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Subject: Simple tip for saving set up time rss

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Alex Chen
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One of my pet peeves in RftG's setup is that the unpicked starting worlds must be shuffled into the deck. Especially with the expansions, this causes no end of hassle, because you need to go through the deck after every game to find each world. An easy solution is to just never shuffle the starting worlds into the deck, but this makes the game play differently from what the designers intended. This bothers me, so this has been my solution.

1. Using the images on BGG, print out a set of starting worlds.

2. Paste them onto some cards you don't want (I used random Magic: the Gathering commons from drafting).

3. Deal these out as replacement starting worlds.

4. While playing, if a player draws a starting world in any player's tableau, she reveals it, discards it, and draws a new card.

The game will play exactly the same as designed, but with the benefit of not having to dig through the deck after the game to retrieve the starting worlds. Instead, they can just stay shuffled in.

Random request if Tom Lehmann is reading. An alternate set of starting worlds printed up until now would be a great addition to the next expansion!
 
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Brandon M
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The game won't play exactly as intended because if one of your start worlds ends up being a "good" it'll go into the discard pile without ever being seen. Some people are anal enough to care about that minuscule difference.

Personally, I just leave the start worlds out of the deck. I almost always just used them to pay for other cards anyway, so I don't think it makes a big enough difference in the game to justify the increased setup time.
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Cameron McKenzie
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mugs wrote:

Personally, I just leave the start worlds out of the deck. I almost always just used them to pay for other cards anyway, so I don't think it makes a big enough difference in the game to justify the increased setup time.


My experience differs... I imagine that I play a start world that I drew about half of the times I play. New Sparta, Earth's Lost Colony, and Damaged Alien Factory are especially popular choices for me.

Picking out the start worlds and dealing them doesn't take that much time anyway, probably 30 seconds or so during which I can consider the goals that are available. I'm not in THAT much of a hurry to start the game.
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Chun Ping
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I've been playing with start worlds stay out of the main deck for ages and there's nothing wrong with balancing issues. If you dont mind going through the trouble to made duplicate cards, i think that his way of doing is even more convenient and does no bad to the game.

my 2 cents
 
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Brandon M
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MasterDinadan wrote:
mugs wrote:

Personally, I just leave the start worlds out of the deck. I almost always just used them to pay for other cards anyway, so I don't think it makes a big enough difference in the game to justify the increased setup time.


My experience differs... I imagine that I play a start world that I drew about half of the times I play. New Sparta, Earth's Lost Colony, and Damaged Alien Factory are especially popular choices for me.

Picking


Admittedly I gave up on shuffling the start worlds into the deck when I had a more rudimentary understanding of the game's strategies, so maybe I would play those cards more now than I previously would have.

However -
1. I think that removing the homeworlds alters the game much less than adding or removing an expansion.
2. I don't believe that removing the homeworlds alters the game in a negative way; it doesn't unbalance the game.

Because of that I'll happily play a slightly different game than what Tom designed to save myself some time and effort. All of my games so far have been with my wife though, and if I were playing the game with someone else I'd play it properly.
 
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The OP's method is good for base game and TGS, but I don't see how it would work for RvI.

mugs wrote:
The game won't play exactly as intended because if one of your start worlds ends up being a "good" it'll go into the discard pile without ever being seen.

A simple workaround would be to set aside (eg. from the bottom of the deck) a number of cards equivalent to the number of duplicate start worlds as yet unseen and undiscarded. These cards would not be drawn from before the reshuffle, but WOULD be reshuffled in with the rest of the discards. Again, after the reshuffle, cards would be set aside according to the number of as-yet-unseen duplicates.
Every time a duplicate is revealed and discarded, one card is returned from this set-aside pile back into the main draw deck.

Of course, this method of play requires that players be a) honest and b) vigilant during revelation and discard of duplicates.
 
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Alex Chen
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mugs wrote:
However -
1. I think that removing the homeworlds alters the game much less than adding or removing an expansion.
2. I don't believe that removing the homeworlds alters the game in a negative way; it doesn't unbalance the game.


The difference is slight, but I would say that removing the start worlds does detract from the game somewhat. My main issue is that it lessens the variety of the game; you are seeing fewer possible options per game, which is especially important in the expansions (which have a much smaller ratio of cards to start worlds). All other things being equal, this should shorten the game's lifespan.

mumushanshi wrote:
The OP's method is good for base game and TGS, but I don't see how it would work for RvI.

mugs wrote:
The game won't play exactly as intended because if one of your start worlds ends up being a "good" it'll go into the discard pile without ever being seen.

