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Subject: Why no game has ever divided our gaming table so much rss

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Jaime Lawrence
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Race for the Galaxy has an interesting way of polarising gamers; there are a great number who love it and quite a few ‘haters’ out there too. In this article, I hope to explore the reasons for this, using my own gaming group as inspiration.

There are a lot of positives to RFTG – and a few perceived negatives also, wound tightly into a tapestry that links them intimately. I unashamedly love the game and think extremely uncharitable thoughts about users who say it’s a simple numbers crunch or that its all about luck – such nearsighted people probably don’t deserve to play it anyway and should stick to their Agricola and Ticket to Ride (I even provided links for them to do so!). The absolute best thing about the game is the varied strategies to winning. There are 4 main approaches:

mbMilitary – Raise a powerful force and crush lesser planets beneath your heel.

mbTrade – By creating a monopoly on the commodities of the galaxy, you vastly outscore your opponents.

mbDevelopment – By creating powerful, broad organisations, you politically control all others.

mbRush – By expanding your empire further, faster and in more diverse ways than your opponents, you shut down their strategies before they can get going.

There are many branches off from these main ideas, such as the ‘Genetics Trade’ and the ‘Cultural Monopoly’, but the four ideas above are the essential ways to win. None of these strategies require specific cards to win, though there are significant boons to each available from the deck. The complaint that I hear most often on this point from those in my group who dislike the game is that they never feel that they have a clear or reliable strategy. This is perhaps one of the game’s great challenges; you must have a certain level of flexibility to be good at RFTG.

The second point that I love is the random element in the game; it is by no means dominant, but it does prevent any one player from reliably powering home based on the strength of their homeworld (and vice versa – ‘Ancient Race’ is probably the worst starting world of the lot, but the diversity of the deck levels out that disadvantage over time.

Of course, the inverse complaint is that the game has no tactical nousse or strategy, it’s all just the luck of the draw. Remember how I said that it’s all part of the tapestry though? The next strand fixes this and prevents it from being purely random.

One of the best parts of RFTG is the way that the turns work; each player picks a phase from the 7 available and they reveal in tandem. The revealed phases occur and the others do not. The options for the phases allow the different strategies to take place, as well as giving options for searching out cards from the deck. This means that functionally, the greatest advantage you can have in a game of RFTG is a good poker face. Being able to pick the other players’ actions allows you to plan yours more effectively.

So, back to the original issue; why does this game divide our table so much? I think it comes down to the age old strategy vs. fun issue; RFTG falls squarely in the middle of the two, alienating extremists. It also takes a few games to really understand, so if you’re too quick to judge, it loses you, which is sad as the game is, in the end, rich, deep and exciting. RFTG deserves its high-ranking spot on BGG and I can’t recommend it to you enough if you haven’t got it yet.

Also, if anyone can figure out how to get the resistant elements of my group into it, post’em up here!
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Garyp
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Good points - we are definitely in the like it very much camp - maybe the fact that a couple of the guys are computer programmers helps. When I introduced the game I sort of hedged around the iconography - "Give it a chance, it is all quite logical" I said somewhat hopefully. "Yes, quite intuitive actually" was the "don't look so worries, we get it" reply after a few minutes of study. Have not looked back. We are still on the base game and developing stategies and getting to know all the cards.The secret selection of the phases is a great "fog of war" mechanism that creates good player interaction even if much of the gameplay is otherwise individual. I have the expansions and we will get into them after a few more plays but RftG is a favourite of our group.
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Jaime Lawrence
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garypgary wrote:
When I introduced the game I sort of hedged around the iconography


I never even thought of the iconogrophy being a problem - it hasn't been for us particularly. It's very frustrating to have 3 or 4 out of 8 or so of us loving this game and the others voting against it every time!
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James Hamilton
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Hida Mann wrote:
garypgary wrote:
When I introduced the game I sort of hedged around the iconography


I never even thought of the iconogrophy being a problem - it hasn't been for us particularly. It's very frustrating to have 3 or 4 out of 8 or so of us loving this game and the others voting against it every time!


