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64 of 69 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 44 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tough first game, better with time, April 24, 2010
= Durability:2.0 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)
Typically when you play a game for the first time: you learn, you play, you lose but you have some fun in the process. With this game, all is true of the above but the "having fun in the process" part.

Do yourself a favor. Don't let an experienced player explain the rules to you, they take for granted you understand what they already know, which you don't, and can't. Rather, take 30 minutes and actually read the rulebook if you want to enjoy your first game. Otherwise the symbols on the cards make no sense and you are forced to act without the knowledge to act properly.

Your second and third games will go much smoother, as you learn, and the game will eventually become fun. This game is not easy for first timers, beginners or casual gamers, but it has excellent replay value.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for board-game/card-game lovers!, February 6, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
First off, this is a set card-game: it is not a trading card game. The only new purchases you will make for this game are expansions. It's a great investment, but won't turn into an obsession.

Next, I'd like to talk about the type of game it is. It has a set goal, where the winner achieves victory by earning the most "achievement points." The game ends when certain conditions are met. There are several viable strategies (which are further expanded or new ones made when you purchase expansions). To kind of give of an idea of how its played, you can focus on a militaristic, agrarian (sustainable) style, developmental/technological style, or trade/merchant style of play. Because of all the ways you can combine the cards, there is a high replay value.

This game, however, has a huge learning curve. It is not a casual card game like Uno or Monopoly Deal. It has huge strategy involve and the best players will have to think moves ahead. With that in mind, it's a niche game and will please the board-game and card-game enthusiasts. If you don't have a similar game already, Race for the Galaxy is a great addition to a library of games!

Last, as for the durability of the cards, they're made of pretty good material. I recommend that you buy card protectors. It's always an affordable investment that makes the set last much longer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun card game, February 16, 2009
By 
Konstantin Papushin (Buffalo Grove, IL United States) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I own quite a few Euro games and this one is by far the best overall. This game is fast, fun, and unpredictable. Cards add some randomness but final result is pure skill not luck. This game is like chess with cards. It takes only 20 minutes or so to complete and there are a few strategies players can explore.

There are two reasons I gave it only four stars. First, it's bit expensive for a deck of cards and paper chips. Cards are nicely drawn but don't seem to be too durable. Second, rules are not extremely difficult but rule book leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, there is a video published online by a fan which is extremely helpful, but even after watching it and playing numerous games we have a few questions remaining about proper powers usage. I wish they had an F.A.Q. published too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Game, December 16, 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
Race for the Galaxy is a fun game and has a lot of replayability.

The symbols and game concepts take a game or two to pick up, but once you do the game is really fun.

One of the amazing things about the game is that it is almost a better 2 player game than a multiplayer game, which makes it a great gift for people who have only one or two gamer friends.

The games go quickly, about 20 to 40 minutes, once you get the hang of the game. So if you are doing poorly in one game, it will end quickly and you can do better in the next.

There is no player elimination or agressive combat with other players that bogs down some games and makes them less fun.

Definately recommend to any gamer looking for a fun, fast game with a lot of replaybility.
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8 of 11 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 
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars My kids love it., June 17, 2014
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I used to play this game with my younger brother (me mid-30's, he late 20's) and we loved it. My oldest son (aged 12.5) saw us playing and requested a copy of the game, much to my surprise and happiness.

This game has a high learning curve and a number of possible strategies. It will make you and your kids think, and probably freak you out when they get close to beating you the very first time they play it! (Especially if they've been playing other "nerd" games.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best out of the box card game in existence, June 21, 2014
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
This game is FANTASTIC. If you are a gamer, you MUST play it. I will warn you that the skill cap is very high. It's a complicated game but I would say that there's no reason a skilled player can't beat a amateur 90%+ of the time. It makes it very competitive. The expansions are okay. I prefer to not play with all the random rules that they add in though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonstop fun., September 3, 2013
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= 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)
My boyfriend bought this game something like two weeks ago and since then we have played it 5 or 6 times and can't get enough of it. For a bit of context, we're not the hugest gamers in the world, but we do absolutely adore board games of all kinds, and have been trying to branch out even more lately and try new ones. We're both big fans of games like Carcassonne, Pandemic, Small World, and Dominion. We've also played quite a bit of Quelf, Settlers of Catan, Wits & Wagers... we have no discrimination when it comes to numbers of players, time it takes to play, competitive or cooperative, etc. And we can't stop playing Race For The Galaxy.

