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Tips & Strategies (28)

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Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Megacon Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
50 of 52 gamers found this helpful
“Fast Developments”

With expansions there are plenty of development cost reducing cards and cards that give you draws for developing. Also if you get enough cost reduction you can end the game before others get more expensive strategies rolling (especially in two player with double develop available). If the right cards come your way give it a try.

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Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Advanced Reviewer
16 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“You Are Not Alone”

Most players think of this game as multi-player solitaire, with each gamer cruising along on their own path to victory. While there is no direct interaction, it is important to know what your opponent is planning to do and reacting to it.

Once you have a good idea of your opponent’s main theme, you should be able to predict which actions they will likely choose. Try to work a sub-strategy into your tableau that will benefit from their action selection also. This minimizes the advantage that they gain each turn and closes the gaps in the race. A simple example would be adding a consumption world against an opponent who is creating a produce/consume engine so that you consume when he does. There are also many development cards that give small bonuses during various action phases. These passive abilities can be easy and effective at trimming an opponent’s gains.

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31 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Use cards with "passive" abilities”

You should always have cards in your tableau that give you cards or vps when a certain phase occurs. This way you gain something even in phases you haven’t chosen and the additional free cards or vps may give you an edge over your opponents.

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I play orange
12 of 12 gamers found this helpful
“Don't underestimate explore , keep five”

When our group started playing we ignored the explore + 5 card. As we gained more experience we came to realize how important this can be. This is excellent for finding the right card to go along with other cards already on your tableau.
Especially in later game when you are drawing more cards already (consume :trade etc.). It becomes increasingly more important to get the best card to match with your current strategy and give you the edge over your opponents.

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Viscount / Viscountess
Advocate Beta 1.0 Tester
39 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“It's your new game and you don't want to feel overwhelmed by it anymore...”

There are a few good comments here for the newest of the new, particularly be flexible and piggyback on what your opponent is doing.

Two more tips for those of you who have played once or twice and are still feeling overwhelmed:

The temptation for new players is to go military as often as possible, and to groan when you’re dealt Old Earth as a starting planet. *Embrace* the produce/consume cycle. Don’t forget to play cards with development powers. Don’t hesitate to trade, but don’t neglect the x2 consume, either.

Don’t forget for a second it’s a *Race* for the Galaxy. Do not sit around trying to construct the perfect tableau. Push the game. If your hand is big every turn, you’re doing it wrong.

Bonus tip: You can download the game for free and play on your computer. As I understand it, this computer application is endorsed by the maker of the game.

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I play orange
11 of 11 gamers found this helpful
“military hybrid or NO military ”

After many games we have found the original race for the galaxy does not offer much reward for purely military.
You need to get a very good combination of limited cards to Fully capitalize on planets and even then there are far fewer large value military worlds compared to their counterpart.
A much better technique is a military hybrid (with lower military) but will still allow you to settle smaller world’s for free(this has worked well when using this during opponents settle phase while you focus on produce/consume VP chips).
I have not tried any expansions but I have heard that even the first expansion drastically evens out the military option.

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Critic - Level 4
Advanced Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Dig Through the Deck with Military”

A straight military strategy can be very powerful, since you can use military strength to conquer progressively larger worlds. But to do this, you need the engine to produce the military points, and you really want the six-cost devs that credit military (e.g. New Galactic order, or alternately, Galactic Imperium).

As such, a military player will want either cards that allow bonus draws during a phase, or more commonly, to use the Explore+5 phase card to dig through the deck for the cards he wants. It is less imperative for a military player to have a large hand as to have the cards he needs, which can be plonked down at no cost in cards, only using the military strength already on the table.

The downside: other players will tend to key in on this and piggyback the military player’s Explore and/or Settle phases, using their cards to do other things beneficial to them (e.g. produce/consume).

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Critic - Level 2 Beta 1.0 Tester
33 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Alien + Military”

I’ve only played this strategy with RFtG and RFtG: The Gathering Storm, and am not sure how well this would work with any of the other expansions.

The Strategy

This strategy is broken up into three main phases. At the beginning of the game, build up a strong military force. I generally do this using 1-4 cost developments to start and then whatever powers I can get from the planets I settle. After a military power of 5-6 is reached, start settling alien planets. Try to go for production or windfall, as you will want the goods for their trade value. Here is where the risk in the game comes. You want to try and find some certain cards. It’s nearly impossible to find and play all of these cards, so I’ve listed them in order of importance:

Imperium Lords
Alien Tech Institute
Galactic Imperium

and Lost Alien Battle Fleet

The high cost to develop Imperium Lords and Alien Tech Institute may require you to accumulate some cards from the consume or trade phases before playing them, however, once these cards are added to your tableau, you’re pretty much finished building . Obviously, the more alien cards you have in your tableau at the end of the game, the more points you will score.


Some good starting worlds for this strategy:

Epsilon Eridani
New Sparta
Damaged Alien Factory

and Doomed World

(Doomed World is a good starting card here because it can allow you to settle a more expensive alien world early in the game. Just make sure that you get rid of it before the game’s end.)

I’ve found this strategy to work very well as a lot of the alien planets require military power to settle them.

Don’t worry about not having many victory points while playing, you will make these up at the end of the game.

I generally go for cards at the beginning of the game such as:

Expedition Force
Drop Ships
Deserted Alien World

and Alien Rosetta Stone World

Also, I’ve found it to be very beneficial if you can have either Public Works or Interstellar Bank in your tableau as well, as this will aid in playing 6-cost development cards later in the game.

Alien tech resources have the highest trade value in the game, so the consume phase is a great time to pick up extra cards and allows you somewhat of an opportunity to “search the deck” for key cards.