Well if there are 8 of you why not play two games at once? You and the RftG fans play RftG and the others play something else.

My Wednesday group varies from 5 to 8 players. When there are 8 of us we almost invariable split and play two games.
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Jaime Lawrence
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Hammy wrote:

Well if there are 8 of you why not play two games at once? You and the RftG fans play RftG and the others play something else.


Yeah, I know. It's usually 4-5 of us from a pool of 8 though. Also, I'm trying to work out why these people don't like such a good game as much as trying to solve my group dynamics. Thanks for the advice though!
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Ben
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Nice review! As I'm one of the people you talk about who doesn't love the game, I thought I'd attempt to explain my biggest critique:

The big issue I have with the game is that strategies (1) and (3) are really just specific variants of (4), at least in the games I've played.

I will admit off the bat that I think I'm bad at the game. My winning percentage is probably around 35%. Almost all of my wins have come from strategy (4).

(1). The benefit of military is that you don't have to pay cards to settle. The benefit of not paying cards is that you can afford to do more things per turn. It seems that the best way to utilize this benefit is to actually do more things--i.e., fill your tableau quickly because you can afford to on turn where your opponent can't.

Admittedly, there are a few high-point military cards, as well. But few of them provide military bonuses. So the most reliable way to build up the military in order to play those 6, 7, and 8 point settlements is to play 6, 7, or 8 low-cost, low-point cards with +1/2 military. The average value of a military tableau thus tends to be fairly low, meaning more cards are again the surest way to ensure victory.

Unless and until additional expansions make direct conquest of an opponent more viable, I can't understand a way to play a slow-developing military strategy. It sounds like suicide.

(2). I assume that by a "development" strategy, the OP means play a lot of 6-cost developments and their corresponding scoring cards. (I can't conceive of another type of development strategy other than use a bunch of 1-cost developments in a straight rush to the end). The problem with this approach is twofold.

a. 6-cost developments are expensive. To generate the hand size needed to play them, I would need either a trade engine, a military strategy, or a number of card-drawing developments. In the former case, I might as well hit the 2x consume rather than trade (it has seemed to be the better strategy in our games). I explained above why the middle case is a rush strategy itself. And the last case would also promote a rush strategy for similar reasons - devaluing the average spot on the tableau. By playing things like Interstellar Bank, one could generate strong hands, but soon only have a few spaces left for the 6-cost developments because the rest of the tableau is filled with crap like Interstellar Bank.

b. It seems heavily luck-based. Now, perhaps I've not learned how to blend a development strategy with some sort of card draw/explore strategy properly. As I said, I'm not very good. But in almost every game I've played both sides end with approximately 2 6-cost developments. If you drew the ones that work best with what you've already played, you do well. If you don't, you do less well.

Occasionally, I'll lose to a 3-5 card produce/consume engine that doesn't have any interest in a 6-cost development, but that's rare. In the other games, few players can afford to hang on to a 6-cost development all game and build toward it (unless you have the military one and are going a dedicated military route). Instead, the ones drawn early get spent and the ones draw late get played only if they match what's already there. Based on that description, it no longer feels like a strategy to me.

The best way to address this seems to be to throw a bunch of crap on the board that can cover most any 6-cost development and then wait and see what you draw. Again, this is essentially a rush strategy: lots of cards that don't do much together, built quickly (because otherwise a well-integrated engine will crush you).


Especially given that most RftG players I know won't play with goals (which I find give the game more defined strategies) and often won't play with takeovers (which have the potential to turn military into something more than a rush), I've just not had the experience of strategic diversity that the OP is describing.

I'm not trying to be a "hater." I still enjoy playing the game on occasion. But I think what I liked about the game most at the beginning was how hard it was to figure out what was going on. I didn't get the iconography; I didn't understand how pieces fit together; and I would usually just build a thematically-integrated empire because it looked pretty and I could be proud of it, win or lose.

Now that I feel like I understand the mechanics a little better, my reaction is more "This is it?" My choices feel so constrained and my pretty, thematic empires are usually sacrificed to basic optimization.

