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Race for the Galaxy Strategy Thread

Race for the Galaxy Strategy Thread – September 9, 2009 1:04 PM (edited 9/9/09 9:04 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
So, I've been fairly regularly getting my ass handed to me in RftG, and last night I changed a few of my core principles and suddenly had a massive turnaround and won two games, one with 45 points and one with 57 points. While I'll grant that the higher point game in particular definitely benefited from some good luck, I think the the change in principles is what bumped both games up from being ~25 points to 40+ points. So I was thinking it over and thought I would write out some of my thoughts here and see if anyone else has anything to add.

1) Beggars Can't Be Choosers: With both expansions the deck is positively massive and most cards only show up once, with a lucky few that show up twice and to the best of my knowledge only one card that shows up three times. While it is possible to try to cater to broad themes it is foolish to try to fish for the perfect card.

2)Play What You've Got: As a corollary to the above point, whenever you can play a card on a given phase you're probably best off doing so, even if it doesn't directly benefit your strategy. This will become a bit less true as the game goes forward and you need to maximize the cost/benefit of your last few card placements, but for the start of the game it's better to play what you've got than to sit still for a phase.

3)Don't Over-focus: Synergies are awesome and when you get the super high point scoring games they're probably what's letting that happen, but that doesn't mean your entire table needs to consist of one type of card. And, in some cases, having your entire table consist of one type of card can be a bit debilitating (a billion military isn't useful if you can't get enough cards in your hand to find the military worlds).

4) Draw, Draw, Draw: Probably a no-brainer to everyone but me, but in a game where your hand is both the cards you play and the money you need to play them there is nothing more beneficial than powers that let you draw cards. That being said, the Consume: Trade phase is the easiest way to get cards in your hand, but it's also giving up vital bonuses on other phases. I am beginning to suspect that you want to use trade about 1-3 times per game to give yourself jump-starts, but if you're relying on it every two turns then you're a) not getting bonuses to settle or develop and b) not using the 2X VP consume bonus. Cards that give you a drawing bonus on other phases (Develop, Consume w/o Trade, Produce) are priceless. The common world power of trading one good for 1 VP and 1 Card might be more critical for the card draw than for the VPs.

5)TANSTAAFL: (bonus points to me for a Heinlein reference in a RftG thread). You get what you pay for - don't neglect those 6 cost developments just because they're pricey. They are well worth the cost to get down even if you can only get points for them off of a couple of other cards on your table. There powers are often subtly (and in some cases not so subtly) game changing and it doesn't take much to have them be worth 5 or 6 VPs, which is better than most of the worlds in the deck.

Buy Cheap: Direct contradiction to the above, and again kind of straightforward, but if you have anything that reduces the cost of a card use it! Every card you don't need to use as payment can be a card you can play and therefore opens up your play choices in terms of synergies.

VPs Add Up Slowly: This is less pertinent now that I know you have to consume everything you can every consume phase, but I would say that the 1 VP you get from consuming goods using planetary powers can really add up over the course of the game and should not be discounted.

And I guess that's about it for now. I realize that at the moment, Tozzi is probably the only one with serious input here, but I think Cuzzo and Steve both seemed like they were going to buy the game, so maybe this will interest them too. And I can't help but feel that I just wrote a (very novice) RftG version of one of Clair's Magic Jerk rants, so he might be intrigued by the strategy discussion in general Smile

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Race for the Galaxy Strategy Thread – September 9, 2009 1:48 PM (edited 9/9/09 9:48 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
The only thing I don't unconditionally agree with is the "Play what you've got" principle. In general, it's a good policy, but since cards are money also, don't play something that you might want to spend in the next turn or so. It's a delicate balance, but something you have to pay attention to.

You're 100% right on the card drawing. I'm becoming a big fan of produce phase draw powers, although they're rare. I just cleaned up with Diversified Economy last night with one world of each type (two were windfall, but I had one windfall production power and just kept picking the phase).

The double VP consume power is not to be under estimated.

Why in the world is your title "Ambassador of Good Will"? Is it some attempt at the Guiness Record for Irony?
Re: Race for the Galaxy Strategy Thread – September 9, 2009 1:54 PM (edited 9/9/09 9:54 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, even when I wrote it the Play What You've Got principle isn't unconditional - there are the occasional times when I will sit on a card. But my past bad habit was to hold onto cards explicitly to use them as money in the hope of drawing something that works better for my strategy. And that hope is ephemeral and I've learned I'm better off having a few different strategies running than one super-strategy. The super-strategy games are awesome, but you can't make them happen, they're part luck. So it feels better, in general, to use what you've got if it's at all decent.

Yeah, double VP consume rocks.

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
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