Having recently discovered the Race for Kids graduated instructions, I'm excited to try it out with adults who are overwhelmed by the full game.
My thought is to break it down to three levels:
1 - Remove production and consumption, so it's just explore, develop and settle.
2 - Do the merged production and consumption (with trade bonuses). I will probably use poker chips to represent the goods for this, to make it more intuitive.
3 - The REAL game.
So my question for everyone is: has anyone tried to use takeovers with a simplified explore-develop-settle game?
My thought is that it should be a good combination for two reasons:
- takeovers should be more common than in the real game, because settling is practically all that is going on...
- takeovers would bring the military strategy down a little, which is necessary because military is the dominant strategy in this simplified game
Most likely I'll try it out next Tuesday, over my regular gaming dinner. My goal is to stick to this "level 1" for the whole evening, and then graduate to the next level on a different date.
I'd like to start without takeovers, and then maybe add them in, and also maybe add in some goals too.
It'll be an experiment!
Any thoughts, experiences, recommendations from the community?
No experience, but it seems crazy to me to play with expansions but not the produce or consume phases. If you actually played with takeovers it would be a more complicated game than just the normal base game.
I agree. Takeovers are far more complicated to understand and adjudicate than production and consumption.
We played yesterday evening! Hurrah!
#1 = a far-simplied game (only explore/develop/settle phases available) with cards from RftG, TGS and RvI. I had culled cards and start worlds that were really focused on production and consumption, but left some in for the vp value and for set collection with the 6-cost devs. Played to a 12-card tableau.
#2 = same as a above, but with goals available
Then we chatted about the game a bit and I introduced the rules for takeovers, just to see the reactions.
This was a smashing success, and we are going to play again next Tuesday to continue the learning process.
I'd previously played Race with this audience, with the full base game (including TGS cards, but no goals). To make it easier to swallow, we played with a little bit of taking turns, so that people could watch and learn from other turns. I'd also used poker chips for goods, which helps with the consume because people can move the goods from the production world to the consumption world to fully think-through their turn.
In these previous games, they were understanding what was going on by the end of the game, but weren't retaining the information. They also weren't wanting to play again, because it seemed like too much work to just keep up with the rules and they weren't comfortable enough to develop a real strategy.
And because we'd sacrificed the simultaneous play to try and help people understand what's going on, the games really dragged on.
The feedback from yesterday was far better:
Halfway through game 1, they were fully engaged with the game: developing strategies and playing quite quickly. They were also watching other players' tableaus to see what's going on: predict moves and guess how long the game will last. This only improved in game 2 with the introduction of goals.
It really opened their eyes as to the many paths to victory. In their previous attempts to learn the game, they'd focused only on a single path and ignored other game features as "frills". They said that the game was too complicated before, so they had to limit their strategy to one or two things that they understood, just to make the game manageable. (This feedback really surprised me, because we were really playing only half the game, but to them, the half-game seemed to have more opportunities than a half-understood full game).
By ignoring half the symbols on the cards (for phases $, IV and V), the iconography was much easier to handle. So they weren't taking tons of time to "translate" their hand. We didn't need the player aids at all. Also, the simplified game allowed them to "meet" a lot of cards fairly quickly, and to try out different strategies.
A side-effect of culling the deck was that there were a LOT of 6-cost devs in the deck (I'd only removed the ones that I absolutely had to, for example: the production-world dev was still in the game, serving only as a reward for collecting many production worlds). This really put a focus on how important these cards are.
From my perpective, the game was more "fair" between experienced and inexperienced players. I've played a lot of solitaire race (against the robot), and I wouldn't describe myself as a particularly good player, but I really have to hold back when playing against newbies. Really, I can't play awesome 6-cost dev combos if my opponents aren't understanding the value of 6-cost devs. Similarly, I can't do repeated turns of x2 consume when my opponents haven't figured out that they need both consume and produce powers. But with the half-game, I could play all out and not run away with the game.
At the end of the evening, they were a lot more interested in takeovers than in the full game. They actually suggested that we play with the sliders, but without takeovers because it would be helpful to have something to keep track of their military strength.
The plan is to play again next week, probably with the exact same game that we played yesterday (super-simplified, but with goals). Maybe we'll even play that twice before moving on. Then, we'll probably add takeovers into the game and play like that for a while.
When everyone is completely comfortable with the game, we'll move onto "Level Two". This will be with the single combined produce+consume phase triggered by the produce card (where trade powers are applied to consumption that gives cards) as described in the race for kids instructions. This would also be with poker chips as the goods, to be colour-coded.
Edit: fixed a typo
- Last edited Fri Mar 2, 2012 2:03 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:22 pm
Oh, I'm still playing around with my modified deck, seeing which cards need to be included/excluded to make for a good game.
Once it's settled, I'll post a list of which cards to remove, just like in the original Race for Kids instructions.
I've played it a few times now, with great success!!!
And these are the cards that I've taken out, to avoid consumption/production heavy cards.
- Bio-Hazard Mining World
- Black Market Trading World
- Clandestine Uplift Lab
- Destroyed World
- Dying Colony
- Galactic Bazaar
- Galactic Engineers
- Galactic Trendsetters
- Gambling World
- Interstellar Prospectors
- Merchant World
- New Vinland
- Old Earth
- Outlaw World
- Pilgrimage World
- Pirate World
- Plague World
- Radioactive World
- Runaway Robots
- Space Port
- Spice World
- Star Nomad Lair
- Tourist World
- Trading Outpost
- Universal Symbionts
- Consumer Markets
- Deficit Spending
- Diversity Economy
- Export Duties
- Galactic Advertisers
- Galactic Exchange
- Galactic Genome Project
- Galactic Renaissance
- Galactic Salon
- Genetics Lab
- Mining Conglomerate
- New Economy
- Research Labs
- Trade League