The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Our long national nightmare is over …

… I finally got in a good session (unlike last month).

The people have spoken … no need to punch the Race expansion tiles. In that sense, I understand those who think it’s overpriced. I’m paying $18-25 to use 25 cards. I don’t particularly care about the solitaire part, or the tiles. From a game point of view, it’s still a great investment if I’ll get another few hundred games out of it.

Middle Kingdom is better with five, but (like many impulse purchases) not something I’m going to play compulsively. It stays in the bag to see if it grows on me.

The Tribune ‘Alea iacta est‘ victory condition (only three requirements, but tribune is mandatory) didn’t work nearly as well as I hoped. I was the first person to get a Tribune (on Turn 5) and had an unblockable victory next turn. Tribune may be best with 4.

Power Grid China felt vaguely like “Power Grid: Age of Steam.” Less plants than players (per turn) and few resources. (It still isn’t as brutal as a typical AoS map). I’m probably not going to buy it anytime soon, because I don’t need 10 PG maps, but worth playing if you like the system. Haven’t tried Korea.

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Written by taogaming

November 4, 2008 at 9:40 pm

18 Responses

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  1. So you prefer to play without the bonus tiles? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention on the Geek but I didn’t realize that was a popular choice… I think they’re interesting especially playing the drafting variant.

    Greg Williams

    November 4, 2008 at 10:27 pm

  2. So you prefer to play without the bonus tiles? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention on the Geek but I didn’t realize that was a popular choice… I think they’re interesting especially playing the drafting variant.

    Greg Williams

    November 4, 2008 at 10:27 pm

  3. Yeah, why don’t you like the tiles?

    Doug Orleans

    November 5, 2008 at 1:23 am

  4. I quite like the tiles. I know some other people who don’t, but it hasn’t been clarified why.

    frunk

    November 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

  5. I’m with you on Middle Kingdom. I initially had played it 3p and 4p and thought both worked quite well and the length was reasonable. I initially rated it a 7 pending a few more plays and to see how 2p was to see if maybe it would go up. I tried 2 player tonight and it was not interesting. There were too many cards available. The dragon was even *more* powerful. The heir was extremely powerful. I will keep it around for the occasion where I want 3-5 for a shortish game with people who can’t handle RFTG (like my co workers). It worked quite well at the office with the beginner games who I have been introducing to Carcassonne and stuff over the last month or two.

    hermit

    November 6, 2008 at 3:04 am

  6. I think the argument against the tiles goes like this:

    Race for the Galaxy is arguably a game about playing the hand you’ve been dealt more than playing out any kind of strategy. In Settlers, you can set up a wood/brick or ore/wheat/sheep machine and try to compete for those goals. In Race, you don’t choose to accumulate Alien cards, you just draw one at some point and then decide if it’s a good risk to play it or not given what might be coming down the pike. The new tiles change that risk calculus, but in a way that seems a little arbitrary. If there are three bonus points out for getting 4 Alien cards, one can argue that just makes the alien cards a little more lucrative, and therefore it’s better for those players that just happen to draw them.

    I’m fairly certain that there is no “race” involved in most of the chits. The decision to play/not play a card is based on a cost/benefit analysis, and the existence of a goal chit changes the benefits, but the odds of it resulting in players changing how they play their cards, or resulting in actual competition for those chits seems relatively small. The Alien chit just makes playing Alien cards more attractive, it doesn’t make it *so* much more attractive that we’re going to beat each other up over it. I’m not going to shift my strategy if the “production worlds” goal is out, but I don’t get many production worlds.

    That’s at least my impression after just a few games. It might be quite different if you played with the now-full-complement of 5, though (which I haven’t done yet). The interesting thing about the goals is they don’t scale – the same number come out if you have 2 as if you have 5. I would have intuitively expected fewer with fewer players. But that’s just me.

    Chris Farrell

    November 6, 2008 at 1:14 pm

  7. I think the argument against the tiles goes like this:

    Race for the Galaxy is arguably a game about playing the hand you’ve been dealt more than playing out any kind of strategy. In Settlers, you can set up a wood/brick or ore/wheat/sheep machine and try to compete for those goals. In Race, you don’t choose to accumulate Alien cards, you just draw one at some point and then decide if it’s a good risk to play it or not given what might be coming down the pike. The new tiles change that risk calculus, but in a way that seems a little arbitrary. If there are three bonus points out for getting 4 Alien cards, one can argue that just makes the alien cards a little more lucrative, and therefore it’s better for those players that just happen to draw them.

    I’m fairly certain that there is no “race” involved in most of the chits. The decision to play/not play a card is based on a cost/benefit analysis, and the existence of a goal chit changes the benefits, but the odds of it resulting in players changing how they play their cards, or resulting in actual competition for those chits seems relatively small. The Alien chit just makes playing Alien cards more attractive, it doesn’t make it *so* much more attractive that we’re going to beat each other up over it. I’m not going to shift my strategy if the “production worlds” goal is out, but I don’t get many production worlds.

