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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular game
The sensation of the 2007 Essen convention, this is a card game for two to five players with tremendous replayability. If you're familiar with San Juan, the game is similar: you have a deck of cards that can either be played on a tableau or used as currency. Each card has a cost (that can be modified by existing cards on the tableau) and grants certain powers and...
Published on December 22, 2007 by T. Frank

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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Race for the Galaxy: big learning curve at first--quick playing game later
Race for the Galaxy is Rio Grande's card game where players eke out a space civilization by exploring, conquering, settling and developing technologies.

Players simultaneously select a role card. The roles are respectively: Explore, Develop, Settle, Consume and Produce. The role cards are revealed and resolved in role card order. If you play a role card, you...
Published on October 9, 2009 by Christopher K. Halbower


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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular game, December 22, 2007
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
The sensation of the 2007 Essen convention, this is a card game for two to five players with tremendous replayability. If you're familiar with San Juan, the game is similar: you have a deck of cards that can either be played on a tableau or used as currency. Each card has a cost (that can be modified by existing cards on the tableau) and grants certain powers and scores. The idea is to play cards that build your powers that can then be translated into victory points. But, unlike San Juan, every player has a different starting point; there is an additional level of complexity and strategy from the variety of cards available. Like San Juan, there are many different ways to win. The space theme is nicely done, and expansions are expected. Scales nicely: it's as fun with two players as with four, though strategies are slightly different.

I think the symbols on the cards are intuitive, but I've seen inexperienced gamers complain about the number of symbols. The symbols are color-coded and would be unreadable to the color-blind.

Less than a few months after its release, RftG's rating already in the top forty all time on the Board Game Geek website, which is unheard of.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STELLAR GAME IN STYLE OF SAN JUAN, February 15, 2008
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= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
RACE FOR THE GALAXY is a card game of resource management that bears strong similarities to SAN JUAN (it was in fact the rival development to translate PUERTO RICO into a card game). There are roles that each player takes, cards representing assets that are paid for by discarding from the hand, and the game is over when one player has 12 assets, or when all victory points are assigned. RACE FOR THE GALAXY has some advanced features that make it more fun to play, and the artwork for the science fiction theme is fantastic.

One major departure from the "PUERTO RICO"/"SAN JUAN" mechanics is that all players choose roles simultaneously. Each player has a hand of role cards for "explorer" (to draw cards), "developer" (playing new technology), "settler" (playing new worlds), "consumer" (equivalent to trader or captain), and "producer" (same as always). The explore phase has two versions, one giving a deeper draw and one keeping more cards. The consume phase has an alternate version, the trader, which allows only the trader to draw cards for a good while everyone else can only consume (equivalent to shipping).

All players choose roles simultaneously and then show their role. If more than one player chooses the same role, each "chooser" gets the benefit but there is only one phase for that role. Another interesting complication is that worlds and developments may have symbols for each phase which affect the player's actions. There may be, for instance, an additional card draw during the phase, or a cost break on certain kinds of cards. These effects stack, so the total effect can be quite powerful.

Settling worlds also has a lot of complexities. Worlds can have a few different subtypes, such as production worlds, windfall worlds, and military worlds, or a combination of the 3. Production worlds can produce a good such as novelties, alien tech, genetic tech, or rare minerals. Windfall worlds come into play with a good on them (tip: trade the next turn for a substantial card windfall) but don't automatically produce any further goods. Military worlds, in an intriguing twist, cannot be paid for from the hand. They are played for free if your military score (as determined by bonuses from worlds in play) is greater or equal to their cost.

There are many different victory strategies to RACE FOR THE GALAXY, and choosing the best one can be very situational. Drawing military cards early may allow you to race the other players to drop 12 cards while keeping your hand full. It is possible to win on points just by playing developments, since many give bonuses for having other developments. Trading/consuming can be a powerful strategy for acquiring victory points, but it is slower because it takes 2 cycles to reap the benefits, unless two people go this route. Then, one is playing trade/consumer and the other produces, and both benefit.

