Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Race for the Win

We had a big games night over at the Ottems' last night. Chili and socialization beforehand, until it was time for small children to go to bed. Got to see a bunch of people I don't see very often, like Rich & his wife, and Ted. Played a game of Race for the Galaxy to teach new players, and then Galaxy Trucker. I enjoyed it, but I think I may be done with it for a while; it's a bit overly-capricious to be a lot of fun if you're behind. And then it was about 1 am, so everyone went home. Um. And then Tom & Chris & Bryree and I played another game of RftG.

So I was up quite late last night.

I was pondering what makes the game so compelling for me. Of course it has a lot of the, hmm, let's call it 'opportunistic synergy optimization' gameplay that I like (see also Mythos), and when you chain things together properly you can build nifty victory engines, so there's also some good conditional logistics.

The flavor is also very good. It's very evocative without being overly detailed, and the thing I noticed last night is that when you get a decent strategy going, the cards fit together in a way that builds a little story.

But I think the thing that keeps me coming back is the excellent timing of the win condition. It feels like the game generally ends just when you're getting everything into position, so the winner doesn't usually have time to pull a long way ahead of everyone else, instead the finish line suddenly comes into view and you have to sprint for it. Which means that you're always left wanting just a little bit more. "Just two more rounds and I could have done X and Y!" is a common post-game comment. It's a very satisfying experience, but often not a satiating one.

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