A simple workaround would be to set aside (eg. from the bottom of the deck) a number of cards equivalent to the number of duplicate start worlds as yet unseen and undiscarded. These cards would not be drawn from before the reshuffle, but WOULD be reshuffled in with the rest of the discards. Again, after the reshuffle, cards would be set aside according to the number of as-yet-unseen duplicates.
Every time a duplicate is revealed and discarded, one card is returned from this set-aside pile back into the main draw deck.

Of course, this method of play requires that players be a) honest and b) vigilant during revelation and discard of duplicates.


It should work for RvI as long as all of your proxy start worlds have the same back. In that case, you just shuffle the military/non-military proxies as per the rules.

While this "variant" does require a bit more vigilance, honesty actually isn't a factor at all. It is almost always (>99.99%) in the player's best interest to reveal the starting world, because they can never legally play a starting world in someone else's tableau. If they try, you can just make them discard the starting world from their tableau, draw a new card, and miss that settle phase. The only time I can think of when a player wouldn't want to discard a completely dead card for a live one would be if you were trying to manipulate when the reshuffle happened, but I can't see this ever coming up in actual play.
 
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Ville
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It's too much trouble to find all the start worlds from the deck so I just shuffle the deck and start going trough it from the bottom until I find a starting world. First goes to a player sitting left from me and so on.

This method alter the game a bit, but it's so minor and saves so much time that I find it acceptable.

OP:s proxy starting world method is a good idea.
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Wei-Hwa Huang
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vivafringe wrote:
One of my pet peeves in RftG's setup is that the unpicked starting worlds must be shuffled into the deck. Especially with the expansions, this causes no end of hassle, because you need to go through the deck after every game to find each world. An easy solution is to just never shuffle the starting worlds into the deck, but this makes the game play differently from what the designers intended. This bothers me, so this has been my solution.


Your solution looks a lot like this one: Dummy Start Worlds

I eventually streamlined it even more -- forget about replacing identical start worlds, and just play normally. Use the same rule for worlds as you use for developments: One player cannot have two identically-named cards in their tableau, but it is permissible for several players to have the same card. So I started with New Sparta and you find another New Sparta later, no problem, you can settle it. But if I draw a New Sparta, it's unplayable, just like if I draw two Interstellar Banks then one of them is unplayable.

Yes, the game does change a bit, but only in that the start worlds are a bit more likely to be seen, which doesn't distort the game much.

Quote:

Random request if Tom Lehmann is reading. An alternate set of starting worlds printed up until now would be a great addition to the next expansion!


At some point we had some spare room in the expansion and were considering this. However, the negative feedback we got from providing spare blank cards in Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm, among other considerations, led us to decide to not do that.
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vivafringe wrote:
honesty actually isn't a factor at all.
...
The only time I can think of when a player wouldn't want to discard a completely dead card for a live one would be if you were trying to manipulate when the reshuffle happened, but I can't see this ever coming up in actual play.

Agreed.
vivafringe wrote:
It should work for RvI as long as all of your proxy start worlds have the same back. In that case, you just shuffle the military/non-military proxies as per the rules.

Sorry, this one I still don't get. I receive 1 blue and 1 red world, choose one of them, and the other goes into the discard pile. But
1) only I know for sure what I discarded (unless - extreme case - it's a 6-player game and at least 4 players chose a start world of the other colour [Edit: in which case it doesn't matter anyway since in any 6-player game all start worlds not in tableaux are necessarily in the discard pile]), and yet
2) it shouldn't be available for any of the other players until after the 1st reshuffle.
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Alex Chen
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onigame wrote:
Your solution looks a lot like this one: Dummy Start Worlds

I eventually streamlined it even more -- forget about replacing identical start worlds, and just play normally. Use the same rule for worlds as you use for developments: One player cannot have two identically-named cards in their tableau, but it is permissible for several players to have the same card. So I started with New Sparta and you find another New Sparta later, no problem, you can settle it. But if I draw a New Sparta, it's unplayable, just like if I draw two Interstellar Banks then one of them is unplayable.

Yes, the game does change a bit, but only in that the start worlds are a bit more likely to be seen, which doesn't distort the game much.


I should have known that you guys couldn't possibly have played 9 million playtest games without coming up with the idea yourself. I do find it funny that we both believed the game would play exactly the same, and then were immediately corrected about a small corner case. History repeats itself yet again.

Quote:
At some point we had some spare room in the expansion and were considering this. However, the negative feedback we got from providing spare blank cards in Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm, among other considerations, led us to decide to not do that.


Too bad. My only hope, I suppose, is that the hassle in finding every start world is only going to increase as you add more expansions to the game, so this may be considered a worthwhile addition somewhere down the line.

mumushanshi wrote:
Sorry, this one I still don't get. I receive 1 blue and 1 red world, choose one of them, and the other goes into the discard pile. But
1) only I know for sure what I discarded (unless - extreme case - it's a 6-player game and at least 4 players chose a start world of the other colour [Edit: in which case it doesn't matter anyway since in any 6-player game all start worlds not in tableaux are necessarily in the discard pile]), and yet
2) it shouldn't be available for any of the other players until after the 1st reshuffle.