RACE FOR THE GALAXY is a fun game visually, socially, and intellectually. It is simple to setup, fast to play, and has enough complexity to offer a lot of replay value. The number of unique cards is large, so you are seeing different game components every time you play. And, it practically begs for expansions, which should be seamless to integrate. RACE FOR THE GALAXY will undoubtedly be one of the best, if not THE best, game of the year.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Playing the Race Cards, September 12, 2008
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
This game is incredibly fun. I've played Puerto Rico, San Juan, and many other similar games, and this is by far my favorite.
Here's why:
- Super fun (and in some ways more interesting) with just 2 players. There aren't many great 2-player strategy games out there, especially ones that scale nicely to 3 or 4.
- Excellent replayability. Many different strategies and combinations.
- Once you get the hang of it (the learning curve can be steep for some you can play a game in 30 minutes.
- You do have indirect interactions with other players (anticipating what actions they will select, and which ones will help them most), but you don't attack them.

One last comment. If you plan to play this game lots, I'd recommend card sleeves --- the cards are pretty durable, but any card is going to start showing wear and tear after many repeated shuffles.

Enjoy!
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Race for the Galaxy: big learning curve at first--quick playing game later, October 9, 2009
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
Race for the Galaxy is Rio Grande's card game where players eke out a space civilization by exploring, conquering, settling and developing technologies.

Players simultaneously select a role card. The roles are respectively: Explore, Develop, Settle, Consume and Produce. The role cards are revealed and resolved in role card order. If you play a role card, you get the bonus for playing it. If you didn't play a role card (i.e. your opponent played it), you get to use the role's general effect. For example: if you play "Explore", you draw 3 cards and may keep 2; otherwise you draw 2 cards and may keep 1.

Players play planet cards during the Settle phase and technologies during the Develop phase. Once a player has played 12 cards (called a tableux) the game will end. Players score points for their planets, developments and for consuming goods. The player with the highest score wins.

With experienced players, this game can play quickly (around 30 minutes or less). However, the iconography of the cards is counterintuitve and thus the learning curve is surprisingly steep. This is a minor consideration if you are a hardcore gamer. But it should be noted: Race for the Galaxy makes a poor gateway game for your non-gaming friends and family.

My biggest gripe with Race for the Galaxy is that there is virtually no player interaction. There is no conflict. No auctions, no bidding mechanics, no way to screw over your opponents who have a lead. This is effectively a four player solitaire game with interstellar chrome.

Race for the Galaxy hits our gaming table with some regularity. It's a quick game and thus is a decent filler. But if you want an interstellar game with player interaction you will need to look elsewhere.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Game for Two or More, January 8, 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I bought this game, like many of the games I buy, because it was rumored to be easily scalable. Most of the time my girlfriend and I are playing our games alone, because it's hard to get a group together on a weeknight now that our friends are all grown up and have real jobs. Thus, I look for the best 2-player games that also work well with more people. In this aspect, Race for the Galaxy really shines. I am very, very impressed with the mechanics of the game, because it seems to be just as fun no matter how many players you have (and the first expansion even introduces rules for solitary play).

The game is a card-game adaptation of the empire-builder Puerto Rico by Rio Grande. Set in space, it offers not only easier and quicker play as a card game, but also a variation on the original's theme. The luck factor is mild: while you do depend on what cards you draw, the game is rather sinister in that there is often a use for every card, making discarding excruciating sometimes. The variety of potential strategies is impressive, and no single strategy will work every time. This makes the 'replayability' factor very high, even in the 2-player game.

While the game seems somewhat expensive for basically what amounts to two decks of cards, in terms of investment divided by fun, the game pays high dividends. I generally judge a board game or card game by how much entertainment value I get out of it compared to other pursuits. For the price of one movie for the girlfriend and myself, with popcorn and a large drink, we have gotten many, many hours of enjoyment out of Race for the Galaxy. Indeed, the day we got it we would have needed to pay for three movies in order to waste as much time as we did playing this game -- once we learned the rules, we were hooked!

Said rules are probably the only challenge, as some of them are a bit unclear at first. I have gone to Board Game Geeks a few times to check up on rule clarifications and play issues that arise because of unique cards and how they interact or score. Nonetheless, this is a very small issue that does not in any way ruin our fun (in fact, the argument about scoring one card ended in much laughing and taunting by the person who ended up winning, because this card made the difference in a very close match).

