RftG, San Juan, Blue Moon

I met Olli for a small session of card games. We played Race for the Galaxy, San Juan and Blue Moon.

Race for the Galaxy coverI dropped my Race for the Galaxy rating from 9 to 8 (as the Geek rating guidelines go, it’s certainly a very good game — but only in certain circumstances, and that’s one thing that separates the 8’s from 9’s). Here’s my new rating comment:

Race for the Galaxy seemed like godsent when it appeared – an improvement over San Juan, with a nice scifi theme to boot.

Two expansions later I’m thinking San Juan might still be the better game of the two, as it’s cleaner and more elegant. Race for the Galaxy feels a bit luck-heavy (that’s just a feeling I get, caused by my lack of skill).

Also, Race for the Galaxy is simply a pain to play with newbies, which is a big minus.

I’ve rated it 10, but the rating has since come down a bit. At its best it’s still a ten, but those moments are rare enough. I do like the Keldon’s AI version, it’s a nice little solitaire game to play (and when I say solitaire, I mean it, as I never look at what the computer players do).

San Juan, on the other hand, was great fun. I’m almost at 100 play and will make it my mission to reach that milestone this year. I also decided I want the expansion cards, even if I have to buy the whole Alea Garbage Chest to get them. They improve the game, while keeping it still in the sane limits. The other expansion seems fairly pointless, but the cards are fun.

Blue Moon sneaked to my top-10 most played games list. I’m not sure what to think of it. It’s always fun to play, I always end up thinking I should play it more to know the decks better (and particularly to have opponents who know the decks better, as I’m actually doing all right these days) and I still play it very rarely, perhaps once a year.

I’ve been thinking about selling the whole bunch, looks like a complete set might be worth something (actually, somebody’s selling complete set, mostly in shrinkwrap and the promos included, and it’s only at $66 right now). Besides, if I sell, I’ll regret it eventually. Better stick to the set for now.

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5 thoughts on “RftG, San Juan, Blue Moon”

  1. Ironically, as we usually agree on everything, I played San Juan a couple of weeks ago and thought it was worn out compared to RFTG. Having said that, the expansion buildings would help.

  2. This game is not as good as Puerto Rico. But it is the only way to get the concept and strategy of Puerto Rico into a two-player game. It is also much more portable than Puerto Rico–take it on long road trips to liven up your evenings in motels in the middle of nowhere. In comparison to Puerto Rico, this game requires a bit more discipline and deliberate choices–making a choice will foreclose the possibility of making other choices. Since the cards serve as production facilities, goods, victory points, money, etc. all at the same time. Thus, if you use a card as money to pay for something, you give up the chance of using it as a production facility. This factor makes the game a little more intense and frustrating (in a good way). If you haven’t played Puerto Rico, try that first. Then try San Juan–it will make more sense.

  3. I agree with your comments about RftG. I just recently got it and the more I play it, the more I think luck is involved. Maybe I am still learning the game but I am not quite as enamored as I first was.

  4. Like somebody said in Finnish Board Game Society forums, RftG has more luck than San Juan as it has a larger set of cards, but there’s also more depth and skill, too.

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