The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

Demyx wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

I tried really hard to like Race for the Galaxy, but I found it far too dependent on draw luck for my taste. Too hard to implement a good strategy when you're getting nothing but garbage.

I strongly disagree. While it's true that sometimes you luck into a set of cards that works really well together, the key is to work with what you're drawing. Sometimes this means getting creative with the cards you already have down, sometimes it means cutting losses.

This. Absolutely this. It's what makes the game fun once you get beyond the beginner stage. It's all about managing the random aspects and building a coherent strategy from what comes your way. I've yet to find another game that does this so well as Race, especially playable in 30 minute chunks with no real prep time.

The only gaming I got in over the weekend was a late night game of Wiz War with my family. I typically keep my FFG games out of rotation for family events because they tend to be very rules heavy and complicated, but Wiz War was a great success for us. There was very little rules confusion and the turns went by pretty quickly. People enjoyed coming up with creative uses of spell combos finding different ways to screw each other over. I can't wait to get another game together over Christmas.

Well, I don't know. I played a lot of games of this, and I found that success often depended on whether I got the six-point development card that worked with my strategy or not. At the end, when adding up our scores, this very often turned out to be the difference maker.

It seems I'm in the clear minority here, so I'll accept that I might be wrong and am just playing the game wrong, but I'm not convinced. While I agree that there is a lot of strategy in managing a hand of seemingly disparate cards to form a coherent strategy, some cards present much more obvious synergies and players who receive those cards will have a much easier time developing their tableau and managing their resources towards a winning outcome.

Frankly, I think it might be difficult to establish without actually going through a game and pointing it out.

Gremlin wrote:

Usually people get it once they make the investment, but it's a pretty big barrier, since even when you understand what the cards do you still have to learn why you would want to do that. Do start new players with one of the beginning hands, even if everyone else draws randomly, since it means they get a decent place to start from.

I think this is where I am at, currently-- I just don't "get" the produce/consume phases. I plod along, building up my military or playing developments, and usually end the game by building 12 items in my "tableau," but I always lose on points. I just can't seem to figure out how to build that VP engine.

EDIT:

BTW, if anyone wants to try the electronic version, go here:

http://keldon.net/rftg/

It contains the base game and the first few expansions, can play either regular or two-player "advanced" rules, and allows multiplayer through a server.

Dysplastic wrote:

Well, I don't know. I played a lot of games of this, and I found that success often depended on whether I got the six-point development card that worked with my strategy or not. At the end, when adding up our scores, this very often turned out to be the difference maker.

I think in general, you want to base your strategy around what 6 point developments you get. The other way lies madness and I've fallen prey to that trap numerous times playing against Demyx.

The expansions help a ton in smoothing out the points spread. You'll still see some massive blowouts due to RNG, but the expansions offer up side goals (which makes chasing 6 cost devs less necessary) as well as the expected additional 6 cost developments.

SommerMatt wrote:

I think this is where I am at, currently-- I just don't "get" the produce/consume phases. I plod along, building up my military or playing developments, and usually end the game by building 12 items in my "tableau," but I always lose on points. I just can't seem to figure out how to build that VP engine.

If you're trying to build up a VP engine with Produce/Consume you need to be selective about which production worlds you're choosing. You want non-Windfall production worlds (ie. the ones without halos) since those refill every time Produce is picked. Windfall worlds slow down the engine because you can only refill 1 windfall world when you choose Produce (unless you have Produce phase powers that let you refill additional windfall worlds whenever that phase occurs). The other piece is picking good Consume cards.

Based on what I've read on BGG the base game generally favors the Produce/Consume strategy using Blue resources. It becomes less dominant as you add the expansions. Green/Yellow goods (and Uplift/Alien keywords) are much more fleshed out with Expansions 1 and 2, while Military (and Rebel/Imperium keywords) are fleshed out with expansions 2 and 3.

It's really a shame Rio Grande hasn't put out a "Big Box" for Race, or a compilation box of the three expansions. The game is significantly improved by the expansions.

SommerMatt wrote:

I think this is where I am at, currently-- I just don't "get" the produce/consume phases. I plod along, building up my military or playing developments, and usually end the game by building 12 items in my "tableau," but I always lose on points. I just can't seem to figure out how to build that VP engine.

If you're going for a strategy centered around produce/consume, which IMO is the most viable strategy in the vanilla game without expansions (it becomes less important with the expansions, but is still viable), you don't want to build up your military, and you probably don't want to play more than a couple of developments.