It's sort of like the first time you play the base-game of Pandemic. The fun is in fighting against the game. Your confusion leads to panic, which is thematic and interesting. Once you've had a couple of plays, however, and you understand better the mechanic, you no longer panic. You just coldly calculate the number of moves things will take and the odds of drawing another epidemic card.

It's not bad for a puzzle once in a while; it's just not really that fun anymore, either.

Anyway, I'm glad you all enjoy the game, and hopefully some of the new expansions will breathe some new life into it for me. I'd like to like it more, but it's just not clicking for me. I thought I'd share some thoughts from the other side of the fence.
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chally wrote:
Nice review! As I'm one of the people you talk about who doesn't love the game, I thought I'd attempt to explain my biggest critique:


Chally, I am firmly in the "love it" camp; however, I wanted to compliment you on a well thought out and polite explanation on why you don't currently like RftG.

Nice review, and nice rebuttal. thumbsup all around!
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It certainly sounds like you've given the game a chance, so RftG may not be your type of game. However I wouldn't classify the strategies as stated by the original poster as being descriptive of the player options.

At the top level there are:
Card Flow Strategies: Look at lots of cards throughout the game, cherry pick for your position.
Card Tight Strategies: Get a few good early cards that can generate you vps/discounts/trickles of cards throughout the game.

Below that are phase/timing strategies. Considering just the base set, from fastest to slowest strategies, there's:

Rush: Build a quick tableau that is worth relatively little points but more than your opponent's
Big Cards: Get big point value cards, or cards that interlock together for big points
Consume: Build a consume engine that generates lots of vp chips and/or cards

Within each phase/timing strategy there are variations that if combined appropriately can be very powerful:
Military Rush: a little bit of military allows lots of cheap military worlds played quickly
Dev Rush: discounts and rebates make for continuous developments capped by at least one 6 dev and/or a bit of consume
Discount Rush (difficult with base set particularly without goals): cheap worlds w/consume powers means lots of worlds, making for a fast tableau against a produce/consumer
Big Devs: with base set this is all about GalFed and/or Trade League making for discounts or big card flow to get the juicy 6 cost devs out
Big Military: get lots of military strength and play the big military worlds (Rebel Homeworld/Base, Alien Military worlds)
Quick Consume: generate a produce/consume engine quickly even if you don't get card flow, run it as fast as you can running out the vp pool
Big Consume: get several production worlds and powerful consume powers, run it once or twice late for many vp chips
Produce/Consume: get a produce/consume engine with lots of cards and some vp chips, leach off the dev/settles with all the cards you generate and the consume/trades to let you run your cycle quicker


Further, there's the knowledge of when/if you are set up to pursue one of these strategies or to switch from one to another. On the first turn any of these strategies are possible for any players. An early Dev Rush may decide to hold up on devs if they are falling behind and don't want the game to end too early, effectively switching to another strategy. Alternatively a Big Military may be pushing the end to cut off the Big Consume from getting one more consume cycle out.

All of this ignores what I consider to be the most important decision each turn, what you think your opponent is going to do. If you can get inside their head and predict their action then you will be one jump ahead of them. That's what keeps me coming back and thoroughly enjoying this game time after time. Until you ground yourself in the cards and options therein it's tough to do that effectively though.
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David desJardins
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Hida Mann wrote:
Also, I'm trying to work out why these people don't like such a good game


I don't think it's really possible to explain "why" people like one game and not another. There must be high-rated games on BGG that you don't like. Can you explain "why" you don't like them, to someone who does? My guess is that you would come up with some reasons and yet those people wouldn't understand you any better than you understand them.

I would say (aside from the icons that I can't process easily) the main thing I don't like is that there are too many different cards and you really have to know them all and the distribution to play well. I tend to like games with simpler, more predictable distributions, e.g., Dominion or Saint Petersburg or Tigris & Euphrates. But does that help you?
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When I teach the game, I tell people the following;

This is a victory point scoring game. Whoever has the most points in the end will win. You score points in one of three ways. First, you get points for playing worlds and developments into play; the value is in the little hex at the top. Second, certain developments give bonus points at the end for collecting sets of certain things. Third, you get points from the common pool when you consume goods for victory points as indicated on certain cards.

