Five Out of Seven ...
Rodnet Bacigalupo and Emily Blanck
The seventh RFG tournament was a HMW (heats most wins)
tournament for the second year in a row. Most games were 4-players,
with the occasional 3-player as necessitated by players on hand.
This year, the new Alien Artifacts expansion was played
in the Final. Otherwise, there were two base game heats, two
heats with The Gathering Storm, and semifinals using the
Rebel vs Imperium expansion.
Heat 1 started at the wee, borderline unreasonable hour of
9 AM on Wednesday with 13 mostly 4-player tables. Defending champion
John Riston lost his first round by 3 points, likewise 2011 champion
Aaron Fuegi went down on a tiebreaker to Kathy Stroh. Four-time
champ Rob Renaud won his match with 53 points and a margin of
15, the largest of the first heat. Nick Kiswanto, perennial laurelist,
also earned his first victory. Heat 1 also saw an interesting
game involving three players, Emily Blanck, Chris Kreuter, and
Chris Kizer all splitting up the military tech and worlds and
giving the win to Chris Bert, who played a produce/consume strategy.
Jason Levine, a 2013 finalist, and Otis Comorau had an exact
tie for first, which caused the GM some worry due to a lack of
specification in the tournament structure about ties in the tournament
rules, but it ended up being irrelevant.
Heat 2 followed an hour later with another remixed set of
13 mostly 4-player tables. Defending champion Riston earned his
first victory. Fuegi again had a disappointing second. Derek
Glenn, Rob Renaud, Nick Kiswanto, and Adam Sigal all won their
second games. Adam Sigal did so with a rather impressive 20-point
Heat 3 started at the again obscene hour of 9 AM on Friday.
The Gathering Storm, the first expansion to the game,
which introduces goals and the fearsome cards Terraforming Guild,
Alien Toy Shop, and Improved Logistics was the official version
for Heat 3. None of our previous double winners played in this
heat, perhaps content that their two wins would almost certainly
advance them to the semis. There were only ten full 4-player
tables this early. Mark Crescenzi, who dominated the tournament
last year only to fall a few points short in the Final, made
his first appearance with a comfortable 8-point win. Thomas Tu
earned his first win with a nail biting victory on tiebreak over
Scott Saccenti. Riston earned his second victory and likely entrance
to the semis, nearly doubling his closest opponent, 62 to 34.
Luke Koleszar and Emily Blanck also earned their second victories.
Heat 4 proceeded immediately after Heat 3 ended. Brothers
Thomas and Tim Tu both won their second heat in four tries, qualifying
for the semis, as did John Ratanuprasanpura. Thomas's win was
by tiebreaker. Keith Dent won his second heat of three, losing
only to Renaud in Heat 1. Rob Renaud and Luke Koleszar both won
their third heat in as many attempts. Mark Crescenzi was edged
out of a victory by 2 points by Christopher Bert, thereby just
missing the semis. Conversely, Nathan Twigg won his second heat
of the day to advance.
multiple game winners, and a single lucky qualifier with only
one win qualified for the semifinals, which used the Rebel
vs Imperium expansion and played four 4-player games on randomly
drawn tables. Defending champion Riston won his return trip to
the Final by a comfortable 9-point margin over Tim Tu. Derek
Glenn squeaked by John Ratanuprasanpura on a tiebreaker, while
earneing five of the six goals in the game. Keith Dent passed
his semifinal test over Nick Kiswanto in dominating fashion,
with 78 points to Nick's 49. Renaud beat Thomas Tu in a close
game, 60 to 55, in which Thomas pulled off a nice 6-point consume
2x that he called with no consume powers on the table. Renaud
fell into the trap and called the needed develop for Thomas to
unleash Galactic Genome Project, but despite the gutsy blind
consume, it was not quite enough to beat Renaud's rampant developments.
Our four finalists gathered to play the new Alien Artifacts
expansion without the orb module. Renaud and Riston had a fair
amount of experience with the expansion, but both Glenn and Dent
would be at a disadvantage, playing it for the first time in
their inaugural Final appearance.
Rob choose the jack of all trades Epsilon Eridani as his starting
world. John picked Alpha Centauri, Derek took Old Earth, and
Keith was the only player to take a new homeworld, with Alien
Artifact Hunters. AAH allows players to consume an Alien good
for 2 VP, and both see and keep an extra card on explore.
