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Subject: Six Phase Solitaire rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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Six Phase Solitaire

Set up as normal. You start the game with zero time points.

Game Play
Take your 7 action cards, plus one other-colored card for the Refresh (phase 6) action. Play some or all of them in any order. You get the bonus for playing each phase.

You may not use both versions of Consume - when you play the first version, discard the other version. Do likewise with the two versions of Explore.

Discards
This rule simulates the turn-break discards in multi-player Race: whenever the phase number decreases you must discard cards in excess of 10.

Example: Choosing Settler (III) after Producer (V) would require discarding, because there is a decrease in phase number. Settler (III) following Explore (I) would not require discarding.

Phase 6: Refresh
When none of the remaining actions look good to you, you may play the Refresh (phase 6) action. Perform the following steps:
1) Add one time point per action taken, including one for this Refresh action. (I use spare vp)
2) All 8 action cards are now once again available.
3) The game ends if you have 12+ vp in chips or 12+ elements in your tableau.

Victory
Your rating is your victory points divided by your time points. For example, a respectable score of 40 vp with 30 time points would give a rating of 1.333.

Feel free to post your high scores below!
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Dave J McWeasely
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Turbo Tap Technique
This doesn't change any of the rules above. It physically rearranges the components so it's faster to play.

Lay out the role cards in ascending order in a vertical bar on the left of the table. The two Explores go side-by-side to eachother. Same with the two Consumes.

When you select a role, tap it (turn it 90 degrees), to show you've used it. You can't then pick a phase that's tapped.

When you pick Phase 6, untap all the cards.

It's faster this way.
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B C Z
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Careful on the use of the word 'tap' there. Don't want to anger the WotC gods.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT5662332

Geeklist on the subject (see entry #2):
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20416

 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Why It's Good
It plays a lot like Race for the Galaxy. You can actually "go military" or "go development". Unlike the solitaire this was based on, you don't have to call all phases equally.

My highest scoring game so far was with a hybrid Military/Development strategy. Production never exceeded 2 cards per turn, and the game ended with 12 cards in tableau.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Quite an appealing variant.
I gave it a try, managed 51 points in 32 "ticks" going with developments and military. I completely forgot to Settle bonus until about halfway through though.

You said to count up time whenever you pick refresh, which is logical. I didn't keep a refresh phase card on the table (no reason since it's always available) and used the "tap" method, just counting how many things I "untapped" every time I chose to refresh. But do I count up the phases I have "tapped" at the end of the game? It would make sense, or I could just pick every phase before picking my final Develop or Settle to try to get some better cards to play...
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Yes, you have to count up the phases you've tapped at the end of the game, including one last phase 6 tap, because that's the only time you can check for end-of-game.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who forgets the settle bonus.

51/32 = 1.6, which is higher than my first game...
 
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byronczimmer wrote:
Careful on the use of the word 'tap' there. Don't want to anger the WotC gods.

(Sigh.) Must we go through this again? They don't have a patent on "tap", they don't even have a patent on the mechanic of tapping, whatever it's called. They have a patent on a few specific types of collectable card games (that must have all of several attributes, for example, a pool of cards to select from, a library, and a predetermined hand size, etc.). In effect, the have a patent on (not surprisingly) Magic: The Gathering.
 
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Milan K
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My best game thus far has been 52/24 = 2.16 (out of 4 or 5 games). At first I thought this may be a good way to test and develop strategies, but this game had some unlikely strategies:

Development / Military / Production

Highlights:

I started with Epsilon Eridani and settled Runaway Robots.

The rest were Alien Robot Sentry, Galactic Engineers, Rebel Miners, Space Marines, Malevolent Lifeforms, Expedition Force, Diversified Economy, New Military tactics (2, one used, the other wasted away in my tableau), and the biggies: Galactic Imperium, Rebel Base and Rebel Homeworld.

In a real game I would've been blown out of the water fairly early. I was also lucky enough to get Rebel Base and Rebel Homeworld through the income from Diversified economy.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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69/30 = 2.3 with Epsilon Eridani.

This was my 4th try (each with a different world).

In this game I finally realized I should be using all my build opportunities, so I took 6 turns instead of 5 like I had previously done. Almost every turn featured everything except explore. However, my first action was explore and somewhere in the middle I skipped a produce. All the consumes were trade, except the last one.

