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Subject: If I don't like Puerto Rico, will I like Race For the Galaxy? rss

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David Oldster
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I don't like Puerto Rico. Not enough to not play it, but it isn't going to be a game I'm going to ask to play if it is available. Maybe I haven't played it enough, but at this point, it doesn't thrill me.

I got to play a few rounds of RftG last night before I was pulled away to teach another game. It seemed Puerto Rico-like, but I've always been a fan of games using cards, and a lot of the mechanisms (discard cards to pay for your purchases, some phases can get totally skipped) seemed intriguing.

On the other hand, at least the base game felt like multi-player solitaire, like Puerto Rico.

Can anyone else who knows both games better help me out? I'm not sure when I am going to get the chance to play RftG in the next two months, so I'm asking now...
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Paul DeStefano
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Hi everyone. My name is Paul.

I don't like PR. I like RftG.
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Geoff
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Well I've only played PR once, but it was enough to know that I, like you, will never request to play it.

RftG is one of my favorite games, however. Race is a little multiplayer solitaire for the first few plays, but you'll catch on to some subtle ways to interact with your opponents. The interaction never becomes much more than subtle, but you'd probably have to get a few games in to decide the level of interaction is acceptable for you.

Race is by no means loved by every human being that touches it, but any similarities to PR are slight enough that you can't immediately dismiss Race on the grounds of disliking PR.
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Ian Scrivins
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You haven't said what you didn't like about Puerto Rico, so it's difficult to be specific, but I'm dubious that you'll like RftG. Both are engine games, both involve 'building' and 'shipping' to gain vps.

How did you like the card icons? Most people who don't like RftG, dislike it because the icons don't really make sense to them.
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Donald Walsh
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Nope, stick to Ameritrash and wargames. ninja
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Len
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Unless you abhor the role selection mechanic, then you could easily like Race and not PR (or vice versa).

Even the role selection mechanic is quite different. Several players can select the same role in race, and they are selected simultaneuosly, and in secret. Very different from PR.

When I play RfTG, it does not feel at all like PR.

For a better answer, you may want to elaborate what it is about PR you dislike.

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Kevin Shillinglaw
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I've played both and I don't find them similar enough to say that if you don't like PR you won't like RftG.

RftG is my favourite game, so I may be a bit biased here. It is mainly multi-player solitare (at least for the base a the first couple of expansions) but there are ways to take advantage of your opponents. As you stated, phases are chosen and sometimes complete phases are skipped. If you can read what your opponents are likely to do, then you can leach off their phase choices and pick another for yourself.

For example: "Player A looks like he's going to Settle. I want to settle too, but I also need to develop. So I'll pick Develop and still get to settle."

The other thing too is that all players take part in a phase at the same time, unlike PR where everyone plays in turn.

Also, the card combos that you can create in RftG can really make a difference.

Bottom line, I think that not liking PR won't mean that you won't like RftG. But, if you want, you can play RftG online, for free, at Board Game Arena against other live players. You can also download Keldon's RftG AI (an excellent implementation) and try that.
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Aaron Morgan
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I don't like Puerto Rico. I do, however, like San Juan and RFtG.
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David Oldster
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I guess my main problem with Puerto Rico is that seating placement seems to have a not insignificant effect on who wins the game. The other problem is that (beyond a round where you can pick a role that helps you and absolutely no one else) you can't really affect other players. So once someone pulls ahead, there's really no way I can see to try and slow them down in a repeated fashion.

People are talking about subtle interactions in RftG, but are these interactions dependent on seating placement, or the colour of planets/developments you have, or...? I'm not saying I want to play a wargame in every game I play, but I do like to think I can at least try to balance things out by more than one game mechanic.
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Mark McEvoy
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Leonithic wrote:
People are talking about subtle interactions in RftG, but are these interactions dependent on seating placement, or the colour of planets/developments you have, or...?


No and no. Seating placement has virtually no impact whatsoever. Neither does colour of planets etc. The interactions are almost entirely in role selection and prediction of your opponents' role selections, and as simultaneous action selections there is no turn-order issue here.

