One of the tougher games for new players to get into because of its iconography, but once you can get past that issue (which doesn’t take too long) there is lots of depth, strategy, and choices in this card game. It is impressive the amount of choices one game can have without a board or resource tokens.
At the start of each round the players will secretly choose which of the five actions they want to perform. Each of the actions selected by players will be part of the round. Part of the game is trying to guess what actions your opponents will select because then you can select one of the other actions instead. If you can manage to do all of the things you wanted to do in your turn then you’ve played your opponents well.
The five different actions are explore, develop, settle, consume, and produce. Explore lets you draw cards which can be used either as new planets to conquer/settle or as the currency to build developments or settle new planets. The second action (if selected) is develop, which lets you purchase development cards from your hand that will make other actions more powerful for the rest of the game. Settlement is the third of the possible actions. It allows players to either settle planets by paying with cards or conquering them with previously acquired military might. The next of the possible actions is consume, where you get points from certain cards and by selling the resources your planets have acquired. The final action is fairly simple - some or all of your planets produce goods again for later consumption.
Race for the Galaxy is full hard choices since most costs must be paid for with cards from your hand. When you draw new cards they will likely almost all look super tempting to get into play, but most of them you have to give up to get the other ones. Once the point tokens have been exhausted or when people get enough cards in play the game ends. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Once the new players get past the iconography (which is all explained on a good player aid) this game can be played over and over again to discover all the complex strategies that can lead them to victory.