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Is there a effective way to apply a handicap to a good player in Race for the Galaxy (especially in a 2-player game)?

I would consider a good handicap as one that is not omnipresent (for example, a subtle starting bonus) and one that does not negate normal strategies (lest the weaker player rely on it and not improve their skills).

Some ideas that come to mind include:

  • Allow the weaker player to draw 8 (instead of 6) and discard down to 6.
  • Making the stronger player put their starting word in their hand instead of playing it automatically
  • Allowing the weaker player to have 2 of the starting worlds

Has anyone tried any handicaps and found one that is effective without drastically altering the game?

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I usually give new players an Investment Bank (draw a card during the develop phase) in addition to their start world. It passively gives them extra cards throughout the game, without really changing strategic considerations (there is one less Investment Bank for anyone going for the Galactic Federation development superbuild).

  • It hadn't occurred to me to give a specific card as a handicap. New players seems to have the most trouble getting card flow (they seem to overuse Explore +1,+1) , so Investment Bank is a good one for a two player game. – Scribblemacher May 8 '15 at 15:34
  • @scribblemacher The only problem is it doesn't really encourage them to try produce and consume, but it does get them past just hitting explore every turn – Zags May 8 '15 at 16:34

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