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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Boards & Brews at Home: Roll For The Galaxy

Today we rolled out another one of our large box games, Roll For The Galaxy.  While we were at it, we had some cinnamon spicy flavored Blue Moon ale.  The cinnamon extract really added a nice flavor and gave it a fall-time type of feel to the beverages.  As for the game, we are ready to roll to create galactic civilizations, recruit workers, settle worlds, and build developments in this 2 - 5 player game of space empires and technology. 
Roll For The Galaxy is the dice game version of Race For The Galaxy where your workers are in the form of dice.  In this game players begin each round by performing 5 steps per turn.  These steps consist of: 1) Roll, 2) Assign, 3) Reveal, 4) Perform Phase Actions, 5) Manage Empire.  During the rolling phase, each player secretly roll their dice (workers) to see what their workers wish to do per round.  Next, each player simultaneously utilizes one worker to select (assign) one of the five possible phases, and then all players reveal their workers and then play the selected phases from their phase strip in numerical order from 1 to 5.  The phases on the phase strip consist of explorer, developer, settler, producer, and shipper.  Each of these are carefully considered because it will either count for or against you when it comes time to reveal and perform these actions.  After these steps are completed, the players manage their empire by spending galactic credits ($) to recruit more dice from the citizenry into your cup to become more workers for the next round.  If, after completing all possible tasks, return unused dice to the cup.  If you play your workers properly, you can advance your empire which will bring you victory points faster which will definitely assist in more points the more player tiles you develop and settle.  The game ends when a player exhausts their victory point pool or 12 or more tiles in their player tableau first. 
We love space exploration games, and the fusion of multi-colored dice rolling definitely makes an enjoyable game for us!  The artwork is well executed with nice depth, and the overall sequential mechanics seems to flow really well in this version.  The iconography in Roll is more easily understood and enjoyable to us than Race.  The phase order in Roll also makes more sense to us than Race like the Ship occurs after, not before, Produce.  The minimum number of workers to place a tile is 1, not 0, even if discounts would reduce it below 1.  I really like how the player may trade multiple goods in a Ship phase (as many as you have shipper-good pairs).  There is no direct military conquest.  Instead, “Military” dice are biased towards the Develop and Settle tasks, representing the military preference for expansion.  These are only a few examples of what Roll does better than Race so you'll want to play it to experience the rest.

Some of the components are just paper thin, so you have to consider that long term, you take good care of everything so that it really lasts.  The remaining components are quite nice, not mind-blowingly great, but well printed on the tiles and should last for a long time.  The organization of the instructional booklet was quite good, we read it front to back and there were sections that left us slightly confused and questioning how to proceed with different tasks and rules.  The areas we were questioning, meant that we had to proceed down alternate avenues in order to make certain we were performing tasks exactly correct.  Other than that, we thoroughly enjoy Roll For The Galaxy and it’s another one of our games that we’ll be holding onto long term, and if you like Sci-Fi economic, space exploration games with dice rolling, then you shouldn’t be without this one. 

Roll For The Galaxy
Overall Meeple Rating: 7.5/10

Game Mechanics:
1) Dice Rolling
2) Pool Building
3) Simultaneous Action Selection
4) Variable Player Powers
5) Variable Player Order

Have any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.

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