WARNING: This is how I play RftG, take my advice with a grain of salt

Basically there are two major strategy lines, production and military. This becomes more apparent in the expansions which let you choose between a military or non-military starter world.

If you're military, your basic goal is to build up your military and play high value military worlds as fast as possible -- you should be aiming to end the game by getting twelve cards in your tableau first. This is much easier to do if you are playing with expansions, as the military strategy in the core game tends to be difficult to pull off against a good production/consumption strategy.

If you're production, your basic goal is to build up a production engine and get into a cycle of Produce / Consume (with extra VP chips) for several rounds with the goal of running out the VP chip pile. You probably won't touch twelve cards in your tableau with a production strategy.

shoptroll wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

It's definitely no more multiplayer solitaire than 7 Wonders.

Well, there's takeover rules in the 3rd expansion, but I haven't played with those. Also, It's less "solitaire" than people think. For example, a well timed consume phase can throw your opponent(s) off course if they're not prepared for it.

I've never played Race for the Galaxy, but I've played a lot of 7 Wonders. There's a lot of 'versus' in even the base game, though. Canny card use and as the hands rotate around the table allows you to do terrible things to your neighbors. For example, starving Rhodes of military cards can mess up their whole strategy. Coupling that with some choices in how you play resource cards can be truly devastating. You starve them of the ability to build things or progress in their Wonders. I managed to keep neighbor from winning last time I played by not playing a glass resource card and burning the two others I got for cash so he couldn't use them, for example.

I have played with all three expansions (and also the Catan and Manneken Piss civs), and I find them to bring things into even sharper conflict. That last set with the new black cards and the diplomacy rules really mixes things up, particularly in the money department.

Or maybe I just play with mean, ruthless people.

Another great weekend playing Libertalia. And, as a bonus, a great "that's what she said" moment when the wife dropped a coin in with the other tokens and says "Oops, I got one stuck in the booty"...Libertalia naming the tokens "booty" tokens is the gift that keeps on giving!

In a never-ending quest to be the only person that owns the game, my friend got me the stand-alone expansion to the Resident Evil game called "Alliance". It implements a new "Partners" system which seems designed to actually make the game easier to complete. You control two characters instead of just one. It also seems to implement a lot more cards and effects that mess with other player's decks.

So jumping back to people discussing how Dominion is like a multiplayer solitaire, if anyone eventually bites the bullet on the Resident Evil game then I'd recommend grabbing the Alliance one. For now, at least. I haven't actually played it yet, and most of the time when my friends and I play we stick to the basic stuff instead of using the Nightmare expansion.

I echo all the Race For the Galaxy love here, as it's one of my all time favorites. The learning curve is steep, and as you're learning some strategies will seem quite overpowered, and luck will seem huge, but repeated plays show that not to be the case. Even with takeover rules, they don't happen often at all. The core of player interaction is role selection, and subtle bluffing (and double bluffing) that accompanies it. Having said that, if you don't understand the core game, do not, under any circumstances, start playing with the expansions. Much like Demyx said, with the core game you have two main strategies (consume/produce, military) with several situational lesser strategies (all development, quick colonize, etc.) to pursue. Play one of those from the cards dealt to you and execute it well to win. By the time you get to the third expansion, not only do you have more strategies, you need to be actively playing two of them to win. The strategic complexity goes up incrementally if you start one expansion at a time, giving each one 10 plays or so before moving on. If you tackle all three in one go, well, good luck.

Also, Keldon's AI can be ruthless. If it's kicking your arse, don't fell too bad.

Stilgar Black wrote:

Also, Keldon's AI can be ruthless. If it's kicking your arse, don't fell too bad.

This is how I learned it's not all luck....

http://keldon.net/rftg/

SamF7

SamF7 wrote:
Stilgar Black wrote:

Also, Keldon's AI can be ruthless. If it's kicking your arse, don't fell too bad.

This is how I learned it's not all luck....

http://keldon.net/rftg/

SamF7

So wait is the ai crazy strong in this? Just download and thinking about learning how to play. The game sounds interesting but I'd probable never get a chance normally.

master0 wrote:

So wait is the ai crazy strong in this? Just download and thinking about learning how to play. The game sounds interesting but I'd probable never get a chance normally.

Crazy Strong? Um. Well. That's the thing. I LOSE. A LOT. But I'm not sure why....which probably indicates my skill level more than the ability of the AI. All joking aside, word on the forums is that Keldon's AI IS really good, so I bet it's safe to assume that the AI plays a good game.

