Wednesday, 11 July 2012

GamesReport 8-Jul-12: Race For The Galaxy

Race For The Galaxy
We were a man down on Sunday evening, so the War On Terror was delayed pending final confirmation on those WMDs!

First-up was Race For The Galaxy (RftG) with the "Gathering Storm" expansion, by Thomas Lehmann. RftG is a card-game themed around building galactic civilizations through technical, economic and social developments. It's similar to the older (and simpler) San Juan in that you pay to place cards into your own area (tableau) by discarding other cards in you hand.

Initially the game seems to be quite complicated due to it's heavy use of iconography on the cards. This can put some gamers off, so get someone who understands the game to teach you if you can. It's much more straight-forward than it appears.

I enjoyed a lot of luck in the first game by drawing cards that enabled me to get some good early trade going. Meanwhile AndyA was struggling a little to turn his resources into victory points quickly enough to keep pace and GaryB had all but hobbled himself with an early "6" cost development purchase, reducing the number of cards he had during the first third of the game. Final scores for game one - GaryG 43, GaryB 33 and AndyA 16.

RftG: Each player's area is know as his "tableau"
Game two seemed initially a lot closer, but again I managed to run my trade and military resources well enough to close out my tableau for victory. Final scores for game two - GaryG 50, GaryB 38 and AndyA 20.

Overall, RftG is a fine game that offers players multiple strategy option to achieve victory. Inevitably there have been a number of expansion releasesfor RftG.

The Gathering Storm - Adds a 5th player, additional cards, goals (opportunities to gain extra victory points chosen at random at game start), and rules and components for solo play against a "robot" player.
Rebel vs. Imperium - Adds a 6th player, more cards, and limited direct interaction between players.
The Brink of War - Adds more cards, and a new "Galactic Prestige" mechanic offering more ways to earn victory points and/or cards. It also introduces a once-per-game action which allows you to dip into the deck looking for a card to meet specific requirements.

RftG is not a heavily interactive game. Instead players seek to build their galactic civilization more efficiently than their opponents. The expansions have introduced some level of direct interaction, but not enough to satisfy players looking for that sort of experience.

Custom built containment for Arkham's runaway expansions
Another new expansion "Alien Artifacts" is due out anytime now (as of July 2012). Apparently it is incompatible with the other expansions and pairs only with the base set to take the game in a different direction.

What is it about expansions to games...? I must have them, but often they add little to the overall experience and just clutter your game up with more and more "bits". That's not a knock at RftG, which is a class game. Just a general frustrating observation on my struggle to manage the expansions for games that I already own. Arkham Horror, I'm looking at you!

Roll Through The Ages
I've always liked the idea of Civilization building and picked up the dice-rolling Roll Through The Ages a couple of years ago in an online sale.

It's been a while since it last got a play and this was the first time I'd brought it to KoffeeKlub. The guys seemed to like it's simplicity...


Roll Through The Ages: Dice



In Roll Through The Ages players roll dice equal to their current number of cities in an effort to generate resources, money and/or workers to build up their civilizations and ultimately score victory points.


Dice can be re-rolled twice with the exception of skulls, which must be set aside as a potential disaster. Based on the outcomes of these rolls players can assign "workers" to build additional cities (for additional dice) or monuments (for victory points), assign "food" to feed their people and gather "goods" and "money" to help develop their civilization.


Play continues with each player keeping track of his/her progress until all of the monuments have been built or one player achieves five developments. At this point each player totals all of his victory points (taking out any minuses for disasters).


Roll Through The Ages: Player Board
Interaction between players is limited to disaster resolution and the race to build monuments first to gain the most victory points, but this doesn't take anything away from what is a quick and enjoyable little game with nice components.


In our game on Sunday evening, GaryB won by a country-mile on 25pts, I came in second on 15pts just ahead of AndyA on 14pts.


It's good to see that even when our numbers drop slightly we can still get some great gaming in. AndyA is on his holidays next week, so we may be down to 2-players and a run at Hammer of the Scots.

KoffeeKlub League:
Bluff - GaryG was awarded 5 beans for two wins and one second place. GaryB was awarded 3 beans for one win and one second place. AndyA was awarded 1 bean for his one second place.
Race For The Galaxy - GaryG won both games and was awarded 4 beans. GaryB came second in both games and was awarded 2 beans.
Roll Through The Ages - GaryB was awarded 2 beans for his win and GaryG was awarded 1 bean for his second place.


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