Recommend
44 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Rules

Subject: Quick and Basic Rules to Get You Playing rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: RftG [+] [View All]
Ben Smith
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quick and Basic Rules to Get You Playing -- Beginners' Crash Course in Race for the Galaxy


Race for the Galaxy can be a complex and abstract game, especially with the expansions and the extra rules they entail. I’ve created some quick rules below to help beginners get started, though my rules don’t cover all the details or exceptions. The purpose of my rules is to get you over the initial learning curve to start playing, where you'll then have the framework to dive into the official 12-page rulebook or BGG forums for rule clarifications and details.

NOTE: These rules are for the base-game only; add expansions once you figure out the base game.

Setup and Goal

You start with a home world down on the table in front of you (you cards here are called your "Tableau") and four cards in your hand. Each player also has a set of seven Phase cards (with colored backs); these stay separate and are used each round.
The game is over at the end of a round that someone gets 12 cards down in their Tableau, or when the pile of victory point chips (start with 12 pts per player in the pile) has run out. The person with the most victory points at the end wins!

Cards

thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

NOTE: A BIG part of understanding the game comes from being able to interpret the meanings of the various symbols and icons (or Hieroglyphics, as I call them!) on the cards. Shapes, halos, colors, arrows, etc. are all important. There’s a cheat sheet included with the game that can help you, and I’ve included some basic meanings at the end of these rules.
thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

In your hand your cards will either be Worlds (Circular icons) or Developments (Diamond-shaped icons).
The most important number on the card is its cost, right inside the circle or diamond. This tells you how many other cards you’d need to discard to place this card in your Tableau (or how much Military power you need to place it if it’s a Military planet (red circle)).

Some starting Worlds. Note all the colors and icons! Old Earth costs 3, the rest cost 2. New Sparta is a red circle, thus is a Military World. Earth's Lost colony is the only Production World, indicated by the solid Blue of its circle. And Alpha Centauri is a Windfall world, indicated by the brown halo around it's circle.


Phases and Rounds

The way the game works is that each round, each player will secretly select a Phase card from the 7 he has. Then all players reveal their selections simultaneously. The phases people choose are the ONLY phases that will actually happen that round; i.e., if no one chooses Settle, no one gets to settle.
For each phase revealed, EVERYONE gets to do that phase but the person who played the phase card ALSO gets a bonus during that phase. If two or more people play the same Phase card, the Phase only happens once but everyone who played it gets the bonus.
Play through the phases in order of their number (Explore is 1, Develop is 2, etc.). Once each round is done, take back your phase cards and select your phase for the next round, reveal simultaneously, and play them out. And on it goes.
All cards in the game have Roman numerals (I, II, III, $, IV, V) down the side that correspond to the phases that they affect once played to your Tableau. If there’s no info or icons beside a phase number, then that card will do NOTHING during that phase. Just check your cards to see which take effect during any given phase; your cards may offer you a bonus or special action, so pay attention to them.


The Phase Cards:


Here is How the Different Phases Work:

I - Explore: This lets you draw more cards. The base action is "Draw 2 cards, Keep 1." There are 2 different Explore Phase cards, each with a different bonus, so chose the card that gives what you need. One is [+1, +1], meaning you get to draw an extra and keep an extra card (so, draw 3 and keep 2). The other is [+5, +0] meaning you get to draw 5 extra cards (7 total) but only get to keep the standard 1.
II - Develop: This lets you place a Development card in your Tableau if you can afford it. The bonus for whoever picked the Develop Phase card is a 1-pt reduction to the cost of the development they play. You can only play ONE development per round, even if you could afford more. Developments don’t have to match with any World, you just play them independently in your Tableau.
III - Settle: This lets you place a World in your Tableau. You can only place ONE World per round. The bonus if you selected this phase is that you get to draw a free card after placing your World.
To place a World with a black circle you need to discard from your hand the number of cards equal to its cost. For a World with a red circle (Military World) you need to have Military power greater than or equal to the cost, and then you can place that world for FREE (don't discard!). Various cards will give you military power: It’s indicated by an icon of a red circle with a (+1) or (+?) or so on. Add all these add up to get your total military power.
IV ($) - Consume - Trade: The bonus for whoever chooses this phase happens first: That player trades one of their Goods for cards, discarding the good. The number of cards they get to draw as payment is determined by what type/color Good it is; prices are listed on the Consume - Trade phase card. After any players who picked the Trade phase sell one good for cards, all players then Consume any remaining goods if they can. ONLY the players who chose the Consume - Trade Phase card get to trade a good for cards; others just Consume. See below for how to Consume.
IV(x2) - Consume - 2x: During this phase, everyone HAS TO consume any and all of their goods if they can. To see where the goods can be consumed, check your cards (both Worlds and Developments) for icons by the IV on the card, indicating a Consume power. Good are only consumed by cards with a Consume power; if you have no Consume power, your goods just stay put. The Consume power will usually show a colored rectangle (representing a good) with an arrow pointing to what you get when you consume that good. You normally get either Victory Point chips (indicated by a hexagon) or get to draw more cards (indicated by a white rectangle). The bonus for choosing the Consume 2x Phase is that you get double the Victory Points for all goods that you consume for points.
V - Produce: During produce, every Production World (they have solid Blue, Brown, Green or Yellow in their circle) produces a Good, unless there’s already one on it. The bonus if you chose Produce is that you can also produce a Good on one Windfall world (colored halo around the world icon) of your choice.

