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Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Galactic Renaissance rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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[This article is for Gathering Storm - no more, no less]

Galactic Renaissance is a tough card to wrap your brain around.

Its basic scoring mechanism is straight out of Puerto Rico's Customs house: get extra points for all your points chips. What's so hard about that? Well, since in RftG you have to develop your own markets for your goods, sometimes that takes the limelight, and GR gets shunted aside. Only if you have goods production, and goods consumption, and actually get to run your engine, does this aspect of GR become attractive. Thus a late GR is more likely to be played off a drafted Develop action, because if you have all those other pieces of the puzzle, you should not be taking time off to Develop!

GR also scores 3 points each for Galactic Trendsetters and Artist Colony. These are both strong cards in a consume/produce strategy, but whether or not you have them around at the right time is dicey. At least with Artist Colony, you can afford to settle that and GR on the same turn. With Trendsetters, you're devoting yourself to an enervating multi-turn slog to get these combos on the table, all that time is coming out of your 2x-Produce time.

GR is fairly unique in that its in-game power has almost no synergy with its scoring power. Keep +1 See +2 is a heck of an explore power, to be sure, but its a strong discouragement for your enemies to call explore. You want them to call explore, because it slows the game down and gives your scoring power more time to act. When they call develop instead, they move the game to a conclusion that doesn't involve chips.

However, the mighty explore power does open up the intriguing possibility of an early Galactic Renaissance strategy, as seen on Genie. With such a strong explore power, the effects of nearly emptying your hand to pay for something are much less bad. In 2 player advanced you can hope for just-in-time hand replacement on the next turn, and still get something productive done. Obviously Research Labs just adds fuel to this fire. Less obviously, Interstellar Bank is cheaper and has almost the same effect.

However, it is worth noting that this explore-based tactic is not a panacea. First off If you call Explore every turn with no cards in hand, sooner or later you're going to get burned and not be able to draft some bold move of your opponent - They'll likely Dev-Dev or Settle-Settle, or in multi player Dev-Settle. You'll lose tempo, or end up putting down useless carp. Secondly, the slope on explore cardflow is extremely shallow, and not rewarding as a card drawing strategy. Just for an example, Research Labs gives you one more card. Diversified Economy costs the same, but gives 2-4 cards with ease. You have to have something going on other than explore, or else you'll be left in the dustbin of history.

And finally circling back to Research Labs and its wierd scoring with GR, I'll say that this is probably the least rational of GR's scoring synergies. You take a quixotic card like Research Labs, which if its ever useful, is useful fairly early, and then you get lots of points for it. Points, of course, only matter at the end of the game. Its a weird late/early split that I haven't figured out. Then again, I'm not really a fan of Research Labs anyway.

In conclusion, at MastersOfSpace.net, we see that Galactic Renaissance is in the respectable 2nd tier of developments in terms of win rate (Behind the 1st tier which consists of only Terraforming Guild). However, we also see that it is played remarkably rarely. If it wins so often, how come it gets played so infrequently? Again, this is because GR relies so heavily on other things for its synergy, mostly your chip pile. Its the tip of the pyramid, that you can't put in place until the base is built. The icing on the cake is optional. Yummy, but optional.
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Chris Linneman
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Galactic Renaissance is an odd one indeed, usually played for a last turn 6 or 8 points after running a successful Produce-Consume cycle. Here's a game where I ended up with all 3 of GalRen's buddies and played it for 14 points near the end of the game. Hey, I even got to use its Explore power once!

http://genie.game-host.org/game.htm?gid=35611
 
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Jordan Booth
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Yesterday I got crushed by a GR strategy that worked out to 17pts for GR alone. I didn't do so bad myself, but he got GR out early and used it well.

http://genie.game-host.org/game.htm?gid=35995
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Chris Linneman
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Do you realize you were crushed by the OP?
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Kester J
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My gut feel is that GR is more consistent the more players there are, as you're more likely to leech with the explore power (which, as you say, is completely unfitted to the scoring for the card) and your predicted VP total is less volatile: a well-timed Tourist World or Consumer Markets from your opponent in 2-p can almost halve your expected VP chip total for the game, whereas the same thing in 4-p will probably barely affect it unless everyone does it at once.