Sometimes in the game, if I am playing against a produce/consume strategy, I’ll try to add a card like Alien Toy Shop or Deficit Spending to my tableau as soon as possible, as it gives me an opportunity to earn a few victory points on the side during consume phases. However, remember that the goal of this strategy is to use the produced goods to get more cards and doesn’t focus on earning victory points in-game. This is also a good addition late in the game, if you already have all the cards you need in your tableau and want to earn some extra points before ending the game.

There’s also a link here that talks about some other uses for Alien Toy Shop and Imperium Lords it also is a good source for learning how the cards work together (in the first two expansions) and for putting together your own game strategy.

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Rated 10 Games
Intermediate Grader
31 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Pick a Theme Early”

If you get a good 6 value card in your hand, start building to maximize its effects as soon as possible. You may not be able to play it right away, but you can put the supporting infrastructure in place. Of course, you also need to hold on to that card until you can afford to play it. This may take some doing, and some rounds where you don’t build, but it can pay off big.

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I play purple
47 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Don't Marry a Strategy”

Regardless of what kind of synergy you may find between your first hand and starting planet, make sure you don’t marry a strategy from the start. Race for the Galaxy doesn’t allow that level of strategy control, which in my opinion is a real problem with the game.

If you find that you have a card or two that may work off of each other and are cheap/fast to play, go for that, but be ready to abandon that strategy on the next hand or the one after. The longer you try to hold onto something that isn’t happening, the more likely you’ll lose the game.

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40 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“Keep track of your powers”

In my early games, I found myself forgetting some of my planets’ or developments’ powers during a particular phase. I learned to organize my tableau by phase powers. All cards that give me powers in phase 1 go first, then phase 2, etc. Sometimes cards have multiple phase powers. With those I have to make a judgment call.

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I'm a Real Person
Check Out My Favorites
41 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“Try the AI”

Nothing beats playing the physical game with people, but for practice, try the AI (available for free with permission from the publisher) at

The computer is challenging and it really teaches you how to play aggressively.

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Amateur Reviewer
34 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“6 Development Cards”

You should always play at least 1 (if not 2-3) 6-Development cards during a game. Use the bonuses and powers on the 6-Devs you have to dictate what your strategy will be, rather than trying to fish for a specific 6-Dev later in the game. It doesn’t guarantee a win but I find it pretty hard to win without at least one of these cards in play.

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Knight-errant Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
32 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Getting full use out of alien worlds.”

Alien worlds, for the most part, are expensive or require a large military to capture. The alien resource is very valuable, but it is hard to generate a strategy just around this one resource. If you can get the Alien Rosetta Stone or Alien Tech Institute in your hand early, an alien tech strategy is far more viable.

There are other ways to utilize the benefit of Alien worlds. One great way to use their benefit is to utilize the Diversified Economy development card. If you can get the other, easier to acquire goods onto your tableau, you’ll never need to explore again for the rest of the game.

Getting a single alien world will also be helpful for a quick card grab with a Consume: Trade action. This will work especially well if your starting planet is Old Earth .

The ideal game would be to play as New Sparta or Earth’s Lost Colony and get Alien Rosetta Stone or Alien Tech Institute out early. If you get these or at least one of them and Research Labs , your production phase and trading will carry you through easily to the end of the game.

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Gamer - Level 4
Novice Reviewer
39 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“2-Player Advanced Game”

I recommend new players that graduate up to the 2-player advanced game as soon as they get fairly familiar with the basics as the advanced game makes for much quicker development up front.

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Miniature Painter
It's All About Me
9 of 10 gamers found this helpful
“Pick 2, Keep 1”

For picking starting worlds, using any number of players right down to the solitaire engine, I’ve found that being dealt two planets and picking one is a quick and effective way to cut some of the randomness out of early game without taking up too much time giving a big choice for everybody to make.

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Knight-errant Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
29 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“Homeworld selection”

Once you start to get the expansions and the number of homeworlds quickly outgrows the number of players, contemplate this home rule:

Shuffle all the homeworlds together and deal 3 out to each player. Each player can then choose the homeworld in secret and they are all revealed on the first turn of the game. It is just so annoying when you get all these cool new worlds and you constantly get New Sparta or Earth’s Lost Colony.

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Knight-errant Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
30 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Base game (Military)”

After playing this game to the point of expertise with some of my friends, we have all come to a couple of realizations to share here.

These concepts are only viable if you are only playing with the base set as some of the expansions deal with the issues.

The full military route is not a good strategy with expert players. The base game just does not have enough military options to support it. In some of the games we have played, the person going all military will get everything that they want, Rebel Homeworld, Space marines, other military bonuses, 6-cost techs that help the military and they can still lose. This is the optimal that a military with the base set can get, and it is still not good enough.

You are better off with just using any starting military to pick up the occasional free world during Settling phases .

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4 Beta 1.0 Tester Beta 2.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
32 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Not Military”

In the base game, I find military to be pretty lackluster. It CAN work well, but don’t be seduced into thinking “free worlds!? Yippee!” Military has a low number of production worlds, so you often get forced into exploring a lot (not a terrible idea with military), and you don’t get to consume trade for many cards.

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Knight-errant Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
31 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Trade is enticing but don't fear the x2”

The consume powers, even from the first couple of turns can be game changers. Do not forget about the ability to acquire victory point chips. Although drawing a large number of extra cards from trade is great, I would suggest only doing so if you have multiple cards in your tableau that give you trade bonuses. The consume x2 VP pays off early and you should make it pay off often. Even just having 2 consume powers with one good each will net you at least 4 vp. That is a quick way to victory if the other player is sleeping on the victory point tokens.

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