Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm - Board Game Box Shot

Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm

| Published: 2008
Expansion for Race for the Galaxy

As knowledge of JumpDrive spreads, an ancient race stirs, while another flees a world doomed by a dying sun. Th e Imperium grows in strength, provoking further resistance and the hiring of mercenaries. Can you build the most prosperous and powerful space empire in a galaxy edging towards war?

This first expansion for Race for the Galaxy adds cards, a 5th player, and other ways to expand your universe.

User Reviews (11)

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8
Gamer - Level 8
Expert Recruiter
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
9
32 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“The best expansion for the game”

Race for the Galaxy (RftG) is an excellent strategy card game with a fun space theme. In it, players settle planets and build developments. A game round starts with each player secretly selecting an action card, then revealing the actions selected together. Each action card selected means an action is available for all players that round, and the selecting player gets some privelege for being the one who selected it. Actions include Explore (drawing cards), Settle and Develop (for purchasing a planet or development card, respectively, among others. Game play continues until someone has played the twelfth card in their tableau (play area), after which victory points are added up.

An expansion to this game I cannot play it without is The Gathering Storm (TGS). TGS is the first of three expansions for the game. As expected, it adds a few cards to the pretty large amount in the base game. These cards are pretty well balanced and fill thematic and mechanical “holes” in the base game. For example, some cards have keywords that can be relevant when scoring happens. This adds more of those cards, which allow more interesting combinations. What really stands out, however, are the goal cards.

The goal cards are a set of goals that are randomly dealt out each game. Two large goals each worth five victory points and four small goals each worth three are in each game. The large goals function like the Longest Road/Largest Army cards in Settlers of Catan, in that they can change hands during the course of the game. One is for largest military, for example, and another is for largest number of large developments. The small ones are for the first person to reach the goal. These add some serious considerations for gameplay, since sometimes a few points can be the difference in first and second place in scoring. And if your draws aren’t getting you the planets types you want, you can try focusing on the goal cards so that you’re earning points while you’re waiting to draw the next rare minerals world, or big development.

To summarize, I wouldn’t play RftG without this expansion. The other two expansions don’t seem as critical, as I can easily see playing without the additional rules from the Rebel vs. Imperium or Brink of War expansions (Prestige points and takeovers come to mind). This expansion really made Race for the Galaxy a better game. So, if you own the game, try this expansion if you haven’t already. And share your thoughts! Tell us what you think of this expansion, or any other expansion for any game you cannot see playing without!

 
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4
Gamer - Level 4
Junior
Novice Reviewer
Knight
8
24 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Great expansion for true fans”

I can’t help but feel that “The Gathering Storm” is a rather brave expansion release. It offers relatively few new in-game cards and let’s not forget that RftG is a Card Game. Instead it aims to maintain the balance of the deck, allow an extra player to join the play (5 players in all), progress the thematic element of the game with additional Uplift Cards/military options and offer 2 different ways to play the game.

One of these alternate play offerings in the form of Solitaire Play, is very ambitious indeed as it may only be tried by some 30% of people to play the base game and then go on to only appeal to a smaller percentage yet again.

But I personally feel that TGS is a triumph for the designer and the publisher. It highlights just how clear their vision was for the game from an early stage and they have been prepared to stick to that, regardless of how popular (or not) those decisions turned out to be.

For me “The Gathering Storm” is not an expansion for everyone, but it is an expansion for the fans. To my mind that’s exactly what every expansion really should be – additional content that aims to satisfy the desires of the fans that have unlocked many of the secrets of the base game and are looking for more.

“The Gathering Storm” satisfies this definition by presenting new modes of game play and by adding an additional 4 Start Worlds, which offers the game a new freshness.

 
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5
Critic - Level 4
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
8
29 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“A Gathering of New Play Elements”

The Gathering Storm is the first expansion for Race for the Galaxy, but it’s not the kind of expansion you would expect for a card game. At first blush, a new owner might feel ripped off when opening the box and finding less than two dozen actual game cards inside, including four new starting worlds and a replacement for the original Gambling World. The rest are phase cards for a fifth player and blanks to create your own. But there are a number of other components in there that help to expand the game as a whole beyond the simple(r) card play of the base game.

Probably the biggest new addition is the stack of cardboard known as goals. Some goals are earned mid-game by the first player to accomplish one of various tasks. Others are end-game goals for the player with the most of something or another. All of them award bonus points; most of them have a diabolical way of drawing a player off his long-term strategy to chase after a little extra boost. Be careful how hard you pursue these.