The game will end when one of two things happens. Either someone will build 12 things in their tableau or the common pool of points will empty. You may build past 12 if you can, but the game ends that round. Also, if more points are paid out than remain in the pool, everyone gets paid. But, when these things happen, the game ends.

Let's take a step back from these instructions. They tell us that there really are only 3 ways to get points and 2 ways to end. Your goal is to have more points than anyone else when the game ends. So, the strategies here are "how will I get points?" and "how will I control when the game ends?" You can rush 12 things into play, which is good for controlling the end, but limits the points you may get. You can develop an efficient engine for getting points from the pool, but it may be hard to set it up fast enough.

That's Race For The Galaxy strategy. There is no "military" strategy, for example; military is a component of the building things strategy. You are likely to invest in military no matter what else you are doing as it will help you develop your tableau. Similarly, there is no "consumption" strategy - it is a game mechanic you can use to score points and focusing on it to the exclusion of what you might have in your hand is a recipe for failure.

Yes, RFTG is heavily influenced by luck. But there is also a very significant component of skill too. Sadly, it is easy for new players to be distracted by the complexities of the game and miss the basic strategies and actions.
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Hida Mann wrote:
‘Ancient Race’ is probably the worst starting world of the lot, but the diversity of the deck levels out that disadvantage over time.


The Ancient Race home world is easily the most powerful, in my opinion. I rarely, if ever, see someone lose with that world.

When I first started RFTG, I thought the same as you. Worthless world. I got it in a game and was immediately disappointed. Meanwhile everyone at my table immediately pegged me as the front runner. I couldn't see why, I was starting with 3 cards and a planet that did nothing.

Afterward (when I lost), someone at the table calmly explained to me why that card is very powerful.

It provides a rather large card advantage to start the game. It's a windfall, so it starts with a good. A GREEN good at that. If you don't consume trade on your first turn with it, you've misplayed it and then yes, it sucks. But if you do trade, then the first turn goes something like this: Someone inevitably explores on the first turn, so you gain 1 card. If someone develops and/or settles, there is a chance you'll have the ability to put out a cheap planet or development. And then you consume trade when no one else can. Boom, 4 cards.

So best case, it's turn 2 and you've got a new card in your tableau and a full hand of 4-6 while everyone else will have one or the other, but not both.

Worst case, you've got a hand of 8 cards and you're already in position to lay down some big planets while everyone else is not.

You start with a 3 card hand because if you didn't, the Ancient Race would be broken.

I now love drawing the ancient race. It's a really fun home world.
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jmoodie wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
‘Ancient Race’ is probably the worst starting world of the lot, but the diversity of the deck levels out that disadvantage over time.


So best case, it's turn 2 and you've got a new card in your tableau and a full hand of 4-6 while everyone else will have one or the other, but not both.

Worst case, you've got a hand of 8 cards and you're already in position to lay down some big planets while everyone else is not.


Actually, on turn 2 Alpha Centauri has everything you do (they started with one more card than Ancient Race, and traded on the first turn for one less card than Ancient Race). Plus a bonus to settling brown planets. And many people still think AC is weak.
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Hida Mann wrote:
It also takes a few games to really understand, so if you’re too quick to judge, it loses you, which is sad as the game is, in the end, rich, deep and exciting.

I'm one of those Race haters. I played about 20 times before I traded it away, and I found it barren, light, and boring.

Race haters UNITE!!! Draw your weapons! I need support for all the flak I'm going to get in this thread: "Did you try *this*?" "Did you discover *that*?" "I think *that* is narrow." etc... etc.. etc...
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fastspinecho wrote:
jmoodie wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
‘Ancient Race’ is probably the worst starting world of the lot, but the diversity of the deck levels out that disadvantage over time.


So best case, it's turn 2 and you've got a new card in your tableau and a full hand of 4-6 while everyone else will have one or the other, but not both.

