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Subject: Race For The Galaxy.. rss

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Thinking of getting Race For The Galaxy.....how hard is it to learn.. I play carcassonne, settlers, dominion, 7 wonders,Does it live up to all the hype..I hear alot of mixed reviews on this game and not sure if it will be fun..
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I would recommend trying the game before buying it. I think the iconography is the biggest hurdle for new players, but is easily overcome after a few plays. I bought it recently and have no regrets!
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Ian Scrivins
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The key question to ask is: Do you like the symbols? This tends to be a love or hate issue. If you don't get on with the symbols, chances are you won't like the game.
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Brian McCormick
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Depends on what you mean by "fun". If you like the combo-building and economy-building in Dominion, then you'll likely enjoy Race. It's one of my favorite card games, and every session allows for a different sort of strategy.

The biggest two complaints are as follows:

1. "It's a luckfest" - there are plenty of people who feel that the random drawing of cards determines the outcome of the game, but I couldn't disagree more. Often, if I see early on that I'm not getting any big-hitting combos, I'll simply "race" and finish as early as I can. With a bit of practice, you can easily end the game (12 cards) when your opponents are slowly building their economy or military engine and haven't even passed 10 cards. Sometimes this doesn't work, but there definitely is a lot of strategy. However, you have to play it a few times and learn the cards.

2. "The icons are SOOOO hard to learn!" - this complaint is a bit overblown. In my experience, 'hobby' boardgamers will learn just about anything no matter how confusing if they have the desire to play that game. It's simply a matter of will. So, there will be people who have no desire to play Race, and to these people, the icons will be a steep learning curve that is annoying. On the other hand, the people that want to learn Race will enjoy the symbols' intuitive nature. My wife had very little desire to learn this game but she "got it" after only 1 1/2 sessions. Now it is one of her favorites, even though the theme isn't her thing.

The BIGGEST obstacle in your way of playing Race is - in my opinion - the teaching aspect. If you're not a good rule teacher, then your opponents might not want to play with you. But if you take the time to explain the mechanics in a clear and practical manner, then most people will "get it" rather quickly.

Hope that helps!
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Joe Kundlak
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Watch the tutorials by Wei-Hwa Huang:

VIDEO: A Rules Tutorial for RFTG
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thanks, it looks like a game I would like, I just heard so much negative on how hard it is to learn. I would have to teach family members how to play..
 
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Brian McCormick
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coco123 wrote:
thanks, it looks like a game I would like, I just heard so much negative on how hard it is to learn. I would have to teach family members how to play..

"The smallest dogs bark the loudest".

I'm fine with people not liking a certain game, but on BGG, if someone doesn't like a game, THEY LET YOU KNOW and it can color your decision to get a game. There's nothing wrong with asking for help and opinions, but if you read enough about a game you can usually tell if you'll like it or not.
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A Brave New Geek
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Race for the Galaxy is pure gold! If you are worried about the bugbear of learning the rules (it is pretty hard... I have been playing these games for a few months and it was only really the finer details of Arkham Horror rules that were arguably harder) than try San Juan first as it is like Race for the Galaxy lite really.

Still a great game and from the looks of what you have been playing will add variety to your collection.

Failing that, just jump in and go for it! Just leave the 3rd expansion for a while.... :-) All the best!
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Kevin B. Smith
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I have played San Juan, and am waiting for Race for the Galaxy to arrive in the mail. I bought RftG because my casual-gamer wife thought the space theme sounded a lot more fun than colonial San Juan, and that the icons would be fine. Her favorite game is Vanished Planet, which also has a reputation as being difficult to learn, with confusing symbology.

I think the learning difficulties of RftG can be split into 2 parts: 1) the icons, and 2) the unusual role/phase mechanic. I can see where trying to understand both of those, while at the same time also learning something like 80 unique-power cards, would be intimidating.

For that reason, San Juan is a pretty good stepping stone to RftG. Actually, I think Citadels would also be a good stepping stone (but I have not played it). Once you have seen how this kind of role selection game works, you only have to learn the icons. (If you started with SJ, you have to learn how RftG has simultaneous role selection and sequenced phases. If you started with Citadels, you would have to learn how the role you pick enables everyone to perform those actions this round), [Edit] and also that "cards are money".