Having played a great many 'Eurogames,' I am confident in my assessment of this as one of the best quick-play strategy games out there (20-30 minutes, once the rules are familiar), especially when judged in the smaller pool of 2-player-friendly games. I recommend Race for the Galaxy very highly for couples and gaming groups alike.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Card Game and 2 Player Game, November 29, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I've played this game since it came out in 2007. It's never gotten old and I'm still getting better at it. There are still new experiences and it's still underrated.

It scales perfectly - though the game slows with large groups, it doesn't loose depth or development regardless of the number of players. The 2 player variant is a fast and furious duel that experienced players can tackle in about ten minutes. There is no game I would rather play one on one. It's fast, fun, just the right amount of luck and has space ships. Get trounced because of an abhorrently bad draw? Loose, shuffle, rematch.

For a card game the strategy to luck ratio is great! - (heavy on the strategy side) I bet students a pizza that they cannot beat me two games in a row and have never lost the bet.

It's difficult to learn because it's not for the easily confused. Though the rules aren't very complicated, the core mechanics are comparatively complex which leaves players who aren't used to quickly digesting rules confused and not "getting" it right away, sometimes never. I've taught lots of games to lots of folks and this is one of (or the) the most difficult to teach to those not accustomed to card games. Everyone can learn the rules, but some people never "get it". Not a deal breaker, but not for the significant other who struggles to make it through Catan.

The expansions are amazing and I would suggest that the game doesn't really blossom without at least the first two. The third offers up some more powerful cards, but as long as everyone is on the same play level it's not imbalanced.

The only thing keeping this from being my favorite game ever is sort of related to it being a bit hard to teach. With more than three players, there's inevitably someone who's still learning it, which slows it down, way down. When I'm used to playing it fast, it becomes boring to wait for other newer players. You may think "all games are like that", but this is the fastest playing game around with players who know it well. It's also hard to play and teach simultaneously for whatever reason, which frustrates new players in large groups. This means I seldom break it out to a table of more than three. Note that I'm not saying it doesn't scale well, but that newer players don't mix well with good ones in large games. Different issue.

Hope that helps someone want it for what it is. I hope you love it as much as I do.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun game, but overly complicated for it's fun-value, December 13, 2010
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I really enjoy Race for the Galaxy, but the learning curve IS rough. It's a tough one to teach to anyone, and if your friends aren't into complicated board games, you're probably going to lose them. For that learning curve, and the amount of times you may have to refer to the rule book, the depth of strategy really isn't as complex as it seems at the start. It's a good game, and I've played it every few weeks since I bought it, but I think it could stand to be revised rather than expanded.

I haven't played the expansions yet, but each one adds new rules, and the idea of adding new rules to the game and THEN teaching someone to play seems unrealistic. I think Race has the potential to be an excellent game, but as it exists, I can think of plenty of games that are simpler, more fun, and more complex in strategy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Card Game in the Galaxy, August 13, 2009
By 
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
My wife and I have played the two player variant of Race for the Galaxy (R4tG) every night since we got it two weeks ago. This is by far the most fun we have had playing a game in years. Basically you have a starting world and a hand of developments and/or worlds that you are trying to add onto your empire in order to A. Get many more cards to build the best Empire. B. Convert your hand into points through several methods. The easiest way to get points is to play worlds and developments, each has a point value. Military worlds are conquered for "free", while non-military worlds are paid for with cards from your hand. You also can produce and consume goods for points or more cards... goods are also represented by face-down cards from the deck. Finally (with the first expansion) there are various goals you can achieve for more points. There are at least 4 strategies for winning we have found, but a robust plan allows for a right turn half way through a game.

This game is a lot like Puerto Rico in space. Initially it plays a lot like San Juan, but it is much deeper and feels like Puerto Rico more... maybe San Juan version 3.

It has enough random element to it that my wife likes it, but there is enough strategy that you don't feel like you are thrown to the fates each game. Each hand lasts around 25 minutes (two player) and it is very easy to handicap new players as they learn the ropes. There are a LOT of symbols to learn, but after a game I was comfortable reading the cards without the rules, and after 3 or 4 games my wife (who never read the rules) stopped asking me what the more obscure symbols meant.