Admittedly we both were kind of surprised at first at how complicated the rules seemed. It was somewhat hard to wrap our heads around the turn-by-turn gameplay, but now that I know the game and have since looked at the rules again, I have to admit they do their best at explaining. You are competing against the other player(s), but not by taking turns, and not by doing much interacting with them. There are phases of gameplay in which different actions take place, and you win the game by having the most Victory Points, which are obtained by playing cards that stack into your tableau, or by collecting the points during certain phases like "Consume." Once we played one game all the way through, we felt a lot more confident. There are still certain things that we need to check ourselves on, but that's why the game comes with handy "cheat sheets" filled with little images that appear on the cards and what they mean.

The game isn't so short that I want to play again right away, but also isn't so long that I lose interest 3/4 of the way through. And the game starts differently enough each time, with different Home Cities, that each time playing is new and different.

I've heard there are several expansions though I've tried none... but within this original version itself there's even a new way of playing for "experienced" 2-player games, which just involves each player playing 2 cards a round instead of 1. Doesn't complicate the rules too much at all, but it definitely forces a bit of strategy alteration.

All in all, this is a very fun game. And I say this having lost every single one we've played so far. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, or what I need to change with my strategy... but I'm having fun nonetheless. :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Initially a steep learning curve, but worth learning ~, March 3, 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
I feel that the fact that this game is less popular than, say, Dominion is that there is a much tougher learning curve to get started. Despite the lack of information in some areas of the instructions (and the fact that they say to use the pre-numbered cards for your first game but don't give you an idea of how to play out your first game with the numbered cards), there are some very good online tutorials.

There are over 100 cards. There are also several expansions available, but this review applies to the base game only. The cards have interesting, though not always high quality, science fiction art. I especially enjoy Plague World. But the art and titles of the cards are nice and keep the player engaged.

Game play is fluid, which is nice. Some folks say this is a version of 2 - 4 player solitaire, but I disagree. I think part of the key to winning is in guessing what phases your opponents will take and also in trying to speed up or slow down the time when the game ends. I'll give a brief overview:

Each player randomly selects one of five start worlds. Each of these worlds have a different bonus or attribute. Each player then 'explores' or by selecting six cards and keeping four. Each player then selects one of seven action cards and places them face down. When all players have done so they then flip the cards over and the round begins with the actions proceeding in numerical order. The actions are 'explore' which allows players to draw more cards, 'develop' which allows players to place a development card, 'settle' which allows players to place a planet card, 'consume' which allows players to use goods in exchange for cards or victory points, and 'produce' which allows players to produce goods on planets that can produce.

If a player places an action card, all players perform the action with only those that placed that action card acquiring the bonuses associated with the card. So if two players placed develop and one placed produce, all three would be allowed to place a development card, but only the two who used the action can get the -1 development cost bonus. Then all players would produce (each action can only go once per round), and only the player that played the produce action would be allowed the bonus of placing a good on a windfall world.

I won't get into too much detail, but the game ends when a player places 12 cards into his tableau (the cards in front of him/her on the table) or if all victory points are used (you start with a pot of 12 per player). The winner is determined by adding victory point chips to the victory point values of the cards in their tableau, and any bonuses that may be applicable. Play continues through the final action of that round (so even if a player places his 12th card in the settle phase, you would still continue play through the last action someone played of that round).

Sounds a bit complicated? Well it is at first. Understanding the basic nature of the game isn't too tough, but it's the bonuses on the cards that get complicated. Luckily the rules have 3 or 4 pages dedicated to the explanations of the bonus symbols. And the bonuses on the cards are listed under the phases they apply to. So if somebody uses a settle action, you would look at your cards in your tableau and see if you get any bonuses for III (settle) and use them if applicable.

