well. I settled various mediocre Brown worlds and Sam won by a fair margin.
For the third game I was Imperium Warlord, Sam Rebel Cantina and Dave Galactic Developers. I drew some very nice cards but lacked cash to pay for them, including some high defence worlds. I explored in hope of finding some more military strength but failed. Dave was putting down one cheap development after another and Sam playing cheap worlds as well. I settled Alien Rosetta Stone World and was eventually able to Settle Alien Data Repository. Then my opponents begane to stall. I was able to develop Galactic Advertisers, trade off the good from the Repository and get a card cycle going. Dave played Pan-Galactic Research- his only world was Space Port and he had the most Devlopments Goal easily. I developed Drop Ships and then Imperium Lords. The Drop ships allowed me to settle Lost Alien Battlefleet on what could have been the final turn of the game, had Dave chosen to Settle. Dave didn't settle, since he wanted to play Galactic Federation. In the final turn I was able to play Trade League and Alien Uplift Centre, collecting the 3 Aliens Goal. When we counted up the points I had won on 38, just beating Sam and easily beating Dave, whose array of cheap developments failed to score much, even with Galactic Federation.
So an interesting trio of games, although no doubt a little skewed because of the variation in previous experience. I look forward to trying out advanced 2 player with Sam next week.