Anyhoo, grab the rules. The game linked above IS a great way to learn to play. I probably play 1-2 games of this EVERY NIGHT before going to bed. Heh, since getting RftG, I haven't touched Freecell or Solitaire!

SamF7

SamF7 wrote:

Crazy Strong? Um. Well. That's the thing. I LOSE. A LOT. But I'm not sure why....

I have the same problem. I think a lot of it is that the UI is incredibly minimalistic and there's no delay in showing the results of each phase. My brain can't process what's going on in the AI app because I have no context to show me how the tableau is changing (for myself or my opponent). Excellent AI, and it's a solid implementation of the game but I think I'd have an easier time using it if there was some razzle-dazzle stuff to slow it down slightly.

Speaking of Race for the Galaxy, I played Eminent Domain tonight with NSMike and Toph513. We had a great time and it was very close, with only a few things done wrong.
I liked the role selection and the strategy of predicting the other peoples' moves, so there were some complex strategies we could develop. Each of us took different tactics and each of us did pretty well in our respective positions. The difference was 1 point at the end.

I've played Race over 100 times, and it took me several games to understand precisely what was going on in the UI for Keldon's AI.

Thanks to a couple gift cards and a timely Thanksgiving sale, I've purchased the following in the month of November:

Libertalia
Eclipse
Mice & Mystics
Android: Netrunner
Caylus
Dixit
King of Tokyo
Race for the Galaxy
Dominant Species
Eminent Domain (there you go, Boogle)
Tobago

This is ridiculous.

I blame all you people at PenCon.

=)

Stilgar Black wrote:

I've played Race over 100 times, and it took me several games to understand precisely what was going on in the UI for Keldon's AI.

RftG is fantastic. It is unbelievably well-themed. But it is tough to teach and sometimes to play because of the opaque iconography.

One of us, one of us, one of us.....

drdoak wrote:

Speaking of Race for the Galaxy, I played Eminent Domain tonight with NSMike and Toph513. We had a great time and it was very close, with only a few things done wrong.
I liked the role selection and the strategy of predicting the other peoples' moves, so there were some complex strategies we could develop. Each of us took different tactics and each of us did pretty well in our respective positions. The difference was 1 point at the end.

I much prefer the mechanics of Eminent Domain to RFTG, as its far less random, but damn do I find that game soul-less. I understand why people like it, but I really don't feel the theme at all. I sold it after two games.

So as to not seem like I hate all games, I have to say I really did enjoy Age of Industry and St. Petersburg which I played tonight. Maybe I just have something against space games. Still need to get my copy of Eclipse to the table.

Finally got to play my copy of Mage Wars and was pretty underwhelmed. I can see an interesting game under the surface, but it seems like just too much going on to keep it interesting. Will probably be putting that one up for sale.

Minarchist wrote:

Eminent Domain (there you go, Boogle)

GAME OF THE SHOW

carrotpanic wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Eminent Domain (there you go, Boogle)

GAME OF THE SHOW

Minarchist wrote:

Thanks to a couple gift cards and a timely Thanksgiving sale, I've purchased ...
Eminent Domain

I blame all you people at PenCon.

I wonder how many copies of that game got sold due to that one weekend...

Re Eminent Domain. Have others realized I didn't teach it right?

If you decent on another players turn you get to draw a card. I didn't teach it that way.

I was excited about Eminent Domain since it was described to me as "Race for the Galaxy but with deckbuilding" but didn't enjoy it at all. Part of it is the total sterility of the theme, especially compared to RftG's awesome pulp fiction illustrations. Part of it was the lack of variety of cards.

MonoCheli wrote:

Re Eminent Domain. Have others realized I didn't teach it right?

If you dissent on another players turn you get to draw a card. I didn't teach it that way.

I saw that in the rules. It really adds a lot to the strategy of the game.

Atras wrote:
MonoCheli wrote:

Re Eminent Domain. Have others realized I didn't teach it right?

If you dissent on another players turn you get to draw a card. I didn't teach it that way.

I saw that in the rules. It really adds a lot to the strategy of the game.

You get to draw any card?

carrotpanic wrote:
Atras wrote:
MonoCheli wrote:

Re Eminent Domain. Have others realized I didn't teach it right?

If you dissent on another players turn you get to draw a card. I didn't teach it that way.

I saw that in the rules. It really adds a lot to the strategy of the game.

You get to draw any card?

I have been drawing from my deck, not from the available roles. I think of it as you doing your own machinations while the others are off pushing some other roles.