I highly recommend the expansion also, it adds new home worlds and military powers that make the game more balanced.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steep Learning Curve, July 18, 2009
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
Pro's:
+ Unique game play
+ Requires a lot of evaluation between trade-offs. Requires long-term strategic decision making.
+ Beautiful artwork

Cons:
- Lots of detail, lots of intricate rules
- Rules explained poorly ... a walk through would have helped

Long Story:
I'm a casual gamer who has recently discovered Settlers and Carcassone, both of which my entire family (40yr male, 38yr female, 14yr male, 11yr male) found to be quick to pickup and enjoyable for all. RftG by contrast has two problems:

1. The sheer number of rules makes understanding the game extremely difficult. If it were not for some well done videos on YouTube, I would still be scratching my head. Admittedly, as I re-read the instructions, I see now that *very* careful reading was important.

2. The second problem is the way the rules are presented ... the rulebook would be well served by a step-by-step walk through of a single round or two. Some times, advanced ideas are introduced side by side with the introductory concepts. I was "deep down in the details" before I really understood the high level. Once we figured out the game, it was mildly enjoyable for me, my wife didn't like it, but my sons seemed to enjoy the intricacy of the rules.

After playing for another day, I think I realize what I don't like about it ... it is a lot like golf where what I do in the game has little effect on others. There's little "head-to-head interaction" where I can foil someone else's plans.

One last point .. the artwork is beautiful, however I would have gladly traded some card real estate for better description of the purpose of each card with WORDS instead of symbols. Some of these symbols on each card take on different meaning depending on the phase in which they are used. Additionally, some cards are so complex that it would require a trip to the internet / forums to determine the value and usage of the card. I would say this is more akin to Dungeons and Dragons (with regard to prep time and depth of learning required) than to Carcassone or Settlers. I certainly didn't hate the game ... it simply won't be my first, second or third choice when choosing something to play with my kids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmingly meh., July 4, 2014
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
This game is well-reviewed and well-liked by modern boardgame fanatics, and I have a hard time seeing why. The modern boardgame fan is generally interested in novel game mechanics, relatively simple rules concealing significant strategic nuance and depth, strong player interaction, quality game components, and engaging themes. This game may have novel mechanics and strategic depth, but you'd never know it; if you manage to actually get into a game, your mind will wander. The rules, despite being only about 8 pages, are complex and confusing. The functional parts of the cards are a mishmash of numbers and symbols which are harder to keep straight than old-school Avalon Hill-type wargame counter formats (also, if you're red-green colorblind, you are out of luck). And if you can get past the unrewarding learning curve, you find not stimulating strategy or interesting mechanics, but card-driven bureaucracy.

Perhaps even the beancounting would be worth it if it provided quality player interaction. You won't find it here. There is no common tableau or way to play on other players' tableaus; the cards you play affect yourself and only yourself. The closest thing to player interaction is choosing a role card for the round, which affects yourself as well as the other players. There is little reason to try to chose a role for its effect on other players rather than yourself; you can't avoid roles that benefit other players, because if another player really needs to perform a role he will play it himself (and score a bonus in the process), while giving up your opportunity to play a role that benefits yourself denies yourself the same sort of bonus and holds back your progress to a greater degree than it possibly could hurt your competition. There's no way to drive a player toward or away from playing any particular role, so even this interaction is basically meaningless.

So maybe the game isn't very engaging strategically, mechanically, or socially, but at least it has good bits, right? Nope. The theme is basically meaningless. The cards could have had a colonial theme (this game was conceived as a possible card version of Puerto Rico - itself an overrated game), or, say, a modern corporate or political theme, or even an abstract theme, letting the data on the cards stand for themselves. The theme adds nothing to the experience. The artwork is not great - card designs are boring, ugly, or simply undecipherable. There is no thematic color to them either, no sense that the game is actually taking place in a fleshed-out universe with tensions and history. The victory point markers are black chunks of cardboard, with a little blue on them - plastic chips of varying color would have been nice, or if cardboard markers were necessary, at least a better design would have helped. And the players' quick reference cards are even more confusing than the rules they supposedly simplify. The components aren't really cheap or chintzy, just not creative or interesting in any way.

Overall, this game is difficult to learn, not engaging, doesn't provide much of a social outlet, and is boring and dry to boot. Spend the money on something else. If you were split between buying this and, say, Dominion, or Munchkin, or even the ancient Mille Bornes (which you can probably find at Walmart for $5), you'd do much better with any one of them.
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Race For The Galaxy
Race For The Galaxy by Rio Grande Games
$34.99 $26.24
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