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Subject: Teach for the Galaxy - Newbie versus Veterans rss

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Andrew
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Background
Two days ago, I introduced two colleagues to Race for the Galaxy; yesterday we played another game and attracted the attention of a another colleague. Today, he joined us for a 4-player game in a conference room I booked over lunch.

I had taught the 2-game "veterans" using a 3-phase practice game before getting into the real thing; Chris and Tom have taught the entire thing in one shot, and I was curious whether I could pull this off.

Like the two others, this new player had a very strong mathematical background, and despite being fluent, English wasn't his first language.

Summarising the Rules
I went through a pithy pre-game overview that served as a refresher for the other two:
* He had the action cards in front of him and had been looking through them. I gave him a homeworld and its starting hand, and described building up a galactic empire of cards in front of him.
* I emphasised the development/planet distinction and how they were placed in separate phases, then segued into calling a phase and then playing through all of them.
* I mentioned but did not detail the phase bonuses, running through phases 1-3.
* World colours and goods were next, and I given the past confusion, paid special attention to colour-specific bonuses and how grey worlds could not hold goods. I described the Produce phase, the Consume phase, and ran through Trade as a bonus to the Consume phase.
* Realising that I had left out military conquest, I went back to it, using real cards as examples.
* I mentioned the strength of 6-cost developments and how the previous game's winner had finished off his tableau with 6-costs that synergised with what he had already placed.

Throughout, he had been absorbing my spiel without flinching and asked some pretty good questions. I told him to ask if there were cards he had trouble with - he joked that this would make it easier for me to win.

The Game
I gave the newbie New Sparta, so that he wouldn't have to administer an economy. Last time's winner took Alpha Centauri; the other player took Earth's Lost Colony, eager to try out a produce-consume strategy.

ELC started with a produce that benefited no one else - everyone had been playing chicken on Settle, and no one called it. Strangely enough, Alpha Centauri didn't trade, prefering to put down Mining Robots; I decided to let the player come to his own conclusions about it.

Once again, I decided to play Galactic Renaissance for kicks, and put down Public Works, Replicant Robots and some cheap production worlds. ELC put down a second production world, Tourist World, and then started into a produce-consume cycle, running the consume powers himself, noting that no one else wanted to call Produce. AC kept on putting down and trading brown worlds but lacked consume powers; NS put down green worlds and then asked me about Pan-Galactic League, which he put down straight after.

After initially losing tempo by expecting Explore calls and miscosting a Develop, the newbie got the hang of the game; he reminded me when I forgot his PGL bonus cards and drew the notoriously easy-to-forget settle bonus himself. ELC was also getting into it - he asked me about Mining Conglomerate and noted that he should hold onto it to keep it from AC.

I was about 4-cards ahead on tableau, but it was all cheap junk. I deliberated whether to end the game and finally put down Research Labs and Artist Colony.

As were weren't being hurried out of the room like last time, I ran through the scoring process, explaining how the 6-costs got points for other cards in the tableau.

Alpha Centauri scored 21 points with a bunch of brown worlds and Mining League placed late in the game. I noted that playing it earlier would have let him grab bundles of points like the ELC player had been collecting.

New Sparta came in at 26 with Pan-Galactic League, some green worlds and some other military worlds - at least he wasn't last, he said.

My Epsilon Eridani came in at 35 points, double-consuming every time ELC called a produce and leeching most of the build phases throughout the game, relying on Galactic Renaissance with Artist Colony and Research Lab for tableau points.

Earth's Lost Colony won with 36 points. The player built an 8-point 1-card engine mid-way through the game, and by the end it had become 10-points 3-cards; he noted that even if I had let the game gone on, his economy was outpacing mine - a quick learner!

Wrapup
As we packed up, I gave them a high level overview of different scoring paths they could follow.

I was pleasantly surprised how well the newbie did, figuring out a 6-cost combo and playing it, and being aware of how others' phase choices affected him. The ELC player is turning out to be quite a shark, eagerly exploring and analysing new strategies as he did in Dominion.

I'm estimating one or two more games before introducing the cards from Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm; the deck looks very thin with 4 players towards the end of the game. I think they'll get a kick out of the new homeworlds as well.
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Serge Levert
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Great success!
 
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Douglas Glisson
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I'm buying a plane ticket so I can come there and you can teach me too! I just haven't "got it" yet. shake

Kraken Fan #69
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John Elbek
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What seems to be the problem, Douglas? Perhaps we can assist you here.
 
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Douglas Glisson
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I'm gonna keep signing my posts so just let it go already.
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You know, I listened to the D6 Generations podcast review on RftG and after playing San Juan. It all seems to kinda make much more sense now! I'll try a game this weekend and report back.

Thanks for the offer of help though!

Kraken Fan #69
 
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