T0: EE.
T1: Last of the Uplift Gnarssh (go Explore!), Merchant Guild.
T2: Terraforming Robots, Lost Species Ark World.
T3: Merchant World, Diversified Economy (I was holding New Economy at this point so I knew I would play it).
T4: Galactic Trendsetters, Deficit Spending.
T5: Prosperous World, Consumer Markets.
T6: Alien Robotics Factory, New Economy.

Basically I traded for a bunch every turn, and drew tons of cards off produce, thus finding and playing a bunch of cards for New Economy. On the last turn, I got 14 points from the consume (5 doubled plus Merchant World and Deficit Spending).

Update after two more games: 71 / 29 = 2.45 with Alpha Centauri. The 6 devs are really important in this variant.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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12 vp seems a little small to me. By the time you set up a good Consume combo, you don't have enough time to use it before the game ends. You spend a disproportionate number of phases setting things up and then you get to consume maybe two or three times before exhausting the supply.

It might be better to get rid of the point limit AND the tableau limit altogether and have a predetermined point goal. You simply try to reach that goal in the lowest amount of "time" possible. Thus you can play a lot of cards or you can do some efficient consuming. You don't "miss out" on points by having a small tableau and taking a lot of consuming, and might even be able to score well by "multi-tasking" with decent tableau building and decent consuming abilities. I think I'll give this one a try.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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I'm not sure I've broken 2.3 in my 10 or so games, I'll have to check my records when I get home. It's a good game when I crack 2.0.

In my best game I got several juicy military worlds, and had good dev discounts, so I took an extra turn of Dev/Settle, with no Produce/Consume cycle. You can't do that indefinately, though, because you run out of cards...or can you?

My best game, which isn't as high-scoring as Sean's, involved getting a rich vein of lucky rebel worlds towards the end, then doing Settle/Develop/Refresh without doing Produce/Consume. I hit 13 tableau the turn I blew the lid off the chips too.
 
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Nick Witchey
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If I simply play the regular phases with NO refresh, then I don't get any time points.

My victory ratings would then be infinite.

 
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Bill Parker
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Toxidyne wrote:
If I simply play the regular phases with NO refresh, then I don't get any time points.

My victory ratings would then be infinite.

Sure, but you can never finish the game to claim that score. If you don't choose the refresh phase then you don't get the 8 action cards back to use again.
 
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Chris Martin
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But /ordinary/ Race for the Galaxy is solitaire too...
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Dave J McWeasely
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2.39 using a 'military' strategy, which means not pulling 'produce', and selling windfall goods during consume to play for 6-devs. The scary thing is, I botched two moves and could have rated even higher.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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One more try: 2.48 (82/33).

This game showcased the best use of Research Labs ever.
-Its explore power let me keep 3 extra cards from gigantic batches.
-Its consume power gave me several points.
-Its produce power drew me 3 cards.
-It was worth 2 (base) + 3 (GalRen) + 1 (Seti) + 2 (New Economy) = 8 points.

What a deal!
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Were you using all 5 phases every turn? You're just crushing me at this...I think I've played 12-20 games of this!
 
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Chad Ellis
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Toxidyne wrote:
If I simply play the regular phases with NO refresh, then I don't get any time points.

My victory ratings would then be infinite.



Incorrect -- you add a time point for every action, not just Refresh.
 
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Nick Witchey
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hodji wrote:
Toxidyne wrote:
If I simply play the regular phases with NO refresh, then I don't get any time points.

My victory ratings would then be infinite.

Sure, but you can never finish the game to claim that score. If you don't choose the refresh phase then you don't get the 8 action cards back to use again.


Thanks for the clarification.

When I read the description on how to play, I had assumed that a player would simply take normal turns. I had misunderstood the "refesh" concept to be single refesh per turn.

Now the goals of the variant are much clearer.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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MrWeasely wrote:
Were you using all 5 phases every turn? You're just crushing me at this...I think I've played 12-20 games of this!


Five, sometimes six. I think I explored 4 times (more than usual because of my explore bonuses) and produced only N-1 times. I took six turns. I think you pretty much want to always take six turns.

You can only get about 20 points from chits, so you have to build a lot of valuable property and then end the game as soon as possible. On every turn, you basically want to get cards with produce/trade, and spend them with develop/settle. If you lack cards (quantity or quality), you also need to explore. On the next to last turn, if you haven't gotten a lot of points yet, you might need to consume 2x instead, to get up to 11. On the last turn you obviously do 2x. But building is much more important, points-wise, than chits.

I'll try to record my next try more closely.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Right, that's my usual approach.

