Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition
Picked up the first expansion for Roll more than a month ago and finally got a chance to break it out. It’s interesting and subtle!
My wife and I play a lot of Race for the Galaxy. Well, played is more accurate: now I’ve got thousands of plays on BGA and she isn’t competitive any more. But lordy she is a shark at Roll. We haven’t had it that long but it’s our go-to time killer when we have less than an hour or we’re waiting out naptime or whatever.
Ambition adds two new colors of dice: black (leaders) and orange (entrepreneurship). Setup is a little different, with one of the original white “homeworld” dice being replaced with a leader die. Both new dice come with multiple symbols on each face and some new rules for evaluating them. There are also a ton of new homeworlds and factions, and just five new world/development tiles to throw in the big bag.
The game feels really different with the two new die colors, and the decisions feel even more grueling. I didn’t think I’d like the dice adaptation but I really do.
There is also an option for competing over goals, a lot like how the first Race expansion worked. Haven’t tried them yet, I’m sure it just makes the game more difficult.
Anyway, cool expansion to a good game.
5 thoughts on “Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition”
I like the new dice, but the I’m not a big fan of the new competative goals.
I have found that the balance between the difficulty of the conditions and rewards for the goals are not well balanced against the rest of the game. What I mean is that in order for the new goals to be accomplished you have to devout some amount of resources to them in order to acquire them before someone else. The problem is that the resources you need to devote is usually better spent acquiring points through the other existing mechanisms in the game. In the games where players were actively trying to achieve any of the goals, they never won.
This produces an undersirably side effect. Since players are not actively trying to achieve goals, the goals are usually accomplished by accident. This means point totals can be very swingy.
Maybe they are better than the experiences then what I have seen (I’ve not actually exhustively played through them), but I’ve stopped playing wiht them. Absolutely love the dice and the new tiles, just I’ve left the optional goals out of recent plays.
This sounds just like how it plays out in Race: you might get lucky and find that a goal aligns nicely with your first few turns, but you really can’t direct your play toward them without sacrificing your basic game. So it’s kind of a lucky points piñata.
How in your mind does this compare with Race?
Roll is easier and I think less cutthroat. The dice really are fun to manipulate. I don’t know the tiles nearly well enough to build toward scoring solutions the way I can in Race (because I know Race so well) so it mostly feels opportunistic. It’s probably more “fun” to roll dice, honestly. And for whatever reason I never feel completely screwed by bad rolls the way I can feel with bad draws. Otoh I’m not sure how much skill I can actually develop, either.