Rob and Derek opened with a dev, while John and Keith exploited
their homeworlds with a trade and explore +1, respectively. Both
Rob and Derek put down Interstellar Bank, which let them draw
a card before the development phase. Derek played Investment
Credits, which grants a -1 discount to develop. The game was
perhaps headed for a development war. Keith played Genetics Lab
and John missed the develop. John traded his brown good for three
Turn 2 saw dev from all players except Keith, who again called
an explore +1. Rob developed Scientific Cruisers, an expansion
card that grants +1 military, a -1 discount to settle, and a
consume power for two cards. John developed Replicant Robots
and Keith put down Space Marines. Derek furthered his development
powers with Interstellar Bank. At this point, Derek's opponents
must have been worried about his combined development powers,
which can be very strong when stacked.
Rob and Keith explored on Turn 3, Derek settled, despite his
power in the dev phase and his lack of settle abilities. John,
the only player with a world capable of storing goods, called
produce. Rob settled a 2 defense uplift world, John settled New
Vinland for free, giving him a production world with its own
consumption, a nice world to have to complement Alpha Centauri,
especially early. Derek put down Space Port, and Keith played
Comet Zone. Now Rob is the only player without any production
worlds, which could bode poorly.
On an uneventful Turn 4, as expected, most players traded,
with the exception of Keith, who called another explore +1.
Turn 5 saw a trade from Keith, a dev from Rob, a settle from
John, and an explore from Derek. Rob played the fearsome Galactic
Federation on the develop, putting him in a very strong position,
as he already had Interstellar Bank. John played Consumer Markets,
hinting that' he'd probably go for a blue production strategy.
Both Keith and Derek developed Mining Conglomerate. Keith settled
Jumpdrive Fuel Refinery, putting him at two brown production
worlds, ahead of Derek with his newly settled, singular brown
Bio-Hazard Mining World. John also settled a brown production
world. Rob settled New Survivalists, finally getting a production
With Rob's advantage in the dev phase, and all of his opponents
production abilities, he jokingly tried to convince each of them
that the other would produce, rendering them free to call whatever
phases they desired. Unfortunately for Rob, John called produce,
while the other players explored. Rob would ride his Galactic
Federation/Interstellar Bank combo for the rest of the game,
consistently calling dev. On the dev, he built Galactic Investors,
which drew two cards after a successful develop, and drew a card
for each 5+ cost dev on the tableau, putting him in firm position
to win. In a fight to keep up in the dev war, Derek also built
the Galactic Investors. John built Terraforming Robots, and Keith
placed Trade League, which will guarantee him good card flow
in a produce/consume game, and scores additional points for his
Mining Conglomerate and Genetics Lab.
Turn 7 saw another explore from Keith, dev from Rob, a consume
2x from John, and a trade from Derek. Both John and Derek missed
the develop, while Rob built Galactic Expansionists, which is
another 6 dev that scores for 6 cost developments and draws a
card on dev. At this point, Rob can build a 6 dev without even
diminishing his hand size. Keith follows with Galactic Survey
Seti, which is a solid all around 6 dev that mostly rewards building
worlds rather than devs but also synergizes with his rampant
Unfortunately for the produce/consumers, produce was not selected
on Turn 8. John and Derek both settled, a result neither is happy
with. Keith continued to pound explore and Rob expectedly developed.
Rob built New Galactic Order, increasing his military to 4. John
again missed the dev, Keith buillt Wormhole Prospectors which
also rewards trade powers, and Keith threw down more explore
powers with Research labs. Rob settled Mercenary Guild, John
settled Galactic News Hub, which allowed him to consume two blue
goods for 3 VP, Derek built Galactic Survey Headquarters, a 2
cost blue production world. Derek conquered an uplift military
world. Now both Rob and Keith have 10 card tableus.
John called the one-turn-too-late produce, Rob developed,
Derek settleed, and Keith explored +1 once more. Rob developed
dropships and conquered the Rebel Outpost to end the game. John
developed Scientific Cruisers and settled Tourist World, giving
him a glut of consumption, but no more turns to reward him for
it. Derek developed Mining League and settled the Alien Fuel
Refinery. Keith had no 6 dev (maybe he should have explored +5ed
instead) and put down Consumer Markets and Star Nomad Lair.
When the points are tallied, Rob Renaud wins the seventh Race
for the Galaxy tournament (his fifth championship, and sixth
Final table) with 45, ahead of Keith's 34, Derek's 31, and John's
GM Rob Renaud and his co-finalists.