I have never played Race for the Galaxy
(the game upon which this one is based), but the new Roll For The Galaxy
game was intriguing on it’s own because: I like dice, world building, worker placement and only minor attacking/screwage. I just finished a play with my 16-year old. Easy game to learn, and I enjoyed it (my teen hates all non-video games so his opinion is moot).
I didn’t think it was too random as you can mitigate your dice rolls via a “reassign” option as well as by making sure you have a lot of dice to play with. When you explore, you have the option of abandoning world/development tiles you no longer want to build so you can pull X+1 tiles to explore (X = number you abandon). Thus you can change your strategy on the fly if your dice rolls just ain’t working.
I like that you secretly roll and assign (and reassign) your dice. You never know what phases will be available this turn (depends on what each person selects), but you *can* ensure at least one phase (explore/build/produce/ship) of your choice will happen.
Box says 45 min, and that is about right after 1st (learning ) game. We finished in a little over an hour. Plus, the back of the player screens is a summary of all the rules, so…
Now, my son beat me handily by sitting on a world and simply using all his dice to produce one round and ship them all the next. I was not paying attention to this as I didn’t have any worlds to produce (he started with one (dealt randomly). This net him anywhere from 2-4 VP per shipment (i.e. every other round). In a 2-player game, it ends when 24 VP markers are used up. He was at 13 (to my 5) when I noticed!
BUT I reread the rules after the game, and we played WRONG: you can only produce ONE good per world, not X! So no way he would have racked up so many VP to end the game and win, at max 1VP per round (if good dice). 1VP every 2 rounds with bad dice. There are worlds/dice combos that let you earn up to 3 VP per shipment, but…Lesson learned.
All actions are taken simultaneously by all players, so it should be about the same amount of time 3-5 players. The only area for analysis paralysis would be dice allocation (and maybe choosing a tile if you pulled more than one or two).
I will definitely be playing again. You deal each player a starting tile and a homeworld at random (from one of 9 of each, so like 81 possible starting combos). Then there are over 50 double-sided tiles (development on one side, world on the other) you can Explore. Lots of variability/replay.