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Subject: First time player in a three player game rss

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Jeff Wolfe
United States
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Zendo fan, Columbus Blue Jackets fan, Dominion Fan.
It was getting late (about 2am, give or take) and the CABS meeting was down to about 8 or 10 of the 100+ who had made it out last Friday. I didn't see anybody getting ready to start another game, so I sat down to practice my form on the Crokinole board someone had left out.

While I was playing around with Crokinole, Chris yelled across the room, "Hey, Jeff, do you want to play Ra?" He and James were standing in front of one of the games library cabinets, presumably having settled on Ra as the next choice.

"I've never played Ra before," I shouted back. That's apparently a universal gaming geek phrase meaning, "Sure let's give it a try," because they found a table and started setting up the game while I put away the Crokinole discs. It's curious that I'd not managed to play this game until now, with all the other games I've played, but I seem to have lots of bizarre holes in my gaming experience.

Having set up the board, Chris explained the rules and how all the tiles were scored. And away we went. The first round was kind of a blur as I struggled to grasp the flow of the game and tried to cobble together some sort of strategy. I think I was in last place after the first round, only managing to get a flood and some fields while Chris easily outscored me and had a bunch of monuments to boot (I don't know what all the tiles are supposed to be called, so I hope you can discern them from the names I use. For all I know, they're the right names. But probably not). James had gotten one of the yellow tiles but forgotten to use it, so he was disappointed even though his first round score was pretty good, as I remember.

I had only managed to pick up one good bidding chit for the second round, along with a bunch of crummy ones, but somehow I managed to get some decent tiles in the round. James had the 13 chit at the beginning of the second round, but held on to it too long and ended up not even playing it. His second round score suffered for it. Chris and I were close, with James bringing up the rear.

I started the third round with only one good chit (again), the 10 to go along with 6, 4, and 2. I didn't win any bids for several rounds as the others outbid my 2 (I didn't see anything worth burning my only good chit and my other chits were no better relatively speaking than the 2 after the 3 and 5 were used early). Somehow, I finally managed to pick a couple of weak groups of tiles, but ones that had high chit totals with them. The others were competing for the green tiles, while I had only a couple, even half-way through the round. I decided to take my lumps on that one and focus on the others. I muddled through until I was the only one left drawing tiles. I never did make up Chris's big lead in the monuments, but I had a decent number of fields and had managed to pick up three different grey guys. I had no idea how I was doing, but the others both seemed to think I was close. Unfortunately, I almost immediately drew a red tile to fill the board, ending the game before I could pad my tile collection. I didn't figure it mattered much; and I was right, but for the wrong reasons.

With my two big last-round chits, I managed to get the bonus there, and when we finished counting our score it was very close: I had 47, Chris had 46, and James had 42. Not bad for a first outing. But I have no illusions that this makes me a good Ra player. I suspect that this will be one of those games where I'll do terribly once I know what I'm doing and try to employ actual strategy in the game. I'll just have to enjoy the success while it lasts.
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