I just finished up 4 face-to-face three-player games and 2 face-to-face four-player games of Race for the Galaxy.
In all but the last game, it felt as though the game had the right pacing. The last game felt like it ended too quickly; The difference for me was that I wasn’t aware that the end game had creeped up.
One of the early complaints I had (and my partner still has) about the game was that it ends too quickly. You didn’t get to savor what was going on.
Now, having played Keldon’s AI* quite a bit, where games can take 5 minutes or less, I feel as though a 20 minute face-to-face game feels just right. It’s not that there are any less turns, but I more deliberately interact with the game.
In fact, as we were playing, I was taking a bit of time to look at the emerging story. The Doomed World settled Dying Colony and then settled an Deserted Alien World; Those people just couldn’t catch a break. Or the Separatist Colony that conquered the Devolved Uplift Race, and leveraged their Galactic Advertising, to push into the Consumer Markets. And there was the Doomed World that developed Research Labs and funded the Pan-Galactic Research all in an attempt to find a new home.
Besides, playing games face-to-face with friends is much better than playing against a computer.