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Subject: Teaching RftG - The Gathering Players rss

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Andrew
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Background
Yesterday, I posted my experiences teaching my favourite game Race for the Galaxy to a few colleagues over lunch, and then playing once with them. I managed to squeeze in another 3-player game today.

I wanted to get them comfortable with the flow of the game generally, and specifically with consumption powers and running an economy. This is an area most newbies are unfamiliar with, as it's a relatively more complicated and indirect scoring method than slapping down high point cards.

After being beaten by produce-consume yesterday, one of the two other players was very interested in working out this aspect of the game; as I set things up, he asked plenty of questions about the Consume phase, consume powers, trade powers, the double-consume bonus, and how the Trade phase relates to the Consume phase. I left out mention of Trade League and Black Market World, ditto with 6-cost developments - again on the theory that we would go through exceptions when they came up.

The Game
I let them pick from the all the homeworlds (including the expansions), but they went straight for those in the base game with suggested starting hands - Epsilon Eridani by the produce-consume curious player, and New Sparta by the other, who wanted to solidify his understanding of the game.

As we began, I changed my mind about "teaching by demonstrating" speculative trades. Not only were my colleagues' phase selections a bit idiosyncratic, but there were questions on New Military Tactics, Colony Ship and consume powers that attracted their attention.

I started off with Galactic Renaissance and Research Labs, and decided that I would play both of them for fun, and explain some of the special 6-cost scoring at the end.

New Sparta placed military windfalls down one after another building up his military, while Epsilon Eridani placed a few brown production worlds and Space Port to trade off.

I had to explain a few times how Trade could only be used on one card, received bonuses from the "$" row on the cards, and automatically activated the Consume phase straight after for all players.

As I see it, there are four things to teach about the phase:
* Each consume power can only be used once
* A consume power must be used if possible
* You decide what order to use the consume powers
* You decide which goods to use with the consume powers
For most of the game, both players only had a single Consume power, which helped them learn the first two points.

Epsilon Eridani put down Mining League and was soon consuming with two powers, alternating Produce and Double-Consume calls. New Sparta was slapping down expensive Alien and Military worlds, but had a little bit of an economy with Terraformed World, Alien Rosetta Stone and an Alien windfall.

I played whimsically, putting down Research Labs, Galactic Renaissance, Galactic Federation, and Pan-Galactic League. I pointed out all the bonuses I was getting, and how that affecting my choice of phases - the Epsilon Eridani player jokingly complained that my bonuses were completely unfair.

Unfortunately, time grew short, and we had to finish up and hustle out. We finished the game and I hurriedly counted the VP. Epsilon Eridani ended with 41 points, I had 43 points, and New Sparta had won with 50 points! In the last two turns he sprung New Galactic Order and Galactic Imperium for a huge score boost.

Aftermath
Annoyingly, we didn't have the time to go through the scoring power of 6-costs, and run through tallying points. New Sparta had played Galactic Imperium without quite understanding what counted as a Rebel military world, and Epsilon Eridani had put down Mining League more for its consume powers than its scoring potential. I want to run through those concepts next time, and make sure I've spelt out the four main rules about the Consume phase.

As were were finishing off, another colleague came in to watch us - he had seen us play Dominion the week before, and I gave him the high-level pitch: "It's a galactic civilisation game, though rather than attacking each other, you set up bonuses to force them to help you". He wanted to play the next time we did, so hopefully I'll have a 4-player game to report on next!
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fateswanderer wrote:
As I see it, there are four things to teach about the phase:
* Each consume power can only be used once
* A consume power must be used if possible
* You decide what order to use the consume powers
* You decide which goods to use with the consume powers
I know that your phrasing of item #2 will work for many people, but I also know that it will confuse others. I explain it this way:
* Every consume power "runs" or "activates" once
BUT you decide
* the order in which they run
* which good goes where

Of course, explaining it like this has confused people too.


fateswanderer wrote:
...the high-level pitch: "It's a galactic civilisation game, though rather than attacking each other, you set up bonuses to force them to help you".
Awesome one sentence summary of the game!

EDIT: removing an errant "gets"
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Andrew
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TheMadVulcan wrote:
I explain it this way:
* Every consume power "runs" or "activates" once
BUT you decide
* the order in which they run
* which good goes where


This is good - it seems simpler and clearer; I'll try it out.
 
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Serge Levert
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fateswanderer wrote:
Annoyingly, we didn't have the time to go through the scoring power of 6-costs, and run through tallying points. New Sparta had played Galactic Imperium without quite understanding what counted as a Rebel military world, and Epsilon Eridani had put down Mining League more for its consume powers than its scoring potential. I want to run through those concepts next time,

Since they will still be fresh in their minds, you could pull out the 3 6devs they played at the beginning of the next session, with a few worlds as examples, and go over how they score.

fateswanderer wrote:
and make sure I've spelt out the four main rules about the Consume phase.

I like your 4-step consume thing. I'd just change the wording a little:

* Trigger each consume power exactly once
* All consume powers must be triggered
* Trigger consume powers in the order you desire
* You decide which good(s) to use with the consume powers
 
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