8th April - Race for the Galaxy

Richard bought Race for the Galaxy in Essen and none of us had had the chance to play it. I was really looking forward to it as the reports on the geek suggested that it was an excellent game with people remarking that they liked it so much that they had to play it five times in a row. Basically you collect cards from the centre pile and collect the best ones for scoring at the end of the game, it's quite similar to San Juan, which is not a bad thing. But I had a load of problems with this game. First of all the rules seem overly fiddly and it took us quite a while to run through it all, you get a large cardboard aide-memoir with all the icons and symbols etc to help you understand the cards, even so there were a few cards that popped up with symbols that I couldn't find anywhere. Also the symbols are a bit on the small side and although I could read mine OK trying to make out Jo's cards across the table and upside down was almost impossible.

What does the yellow circle with a red line round it and an arrow pointing left
with a pink planet in the background and a spaceship landing with
2 aliens and a robot with a raygun and a blue number mean again?

So despite the lengthy rules explanation and the barley legible graphics (the pictures were nice tho) we ploughed on. This is where I had the biggest problem, interaction, or lack of it. Now I don't mind games with a low level of interaction (Thurn and Taxis for example) but this took things to a new low, normally with a game with low interaction you at least get the feeling that there is a group of you in the same room crowded around the same board, but with RftG we were just sitting there doing our own thing, the only interaction I can remember was when I asked Steve to pass the biscuits. Much was made of the simultaneous actions at the start of a turn, but as we all had a full set of the same choices each turn it hardly mattered. The rest of the time we spent optimising out cards and looking up the icons to see what we were meant to be doing.

As you can probably tell I wasn't keen on the game and completely lost interest towards the end (along with the will to live) this is the first time I have EVER been bored playing a game. People on the geek have said that it would take a few plays to 'get it' but to be honest I'd rather have gum surgery than play again.

Jo 43, Steve 39, Richard 30, Garry 18

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

whilst i had a happier time i think these criticisms are mostly valid. richard and i have since played a couple of 2 player games, and it was better, but just not worth the fiddliness to my mind. it's a sign of advancing age but vanilla san juan is my preference.