Posts tagged ‘san juan’

New Race For The Galaxy Card Game Expansion Videos Posted

Cory Duplantis has hooked us up again with some more review and overview videos. We focused on Race For The Galaxy again, but this time, we dove into the two expansions, The Gathering Storm and Rebel Vs. Imperium.

If you are curious about this game, hopefully these will help you get a better feel for them.


August 7, 2009 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

New Race For The Galaxy Card Game Video Posted

We have the first in a multi-video series posted about the Rio Grande Games card game, Race For The Galaxy.

This game is an advanced version of Puerto Rico and San Juan, but with a science-fiction theme.

In this first video, of three, Cory Duplantis introduces the concepts of the game and how the basic flow of the game works.

July 29, 2009 at 2:48 am 1 comment

San Juan or Puerto Rico? A Buyer’s Guide

Author: Lyndon Lampert

There’s no doubt about it: Andreas Seyfarth’s 2001 board game Puerto Rico (Rio Grande Games) is a modern classic. Long-ranked #1 on the Boardgamegeek website, Puerto Rico has a huge following of dedicated Eurogamers. But not content to rest on his laurels, Seyfarth released a card game based on Puerto Rico called San Juan in 2003.

So, is San Juan really “Puerto Rico Light”? Are the two games different enough for gamers to own both? How’s a prospective game buyer supposed to decide? Some concise point-by-point comparisons between the two games may help.


Puerto Rico is a board game and San Juan is a card game.

Puerto Rico includes lots of nice pieces like colorful barrels, colonists, dubloons, victory point chips and building tiles.

San Juan includes, well, cards. Very nice cards, but cards just the same and a few role tiles.

The winner for components? Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico is not mind-numbingly complex, but is more complex than San Juan. Seyfarth succeeded at distilling some of the major components of Puerto Rico into a refined card game. San Juan is easier to learn, even if it is a little more abstract than Puerto Rico.

The winner for simplicity? San Juan.


Not all gamers are cutthroat, Type A personalities. While neither Puerto Rico nor San Juan are overtly vicious games, Puerto Rico offers more “gotcha” opportunities, like buying a building out from someone else, or forcing someone else to ship goods they’d rather sell.

The winner for friendliness? San Juan. (Unless you don’t like friendliness in games, in which case the winner is Puerto Rico!)

Strategic Depth

As a clever card-management game, San Juan offers more strategic depth than may first meet the eye, but Puerto Rico includes the depth of plantations and shipping that San Juan does not have. Despite the fact that some advanced Puerto Rico players tend to think that Puerto Rico becomes “canned” after many plays, it holds the promise of more strategic variety for most of us.

The winner in strategic depth? Puerto Rico.


Both games are ostensibly about running a colony, but Puerto Rico feels more like that’s what you’re actually doing. As good as the artwork on the San Juan cards is, San Juan still feels more like a card game than building an economic engine.

The winner in theme? Puerto Rico.


Let’s face it. Nobody’s going to want to set up a game of Puerto Rico on their next flight to Tokyo and have colonists and dubloons scattered in the aisle at the first turbulence bump. San Juan is beautifully transportable and playable just about anywhere.

The winner in portability? San Juan.

The Luck Factor

Most Eurogamers disdain luck in a game (more technically termed “randomness”), but personal tolerances of randomness vary widely. Puerto Rico has almost no randomness (except for the relatively minor action of turning up plantation tiles), but San Juan has a high degree of randomness due to an ongoing draw of cards.

The winner in the luck factor? It depends on what you like. If you enjoy little luck, Puerto Rico wins. If you prefer games with much more luck, San Juan wins.

San Juan or Puerto Rico?

Although San Juan is derived from Puerto Rico, it is a very different game.

If you own neither, San Juan is more easily learned and serves to introduce you to some of the mechanics of Puerto Rico.

If you own Puerto Rico, San Juan would be a worthwhile addition that will be immediately familiar enough to grasp in just a few minutes of play, and a game you can take anywhere.

The decision’s yours, but it’s hard to go wrong with either of these fine games.

Still can’t decide? Buying both would also be an option!

Buy Puerto Rico

Buy San Juan

December 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Race For the Galaxy – Strategy Card Game Review

Author: Seth Brown (

Race for the Galaxy is a card game for 2-4 players. The average age range is for 12 year-olds and up. Typically, it takes 30-60 minutes to play a single game

Race for the Galaxy is a card-based game where players attempt to build developments and settle planets by playing cards from their hands. You start with a single small planet card in front of you, and over the course of the game, you add to your empire, with each development or planet granting you additional powers. When a player builds a twelfth card, the game ends, and whoever has the most points wins.


Race For the Galaxy is mostly cards. There are four identical hands worth of role-selection cards, as well as a large deck of planet and development cards with varying costs and powers. There are also a few victory point chips for extra points scored during the game, and some very handy informational mats.

How Does It Play?

Players all choose a role and play it face-down. Roles are revealed simultaneously, and every role that was chosen at least once occurs for all players. The roles are:

1) Drawing more planet/development cards

2) Paying cards to play developments from your hand

3) Paying cards to play planets from your hand

4) Trading goods for cards or victory points

5) Producing goods

In addition, each player who chose a role gets a bonus ability during that role.

What’s Cool?

Race for the Galaxy manages to use cards for almost everything in the game. You draw lots of cards, pick your favorites to build, use the rest as currency, and use cards from the deck as goods. This helps keep the game from getting too complicated, since the cards are pretty much all you need.

In addition, becasue unplayed planet/development cards are used as currency leaves you with a lot of flexibility.

· Do you throw away a hand of 4 good cards to build the 4-cost development in your hand?

· Do you build the cheap planet and try to save up enough cards for the 6-point development?

Every planet and development has its own benefits (usually focused on a specific role), which means that not only are the decisions of which cards to keep or throw away often interesting, but that the game plays differently every time.

What’s Not To Like?

There are two main criticisms leveled at Race for the Galaxy. The first is that some people find the card icons a bit tricky to learn. Non-gamers who haven’t played anything much more complicated than Monopoly may well be confused by the various abilities cards have, and almost certainly won’t understand on the first game through. However, the game comes with informational mats that explain all the icons, so those willing to play a second game will quickly catch on.

The other complaint some people have is that there is not enough interaction in the game. Players who prefer to directly attack each other may be disappointed that there is no attack option here. However, many people find being attacked frustrating, and so for those who enjoy building a varied empire without someone else knocking it down, Race for the Galaxy can be a very enjoyable game.

Overall Thoughts

Race for the Galaxy is a game with lots of replayability. It may take you a game or two to learn the iconography, but once you do, the gameplay is fairly straightforward. There’s a certain joy in slowly building up your array of interesting powers, and the choices you make along the way definitely affect your late-game. If you need a game where you can attack your opponent, Race For the Galaxy isn’t it, but if you’re looking for a fun middle-weight game where you build your own little empire as best you can, Race For the Galaxy is a fine choice.

Also, if you are comfortable with games like Puerto Rico or San Juan, and you like the science-fiction theme, you may want to give this game a look.

Get your own copy of Race For the Galaxy

December 3, 2008 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment


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