Looking back at the start Worlds shown earlier, Old Earth, Epsilon Eridani, and Earth's Lost Colony each have Consume powers, indicated by icons by the IV symbol. Alpha Centauri and New Sparta have no consume powers. Earth's Lost Colony and Alpha Centauri are the only two that can produce goods, and they have Novelty (blue) and Rare Earth (brown) goods, respectively. Alpha Centauri is a Windfall world and thus starts with a good but doesn't produce otherwise (unless you have a bonus) and Earth's Lost Colony does not start with a good but will produce one every time anyone chooses the Produce phase.

Playing and Winning

And so the game goes, each round including one or more phases where you explore, place cards in your Tableau, produce goods or consume goods. You chose your phases each time based on what you want to do, and maybe based on what you think someone else will do. Need more cards? Explore! Or, Trade if you have a Good that you can sell. Have a cool Development you can play? Develop! Have some Military power and a suitable Military World in your hand? Settle, and conquer it!
For the most part, players don’t directly interact aside from getting to do the phases that other players chose. All your cards are played only in front of you on your own Tableau, in your own little world.
The game ends at the end of the round when someone gets 12 cards in their Tableau, or when the victory point chips run out due to Consuming.
At the end, count up your Victory Point chips, plus the value of your Worlds and Developments (each has a number inside a hexagon, right next to their cost, indicating their value). Lastly, take a look at any 6-cost Developments you’ve placed. These usually have a (?) for their Victory Point value, and each has special rules for how to tally up the value. Add everything up and see who wins!

A pile of tasty Victory Point chips:




Quick Guide to Hieroglyphics:
Circles = Worlds
Diamonds = Developments
Hexagons = Victory Points
White Rectangles = Cards
Colored Rectangles = Goods
Eye = Look at extra cards when exploring
Black Circle with (- X) in it = Decrease the cost of settling a world by X
Red Circle with (+/- X) = Add/Subtract X to your Military power
Red Circle with (+/- X) with Pink filling = Add/Subtract Military power, but ONLY towards military worlds labeled "Rebel" in the title.

An X over a card means you discard it; a hand grabbing a card means you get to take and keep a card.

Types of Worlds:
Black Circle = normal world
Red Circle = Military World
Colored Halo = Windfall world (start with one good of that color on world when placed)
Blue, Brown, Green, or Yellow fill = Production world (produces colored good in Phase V)
Colored labels in the card titles will specify if a world is Rebel, Imperial, Alien, Terraforming, etc.
58 
 Thumb up
3.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Smith
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Please let me know if you think this is helpful and accomplished the goal of giving beginners a BASIC overview of the game. Ideally it should be enough to get people up and running enough to stumble through a game or two, albeit with plenty of questions still needing to be clarified.

I find the game very intuitive now, but was pretty perplexed when my friends and I first tried to work out the rules. Hopefully my quick reference above will save others from that initial stress.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Serge
Canada
Burnaby
British Columbia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Looks good.

bugeeker wrote:
For a World with a red circle (Military World) you need to have Military power greater than or equal to the cost, and then you can place that world for FREE (Don’t discard, unless it’s to pay certain cards for temporary Military).
Temporary military was not introduced until TGS, you could take that out for simplification.

bugeeker wrote:
The game ends when someone gets 12 cards down in their Tableau, or when the pile of victory point chips (start with 12 pts per player in the pile) has run out.
[...]
The game ends when someone gets 12 cards in their Tableau, or when the victory point chips run out due to Consuming.
Might be useful to say that the game ends at the end of the round where such occurs. Otherwise from the wording it sounds like it ends immediately. If you wrote it as is for simplicity, that's cool too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Smith
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
entranced wrote:

Temporary military was not introduced until TGS, you could take that out for simplification.
Thanks for pointing that out! I've stripped that out for simplicity.

entranced wrote:

Might be useful to say that the game ends at the end of the round where such occurs. Otherwise from the wording it sounds like it ends immediately. If you wrote it as is for simplicity, that's cool too.

