Most of the secrets designer Tom Lehmann let slip about his Race for the Galaxy series can be found in the most recent expansions. Perhaps any original secrets from the base game go so far back they’re lost to time? Still, i was happy to hear about the culture that influenced Tom and is reflected in his game.

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is The Secret Life of Board Games, where i talk to board game creators and ask them to reveal the Easter eggs they’ve hidden in their games.

Race for the Galaxy is a card game by Tom Lehmann, and it should come as no surprise to you to learn that Tom is a dyed-in-the-wool nerd, like many of us, and a fan of sci fi authors David Brin and Fred Pohl, so he and the game’s artists, Martin Hoffmann and Claus Stephan, buried a bunch of Brin and Pohl references in the base game and its expansions.

Wherever you see “Uplift,” it’s a reference to Brin’s Uplift stories. The Arboreal Uplift Race card pays homage to Brin’s original Uplift War cover. Stories by sci fi author John Varley are referenced by this robot on the the Alien Rosetta Stone card, these blaster gems, and this Deep Space Symbionts LTD card.

The Scientific Cruisers card might call to mind certain enterprising ship, and the Rebel Cantina card is an obvious reference to a well-known watering hole on Tatooine. Careful, buddy – you’re gonna lose that arm!

This Alien First Contact Team is a reference to the poster for the movie The Right Stuff, which is based on this photo of NASA’s Mercury Seven. The movie is based on the book by Tom Wolfe, and the book, of course, is all about the Mercury Seven and the US’s first manned spaceflight program.

The Galactic Home Front card is a reference to Rosie the Riveter and the women who manufactured munitions during World War II.

Would you like to know more…?

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[Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]


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