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Subject: Just played (and won!) my first ever game. [3 player vs Keldon AI] rss

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Emma
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I ordered this game (just the base set) recently after a pretty glowing endorsement by some guests on The Long View. I can't wait to get my hands on the actual cards, but in the mean time I figured I'd give learning the game a go. This thread brought me up to speed surprisingly quickly, so I just decided to jump into Keldon's program before reading the official rulebook.

My strategy was simple, and solidified quite quickly. I got lucky enough to receive some cheap novelty production words early on (started with Earth's Lost Colony, then quickly played Secluded World and New Vinland. After that, Consumer Markets (the most expensive card I played) allowed me to build a no-frills victory point engine fueled entirely by novelties. The Red player opposite me seemed to get some bad draws, but by mid game it looked like their Galactic Survey: Seti Settlement engine would ramp up and overtake me. Not concerned with Blue's inferior novelty/mineral consume-produce cycle, I just started playing really cheap cards to fill my tableau every time Red settled, while alternating between Produce/Consume to rack up victory points with Consumer Markets. I eeked out the victory by 2 points over Red.

This game is a blast to play, and even after one go it seems like the claims of a tacked on theme are vastly overblown. I felt like my society, concerned with cheap, low quality consumer appeal--I imagine we prostituted our image as vintage earthlings in a massive tourist/consumerist campaign preying on galactic nostalgia--shown through the cards as an emergent narrative. Furthermore, claims that it's light on player interaction also seem misguided. Sure, there was no direct conflict, but I absolutely would have lost if I hadn't been paying attention to what the Red player was up to.

I can see myself playing this game hundreds of times. Any advice before I embark on my first losing streak, which is sure to follow after my beginner's luck?
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Alex Brown
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I absolutely agree about the complaints of lack of theme.

All boardgames abstract to some degree, and I really like how Race does it. In fact, I prefer playing the deep, 30-minute race with it's explore (explore!), expand (settle), exploit (production), exterminate (takeovers-worry about these later). The diplomacy is there (choosing roles, guessing others roles), as is the military (military) and industry (trading/consumption).

The art is also really well done, and for cards, the components are top-notch.

An excellent game. Have fun!
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Emma
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Yeah, I agree. Its space opera (or space ballet) style narrative is abstracted in just the right way, which is surprising considering how absolutely airtight the gameplay is.

I've played around twelve games now; I've won two . Now that I've got the hang of all the symbols and can read them at a glance, I think I really need to slow down and consider my role choices a little more carefully in accordance with what my opponents are doing. When I can follow their strategy, it certainly seems like they benefit more from my turn than I do from theirs.
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Matt N
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I hope you gave the rules summary guy a thumb.

I'd honestly recommend that you don't play the game again until you have the physical copy. The game can be frustrating for those who are behind on the learning curve, and they might want to feel competitive. If you've cobbled together a good produce/consume strategy in your first game, you're already ahead of a lot of people. (Winning 2/12 games against the AI is fine in a 3 player game for new players.)

On the other hand, if they like a challenge, it's probably okay to play more on your own.

That's not the the advice you deserve, but the advice you need (?)
 
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Owen Compton
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Stunna wrote:
I'd honestly recommend that you don't play the game again until you have the physical copy. The game can be frustrating for those who are behind on the learning curve, and they might want to feel competitive.

Seconded, I love Race (it's my favourite game) but playing so much against the AI means that I can't play it with anyone in real life any more. Race has a phenomenally long (and sometimes steep) learning curve for beginners and it'll take them many, many games to overcome the iconography and then start to work out how to win. It's an amazingly rewarding game but if you stay ahead of the learning curve then you will be soundly beating people while they learn and that might put them off.
 
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