    That’s at least my impression after just a few games. It might be quite different if you played with the now-full-complement of 5, though (which I haven’t done yet). The interesting thing about the goals is they don’t scale – the same number come out if you have 2 as if you have 5. I would have intuitively expected fewer with fewer players. But that’s just me.

    Chris Farrell

    November 6, 2008 at 1:14 pm

  8. I can see your point somewhat, Chris, after just a few games myself. They definitely add another level of complexity (well, not complexity, but record-keeping), but it seems like they are just things you pick up along the way, as incidentals. But maybe there should be more “race” involved in getting the chits? Because the winner of our games always has at least 8 points in chits, so it’s not really possible to win without them.

    But anyways, what’s confusing about the original post is that “The people have spoken” line. Where, who? I don’t see anything of the like on BGG.

    Matt Crawford

    November 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm

  9. By “the people have spoken”, I’m guessing he means within SABG, where everytime Brian says “Tiles?”, the rest of us say “No”.

    D. Ugolini

    November 6, 2008 at 2:55 pm

  10. By “the people have spoken”, I’m guessing he means within SABG, where everytime Brian says “Tiles?”, the rest of us say “No”.

    D. Ugolini

    November 6, 2008 at 2:55 pm

  11. I’m fairly certain that there is no “race” involved in most of the chits. The decision to play/not play a card is based on a cost/benefit analysis, and the existence of a goal chit changes the benefits, but the odds of it resulting in players changing how they play their cards, or resulting in actual competition for those chits seems relatively small.

    Some of the tiles almost always involve a race (first 6 cost development) or at least a pressure to play a card earlier than you might otherwise. Others only rarely have this effect and are more a back of the mind alternative incentive to head in a given direction (3 alien). For me they give a shifting landscape to evaluating the right course of action which adds a lot to the replayability. Do I pick Settle to play the third novelty/rare to pick up the 5 VP tile before the other player with two novelty/rare and few cards can draw into it and fight me for it, or do I pick Develop to get Mining League out so I can start working the Produce/Consume?

    I will say they are a bad idea for a player with not many games under their belt. You can get away with the new cards, but the tiles will add another level of befuddlement.

    frunk

    November 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  12. I’m fairly certain that there is no “race” involved in most of the chits. The decision to play/not play a card is based on a cost/benefit analysis, and the existence of a goal chit changes the benefits, but the odds of it resulting in players changing how they play their cards, or resulting in actual competition for those chits seems relatively small.

    Some of the tiles almost always involve a race (first 6 cost development) or at least a pressure to play a card earlier than you might otherwise. Others only rarely have this effect and are more a back of the mind alternative incentive to head in a given direction (3 alien). For me they give a shifting landscape to evaluating the right course of action which adds a lot to the replayability. Do I pick Settle to play the third novelty/rare to pick up the 5 VP tile before the other player with two novelty/rare and few cards can draw into it and fight me for it, or do I pick Develop to get Mining League out so I can start working the Produce/Consume?

    I will say they are a bad idea for a player with not many games under their belt. You can get away with the new cards, but the tiles will add another level of befuddlement.

    frunk

    November 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  13. Definitely agree with Frunks comments. I like that you can build out a weaker tableau and make it pay off if you can nail some goals along the way. The only downside to the goals is they seem to slow the pace of the game slightly, at least so far.

    Greg Williams

    November 7, 2008 at 1:32 pm

  14. What Dennis said. I’ll post my reasons later.

    Brian

    November 7, 2008 at 5:07 pm

  15. What Dennis said. I’ll post my reasons later.

    Brian

    November 7, 2008 at 5:07 pm

  16. I’m going to stay clear of the goal discussion for now, as I don’t want to contaminate it…

    I will mention that if you enjoy Middle Kingdom with 5, then you might try the experienced rules with 3. The greater control and increased options (set up a tie with one bid while trying for order with another; the Emperor becoming more interesting (since it only applies to one bid) and increased speed of play (with five cards coming out) made this option quite popular with playtesters, once they understood the game.

    Tom_Lehmann

    November 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm

  17. I’m going to stay clear of the goal discussion for now, as I don’t want to contaminate it…

    I will mention that if you enjoy Middle Kingdom with 5, then you might try the experienced rules with 3. The greater control and increased options (set up a tie with one bid while trying for order with another; the Emperor becoming more interesting (since it only applies to one bid) and increased speed of play (with five cards coming out) made this option quite popular with playtesters, once they understood the game.

    Tom_Lehmann

    November 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm

  18. To give a contrasting opinion to frunk, one of our playtesters said that the goals are a good idea for a new player, because they give the new player some short-term specifics to strive for, as opposed to needing to solve the general problem of “how do I make points”?

    Wei-Hwa

    November 13, 2008 at 10:25 pm


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