It’s no news to any serious strategy gamer that Race For The Galaxy has rapidly become one of the most popular and frequently played designs of recent years. My gaming group plays it often enough that we’ve developed our own slang terms for certain frequently-occurring tactics and situations. In the hope that other players may find these enjoyable and useful, here they are:
The act of choosing the +5 Explore option, as opposed to the +1 +1 Explore. So called because of its use to snipe for a single key card that you need, as popposed to generally gathering resources.
Playing nothing but alternating IV(2xVP) and V phases. A smart thing to do if you have good VP consume powers and planets or developments that will pull cards into your hand during a Produce phase. This tactic may rely on other players choosing phases II and III so you don’t have to, or you may count on pumping more points per turn than anyone else can make by playing their planets and developments. There are three major variants of this:
- blue pump
A pump with blue planets using Consumer Markets.
- brown pump
A pump with brown planets using Mining Conglomerate and possibly Mining League.
- gray pump
A pump based on gray worlds with consume powers, especially Tourist World and Galactic Trendsetters. This term is seldom used because it’s unusual to win with a pure gray pump; more commonly you’ll see a combination like a blue-gray pump or a brown-gray pump.
- build out
To build out is to end the game by reaching the 12-card limit in your tableau. This term implies that you’re doing this deliberately early in order to shut down the game before someone else’s pump can outscore you.
- fast build
A class of whole-game strategies that depend on building out before other players can get their own strategies in gear. This has variants:
- military fast-build
This strategy relies on the combination of a military homeworld and an early Space Marines or Drop Ships to set up a situation in which every succeeding world you buy is paid for with military power rather than discards.
- civilian fast-build
This strategy is much less common, and so is the term. It may start with a combination like Replicant Robots and either Mining Robots or Alien Rosetta Stone World.
An opening hand that does not obviously lend itself to any particular strategy, requiring one to thrash around Exploring for a couple of rounds seeking key cards. Probably from filboid studge. The emphatic form is “utter studge”. In extreme cases, one might do a take on the Monty Python “spam” routine: “Studge, studge, studge, studge…Lovely studge, wonderful studge!”
- Fancifully, the elaborate mad-scientistic machine (doubtless equipped with arcing electrodes and many blinkylights) that performs point-pumping. Especially in the phrase “Fire up the consumerator!”
Other examples of usage:
“Yeah, I had New Galactic Order in my opening hand and went for a military-alien fast-build, but he beat me with a brown pump and Tourist World.”
A player in a two-hand game choosing I(+5) and III might say “Snipe and settle!”
On seeing somebody with two or more blue production worlds play Consumer Markets: “Uh oh, blue pump a-comin’.
On playing your first IV(2VP) + V in a two-hand game, it is appropriate to say “Engaging consumerator…NOW!” followed by your best Star Trek sound effect.
Um, yes, since you ask, yes my gaming friends are complete geeks. And proud of it. If this surprises you, you have not been paying attention.
(Also posted to the Race For The Galaxy:General forum on BoardGameGeek.)