One of the more controversial additions is the solitaire board, referred to as a “robot” against which a single player can match wits. What’s clever is that the board comes with a small handful of variable components adjusting the robot’s play style to his starting world. However, the gains made by the robot don’t seem to match up with the normal flow of play, and a robot with a production engine seems to cream me every time, even on the easiest setting.

Some other minor additions, aside from the aforementioned fifth player card set, include a variant for 2-3 player drafting, which may provide some relief to the players who grumble about the game being too tactical based on a random draw.

Overall, this expansion is worth the purchase despite the relatively few number of new cards; the new elements it adds really round out the game and make it more complete

 
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7
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
9
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Race to victory... Through the galaxy!”

Great lord Emperor/council/president/General or whoever rules your realm: ready yourself for new ways to race to victory. It really does feel like a race, think about that when you make decisions. There is no time to waste. There is no time for folly.
What you get:
There is a robot AI mode with a separate board and chits.
There are about 2 dozen new cards to add into the deck of cards.
There are 4 more homeworlds that are quite fun to play with.
There are objective cards which give players a new way to score victory points.
Doesn’t sound like much, but it is still totally worth it.

Replay Value:
After playing the base game through many many plays, this expansion actually takes away all the fatigue and frustration that some strategies had. The solo mode against the robot player is also really fun and it is great for trying out how fast some strategies develop.
Components:
There are not many cards, as have been complained about in many other places. All the chits and the extra player cards are a welcome resource.
Easy to Learn:
Playing against the robot is really the only new challenge to learning. You will have to have the expansion rulebook out for the first few games, but after that, as with the base game, once you learn the iconography you are good to go.
1-5 players There is no sweet spot, this game is good for any number of players. 12+ age As long as the kids can figure out iconography well, this game is very accessible. There really is no added complexity with the expansion. 60+ minutes The game plays in only 30 minutes once all the players really know what they are doing.
Conclusion:
Although there are a lot of complaints about the number of cards this set adds for the money, don’t look at it that way. Look at this expansion as to the re-balancing and fun value for your money. The Alien strategy and the military strategy are now totally viable to actually win the game against skilled players. In fact, I would say that if you have the right card or 2 in your opening hand, Alien strategy is very powerful.
Objectives open up new strategies and the game really feels a lot more like a race than anything in the starting set.
I would recommend this expansion for anyone who is interested in playing Race For the Galaxy for a long time and in detail. The solo mode is also challenging and fun, although Easy is probably as hard as you need to go.

 
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4
I Am What I Am
Professional Grader
9
19 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Venturing into the gathering storm”

Race for the Galaxy has been my favorite game for a while, but it’s taken me quite some time to get Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm. But it is finally here. So far I’ve played it several times with 2 and 3 players.

Initial Impressions: I was very disappointed to open Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm. There was a stark difference between the backs of the cards from the original, and from the expansion. The border is much darker on my expansion cards. From the draw pile you can easily tell whether it is a new card or an old card. The obvious solution would be to just sleeve the whole deck in sleeves that have a solid back, so you cant see through, but that’s another chore and expense added onto the expansion.

What you Get: My biggest concern when purchasing an expansion is what it adds to the base game. I want to take a look at each of the components you get when purchasing the expansion, and tell you what I think it adds to the feel of Race for the Galaxy.

Action Cards For a 5th Player: These would come in handy supposing you have more friends then I. You get 9 cards in total, 7 for the base game and 2 for the advanced 2 player game. Since it is the 5th set, they don’t even really need the cards for the advanced 2 player game, but I guess now you get more color choices when playing. You also get more victory chips to accommodate the fifth player.

4 New Starting Worlds: I was excited to review these, they were exactly what my group wanted. These worlds add to the base games five to make a total of 9 different ways you can start your empire. I was also pleased to see these cards had the slight increase in complexity that is often desired in expansions. One forces you to discard down to 3 instead of 4, and another one will only produce if you discard a card. These new mechanics will integrate well with the rest of the set. My group definitely enjoyed the wider variety of starting options.

Goal Tiles: For me this was the crux of the expansion. There are 4 “most” goal tiles, and 6 “first” goal tiles, worth 5 and 3 points respectively. The goal tiles come in those thick cardboard sheets where you get to punch out your pieces, which by the way, is the most satisfying feeling in the world. Each game takes two random “most” tiles and 4 random “first” tiles.
The “first” goals are awarded permanently to the first player to achieve that goal, for instance the first player to play a 6-development card. The most cards may be traded back and forth based on who currently has the most of the goal. For instance the largest military (minimum of 6). You can certainly play around with the number of goals you want to add to your game, making even more variants possible. I like these goals because they force you to pay more attention to your opponents. Race for the Galaxy is often criticized for just being mulitplayer solitaire, but these goals really change the nature of the game. They aren’t worth gigantic amounts of VPs so that they dominate the flow of the game, but they are substantial, and often can make the difference between winning and losing. The implementation of these goals increases the social aspect of the game.