Worst case, you've got a hand of 8 cards and you're already in position to lay down some big planets while everyone else is not.


Actually, on turn 2 Alpha Centauri has everything you do (they started with one more card than Ancient Race, and traded on the first turn for one less card than Ancient Race). Plus a bonus to settling brown planets. And many people still think AC is weak.


Good point as well!

I think people generally overlook Consume:Trade when they start playing. You get too focus on consuming that you overlook that trade is usually the best way to restock your hand.
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Andrew Snyder
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Ambrose wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
It also takes a few games to really understand, so if you’re too quick to judge, it loses you, which is sad as the game is, in the end, rich, deep and exciting.

I'm one of those Race haters. I played about 20 times before I traded it away, and I found it barren, light, and boring.

Race haters UNITE!!! Draw your weapons! I need support for all the flak I'm going to get in this thread: "Did you try *this*?" "Did you discover *that*?" "I think *that* is narrow." etc... etc.. etc...

thanks for trading it away instead letting it gather dust!
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fastspinecho wrote:
jmoodie wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
‘Ancient Race’ is probably the worst starting world of the lot, but the diversity of the deck levels out that disadvantage over time.


So best case, it's turn 2 and you've got a new card in your tableau and a full hand of 4-6 while everyone else will have one or the other, but not both.

Worst case, you've got a hand of 8 cards and you're already in position to lay down some big planets while everyone else is not.


Actually, on turn 2 Alpha Centauri has everything you do (they started with one more card than Ancient Race, and traded on the first turn for one less card than Ancient Race).


Except of course they have a genes windfall rather than a rare one...
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Andrew Snyder wrote:
Ambrose wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
It also takes a few games to really understand, so if you’re too quick to judge, it loses you, which is sad as the game is, in the end, rich, deep and exciting.

I'm one of those Race haters. I played about 20 times before I traded it away, and I found it barren, light, and boring.

Race haters UNITE!!! Draw your weapons! I need support for all the flak I'm going to get in this thread: "Did you try *this*?" "Did you discover *that*?" "I think *that* is narrow." etc... etc.. etc...

thanks for trading it away instead letting it gather dust!

My pleasure, I'm sure. laugh I love your post!
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I often wonder how much game duration plays a factor. Beginners can grind this out to 45-60 minutes when it should properly take 15-30 per game once game knowledge is comfortable. For as rich a game as it is, even with the issues that the haters have, you would think that the 15-30 minute duration would tip the scale toward fun and enjoyment rather than dissatisfaction. But then new players usually need to gut it out for a few play sessions until they can get comfortable enough to hit that short and sweet 15-30 minute mark.
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Henry Clay
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You know, I have introduced race to something like a dozen people now, and I think a couple weeks ago I met the first person who didn't actually like it. That's pretty good odds.

I'm surprised your group is so mixed. I mean, I'm with you, I can't really conceive of people not being in love with it. On the other hand, you don't need a good reason to not like something, different tastes happen. Here are some thoughts though:

Iconography is the first hurdle for this game. For some people, it took more than 3 or 4 games before they really realized what what going on. One of my friends was that type, and he took our word that it was awesome and stuck with it. Now he's arguably the most fearsome space empire builder in our group, and really enjoys it to boot.

This might seem obvious, but I think it's important with your newbies to give them a fighting chance early. Don't break out vicious zerg rush techniques on their first couple games. It's really easy to get disheartened with a 60 point score difference. Bear in mind: more rounds = more learning.

Side note: Generally everyone I've taught has won their second game of race with us... I'm not sure how that's worked out that way... beginners luck I guess? Can you tell that we don't exactly play race that cutthroat to begin with?

Goals! I introduce race without them, but we *never* play without them. Goals are a really easy way to change the game between rounds, and a way to change values on existing strategies. I believe they emphasize the non-luck portions of race too.

Don't belabor the game! Race should be quick. Inevitably bad hands with happen to the best of us. The only thing that can cure that is another game of race! Don't let your nerds (like me) slow things down by spending forever number crunching an explore phase.