I like RFTG. I don't care for Puerto Rico.
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Jeffrey L.
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I hate RFTG and love Puerto Rico. For what it's worth.

The icons, and names of all of the cards bug the crap out of me in RFTG.

In PR, I like the role selection, which buildings to pick, the board and bits are nice. It's just a game I enjoy thru and thru.

The best part of RFTG is that it is over in 20-30 minutes or so, so it's a decent quick playing kind of game with some strategy to it. I can't seem to find a particular strategy that works best, as I always seem to forget what the symbols,icons, etc mean. It's mostly my fault, as I'm sure I could force myself to learn them. But I really don't like the game enough to spend time memorizing all that stuff.



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David Oldster
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iansc wrote:
How did you like the card icons? Most people who don't like RftG, dislike it because the icons don't really make sense to them.


I didn't mind the card icons once I got started. The reference card really helps. And the player teaching explained them well.
 
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Jay Lacson
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Leisurely Pursuits wrote:
I hate RFTG and love Puerto Rico. For what it's worth.

The icons, and names of all of the cards bug the crap out of me in RFTG.

In PR, I like the role selection, which buildings to pick, the board and bits are nice. It's just a game I enjoy thru and thru.

The best part of RFTG is that it is over in 20-30 minutes or so, so it's a decent quick playing kind of game with some strategy to it. I can't seem to find a particular strategy that works best, as I always seem to forget what the symbols,icons, etc mean. It's mostly my fault, as I'm sure I could force myself to learn them. But I really don't like the game enough to spend time memorizing all that stuff.

+1 to this.

Puerto Rico is fun, relaxing, involves a slight bit of thinking and yep...the board/bits are good too.

RftG was just boring for me (but, I'm limited to only having played the base game). The actions the others select don't hinder you a bit and it's a bit predictable as to who's choosing what.

As Jeffrey said, the best part of RftG is that it's over in 20-30 minutes...it'd be even better if it was over in 5-10 minutes. Just my opinion though.
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Jerry Martin
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Well I put both Puerto Rico and RFTG as awesome games to play. If given a choice I will pick RFTG + any/all but brink of war expansion (it adds a ton of complexity without adding much to the game)

Puerto Rico can be a bit dry whereas I feel more excited by RFTG. Puerto Rico also seems like once you get something going you stick with it until the game is done.

RFTG is much more about working with what you have. You can attempt to push a strategy, but if it falls through you need to adapt with you get, and sometimes you just get screwed.

It should be noted that RFTG accasionally does have a problem. You can get a sweet unbeatable draw. Note this isn't all the time, but sometimes there is just nothing you can do. Playing the best strat possible with what you have just loses to an opponents sweet draw. Personally, I take this as a part of the game shake hands and challenge to another round, but thought you should be aware.
 
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Francisco Colmenares
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imyourskribe wrote:
The interaction never becomes much more than subtle, but you'd probably have to get a few games in to decide the level of interaction is acceptable for you.

There was nothing subtle about my conquering three worlds from my opponent's tableau...

NOTE: this type of direct interaction is only possible with the Rebel vs Imperial expansion, not the base game.
 
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James Sitz
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I also like Race for the Galaxy and dislike Puerto Rico.

I like the simultaneous action (role) selection and variance added by cards.
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Mitchell
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Its simple, there is a very well done compuetr version of RftG you can download and try.
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Eric Brosius
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They have some things in common, but there are important differences as well.

Puerto Rico has very little hidden info (just the plantation tile draws) so people often try to calculate things out in detail. Race has hidden hands of card, so you can't calculate in detail that way. Puerto Rico has a significant seating order issue; this is almost meaningless in Race. In Race, you have to throw away a lot of cards to pay for other cards, which gives some people a feeling of loss; Puerto Rico does not. In Puerto Rico, you can buy the last Harbor (for instance,) snatching out of another player's grasp; this doesn't happen in Race (at least not in such a direct way.)

So it depends on what you dislike about Puerto Rico.
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David Oldster
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Thanks for all the replies, I downloaded the computer version and am trying it out,
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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colmenarez wrote:
imyourskribe wrote:
The interaction never becomes much more than subtle, but you'd probably have to get a few games in to decide the level of interaction is acceptable for you.

