Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodbye Race For The Galaxy... Hello Settlers Of Catan Card Game & Expansion!

The inevitable happened... I traded away Race for the Galaxy. In all honesty, the game grew on me more than I anticipated after my first couple of plays but ultimately its lack of success with the wife did it in. Van is my most frequent gaming partner so if she hates the game so much that she more or less refuses to play it, there isn't much use keeping it around even if it is an 8 in my book.

While I could always play it with others, the problem about RftG is it is terribly unfriendly to newbies. It takes at least 3-4 games for someone to get familiar with the symbols and even that's not a guarantee. It's basically a turn-off for casual and non-gamers due to not just the complexity of the symbols but also the various card powers. The learning curve is simply to steep for one to adequately familiarize himself or herself with the cards to be able to execute combos meaningfully.

Furthermore, while I like the game with 3 and especially 4, I find the 2 player game somewhat flawed due to a overly dominant Produce - Consume 2xVP strategy as highlighted in my previous post.

The fact that I had a better alternative drove the final nail into the coffin. Why play RftG when Glory to Rome trumps it on almost all accounts, at least in my opinion. While the quick play time is often viewed as a boon by others, I find that it leaves me somewhat unsatisfied. Glory to Rome plays in a comfortable time with far more interesting mechanics and combos, plus I prefer playing it regardless of the number of players. While the games don't play all that similarly, they are sufficiently in the same vein for me to pick one over the other for my collection.

The game I got in return was the Catan Card Game with expansions. While admittedly less flexible due to it being a mere 2 player game, it was one I had in view for some time. 2 player games are always a risk because if Van fails to give her seal her approval, the game is clearly headed for the cold storage. However, I am hopeful because the boardgame variant is one of Van's favourite games and I'm sure she'll take to the theme unlike that of RftG.

The game also seems sufficiently deep for me to enjoy and the CCG elements are an added appeal. I have heard the much touted tournament variant requires two sets of the card game plus expansion which I'm unfortunately to fork the dough for. Hopefully, the standard game will not disappoint but if all things fail, the small deck tournament rules may be the saving grace. Aka Datang!

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