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Our board games club recently purchased Race for the Galaxy and we've played around a dozen games so far, plus some research using Keldon's AI (which is excellent).

In the base set with one world, when you draw a starting planet that confers a specific bonus, eg +2 Military does that force you down the Military path? As for a Produce/Consume strategy you are behind a player who drew a Mining world for example.

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    I usually base my strategy on the first high-power 6-cost development I draw – Affe Jan 14 '14 at 18:33
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    @Jonathan I feel like this question is sufficiently narrow. It isn't asking for strategies for the whole game, it is asking specifically whether you need to base your strategy off your starting world. – bwarner Jan 14 '14 at 19:20
  • @bwarner It is now - the question got changed completely a few hours ago, after I left my comment. ;) – doppelgreener Jan 14 '14 at 22:33
  • Yes - my intention originally was to get general tips/strategies for Race for the Galaxy as I'm new to the game, but I updated it to ask a more focussed question. – JonathanJ Jan 14 '14 at 22:56
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The short answer is that the start world is able to give you a jumpstart toward one or more specific strategies (the military world is probably the best example), but you can still play a very successful strategy that does not revolve around (get it?) that world.

I often make the decision about whether to commit to the start world pretty early on. A very common strategy, I'm sure you've noticed, is to play Explore on the first round. Between my starting four cards and my first explore draw, I will try to find a strategy that will get me ~50% of the way through my tableau (not necessarily from the cards in hand, but from the powers and phase plays I expect to focus on). If there's one that the start world helps, that's usually weighted pretty heavily.

If a strategy coalesces in my hand that the start world does little to help, I'll usually still go for it.

  • Thanks! Glad I found this SE - it's also nice to get positive feedback on a first answer ;) – asfallows Jan 14 '14 at 19:12
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It's a common beginner's mistake to pick a strategy too soon, and to stick to it, come hell or high water. Having New Sparta helps start a military strategy, but if playable military cards don't come your way early, you will have to take a different path.

So no, it doesn't determine your path. It gives you a jump on one path, but you determine your strategy based on all the cards you see, not just your starting homeworld.

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Yes, it is important to your strategy what start world you get, but it doesn't dictate it. For example, if you get Old Earth, it makes it easier to start a Trade or Production strategy, but depending on what cards you get, you can do something that isn't connected to your start world at all.

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There are many degrees of "shift" in Race as well...

Using your New Sparta example, starting off with a military world of 2 or less defense can jump start your card flow. That could be it, but now you can build non-military worlds for more cards and devs for other powers

Or, you get more military worlds of 2 or less defense. Build some of those too!

You get further military strength, which lets you build even higher defense worlds.

At various points in the game, you may decide to get off the "military bandwagon", or may even find yourself jumping back on!

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