18 Game Cards: This seemed shockingly low to me. Only 18 more cards (plus unused home worlds) to add to my deck? And one of those was just an additional copy of Contact Specialist! I understand you don’t want to drastically alter the deck by adding expansions, but this seemed to hardly tweak it. Some of the new mechanics are great fun, I really enjoy cards like Space Mercenaries which give you more options in your game play. But honestly, I just felt like I spent a lot of money, and was not getting a lot for it.

18 Blank Game Cards: I’m tempted to complain about how the designer just got lazy and left the thinking up new cards to the players – but to be honest, I love blank cards. Adding my own touch to games is a whole lot of fun, and I’m sure this will be no exception. The cards are designed like normal Race cards, which is nice for appearances, but doesn’t do much for me in terms of practicality. The background of most of the cards is black, so small printing will become a must. And they have the color of the planets filled in already, so you can only add one per color, production and windfall. They even include blank developments, and 6-developments. Why not just make them all blank? Surely if I’m writing in everything else, I can manage to write a “6″. But at this point I’m just nitpicking.

Solitaire Board and Tiles: I’ve never cared for solo board gaming, unless the electricity is out, and this one isn’t an exception. I like the social aspect of gaming, and not even my favorite game can survive with just me. If solo gaming is your thing though, this may be a big plus.

Overall: I like this expansion, but I think it’s only because I LOVE the original. If you are only lukewarm on the original, I wouldn’t recommend buying this expansion. I just don’t think it adds much for the price. The goals are great, but once you have the idea for putting goals for VPs in the game, you really don’t need fancy card board push outs to play with them. Heck, in addition to the blank cards, I might even grab some index cards and make some new goals too.

 
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16 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“Goals guide strategy, cards add strategic choices”

From a purely price/component perspective, this is not a good buy. What you get are some cardboard chits representing goals, a 5th player, and a few new cards. Luckily this expansion is much more than just what is in the box.

The goals guide strategy a bit by providing providing a new source of points that players can claim if they meet some criteria. There are 2 type of goals: “first” and “most”. To claim the points offered by a “first” goal, a player must be the first to meet it’s conditions. Points from a “first” goal are claimed immediately and cannot be taken away. To claim the points offered by a “most” goal, at game’s end a player must have the most for whatever metric the goal states. This extra source of points will affect a player’s decisions throughout the game.

The new cards add strategic choices to the game, mostly by making alien, gene, or military strategies more viable than they are with the base game alone.

I recommend this expansion to any fan of Race For the Galaxy.

 
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7
Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
10
27 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“This should be sold with the base game!”

This expansion is so necessary, it should be part of the game itself. It adds plenty of useful cards to the deck, which help set up the storyline of the world the designers have created. Almost as importantly, it allows for a fifth player. Since my groups often run 4-6, this makes it possible for RftG to be part of our regular rotation.

TGS also adds smaller goals to the game. By, for example, being the first player to be able to produce one of every good, they get a few extra victory points for the end of the game. Some of the other ones are goals for whichever player has the most of something by game’s end. These goals make it easier for players to have something to do when their overall strategy isn’t working out so well! The victory points aren’t worth more than a fully powered 6-cost development, but they certainly help.

More than any of the other expansions, The Gathering Storm helps make Race for the Galaxy a truly great game.

 
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3
 
19 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“The perfect addition to a solid base game.”

When teaching new players Race, I’m always eager to get them to the stage where they can play this first expansion. The added complexity is very worth it.

The big thing this expansion adds is goals, and the payoff for this small rules addition is huge. Goals dangle a carrot for the players to pursue specific strategies that they would likely have otherwise passed over. It adds replay value immediately, and it just keeps getting better. Being incentivized to pursue unusual strategies leads players down development paths they would have otherwise never explored, keeping the game fresh and building appreciation for the many tactical options the game offers. After playing several games with the this expansion, you’ll realize that strategies you thought were weak were actually viable all along, and see ever more paths to victory, even when playing without it!

 
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5
9
4 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Must Buy”

When you play RFTG with this expansion, there is no going back.

 
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3
 
3 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Not sure yet since I haven't played”

I got this to substitute for San Juan since it has more variety and flexibility. I guess I’ll play it soon and get drubbed by daughter and boyfriend.

 
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4
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
8
2 of 24 gamers found this helpful
“Awesome Expansion”

Does what a good expansion good. Makes a really good game great!

 

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