Now, the RftG icons are somewhat complicated, but they are also mostly pretty logical. At least the basic ones are. I think you have to understand the game first, and then the icons second. I don't think you can go the other way. There are some great video tutorials (especially those from PollutedMonk) that will help.

So for you, OP. Bottom line. I think buying RftG for your family would be a risky move. If I were you, I would:
- Try to find a local gaming group, so you can try all three in person before having to buy anything. Also, learning from a person is VASTLY easier than learning from a book or video. Check meetup.com.
- Play Citadels or San Juan yourself first (SJ can be played online for free).
- Play RftG yourself (there are several free electronic versions, including one that allows you to play solo against AI).
- Probably introduce Citadels or San Juan to your family before RftG, unless they have seen descriptions of the RftG game and cards and are already highly motivated to want to learn it.
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Yep peakhope is right.

Read the rules and try the solo AI and definitely listen to Joe and watch the rules video.

When I was learning I read the rules, watched the rules video and then read the rules again.

Great game though (might be my wife's favorite)
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Its hard to TEACH.

The rule book is docudrama dry, not written in a conversational matter at all. Because of this, its very, very dense, even though it is not a large rulebook. Its very efficient.

There's just a lost of concepts as well as icons.

But it is a really great game full of killer tough decisions.

But this is one where you have to have truly sharp gamers, not people who sometimes game.

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Matt Shinners
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I'm one of the few who don't like this game, and not because of the symbols. I found the symbols very easy to pick up on, and they're actually very logical. Just remember that the same image always means the same thing, and you can probably figure out most of the symbols without reading what they do (after you learn the symbols for the basic functions like draw and score).

As far as why I don't like the game, I feel that the theme is very pasted on. I didn't have a problem understanding the symbols, but they distracted from the feeling of actually building a space empire. It was also much more multiplayer solitaire than I would have liked (I know, those who enjoy the game don't agree with me. I've read your points, and I still feel the same way. I respect your opinion; please respect mine). This is a problem I have with most deckbuilding games, however, and I don't particularly care for Dominion. If you enjoy that game, I would definitely give this a try, at the very least. And, at $25 at most online sites, you can't beat the price. Even if you don't like it, it's great trade fodder.
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matt e
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Try it at board game arena. I just found this site 3 weeks ago and BGA last week, but BGA has been a blast. I've already bought one game I found there (stone age) and will be getting two more soon.
 
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well I ordered it, Im wondering if I should of ordered the first expanssion since you can play solo and If I played solo enough then I could teach it better.
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Tim Park
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Joeyeti wrote:
Watch the tutorials by Wei-Hwa Huang:

VIDEO: A Rules Tutorial for RFTG


I was off-put for a long time because of all the inconography, mixed with comments from my game group, but once viewing this tutorial and then trying the online AI version, I found it was really not that difficult at all. My son was able to pick it up quick once I knew how to demo the rules.
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MattShinners wrote:
As far as why I don't like the game, I feel that the theme is very pasted on. I didn't have a problem understanding the symbols, but they distracted from the feeling of actually building a space empire.

That's pretty much it for me too. I didn't have trouble learning RftG, and I like the icons well enough. But building a space empire is something that presumably takes place over many years or decades, even centuries; and that theme is (to me) incongruent with a game where you burn through the deck in fifteen minutes of mostly simultaneous play.

Also, learning what's in the deck is key to playing intelligently; and it's not quick, easy, or simple to learn this new deck and begin to see what combinations of cards are valuable. I might do it myself, but I'd be reluctant to teach RftG to anybody else.

For now, I keep RftG (and the first expansion) around in case I decide to play it solitaire. But deck-learning games (not to mention deck-building games) don't generally work with the (mostly casual) gamers I know.
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Brian McCormick
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coco123 wrote:
well I ordered it, Im wondering if I should of ordered the first expanssion since you can play solo and If I played solo enough then I could teach it better.

If you're playing solo for the purpose of understanding the game better, you're just as well off playing the base set by yourself (the game ends when you have 12 cards in your tableau or when all the VP chips have been taken) or playing the free version online.
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Ryan Langewisch
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coco123 wrote:
well I ordered it, Im wondering if I should of ordered the first expanssion since you can play solo and If I played solo enough then I could teach it better.

