With a loud groan, the holding clamps of the freight containers opened. Finally the new goods arrive at the newly established colony. But not only the colony needs these goods, also the expedition fleet, which is to move into a new quadrant, is dependent on the supplies. New adventures await the crew in the race for dominance in the known galaxy, because not only New Sparta was anxious to find new planets.
In Roll for the Galaxy the dice are rolling
In Roll for the Galaxy dice are the main part of the game. Altogether you can be happy about 111 dice. If you then have the expansion Ambition in your possession, the number of dice increases to 149 dice – the fulfillment for every dice lover! These are not just simple, ordinary dice, but dice in different colors. Each dice stands for a different characteristic. Red dice stand e.g. for the military. Also the distribution of the symbols is different for each color. So red dice have a higher distribution of development and settlement symbols. But production and loading symbols are missing.
In Roll for the Galaxy, the military dice are primarily used to expand your empire. Other dice have a higher probability of producing goods etc. These symbols are the crucial element in Roll for the Galaxy. Because at the beginning of each round the dice are rolled first. The symbols rolled are then assigned to the 5 different phases of the game: Exploring, Developing, Settling, Producing and Shipping. Unfortunately, you can only select one phase to take place at a time. The other players do the same, of course, and so some of the other phases are also played in each round. Once you have thrown the correct symbols and assigned them to other phases, you can also perform the actions in the corresponding phases.
Planets with no end
In addition to the dice, Roll for the Galaxy also contains a vast number of tiles. These tiles represent our galaxy. They make sure every game is different. It starts with the starting lineup. Each player is randomly assigned one of nine factions and one of nine home maps. That makes 81 different starting combinations in the basic game. If the expansion Ambition is also integrated, this combination increases to 368 possibilities with new tiles. Add to that the 60 different planet and development tiles and no two games are alike. Strategies that worked before have to be rethought and adapted in a new game.
This is also the big difference to the card game Race for the Galaxy, on which Roll for the Galaxy is based. Instead, Roll for the Galaxy has a stronger random factor. So the card game is fun, but beginners actually have no chance to win. This is different with Roll for the Galaxy: You are at the mercy of the outcome of your dice and you also have to have a bit of luck when drawing new tiles. This keeps it balanced and new players are not frustrated so easily.
Roll for the Galaxy and Ambition
With the expansion Ambition there is also a module that adds orders to the game that need to be completed. Once you have completed an order, you get a certain amount of joker token. They can be used as a one-time dice replacement or can be converted into victory points at the end of the game. This creates more competition between the players.
Roll for the Galaxy is one of my current favorite games. It is quickly explained and plays smoothly. It’s just fun to build your empire and get new dice over and over again. You’re disappointed when it’s suddenly over, because you wanted to build and discover so much more. Especially at the end of the game there is almost nothing more satisfying than to own a half full cup of dice.
Unfortunately the packaging of Roll for the Galaxy doesn’t look very good. If one compares it with other space games like Firefly or Twilight Empire, the cover looks more like Borg cube on an LSD trip. And so it took me a little while to finally get hold of it. But you shouldn’t be put off by it in any case, because the content is excellent.
In any case you should also buy the expansion Ambition having more choices is an asset in Roll for the Galaxy. It doesn’t create more confusion, as is sometimes the case with expansions for other games. Only the module with the orders is not really recommended. Of the six orders that come into play per game, usually only one or two can be fulfilled at all. Therefore you have to adapt your playing style extremely. In my opinion, you can do without the orders module without any problems. A new expansion has already been announced, but nothing concrete is known about it yet.
However, Roll for the Galaxy still has to accept some negative criticism: In contrast to the high replayability is the reduced player interaction. You can’t block other players or maybe take over a planet. Player interaction is limited to the selection of phases. More interaction would be good for the otherwise great game. It would be interesting, for example, if you had to fight together against a dark threat from the depths of space.