The other approach I've found is Military + Dev, which uses phases I-IV without using produce. Phase IV is Consume, preferably an alien good with Merchant World's bonuses. That pays for a 6-cost dev. The settle is free by military. The explore plus seeing 4-7 trade cards per turn should pretty much get you 4 thumpin' 6-devs.

If you don't get a good military windfall you can run off the rails badly, but if you have a fistfull of Big Rebs you might be able to settle/refresh/settle/refresh to pad out the game.

The game ends on 13 tableau. You're not trying to develop any consume powers or production, which greatly focuses your remaining options, as well as saving time.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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I played another game. Here's the scoring:

New Economy: 13
Mining League: 7
Galactic Federation: 10
Galactic Renaissance: 14

Alpha Centauri, Mining Conglomerate, Plague World, Research Labs, Comet Zone, Merchant World, Galactic Trendsetters, New Earth, Terraformed World: 19

VPs: 25

TOTAL: 88

Actions: 34 (Missing one explore and one produce.)

Score: 2.588!



Start with Alpha Centauri. Explore 1/1.

Cards I've seen are now Space Marines, Aquatic Uplift race, Replicant Robots, Gem World, Plague World, Mining Conglomerate, Terraforming Robots, Interstellar Bank, Rebel Outpost (the 5 cost one).

Mining Conglomerate is the obvious winner here, at +3 cards per turn and having good point potential (it ended up being worth 7).

I might consider Replicant Robots, but I have Terraforming Robots which lets me draw more cards and has a consume power (New Economy). I would rather have the Terraforming ones so I ditch Replicant Robots and Interstellar bank, which is crappy (1 point), along with the three military cards (over three different occasions). I already have a windfall so the military stuff so I'm not excited by the military stuff (again, not great points).

I develop Mining Conglomerate and trade. I don't get any better worlds, so I play the zero-point Plague World (at least it has a consume power, unlike Gem World). Then I produce.

That's turn one. I now have great card generation due to the lucky Mining Conglomerate, so I can try to get points. On subsequent turns I play whichever development and world is worth the most points.

Turn two: Research Labs (explore afterwards, but fail to find a great world), Comet Zone.

Turn three: (Luckily I found a...) Galactic Renaissance (then explore), Merchant world. I have New Economy in hand now so Merchant World is 5 points (two chits on the last turn) and also some extra card selection. I'm also holding Galactic Trendsetters and Terraformed World but they can wait.

Turn four: Play Galactic Trendsetters first, then trade, then play New Economy. I was hoping to get a better 6 dev to play earlier, but that's fine. I'm holding Diversified Economy (4 points and some card drawing) and Deficit Spending (5 points) but I might still draw two better developments so I'll wait. My explore is for 9 cards, and trade/produce gives 10, so I hope I find something good.

Turn five: I've found Mining League and New Earth, which is great. I play them. I find Galactic Federation for next turn! I barely make it to 11 VPs by discarding to Merchant World.

Turn six: I play Terraformed World and consume 2x. Unfortunately, I'd have to skip the bonus VP from Mining League's consume power if I wanted to end up with 5 cards to discard for GalFed. Instead I go for max points (and discard 2 to Merchant World), then explore for 4 cards to pay for my development. I got 12 consume points from Mining League, Galactic Trendsetters, and Plague World, which with Merchant World puts me at 25.

There are 12 cards left in the deck.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Wow.

In one game I had Trade League and two alien goods. I didn't have research lab or any consume powers, nor any cards worth building. So I consume/trade'd both goods for 12 cards total - the rich man's explore - see 12, keep 10. devil
 
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Guy Srinivasan
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83/34 = 2.44, and it looked quite a lot like Sean's:

Alpha Centauri (0+1=1)
Mining Conglomerate (2+2=4)
New Earth (2+1+1=4)
Galactic Survey: SETI (0+1=1)
Mining World (2+1=3)
New Economy (0+2=2)
Galactic Trendsetters (3+1+1+3=8)
Deficit Spending (1+2=3)
Tourist World (2+1+1=4)
Research Labs (2+1+2+3=8)
Asteroid Belt (1+1=2)
Galactic Renaissance (0+1=1)
Deserted Alien Library (5+1=6)
VP chits (27+9=36)

Galactic Survey: SETI 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 = 10 points
New Economy enabled 2+1+2+1+2+1+2 = 11 points
Galactic Renaissance enabled 9+3+3 = 15 points
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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How could you possible have 27 VP chits?
 
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