There was nothing subtle about my conquering three worlds from my opponent's tableau...

NOTE: this type of direct interaction is only possible with the Rebel vs Imperial expansion, not the base game.


I was about to comment on this but you beat me to it.

Race can have some very direct player interaction with the expansion, but even the base game can have some very subtle player interaction *if* you look for it.

Choosing the phases you will play is a very subtle mind game that most people will not pick up on until they have a few plays under their belt.

Also add me to the "Loves Race but not a fan of Puerto Rico" club.
 
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Tom P
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I have the exact opposite question. I don't really like RftG that much and was wondering if Puerto Rico would be good for me.

I feel like there aren't a lot of different strategies I can use in RftG. If I don't go for a produce/consume strategy I always feel like i'm struggling for money. Ok, within produce/consume I guess you have military vs economic strategies and also novelty vs rare earth vs alien etc strategies but I don't feel like they are all that different. The only time I tried a development strategy it didn't really work well at all. The best strategy seems quite formulaic: start getting your produce/consume engine going, settle relevant production worlds, get consume powers which consume VPs, towards the end of the game try to maximise VPs by using Consume 2x VPs and maybe also play a relevant 6 cost card depending on your tableau. I heard maybe the expansions add more possible strategies?
 
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Leonithic wrote:
I got to play a few rounds of RftG last night before I was pulled away to teach another game. It seemed Puerto Rico-like,


??

Do you mean like San Juan?

It is really not similar to Puerto Rico IMO. I like both.

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tparel wrote:
I feel like there aren't a lot of different strategies I can use in RftG.


Really? we have all the expansions and I find playing with just the base still adds plenty of options, there are a ton of "6" cards, which are usually what I base each game on.
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James 3
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Leonithic wrote:
iansc wrote:
How did you like the card icons? Most people who don't like RftG, dislike it because the icons don't really make sense to them.


I didn't mind the card icons once I got started. The reference card really helps. And the player teaching explained them well.


THIS. the player aid and a decent explainer make this game much easier to digest than many people give it credit for. i LOVE the iconography on he game, and any card that is more complicated than a basic effect spells it out on the card. i also like the variety and theme alot. and there are tons of strategies aside from produce/consume, and the make the best of hat you can aspect is what makes race so replayable.

i like PR, and want to play more, but it is much more calculable, and i find you often get on a path and try and aim that way for 1.5 to 2 hours. race is quick and has lots more variety, and you need to be able to adapt on the fly etc. very different feels, though they both have similar vp cranks.

but winning by ushering in a new galactic renaissance of alien artist colonies and bangin' antigravity discos...beats having an efficient indigo plantation hands down for me.

full disclosure: i own both, like PR but have only played a handful of times, but LOVE RftG (one of my top games for sure) and have played dozens and dozens of times now. shines as a 2 player IMHO.
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Kevin B. Smith
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tparel wrote:
I feel like there aren't a lot of different strategies I can use in RftG. If I don't go for a produce/consume strategy I always feel like i'm struggling for money. Ok, within produce/consume I guess you have military vs economic strategies and also novelty vs rare earth vs alien etc strategies but I don't feel like they are all that different.

If you play against the Keldon AI, you'll find that it can beat you in a wide variety of ways. So many ways, in fact, that I would argue that you don't need to use any particular long-term strategy. I think RftG is far more tactical than strategic. The AI seems to go for a balanced "strategy" very often, with a little production, a couple military, a couple 6-pointers, etc. Looking at the ending tableau, it was often hard to even see exactly how I had lost. I didn't tend to pay very much attention to my opponent(s) on a turn-by-turn basis.

I played a few in-person games and 300 games against the AI (when I had some time to kill). I got to where I could beat the AI about 25% of the time. But from the first game I played to the last, I never loved it. I prefer the simpler San Juan. I haven't tried Puerto Rico, but given my general bias toward lighter/simpler games, I doubt I would like PR better than SJ.
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