In Roll for the Galaxy you take on the role of an intergalactic species like something out of an Isaac Asimov story. You’ve been given a random homeworld and a random piece of starting technology. Many times, those two starting pieces, in the form of colorful tiles, will define your entire play strategy, leveraging the innate advantages that chance have given you. Other times, you’ll forge your own path, pursuing a goal that either skill or luck has driven you towards.
Which direction you go, is up to you.
This is a game played with dice, over 100 dice in fact, and a dice cup. The dice give you this visceral sensation that is missing from many modern games, which is only made better by the fact that the colors are exotic and the patterns are custom.
This game is based on Race for the Galaxy, and if you liked a similar dice remake, Pandemic The Cure, as much as I did, then this is a re-imagination you won’t want to miss. Knowing that the original game was named “Race” rather than “Roll”, gives you an idea of how the game’s stages play out. Competitive but not combative, players play as well as they can, but their actions, rather than attacking other players, can often give advantages to the other players.
In the beginning third of the game, you lead your civilization into space, choosing to either invest your limited actions into settling more worlds or developing more technologies. During this phase, you don’t need to look too closely at your peers, but you should! Understand the paths the other players are choosing in order to capitalize on them. If you’re adept at reading your enemies (I mean friend’s, friend’s!!) actions, you’ll get to take additional actions by putting citizens in modes you trust them to activate. If you become too obvious, your “friends” will instead get bonus actions from you.
The next third of the game, you need to decide how you’re going to win. Will you settle the most valuable planets faster than anyone else? Will you discover technologies that lock you in the win? Perhaps a meta-strategy of pursuing one of the many technologies that give you points for certain types of development? You can also simply go for the cash, rocking the interstellar markets so hard that the game ends early (hopefully) with you being the victor. Whatever path you decide, you should try to move into this phase before your peers move out of their beginning phases or risk being left behind by peers who move faster or more decisively than you. Yes, this is a race, so sometimes one or more players will rocket towards the end while you’re still trying to figure out whats going on.
Towards the end, hopefully, you’ve managed to keep pace. If you decide to start rushing forward, only to discover that the game is about to end, it’ll be too late. You need to move towards the end faster, or you need to advance your points faster than anyone else. If you’ve developed a strategy to produce points faster than anyone else, you want to repeat as long as possible, because soon enough your neighbors will end the game through one of the two game ending scenarios. If you can’t produce points as fast as some of the other players, try to end it or try to leech off of their buy/sell cycle.
However the game ends, the game doesn’t seem to generate many hurt feelings. The randomness of the tiles, the cool theme, the rolling of the dice. It all comes together to just “feel” really good. This is our go-to game after a stressful work week. There are a lot of cool, fun games out there, and there are a lot of low-stress “deal out the cards” kind of games. This is both though, very fun and very stress-free.
The game is competitive, but you don’t directly interact with each other, so even people who normally might prefer cooperative games, will often enjoy the “turtling” aspect of building their space empire. I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t enjoyed the simple act of playing with the dice.
If you acquire this game, while it is awesome and we have played it substantially, I highly recommend the expansion. The expansion adds a few things (like leaders, black dice with a bit more cost efficiency built in) which I’ve really loved.
Roll for the Galaxy
"A strategic dice-based game where you build up your empire with cool technologies and end up crushing your enemies with clever play."
- dice, lots of dice! Great looking fun to play with dice!
- race style competitiveness, you win by playing
- low stress high fun that plays different most games
- possibility for people to cheat
- little starting randomness with base box (more than doubles with expansion)
Replayability (with expansion) 90%