Once you've played a bit, you start to realize that race will often punish you for committing to a strategy. And it's usually good luck that causes you to commit to a strategy. It's oddly self-balancing.

Sure, one game of race can be really heavily affected by luck, but scoring high *consistently* takes serious skill, knowledge of the deck, an idea of what your opponents are trying to do and a poker face to boot.

A new player will have none of those on their first games! We always introduce players with an open-hand game, and are happy to explain *why* we're doing what we're doing.

Hope you have better luck making race friends! It's a great game to play over lunch, and fills all our spaces between bigger gaming endeavors like arkham or some such.
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Henry Clay
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blindspot wrote:
I often wonder how much game duration plays a factor. Beginners can grind this out to 45-60 minutes when it should properly take 15-30 per game once game knowledge is comfortable. For as rich a game as it is, even with the issues that the haters have, you would think that the 15-30 minute duration would tip the scale toward fun and enjoyment rather than dissatisfaction. But then new players usually need to gut it out for a few play sessions until they can get comfortable enough to hit that short and sweet 15-30 minute mark.


When I was writing my post, this occurred to me at the end. I think Gabe hit the nail on the head here. Race vets can play 3 games in the time it takes to play a beginner game.

faster games = more fun per amount of time = less annoyance from an unlucky draw
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cferejohn wrote:
Except of course they have a genes windfall rather than a rare one...


True, but that doesn't give you any concrete advantage by turn 2. If you want to leverage your genes windfall in the early game, you need to wait until turn 3 after committing to two more turns of produce + trade (since you probably can't leech on those phases), at which time you'll have a one card advantage over Alpha Centauri if they do the same - and AC has other options, like spamming rares.

It's certainly possible to win as Ancient Race, especially if you draw cards that award points to genes, windfall production, or trade powers. I just think it can be a little trickier to pull off than other, less scripted start worlds.
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I love RFTG, but my play group doesnt like it as much, they find it too complicated and dont want to give it a second try... :(

I still bought the expansions when they come out and i do end up playing it with 2 other friends every now and then. But i wish i could be playing it more.

I feel its a great game and lots of strategy, the game is fun because its how you play with the cards you have, its not that random that it will be the sole purpose of a lost. I love the fact that you can "draft" off (in other terms, LEECH!) of other players, draw cards to reduce your randomness (more options), and have different winning conditions.

Overall I love this game, and its sad to here that others share the same experience as me...

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Wow! Tremendous response, guys, thanks! I'll try to answer a few points all at once here:

Chally wrote:
The big issue I have with the game is that strategies (1) and (3) are really just specific variants of (4), at least in the games I've played.


Chally's comments were some of the most elegant I've heard about this game. Good luck with not being a 'hater' But I'm not sure I entirely agree with you. A military engine can roll on pretty strong just using the card draw of other players - let's face it, most military worlds don't produce a whole lot for you to trade anyway. I suppose that, as one of the later posters noted, you could reclassify the entire game as a search for cards that go together and that yes, the first 3 strategies I mentioned ARE all aspects of one another, but I think there are different styles of play that go with them - it isn't so formulaic as it's being made out to be.

For example, a trade engine (make goods, get VPs, make more goods etc) and a development engine (sorry if this term confused anyone - I did indeed mean 'make 6 cost developments and things that fuel them) have very different approaches to the game. The trade engine probably only needs 6 or 7 cards in tableau to get going, pumping out X2 VPs every second turn and playing cards only when convenient. The Development engine wants one or two worlds with goods (to trade in for cards), but primarily wants to get more cards in its tableau to fuel its end of game VPs.

The two are similar, but their approach to playing is different enough to be called 'different'.

Frunkee wrote:
All of this ignores what I consider to be the most important decision each turn, what you think your opponent is going to do. If you can get inside their head and predict their action then you will be one jump ahead of them. That's what keeps me coming back and thoroughly enjoying this game time after time.