I've made that little clarification. I initially did leave out for simplicity, but it's just a few more words to clarify so might as well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt N
United States
Broomfield
Colorado
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do like the guide.

bugeeker wrote:

Quick Guide to Hieroglyphics:
Red Circle w/ +/- number = Add/Subtract Military power

I'd add that having a colored background means that military is specific towards a particular type of world. Also, the equivalent black circle works the same way for cost. I realize this is meant to be concise, but I notice a lot of new players not realizing that specialized military is specialized.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
U.S.A., Earth
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
entranced wrote:
Looks good.

bugeeker wrote:
For a World with a red circle (Military World) you need to have Military power greater than or equal to the cost, and then you can place that world for FREE (Don’t discard, unless it’s to pay certain cards for temporary Military).
Temporary military was not introduced until TGS, you could take that out for simplification.
That alone there imprecise. New Military Tactics does temporary military, even though it is true that it's not a "pfms" power, which to me, are those III powers where you discard weath for military powers. Someone could probably try to argue that by discarding NMT from your tableau that you're "paying for it", but now, I digress.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This seems like it would be helpful, but I see a problem with this portion
bugeeker wrote:
... $ - Consume - Trade: The bonus for whoever chooses this phase happens first: That player can Trade one of their Goods for cards. The number of cards they get to draw is determined by what type/color Good it is; prices are listed on the Consume - Trade phase card. ...
I expect many would take the "can" to be a choice. It isn't. The fact that wanting to just get points means that they'd likely choose the x2 Consume instead but specifying "must" Trade still seems wise to me.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Smith
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Avron wrote:
...specifying "must" Trade still seems wise to me.

The difference between "may" and "must" is always of big importance in game rules, and often cause for much debate in games until the rules are consulted. My quick rules aim towards easy reading over air-tight precision of meaning, but how about this change:

from this:
"That player can Trade one of their Goods..."

to this:
"That player trades one of their Goods..."

Aside from the abuse of the pronoun "their" (which is something I'm hoping catches on more anyway), the change indicates that the trade is something that just will happen, not hinting at it being optional the way "can" would.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Doe
msg tools
Thanks for throwing this together. I wish I'd read it before I read the rulebook, but it was still helpful and confirmed that I am starting to get a decent handle on how this works.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Lehmann
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
bugeeker wrote:
An X over a card means you discard it
Since there are no "discard from hand" powers until the expansions, why not change this to read "discard it from your tableau"? (I've seen some new players be confused by this.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
U.S.A., Earth
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tom Lehmann wrote:
bugeeker wrote:
An X over a card means you discard it
Since there are no "discard from hand" powers until the expansions, why not change this to read "discard it from your tableau"? (I've seen some new players be confused by this.)
Wait a minute.... what about Deficit Spending and Merchant World? Those you discard cards directly from your hand to gain VP. Is there something I'm missing with those if they don't count?
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Lehmann
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
ackmondual wrote:
Tom Lehmann wrote:
Since there are no "discard from hand" powers until the expansions, why not change this to read "discard it from your tableau"? (I've seen some new players be confused by this.)
Wait a minute.... what about Deficit Spending and Merchant World? Those you discard cards directly from your hand to gain VP. Is there something I'm missing with those if they don't count?
Doh! Of course you're correct and I'm wrong. Um... it was late at night??? And I was thinking of the discard from hand to pump Military and not Deficit Spending... the point is that I've seen players puzzled by the discard from tableau icon (for New Military Tactics and Colony Ship) and that a bit more explanation here would be useful.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ben cor
Belgium
flag msg tools
Hey there,

I just bought this game a few days ago. From a complete beginner point of view, this guide is well done.
I understood it easily and it gives a good handle on how the games plays.

Thanks for your time!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Smith
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kazuma6666 wrote:
Hey there,

I just bought this game a few days ago. From a complete beginner point of view, this guide is well done.
I understood it easily and it gives a good handle on how the games plays.

Thanks for your time!

I'm so happy to hear that! I'm really glad that I helped at least one player easily transition into playing (what I consider to be) a great game!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew W
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
bugeeker wrote:
kazuma6666 wrote:
Hey there,

I just bought this game a few days ago. From a complete beginner point of view, this guide is well done.
I understood it easily and it gives a good handle on how the games plays.

Thanks for your time!

I'm so happy to hear that! I'm really glad that I helped at least one player easily transition into playing (what I consider to be) a great game!

By Jove, I think I have finally grasped it! As a result, I can confirm with certainty that you have doubled your tally of players where this guide has helped it to all make sense.

Great job. Thank you.

Now where is that AI? At least next time I lose I will know why
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B S
United States
redondo beach
California
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I just used it last night to play my first game - very helpful, thanks.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clara Fernández
Spain
flag msg tools
I haven´t played for years so your quick rules have been very useful for me to remind the rules. Thank you!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Fitzgerald
United States
HENDERSON
NV
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dude, this is great! This game has one of worst rule books I've ever seen and this is great to get you going quick and figure it out while you play. Takes the pain out of reading that horrible rule book.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Vermorgen
Belgium
flag msg tools
mbmb
Thank you Ben ,i am new to this game and find it very helpful.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wei-Hwa Huang
United States
San Jose
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bugeeker wrote:
The difference between "may" and "must" is always of big importance in game rules, and often cause for much debate in games until the rules are consulted.

It gets even worse if the rules are in German, where "muss" means "must" (or "needs to") and "nicht" means "not" but "muss nicht" means "need not", not "must not".
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls