It was going to be Aladdin's Dragons by request of Tom, but since Rick and his game were absent, we opted for Roll Through the Ages instead - with the expansion. We actually hadn't played this over lunch for over a year - time flies.
My game started remarkably: 2 skulls and a pot. First turn Drought, first turn Irrigation. Then J did the same thing. Tom and Mike made a little better progress. I then managed to roll 2 skulls for the next couple of turns as well, stuck at 3 cities, meanwhile Tom unleashed his pestilence on the rest of us - twice. With the self-inflicted disasters as well, things were looking bleak. I bought Agriculture with only 3 cities to try and bust out of this vicious cycle - then J hit us all with Pestilence again, while I cursed not buying Medicine. In the end, we all bought that. Tom and Mike went for Shipping and used that as much as possible, Tom especially was doing well, building monuments also (with help of Masonry), while Mike built up to 7 cities first, using Engineering to help. J stalled a bit mid-game, after being the first to complete a monument (the Obelisk), she got Caravans and built up stocks, but got stuck just about getting enough food. I dragged myself out of my slow start Quarrying helping and as I saw the end game with my Great Wall complete, I picked up Commerce as my best bonus. J did too (though hers was a much better bonus), while Mike and Tom took Architecture. Counting up it was remarkably close between three of us - while Tom was miles in front.
You are certainly at the hands of fate to a large extent playing this, but there are some things you can do to help yourself - and some risks you can take which sometimes don't come off. Shipping is very strong and it is hard to catch up if you get a slow start. The Late Bronze Age is really at the upper limit of what we can fit in within a lunch hour, but I do think the extra options and extended end game makes for a better experience (though the shorter game is still fun once in a while, when time is more of the essence - if we needed to be back at our desks promptly, for example - I think we were all feeling a bit more lax about that today. I could tell that when - right at 1pm - Mike was able to end the game by building the Great Pyramid, but was hesitating, figuring he was behind. He was right (and might have made a jump to 2nd or 3rd with a few more turns) but none of us were ever catching Tom.