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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Rules

Subject: Two Player Semi Pro rss

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Zach Kindall
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Two player pro kind of irritates me because it makes it really hard to pick phases that don't benefit your opponent. There are times when I can only benefit from one phase but have to choose a second one even when I would prefer not to.

I was thinking about doing a house rule where you can pick two phases or one phase. I know this game went through a lot of play testing so I am assuming that if this were a balanced way of playing it would be listed as a variant in the rules. Can anyone tell me why this would be a bad idea?
 
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Guido Gloor
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Hm ... if your opponents benefits more than you from two out of nine phase selection cards in five phases, that means that he has a better position than you in eigth out of nine choices, and four out of five phases.

If that was the case, wouldn't you kind of have lost already at that point?

If it's not the case, then you can select two cards that you get more benefit from than your opponent, and even if he also benefits you'll get out ahead.

Brother Zach wrote:
Can anyone tell me why this would be a bad idea?

Because then, you'd be willfully forgoing a benefit in an area where you can profit more from a phase than your opponent.
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Zach Kindall
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Good points.

I guess the only reason you have to pick two phases would be to stop you from short changing yourself? Are there any other balance issues anyone can think of?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Brother Zach wrote:
Two player [game for advanced players] kind of irritates me because it makes it really hard to pick phases that don't benefit your opponent.

When does this happen? Broadly speaking, you are either trying to exploit a tableau advantage, in Develop or Settle, or a VP chip advantage by producing goods and consuming them for VPs. That's how you propel the game along to a conclusion and earn VPs.

In the first case, in 2PA, you generally want to call either Develop-Develop or Settle-Settle (whichever one you have an advantage in) and, in the second phase, you want to call Consume:2x-Produce. How does doing this force you to choose an extra phase that benefits your opponent?

If you don't have an advantage somewhere, then you have bigger problems...

But even then, if your problem is lack of goods/cards, you can call Settle-Trade to place a windfall world and Trade or, if you already have a good, Explore-Trade (to get both card selection and lots of cards) or Trade-Produce (to replace your good).

When doing this versus a player building tableau, you have to judge which of giving them an extra card from Explore, a possible Settle (against an opponent calling Develops), or extra goods (from Produce), benefits them the least. If all three are truly bad, then call Trade/Consume 2x; it won't have any effect on them (since a Consume phase has already been triggered by your Trade call).

If you already have lots of cards, but not the ones you need, you can call Explore-Explore to gain selection and two cards to your opponent's one (which they were already going to get with a single Explore call).

The one case where you sometimes have to give your opponent something is when you want to call Produce to start a Consume:2x-Produce cycle. But, even there, a call of Trade-Produce or Consume:2x Produce rarely hurts (as you presumably have an advantage in Consume or wouldn't be doing this)...
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David desJardins
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I think it might not be that useful to call a only a single phase, but I think it's reasonable to ask if it would give players an extra option without really doing any harm to the game. I never really thought about this before.
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Tom Lehmann
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DaviddesJ wrote:
if it would give players an extra option without really doing any harm to the game.

Depends on how you define "harm".

Much of RFTG's player interaction and strategy comes from the interplay of phase choices. In 2PA, what phases do you choose to attempt to help you more than your opponent? How do you best advance your position in light of what you think your opponent is likely to do?

By giving a player the option to "duck" some of this strategic interaction, you reduce player interaction. Many people already claim (falsely, imo) that RFTG is too "heads-down" and "multi-player solitaire". Given this, allowing players the option to choose to interact less with their opponents (albeit at a loss of a bonus for a turn), seems like a change for the worse, imo.

Some players, of course, might enjoy this option. And, of course, players are always free to play by whatever house rules they wish to. But, this thread really belongs in the Variants, not the Rules, forum.
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David desJardins
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
By giving a player the option to "duck" some of this strategic interaction, you reduce player interaction.


I don't really it as ducking a choice. You're giving up something (a bonus) in exchange for more control over which phases occur. It seems like it wouldn't be a good choice very often, but maybe once in a while. If it were the best choice a large fraction of the time, then it might reduce tension and variety, but it seems like that wouldn't happen.

It certainly should be under Variants, I didn't notice the forum.
 
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Zach Kindall
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Wow! Thanks for the personal response, Mr. Lehmann! This game never ceases to amaze me.

I will admit that the times when I want just one phase are pretty rare. It is usually when I want to produce to start a produce / consume X2 cycle.

I really appreciate everyone's input on this.

I would move the thread to variants if I knew how.
 
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Matt N

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Brother Zach wrote:
I was thinking about doing a house rule where you can pick two phases or one phase. I know this game went through a lot of play testing so I am assuming that if this were a balanced way of playing it would be listed as a variant in the rules. Can anyone tell me why this would be a bad idea?


You eliminate some of the endgame tension; for instance, you may only want to call one phase to end the game but still have to pick two. An expert player would almost certainly be correct to call two phases on every round except the last one, so the variant would hardly add anything.

Anyway, keep in mind that Race for the Galaxy is a game of relative advantage... Even if you're outclassed in every phase, which is not uncommon when starting with Old Earth, you still need to lay the groundwork for a phase (like produce) where you will have an advantage down the road (in phase IV).
 
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