Designing Race for the Galaxy: Making a Strategic Card Game -

Designing Race for the Galaxy: Making a Strategic Card Game

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In this 2018 GDC talk, game designer Tom Lehmann discusses his acclaimed card game Race for the Galaxy, walking through through its use of cards as resources, simultaneous play, luck mitigation via card-sifting, use of icons, and how ideas from economics and optimization theory influenced its design.

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  1. Legends of Runeterra has a wonderful mana system with opportunity cost: you can save up to three mana for the next turn that can be spent only on spells, not on champions or allies

  2. I love Race for the galaxy, it's a fun, neat little game but he can't seriously be suggesting that he "fixed" Puerto Rico with it? He even made his own version of Puerto Rico (still don't know how that's legal) which is also a very fun game but come on… none of these games actually hold a candle to Puerto Rico. Ita is the essence of elegance and tight play, a classic of legendary status and for very good reason. It was number one on BGG for YEARS and despite it's age is still one of the most beloved board games of all time. Seriously Tom, you're a great designer but lets not pretend anything you made comes close to Puerto Rico. In fact your most successful IP is based on it. So I would show a bit more appreciation if I were you.

  3. Great talk! got to drink more tea for my balancing 🙂 Thanks for the sharing.

  4. Hi guys, you might want to also check this new card game called LAGIM. Its story is based on Filipino folklore and myths. Where you need to defend your baryo from evil fiends. Try to visit their FB page and website for more details.

  5. 45:55 I don't understand what he is saying here.

    What is 'minding the gap'? And how is he promoting Strategic play over tactical play?

  6. Hm thought this was about designing a card game with Race as an example. But feels more howndesign worked just for this game…

  7. Tom is such a natural presenter. I wonder why he is so good at it?!

  8. I wonder if the "Former Penal Colony" Card is Australia, based on his "Iceland" comment.

  9. or, "Why my game is better than Magic: The Gathering and Puerto Rico"

  10. That was a very good presentation, but it's worth noting that MTG has multiple win conditions besides losing 20 life, you lose when you run out of cards, and many of the cards have specific win conditions.

  11. This video was eye opening to me, thank you very much

  12. This was very interesting, thank you Tom!

  13. Really candid talk with some good insights.

  14. I would never be using the word 'design' in the same sentence as 'Race for the Galaxy'.

  15. At around 49:11, after he says the word "arcs" does anybody else hear a very low "NOM" that sounds just like the Heavy from TF2?

  16. Drinks water, crumples bottle, and smacks loudly into the mic
    It's not an issue that people need to drink, it's an issue the video editors didn't do anything about it in post production.

  17. I got New Frontiers (the board game version of Race) and I enjoy that a lot too. It misses the tight opportunity cost contention of the single resource (cards in Race), but it makes up for it with the variable phase order and better immersion in the theme. Great video, great games, great design! 🙂

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