Good point! I stand corrected.
 
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Christopher Giroir
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My group always pulls out the starting worlds at the end of the game. It makes setup pretty quick since it's deal, then shuffle.

We also have everything sleeved so shuffling is normally splitting up the deck and letting 3 people shuffle so it goes pretty quickly as well.
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Brandon M
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vivafringe wrote:
mugs wrote:
However -
1. I think that removing the homeworlds alters the game much less than adding or removing an expansion.
2. I don't believe that removing the homeworlds alters the game in a negative way; it doesn't unbalance the game.


The difference is slight, but I would say that removing the start worlds does detract from the game somewhat. My main issue is that it lessens the variety of the game; you are seeing fewer possible options per game, which is especially important in the expansions (which have a much smaller ratio of cards to start worlds). All other things being equal, this should shorten the game's lifespan.


I guess I'll have to count on Tom to continue developing expansions to add variety to the game. But considering that other people have played thousands of games so far, I think any replayability I might lose from removing the start worlds is an acceptable casualty.
 
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Jerry Martin
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Archvile wrote:
It's too much trouble to find all the start worlds from the deck so I just shuffle the deck and start going trough it from the bottom until I find a starting world. First goes to a player sitting left from me and so on.

This method alter the game a bit, but it's so minor and saves so much time that I find it acceptable.

OP:s proxy starting world method is a good idea.


I am not sure how does this alter the game at all. This is the method we use. No need to take out every card. Each player get a starting world and the rest are in the deck. Shuffle up and play.
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Jordan Booth
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I tried the OP proxy method for a while because I had the same idea, but it turned out to be just another fiddly mechanic I had to remember and it confused new players. So I just went back to picking out start worlds after each game. Honestly, I'm confused by people who say they want to play such a mentally challenging game, but are too lazy to shuffle through a deck of cards for literally one minute. I guess it helps that I usually re-pack my games in a way that affords the quickest setup for next time.

I also think it is important to keep the start worlds in the game for two reasons unrelated to game balance:
1. It's what the rules say to do.
2. I actually use and enjoy most of the start worlds. They are GOOD!
Has anyone tried randomly giving everyone a 6-cost dev. and RFGing the rest?
 
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Syvanis wrote:
Archvile wrote:
It's too much trouble to find all the start worlds from the deck so I just shuffle the deck and start going trough it from the bottom until I find a starting world. First goes to a player sitting left from me and so on.

This method alter the game a bit, but it's so minor and saves so much time that I find it acceptable.

OP:s proxy starting world method is a good idea.


I am not sure how does this alter the game at all. This is the method we use. No need to take out every card. Each player get a starting world and the rest are in the deck. Shuffle up and play.


It does alter the game in that way that people know each others start worlds (or after RvI the two worlds they have to choose from).
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
I tried the OP proxy method for a while because I had the same idea, but it turned out to be just another fiddly mechanic I had to remember and it confused new players. So I just went back to picking out start worlds after each game. Honestly, I'm confused by people who say they want to play such a mentally challenging game, but are too lazy to shuffle through a deck of cards for literally one minute. I guess it helps that I usually re-pack my games in a way that affords the quickest setup for next time.


In turn, I'm a little confused by the "this game is mentally taxing, so you shouldn't care about increased start-up time" argument. To me, that's like saying that the work a brain surgeon does is mentally taxing, so he should take the stairs instead of the elevator to get to his office!

If you found my suggestion too fiddly, you might want to try Wei-Hwa's streamlined method of ignoring the "reveal and discard" mechanic. The game will play slightly differently, but is very simple to explain and set up.
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mugs wrote:
MasterDinadan wrote:
mugs wrote:

Personally, I just leave the start worlds out of the deck. I almost always just used them to pay for other cards anyway, so I don't think it makes a big enough difference in the game to justify the increased setup time.


My experience differs... I imagine that I play a start world that I drew about half of the times I play. New Sparta, Earth's Lost Colony, and Damaged Alien Factory are especially popular choices for me.

Picking


Admittedly I gave up on shuffling the start worlds into the deck when I had a more rudimentary understanding of the game's strategies, so maybe I would play those cards more now than I previously would have.

However -
1. I think that removing the homeworlds alters the game much less than adding or removing an expansion.
2. I don't believe that removing the homeworlds alters the game in a negative way; it doesn't unbalance the game.

Because of that I'll happily play a slightly different game than what Tom designed to save myself some time and effort. All of my games so far have been with my wife though, and if I were playing the game with someone else I'd play it properly.