Exactly what I love most about the game also, Frunkee. I think that this is what a lot of people 'don't get' about Race - the psychological aspect. One of my regulars has remarked in the past that it feels too much like the players have no effect on one another, but you've hit the nail on the head as to the way they do affect each other.

Daviddesj wrote:
I don't think it's really possible to explain "why" people like one game and not another. There must be high-rated games on BGG that you don't like. Can you explain "why" you don't like them, to someone who does? My guess is that you would come up with some reasons and yet those people wouldn't understand you any better than you understand them.


Probably very true, but if I stop trying to understand, I likely never will

Cosine wrote:
When I teach the game, I tell people the following;


Wow. Nicely explained, Cosine. Why weren't YOU writing this review? Seriously though, getting through the rulebook in that first game can be a challenge, it's great to have someone around to teach.

Jmoodie wrote:
The Ancient Race home world is easily the most powerful, in my opinion. I rarely, if ever, see someone lose with that world.


Aah, the Ancient Race debate. I knew I was opening a can of worms there. I don't think it's particularly worse off than any other start world, but it does have drawbacks and there is certainly a perception that it is (personally, I think Alpha Centauri is better, by the way!). I honestly believe that start world matters little beyond the fact that it's a card in your tableau and thus should be part of your winning strategy. They are all fairly well balanced and I had no intent of slighting the noble Ancient Race.

Blindspot wrote:
But then new players usually need to gut it out for a few play sessions until they can get comfortable enough to hit that short and sweet 15-30 minute mark.


I look forward to the day my group can get to this mythic place of 15 minute games. Some of them are clinically indecisive, sadly.

Henryclay wrote:
You know, I have introduced race to something like a dozen people now, and I think a couple weeks ago I met the first person who didn't actually like it. That's pretty good odds.


I am deeply envious, Mr.Clay! I don't think I went wrong anywhere in teaching them and by and large, the games have been fairly short. They just don't feel the love like I do, I guess. It's all about Dominion. Everybody LOOOOOOOOVES Dominion. Hey, I like a little Dominion too, but I don't compare every game that has cards to it!

Hoywolf wrote:
I love RFTG, but my play group doesnt like it as much, they find it too complicated and dont want to give it a second try...


I know your pain, my friend. All I can say is cherish those one or two other guys who do like it and dream with me of a day when you can use all 6 sets of cards...

Thanks for the input, everyone, it's a fun thread.
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I think it's foolish to not figure out why people like/dislike a game. Even if you don't agree with someone's reasons, you can at least figure out whether they are legitimate or not.

For instance, I would understand if someone dislikes Race because:
-They hate sci fi themes
-They prefer longer games
-They prefer to stick to long-term plans in their games
-They hate having more than a bare minimum of chance in their games
-They like games with lots of negative interaction/attacking

Those are all legitimate reasons. However, people are wrong for disliking the game if they think that:
-There's no interaction
-It's all just lucky card combos
-You can play just as well without looking at your opponent's tableau
-The symbols are too difficult to understand (This one is arguable, but regular gamers should be able to figure it out. I understand if occasional gamers don't want to deal with it.)

In which case they should give the game another shot and try to dislike it for a legitimate reason (or even like it!). There's at least one case where someone hated the game at first, then gave it another shot and liked it (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/396755/single-play-negat...), so understanding a person's reasons are very important for this game and others (like Dominion).

Incidentally, I very much disagree that Ancient Race is a weak starting world, but I don't want to derail the thread. Let it suffice to say, there are imbalances between starting worlds that are relatively small, and skill is still the major factor in winning.

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Stunna wrote:
However, people are wrong for disliking the game if they think that:
-The symbols are too difficult to understand (This one is arguable, but regular gamers should be able to figure it out. I understand if occasional gamers don't want to deal with it.)


You have a lot you could learn here: All Kinds of Minds

Different people are good at different things. I am way better than you at many cognitive tasks. But I also find it hard (not impossible, just hard) to quickly comprehend what these cards do from the symbols on the cards. This doesn't make me an idiot (although other people might say there are plenty of other reasons for that). It just makes me someone whose brain works differently than yours.
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