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I am going to run a Race for the Galaxy tournament at WBC this year. You should all come and play! I received a message that last year, one of the competitors suspected another player was underpaying for the cards he was building.

Is there a reasonable way to make sure players play Race fairly? We want that no one can pay less for their builds than they should, that no one is keeping extra cards from explore, etc. Is there some way to do this that isn't overly burdensome to the players and the pace of the game?

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I take it you don't regard it as sufficient to simply tell players, if you're suspicious (like that person was), ask to count the cards? –  Jefromi Apr 5 '12 at 6:08
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could discard cards face down in-front of yourself, splayed out so that a count can easily be made, before discarding the cards to the common discard pile. Alternately, until the next reshuffle, you could place those cards face down under the development/planet (splayed slightly) that they are paying. This would give players a much longer time to verify that they didn't cheat.

I am not exactly sure how someone would keep extra cards from an explore. During the explore phase, don't you keep either 2 cards of 3 (normally, without any development/planet bonuses) or if you explore deep you keep 1 of 7 cards. How exactly is someone keeping extra cards from this? Are they merging their hand and their Explore, or keeping them in different hands?

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Yeah, I was thinking about this, and also having common discard pile go into the box, somewhat far away from the players, so you don't accidentally throw cards into the box before others players have verified them. –  rrenaud Apr 5 '12 at 2:12
    
There is a mix and match ability in later expansions. But it could also be easy to just take 2 of 7 cards into hand instead of 1 of 7, for example. –  rrenaud Apr 5 '12 at 2:26
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@RobRenaud, If players attempt to take 2 from their 7, you would need to splay their discards in front of them before discarding to the common pool. It would also be wise to institute rules similar to MtG tournament rules when playing cards that allow for a player to examine the top X library cards and keep one. A player shouldn't mingle cards from their hands with the library. If they need to examine both their hand and library at the same time, they should keep them in separate hands, so it is obvious they aren't moving cards between zones they shouldn't. –  user1873 Apr 5 '12 at 3:59
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+1 I tend to do show my payments anyway, just as a matter of politeness. Say "I pay four for X", hold them up fanned out, then discard. It doesn't really slow down the game; it's rare for things to cost more than you can count with a glance (there are only so many Alien Departure Points). –  Jefromi Apr 5 '12 at 6:17
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