Here we are at the terminus of my Roll for the Galaxy journey. i’ve unboxed it, i’ve taught you How to Play (and i’ve taken a look at the first expansion, Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition). But is the game actually any fun? Find out below:

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table. Roll for the Galaxy is an engine building/deck building game with dice for 2 to 5 players. Let’s find the fun! Fun: adding players to this game doesn’t actually add a whole lot of playtime. It’s a little bit like 7 Wonders in that regard. It’s kind of fun when you can say “Yeah yeah yeah – come on in! We can take one more!” and you’re not going to extend your playtime by any appreciable amount. Not fun: randomness. But if you know me, you know i don’t mind randomness myself. i’m only pointing it out because there seem to be so many gamers out there who hate it! They hate when CARDS are DEALT to the table. Bleh! Or they hate when dice are rolled. i don’t mind cards. i don’t mind dice. My take is that life is random, and you sort of – you know – i like a game where you can get dealt a random set of circumstances, and just sort of roll with the punches and see what you can do with literally the hand that you’re dealt! i dig it. You might not. Or maybe you’re like me. And if you’re like me… i’m sorry. Fun: the tactility of it. So of course, it’s called Roll for the Galaxy and it’s based around dice, and there are a LOT of dice! And you get a little plastic cup, and you get to put the dice in the cup and shake it up and make a whole lot of noise. It reminds me of Boggle in that regard, in that when everybody’s rolling, there’s a horrible ruckus raised from the table that’s… kind of fun. Not fun: the game is tricky to teach and learn. Much like its predecessor Race for the Galaxy, there are a bunch of different symbols that you need to learn, and then some… maybe unintuitive rules that you have to learn about dice placement on your little phase strip. “So if i have a blue die i have to put it on the blue world?” “Oh no no no – you can put the blue die on any coloured world.” “So i have to use a blue die, then, to ship it?” “No, but if you do, you get an extra point.” “Well how many points do i earn to begin with?” “Well you get one base point, and then if the colour matches the world, you get another point, and then if the shipping die matches the colour of the world, you get maximum of three points.” “So i can juice a blue die for money…” “No no no no no! Colour doesn’t matter when you’re shipping for money.” You know. And so on. Fun: games are fast! Now, i don’t mind sitting down at the table and playing a game that takes three or four hours, but my family and my friends maybe are not so into that. So it’s really nice to have a game in my collection that we know we can bust out, set up, play, and tear down between half an hour to an hour. And i log on my plays, so i know that that number is actual, as opposed to whatever lies the side of the box wants to tell you. Not fun: the artwork. But, you know, i’m a bit of an artwork snob. This art would be pretty well at home in a 1960s serialized sci-fi pulp magazine, which maybe is the idea? But it’s not the most mind-blowing sci-fi artwork you’re gonna see, and some of the aliens and the humanoids are just kind of like… not that well illustrated. i dunno. Maybe that adds to the game? Fun: there are multiple paths to victory. So this isn’t a game where you can be a one-trick pony, playing the same way every single time, especially since your home tiles are randomly dealt, and so that kind of gives you an inkling of maybe the strategy you want to pursue for that particular game. So you can have a military strategy, where you’re trying to cram a bunch of red dice into your cup, which help you conquer worlds and build developments. Or, you can build a little engine where you’re constantly just putting the same couple of dice on colored planets, and then shipping those dice off for points. Or, you can have a strategy where you’re very strong with building worlds, and so you’re building a bunch of high point worlds, so that at the end of the game you’ve got a big pile of points amassed. And like a bunch of other games this is one where you can actually rush the end of the game, so if you’ve got a slight points lead, or you want to prevent one of the other players from running their engine and getting too many more points, you can force the end of the game by building that twelfth tile. So, there’s a lot of different things going on. If you want to be a really excellent, proficient player at Roll for the Galaxy, you’re gonna have to practice a number of different strategies. Not fun: the insert. Or lack thereof. So we’ve got a bunch of plastic cups, and a whole pile of dice, and tiles, and a bag, and screens, and whoever designed the insert – or neglected to – thought “Oh – you know – we’ll just have a channel so you can put the cups here… and then, like, everything else on the other side.” i’ve called out Rio Grande Games a number of times for their crummy, crummy inserts, that i call “the well,” which is usually just two shelves of cardboard and a big, vast pit where you can chuck everything. i think, really, it’s time for somebody at Rio Grande Games to go to jail for the neglect of their inserts. That’s right: prison. i said it. And i’ll say it again. Fun (or not fun, kind of depending on your preference): this is a multiplayer solitaire game, which means that there’s not a whole lot of player interaction between you and your opponents. Really, there’s only one touchpoint of where you’re interacting, and it’s not even interacting. You’re just trying to guess what your opponents are going to do. You’re trying to guess which phases they’re going to pick, because if you can bank on them choosing a phase that you want to be called, you can spend your resources on another phase