One reason why I love Race for the Galaxy so much is the strong exploration element. You find new combinations of cards and powers regularly – even after hundreds of plays – which keeps it a fresh, fun experience. The reason Race for the Galaxy maintains this for so many plays when other games are exhausted after a handful of times is that it demands strategic bricolage. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘race for the galaxy’ Category
Although Rebel vs. Imperium adds a couple of game changers to the play environment, it specializes in second tier cards – cards which are strong and interesting, but don’t define a strategy. There is nothing in Rebel vs Imperium that shakes up the environment in the same way Improved Logistics, Terraforming Guild and Alien Toy Shop did when first playing with The Gathering Storm.
To get everyone up to speed, here is an overview of the new Game Changers, presented in the same format I used in the original article. The third Rebel vs. Imperium update will cover new Second Tier cards, which are considerably more numerous than Game Changers, and the fourth will talk about new combos for the Game Changers and Second Tier cards in earlier sets. Read the rest of this entry »
As you might expect, the Rebel vs. Imperium expansion has shaken up Race for the Galaxy, opening up new strategies and rearranging the strength of others. While I don’t think anything that I’ve written about the strategy of Race for the Galaxy so far has been invalidated, several topics do need updating before I move forward, and this is the first of a short series of articles that I hope will provide those updates.
This first piece offers small updates to strategic ideas that were previously discussed, namely Card Flow and Discounts, Power Consume strategies and Novelty Consume strategies. Read the rest of this entry »
My review of Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs. Imperium was posted to Game Cryer a couple of days ago, and I naturally assume some of my readership would be curious :)
Feel free to comment, but if you’re getting into nitty gritty stuff like specific cards and strategies, it’s probably best to do it here where you won’t scare the norms ;)
[Authour’s note: As will quickly become apparant, I am not taking Rebel Vs. Imperium into acocunt yet in this article. Hopefully I will have an opinion post about it in the new year, and then I will update the posts that I have written so far, before continuing on]
Key cards: Free Trade Association, Consumer Markets
Novelty consume is one of two types of Consume strategy that new players tend to grasp quickly. The key cards are relatively plentiful and they are obvious when you see them, plus novelty production worlds are cheap and numerous. Several novelty worlds also feature Consume powers, including a couple that Consume for cards, which can help get the engine running in a hurry even without the key cards right away. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally, my plan was to write a single longish article with a few pointers each for specific types of Consume strategy. As these things are wont to do however, it grew. Before long, I realized it would be better to do a separate, easily digestible article for each type of Consume strategy. I’m starting this series-within-a-series here with power Consume strategies.
Note that I am not writing with Rebel vs. Imperium in mind yet. I am rapidly racking up experience, but I’m not ready to write with any authority about it yet.
Key cards: Tourist World, Alien Toy Shop, Galactic Trendsetters, commodity worlds
A power Consume strategy tries to outpace other players by playing efficient Consume powers that score more than one VP per good. The point is to save tempi, building a powerful Consume engine more quickly than normal. When it works right, you finish the game by exhausting the VP pool before your opponents can hit their stride.
Consume strategies are a tough nut for new Race for the Galaxy players to crack. They require a lot of moving parts – a handful of production worlds and the right mix of Consume powers to make them score efficiently. It’s easier to see how plans like throwing down a big military and then settling your brains out or leveraging discounts work, even if they are not always as efficient. Tom Lehmann has even said in public forums that he designed the Race for the Galaxy base set with a significant bias toward Consume strategies in order to nudge new players toward playing them effectively.
In this article, I want to present some general advice on how to get the most from Consume strategies. I will follow up in my next article with an overview of the major varieties of Consume strategy, with specific tips for playing each variety well. Finally, in a third article, I will present a few tips for fighting against Consume strategies. Read the rest of this entry »
Having taken a look at cards that change the game when they are played, I want to turn my attention now to cards that are undeniably powerful, but lack the extra oomph characteristic of a game changer. Their appearance may mark a transition between phases of the game, but only when it is the capstone of a power combination, or the last piece of a strategic puzzle. Often they cause little change in the tempo of the game when they are played. They save a player a tempo or three over the course of a game, but they do not drive you to the end of the game the same way Tourist World and Improved Logistics do.
Race for the Galaxy cards are not created equal. Some are workmanlike cards that form the heart and soul of the game, but do not garner great accolades. Some only fill niches that are necessary to tie some strategies together, but are often of little use. A couple are actually rather terrible, looking to sucker players into wasting valuable tableau space on them.
Game changers are the cards that announce that a player is ready to get down to business. When they are played in the first half of the game, the pace of the game picks up. Maneuvering for a card here and a build there stops, and the real business of winning the game begins. They mark a player’s intended strategy because they allow a player to pursue that strategy with a real saving of tempo, often by drawing cards while pursuing their main strategy, but it can take other forms as well. Players typically make the transition from the opening to buildup or from buildup to drive by playing a game changer.
Read the rest of this entry »
Just a heads up that, going forward, I’ll be using a bit of Race for the Galaxy jargon that I’ve invented for the sake of brevity.
In my strategy articles, I’ll be using “commodity worlds” to refer to worlds that let you draw a card when you produce a good on them. This includes bot production and windfall worlds. It’s not perfect, thematically, but it’ll do.
- Comet Zone
- Galactic Studios
- Gem World
- Lost Species Ark World
- Mining World
are production commodity worlds and
- Replicant Runaway Robots
- Rebel Sympathizers
are commodty windfall worlds (or windfall commodity worlds).
Expect the first post discussing Game Changers tomorrow or Monday.