FTW Staff Picks - Roll for the Galaxy February 07 2017
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Roll for the Galaxy
Designer: Wei-Hwa Huang & Thomas Lehmann
Genre: Dice / Tableau Building
Player Size: 2 to 5 Players
Game Length: 45 minutes
For fans of: Race for the Galaxy, Seasons
When I was first getting into board games I perused BoardGameArena to find and learn new games. Among those games was Race for the Galaxy. To this day it strikes me as the most confounding and convoluted games to learn. Even after having played it dozens of times, trying to refresh my memory on its rules is a constant headache. Between us, it's a real love/hate relationship. And then all of a sudden, we were graced with Roll for the Galaxy.
Unlike Race for the Galaxy, it's dice-based sibling offers a more logical play-flow. Every mechanic in Roll for the Galaxy links to each other with purpose. Don't mistaken this for simplifying, because it's actually streamlining. Every bit of depth and strategy in Race still exists in Roll, albeit with a slightly more luck-based engine (due to the dice). The reference shields in Roll for the Galaxy are useful guides compared to the index-sized, densely-written reference sheets in Race for the Galaxy.
And for those who have never played either game, jumping into a game of Roll for the Galaxy is not at all intimidating. I've managed to successfully teach the game to all different types of gamers, and done so in relatively quick time. It's a strong empire-builder with enough control to mitigate the likelihood of bad rolls.
Creating dice-versions of popular games is nothing new and while some of them feel unnecessary and lesser (looking at you Pandemic: The Cure), Roll for the Galaxy justifies its own existence by not only being a superior game to Race for the Galaxy, but also differentiating itself enough that fans of the original can comfortably own and play both.