6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
My Favorite Card Game and 2 Player Game,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
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.