Yeah, I'd say it's like taking out 3 random cards in a 3 deck game of BlackJack. It changes things, but not probably enough to make a difference, unless they were aces, where the impact may be larger.

Only concern are those moments that don't happen too much....

-New Sparta lets you build that super tough REBEL military world, or for you to get Greatest Military
-Old Earth to let you consume your goods somewhere

and so on
 
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Brandon M
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onigame wrote:

I eventually streamlined it even more -- forget about replacing identical start worlds, and just play normally. Use the same rule for worlds as you use for developments: One player cannot have two identically-named cards in their tableau, but it is permissible for several players to have the same card. So I started with New Sparta and you find another New Sparta later, no problem, you can settle it. But if I draw a New Sparta, it's unplayable, just like if I draw two Interstellar Banks then one of them is unplayable.


That's the best alternative to the official rules that I've seen. I think I'll start doing that as soon as I can get the extra cards printed up.
 
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My play group has ignored starting worlds for years. We just deal people 9 cards and you pick 6 to keep, but you get no starting world, rather than 6 choose 4 plus a random start world.

This was originally to alleviate a few issues. First, there was high variance in whether you got New Sparta combined with cheap military worlds (probably going to win) or without them (probably going to lose). Second, some start worlds are just atrociously bad: Old Earth, I'm looking at you. A world that cannot be effectively used unless you have three extra goods, and it doesn't produce any on its own? There's also the lesser issue that some start worlds are just better than others, or less likely to have particularly bad associated hands. Alpha Centauri is really good, for example.

At any rate, we started doing 9 choose 6 before any expansions were out and were happy with how it turned out. You have 84 possible starting hands instead of 15, so there's far more room for strategic differentiation at the beginning. It's also much harder to get dealt a truly terrible hand, and impossible to get a strategy mismatch between your initial hand and start world (since you don't have a start world anymore).

Once the first expansion added enough start worlds that people could pick one of two start worlds in conjunction with their hands, we tried the 6-choose-4 starting cards and 2-choose-1 starting worlds as suggested in the rulebook, but by then it was too late. This was an improvement on the old 1-choose-1 starting world setup, but still worse than 9-choose-6 with no starting world.

Summary: The game is faster to setup, more strategic, and less random without starting worlds.
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Rob Neuhaus
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9 choose 6 and no start worlds is certainly quick and elegant.

I wonder how it changes the overall game balance. Does the starting symmetry make the game less interesting?
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rrenaud wrote:
9 choose 6 and no start worlds is certainly quick and elegant.

I wonder how it changes the overall game balance. Does the starting symmetry make the game less interesting?


I've found it to be more diverse. You can now do really interesting things like settle Lost Species Arc World on the first turn, or develop Galactic Renaissance. The real asymmetry is in the cards you draw though, and that's not changing regardless of how you compose your initial hand.
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tedv wrote:
My play group has ignored starting worlds for years. We just deal people 9 cards and you pick 6 to keep, but you get no starting world, rather than 6 choose 4 plus a random start world.

Yeah, I haven't been playing long, but had already gotten to wondering why we needed start worlds to begin with. Is it just thematic, or is there some other element the designers really thought it added to the game?
 
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pseudotheist wrote:
tedv wrote:
My play group has ignored starting worlds for years. We just deal people 9 cards and you pick 6 to keep, but you get no starting world, rather than 6 choose 4 plus a random start world.

Yeah, I haven't been playing long, but had already gotten to wondering why we needed start worlds to begin with. Is it just thematic, or is there some other element the designers really thought it added to the game?


Start worlds are really important for new players. They give them general direction and possible strategies. I never force a new player to play their first game with a 9-choose-6 hand. When we have a new player, we'll give them Alpha Centauri (which is clearly the best start world for new players) and the associated starting hand, and everyone else plays with normal starting worlds. It really helps them to have a card that says "you want to play more brown worlds".

Remember that even when you are dealt a random starting world and do 6-choose-4 for your initial worlds, you only have 15 options to consider. The 9-choose-6 setup is 84 options. That's much more strategic depth before the first phase has even been selected, but it's also going to overwhelm a new players.

The other "benefit" of start worlds is that they arbitrate ties about who draws which card when the deck needs to reshuffle. We just operate on a first come, first serve basis, and no one has really cared. If you are absolutely anal about this though, you can assign a nominal "start player" and break ties clockwise.

I'd love 9-choose-6 to be added as an official variant (especially for tournaments), but I'd never recommend it for the first game.
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I'd think the 9 choose 6 would make the first turn feel extremely random. I'd have no idea what actions anybody else would be picking, unlike when playing with a start world where there are definitely preferred (but by no means mandatory) actions.

The base game definitely felt stale after a time with just the base 5 start worlds, but the first and second expansions with a choice of two has relieved the problem completely.
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