Haven’t played RFTG for years although it is the first strategy board game xw and I ever played and practically led us into the board game world. We played the original version and the 1st expansion a lot, but the 2nd and the 3rd expansions made us lose interests on this game, because it felt like the system became complex and difficult for us to have a good grasp and enjoy.
The last game I bought, Takenoko, wasn’t very successful. So I’ve been looking for a new one for a while and noticed RFTG released its 4th expansion last year, named Alien Artifacts. The 4th expansion started a new “Arc”, or you can understand it as a new trilogy. So it should be played only with the original game, not with the first 3 expansions. Because of the history above, this feature is actually very attractive to me.
The 4th expansion added a bunch of new cards into the original game, and a new sub-system – Alien Orb. The Orb system feels quite weird because it’s not really “integrated” into the game and is completely optional. It’s slightly similar to Carcassonne: players put new tiles to form a map in turn, and move “meeples”. The mechanism is almost completed separated with the main card game, and the main relationship is you can get a few power tokens from the Orb system to use in the card game, also VPs.
I played 2 games with the Orb system and 2 without it. So far I prefer the latter much more. The Orb phase feels like a distraction so players need to “switch” thoughts between the cards and the map. And it introduces downtime into the fast-pacing original game, but doesn’t seem to bring enough interaction as a good trade-off.
Although the Orb system seems a bad addition to me and also received lots of critics on BBG forums, the 4th expansion is still a good expansion overall. The original game has a few elements “incomplete”, such as Rebel cards and Uplift cards, even the whole Alien branch. It’s obvious the design idea is to complete the missing parts in expansions. The new cards added in Alien Artifacts are quite a lot and balanced the whole game well. When play a card suite with the 4th expansion, it feels much more like a complete system and not over-complicated. I highly recommend to try this expansion if you play the original RFTG, but feel free to leave out the Orb system.
红龙酒馆（The Red Dragon Inn）基本上也是个欢乐向的游戏。设定大概是战士、法师、盗贼等一干人在酒馆里面喝酒，互相敬酒喝酒打架赌钱，谁先喝晕了或者没钱了就出局。喝酒会让酒醉值增加，挨打会掉体力，体力和酒醉值相等了就喝晕掉。一些事件会花钱，开赌局可以赚钱或者赔钱，一般来说盗贼的手牌比较有利于敛财。玩的人是分队对抗的，不同于三国杀里面一方有人挂掉之后一般都兵败如山倒，这游戏里面2对2的时候经常出现双方各挂一个人然后剩下两人单挑的情况，我觉得这一点反映了这游戏平衡性还是不错的。另外，红龙酒馆的一个精华所在就是每次出牌都要念一遍牌上的台词……嗯，我还是蛮喜欢这个游戏的。