Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Invoke Ra

The "Settlers of Brisbane" list is working already. A friend of a friend from QGG told us about a bookshop at Gaythorne (yes, it is in Brisbane, apparently) where he plays games, so 2 new people attached to the list turned up there tonight. There could have been 3 more, but apparently they have things in their lives more important than gaming. Well excuse us! :-) But seriously, it was exactly the sort of meeting I've been looking for - intimate, not too far from home, with some real gamers. And held in a second hand book store, no less! Candlelight dinners be damned, it's book stores that turn me on. The guys seem to have only played games that you can buy at shops in Brisbane, so there's plenty of stuff in my collection to show them.
Anyway, Mikey brought along Ra and Evo, at my request. Both are on my "I will buy this if that is the only way I'm going to get to play it" list, so I am grateful for the chance to try before I buy something I don't like. We didn't get time for Evo, but we did play Ra. I liked Ra so much that when it hit the table a second time, I opted to play that. The other option at the time was Cartagena, which has hit my nickel list already this year, so I felt no need to play that anyway. Ra was a very interesting game - my opinion is that it's similar to Coloretto, but with many more complications. In both cases, you want to assemble a good set of cards, with the fear that someone's going to steal them before you get them. I kicked butt in the first game with 60 points, but in the second game I got shafted by crazy tile draws and barely held on to be second-last with 19 points.
Other games played on the night were Settlers, Robo-Rally, and Cathedral. I definitely want to have a go at Cathedral one of these days. It looks like Blokus, if you squint.


ekted said...

I would equate Ra to Carcassonne using this criteria: If, when you are learning the game for he first time, you get very very unlucky, it will taint your views so badly, you may never want to play again. The first time I taught CC to my sister-in-law, she drew straight road tiles about 12 times in a row. I had a hadr time after that claiming it was more fun than Monopoly. :)

Anonymous said...

Ra is an interesting game, but the strategy to it eludes me a little. It seems all I can do is buy when the auction track looks good (or when you can shaft others), but what to aim for at the start is difficult. Still, it is pretty. Length is just about right.

Looking foward to playing more games with you John, as much as my small family will allow.


Friendless said...

I think at the start you can't choose what to aim for, you just need to try to grab a bargain and develop your game from there. It seems the first civilisation tile is very important, so it's worth diverging a little from any plan you have if you can get one of them. Of course the ultimate is to get an auction like you did in the second game where you can take a fistful of tiles uncontested. In that respects, it's somewhat similar to Diamant. Also, I only figured out halfway through the first game (when you had the 11, 12, 13) that the suns are a good part of the deal as well.

ekted said...

"you just need to try to grab a bargain and develop your game from there"

An excellent way to explain it.

Justin Walduck said...

I played both games of Ra on that Wednesday night. Developing a strategy from your first purchase seems to be the way the game plays. The value what is on offer will differ for each player based on what they already have in hand.

The mistake I made in both games was fixating on one strategy ("Monuments and pharohs good. Mungo bid now.") That was what I latched onto amongst the intentionaly complex scoring options. That will change with multiple plays as I become familiar with all the strategies and their payouts.

I also noticed how the bidding tiles effect the value of the pot. In the second game I was always trying to trade up on my bidding tiles.