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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » General

Subject: Playing without the VP chips rss

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Shlomi Atia
Israel
Deganya B
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The VP chips have always annoyed me a bit. They're fiddly, and keep the game from being a pure card game. It would be nice to carry just the cards in one small deck box.

You can do this by setting aside 12 cards per player to be used instead of the VP chips. This can be a problem if you reach the end of the draw pile. If you haven't reached the end, than the cards you set aside could have been in the bottom anyway.

I wanted to see how many cards are really used during the game. To do this, I counted several things:

d10-1 Cards in tableau
d10-2 Cards in hand in the end of the game
d10-3 Cards used instead of VP chips
d10-4 Cards used to pay for played cards
d10-5 Cards that are used as resources

The resource cards are the hardest to evaluate: The VP chips somewhat limit the amount of produce-consume cycles that can be performed. Bonuses for consumption will limit it even further, but trade, for example, have the opposite effect. I think it's safe to assume that 1 resource card will generate at least 1 VP chip, so I assumed they're limited to 12 per player.
The other numbers are more straightforward. Note that they are based on the base game and the first 2 expansions, as the third expansion add the prestige tokens which make this idea impossible anyway.

Total cards - 180
"VP cards" per player - 12
Cards in tableau - 12 (1 starting world, 11 require payment or military)
Cards that require payment (non military) - 78%
Average cost per card (non military) - 2.41
Hand limit per player - 10
Resource cards per player - 12

This is a crude assumption: Some players might have more or less then 12 cards in the tableau. Some cards might cost less due to bonuses, but on the other hand, players may be using contact specialist to buy military cards, etc. Nevertheless, I think it's a good assumption, and even a little rigorous.
For P players game, the number of cards that will be left is:

180 - P * (12 + 12 + 12 + 10 + 11 * 0.78 * 2.41) =
180 - P * 66.6778

In other words, each player use 67 cards.
In 2 players game, this leaves you with 46 spare cards. This is more then enough to safely play this way.
In 3 players game, you're 20 cards short. Practically speaking, this is never happened to me, so I think my calculations were indeed somewhat exaggerated. To be sure, you can use the 18 blank cards + 2 gambling worlds as some of the VP cards. Some use for them at last!
In 4 players game this is no longer practical.

If you're usually playing the 2 or 3 players game though, I've found that this is a convenient way to store and play the game
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Tom Lehmann
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Your calculations above do not take into consideration Explore actions, which can easily drain the draw pile and force a reshuffle in a base game in the late game.

I was rather surprised this has never occurred in your group's 3-player games, with 36 cards removed from the deck. Then I saw that you are using 180 cards and, therefore, playing with both the GS and RvI expansions (and should have posted this as a RvI variant).

Even so, with 144 cards, you should have still run out the deck in 3-player games some of the time. Your group must really dislike Explore...

If you really want to carry cards and not any chips, then just make up a pair of scoring cards per player.

The first card has the numbers 0-9 (medium blue) and 10-19 (dark red) on one side, with the numbers 20-29 (medium blue) and 30-39 (dark red) on the other side, like this:

0 10
-------
1 11
-------

[...]

The second card is blue on one side and red on the other.

To use, place the second card on top of the first, blue side up, and slide it down to show current VPs as they are earned. When a player gets to 10-19 VP chips, flip the top card over. When a player gets to 20-39 VP chips, flip over both cards as needed.

Using standard poker size cards, you can keep the numbers large enough so that other players can see them across the table and the spaces between the lines large enough so that it is clear which number is showing.

I'm sure someone here can produce a file with such cards... (I'll tip 5 GG to the first to do so).
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Bill Reed
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Galloway
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Seems like a lt of work for a small problem. I keep all the cards and the chips in a small double deck box. It may be slightly bigger because the chips are in a small baggie between the two card stacks.
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Shane
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How about a simple counting/scoring app instead of the chips?
 
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Ron
Austria
Vienna
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I assume you don't play with Prestige? meeple

Prestige points are not only counters, they are also extremely ugly, don't match the graphic appearance of the rest of the game, and - because of their size - look clumsy soblue
 
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Andrey
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I've been using cards for VPs for a long time. With all expansions we rarely reshuffle anyway.

Also using face up cards for prestige - not very pretty, but good enough if you're lazy like me.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Can fit the entire game in an expansion box. Scoring cards probably take up more room than scoring chips . . .

But sure change the game!
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J Holmes
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Poker chips for the win.
 
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rain
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Really, how many serious card games never use non-card items? I'm not talking about silly games like Crazy Eights or Bang. Most traditional games use chips, or pen and paper to record scores. Many modern games use tokens to represent temporary or special effects; Magic el Gatherismo is rife with these. And even Dominion, the most pure card game I could think of, takes advantage of counters and mats for some cards.
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Rainstar wrote:
Really... And even Dominion, the most pure card game I could think of...


That, in itself, is scary.
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Ben Holle
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Why would it be a problem to reach the end of the draw pile? Wouldn't you just shuffle the discard like normal, deal off a number equal to the remaining VP cards to be used as the new remaining VP cards, and add the first VP pile to the top of the new draw deck?
 
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Will Brasher
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Check the files page of the game, great little card sized scoring sheets there! Saves a hassle and keeps a record of your plays!
 
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Sean Franco
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Just carry around a Poker deck. That's twelve cards per player, plus a spare six. Draw one instead of gaining a chip. Bam, cards.
 
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