I am 18 and was the one that read the rulebook to try to get a grasp. After a couple reads and watching a bit of an online tutorial, I gave it a run with my 14 year old brother. The first game was naturally rough, but by about the third game (and they aren't that long) we had a good grasp on it. 107 plays later it is still our go-to two player game. We didn't purchase the expansion until about 60+ plays so I don't think it is necessary. My advice would be to pick one person who is willing to go through a couple learning games with you, and then from that point, make sure you only have one or two new players for any given game.
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Gregory Kikola
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coco123 wrote:
well I ordered it, Im wondering if I should of ordered the first expanssion since you can play solo and If I played solo enough then I could teach it better.

I wouldn't recommend it for learning the game. The solitaire rules are great, but they're not designed to help you learn how to play the base game. If you get the expansions, add them gradually, one at a time, once you're familiar with the base game.

If you want to practice the game, try downloading mrkeldon's Race for the Galaxy AI. It is a very nice program that allows you to play the regular game (and any of the expansions) against computer opponents, or against human opponents online.
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Clyde W
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MattShinners wrote:
This is a problem I have with most deckbuilding games, however, and I don't particularly care for Dominion. If you enjoy that game, I would definitely give this a try, at the very least. And, at $25 at most online sites, you can't beat the price. Even if you don't like it, it's great trade fodder.
I definitely dislike Dominion because of the very limited player interaction. For me, Race is much better, simply because it forces me to figure out which roles my opponents will choose then select the best role to take advantage of that. So, yes, it's still not as direct as some games, but way more than Dominion.

I think it's a good game. It's not hard to figure out, the rulebook I think is quite well written, and it's not too bad to teach to gamers. To non-gamers, well, they have problems learning much easier games.
 
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Well as people said, the hardest part is learning it. Play 3-4 games with starter's set up and then play some more. The problem is basically: a) you must understand what all the symbols mean, b) you must know what cards there are in the deck. So the learning curve is steep, you will play the game 4-10 times before you'll be comfortable with it, but one game takes 30 minutes so it's not that big of a deal. Just expect this before hand. Once you get over this, the game is relatively simple to play.

One tip for teaching the game is explaining the phases backwards. Also check various tutorials and player aids.

Avoid this game:
- if you lack patience
- if you have hard time learning rules from booklet and explaining them.

Oh, my GF cursed for 4 days before she was comfortable playing the game. Then she loved it. (And usually played with back side of rules with listed 6 cost developments next to her).
 
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John Fred Obedoza
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I might be generalizing on this, but I believe one of the things that might put off people from this game is the sci-fi theme -- guys are not bothered by this, but girls are somewhat averse to sci-fi. So if you tend to play with mostly female crowds, take note.
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It is free to play on Boardgamearena.com if you want to try it.
 
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Garcian Smith
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I've had an interesting relationship with the game.

I had heard great things about it:

- extremely quick play time
Games last 30 minutes or less! Wow, that'll save me a lot of time and allow multiple games!
- different game each time
Having the entire deck shuffled makes each play different as the cards you get vary so much.
- diversified powers
Each start world has some sort of kink they are good at. It made it more fun than Dominion where I could copy what someone else would buy.
- space theme
I like Sci-Fi more than fantasy just because it tends to be more on the semi-realistic side and as such do not feature overly coincidental moments.

When I opened the box I was underwhelmed. Cards... and some cardboard counters? What the? But as I played, I realized... this is MAGIC. The first couple times were difficult as I had never played a game like this before. You basically choose your action and reveal simultaneously with everyone else. The icons soon became second nature and overall it was a great game.

But I don't know if it's because of Keldon's AI program, but I really haven't had the motivation to play it as of late. It's still fun, but I don't know if it's the lack of direct interaction or just playing it too much has made it worn off to me.

But I still think you should get it as it is one of the most interesting games out there. I say the 1st expansion is a must-have too as you'll probably get bored with only 5 start worlds. Keep in mind the game only really succeeds with multiple plays, so I would not choose it to play with people you'll only randomly see. That would be better suited to an easier or cooperative game.
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Max Maloney
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The icons aren't as hard to learn as you might think.

The gameplay is not at all obvious when you first start however. I think the icons are mostly an issue because they aren't helping you with the strategy.

This is a game you probably need to play a dozen times before you start to understand what you're doing. The good news is the games will be short.

It's worth it. And, especially at online prices, you're not spending much to try it out. There's a reason for its high ranking.
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