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Subject: My GF is beating me...in a good way (2 two-player games) rss

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I got this game in last year's Secret Santa exchange (THANK YOU, SANTA!), but it took me nine months to really appreciate it.

That is because, after two tries, my friends balked at the "mulitplayer solitaire" aspect.

Off to the cupboard...

I had to find a girlfriend before the game would see the light of day again. It's supposed to be good for two players, and I saw it as an ideal, low-confrontation stepping stone to more advanced games.

It could become more than a stepping stone. It actually might become one of our favorite two-player games.

I intentionally did not read up on strategy articles, but rather tried out things myself, to find a good strategy. My GF admitted she didn't have a strategy at all, but considering that, she played really good.

A case in point: Two games we played on Sunday evening.

In the first game, I started with New Sparta, my GF with Alpha Centauri. With an expedition force and an alien robot sentry on hand, I decided to go for military and trying to get lots of cards through alien goods. My GF, as mentioned had no strategy, and tried to build up some production (which she managed to do) and consumption (which didn't go so well - she had rather few cards in hand, and obviously didn't draw the cards she needed on her few draws).

My strategy developed very well, I ended up with lots of cards (alien goods + merchant world + export duties = 8 cards for one good). It was then that we realized that you HAD to use consumption powers, a thing that hurt my GF more than me (I traded away my single alien good, she had to consume good with poor consumption powers and would get very little VPs, and only a few cards for them).
I ended up being able to settle any military world I drew (and with lots of cards, I had some high-VP worlds), and also any non-military worlds, since I had lots of cards to pay for them (didn't realize there was a hand limit until after both games).
With New Galactic Order, 10 military (in the end), and expensive worlds, I ended the game by placing my 12th card, at a time my GF was still trying to find her footing. The result was a decisive win with 40 VPs to my GF's 26.

She immediately wanted a re-match.

In the second game, I had Old Earth, my GF Epsilon Eridani (if I remember correctly).
This smelled like a production-consumption strtegy for me, but first I had three very juicy developments: Public Works, Interstellar Bank and Replicant Robots.
I thought Public Works and Interstellar Bank would help me in the long run by providing me with 2 extra cards whenever I build a development. Turned out that Replicant Robots was the last development I would build (I never drew a good 6-point development), so my first two developments were more or less wasted.
The Replicant Robots, on the other hand, saved me 14 cards over the course of the game. Together with Alien Rosetta Stone world, I could build several alien worlds on the cheap in the second half of the game.
Before that, I had Spice World, and (again) Merchants World for good trade value and (again) lots of cards in hand.

In the meantime, my GF played a mixed military-production strategy, conquering the Rebel Homeworld pretty early by discarding New Military Tactics (together with her base military strength). She also had two production worlds early on (novelty and genes), and settled the Tourist world, which would yield her 18 VPs over the course of the game (3x consumption with x2 VPs).

I ended the game with 11 cards in my tableau, this time by using up the VP chips. In the end, I had a decent consumption engine, and some good cards in my tableau, but no real big card (>5 VPs), and no six-point development (I hadn't drawn one that I liked). Still, I ended up with 46 VPs. Wohoo, better than last game!

My GF was dejectedly counting her VPs (again, I had ended the game when she didn't expect it), when suddenly she came up with 49! I checked, and yep, she had won the game! The combination of a few high-VP cards (Rebel Homeworld et al), and good consumption (Tourist world) had done it for her!

Each game took about 45 minutes. Especially in the second game, we really started using the other player's phases for our own good. She was better at that, profiting from my intense settling activities, and also from my production, and I think this was one reason she managed to win the second game.
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Ryan Dicorato
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Nice write up. If you like this game, you may want to check out Dominion if you haven't already. It's another fun card game that plays very well with 2 players. My fiance loves Dominion. I really have to teach her how to play Race for the Galaxy because I really enjoy the game. I think it'll take her a few plays to get used to because not many people are able to grasp the game at first with all the symbols and what not.

Glad to see this game isn't wasting space in your cupboard. I hate when that happens to quality games. It's about to happen to Battlestar Galactica for me. For some reason my friends don't like it, but they love Mafia/Werewolf. I also hear that San Juan is like Race for the Galaxy, but I've never played it myself. So that may be something for you to get into as well.
 
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Dominion is currently "the other" favorite two-player game for us.

With both PR and RFTG at home, I currently have no wish to explore San Juan. I think, I'd rather buy an expansion to RFTG before.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Asperamanca wrote:
Dominion is currently "the other" favorite two-player game for us.

With both PR and RFTG at home, I currently have no wish to explore San Juan. I think, I'd rather buy an expansion to RFTG before.


Yes. Yes you would. The best argument for San Juan is that it is easier to pick up for new players. Since it doesn't sound like RFTG was too hard for you or your girlfriend to pick up, I would skip it. The first expansion for RFTG is about as good as expansions can be. The second one is also very good. I recommend both.
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Ron Lacer
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Ryadic wrote:
If you like this game, you may want to check out Dominion if you haven't already. It's another fun card game that plays very well with 2 players.


Let me nominate Glory to Rome for another really fun 2-player card game that feels a little like RftG in play.
 
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Randall Bart
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rocksnrolls wrote:
Let me nominate Glory to Rome for another really fun 2-player card game that feels a little like RftG in play.

Yeah, though they aren't that similar. GtR, RftG, and San Juan are all logically the product of trying to make a card game like Puerto Rico. Other than that, GtR is quite different from the other two.
 
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