that you want to have happen. You can’t go into your opponent’s tableau and destroy their buildings, you can’t steal their dice, there’s not a winnowing pool of worker resource places that you’re competing to get, so there’s none of that stuff. So some players might really like that aspect – that… that multiplayer solitaire aspect – and other players might like a little bit more in-your-face competition – a little bit more player interaction. It really depends on where you’re coming from, and what you prefer. i will say that the first expansion, Roll for the Galaxy Ambition, adds some goal cards, and so that adds one more sort of touchpoint of player interaction. You have these goals that you’re racing to collect, and if you’re the first person to meet the prerequisite on the gold card, you get to take it and earn some extra points. So if you really want to add that kind of thing to your game, you can consider picking up Ambition. Not fun: that weird little piece that represents your currency. It looks like a little… space person with the helmet, and i don’t know why they chose it, because it would be different if that symbol represented money, like it was that symbol and an 8 for 8 – you know – space buckazoids or whatever. But no – the game uses, like, a dollar sign for money. So why are we using this weird little spaceman to track our currency? The only thing i can think of is that Rio Grande Games… this is a cost-saving measure, and they had that piece designed, or kicking around, and they thought “Aw – you know – we’ll use it for this,” because i’ve seen it show up in other space-themed to Rio Grande Games! So it comes off a little bit stingy to me. i really think that if money is represented by a dollar symbol in the game, it would’ve been nice to have little dollar symbol wooden pieces instead to tie it in a little bit better. So let’s find the fun in Roll for the Galaxy, where fun is represented by SPACE BAG! and not fun is represented by COLOSTOMY BAG! (Ugh… it’s, like, wet.) Huh! Roll for the Galaxy is… fun! So yeah! i’d call Roll for the Galaxy fun. But as in other videos, i’m gonna make it qualified fun. So riding on a rollercoaster? That’s fun! And going to the library is also fun. Not everybody likes rollercoasters, not everybody likes the library, right? It’s different types of fun for different types of people. And i think the biggest differentiating factor in this game that’s going to help you decide whether it’s going to be fun for you or not, is that multiplayer solitaire aspect. If you don’t like anybody coming over and kicking over your sand castle, then this is a game that you could consider trying out. If you like getting your sand castle kicked over, and then retaliating by kicking over multiple other people’s sand castles, then this isn’t the game for you. Rhere is no sand castle kicking whatsoever. If you don’t like random elements, then obviously, the “Roll” in the title is going to put you right off. This isn’t a game where there’s a whole lot of ability to mitigate your dice rolls, where – you know – you… you have a bum roll, and you can say “Oh, well, i can spend these points that i’ve collected earlier to change the dice faces.” There’s a tiny bit of that in what the game calls “reassign powers,” but it all depends on what you build. That can be kind of limiting, and you can’t always count on it. So if you are comfortable with fomenting a strategy based on a randomly dealt set of circumstances, then you’re gonna have a good time. And if that kind of gets your back up and makes your skin crawl, it’s not the game for you. Here’s a point that my wife Cheryl offered: we’ve been playing this game together for a few weeks now. We really enjoy it. We like how quickly it plays. And she said one of the reasons she thinks it plays so quickly is because in contrast with Race for the Galaxy, if you’re familiar with that game, you have a mint full of cards and the cards can be used as your currency. So you have to make this gut-wrenching decision: which cards do i want as money cards in order to build the cards that i want to have out in my tableau? And of course, when you look at your hand, they’re great! i want to build… every single last one of them. In Roll for the Galaxy, you really only have two choices that are staring you in the face. You have a development stack, and you have a settlement stack, and you’re gonna build one thing or the other thing. You’ve got other tiles potentially underneath those tiles, but they’re kind of out of sight, out of mind. And she feels that that really reduces the amount of analysis paralysis that you’re prone to while playing the game, and it makes the thing go a whole lot quicker, and i tend to agree… because Cheryl is my wife. (laughs) So that’s the take. If you’re cool with randomness, and you’re okay with a multiplayer solitaire game with not a lot of interaction, then try Roll for the Galaxy! Give it a shot. Otherwise, don’t. i mean, i can’t tell you what to do. Thank you for hearing my opinion. If you want to share your opinion, i’ve got a comments section below, or you can tell me live in real time on the Discord server. As always, toss me some bucks on Patreon so i can maintain my lavish lifestyle of eating frozen taquitos. Thanks for watching! See you again. [Music] Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge to subscribe, and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff. [Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]

Get Your Own Copy of Roll for the Galaxy

To Race or to Roll: that is the question. When i already owned Race for the Galaxy, i thought i couldn’t possibly have a use for a dice version of the same game. How wrong i was! If you’d like to be just as wrong as i am, grab your own copy of Roll for the Galaxy using the Amazon link below, and i’ll receive a small commission!

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