One of the fun things to do is to use actions which will not benefit other players, but benefit yourself. If other players have only a couple of cards in their hand, but you have a lot, then you might settle or develop (since you pay the cost by discarding the number of cards from your hand associated with the cost). Other players may be unable to pay the cost to deploy these cards, thereby rendering the action useless for them. Then you might still get to use actions that they select (such as explore or produce). Another trick is to use produce when others have goods already out and you don't. Though they might use a consume action which would use some or all of their goods (which is the action that always occurs before produce!). Or you could look and see that another player is likely to use produce, so you can use consume as your action, knowing that you would get the bonus, then you would basically be able to produce goods the next action without any cost to you.

Part of the strategy involves planning your method of attack early. Sometimes you will have a card that is amazing, but it takes awhile to get it into play. Other times you can start with a good level of military and then spend your time acquiring stronger military by using military development cards and then settling (conquering) military worlds for victory points instead of producing and consuming goods. Other times you might score an amazing production bonus development card (such as the card that allows you to acquire 3 VPs in exchange for consuming a good of each of three different colors (can be doubled with the consume 2x VP action) - my favorite card in other words). The variety is endless.

The game is also great for 2 players. There is an additional and optional style of play for two people that is worth trying once players are familiar and it involves two extra action cards (9 total) and each player placing two actions per round.

I haven't tried the expansions yet, but I will surely be picking them up soon. This game skyrocketed ahead of some others in my collection. Still, Carcassonne: 10 Year Special Edition is a great game for those not really into Euro games with a steep learning curve; Samurai is a favorite of many friends who aren't avid game players (and an easy game to set up and play quickly); Stone Age is a personal favorite with the fun of putting caveman meeple into 'love huts' and using dice as an additional level of chance for acquiring material; and of course Dominion, the popularity contest winner.

If you like quirky games that have a lot of individual strategy, not too much head to head action, have an interesting theme, and are fun - then this is a game well worth picking up. It's not going to appeal to everyone. If you want to get right into the game without spending a lot of time practicing or learning the rules, then check out Dominion which is honestly easier to get into right away (but has many layers of complexity). If you don't mind playing a few practice rounds with friends or watching a couple of online tutorials, then this might be worth the effort for you.

Until then, enjoy!
-C
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best games out there in terms of replayability, August 28, 2011
By 
D. Peterangelo (College Station, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Race For The Galaxy (Toy)
Race for the Galaxy is a game that comes out time and time again. It doesn't matter if it hasn't been played for months or if we just played last night, this game keeps you coming back for more.

Great for fans of sci-fi, you have several possible phases to choose from. Explore allows you to draw more cards; developing places cards from your hand on the board with a huge variety of powers; settle allows you to place a world from your hand for a fee (have military power or burn cards); consume allows you to use these goods to purchase victory points or new cards; and finally produce gives you goods. Each card has a different strategy to go with it, and the cheat sheet that comes with the game is a big help, even to those who have played a few times.

This is the only problem with the game: you will have a very tough time picking it up in one game play. There are so many details from card to card and even some symbols that aren't used at all in the base game that it can be overwhelming and confusing. The first few games we played we missed a sentence in the rules which made the game very unbalanced, and we're very experienced players of Eurogames. I would recommend playing through the sample game to learn the basics of the rules.

That being said, although the learning curve is nearly vertical, the replayabilty of this game is extremely high, especially once you add an expansion. I've probably played this game over 100 times, and I've never felt that the game has been boring. It's short once you've learned the ropes at 30 minutes to an hour, and it's just as fun with two players as it is with 4. If you like a bit of a challenge, Race for the Galaxy (and its expansions) are a great addition, but be prepared to go through as many as 3 or 4 frustrating "learning the rules" games to get there.
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Race For The Galaxy
Race For The Galaxy by Rio Grande Games
$34.99 $24.54
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