Friday, September 18, 2009

Race for the Galaxy Blues

Race for the Galaxy is still probably my favorite game of all times.  It's plays so fast and shoves so many cool decisions into each turn.  It's really a step above the competition.

But, all things must end, and I've decided that RftG has already jumped the shark.  I know, it's only had 2 expansions, but I think that's 1 too many.  I've had a chance to play a couple hundred rounds with the new computer based AI program (Which is very awesome.)  And here's what I've seen:

Base Game

Still good.  But man, ConsumeX2 rules the roost here.  He with the better engine wins.  Military *can* squeeze out a win with a great draw, but it just doesn't happen that often.

Gathering Storm

In comes Improved Logistics.  Settle twice per phase baby.  That right there is enough to give Military a nice balanced chance.  It also added THREE military worlds with consume powers.  That's quite a big boost.  In the base set, Military folk were stuck with goods wasted all over the place.

Also in came the goals.  At first, I didn't like them.  They distracted from the "Purity" of the base game.  But over time, I've come to think of them as indispensable.  They take a game with tons of possible situations, and then multiplied them by an order of magnitude.  Every decision you make is slightly twisted by the goals that are up.  Basically it adds even more replayability.  It also adds more player interaction that some people thought was missing.

It also added the "robot", but that never interested me in the least, but no big loss.

Rebel vs Imperium

And here we've reached the end of what I called fun.  The biggest failing?  Takeover rules.  If these had been clean and smooth, I could have lived with them.  Instead they are a 3 page monstrosity.

And they are a 3 page monstrosity that pertain to 4 cards.  That's it.  Bah.  And on top of that?  They add some very nasty "take that" to a game that didn't have any of that before.  And frankly, I don't think people were missing it.

And then to make matters worse, the "play without takeovers" option just neuters a good third of the cards from the expansion because they are designed to play with them.  Bah humbug.

You have more complexity too:

Combine then discard
Pay for military (Why complicate the contact specialist?)
Uplift vs Gene vs Chromosome - (This is a complete screwup IMHO)

What good did come out of it?

One minor rule about getting 2 start worlds and choosing 1.  That rule is genious.  The rest was rubbish.

Here's to hoping they do better with the next expansion.  I also hope they go back and reboot the expansions with another arc like they discussed.


  1. Wait a minute. You complain that takeovers only pertain to 4 cards and then you complain that playing without them neuters a third of the cards? I don't get it.

    Takeovers are a bit clunky, but like many things in the game, they aren't as complicated in practice as the rules make them seem. I'll admit I play with them off more than on, but the expansion cards are still worthwhile either way.

    Also, the new explore power is a great addition in my opinion. The only drawback is that it can be a little slow when someone with a big hand does an Explore +5 and his to figure out which 6 cards to discard.

  2. It's true. I lean both ways on how annoying the takeover rules are. And I agree they aren't *terribly* difficult in practice. Still, they just leave a sour taste in my mouth after how great the first expansion turned out to be.

    And yea, the "combine with your hand" gimmick is pretty cool. I do worry a bit about the "Explore +5" slow down though. But it probably won't be much of an issue. The other people are still going to be adjusting their plan for the rest of the turn.

    Anyway, I haven't removed the RvI cards from my deck yet. They'll have more time to grow on me :)

  3. I think that I agree with you. For me, it could just be that I haven't played enough with the expansions, but with all of the cards now, I feel like strategy is a lot more diluted.


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