Not wrong Grum. The designer of RftG made the original prototype of San Juan which was built upon for the final game by another designer. He then went on to make RtfG adding his own spin.https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/1931 ... ace-galaxy
RtfG is much more freeform than San Juan with a lot more theme if you ask me. It's like a giant mixing pot of Sci-fi worlds and settings with nods to Gene Roddenberry, David Brin, George Lucas etc.
Want to build an evil galactic empire crushing the galaxy in your iron fist? You can. Want to lead a band of outnumbered plucky rebels? Sure. Galactic federation trying to seek out new life and boldly going where no man has gone before? Go ahead. It's strength is just how rich and varied the cards are while still being thematic in how they play.
It really is like the difference between building an island town and creating a galactic spanning civilization.