I'll never play it in 2-p without having one of the 3-pointers either on tableau or in hand (end game excepted), whereas I'll play it in multiplayer solely for the customs house ability.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
Yesterday I got crushed by a GR strategy that worked out to 17pts for GR alone. I didn't do so bad myself, but he got GR out early and used it well.

http://genie.game-host.org/game.htm?gid=35995
A wierd thing about that game, that somehow made GR more valuable, was the narrowness of my production pipe early. It ran Artist Colony -> Galactic Trendsetters for at least two turns prior to any 2x'ing going on. The fact that my engine wasn't really minting significant VP made the explore options more attractive than they usually are. That in turn led to me getting all the good cards for an uber-cheesy Smurf Strategy, which then of course corrected the narrow-pipe problem.
 
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Kester J
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MrWeasely wrote:
Born-of-Ashes wrote:
Yesterday I got crushed by a GR strategy that worked out to 17pts for GR alone. I didn't do so bad myself, but he got GR out early and used it well.

http://genie.game-host.org/game.htm?gid=35995
A wierd thing about that game, that somehow made GR more valuable, was the narrowness of my production pipe early. It ran Artist Colony -> Galactic Trendsetters for at least two turns prior to any 2x'ing going on. The fact that my engine wasn't really minting significant VP made the explore options more attractive than they usually are. That in turn led to me getting all the good cards for an uber-cheesy Smurf Strategy, which then of course corrected the narrow-pipe problem.


I find Galactic Trendsetters is generally better in this role as a leech than it is as part of an engine. That combined with the explore power always made me wonder if there was intended to be some kind of mental ultra-leeching strategy that could be done with Galactic Renaissance. Whenever I've tried it it's failed dismally, so I'm guessing the answer is "no", but maybe RvI has changed things.
 
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Guy Srinivasan
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Kester wrote:
I'll never play it in 2-p without having one of the 3-pointers either on tableau or in hand (end game excepted), whereas I'll play it in multiplayer solely for the customs house ability.

It's also fine to play early if you predict that your opponent will get the 6-dev goal if-and-only-if you don't play GR now. Of course, that's equivalent to a 3-pointer...
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Chris
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MrWeasely wrote:
A wierd thing about that game, that somehow made GR more valuable, was the narrowness of my production pipe early. It ran Artist Colony -> Galactic Trendsetters for at least two turns prior to any 2x'ing going on. The fact that my engine wasn't really minting significant VP made the explore options more attractive than they usually are. That in turn led to me getting all the good cards for an uber-cheesy Smurf Strategy, which then of course corrected the narrow-pipe problem.

You played an awesome Smurfing, nicely done!
 
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It's a good card for me if I can get at least 6pts (one of the cards + some points, or just 2 of the cards). 9pts even more ideal (2 of the cards + pts for VP). Anything more than that is wishful thinking, even if it is possible. Otherwise, you take what you can get in desparate situations and the game is about to end.


http://genie.game-host.org/game.htm?gid=16710
By sheer almost dumb luck, it paid off 10pts in this game. Did not see GR coming, though when I built Research Labs and Artist Colony, I did keep GR in mind.
 
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Greg Meyer
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I would like to point out that i have often turned the production engine crank too quickly (picking P/C in 2PA too soon). Slowing it down and letting an explore now creep in can you keep you going with an early GR when your engine doesnt generate cards (picking 3 out of 5 is quite good).

The GR lets you toss in an explore, especially right before the timely settle with the consumer markets or diversified economy. It can often discourage your opponent from exploring when you are actually hoping the opponent will call develop to let you throw a trade league in the mix, or a settle to throw a galactic studios down and strengthen your P/C engine.

The OP has a great point in that the power and the scoring bonus are so at odds with each other.

In multiplayer throwing down a turn 2 GR after trading with AC or AR can work. I have seen Separatist Colony speculatively trade green windfall mil world turn 1. Put down the GR turn 2 after an explore. Then place Research lab Turn 3 (they drew it again of course that turn)!
Keeping four out of seven (or 3 out of 11) a turn in the Explore Phase can be fun.
 
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Alan Kwan
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MrWeasely wrote:
Thus a late GR is more likely to be played off a drafted Develop action, because if you have all those other pieces of the puzzle, you should not be taking time off to Develop!.


If you are running a good consume x2 engine, and the opponents are not calling a late game develop for you to leech, you are probably winning anyway.
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